The Importance of Closing Your Door

by Diane Eshelman

We made it through August! And now it’s time to sit back and dive into the academic year! Earlier this week, a new colleague of mine stated they appreciated a small piece of advice I had shared with them over the summer. It took me a few minutes to remember the conversation we had had and the advice I had shared because, in all honestly, I thought it a very small piece of advice in the moment. However, after reflecting I realized that this tiny piece of advice can have a HUGE impact on any new professionals daily life. What is this life-changing piece of advice, you ask? Close your door!

Hopefully, we are all in this profession because we love helping students and being there for them. However, our profession also consists of projects, tasks, and other administrative responsibilities. Often times, I have found myself staying late into the evening (on nights I don’t have an event) to finish administrative tasks and projects. This led me to be drained both mentally and physically the next day. All in all, it’s not a great situation.

Last year, I decided to do something about it. I started scheduling time throughout the day to work on administrative tasks. (It’s only about one to three hours a day depending on the day’s schedule.) I also started to CLOSE MY DOOR during those times. I was a bit hesitant the first time I closed my door because I thought the worst would happen. And...the worst didn’t happen. I was able to be productive and knock things off my to-do list. I close my door now on a consistent basis throughout the week. The students who pop in to say ‘hi’ when my door is open don’t complain. If a student really needs me in that moment (which is maybe one at the most), they knocked on my door or sent me an email. I believe it has helped to strengthen the relationships I have with students. When my door is open I can really be mentally present with students and not subconsciously worry about the ever-growing to-do list that is looming on my desk.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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