What being a student employee has taught me
I would say that this year has been one of the craziest of my life, which based on what the world has experienced, is definitely not an uncommon statement. Working as a student employee already comes with its own challenges but doing so during a worldwide pandemic definitely implements a new learning curve that I didn’t expect and couldn’t fully prepare for. I am so thankful for all the things I have learned, both professionally and within myself, while being a Community Leader on Baylor’s campus. I am sad that this chapter of my life is coming to a close in just a few weeks, but I am so proud of my growth as a young adult within this role. I am here to share a few things that I have learned as a student employee that I will take way beyond young adulthood and college. I think that the things I’ve learned truly changed my perspective for the better, allowing me to become a more humble and aware servant of Christ for the remainder of my life.
1. Being a student employee refines your thoughts and values
• This might sound weird but there are so many different types of people and scenarios that you are bombarded with as a student employee. Throughout my time as a CL, my faith and purpose in life has been consistently challenged for the better, causing me to redefine what my relationship with Jesus and others looks like.
2. It establishes your friendships
• I have learned what true friends look like within the context of this role. Having to cancel plans or being so burnt out from work that any social atmosphere sounds like a chore, is a reality for me. Having friends who are ready to surround you and approach you from a non- judgmental perspective, has been one of the most incredible blessings of this year. I have truly learned through this job what godly relationships look like.
3. It challenges you to have tough conversations and be vulnerable
• If I have learned anything about living where I work, it’s that it can be hard to escape my feelings pouring over into my occupation. This job has challenged me to lead with love and a boldness that the Lord wants for me. Rather than straying away from tough conversations, I feel more empowered to confront my issues head on, alongside my residents, as a way to bond with them and grow my faith even deeper.
4. Living where you work encourages community, in the best way.
• Although it can be tough feeling like I never truly leave my “office,” living where you work is a great way to form relationships with those around you that are fruitful and real. I have no choice but to uphold the values and standards that I implement every day, because I too am expected to live up to that way of life myself. Living where I work almost has a way of keeping me in check and knowing that I am surrounded by people who want to help me walk through that is immensely comforting.
5. Your bosses understand your commitment to education and want you to uphold it.
• I have always been encouraged by my supervisors that I am a student first. Working at a place like Baylor while attending means that my bosses not only understand that I am a student, but they understand that I am a Baylor student. It doesn’t seem like it would be much different, but they understand the rigor, the workload, and my commitment to succeed. They are able to comfort me by approaching conversations in a way that honors God and His plan for me and my time as an undergrad. I have been able to form faithful and understanding relationships with the people I work with, which has been such a gift.
6. You are encouraged in your faith and guided in on a journey of understanding and humility.
• I really think that this is one of the most important things I have learned as a CL. I am consistently challenged to learn more and more about those around me, their faith journeys and their life experiences. We are all so different and the Lord has set each of us on a different path that brought us to Baylor. I don’t think I have ever been this encouraged in a job to seek out those who differ from me in belief, culture and background growing up. It is such a beautiful thing to have raw conversations with people that allow me to humble myself and carry the Holy Spirit with me in a way that upholds who I am as a Christian on Baylor’s campus.
Overall, I am eternally grateful for this opportunity from God. The way that I was able to form community with my coworkers and residents, are relationships that I will forever cherish. I feel so blessed to be able to serve my university as a Community Leader, and I will always look back on this time as one of the most challenging, but humbling and joyous times of my life. I have obtained both conversational and leadership skills that I will carry well beyond college, and I have learned the value in relationships that are rooted in faith. I am so hopeful for the next chapter of my life here at Baylor and cannot wait to see the other ways in which the Lord uses me to connect with others and share His Gospel.
Mary Watson Vergnolle