Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Amish Friendship Bread

I'm curled up on my bed, knowing that in the hall kitchen Amish Friendship bread is baking. It's sitting in the oven, patted with cinnamon and sugar and mixed in with salt and milk. It smells heavenly and so do my vanilla-stained fingers.

After class, I went to Residence Life Office (RLO) to sign Valentines cards. That's right. They're not-so-secret, Valentines cards addressed to entire teams of RAs. It's like falling in love with a band. You don't know whether to confess your admiration for one person or just become a fangirl of the entire group and will Ringo really get upset if you only love Paul? Ah, the dilemma of every secret admirer. I decided to keep true to myself and not get entangled in any love triangles by clearly stating the person to whom I was addressing my feelings and clearly signing my own name. I only wrote in print. For my own team, and yes, you were supposed to write to your own team too, I drew a lovely caricature of everyone. Once we officially "receive" the card on the weekend of Valentines, I will take a picture and post my glorious artwork. It's indicative of the many different personalities on our team and how our SR works hard to work with us. (He's an old, wrinkly Grandpa in the caricature. We're quite a rambunctious group of grandchild-RAs.)

After that, I was supposed to read The Soviet Experiment for my Russian history class, but I decided to bake instead. I'm so excited for how it turns out!

Boss Says

I just had a talk with my Senior Resident. That's my boss. He's also a friend, a fellow student, and just a fellow. At UVA, because we believe in student governance, this happens a lot. Your boss is a student just like you.

While there are benefits to this method, because hierarchical systems usually require formality and support a culture of supposedly "masculine characteristics" (e.g. your boss should be tough, commanding, and authoritative -"masculine characteristics" vs. your boss being nurturing, listening, and understanding -"feminine characteristics."), students get stress from students. Specifically, I get criticism from a friend, a student, but ultimately my boss.

I cannot deny that the ability to take feedback well is a fantastic characteristic to develop. It is especially crucial if you work in any manner as a team. I want to point out that this isn't being silent as someone gives you flack. Being able to see your mistakes is step one and taking steps to not repeat them is step two, and having someone point these out is feedback. (I believe the politically correct term is "constructive criticism.") In fact, being able to give and take criticism is a sign of a healthy, professional relationship.

However, because the boss-worker relationship is formal and not many college relationships are formal, having your friend be your boss is difficult in any situation. I hope I remember this when I am on the other end.