by Grant Batchelder

With the holidays coming up, I've been thinking a lot about home. Now, I haven’t really lived at “home” in four years, but have always gone back for Christmas. This year, I decided that I was going to stay here in Texas for the break and go home to visit in late January or early February, as my niece/nephew will have been born by that time. It costs a lot of money to fly and going to my parents more than once in a few months is a bit much.

But this train of thought really led me to think about “home” more. It’s a great topic and one I enjoy thinking about ever since reading Big Questions, Worthy Dreams: Mentoring Emerging Adults in Their Search for Meaning, Purpose, and Faith by Sharon Parks the first time, which I've read once a year since. Where is home now that I've had a full-time professional job for a year and a half? Is it here in the residence hall I oversee? Is it back with my grad school friends, who are no longer there? Is it with my family? Really, none of these answers is right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m okay with this not being answered. It just reminded me of what my students are going through. These students whether first year students or those about to graduate are all asking similar questions. What happens when I go home for break? Where will I go after graduation?

What is our, SA professionals, purpose or place in helping our students with these questions? I think, and feel free to disagree, that our place is to ask them these questions. At this point, they may be avoiding the question or not sure why they are anxious. It is my belief that good supervisors, advisers, and mentors do now answer questions, but ask more questions so that the student can answer it for themselves. So just as I have been thinking about home this last week, I will be asking my students about it as well and asking them questions that will get them to truly think about their place at this time. We did some of this last week in a program geared towards first-year students where the resident assistants were given questions and topics to look over and then discuss with their residents. The program was called “Changes” and it was all about the changes that have occurred in the last semester, as well as giving the RA’s and opportunity to share what possible changes are coming up. I think that programs like this one are essential for helping our students be okay with change and prepared for the exciting changes in their future.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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