Today marks ten years since I have been in Syracuse. I came here looking for a career and I certainly found one. I left right after 9/11 and it was such a blessing to have an escape from all the death and sadness that was in NYC at the time. What I do not mention is that before that fateful day, I didn’t have a career, I had a job that I did not like. So still being here after all this has been both a blessing and curse.
|2004 Fiesta Latina|
I learned early in my twenties that being laid off is not just something that happens to older people. I worked at Deutche Bank back in the late 90’s when they acquired Banker’s Trust. When the merger was complete, I watched my supervisor get laid off and then a few weeks later, so was I. As an admin assistant, I was getting paid pretty good right out of college. I had gotten my own apt in the Bronx and was living with my girlfriend at the time. So when I go laid off, it was a shock and I had finding a job was incredibly hard.
I landed in a place called MHN (Mental Health Network) and it was job that I liked at first, but it became repetitive. However, I loved the area in which I worked. It was right on Wall St. The World Trade Center was right there and so was the South Street Seaport. I could buy anything and eat anywhere. The job itself was boring to the point that I restarted one of my older blogs and I taught myself HTML. One day, in August 2001, I get a call from my buddy (@panthbro). He tells me that department I worked at when I was enrolled at Syracuse was hiring and I needed to jump on it.
Without hesitation, I did just that. I get an interview, which included a presentation and meeting with several people, and I knocked it out the park. The following tuesday was 9/11 and I knew that this was going to be my last month in NYC.
|Making sure my students work lol|
I get to Syracuse in October and it was all trial by fire. I worked a concert on the very first day, which turned out to be a 14 hour day. The group was called Everclear. Never hard of them and barely hear about them now. That weekend was a dance party. A fight broke out that practically clears the room. I ran right into the middle of the brawl to grab students, who work for me, out of harms way. This was when I felt pepper spray for the first and only time. At that time, our Public Safety Officers didn’t carry guns like they do now, they had cans of pepper spray. That was fun to say the least. No one who worked for me got hurt.
I worked hard to get to know the students. I specifically looked out for students in La LUCHA. This is when I met @theJLV. By the end of the 2002, I was their advisor, thanks to him. I had also noticed that Black History Month was being celebrated the way it should be, but nothing was really being done about Latino Heritage Month, outside of La LUCHA. So, I tried my hardest to bridge the gap between Latino students and faculty/staff because there weren’t many of us then (and there still aren’t many of us now). I created the Latino Listerv to start building those bridges. I worked with the Office of Multicultural Affairs to generate a calendar for Latino Heritage Month. I also started Fiesta Latina in a conference room when it was just a mixer in 2003.
|I even met Rakim!|
Over the years, I have seen many things. I have seen students come and go. I have seen staff who have been hired, fired, retired, and just plain lose their minds. I have witnessed change from inside and out. There were times in which I wasn’t sure I was going to have a job anymore, but I endured. I have seen Syracuse University at it best and at its worst. I have seen blatant racism that has but tears in the eyes of my students and I have seen the election of the first Black President.
I have made sacrifices. I got married and divorced in those 10 years and I have endured. I have seen how successful I can be when I can out aside my issues and just be me. I have worked hard on my image and continue to peruse a path that is better for me. I have gained weight and lost weight. I have taken classes and started this blog that has allowed me to rediscover myself. I have created and presented workshops that benefit the student body. I have cultivated student leaders and have been a psychologist to others (some of them call me dad…I swear I am not that old…right?). I try to be the best supervisor I can be. I teach them to be the best they can be in a thankless environment.
|I support my students!|
The most important thing is that I do love my students. I want to be the person that should have been there for me when I was in their shoes. They have taught me so much and it is because of them that I have truly learned how to be humble. I do my best to follow those who have graduated. I know that I have made it public knowledge that I want to return to my hometown of NYC because I feel it is time. Yet, something keeps me here. Whether it is the economy or just fate, I will continue to strive for something better for myself and the student who are in my lives.
In the end, I am just glad that I have maintained my sense of self and…my sense of humor.