"A successful individual typically sets his next goal somewhat but not too much above his last
achievement. In this way he steadily raises his level of aspiration." -Kurt Lewin|
Summer on college campuses are usually the slower times of year...at least that is what we all
think in October when we are busy and in the middle of everything. In reality, as the summer is
coming to an end we can all look back on the little projects we have worked on and the little
things that have come up that made summer not quite as slow as we thought it might be. This
summer at Southern Illinois University we had the opportunity to work with a group of twelve
amazing Resident Assistants. In the month of July, one of those RAs really stood out to me as
going above and beyond what her summer job description says. I am glad to say Nicole Carlen
is that RA and I have had the opportunity to be her supervisor for this summer.
The month of July started off with a nice 4th of July holiday. This was supposed to be a nice
relaxing day in the middle of the week. Around 3pm I got a call that the power was out in the
building. Of course the power would go out in the only building we had residents at that time,
that is Murphy's Law. I got over to the building to find Nicole and another RA in the lobby with
the majority of residents that were in the building. After doing a set of rounds and setting
lanterns into some key places in the building, Nicole had the idea to grab some board games to
help keep the residents occupied. The residents loved the idea of playing games and enjoyed
each others company in the dark for another hour.
The following Friday I was in my office when half the football team staying in our building
needed to check out. I quickly texted my RAs in hopes they would be around but only Nicole
was around to help. She came back from what she was doing and helped us check about 20
people out in a matter of a few hours. She never complained about having to do so much work
on a Friday afternoon. She kept cracking jokes and smiling through the process.
In her life, there was a week of July that was very anti-Nicole. Her cell phone was stolen, the air
conditioning in her car went out (and it was HOT), her residents were being loud, and to top it
all off she got caught in a hail storm driving back to campus one weekend. Though she was
shaken up and down that week, she always saw the bright side of the situation. Her car was
not damaged too bad with the hail, her residents were just enjoying each others company, air
conditioning is not that difficult to fix, and cell phones are replaceable. A lot of people would
have fallen apart completely, but Nicole kept that smile on her face and moved through it.
Doing rounds this week Nicole told me she was done with all of her door decs for opening. I
told her she was the RA I would be jealous of if I was still an RA. I know some people may see
an overachiever, but I see someone committed to her postion as an RA and making sure her
residents have an amazing experience. Nicole has been great in July and will only continue to
improve as the school year starts.
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