While some people might have thought I was a bit crazy saying yes to a second year of working in residence, I have no regrets (Click for Year 1 Reflection). Throughout my time, I did make many good memories and I've met some really cool people, but... I am so happy that it is now done. 끝냈다!
There are many aspects of the job, that I will not miss. Ever. If they appear in my dreams, those must be nightmares. ㅎㅎ
Done are the overnights--of wondering if it's worth getting out of bed when you hear the clutter of the garbage can, the fridge suction as its pulled open and then shut with a bump, or the ping of the microwave. By the time you get there, will the student still be there? Gone too are the worries that tonight would be the night where we'll need to rush a sick student to the hospital or deal with some other emergency.
No more will I knock and say, "Are you awake? It's time to wake up" or "Are you alone? It's time for bed" or, the even more dreaded, "Grab your gear, it's time for detention."
Goodbye breakfast, dinner, and study duties. Let another watch the clock and count the minutes.
Room checks? Shotty not. If their room's a pigsty, someone else can get on their case. ㅎ
In essence, good riddance to the tedious tasks!
Still, there are many aspects about Residence that I will miss.
As much as the girls didn't always like the weekly family meetings, I really liked bringing them together. Some weeks were so crazy busy that family meetings were the only time that I really got to sit down with most of my students. They are such funky people and it was a treat joking together. Plus whether they realized it or not, laughing produces good chemicals that help combat stress and pain in the brain (I love psychological research! For a more detailed scientific explanation, look it up).
I will miss mini-trips during the evenings and weekends. I absolutely loved taking students away from the school. From zip-lining, going to the movies, dinners out, strolls along the beach and playing card games in cafes, I've really enjoyed showing the girls more about this island and encouraging them to take a well-needed brain break to re-energize. It was sometimes a battle to make students agree to anything, but it was always worth it. I only wish I could have done more this past year...
Overall, I enjoyed helping students with their papers and homework one-on-one. I preface this with "overall" because when a student would come to me with a long paper at 9:30 at night, I couldn't help but groan inside. Going through grammar and content takes a fair amount of brain power and when I was nearing the end of my shift, I didn't always have a lot in reserve. Still, over the course of the past couple of years I have read some pretty cool papers and have learned many things from the students as they were conducting research and fine tuning their ideas.
And last: there were evenings when I would be sitting at my station, working on a form or two, when a student would slide into the chair beside me just to say hi, to ask a question, to tell me about their day or the latest drama that has them hooked. I will really miss the chill atmosphere of those conversations and the way the students would slowly open up if you gave them enough time. Residence is, in a lot of ways, all about patience, and you cannot force students to connect with you. When a student would choose to share something important with me or even a few minutes when they could have been with a friend, I knew that what I was doing was worth it.
So here's to the end of a job that while I felt eternally tired, was both rewarding and fun at times. And now to my own classroom next year--and what's more my own apartment!