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Community, laughter & shared experiences

September 1, 2019 Shana Warkentine Meyer Vice President for Student Affairs

“I was in a park and a lady loudy called out “Anyone who wants an ice cream come over here.” I headed over with several others. She handed out ices to them all then asked me “Who are you?” I realized the rest were all her family. 30 years later I still cringe.” Andy Ryan, @ItsAndyRyan via Twitter

After an extremely short August and a remarkably full Orientation week, I laughed way too long and too hard at Andy’s misfortune, shared on Twitter. The best part of the Twitter community was that Andy was not left alone with his cringe-worthy moment….soon other members of the Twitterverse came through, sharing their moments of embarrassment & agony. Who knew how many people have mistakenly gotten into vehicles, thinking they were in an Uber—only to realize later that a kind human—who was decidedly NOT Uber—had delivered them to their destination? After reading this thread—it has happened to a lot of people!

Community, laughter, and shared experiences are just a few things I love about social media. Community, laughter, and shared experiences are just a few things I love about our college campuses. And community, laughter, and shared experiences are just a few things I love about NASPA.

Our newest college students will most certainly experience some cringe-worthy moments in their first weeks, if not throughout, their college experience. Sometimes those cringe-worthy moments will not just be misunderstandings or humorous anecdotes. Sometimes they may be big mistakes along the lines of hurt feelings, failed tests, or code of conduct violations.

Our staff members may be the ones experiencing the cringe. Perhaps an advisory situation was not handled well, or maybe there is a challenging employee testing the limits of patience. If we can help each other laugh through our mistakes, support others through resources and community, and share our own moments of cringe, we let others know they are not alone.

I wonder about the woman, offering the ice cream in Andy’s situation. Did she offer him one, as well, even knowing he didn’t belong? Or did she turn him away? I have to think that if a member of our college campus and NASPA communities had seen the awkward mistake, we would have offered the ice cream, anyway. Because that’s what we do! Student affairs professionals create community, we find humor in the mundane and the ridiculous, and we create moments our residents and students will remember forever.

Yes, it’s September, and yes, the summer went by way too quickly. But we have ice cream for all, and we’re happy to share.

Until next time,

Shana Meyer

NASPA IV-W Regional Director