At the final semester banquet for our student leaders, lots of fun stories and jokes from throughout the past year were shared. These students were part of a year-long program of leadership and development training that includes first-year seminar course facilitation in the fall semester.
As we were enjoying dessert, one of our seniors, Adam, mentioned that in his last class he shared with his students that I was the reason he was still in college. His co-leader, Kelsey, chimed in that Adam had indeed given a presentation on how he had made it through college with my help. Curious as to the reasoning, I asked Adam how I was of influence.
"You kicked my butt. And you didn't stop kicking my butt until I straightened out."
You see, Adam had a little difficulty with academic focus early on in his college career. We spent many an afternoon chatting about goals, grades, and graduation and why his current choices were not getting him closer to any of them. Eventually, Adam got it figured out. This year he is president of the academic club in his major in addition to serving as a peer mentor in our program. He will graduate in May.
And that is why I do what I do. The financial rewards in higher education will never rival CEO pay. Our hours are crazy, we don't travel in private jets, and the temperature control in our buildings never seems to coincide with the season. But every once in a while, we get these little gems of appreciation from students that remind us that we touch lives. And kick butt. Which makes for a pretty nice end-of-the-year bonus in my book.