Saturday, August 18, 2007

I decided not to title this post. I sat there for a minute trying to think of what title I would bestow upon this thought, but nothing would work. So, you'll have to read to figure it out.

Today was move-in day here at Drury, and I'm an RA. I met my 19 new residents whom I am responsible for during the course of this next academic year. For some reason, the gravity of that thought didn't really hit me fully until today. Foolish, I know. I thought I would be able to do my own thing and try to handle them on the side, doing this job like a checklist. It is apparent now that that will not suffice, and here's why:

There are 19 kids walking into this freshman experience with me as their first guide. They're lost, confused, don't know who they are or what they want, missing home, missing their boyfriends and girlfriends, scared of what they may or may not experience, the list goes on. These kids aren't just the aforementioned list. They're people too. They're people who are bringing into this experience all of the baggage from the past 18 years of their lives.

If statistics are correct, I have about 3 girls in my hall right now who have been sexually abused in their past. About 10 of my residents will have come from broken or breaking homes, give or take a few. A fair amount of them have already experimented with drugs and alcohol, had sex, and been forced to handle other situations that a person of that age shouldn't ever have to encounter. So not only am I dealing with a lost group of kids by nature of the fact that they're leaving home for the first time to experience an academic and social challenge unlike anything they've ever experienced, but a good lot of them were lost long before I ever met them today.

I suppose I just have a bleeding heart for these kids. I want to tell every girl that no matter what, she's beautiful. I'd look like a total creep because our society doesn't really allow that, but it's something I want them to know about themselves. I want to tell every guy that he doesn't have to have womanize his peers. It's okay to want to be a nice guy and treat others with respect. You don't have to be a bad-ass.

The thing is, my words would do no good. Only through acting these sentiments out and treating my residents with the utmost care and respect will they get it. I guess I'm just afraid that I'll mess it up somehow. I am in a position to greatly impact these kids. I could do it in a negative way, a positive way, or just go through the checklist of RA duties and make nothing of this opportunity. Which way will I go? What will happen? Only time will tell.


Anonymous said...

I think you SHOULD tell every girl that she's beautiful, no matter what; and tell every guy that he doesn't have to be a macho jerk.... We don't hear these things directly enough in our society... and it would certainly make them feel noticed.

I think you're on your way to being a great man, Marko Polo, empathetic, sensitive, and mindful. You seem pure as driven snow to this old soul. Keep on truckin'

lindsey said...

Anonymous said it better than I ever could...I'm a little jealous. ;-) But I was going to say-

What an great opportunity you have before you to put metta to use. You have a whole group of young adults who will need your loving-kindness (whether they ask for it or not).

You are incredibly capable, and I know you will be a positive influence on them during their first year at Drury!

Oh and if you ever need any help with girl drama in the hall- you know who to call. I'll bring a stick. ;-) Kidding...