Where to even begin with the Sturzl Center for Community Service & Learning. Let’s just say I had no idea what I was getting myself into…in a million good ways.
When I starting writing this, I turned on Pandora and naturally the first song that came on was “I Don’t Wanna Love Somebody Else” by A Great Big World. That’s pretty much the essence of it. How can an office [& more importantly, the people within an office] be so wonderful? Leaving is sad (because saying goodbye is a sad thing)…but also because it’s hard to imagine a better office/home. Three years ago there is no way I could have anticipated the magnitude of impact The Sturz would have on me, but I am beyond grateful.
During my “Happy Sappy Wrappy Up” [End of Year Meeting] with my supervisor, Susan, we dug out my application I submitted freshmen year. I began my essay with, “I believe relationships are what we build our lives on. I based my graduation speech on the quote, ‘Sometimes people come into your life and you know right away that they are meant to be there; they serve some sort of purpose, teach you a lesson, or help you figure out who you are.’ I think it is important to make connections in every area of life and I feel that becoming a team member of the CCSL Office would be the next step to take in my life.”
I don’t know the extent to which I truly believed in every component of that quote…but looking back I know every single part manifested itself in a much larger way than I could have imagined. Every individual I have had the privilege to work with in the Sturzl Center was meant to be there. They have served limitless purposes. They have each taught me lessons. And they have helped me figure out who I am. Which is about the best discovery there is.
My supervisor Susan has literally been my campus mother. She so naturally fills that role. Over the past three years, she has kept me accountable, checked in on me, and listened to all my good, bad and sad news. Nancy has cultivated my way of thinking. Superficial and surface-level answers do little to impact a deeply-rooted issue. And a fervent pursuit, partnered with a genuine commitment, is vital to making progress. Jennifer has kept me laughing, while simultaneously inspiring me with her comprehensive thinking and her superior organization. My project and marketing buddy, Marisa, mirrored my sarcasm and and gave me the confidence and motivation to be a better mentor and campus leader. Plus, she said, “Please never stop your sarcastic ways. They are far too beautiful to be silenced and everyone should appreciate them.” So all of you who were hoping I’d quit with the sarcasm, you’re out of luck. But in all seriousness, to each of you – and the other beautiful humans I have had the opportunity to work with – you are all genuinely wonderful. Rebecca, Tressa, Anna, Leigh, Hannah, Quincy, Morgan, Allison, Maira, Kalli, Megan, Aleena & Jessi. Keep being your fantastic selves.
During the last week of class, we had an all staff end of year meeting. At the end, we were all welcome to share some thoughts/words/advice. And although I had a lot I wanted to say, there was no way I was going to say it without crying. So that’s about all I said, that “I couldn’t.” So here goes. What I’ve learned…and some pieces of advice.
- The biggest difference I have realized between The Sturz and my other internships/jobs is the fact that my position and time in the office have cultivated my thinking…in a variety of ways. Both intentionally and unintentionally, but welcome one and the same. Let it cultivate yours.
- This office has given me the capacity to be innovative. Progress only comes from realizing that something could be better. This takes intentionality, consideration and risk-taking. Don’t be afraid of your ideas. Or the judgment of your ideas.
- Work at understanding yourself. Your likes. Dislikes. Strengths. Weaknesses. This takes a considerable amount of reflection and is a never-ending process, but you will be exponentially happier if you know what you want and what you don’t. Over the past three years within The Sturz, and outside of it, I have gained such a better understanding of myself and my passions.
- Voice your likes and dislikes. It’s one thing to understand yourself and what will make you happy, but it’s another to act on that, vocalize it, and get yourself where you want to be. Do this within your position, but more importantly, in life in general.
- Build and appreciate relationships. Reach out to campus leaders, faculty, staff, other students. Not all relationships need to begin “naturally”. If you want one, start it.
- Even though the phrase “It’s all about who you know”, is cliche, and then some. Realize that there is some truth to it. Connections will lead you places that you never expected to be.
- Don’t be afraid to break routine. Intentionally break routine. It’s the only thing that leads to #2…innovation. And I’m all about the innovation.
- Value mentorship. Whether you’re the mentor, the mentee, or simultaneously both. Do what you can to be both. It’s the best.
- Hold onto the youthful idealism that just about every college student possesses. That’s one of the reasons I am pursuing a degree in student affairs and higher ed. How wonderful is it being surrounded by hopeful, insightful, motivated people? Doesn’t get much better than that.
- Love The Sturz. Embrace The Sturz. And call it, “The Sturz”
That may be it for now. Seriously, thank you all for being wonderful. Cannot wait to see where this college and this world takes each of you. ❤