May Your Force Be With You

by Olivia Miller

Although I have never seen any of the seven Star Wars films, I am familiar with the famous line, “may the force be with you” but never knew what the force was or what it meant. After consulting the internet, Wikipedia to be exact, I now know that “the Force” is what gives a Jedi their power, and can have both positive and negative aspects. For me, my force is one that also has positive and negative sides, being an introvert. Growing up I was always known as the shy one and never wanting to be in large crowds of people. Starting something new, and being around people I did not know (the first day of school was always the worst) has always beendifficult, but now I understand that my introversion, my force can be used to my advantage, especially in my future in student affairs.

Over break I read Susan Cain’s book, “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking,” and learned that being an introvert does not need to be a negative character trait. Rather, being an introvert means recharging in different ways compared to my extrovert friends and colleagues. Yes, I prefer listening to speaking, reading to social gatherings and working on my own rather than as a team, and I am not alone in these tendencies. I have extroverted friends, the leaders of the pack, the ones with WOO in their top five Strengths, and I admire them – but I could never be them. I am more productive in my quiet space, find more meaning in my one-on-one work with students than presenting to large groups, and I draw on my own introverted strengths to be more productive.

To be honest I was afraid of being an introvert in student affairs, a world that seems full of outgoing extroverts. In fact as an undergraduate, I dismissed the idea of working in student affairs because I had only known extroverted leaders in Housing and knew that I was not like them. After reading Quiet, and with plans on reading “The I’s Have It” from the Student Affairs Collective, I know that my own quiet force can be used for good in my area of student affairs. Being an introvert no longer means a shy, quiet person hiding behind a book or in the corner, but rather someone who thrives off a more independent and behind the scenes work. As the semester starts next week I return to meeting with students exploring their major and career options. As an introvert I can sit back and listen to their concerns and worries and then use that information to provide them with options for a future they are excited about. For my fellow introverts in this extroverted field, use your force without shame, and may it always be with you.

Student Affairs - the First Years

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