Friday, July 18, 2008

Who we are and why

Summer is one of the few times in the year when I can reflect a bit about the past year, the upcoming year, improvements that I would like to make, and my reasons for being an academic support professional.  Although I am still very busy with projects and teaching in our summer program, I have enough of a "breather" to look beyond the usual hectic rush of events.

It is actually this period of summer reflection that always recharges my batteries and gets me excited about the "new crop" of 1L students and the returning 2L and 3L students.  Although none of us in ASP will probably have a "perfect score" of graduation and bar passage for every student with whom we have worked along the way, we can use this time to think about the successes that we have been a part of over the year and prior years.

Each one of you will have countless reflections that will make you realize that you have an impact every day on law student lives.  If you doubt your impact, just take an inventory of students whom you have helped:

  • The new 1L students who came up to talk with you after your Orientation session because they knew you would help when they were too embarrassed to ask someone else their questions.
  • The 1L students who came to you for advice during the first few weeks of school because they were feeling overwhelmed.
  • The 1L students who arrived in a panic before their exams and needed you to calm them down.
  • The non-traditional students who came to you to work on time management so they could excel in law school and still have family time with their spouses and children.
  • The discouraged students who felt better after some suggestions and words of encouragement from you during an appointment, in the student lounge, or in the hallway.
  • The probation students whom you told that you believed in their being able to improve their grades.
  • The probation students whom you congratulated on their hard work while you met with them throughout the semester.
  • The excited probation students who came to tell you they got off probation.
  • The excited probation students who came to tell you that they had gotten their first "B" or "A" grades.
  • The ex-probation students who still come by for advice on specific study problems.
  • The 3L graduates who stopped by to say thank you for your support and advice during their three years.
  • The 3L graduates who walked across the stage and you remembered helping them through a tough semester, tough course, or life crisis.
  • The bar studiers who came to ask for your suggestions on how they could study more effectively and efficiently.
  • The bar studiers who have stopped by for some extra encouragement in these final weeks.
  • The law students who have invited you to their weddings because you were a big part of their law school careers.
  • The law students who bring by their babies for you to meet.
  • The law students who bring by siblings or friends who will be 1L's to meet you so that they can get started right.
  • The practicing attorneys whom you advised as law students who come up to you to talk about their practice and their lives.
  • The countless others that you remember helping who may never say thank you, but whom you know that you had an impact on during a conversation.

I love being an ASP person.  To me, my job is a blessing every day.  My law students make it all worthwhile even when other areas of working at a law school may have some downsides (fill in the blanks for your institution: budget, status, group dynamics, etc.).  (Amy Jarmon)

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