Later today, I’ve been asked to give a very brief speech to the new freshmen coming to campus, as Staff Senate President. Never let a good speech go to waste, I say. Especially when I need something to blog about. So here you go: a sneak peek before I even give it.
Hello! On behalf of the staff members here at UMF, I’m happy to welcome you to campus. As you’ve been getting ready to come to Farmington, you might have had a number of thoughts going through your mind. What will your classes be like? Will you get along with your roommate? Exactly how much homework will you have to do? I’d imagine one of the things you haven’t asked yourself is, “What will the staff be like?” In fact, you might even be wondering now what exactly the staff do at UMF. A better question would be “What don’t the staff do?”
Janitors, groundskeepers, counselors, librarians, coaches, advisors, IT, public safety, the fitness center, registration, student jobs, financial aid, tutoring, internships, study abroad, activities and more. Some of us even teach classes from time to time.
When I went to college, I had firm plans. I knew what I wanted to do and what I wanted to major in. I took a job at the library because I heard it paid well, and my sister had already gotten a job there first, so I had an in. I never thought for a moment I might one day end up a librarian, but the years I worked in the library introduced me to library staff members who helped me through college. Taught me how to research more effectively. Showed me how to help others, and inspired me to change my plans.
What I mean to say is that university staff often end up having as big of an impact on students as professors, and the impact of staff-driven activities can be one of the highlights of your time at college.
You’ve come here to learn. To get ready for a career. While you’re here, don’t forget that not all learning happens inside a classroom. And also remember that the tuition you pay isn’t just for the classrooms and the professors. It’s for everything you see around you. In the coming weeks, months, and years, there might be times when you’re struggling. When that happens, don’t forget that there is a whole network of staff support here, waiting to help you. You don’t have to do this alone. In fact, it’s better if you learn how to ask for help.