Vampire Slayers and Student Affairs

June 26th, 2015
Buffy the Vampire Slayer with stake

I mean, you’ve been fighting evil here for three years, and I’ve helped some. And now we’re supposed to decide what we want to do with our lives. And I just realized that’s what I want to do. Fight evil, help people. I mean, I-I think it’s worth doing. And I don’t think you do it because you have to. It’s a good fight, Buffy, and I want in. – Willow, Buffy the Vampire Slayer

When I was in high school, I found out that this guy I knew – who I wasn’t very fond of at the time – had fallen on some rough times. He was trying to finish out high school in his current school, but his mom was unable to take care of him, and his dad was in another city and also wasn’t in a place to take care of him. I begged my parents to take him in and let him live at our house – he had no place else to go, I told them. We had so much, surely we could help him out. Sure, I didn’t like him much, but what did that matter if he was in need? Even at that age, I knew I wanted to save the world, one person at a time.

I’ve seen this theme come up over and over again in student affairs – we’re a field that wants to help people. Not because it’s our job, but because it’s a good fight. Yeah, I’ve been watching Buffy again lately, so you get to hear about her again. But really, what’s so different about what we do in student affairs and being a vampire slayer?

Buffy slays vampires (and demons and hellhounds and all sorts of other things) because she has a job – she’s the slayer. But that’s not the only reason she does it. She slays because she strives to make the world a better place – one hellish beast at a time. She doesn’t always love her job (she rarely does) – but she’s good at it because she knows it’s the right thing to do. And she’s great at kicking ass.

Isn’t that what we’re doing in student affairs? Aren’t we trying to make the world a better place – not just because it’s our job but because we know it’s the right thing to do? This doesn’t mean we have to love our job – or even like it every day – to be good at it. Just like Buffy, we can be good at our job because it’s the good fight, and we want in. So maybe let’s get rid of some of the judgment around loving our job or not loving our job and focus on what’s important – being great at kicking ass in student affairs.

  • Tim Lade

    My first ever RA training presentation was called 5 Lessons I Learned From Watching Buffy The Vampire Slayer. She saved the world, and inspired me, a lot.

    • Kristen Abell

      She’s amazing, right? Always glad to find another Buffy lover :).