When I was younger, I defined myself with rigid definitions. I was. I chose to embody a particular set of character traits, and wore them valiantly. I vehemently resisted change.
I’m not sure when it happened, but one day I softened.
Time passed, and life lessons brought me to a place where I began to embrace change. Change is, and always has been, growth.
Interestingly, one value I hold that has never changed is that everything in life happens for a reason. There is always a lesson.
At some times I am more open to these lessons than others.
We learn when we are ready to listen (sometimes to others, sometimes to ourselves).
In recent conversations with colleagues, we have been discussing this same concept as it applies to the students we support. We consider the ways in which we can help students develop while meeting them where they are.
I find this approach to student support very nurturing. It allows for a greater flexibility in the definition of the word development. It allows room for individuals to grow at their own pace and provides a space for us as professionals to be gardeners in students’ growth. It also offers students agency and ownership over their experiences. This can sometimes be scary but we’re here to help them with that.
To students who may be reading this:
Ultimately your university experience is yours. Student Learning and Transitions is here to help you, and we can’t wait to meet you, if and/or when you need our help.
Initiative is an interesting thing. I find it’s a bit like driving; you need to know your destination before you start the engine. Our doors are always open.
Most conversations in our office start with “How are things going? How can I help?” This is something I’ve always loved about Nipissing. We’re a family. We want to see you grow. We want to celebrate your success. We look forward to hearing about your exciting achievements. And as we approach convocation (coming up next week!), we look forward to seeing you cross the stage. We are so proud.
If you feel you’re ready to think about your own development, ask yourself: Where are you? Where do you aspire to be in the next few weeks or months? How do you plan to get there? How will you know you’ve been successful?
This kind of thinking might not come naturally at first. We all grow in different ways, for different reasons, at different times. That’s okay.
My next step in my own personal growth is to continue to be open to change. Each change that I have embraced in my life (in particular with regards to my career) has taught me a lot about myself; things I didn’t know I was capable of.
Even so, I have learned some of the most profound things from my interactions with other people: my colleagues, my partner, my family, and my friends. As I see myself developing in life, I always look back to those who have helped to get me where I am – to my gardeners.
Note to self: practice gardening