As any current RA will tell you, there are four rules when it comes to working for Residential Life at Loyola:
1. No complaining
2. No complaining, especially about free stuff
3. Be on time
4. Be positive
You won’t find these rules in our mission or vision statements, and you won’t find them listed in the front the Residential
Reader. And yet these four basic guidelines say a lot about Res Life, our values, and what it means to be a student leader.
But these rules aren’t just about student leaders, either. These rules form a foundation for success in life by encouraging personal reflection; reverence for the mystery of our world; and respect for others in a time when our busyness often leads us to take the things and people around us for granted.
Rule number one; simply put, complaining never accomplished anything. Being a leader is about getting things done, aggressively pursuing ambitious goals, and building trust. Complaining does just the opposite. It inhibits productivity and undermines trust by putting the worst part of us on display- the part of us that would rather, well, complain about problems than fix them.
No complaining, especially about free stuff
Working with Residential Life has its advantages, like free stuff. Meals, t-shirts, conferences, trainings, not to mention room and board! In life, we often are on the receiving end of SWAG (Stuff We All Get). There are few things more unbecoming an individual than failing to appreciate the goodwill of others.
Sometimes that t-shirt isn’t going to complement your hair color, and sometimes you get turkey sandwiches even though you’d have preferred PB&J. And there are few things in life as beautiful as looking beyond what you have been given and appreciating the intent of the giver. Remember: Somebody somewhere would give their life for a turkey sandwich.
Be on time
“When you’re five minutes early, you’re on time. When you’re on time, you’re late. When you’re late, don’t bother.”
Being on time- whether it be to a training, class, or appointment- isn’t about the knowledge that you are missing. It’s about the knowledge that you are preventing everyone else from learning while they wait for you. Nobody is so important to an organization that their lack of commitment is more valuable than everyone else’s productivity.
Work is hard. Life is hard. If they were easy, we’d all be on permanent vacation. But no situation is too much to handle when we take a moment to humble ourselves, take a deep breath, and remind ourselves that we chose this path. When you own your experience, both the good parts and the bad, life is just better.
Anger and hostility often are just projections of our disappointment in ourselves, in our own choices or shortcomings. You didn’t choose to be put on this earth, but you have made every choice since. Live it and love it.
Leadership isn’t rocket science. But it does take work. Most of that work is internal, built around a willingness to learn and a commitment to taking time to reflect on our successes and failures. Start here; memorize the Four Rules of Res Life and use them- results will follow!