Just Another Day in the RyersonSA Family...

#RyersonSA is a family. (And just like your actual family, you’re stuck with us, whether you want to be or not).

We work together; we play together. We laugh, we cry, and sometimes—we really get on one another’s nerves. It’s inevitable, spending so much time together, but it also means we’re ready to challenge each other and, hopefully, become our better selves.

We definitely feel that our evolution as people has benefited from our time in Student Affairs, but we couldn’t help but notice some of the ticks, quirks, and strange little habits this family (and, we’re sure, other SA families as well) have developed. And the more we thought about them, we couldn’t help but laugh.

So, in classic little brother fashion, we thought we’d point ‘em out, but in wise older sister style, we wanted to offer our thoughts on how to leverage our “best” quirks into helpful tips to keep the family running happy, healthy, and well…

Ryerson Time

We get it—mornings are hard. It’s even worse when that strategy meeting was scheduled for 9am. On good days it’s hard enough to get through the door on time, but knowing we’ve got to be on point for 2 hours… Yeah, that requires some Tim Horten’s. No problem!

…Except for all the other people in line ahead of you that had the same idea (and unfortunately none of them are in the same meeting). Which means—you’re gonna be late.

And it’s an awkward move to show up late to your meeting with a hot, steaming caffeine riddled beverage in your hand, basically screaming, “This person’s late because they just had to do a Tim’s run…”

The good news? You can have your coffee and drink it, too. Guilt free! Just remember the age old adage that “a disgruntled coworker is soon soothed with the offer of free food.” While ordering your triple-triple extra-large, throw down a couple toonies for an assortment of timbits (but no classic plain, please), and ride into that meeting, fashionably late, but the hero of the day.

Masters Of Rhetoric & Theory

In student affairs, we carry a large kit full of an assortment of tools. Conflict resolution, crisis management, event planning, leadership development, digital media, reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic; the list is as varied as our members.

We’ve even got our own theories. Rich, academically designed thoughts that guide us through development, communication, leadership, transition, and more.

Everyday we’re challenged to build programs for students in an environment that’s supportive yet challenging, triggering the best in growth we can for our students. Everyday, we’re deep in development rhetoric and practice it because learning and growing is a 24/7 thing.

But sometimes we can let it consume us just a tad too much, especially after a long day. We forget we’re talking to a colleague and not a developing student. And at times like that, you just have to say, “…Are you Kolbing me?”

Learning and growth is for everyone, so we’re not saying we shouldn’t turn our mighty powers of development upon each other—just be ready to get called on it when you do. Because if there’s one theory we know, it’s that you can’t Schlossberg a Schlossberger.

Knick-Knacks & Essential Equipment

In his office, Andrew has a helium tank. It is, literally, the most essential resource in any event planners toolkit. Fact. Which is cool, except for one little thing—now he’s “that helium guy.”

Anyone and everyone looking for a quick shot of balloon floaty magic comes a-knocking on his door.

Still, we thought, instead of getting annoyed at the constant distraction of high-pitched, funny voices, why don’t we all choose a unique and essential tool to house in our offices, thus becoming, each and every one, “that ____ person.”

We each pick a thing. Andrew’s got helium. Luke has a (semi-functional) scanner & disco ball. What’s your thing? Let us know in the comments below. And if you don’t have one, here’s a list of strangely useful items you can be “that person” for:

  • Gum
  • Carts and dollies
  • Sporks
  • Chargers of all shapes and sizes
  • Ketchup
  • Projector
  • Wit (and/or cynicism)
  • Student Development in College: Theory, Research and Practice by Nancy J. Evans et. al (an updated version, preferably)
  • Umbrellas
  • Kind Bars or other snacks
  • and of course, the quintessential, inflatable furniture.

“My Calendar Is Up To Date.”

—When is your calendar ever not up to date?

Do you often schedule a bunch of important meetings that you don’t put in there? Or perhaps you have a completely eidetic memory and a disdain for the meeting of horizontal and vertical lines on a crisp white page? That’s okay, sometimes we feel that way too.

We understand what you really mean is, “My calendar is there and I’m putting the onus on you to book us something” but don’t want to make conversation awkward by just saying that. So instead of saying “up to date”, we suggest: “exists”.  

“Hey Andrew, we need to write this SA family article.”
“Yeah, you’re right. Book us some time—my calendar exists.”

Why So Committee?

We get it—everybody hates committees. The very name implies “boring”. They ain’t hip. There’s no cut to their jib, no fox in their trot. That’s why we’ve seen people take to calling a purposeful gathering of colleagues with a task to complete teams, crews, squads, troops,“getting the band back together,” duos, trios, and a force to task.

But it’ll be complete bedlam and chaos if we let anything fly, so here and now we recommend a single, expressive term that encompasses all the excellence that is a small band of people working together for the betterment of humankind:

Troupe. (With the optional addendum: “…of awesome.”)

Why troupe? Ask thee not why, but ask thee self, why not? For all the campus is a stage, and each SA professional but a role to perform.

Not Even The Butcher

Meetings! There are so many meetings!

But that’s not our observation. Nor is it that we dislike them, that we try to get out of them, that we do an epic little dance when one is cancelled…

No, we’ve noticed that because of this dripping hatred of “meetings”, we’ve become verbal vegetarians, avoiding all mention of the word “meet”…

No, we don’t meet—we connect.

“Hey Andrew, we should connect about that article we’re writing.”
“Luke, important connection later this afternoon re: helium.”
“We should connect over coffee.”
“…connect over lunch…”
“…connect over our mutual connection to the Connect Four All Connected connection conference.”

(“Hey, Luke, we’re supposed to offer the SA-family a suggestion here.”
“Andrew, you are right! Let’s connect about it in the New Year…”)

A Reflection Of You

Your work space—whether it’s an office, a cubicle, a building, stretch of hallway, or a table and chair you “borrowed” from the fancy classroom—is a reflection of you and your personality. And just like your childhood, you need to jazz it up so it really does reflect you. Some of you are really good at this; some need some encouragement. So, committed to the Internet for all to see as a method of encouragement that you “can’t be as odd as us”…

Luke believes in Play:

Andrew has a healthy ego and sense of self:

And we go to great lengths to make our offices reflect that.

So what’s your personality? Let your you flag fly in your office. This is an SA family, after all, and we’re all about the holistic self.

“Hey, Our Troupe Connection Just Ended And We Have Tonnes Of Leftovers, So Don’t Be An INFJ, Make Your Calendar Not-Exist, And Come Eat!”

Finally, the most important observation on our list: “Free food is not a resource to be hoarded.”

(Yeah, we kind of touched on food in our first point, but it bears mentioning again. It is the most important, after all.)

We’re actually really good at this in SA already, but it never hurts to remind the new members of the family, nor to refresh ourselves. The dinner table is no time to shirk the important sharing lessons drilled into us as kids. Because, you know, free food!

And if there’s one group of people that do “sharing” and “food” well, it’s SA.

What do you think? Did we miss any of our more noticeable quirks? Point ‘em out—and how to make them work for the Family—in the comments below!

This article was co-authored by Andrew Bisnauth.