Brooks in Dallas

Brooks is a senior majoring political science. He is from from Plano, Texas, a suburb of Dallas. Instead of heading abroad or seeking out an internship, like many of his friends, he decided to use this summer to focus on academics and raise his GPA.

Classes, RLSH and Jen is cool

My medieval history class is going well. Philosophy is a little slower and somehow different than I expected. After yesterday’s crazy lecture (complete with thunder and lightning at opportune times to reinforce key points of the lecture – totally coincidental, I might add), I’m still grappling with the notion that maybe I’m not giving these readings enough thought. I realize it’s a PHILOSOPHY of LAW class (which basically means thinking really hard about a really hard topic), but I just don’t think it’s been that difficult to grasp what the authors are saying. Yet, every day my classmates keep engaging my professor in these long, drawn-out sparring contests over one point of minutia or another, which really interrupts my train of thought. Oh well. If I do well on the test on Friday I’ll either prove I know what I’m talking about, or I’ll really foul things up and start to doubt to what degree I’m actually understanding what’s being discussed. And that will just not be a good thing.

To take my mind off of that, I was glad to get away this afternoon to have my one-on-one with my hall director Jen. She is interning at SMU for the summer for Residence Life and Student Housing as she is working on her Masters at Western Illinois University. Did I mention she’s really cool? We went to this very eclectic coffee/tea place near campus and got to talk a little about what’s been happening on my floor, what plans I’m making for programming, and a little about what I’ve been up to with classes and in my personal life.

A couple things are worth mentioning here: First, RLSH is very good about checking in with Student Staff members (as we’re called) to make sure everything is running smoothly within each floor community of a building and with each student staff member him or herself. It’s a way for each RA to communicate both positive and negative things on a one-on-one basis with his or her hall director, and also provides an opportunity to build a strong, trusting relationship where sensitive issues can be conveyed easily. While it may sound strange, this type of interaction is crucial so that residents and RAs alike can be safe in their environment and enjoy their residence hall experience; so residents that might be having trouble in one area or another an need assistance from one of our countless campus resources; but also so that outstanding students can be pinpointed as potential campus leaders and can be set up with the right resources and contacts to help them develop and excel. RLSH has a great system of recruiting students to serve as RAs and student staff throughout the department, and it is those students, along with dedicated and motivated professional staff, that really keep things moving around residence halls and throughout campus.

Second, during the summer, the seemingly hundreds of student organizations that provide such a huge part of the color and vibrant nature to our campus are by and large inactive as much of their membership is away until August. To that end, we RAs and others in RLSH are working hard to put on programs to make sure everyone is interacting and getting the most of all SMU and the surrounding community has to offer. Over the course of the summer, we are very fortunate to have been afforded an opportunity to have part of the Dedman Center, our brand new athletic and fitness facility, reserved just for us to host a sand volleyball tournament and movie night/barbecue. In addition, we are holding movie nights in the hall every Wednesday (complete with popcorn, candy and soda – just like the real thing!), and the RAs are doing some of our own programming as well.

Tonight, I took a few of my residents to a well-known wing restaurant called Pluckers for their weekly Quiz Night. It’s popular not just among SMU students but with nearly everyone in the younger set living in the Greenville avenue area. We had a blast. We then made it back just in time to catch Old School with Will Ferrell, Luke Wilson, and Vince Vaughn for the weekly movie night feature.

More tomorrow!

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