December 13, 2013

the first semester: a recap

At noon today, I finished my first semester as the resident director of the freshmen girls dorm. There are a lot of things that surprised me about the past four months. Some things were good surprises, some things were hard surprises. But, as I look back over these past couple of months, I am overwhelmed with how good they were. The good always outweighed the bad. Even in moments of defeat, there was always someone who offered an encouraging word without knowing how important those words were in that moment.
One of the more difficult lessons that I've learned is how to successfully be a boss. There are seven very different young ladies on my staff and each one of them have different strengths and different weaknesses. This means that my approach with each one is unique. It can't be the same because they aren't all the same. Unfortunately, I've learned that the hard way a couple of times. In addition to learning how to effectively guide different personalities has been learning how to toe the balance between boss and friend. When you live and work in the same environment, lines are blurred. Girls are in my home, I am in their home, we experience life together and that makes our bond very close. At the end of the day, I am in charge of them and have to remember that I'm not their friend. We get to be friendly, but I can't interact with them in the same way that I would interact with a friend. 
Some of the best moments have been the unexpected moments: the times where you're up till two am just laughing about life, sharing stories about boys, and seeing everyone's distinct and fun personalities. I look at this group of girls that live in this dorm and I'm just blown away. They are so funny, talented, caring, and creative. They are just incredible. My RA's? I could go on forever. They are the biggest blessings. I didn't choose them but God surely provided the loveliest group of girls to help me through this year. I took them out to brunch on Sunday and told them that I never expected to fall in love with them. I knew I would like them and knew that we would have fun together, but I really do love them. 
What have I learned about myself this semester? I've learned that I need to be gracious with myself. It's okay to need do-overs. It's okay to need second chances. It's okay to fail. I need grace on a daily basis, and that's okay. I've also learned that I have to take time for myself. I need to get a good night of sleep. I need to take hot baths filled with epsom salts and listen to relaxing music. I need to sometime lock the door to my apartment and spend quality time with Netflix. I really value time spent alone and I've realized that if I am not giving myself an adequate amount of time alone that I can't effectively care for the girls. I can't pour into them when I'm empty. 
The first thing I did after the girls all checked out was ate a delicious lunch and took a two hour nap. It was the perfect way to start off this break. Next week, I head home for a wonderful twelve day break. I'm excited for warmth, sunshine, and sister time.

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