Laura Anderton, Fraternity and Sorority KC Rep.
February 10, 2019
As of late, I have been doing a lot of personal reflection around the idea of “locus of control” – or the personal belief that I have control over the outcomes of the events in my everyday life. And in particular, I have been fretting over my locus of control in the work place. In the current social and political environment that Sorority/Fraternity Life finds itself – an environment that constantly questions the validity of our organizations for today’s students, and spins speculation regarding the positive/negative impacts for campuses – it can be hard to feel empowered or in control of nearly anything on a daily basis. Adding to this self-doubt is the ever present conversation regarding the age, experience level and income gap for SFL staffers across the board. Typically citing that SFL professionals are commonly the youngest and lowest paid directors (or otherwise) within many student affairs staffs.
As someone who puts high stock in my internal compass and my ability to assess risk, take chances and manage my own life; my perceived lack of control over the daily actions of the SFL community I serve frustrates me. Each time I am called to a meeting with our campus conduct officer in regards to the actions of one of our Greek letter organizations, I get a knot in my stomach; feeling as though I have failed to maintain control. The reality is, however, that I don’t have control over their actions … and I can’t change our student’s choices or the campus culture single handedly.
What I do have is influence. And what I can control is the education my office provides, the relationships we build and how we exercise our influence. That I can control. I can choose to bring in an outside speaker that doesn’t make an impact (and ultimately the students complain about), but fits the model of “what we have always done”. Or I can choose to invest time and/or resources into re-aligning our programming with a speaker, or group, or educational session that inspires the students and engages them in the conversation. I can show up to meetings,-get the work done and go home; or I can choose to prioritize building a relationship through conversation with a student, staff member or alumni rather than the administrative work that likely can wait another day. I can call on those relationships I have built in times of change and times of need to help further the cause or conversation. And I can choose the battles I want to fight, making sure that they align with the real-time needs of my students and not just my passion projects. I can control how I show my commitment to the office and to the community; even if I cannot control everything they do. And that I guess is the long and short of how I am choosing to take control of my work, my students and my life. Choosing to drown out the self-doubt through the intention and words of the Serenity Prayer by American Theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, Courage to change the things I can, and Wisdom to know the difference.”
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Fraternity and Sorority KC Rep.
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