The Important Things in Life, according to Leslie Knope

Parks and Rec_Leslie Knope quote_meme

Leslie Knope (Parks & Recreation) is one of the greatest fictional female characters, right up there with Buffy Summers, Alana, Khaleesi, Storm, and Eowyn. And even though she is a fictional character, she provides great advice on an assortment of life needs, from waffles to politics, to friendship.

The quote in the meme I created above is one that popped out at at me this week: “We need to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, work. Or waffles, friends, work. Doesn’t matter, but work is third.”

Feel free to substitute “waffles” for whatever is your favorite culinary treat. In fact, grab that favorite treat right now (fruit? fruit flavored products like Gushers?), and mull that quote over a bit.

How often does that statement apply to you?

If you’re reading this blog then likely you work in student affairs (or else you’re just my #1 fan, aka my cat Loki) and our field is rather notorious for mocking this idea of “work/life balance” and how it doesn’t exist. Perhaps you make it work. Perhaps you don’t. Perhaps it just depends on the day and your caffeine intake.

Regardless, take this blog post as your official notification that it’s A-OK to ‘punch out’ outside of standard work hours and live – whether that includes people, pets, your favorite book, or your serious relationship with Netflix (notice: watch Daredevil, it’s amazing)

Technology and social media is amazing. It provides opportunities for us to connect and build relationships in authentic ways. When great outlets like #sachat on Twitter and numerous student affairs groups on Facebook exist, we can easily connect with folks across our profession.

However…this has it’s faults as well. I can only speak for myself but many times over the last couple years I have become very involved in the social media world of student affairs, having great dialogues and ‘meeting’ brilliant people as I learn from so many perspectives. Social media became part of my professional identity, and with that it encroached into aspects of my personal identity.

Where does personal identity and professional identity end? Does it end in our current world of social media? I believe there are many answers to those questions, and they’ve all been debated before in the Twitterverse. What do you think?

Essentially, it can be fairly easy to become overwhelmed with all things student affairs, between our long work weeks, stressful work, social media, social groups, and more. It’s like we’re stranded on a desert island, surrounded by a sea of glitter, conduct reports, theories, and event planning checklists.

So take a break, friends. Student affairs isn’t a 7/11, open all the time and dedicated to smothering you like an old-fashioned grandparent wondering why you haven’t birthed a litter of children yet at the ripe old age of 29.

Have some waffles. Spend time with people/things you care about.

Remember – work is third.

(and possibly even further down the list).

The Important Things in Life, according to Leslie Knope