The Women in Housing series is a month-long project featuring the voices, stories, and experiences of women who currently or formerly work in housing and residence life. Today's post was written by Amanda Koch.
As I reflect on what it means to be a woman in Student Affairs. I think of the many hats we as women wear -- being a daughter, partner, or even a mother. Maybe it’s in our genes, but I always found myself putting others ahead of myself. I was always willing to put in extra hours at work, often at the expense of someone close to me. I always thought that the other person was my husband, but I just came to realize that the person that I was cutting time out of was me.
Recently, I found the thing that helps me find my balance and gets me just a little bit more Me Time. As odd as it sounds, I actually put myself through pain five times a week, attending a grueling 30 minutes of boot camp at a local gym.
I have been attending boot camps since May. Because the boot camps were at a scheduled time each evening, I found myself making sure I left work at a certain time on those designated nights. At first, I found myself feeling guilty for leaving the office when I still had work to accomplish. My supervisor was understanding when I made sure to leave at a reasonable hour during one of the busiest times of the year, but I still managed to make myself feel guilty every single time. Eventually, I discovered that I didn’t need to have everything done that was in my inbox each day.
As the school year started, boot camps were offered most week night evenings and two mornings a week. I loved the concept of being able to get my work out in before being distracted by the work day, but it also meant coming into work 30 minutes later than my normal time.
Over time, I became more okay with coming in late just twice a week and leaving the office with a few projects lingering on the other days. I eventually learned that just because a project is there to be accomplished, it doesn’t always mean that it needs to happen that very moment.
Since the start of the New Year, boot camps are now offered each morning, which now means my morning routine four times a week is to come in late. While this may put me a bit behind on my projects, I learned that my improved physical health has allowed me to better assist our students.
I have found that I’m generally healthier. I am not a person that gets sick often, but while sickness has struck our office, I have managed to stay fairly healthy. My stress level has decreased, and I’m better to assist our students, and be available for myself, my friends, my family, and my husband.
It is like when you’re on an airplane and the flight attendant tells you to secure your oxygen mask before assisting others. It is only when you take care of yourself first, and make yourself a priority, that you can offer the best of yourself to others.
Amanda Koch is the assistant director of residential life at Valparaiso University. She has previously worked in University Housing at The University of Tennessee, where she also obtained a master's in kinesiology. Amanda also has her master's in higher education administration from the University of South Dakota where she completed her graduate assistantship in University Housing. You can connect with Amanda on Twitter.