By: Sarada Jailal, Director of Student Development and Campus Life, Dover
May 12, 2015 made my one year anniversary of working at Berkeley College for Student Development and Campus Life. I was challenged with the task to develop the department at the Dover Campus and additionally create student clubs, expand on the leadership development and other out of the classroom experiences for our students. The beginning of my start time was challenging because I was still in my beginning stages of navigating through the college. During this time, I learned more about the college through my work study students and the employees here. Expanding on my knowledge base about Berkeley has allowed me to assist more students. My work study, Derek Newberry served as an asset to the success I experience thus far, especially during those beginning stages. He helped my transition and provided knowledge, tips and pointers about events done in the past. Sometimes he would just help me with something as simple as locating an event or other office supplies which made a huge difference. Additionally, he still helps everyday by drawing in additional students to our office and representing the college in a positive light.
On a daily basis, I am interacting with students for multiple reasons. Every quarter I get the best opportunity to meet all the new students during New Student Orientation, held on the First Day of Classes. Some I met prior to Orientation when they register for classes and their ID photos are taken. Students additionally stop by my office to not only ask about SDCL programs, however other questions that may affect their status as a student. With me being next to the Academic Advisement Department, I also see a lot of students who commonly ask me questions about their schedules. It’s nice for them to have someone directly to speak with even if I cannot directly assist them. Students are interesting as they sometimes struggle with navigating through the responsibilities of being a student. Other questions I get include directing them to Student Accounts, Financial Aid and even the Help Desk.
When I host weekly programming, it also gives me the opportunity to build relationships with the students and really get to know them better. Last week for “Say Something Nice Day,” I held a simple program focusing on encouraging random acts of kindness in addition to saying something nice to someone. I also asked students to set goals for themselves by writing it down on our White Board and focusing on that goal. Students also posed for pictures with their thoughts and received candy for sharing. One of our Dover Students visited my table and asked me what I was doing. When I explained to him what I was doing, and I asked him to share he responded in a unique and surprising way.
Student: “Since you are so nice to everyone else, let me do something nice for you.”
I asked: “What will you do?”
Student: “I want to show you instead of telling you, as the impact will be greater.”
That student helped by spreading random acts of kindness by going around campus with me and personally handing out the “Random Acts of Kindness Coins” and encouraged his peers to share. This student did not want to be named or recognized for his acts. The reason I chose the field of Student Development and Campus Life was not only because I saw the positive professional experience and skills it possesses, but the feeling of impacting and making a difference in the lives of students. In this case, I was happy to say, both the student and me made a positive impact on each other. Overall, my goals will be to continue creating these positive situations as it will make the difference to all students.