That drives me nuts! I answer the phone at work and attend the front desk in a university department. At least once a day, a caller or a visitor to the department leads with, “I have a quick question.” I always hope they will ask what color the sky is. THAT’s a quick question. The answer is: it’s blue. Unless it’s raining. Then it’s gray. In higher ed, there are no quick questions.
Students calling or coming by have complex questions. It’s never just one.
Do you think it’s a quick question to ask; “What can I do with my degree?” or, “How do I get an Internship?” That is more than a one word answer (which should always be the response to a quick question, a one word answer).
Can you imagine the look of surprise if I answered, “Anything you want” to the degree question or “Google” to internships?
No, you are looking for an exchange of dialogue. Wait! Are you seeking a conversation? Actual face to face encounters, where you talk and then I answer, then you ask another question and I answer and it goes on from there?
It is indeed a conversation. You know, that thing that millennials avoid but secretly crave. With all the data at your fingertips, it’s amazing that we get calls at all. Or that you come by the office. But you do. You come by.
Because even in this digital age, you still want that human interaction. You want to feel valued and heard.
So you call or come by so that you can talk to us and use your words and everything! We hear you. We value you. You matter.
Actually, it’s one of the best parts of my day. Talking to students. It’s my job to get you thinking.
When students are calling to ask what they can do with their degree, they want guidance. I can tell them to Google the job they want (seriously folks, Google is your friend), but they are seeking real world examples which I can give them.
Or I can share a story of a past graduate and what they are doing. Maybe it’s a unique job in their field. Maybe it’s applying a skill they learned in college in a different way or in a completely different field.
I can share a recent internship site that has just become available. I can ask them what they are passionate about.
Sometimes I am rewarded with that spark of creativity when they do see something in a different way. That is what gets me excited. That exchange of ideas and getting someone to see them or a situation in a different way that will ultimately benefit them.
So, do me favor. Before you call or come by, think about the information you are seeking. Take a moment and write down some questions. Because in the end, there are no quick questions.
Your education and career can’t be answered in one word.
Just don’t say you have a quick question. Be brave and limitless.
Kathryn Siggelko has worked in Higher Education for over 15 years. She’s part of the BrijBrand Crew and a contributing blogger. Subscribe below. Connect with us and get on the list – share your ideas, topics, challenges, etc. and we’ll keep you in the loop about what we’re building for you!