Thursday, February 25, 2010

More lessons...

You know it's so funny. After that long talk about needing external validation yesterday, I received today feedback from a survey students in the dorm filled out about our dorm parenting. It was pretty disheartening. In previous years it was so positive...So I was surprised to find so much negativity this year, especially since I was feeling like we've finally hit a good, consistent stride and done so many fun activities for the students in our dorm. It was beyond negative actually. It was mean and vindictive and partly sounded like they were trying to get us fired. I was taken aback. I know that they are teenagers, and this is normal...but it really made me wonder why I invest so much energy into this lifestyle, at such a great cost. And whether it's worth continuing. I thought I was making a positive impact and I LOVE this part of my job. It is important to me, and my sense of self. So this really threw me. Part of me feels like "what's the point" and the other part of me feels like "I know I'm doing a good job and that these comments are the result of holding teenagers accountable in a culture that typically doesn't and it's normal for adolescents to lash out and why am I seeking validation from TEENAGERS!?"

I'm a big fan of feedback. I am. Honestly. I love knowing how to improve. But this was not constructive and I don't know what to do with it. Guess I'll wait to hear from our boss during our review on Wednesday... I have until then to find some distance, perspective, and even-keeled, balanced, zen, self-confidence.

At least we go to western mass will be good to see good friends, indulge in the jacuzzi, etc. etc. Should come back with a better perspective on this lesson. I hope.

On the BRIGHT side (and there is one)...instead of stewing by myself, I found myself reaching out to some fellow dorm parent friends who were SUPER supportive and comforting. The highlight of my day today was when Alicia offered to take over our duty for tonight so we could take care of ourselves. Considering how we all CHERISH our time off, that is HUGE. So huge that it made me cry even while I told her I couldn't take her up on it. But she was insistent and for once, I took the rope being thrown to me. And I was grateful for her kindness and grace. Not only for that...but for her KNOWING something she could do that would actually help, when even I didn't know. I also got the chance to talk to Michael about how he felt about the feedback, and it is somewhat rare that we have that kind of sitting-in-the-dark-talking-about-feelings-and-being-all-raw-and-vulnerable kind of conversation. So even in the moment when I felt most like distancing myself from the world-at-large, I found myself feeling connected and supported.

And that was another good lesson.


Anonymous said...

You really don't need dorm kids to validate you. And you leave a few things out which you don't have to answer for me, but may want to chew on: who designed the survey and why was it done now? Did something BIG recently happen in the dorm that affected several of the girls? Was everyone negative? or was a percentage of the reviewers negative? If comments were generally critical in the same area, reflect. I'm sure you have insight. And good luck with the review.

Robin said...

I think the logical part of you is right, validation is important but the fact that you know that you're dealing with teenagers and have a good idea why they're being critical is bigger in this case.

Also, your friend Alicia sounds awesome, it's so nice when a friend can see a way to help that you can't. I think back to when we worked together, you threw me a rope a few times that I really needed it, and even though it didn't seem like it at the time I am really grateful. (hindsight being 20/20 and all.) So, I'm glad a friend could help you when you're having a bad night.

It goes without saying, but I hope tomorrow's a better day!

runningwiththejig said...

I'm really sorry that you guys got such negative feedback. I KNOW you are so committed to these girls. As an evaluator, I agree with the Anonymous poster about context. Comments are valid, but are they situation dependent, or were the comments representative of how they feel most of the time?

Also- HELLO! Going to WMASS? When can you squeeze in a visit? Do you guys want to come for dinner tonight?

Melisa K. said...

Thanks, all. The survey was designed by my res life boss, in preparation for our annual review. The worst of the comments came from two girls, and it is easy for us to know why. However, we were still taken about by just HOW mean they were...and the fact that there was still a lot less positive feedback overall. But after taking a few days, we are feeling better about it.

And Robin--I'm glad to know that I was able to be helpful in some way when you needed it. =)