Selfishness in Education

In the fell clutch of circumstance, I have not winced nor cried aloud: Under the bludgeoning of chance my head is bloody, but unbowed.
— William Ernest Henley, Invctus

Brothers & Sisters,

I shouldn't be shocked that I work with people that I dread having to talk to. I think we all have worked with people like this at one point or another. The person that always says no to a request before you're even done asking for something, the person that doesn't return calls or emails but continues to email and call you, etc. These folks make me suffer on a daily basis. I'd argue that working at a University with these types of people magnifies this suffering even more so. Allow me to explain.

When you're working at a University one of the primary pillars of why you chose to work there is (or should have been) that you want to make sure that students have everything they need so they don't need to worry about anything other than their studies. The minute students have an issue with something other than their class work it becomes a stressor that they don't need. Things happen and when they do students need to know that they can depend on the staff to help them sort out whatever the issue is. Teams shouldn't become gatekeepers or speedbumps for problems. Communication, problem-solving skills, and teamwork are of the utmost importance here and when someone doesn't understand that it slows the whole process down and can make it a miserable experience for the student. This isn't just a student thing either it's the entire university landscape. If you cannot or do not understand that everything you do on a daily basis impacts a giant swathe of people and you shouldn't be a roadblock then I'd argue the University environment isn't for you. Enablement not disablement is a mantra everyone that works at a University should live by. 

Whether it's supporting admissions and future students, current students, alumni, or other staff it's not about you, it's not about how difficult something is, it's all about everyone but you. Everyone is busy so making that excuse isn't something you should be doing either. It's empty and bogus and doesn't actually help anyone. The University is plausibly the place where you should be the least selfish person you know.

Yours,
Jeff

Photo by Ehud Neuhaus on Unsplash