Just a student looking for a little direction

Matthew Skoy, NASPA IV-W Student Leadership Knowledge Community Representative

February 28, 2018

We all know those students who step on to our campuses looking for a little direction. As educators and student affairs professionals, I am confident that each of you have reached out and provided that much needed direction. In fact, I would be willing to bet you can identify those students right now. I’m sure you can recall the countless students, conversations, emotions, and pure enjoyment. Thank you for taking the time to serve that student. You made a difference and will always be remembered for your contagious passion to elevate the success of students.

I was once that student just looking for a little direction and by the grace of connection, I found it. I found it in mentors and leaders throughout my college journey. I found it entrenched in the very soul of the profession while rooted in practice. I found it and it found me. For this I am grateful and extraordinarily fortunate to have crossed paths with such amazing professionals. I would like to spend a moment and thank you for doing what you did not have to do.

Thank you for bringing out the best in me and showing me how to dream big.

Thank you for not allowing me to give up on myself and, equally important, on others.

Thank you for sharing the beauty in challenge and the grace in support.

Thank you for encouraging difference, challenging the status quo, and embracing diversity.

Thank you for being a shoulder to cry on and an encouraging voice to embrace.

Thank you for teaching me how to positively and progressively give and receive feedback.

Thank you for helping me find myself.

Thank you for putting the needs of others first and showing me how to put people first.

Thank you for showing me how to mentor and how to provide value for students.

Thank you for demonstrating how to lead with humility.

The growth and development of a college student is tremendously important. As educators, we have a great role in the lives of students. We can assist as they mature into future leaders and lead our communities toward positive, impactful action. Leadership development for our students takes place in many formal and informal ways. Sometimes it even shows up when you start a conversation with a student and provide a little direction. Don’t underestimate those moments. Those are the moments that students will remember forever and may catapult them onto a journey of leadership and self-discovery. 

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