RealJobs: Tanesha Barnes

This week is going well so far but I imagine that any minute now I will get overwhelmed with work and no longer able to be a helpful to anyone and I do so enjoy being helpful. Today consisted of a staff meeting in the room in the picture below and with about half of this group. It was an interesting meeting because we usually have a list of items to update each other on so we can all be aware of what the members of the team are doing and we also have discussions about major programs or initiatives. But for some reason there was no discussion items so everyone went around and gave their updates and they were a sense of what now since there is nothing to discuss. And even with fewer items we still went over the meeting time by about 20 minutes. I love that about student affairs…meetings, meetings, and more meetings.

But that was not the highlight of my day because somehow someway there always seems to be a highlight and the highlight for Tuesday came in a scheduled 30 minute meeting with a student that turned into an hour of laughs. The student I met with is one 18 students chosen to take part of one of our major programs, something I have overseen for the past 4 years and is an award winning program through NASPA, one of the major organizations for the field of student affairs. To give some background around the –ISM Project, it is a grant arts based program that encourages students to analyze the various “–isms” in our communities as they relate to race, culture, class, gender, politics, religion, and other existing social constructs. It is definitely one of the best parts of my job. We get tons of applicants and we accept the projects that are so amazing at times it leaves me breathless and happy to be a part of the experience. The students work tirelessly to create videos, photo exhibits, dance, dramatic performance, etc.

In order to organize all of the students we create a detailed timeline outlining the entire semester and consist of group meetings, 1 on 1 meeting with me and meetings with their faculty advisors. They come to the –ISM experience with great ideas but often times don’t know how to create an original skits or how to shoot and edit a film but they work hard for 2 months trying to make their dreams a reality. They are only required to meet with me once a month for their 1 on 1 but one of the students looked me in the eye at our meeting and said, “how would you feel if we met once a week?” I couldn’t help myself I started laughing, as did she. She then proceeded to tell me that she just doesn’t feel like she get through this process without touching base with me to go over her project. I understood though and told her that it was fine as a matter of fact I prefer it and I look forward to our weekly meetings. Other students have done this in the past but none said I need to meet with you weekly to stay sane as I try to accomplish something I’ve never done but always wanted to do. I felt honored and touched that she wanted my input and just by looking at her and her passion for her work I know she will be great at the showcase in April, when we present all of the projects to the NYU community.


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