By Hoover Zariani
I believe that I’m one of the lucky classified staff who works in student services. As someone who deals with students regularly, I get to know a handful of them as they pass through GCC on their way to their aspirations, whether it’s to transfer or to get a certificate or simply for personal enrichment.
Recently, I was explaining one of our programs to an interested student when she began to share her life story with me. Her story was tragic. She told me that her mother had been a drug addict and that she had herself become addicted to drugs at a young age and turned to a life that had been less than exemplary; somehow, she had now found what she wanted to do in life and was working toward that goal here at GCC. She talked about how GCC had supported her and how she had received help from so many staff and faculty. Her life was still full of challenges and obstacles, much more than can be shared here…but she was very proud that she was persistent and was still here, continuing to try and make a better life for herself and her daughter. She was currently not working and relying on financial aid as her main source of assistance to get through a difficult time in her life, and this was an additional strain.
As we begin another year of instruction, I want to share that story to remind us all to focus once again on the students that we serve. I know that classified staff (and all staff) are very dedicated to and caring toward our students. However, sometimes, with the challenges we face – like the reduction in work, the budget cuts, and the effects of all the legislation on student success—we lose sight of how much we can and do impact students.
Let’s never forget the challenges of many of our students, and let’s keep this in mind as we go through these difficult times. I know we all have pressing issues that we individually and collectively face, both in our personal lives and here at work. Sometimes, the knowledge that we have provided to help students with their challenges is the most rewarding thing for us here at GCC.
We will somehow make it through these difficult times, and I hope we always keep our focus on serving our students because they are also part of our reward in a job well done.
The journey is the reward.
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