When Life Strikes

by Cassidy Lawson

Hello everyone! I hope everyone had a good weekend and is gearing up for a busy month of trainings, move-ins, and all that August entails for SA professionals!

Now that I’m not in Housing or Student Activities anymore and I’m working an 8-5pm job (which is very different for me), I really value my time on the weekends. Before, I could always catch some time for myself during the day when I was a graduate assistant (GA) and I was only working 20 hours a week. However, now I’m at work more than I am at home during the week and it’s definitely been a transition. I mention all of this because this weekend I wanted to soak in every free minute I had for fun. I got to drive back home on Friday for a downtown festival and see a lot of familiar faces and meet some new people. It was so nice to be back on my home turf and feel that sense of comfort again. On Saturday, two of my best friends moved back to the area that I currently work and it was so great to have them so close again and start to get settled for the school year. I was basically on cloud 9 and it was just one wonderful moment after another filled with catch up sessions, laughter, and genuine moments of happiness. But then life happened…

This past Sunday afternoon, I got into my first car accident. My car and myself are perfectly fine and no one was hurt in the other car, which is the good news. When I think about it now, it sounds so dumb, but I basically just didn’t see a car that was behind me while I was backing out of a parking spot and I dented their bumper a little bit. Like I said, no one was hurt and it definitely could have been way worse, but you never think you will hit someone’s car, until you do…

I tell you all this because this example of life happening…of being completely in a carefree mode with not a care in the world…this is when you least expect something bad to happen. So how do we help our students when this happens to them? Parents get sick, bank accounts get way too low, car accidents happen, our friends pick a fight with us…this stuff right here is just part of life. I think that it can be very hard to deal with these things when you’re a student. Students are already dealing with so much as it is, with trying to juggle class and usually either a job or an extracurricular. They’re trying to hold it all together, until life happens and it feels like everything is falling apart. So if I could give my students any kind of advice when life happens, I would say this:
  • Keep things in perspective. It is so easy to look at all of our problems and they become so huge in our head that it’s hard to see the big picture. Everyone has problems; it’s just how we deal with them that matters.
  • Value your support system. When life happens, the best thing to do is to rely on your people. Reach out to family and friends and know that they are there to support you in the tough times of life.
  • Know that it’s only temporary. There’s a great quote from The Fault in our Stars that says, “If you want the rainbow, you gotta deal with the rain.” It may sound really cheesy, but it’s true. Everyone has some rain in his or her life, but it always passes by for better days!

How do you help your students when life happens? What’s the best advice you’ve ever given/that’ s been given to you?

Let me know in the comments below or tweet me at @cassidy_lawson. Thanks for reading!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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