Mother Hippo Defeated

I have to apologize for the way I’ve been writing in this blog. My previous blog’s posts definitely portrayed a very much so down-to-earth, real Sera. The reason I created this one is to have a more professional blog, if you will, something I can add to my profile, my resume to say, “hey, look, I’m grown-up.” In my desire to do that, some of my posts have not sounded like me. I feel like I’ve been portraying myself falsely. But only on some posts. Others are as me as you can get. I don’t know why I thought the grown-up me couldn’t be the real me. Wow. Glad I got that figured out. I’m trying to learn what my writing style on this particular blog will be. Hmm. I’m glad you’re joining me on this adventure!

Today marked the end of a very long work week for me. Students had final exams this week leading up to the beginning of their Christmas break and departures from school. Amidst the students’ exams we had to enforce 23-hour quiet hours in the residence halls. Read that again and ponder at how bizarre that is. Yes. It means exactly what it says: students cannot be loud in the residence halls for 23 of the 24 hours in a day. Every day. This grants them the opportunity to study in peace. However, they do have a “relief hour” from 9-10 p.m. daily where they have a somewhat of a normal volume, keeping in mind that there is always a 24-hour courtesy hour policy where they have to respect their neighbors by keeping their volumes at a tolerable-to-everyone volume. It gets sticky explaining this because you can get very finicky about volumes and such. To defer arguments, I sent an email to students at the beginning of the week explaining as I just did here and telling them no warnings would be issued. For the majority of the week, they did very well. There were a few students whose talking voices are naturally loud so there wasn’t much you could do with them but approach them appropriately each time they spoke.

We also had check-outs this week. Some students were transferring or leaving campus for good and they had to go through the big check-out process of visiting all the offices on campus and making sure things are settled there. They also had to have an exit interview where staff from the Office of Student Life (a.k.a my department) asked them questions about their time here and in their opinions what was good and what could be improved. Once all of that is complete, we check them out of their rooms. When they first arrived on campus, they had room inventories stating what was in their rooms, what was semi damaged already, etc. When they leave, if there is something in the room that was not on the inventory previously, they have to pay for it. Bien sur. That process takes effort. If the student was not leaving or transferring but just going home for the break, they had a different check-out process. For those, we had to go into their rooms to ensure that everything was unplugged, room was clean, fridge door was propped open so the fridge wouldn’t reek when they returned, windows were closed and door was locked on their way out. That took a lot of time just because there were so many residents. The RAs did a good job of checking out the residents on their floors. What was difficult with my buildings though was that two of my RAs needed to leave early leaving me three RAs and two buildings. A lot of consolidation had to happen but my RAs took it like pros.

In addition (bear with me here), there was the transportation program. I have spent the past several weeks sending campus-wide emails to students asking and reminding them about the opportunity to use the transportation program to take them to the airport if they needed it. All of this work was leading up to yesterday, Thursday, and today. Yesterday’s group of students did a better job of communicating details to me than today’s group did. Yesterday, as I stood outside the van in the bitter wind as the students sat inside the van, I felt like a mother saying goodbye to her children. I mean this in the I’m-a-responsible-mother sense, not the I’m-gonna-miss-you sentimental sense. Basically, I felt like I had to make sure everyone was present and ready to go with their luggage. As I did the role call and checked off names on my paper, I smiled on the inside because I saw that weeks of hard work were beginning to pay off. It wasn’t done yet but it was cool to see the result. This morning at the lovely hour of 6 a.m., I woke up to once again do roll call to the last batch of students using the transportation program. My victory dance was delayed because two students were missing. I came to find out that one would not be coming and after not reaching the second after several attempts, I made the official decision to have the vans depart without her. As I was closing the van doors, I reminded the students that when they returned it would be considerably colder and to consider their attire for when they land here regardless of where they departed from. This made me feel like a mother. I shut the doors and off they went. And a smile came to my face, a sigh of relief escaped from my mouth and a victory dance commenced but turned quick shuffles towards the building once my body realized how ridiculously painful the cold was. I feel like I had just conquered a mother hippo. On Thursday I defeated the baby hippo but at 6:30 in the morning, as those vans departed, I defeated that mother hippo.

That was my week. Phew. I’m here at this moment with only nine hours of sleep from the past two nights and with eyes that are burning. My head feels spinny every once in a while and my ears ring a little reminding me that I am ready for sleep. When I sleep, I will either sleep hard core or wake up several times during the night and stay awake to think. That’s how I’ve lost sleep in the past nights.

Whatever the outcome I do realize that I need to sleep. I’m too old to be doing this minimum hours of sleep thing. I’m kind of excited to go to sleep. Ah. How circumstantial. The song that is playing on my itunes is “Close your eyes” by Brooke Fraser and William Fitzsimmons. Alright, I will close my eyes. Goodnight.


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