I remember my interview at Texas A&M like it was yesterday.
Meeting what would be my new teammates, hearing their vision for the role I’d hopefully assume and imagining myself being part of a vibrant campus community. I was energized, to say the least.
Six years later, there’s still no greater feeling knowing I work with students who are at the precipice of incredible, transformational and life-changing experiences.
And yet, somewhere in all of this COVID confusion, losing that physical immediacy with students and moving our interactions to a digital space sucked the wind right out of my sails. I can wear a brave face when I need to, but my energy was completely zapped – and for a while, I was so woried about how I’d feel when I went back.
But enter Fish Camp. Over these past few months, with plans changing and so much uncertainty surrounding this pivotal experience, I’ve watched students fight with all their energy to keep the tradition alive – even when the odds were stacked entirely against them.
There’s nothing more exhilarating than watching people do their best and boldest work, and these student leaders showed heart and determination beyond compare.
And on the eve of my first day back in the office since early March, I’ve met this day on the calendar with trepidation and conflicted emotions. I’m really going to miss Angela and the kids, who have been a phenomenal source of life and encouragement while working remotely. I’m going to miss my sweatpants that, on many days, go entirely unnoticed by colleagues and make me feel uber comfortable. I’m going to miss closing my laptop at the end of the afternoon and walking a few short steps to grab a drink from my own fridge.
But as I witnessed the energy, excitement and enthusiasm of the Camp Romack staff, it made me remember that high I got working with students all these years and why I show up to this job each and every day.
Because students are still writing the early chapters of their lives, with stacks and stacks of blank pages to fill. They have doors to open, lives to change, curiosity and creativity to expend, and a world that needs their time and talents. And in this moment, a brief yet formative juncture in their journey, they need professionals that show up to encourage them when times are tough.
And as long as they’ll let me, I’ll keep showing up because fame and fortune pale in comparison to helping others pursue their greatness.
Finding peace in all of the uncertainty of a new semester in an anything-but-normal situation thanks to some amazing friends and powerful, reflective experiences.
Wink Harner says
Sending all the very best to you, you staff and all your students as you return tomoow, Justin.
Lorrie H. says
Thanks for being the professional I needed to see. Thanks for always meeting me with an open door and an open ear. Thanks for helping me figure out my why and figure out different ways to get me to where I was supposed to go in and after my time at A&M. You rock Justin! Keep impacting college students!