December 15, 2017
AVPs are placed in a unique position in the structure of higher education. AVPs need to have the skills and ability to manage up as well manage down the reporting lines. Many times the AVP is in the middle of all the daily stressors within the university. If you are interested in the stressors of an AVP I would suggest you read the book - AVP: Leading from the Unique Role of Associate/Assistant Vice President for Student Affairs. But, I am not going to discuss the stresses of being an AVP in this blog.
In this blog, I will focus on how family can help you live and be productive with what I call “AVP Wild Times.” Those of you who are currently serving as an AVP understand and know exactly what I mean when I say “AVP Wild Times.” You know, the times when the stress level cannot be articulated with words; it is a feeling like no other. I did not understand this “AVP Wild Times” idea when I served at the director’s level, yet I do now!
Colleagues, students and friends have asked me how I keep my sanity having the responsibilities serving in my AVP role at MSU. There are days I wonder that same question myself. With this blog, I want to share a little bit about my style of how I manage those “AVP Wild Times.”
The first thing that I do during the “AVP Wild Times” is to stay grounded in my faith. Well at least I try to keep the faith. As they say “God ain’t done with me yet.” With my faith, I keep an open spirit that God has a purpose for my life and all the trials are just preparing me to be stronger in the future. For me having those thoughts and beliefs has helped me stay focused on the important things in life, the WHY.
You need to understand and know your WHY. My WHY is my family. When I talk about family, I am talking more than just your blood family or family by marriage. For me, your family includes “family of choice.” All of whom will be there to help you live through the “AVP Wild Times.” However you decide to define family, they will help you prioritize how you address those “AVP Wild Times.” I have been blessed to receive love from my family of choice and my blood family. For this blog, I will be sharing about my blood family: my wife, Nikki, and our two daughters –Melia and Madison (M&Ms). They are my core WHY and give me the strength to do what I do as an AVP.
Nikki is not only my wife and best friend, she is my world. She is my most important worldly relationship. Everyone needs to find that person that keeps them grounded. With all the different activities and incidents that come across an AVP’s desk you need that person that lets you know it is going to be alright. You have to find that person you can release all your emotion too, know they will share those burdens with you, and celebrate the good times with you. This is the family member that gives you your strength to do what you do. Nikki is my person that stands with me when all others around me are questioning my judgment or my integrity. She reminds me of my strength – physically, emotionally and spiritually. We all need that person who supports us through our mistakes, without judgement.
The other part of my family that helps me work through the “AVP Wild Times” are my two daughters Melia and Madison (M&Ms). My M&Ms are the future and my end of the day focus. It’s about securing a positive life for them. Those of you who are parents, know how with the simplest look from your child, they can make every issue in the world go away. Of course, there are days I come home and need some quite time to de-stress about the day. But then there are other days when all I want to do is go outside and play with my M&Ms.
There is a saying a colleague and I use when we talk about Student Affairs, “you have to be built for this.” When we talk about “being built” for AVP life we also talk about finding your WHY and for me it is all about family. We are social creatures and God made us to depend on each other. As I reflect about the AVP Lifestyle I want to encourage people to find that family who will keep your grounded and truly believe in you and the work you do.
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