Enough is Never Enough

We’ve all “had enough”. It’s when we get to the highest point of frustration, when we can’t go on any further because of someone or something. We’ve all said “enough is enough” when we’ve worked and worked and worked at something and someone or something still needs more. But I want to talk about something bigger, not just us as individuals, but as, say, a department.

We work towards our own departmental goals, graduation rates or creating new classes or the newest trend. We work with other departments and sometimes we rely on those other departments. I was in a meeting where this scenario came up: Professor Flowers suggested we create a new class (focusing on safety and usage) to allow students from Basket Weaving (BW) to use the Post-it Note Making (PITNM) supplies. Right now students from PITNM cannot use BW supplies, but Professor Flowers decided it was time for us to break down the silos and start collaborating for the sake of our students. Professor Coffee stated that while it’s good our students and BW students are looking to do cross-discipline work, we have “done enough” to help the other departments. “It’s time for them to do something!” said Professor Coffee.

Personally, I think if we offered a safety and usage course, students in BW and PITNM (I’m pronouncing it pitnum, by the way) would benefit. They might actually be more interesting in taking courses in the other program, which would increase enrollment, increasing faculty load, and increasing faculty lines. Faculty in BW and PITNM could benefit from teaching students from other discipline and the value of the courses and degrees could increase. Yes, it might require someone to write a curriculum and spend some time in committees, but if it does so much good isn’t it worth it?

In student affairs is there ever “enough”? I think sometimes our next step is to let a student fail, or fall, or be without support and that step usually follows a “I’ve done so much and this student isn’t helping himself”. I’m not sure if letting the student fail is really a step of frustration and I think it can definitely lead to a teachable moment. “Enough” would be giving up entirely, we would have to stop rooting for the students, stop hoping for success, stop doing what it is we do (and who we are).

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