Student Affairs professionals are gifted with experiencing community with our students. Sometimes I think they, more than others, are able to see the best in me and the flaws I wish I could perfect. As I have grown in my role, I have become increasingly aware that they watch. They watch how I interact with others, which decisions I challenge them on, how I dedicate my personal time, who and how I date, and the ways in which I live my values.
Last week, a student chose me to be honored in a ceremony called, Apple Polishing. The students who participate in this program are able to select one staff member they feel has impacted them or assisted them in their growth. Honestly, I was pleasantly surprised when my student, Sidney, chose me to be her guest. I had only begun working with her this semester and I questioned what experience she could have had with me that warranted such an honor.
As she began her speech about why she selected me, she confessed to reading my blog before we had even really met. Then she quoted lines from a post that had been meaningful for her and created connection for us. She described that it had been my courage that resonated with her, the courage she read in that post and the courage she had observed in me over the last couple of months. I felt so surprised and it was so touching that I almost didn't know how to respond so I cried, couldn't help it, and generously thanked her.
I keep thinking about that moment last week and how courageous she was to share why she connected to what I had written. My experiences this last school year have taught me that it is the ordinary moments of life that require the most courage. It is in those moments that I think we are called to be vulnerable, passionate, loving, forgiving, inspired, and aware of our fears - our most true self. It is the ordinary moments that I have come to appreciate the most because they generate my truest, most honest, happiest heart.
Thank you, Sidney, for watching and for valuing a piece of myself that I shared, without even knowing. I cherish this apple.