Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Remind Me

Work has been something else lately, and not so much in a good way.

Without saying too much, I'll say that part of problem is that we are currently understaffed and this is one of our heavy enrollment periods. Those factors, coupled with a multiplicity of other issues, has proven to be the perfect formula to create frustrated, tense, and exhausted employees.

Monday evening, I was venting my frustrations of the day onto Chris (sorry, sweetie!) and he said, "I wouldn't blame you one bit if you resigned tomorrow." At that moment, as I was seriously considering what he said, I thought, "Why am I doing this? What is it about this field that I am so drawn to?"

And I couldn't remember.

That evening, I continued to think about my options. I thought about teaching (after all, I do have a degree in Elementary Education), and how I would still have great hours AND be compensated much more for my hard work (yes, you read that correctly). I thought about going to a different University to work. I thought about somehow clawing my way into Corporate America and how much better it would be there. Now, I know that every place has its fair share of issues, but at this point the grass truly was looking greener on the other side.

Needless to say, after an evening of those thoughts, I didn't have the best of all attitudes at work yesterday. And then things just continued to happen all day that made me question more and more why I am in this field.

And I still couldn't remember.

It was about 30 minutes before time to go home when one of our student workers, A, asked me if I could advise a student. I agreed, somewhat grumpily, and began looking through his file before he came back to my office. The student, Mr. D, had never been to college before. He should have graduated high school about 15 years ago, but I saw in his file that he had dropped out and just recently earned his GED. That information made my attitude about advising him even worse. Terrible, I know.

As it turned out, Mr. D was very polite and pleasant to work with. He was visibly nervous, but very respectful, which made my heart just go to him. As we were talking, he shared with me that he had dropped out of high school to care for his ill mother. Later, he became certified in a trade to support his growing family. He had wanted to finish high school and even go to college, but those were goals that seemed unattainable to him as a single dad of four children. A year or so ago, he decided to finally get his GED, and that got him really thinking seriously about college. He told me how he wanted to do this for his children and how he had read that if he went to college, they would be more likely to go to college themselves. He had even saved enough money to pay for his first year completely out of pocket.

I could tell right away that Mr. D was serious about this!

I advised Mr. D for the summer and fall semesters, enrolled him in classes, and continued to give him addional information that he would need.

Mr. D: So, I'm almost a student here now?

Me: You're enrolled in classes... you are a student. Welcome to college!

Mr. D: Oh, so I still need to get my student ID card, and go to the Bookstore, and... I'm actually a student now???

Me (smiling): Yes! Welcome to college!

Mr. D: Wow... I just never thought this day would come. I've been praying for this so hard. And everyone at my church has been praying too and (grinning from ear to ear)... I'm really a student now!?!

Me: Yes, congratulations!

Mr. D: Wow.

Just when I needed it most, I was reminded why my heart is in this field.

What a great way to end the day!


KJG said...

What that congregation didn't know is that in praying for him and his journey to college, they were also setting you up for a gift from God. I love that God gave you that yesterday.

Joy Lin said...

I love this.

How incredible to think that he will forever remember those 15 minutes and to know that you helped change his life. And, really, the generations to follow him. What a moment.

Thank you, Lord, for reminders.

Tracy said...

I love the quote...I don't like that man. I must get to know him better. You definitely took the time to get to know him better.

By your refreshed attitude and actions you made a positive life changing experience for him and his family a remarkable one.

It's not what you look at that matters most...It's what you see. You took the time and patience to see who he really was.

It's people like you that make a difference. That's why you needed a "reminder" 30 mintues before closing time, instead of revamping the old resume afterwork.