In student affairs we treat every student like an adult. College is a training ground for the real world, so we don’t baby students — they need to learn how to take care of themselves and it’s our job to teach them.
With that said, we realize what developmental stage students are in. Their brains aren’t fully cooked, so they’re usually going to act like children. But remember: every misstep is a teachable moment. You must help them understand why burning a couch on the quad is not a smart choice.
Also, never let parents schedule appointments for their child. It’s important that students learn to do this on their own. But do be sure to communicate with parents; after all, they pay the bills and want to feel involved even though we can’t legally share any information with them. Unless, of course, their child gets caught smoking pot — then we send a letter home.
Best practices dictate we teach students how to drink alcohol safely. We also need to make sure they understand that underage drinking is a violation of our Community Standards. We will do both presentations on the same day of Orientation, and that night at least four freshmen will be sent to the hospital for alcohol poisoning.
I’m sorry, I should have said “first-year students.” We don’t say “freshmen” anymore because it’s diminutive. Dorms are now called “Living Learning Communities” and we never call students “kids,” except when they do something really stupid, like spray-paint penises on the side of the new Athletics Complex and Snapchat a video of it to everyone on campus.
It’s important not to get jaded in this field, even when a student tries to convince you that the pill they popped on the way into the Spring Concert was just birth control. (By the way, we do encourage the use of contraception.)
Speaking of the Spring Concert, you’ll be asked to volunteer. This isn’t really optional, although I guess you could technically say no. A word of advice: avoid bathroom duty. When the line gets long, students just pee on the floor. And in the hallway. And around the perimeter of most campus buildings. And in each other’s rooms. Between you and me, the entire campus is covered in urine. Be careful where you sit.
Students today are so arrogant. They think they’re the first ones to hang a sock on the doorknob or exhale through dryer sheets in a cardboard tube. Man, it makes me think of the stuff we got into when I was an undergrad, like when we set up two kegs and an electric generator in the woods and I got so drunk I… well, thank goodness we didn’t have social media in those days, am I right?
You’re really going to love it here. We are more than just co-workers; we are a family. This is important because no one in your actual family will understand what you do for a living. When you say “I work at a university,” everyone will assume you’re faculty and you will get very tired of explaining that, actually, your job is to teach students why it’s inappropriate to have sex in the Student Government Office.
College is a time for growth and learning, and it’s our job to make the experience as fun and memorable as possible for our students. That’s why you’ll be working nights and weekends from August to November. We don’t do it for the money, that’s for sure.