A window inside life at Augustana College

Why so vague?

So I realized my last “real” post, so not the one about Christmas that came a month after Christmas, was a little vague. Okay it was very vague, but it was for the sake of protecting someone that I really care about and look up to. There are two “secret” things that were going on with my life when I posted that, and I suppose they go hand in hand.

First, I was accepted to go to Brazil for 5 weeks during fall term next year. I’m super excited about this but I took a very complicated path to get here. Second, I made the very hard decision to end my “career” as a CA.

I’ve wanted to go to Brazil since fall of my sophomore year, when I had Mariano as a professor and he convinced me that it would be a great opportunity for me. So I was set on it. I figured it would be a good trip because it wouldn’t be a full term, which is 10-12 weeks, but it would also be longer than the break trips that are offered during winter or spring break. I also thought it would be a good idea because it has a class that is connected to my major (even though I’ve already taken the class) and Brazil is a place that I probably wouldn’t go to on my own. Despite hearing wonderful things about it and having my old au pair live there, I just can’t imagine carving out the time and raising the money to take a trip to Brazil that would really fulfill me – I like longer trips, I’ve spent two weeks in Ireland, Israel and Costa Rica and found that 2 weeks was not enough for me. But who can afford to vacation for longer than that?

Anyway, at the end of my sophomore year I was set on going to Brazil during my senior year at Augie. Then as I got into my junior year I thought about my “career” as a CA and Brazil got put on the back-burner. It wasn’t really going to make sense for me to miss 5 works of being a CA, or ARD, during the fall term. Mariano was pretty upset about this; he had been gunning for me to go! However, I thought that I had reconciled the decision in my mind and I decided that I would instead apply to go to Guatemala or Rome. Though these weren’t “dream” trips, they were better than nothing, so I applied and went about my merry business as a busy college student. Then came a huge game changer and that brings us to “secret” two.

Shortly after returning to campus, the CAs on campus received an email informing us that one of the student staff positions in res life was being restructured. Up until this point I feel as though I have been pretty good about rolling with what Res Life gives me; things are constantly changing in res life in order to keep up with the demands of students and administration. However, this change was going to impact me more than a simple change in the paperwork file or the way we do rounds. The change was that the position of ARD was being transformed into a “Senior CA” position. Now this would normally be fine, I don’t really care about title changes for jobs, but this change had one major implication – the SCA would not be living in the ARD apartment – which is a fully furnished apartment within a hall – they would be living on a floor with residents. While living on a floor with my residents would not be a problem for me, due to my dietary restrictions my life is much easier when I have 24 hour access to a kitchen so that I can make and store my own gluten-free food.

As soon as I found out about this change in the living position for the SCA/ARD I started to panic. I was already hesitant to remain working in the TLAs because I was feeling burnt out and as if I wasn’t making enough of a difference or impact. I love the work that Res Life does, and it is necessary work on all college campuses. However, being a residential life staff member is not a walk in the park; sometimes there are branches that get in the way like large incidents or residents that seem to not exist. Now that there was not an option for me to live in an ARD apartment if I was chosen for the position, my options for building placement had changed.

After countless conversations with other people, and even more hours spent laying on the floor in various places in my current apartment, I knew I was going to have to make a hard decision. I talked it through with one of my current roommates and we decided that we were going to look for a house/apartment and hopefully sign a lease for our senior year. When we looked at our options we realized that if we were to stay on the CA staff we would not have been the positive team players that people know us as and that the sills we have wouldn’t always be used to their full potential. We want to make sure that Augie has a great staff for res life next year and we decided that we just didn’t think we would fit what they needed. Instead we decided that we wanted to have a different, and “normal” experience for a senior year. By “normal” I mean that we would rent a house, off-campus, that would let us experience all the joys and downfalls of being home renters. Luckily we found a house that is great for us and that is well within our budget.

When I decided that I would not be returning to res life I realized this meant that I could go to Brazil, because I didn’t have to worry about missing work while being a CA next year. I was ecstatic, but I wasn’t really sure what to do. I had already submitted applications and a deposit for two other trips, how was I going to completely change my applications? Thankfully, Mariano got it all figured out for me, I submitted my application for Brazil on a Friday night and on Monday morning I got an email telling me I had been accepted to the program.

However, when I posted Putting it Off, my roommate and I had only told our close friends and families that we would not be returning to res life next year; our bosses and supervisors did not know, though they might have had an idea that we were considering not reapplying. Because I did not want this decision to be a surprise for the people I work with, I decided that I didn’t want to post about Brazil until I had let my supervisor know what my plans were for the future.

So, first I apologize for any vagueness in the past, I’ll try to be more open from now on. I also apologize for the length of this post, but it covers a very busy two weeks that I went through, and I’m all about sharing my feelings; even if my mom says that I’m just throwing myself a pity-party!

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