Celebrating Student Employees

By Megan Reilly

I've always enjoyed teaching. If it was leading a tutoring initiative in high school or leading an orientation session in college, I loved that feeling of sharing something I know with students who are eagerly (and sometimes not so eagerly) there to learn. My life didn't take me down the path of becoming a teacher or a professor and I am happy with that choice, but I love when I can take a few extra moments out of my day to teach someone something new. Perhaps that is why I value my role as a supervisor so much.

I've been in my new position for about six weeks now. And in that time, I think the thing I have enjoyed most about my job is teaching new skills to my student staff and coming up with new projects to help them learn something new. There is always a certain level of doubt and second-guessing as you learn a new job, but I have noticed that I always go back to my desk after these particular conversations feeling that I'm doing okay, that maybe this is why I am here, and that I really am contributing to the betterment of my team. 

I've supervised ten student employees in my so-far short career in student affairs. And every one of them has taught me something to make me a better student affairs professional and a better supervisor. So when I heard that next week (April 13-17) is National Student Employee Week, I got really excited! I finally had a reason to show my students how much I appreciate and value their hard work.

Many professionals see student employees as cheap labor to take some of the more tedious stuff off the heavy workload of the professional staff, which is partially true in some cases, but if done correctly, it can be so much more than that. Student employment is part of their collegiate experience and because of that, it should be part of their learning. I personally treat every conversation as a chance for personal or professional development even if it requires more of my time than it otherwise could have... And I have reaped the benefits of this practice by having dedicated and hard-working student employees who feel like a valued member of the team. 

Next week, my office (at my request) will be recognizing the hard work and valuable contributions of our fabulous student staff. I hope everyone who supervises student employees will take that same opportunity to recognize the people who keep things running smoothly. 

Follow Megan on Twitter @MReilly90 and use the hashtag #nsew to see what other offices are doing to recognize their students next week!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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