Monday, August 6, 2012

Reminiscing of the FA Office

The greatest thing about having a blog is the interaction that comes with it, and the greatest joy one can hear in life in general is to know that you've made a difference in someone's life.

When I was in the FA office everyday, I saw that first hand. I would meet students who had been on their own since they were sixteen, who had several children, who made a life for themselves without any help from mom and dad, other family members, or anyone else. I'd met some remarkable people that made me take a look at myself and think "You know, life's not that bad." There were some amazing people that I had the great fortune of helping navigate through the murky waters of FA, and in return they helped me to appreciate everything that I'd taken for granted.

Unfortunately, I don't get to see these students on a regular basis anymore, nor do I have the fortune of being able to directly help these remarkable people as I once did. They were stressful days, I won't lie. I remember being at graduations watching these same students (who I ended up looking up to as inspirations) completely ignore me and instead talk to their teachers and their admissions reps. And I was fine with it. After all, I was the FA person; I was the person who always needed something signed; I was the person who needed to send something in and had to inconvenience them to get the paperwork done; I was the one who more often than not had bad news. Well, at least that's the reputation that FA people have. But I was fine with it, like I said, because I knew that I was helping these students in ways they wouldn't realize yet, if they ever did.

And as I'd stand off to the side at graduations and reminisce on the students that I'd never see again, I may only have one of them talk to me and thank me for helping them. It may have been the student that I'd stayed late for on a night that I didn't have to, putting aside my own personal life for the student who'd no-showed me a couple times before, or it may have been the student that always had their paperwork completed on-time and flawlessly. Either way, that one student would always make up for everything else. People would often ask why someone stays in the FA business since there always seems to be bad news, changing rules, and stress without end. My response is always "for that one student who realizes".

No one seems to go into the FA industry on purpose: it always seems like an accident. After all, who ever hears of a child who says "I want to grow up to work in Financial Aid!" Everyone has their reason for getting into the industry, but I will say this: everyone that seems to get into it seems to last a long time in it. And that one student who says "thank you" is all it takes to continue for another year.

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