It's hard to believe that our internships at MTC are halfway over. The summer has flown by. A month from now, we'll be gearing up for classes and returning to our graduate assistantships.
In many ways, this internship is a blip on our professional careers. However, I don't believe it's just the internship experience that will stick with us, I think it's the entire summer and everything that has happened within it.
As I have mentioned in past posts, at a community college, we serve students from all walks of life. For me, this knowledge intersects with everything that has happened this summer--the shooting in Orlando, the shootings that have sparked Black Lives Matter protests all over the country (including the protests in Columbia that blocked off our highways), the bombings, the growing refugee crisis, and how the upcoming presidential elections will potentially impact all of the students who walk through my door.
This morning, as I was serving my diverse body of students, I felt my heart clench in fear that one or more of these lovely, hardworking individuals with their entire lives and a beautiful future ahead of them may fall victim to the horrors we have seen in 2016 (and years prior). Of course, I worry about my friends, my family, and myself (as a queer person), but I had never felt such acute worry for individuals I had just met.
I didn't just feel the heavy weight of my heart, which has become a constant with the state of the world. I didn't have a passing fear that an acquaintance may be in danger. I had a gripping, paralyzing, heart-wrenching emotion pass through me. While I have stared into the earnest eyes of these incoming students, someone stupid and hateful may not take the time to do so.
We have a duty on college campuses to protect the people that come to us. We have an obligation as student affairs professionals to help make a positive difference in the world. As the doors at MTC rotate day after day, I feel that obligation's weight more and more.
Today, I urge my fellow student affairs professionals to stay a moment longer with your students. Help a little more. Check in with someone who seems sad. Make a bigger difference. You never know when that opportunity may be your last--for yourself or for them. You never know if you could change a life or save a life with your impact.
Be the impact.
Be the change.
Until next time.