Fighting the Power?

In keeping with my post of last week about “stepping outside of the echo chamber“, sometimes we come up against policies, trends or traditions at work that we don’t agree with. I am a tremendous supporter of my university and the work that we do here. We develop some of the most hardworking, diligent, and good-hearted students that I’ve ever met. But sometimes…they’re tough.

Without giving away too much, I will say that I have students who I work with less often that are challenging me a little bit. Unlike the students I advise (who are fantastic, by the way!), I don’t have the opportunity to train these students, and yet I work with them pretty closely on a collaborative project. And while I know their hearts are fully committed to the project, and I LOVE to see their excitement as our project develops, they are not as giving with their time and focus as they are with their enthusiasm. I’ve essentially been told that the process will continue, however, even as their time put into the end product continues to wane.

As someone who truly treasures the opportunity to develop students, it frustrates me greatly that I don’t have the chance to work with those students more closely to educate them on the initiative that they’re supporting. Moreover, I bristle at the suggestion that they should have a sterling end result for something that they’re not fully committed to. Part of that frustration comes from the fact that students who do have their full hearts, souls and schedules in their work, will be “covering for them”. I’ve always been of the belief that the end result should reflect the work put into it…by ALL who are participating. Ultimately, I’m being asked to pick up the slack, and ask other students to do the same. That sits…well, in a shaky fashion with me.

I’ve managed to comfort myself with the understanding that I will have an opportunity to speak with the incoming new head of this group as soon as he is elected, and start to build a foundation for a more effective model, in a few weeks. And the rest? Well, it’s going to be a matter of adjusting my attitude. The end result of this project reflects on me too, not just them. And I will do what I can to ensure that it goes off well.

How do you deal with discord between what you hope students will do, and what they actually do?

2 thoughts on “Fighting the Power?

  1. I don't have a position like yours but when a student isn't meeting my expectations I am open with them about it. I'm also always prepared to work hard to make an event happen without them. The size and scope of our events is very different though.

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