Behind Closed Doors Scenarios and Promising Practices

BCD behind closed doors scenarios and practices #residencelife #reslife #ratraining

As promised, I’ve compiled a document of Behind Closed Doors (BCD) Scenarios and Promising Practices (Microsoft Word download). The document contains over 50 scenarios for your use during Residence Life training. Feel free to download and use the document in your training sessions.

In exchange, please consider adding to the document by submitting your favorite or most successful situations, or by contacting me about edits to the current document!

As always, thanks for reading!


Behind Closed Doors (BCD) Tips, Template, and Call for Submissions

Behind Closed Doors (BCD) training is a common name for role-playing training for scenarios that student staff may encounter in leadership roles on campus. #ResidenceLife

Behind Closed Doors (BCD) training is a common name for role-playing training for situations that student staff may encounter in leadership roles on campus. BCD is intended to be a safe environment for staff to challenge and test themselves in situations, and to ask questions to clarify their understanding of policy, procedure, approaches, and specific protocol. It consists of splitting groups up into acting groups (often returning staff members that have already completed BCD training), practicing staff members (often new staff members that need experience approaching situations), and facilitators. Practicing staff members rotate through scenarios that other staff act out, usually as resident students.

Today I want to share my favorite basic tips for BCD and a template I’ve made for BCD scenarios. In exchange, I hope that you’ll help me out by submitting your favorite BCD scenarios to a compilation I’m creating. I’m putting it together for professionals to be able to share their most successful scenarios for BCD. BCD is often some of the most meaningful training for RAs, and having comprehensive materials may help us all provide better training.

BCD basic tips for trainers and facilitators:

  • Go over “rules” for staff at the beginning:
    • For practicing staff:
      • Treat this like a real situation
      • It’s uncomfortable, but everyone wants you to learn
      • Remember your training
    • For actors:
      • BCD is not hazing. This can be considered a rite of passage, but it’s purpose is learning.
      • Give honest interpretation about situation.
      • Don’t exacerbate situation just for your own enjoyment.
      • Don’t make new staff feel like or let them think that they can’t do this.
      • Let new staff know that you’re learning through them as well.
      • This should want to make them be RAs more, not less.
      • If the participant is controlling the situation, let them.
  • Facilitators should take notes during the trainings. Note:
    • Any critical issues of concern such as not following protocol or victim blaming
    • Staff members that have a strong emotional response to any situation to follow up with them later
    • Areas that need to be emphasized more with any staff member
  • Have an all-staff wrap-up at the end.
    • Reflect on the day as a whole. Ask what else needs to be practiced before training is over. For example: do we need more practice with non-verbal communication?
    • Review information from areas of weakness/critical issues that came up. Even if they came up one time with a practicing staff member, there may have been another not practicing that would have done the same thing. For example: do staff members need more training on what the campus counseling center can do?
    • Congratulate any new staff for going through the scenarios
  • Have a qualitative assessment set-up. Ask questions like:
    • What situation made you the most uncomfortable? Why?
    • Think about the incident that bothered you the most.  What about it bothered you?
    • Which incident did you feel was the easiest?  What about it makes you feel that way?
    • What did you do well?
    • What did you do not so well?
    • What are you still not comfortable with?
  • Consider doing end of semester evaluations to assist with future training. Ask:
    • Think back to BCD during training. Would the situation you felt the most uncomfortable with still cause you discomfort? Why or why not?

BCD Template:

This template is intended to be used as a guide for creating scenarios. Get the Google Doc or Microsoft Word versions!

Not to be read to practicing staff members. This is just for reference. You can name them with simple titles such as “Eating Disorder.” Label scenarios for multiple topics in several ways: by number (“Alcohol Party 1” and “Alcohol Party 2”) or by sub labels (“Alcohol Party – medical concern” and “Alcohol Party – underage non-student”). This makes it easier to talk about during training planning.

Brief Description
This is just a short (1-2 sentence) description of what is going on in the scenario. Also not to be read to practicing staff members. Example: A resident believes their roommate to be suicidal.

Location where scenario takes place
The location that the scenario is set. The practicing staff members should know this information, especially if the location you are using during your BCD training is not exactly what you will be using. Examples: A resident room; The front desk in a specific building; The RAs room

Date and Time scenario takes place
Sometimes the date and time matters in a situation (for example, if you have a visitation policy), and sometimes it doesn’t matter in a scenario. Use your discretion to use this or not, but if you do, make sure the times make sense. If your staff doesn’t do rounds until 7 p.m., don’t make a scenario set at 10 a.m.

Number of students acting
The number of students you need in a scenario to make it play out well and their role (resident student, underage visitor, etc). Don’t use more or less students than you need!

Number of students practicing
Number of students that will be the RA and their role in the situation to practice approaching different scenarios. Example: RA on duty

Props are sometimes the key to a realistic situation. Plan ahead to make sure you have the appropriate materials. If you don’t, the practicing students may be confused as to the direction of the scenario. Something to consider adding that worked wonders for me in the past was the addition of name tags. If everyone wears a name tag such as “Resident,” “Underage resident,” “Non-student,” etc. and even “Unknown” (meaning they have to figure out who the person is, if it’s a non-student, if they are underage, etc.), or “Observer” (for anyone not acting but just watching the situation), it really can help the practicing staff get a more realistic read on the situation.

Scenario to read to actors
The information you read to the actors for the situation to take place. Ensure that they are comfortable with the learning objectives as well. You will read this when the practicing staff members are not present. The acting staff should be with the same scenarios for a while, and it is helpful to give them time before the day begins to make sure they are comfortably and accurately acting out the scene.

Scenario for practicers
The information you will read to the practicing staff members before they approach the situation. It can either be read to them, or taped on a door or other area in an environment to simulate stumbling in on a situation. There should be enough information for them to succeed, but also have room for them to use their training to discern the appropriate steps.

Learning objectives
Remember, BCD is not hazing. Having learning objectives ensures that staff are on the same page. Cover the learning objectives with the actors and anyone observing or able to give feedback before the staff act out the scene.

Reflection questions
Questions to ask after the scene ends. They should reflect learning and the feedback given should always focus on growth. Here are some reflection questions that can be used in any situation:

  • For the practicers:
    • What issue was presented?
    • How do you think you did?
    • What did you notice that you would have done differently?
    • What could have happened differently had you approached it in a different way?
  • For actors:
    • Describe how you felt watching when your fellow RAs approached you/confronted you/other.
  • For everyone:
    • How was the approach? (knocking on door, introduction, etc.)
    • What went well?
    • What resources were used/suggested? (campus counseling, public safety, called supervisor, called backup RA)
    • What has training taught us in this situation?
    • Is there specific protocol for this situation?

Facilitator points to make
Here is where you really flesh out the information from the learning objectives. If your situation is dealing with a victim of sexual assault and a learning objective is for staff to understand appropriate confidentiality rules, make sure you cover who the RA will be discussing the situation with (even though you likely have done so in training sessions). If these points are brought up organically during the discussion post-scene, no need to re-hash them.

Submissions for BCD compilation

If you’ve found this useful at all, please consider submitting your most successful or favorite Behind Closed Doors situations to a compilation I’m making by filling out this form. Submissions are requested by July 15 to be included in the first release of the compilation, but will be accepted after that. I’ll make the compilation available for public use on or around July 25, and my hope is that it will be a living document.

As always, thanks for reading,

Marriage and Freedom

© Stanley and Marie Photography


To be honest with you here, there were times in my life that:

  • I thought I never wanted to get married because life ended at marriage
  • I was selfish and thought I could never be considerate enough to be someone’s spouse
  • I didn’t want to wake up next to the same person every day for the rest of my life
  • I couldn’t imagine having to be accountable to someone for every little thing
  • I just wanted to live wild and free

Today marks one year of marriage for me and my husband, so while it may be naive to come at you with a post about how great this thing is that I’ve only done for 1/30th of my life, I give you full permission for “I told you so”s in 25 years. I thought that marriage meant I would lose my freedom, but marriage is freedom. I have the freedom to love, to share, to give, without reservation. Marriage gives me the freedom to sing made-up lyrics. It’s the freedom to not care about another person hearing you sing in the car. You know all those things you couldn’t wait to be an adult to do when you were like 7? Now you get to do them, AND, you get to do them with your best friend. (So it’s basically like living a life high-fiving your sidekick and your past self.) But in all seriousness, I can be vulnerable, experience the full benefits of trust, and work on a better life all because of my marriage.

In navigating relationships with friends, significant others, and even at times our family, we can feel scared to show our true selves, to be open with others, to be honest about our feelings, thoughts, actions… but a strong love allows you to be vulnerable in all of those ways and more. Marriage is the freedom to be fully honest with another person, and have them accept all of the things you’ve always been scared to admit (even to your therapist). And it’s the freedom to accept help because you know your partner does look out for your best interest. 

I have very low self-esteem and often struggled in relationships because of my own feelings of inadequacy. While I still struggle with feelings of low self-worth in professional areas, marriage has given me this freedom from low self-esteem because I didn’t have to wait until I was “complete” for my husband to want to marry me. It’s helped me see more completely that I’m not inadequate, because if one person can accept me as a work-in-progress, I know that I’m able to be loved by others too. It gives you the freedom to be a little bit “broken.” It allows you to be a real human being, flaws and all, without judgement or criticism, and it doesn’t require you to be “fixed” before you can be loved. 

Marriage is the freedom from damaging arguments. You’re not going to be right all of the time. When you know your partner won’t rub it in your face, do a touchdown dance, or even say, “I told you so,” when you were wrong, it frees you to trust them. When you can trust your partner to not kick you when you’re down, you apologize more readily and fully. You learn to heal each other and can become closer as a result of arguments. It’s freeing to know that a disagreement won’t leave you broken.

What I thought were limitations to my freedoms before were really just excuses to be irresponsible. I still can go out and party if I want, and if my favorite drinking buddy (my husband, duh) isn’t with me, letting him know my whereabouts really wouldn’t be an imposition like I thought pre-matrimony. The giving and receiving of trust makes it worth it. I know that in some marriages people struggle with fidelity, and it’s because of this full exchange of trust between spouses that affairs are so damaging. Trusting someone is a terrifying risk, but it’s freeing when it pays off—in marriage, it often does. And to be given the fragile trust of another person… It’s like when you got your license and parents let you drive their car by yourself for the first time–exciting and scary because you know how delicate this… thing is. You never want to do anything to ruin what you have worked for. And you have every ability to ruin that trust, but you are given the choice to make the right decision. Marriage gives you the freedom to make choices knowing you are in full control of the life of yourself and your spouse. That right there is more wild than anything in my life.

I thought that marriage would be boring, stale and repetitive. But being married is like a renaissance of life. You learn, grow, and change. Marriage provides you the freedom and safety to do that, knowing that in partnership with God and with your spouse, when you change, you’ll be changing for the better (because they wouldn’t let you change for the worse). And that whole being irked by waking up next to the same person every day? They change too, and it’s exciting to watch someone grow into someone even more lovable. 

Pre-matrimony, I thought if I got married, I would be plagued with those “I wish I would have (backpacked through South America) (had a romantic fling with a Lion Tamer) (insert stupid thing I would actually never do here)…” thoughts. I don’t. Marriage is the freedom to live your life with no regrets, because everything you’ve done or didn’t do led you to a beautiful commitment with another person. One little change could have veered you off that track. I can live my life freely and with confidence and peace with my past because of my union with my partner. 

It’s the freedom to be better. I haven’t always been a good person. It’s not that i’ve intentionally tried to be a bad person, but sometimes it’s just hard to be on your A-game. It’s ok to go a month without growth or challenging yourself when you’re single, or even when you’re in a relationship. But being married means you gotta be working to be better, cause now you have a FAMILY that’s holding you accountable for back-sliding. Marriage is the freedom from the laziness of not living your life to your truest potential. 

The old me thought “I don’t need anyone. I’m just going to grow up to be a dog lady.” which is fine. Not needing anyone and living alone can be a choice. But I’ve realized my fullest joy through marriage, and didn’t realized the weight of the burden of a life alone until I was free of it. Marriage, although it is a binding in legal and holy matrimony, is actually an unbinding–freeing you, stripping you, of the things that don’t matter. In referencing the title of this post, the truth about getting married and giving up my freedom is this—There are thousands of compromises to make in a marriage, but your freedom isn’t one of them. Freedom is a gift that you’re given, not something that’s taken from you when you say your vows.

And to my husband: I know this isn’t the best written post, but I hope I communicated that you’ve shown me all of this and more in our short time together. Thank you for freeing me from chains I didn’t even know I had holding me down, and for striving to be a better husband every single day. Happy anniversary! I look forward to the best years of our lives ahead!

Hanging up my hat: Leaving my job at SVC

“So what you’re saying is that this is not about my commitment to my job or the college, my performance in my position, or my attitude?” The final question was asked after I danced around others, being careful not to trap myself. “This is a question of whether or not I can accept these terms as explained in this email.” My hand pressed against the printed page on top of my stack, fingers tense and pushing against the cool sheets, as if the palm of my hand were trying to pull away from the insulting words directed towards me. Around the room sat the HR director, my supervisor, and my VP. After rescinding my contract, insulting my intellectual abilities, insinuating that I do not produce adequate work, and attempting to manipulate, bully, and intimidate me, there were no other words from the other side of the table, except, “Yes.” It came down to a decision I would have to make to sacrifice my integrity for job security (although for how long would be uncertain). I was given until the end of the day to make a decision.

You kind of expect things to be different. It was somewhat surreal in that it was like watching a movie. Some stubborn worker bee sticking up for their rights against a bunch of people that don’t want to get sued. An underdog that’s tried to do the right thing against an entity whose ethics are overshadowed by legality, proper wording, signatures, and betting on the broke underdog to be unable to afford to go to court. Ethics don’t have a place in contracts and agreements. At the climax of our conversation that morning, I hoped for someone to walk through the door and say, “Yes, I hear you. This is wrong. We’re sorry. Let’s make it right.” Or for my supervisor to look me in the eye and tell me I wasn’t crazy. Or for my VP to trade in her empathetic eyes for a power pose, and tell me how this is so wrong and she won’t stand for it. But they couldn’t. And the attorney present made for a reminder to them how sympathy could result in consequences. No hero ever came. I couldn’t even be my own hero.

I walked out of the building and into the hot sun on that July afternoon, wondering what I would have been working on after lunch had I been able to concentrate. I didn’t know who I should call first. My therapist? No, she may not be my therapist much longer if I lose my job, home, and health insurance. I’m in conservation mode now—I need to make every move count. I call my father. “Hi, Pa.” I say, with a tone that surprisingly doesn’t let on to the emotions I have going on.

“What happened?” He asks.

“Well, they basically said quit or suck it up.”

“What are you gonna do?”

“I think I want to come home.” I didn’t even hear myself say it. I didn’t know if that’s what I was going to do. It just came out. I only knew it came from me because he said, “Then come home.” I’m so lucky to be in my position, all things considered. I had a choice. I told him I still needed to think, and I would let him know tonight what happened. It was good to know that I at least wouldn’t be homeless next week.

Looking over everything, my contract was rescinded pending my agreement with something I did not agree with, and so I assumed my contract would not be renewed. I would have liked to stay at SVC, but it was flat out unhealthy. Mentally, spiritually, professionally, personally, emotionally, physically damaging. Therapy interfering. Life interfering. That evening I saw clearly that the events that led to my departure weren’t a result of the last week, but it was an answer to tearful prayers over the past few months, I suppose.

Things were wrong for a while. I was working too much. I let myself work extra, but it started off not too bad. Beyond my 40 hours, I didn’t mind doing things that contributed to relationships with my students. I still had boundaries, but I was willing to be more flexible. Inside the office, I enjoyed staying after the front door closed for the day to work on things that would improve our processes for students, or things that would make department assessment easier. After a while though, working extra was expected of me, and it was a nightmare. I was constantly overworked. At first I thought I just needed to change things with me. My first year, I worked too much, and it’s because I didn’t say no. I was excited to take on new tasks or projects, wouldn’t mind attending a committee meeting on someone’s behalf, and loved helping out when it came to meeting with a student for whatever reason. I started to cut back on that, and tried to deny tasks that I did not need to do. But it didn’t really work as well as I thought it was.

As a recovering procrastinator, I know the best way to figure out time wastes is by doing a time audit. Over a year ago, I did. I found my basic tasks were eating up a ton of time, and I started looking into ways to maximize my time, cut out unnecessary wastes, find tasks to help me focus, and used other strategies. Things were still off. I needed to say “No” even more, and so I did. Still working more than necessary. Starting July 1, 2013, I started tracking my hours of work long term. When I totaled them up in April, the number I saw made me cry. 71.5 hours a week on average, including in my vacation time, holidays, weekends… I was working two jobs. Additionally, I took more sick time in that 10 months than I had ever taken ever in my life. My migraines were back almost weekly. I had panic attacks. Dizzy spells. Looking at this calculation of my time usage, I felt… robbed. In that 10 months, I had tracked, also, when I said “No” to colleagues. More than once I was told, “Just get it done.” When I said, “I don’t have the time,” I was told to “Find the time,” “Make the time,” or, “It’s Student Affairs, you’ll find time.” And when I tried to say I did not have the ability or time to add on a new responsibility to my job, with a laugh from the speaker I was told, “Other duties as assigned.” It was wrong. It was not funny. My life was a joke. It was a toxic environment. These comments are so much of what is wrong with the mindset in our jobs.

I complained to my support system, but drove them crazy when I had a response for every suggestion. They offered helpful tips that I’ve tried, and I tried again. They sent me articles to help me re-frame my mindset. They prayed with and for me. But nothing really helped. Eventually, every one of them told me that I need to talk to my supervisor, and I told them that talking to my supervisor wouldn’t help. A few suggested talking to HR, but with the political climate at my institution, that seemed an even worse option. I turned into a paranoid weirdo. Eventually, my therapist just bowled me over with tough love and for about 2 minutes in one session, only said “What’s the worst that could happen?” to anything I said. I just had to bite the bullet and have the conversation with my supervisor.

There was a point where paranoid speculation became the truth. For months and months, I explained conditions to my support system that I don’t think were right. After role playing with my therapist, and then chickening out twice, the third time provided a perfect opportunity, and I took the chance on discussing I grievances with my supervisor. The heartbreak was that I ended up being right about it all: I explained everything, and I was told that nothing could be done about it. Nothing. “There’s no money in the budget… We can’t hire someone else… Things have to get done… There are constantly new initiatives that require more from everyone… You’re the one putting the extra pressure on yourself… Everyone has a lot to do…” But not everyone was doing the time I was, and not everyone had the same expectations…When you realized I was right about it all, there was no glory in this vindication. It stung and burned deep in my chest, and it expelled itself in hot tears streaming down my face.

So the question then became, “Now what?” There wasn’t much more from my department’s end of it that they could do, they said. I was told, “I don’t know what to tell you.” I just had to manage my anxiety, which didn’t really work out too well. I took my vacation times, but got panicky whenever I had to come back. My migraines became more frequent. It took me over an hour to muster the strength to get out of bed in the morning. I was nauseated in the office. I didn’t know if I could do it anymore. I couldn’t even think of anything work related outside of the office or I would spiral. I applied for other jobs, but my job applications were fruitless, and while my father said I could always move back home and work for him, it would be at least a year until he could have something official and steady for me. I felt trapped. And so couple weeks later I was asked to agree to something that wasn’t right, and in a weird way, it was an answer to my prayers. Not a door, but a window out.

There’s a lot to more to say about this situation, but I think I’d just like to wrap up by sharing a few lessons…

  • Negotiations aren’t just for job searching. If you want something more, ask for it. If you say you have too much on your plate, and you need some taken off, ask for it. If it can’t be done, then maybe consider leaving (if you’re able to). As scary and uncertain unemployment is, working for something that drains your soul is unsustaining.
  • No matter how much you love and enjoy something, it is entirely possible that it can also be harmful to you. It’s amazing that I could have that conversation with people in rough relationships, but couldn’t take my own counsel. Don’t let the good times get in the way of your health or blind you to reality.
  • No amount of money can make up for the spillage on your full plate. No money can fix lost conversations with your friends, or not being able to negotiate time off because of mandatory work days and missing a birthday party. Not that I was offered any additional compensation, but I had to ask myself what it would take to stay, and not even doubling my salary would’ve made it worth it after mucking through my last week.
  • Don’t be a fucking martyr. Seriously. I wish I could go back and tell myself to quit bitching.
  • Document everything. If you’re feeling worried about how things are going, make sure you keep track of it. Keep anything and everything that’s related to your job. Basically, do assessment work like you would for your job, but about your job. (There are apps to help with this)
  • If they take any negative action towards you, leave. My situation would have been a lot different had the other party sympathized instead of threatened. Treated me as  a valued member of a community instead of something disposable and replaceable. In the grand scheme of employment, we’re all replaceable, but it doesn’t make it ok to treat people poorly, insult, or threaten them. You don’t want to work for someone like that. Do you?
  • Access is real. I am so lucky to have had a place to go. It’s going to be uncomfortable, but overall, my scenario had options, and some people aren’t so lucky. This whole thing made me think about how sometimes there are no options. There’s nowhere to go for some people when they have to leave their apartments. I would not have been able to sustain the life I had just on a mental level. But if I didn’t have anywhere to go, I wouldn’t have had a choice. It made me think a lot about the students in a situation that may parallel mine. When some students struggle, they can transfer or take a semester off, etc. Others, though, can’t transfer for whatever reasons—money, health, sanity—and are trapped and then become our at-risk students that usually don’t make it to attend another year. If there’s any reason Higher Ed needs to take a role in social justice issues, this is it.
  • Don’t take it personally. I felt trapped, humiliated, and sometimes felt pushed out, but I can’t blame the other side of the table or the absent heroes. There’s not going to be someone to rescue you or advocate for you or make it more comfortable to you when you’re speaking up. That’s ok. You can’t expect other’s to put themselves on the line and at risk for your cause. It’s a lot to ask, truly.

I can see that my tone may sound bitter or angry, but in truth, I am feeling grateful. I had the opportunity to work with some inspiring students that were one of the only sustaining things about my job, I met my partner there, I met lifelong friends there, and I felt like I was a part of something when I was there. The founder of St. Vincent College called to his brothers to join him in his mission, “Forward, always forward, everywhere forward!” and I tried to always remember his call. It became my time to go forward from my old institution, though I will continue to keep my growth and journey close to my heart.

As always, thank you for reading.


On Missing Out On the Kool-Aid, or #SAprivilege

A couple years ago I was having dinner with a colleague talking about job searching, and I asked her why she didn’t want to do student development, housing, or leadership. She said she just wanted to be part of the processes that make higher education institutions more friendly for students when they need to go do the basic stuff at the registrar, financial aid, whatever. Shame on me for making her feel like she needed to start her explanation with “I know it’s weird…” Conversations like this have been so helpful over the past four years in transforming what my idea of what student affairs is, and how it fits into the lives of students and in the institution.

What’s bothersome is that I don’t know how confident I am that everyone is having these conversations. Do you ever feel like you missed the part where the student affairs kool-aid was distributed? Sometimes I get the sense like there’s so much certainty expressed in opinions about current topics and trends, and I think about how others are not taking our field’s values/teachings and applying them in interactions with our colleagues. There’s some kind of a “Student Affairs privilege.” Sounds silly, but there are a few topics that can cause some to feel lesser than other professionals. Why do we have assumptions about each other about our education, our views, our personality, our likes and dislikes, our values, our purpose? Especially, why does this happen when we are the champions for fighting this among students?

This isn’t anything new; I’m not breaking new ground here. The kool-aid has been smacked out of people’s hands before this. But I felt the urge to compile a “best-of” list for all of the things that are really ticking people off.

So here we go… pardon my tone. Here are my top 10 assumptions that make up a culture of #SAprivilege :

  1. The people that think that higher education is a business are monsters. Shout out to the people who made me feel like I didn’t have a third eye when I posted this.
  2. Mental health only happens to our students. Straight up… we need to recognize that our colleagues do not need to disclose and that talking about an illness is not a precursor to support. There are signs everywhere, just like with our students. And we need to take care of ourselves and our colleagues when it comes to mental health, just like with our students.
  3. That student development research that our field is based on is classic, and the new stuff is not relevant. Get off of and read a journal. Read a book. Do your own research. Make your own assumptions. And if you’re having trouble making sense of something, going back to those old dudes is one of the last things I suggest referencing. Not sure if you’ve kept up with what all of the great minds of our field have been doing lately, but head’s up, they know it’s outdated and that higher ed and generations are changing. Don’t be the ones that hold us back.
  4. That student interaction & development is the center of all student affairs work. I, very literally, just want to smack you upside the head. Go make a spreadsheet.
  5. Reslife is a rite of passage. Not much else will alienate you more than talking reslife to a non-reslifer. Don’t make this mistake. Trust me.
  6. “Where did you go to grad school?” – using what we know about privilege, I’m surprised this question is still a thing. In grad school, a common theme exists: You can’t get a job without a masters, and your degree is worth more than other degrees. Those that have a grad degree outside of higher education, counseling, or student affairs have to be the mavericks to gain any respect. Also, how dare you assume that everyone has had this opportunity. Y’all would never pull that with a student.
  7. “Like everyone else in Student Affairs, I’m an ‘E.'” Here’s a great one that’s being challenged recently. Glad we’ve acknowledged that this isn’t the standard anymore. Shout out to Amma Marfo for being a leader on this.
  8. That you cannot have a life or hobbies outside of work, unless you can relate it back to #saprobs, #saperks, or #safit. Have you called your mother this week? Go do that. And don’t try to explain your work to her for the 70th time. Just be a normal human being for once. Watch tv, join a softball league, or read a book… and how about some fiction? It’s ok. It really is.
  9. Everyone loves icebreakers. You ever see what happens to a room of student leaders and SA professionals when someone says they hate icebreakers? OH THE HORROR!!!
  10. That our students aren’t adults. First of all, nontraditional students are becoming the majority. I can’t even touch that topic and how so unprepared we are as a field for what’s coming. (Picture Simba in The Lion King in a wildebeest stampede. Head’s up: If you’re reading this, you’re probably not a wildebeest.) But for what are commonly referred to as traditional students, we forget we serve adults. Capable, smart, talented, adults. Sure, they make decisions that aren’t really what we want, but that doesn’t make them any younger. And treating them like children isn’t going to make them any older. Have faith in them, especially in the times when no one else does.

Join me and others in a revolution to dump out the kool-aid, especially our own. Go ahead, just pour it out. Let’s learn to embrace each other’s backgrounds, values, and point of views. Let’s practice the critical thinking skills we hope our students gain. Let’s learn to respect an opinion of another person that doesn’t have our same educational, professional, or personal background. Let’s just treat each other how we strive to treat our students. Please, call me out anytime I’m in violation of this. I need it more than most.

I am aware that this post will not make me many friends. I hope, though, that it doesn’t make me any enemies, and I would love more of a conversation. Comment if you feel necessary, but let’s take this further… reach out via email ( or let’s maybe even do a google chat.

Thanks for reading.