It is during the most challenging times of my job when I think how blessed I am to have my job in student affairs, specifically as an IT leader within student affairs. The sometimes convoluted nature of higher education bureaucracy, the pressure of delivering critical technology services with limited resources, and juggling competing priorities make it challenging some days. But, even with these challenges, actually, because of these challenges, I feel blessed to have my job. I can easily look beyond the day-to-day frustrations because I know that at the end of the day, what matters is that my colleagues and I, the work we do, have a very important purpose – to help students succeed.

My wife and I were watching a tv show this evening; it might have been Dinners, Drive-Ins, and Dives on the food network. The host asked a chef, “how much of what you do is work and how much is love?” My wife asked me the same question. My immediate answer is 100% love. That may sound corny and overly sentimental, but I truly believe it. Yes, my job provides my wife and me with income to live a life we enjoy, but frankly, if I were paid the same amount working outside student affairs, I don’t think I would have the same personal and professional fulfillment. The public may hear and read about UCSB at times that we are a party school. The reality is that I know many students who came from challenging backgrounds growing up, and they have had to fight through some adversities to get to the university. I also know that these students take their studies seriously as they have the burden of creating a future for themselves and their families. These students drive me. They motivate me to do my part to make sure they succeed.

I don’t think about this often, but from time to time, I look at our portfolio and the body of work our team has done through the years, and it’s amazing how technology impacts the lives of our students way before they even step on to our university. I think about how our online disabled student program system enables our students with disabilities to get accessibility resources (note-takers, proctors, adaptive devices), how our student health service and counseling and psychological service information systems help our clinicians and psychologists provide timely and effective service to our students, and how our other systems and applications assist our students from the application process and after they graduate. When I think about the value of these systems,  I realize how important our roles are to the success of our students.

Sometimes I read/hear others complain about the demands of our jobs as student affairs professionals, and I think I can sympathize with some of these complaints. But, personally, if one is to think about the amazing opportunities we have to make a difference in the lives of our students and their families, how blessed are we to be working in student affairs?