Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Something to Celebrate (and a Special Challenge for You!)

This past weekend was arguably one of the best weekends I've ever had in Lexington.  None of the people that I have been spending a lot of time with were in town so I wasn't expecting it to be quite so much fun.  But it was.  And I have to thank all of the people who went out of their way to make it awesome.

Going into this week on a happy note was a wonderful change compared to most Monday mornings.  I think it's because, even in spite of my meltdown last week about missing my friends and family, my work has been incredibly rewarding lately.  The awesome thing about working at a college is the fact that I feel like I make a difference in someone's life every day - whether that's true or not doesn't really matter because I feel that way and that's half the battle.  And honestly, without sounding conceited, I know it's true.

It's the end of the school year so I get to hear good great news every... single... day.  The students who I have come to know so well are all getting interviews for big-kid jobs, being offered said jobs, or getting accepted to grad school.  Students who graduated in the last couple of years are off doing awesome things* and I get to sit back and watch them enjoy the ride.  I get text messages, emails, phone calls, or visits constantly from students and alumni telling me about the fantastic things they are doing and I couldn't be more proud.  Even though I don't technically work directly with the students any more, I still know that the work that I do is making an impact in their current lives and will continue to make an impact long into the future.  I truly believe in the work that I do.  These students would not be given these awesome opportunities if this university did not have such amazing donors and I am blessed to work with both of those constituent groups.

Many of the people I have worked with, worried about, supported, nurtured, encouraged... on and on... in the last 10 years have overcome so much and are out there changing the world.  Getting married, having babies, making a huge impact on improving the world we live in.  All of that is cause for celebration.

Last week I spent an entire post complaining about missing my family and this week I'm going on and on about how much of a difference I make.  I do know that it's not just me of course.  But it's an awesome feeling to know that I might have had even a teeny tiny part of that success.

As someone who has overcome some pretty big things in my life, I understand the power of a seemingly simple moment brought on by a completely ordinary person.
The boss that singled you out to tell you what great work you did when you were just doing your job
the teacher who took a minute to congratulate you on great work 
the mentor who said "you know you really could do that when you grow up, right?"
the friend who gave five minutes to ask the right question and listen to the answer
...on and on...
I have been blessed to have all of those people in my life and all of those moments have literally been life changing for me.  I'd like to think that I've helped pay that back into the world, even just a little.

As I launch into this week of celebrating - a friend's birthday, an end-of-college gathering with some of the students who I have gotten to know so very well, my birthday, and then reunions at the school where I work - I have a challenge for you.
Take one minute to celebrate with someone who has accomplished something they may not even know is a big deal and be that small, seemingly ordinary moment that may or may not go on to make a huge difference in their life.
You never know how that moment might change someone's life.

And a HUGE congrats to all of those people out there, especially to my current and former students from one of the many institutions I have been blessed to be a part of, who have done something so great in the past couple of weeks.  It's worth saying again.  You all make me so proud.

*If you're into hiking, check out this blog chronicling a former student's adventures on the Appalachian Trail.  I'm hooked... I wish I had half the courage she does!

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