Hello everyone! I’m back again with another interview. This time I had the opportunity to interview Dr. Andrea Weber, the Dean of Students here at Missouri State. For those of you who missed the first interview, this series is titled “Back to the Future” because I will be talking with University staff about how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted their life, but also what they are looking forward to as we re-approach our so called normal or new normal.
My hope with this series is to share how the pandemic has affected all our lives, but also how it has helped us grow! If we look hard enough, there are always at least a few positives that come out of any situation.
I have the privilege of getting to work with Dr. Weber sometimes, and I can tell you that she is just a ball of light that always makes your day better! She has an infectious smile and is always wanting to help students in any way that she can.
If you ever have the opportunity to meet Dr. Weber, I would strongly urge you to, but until then you can keep reading and feel that brightness through her responses! I am going to leave these interviews in a Q/A format so you can feel like you were there with us! Let’s get this started!
Q: What makes a good leader?
A: A good leader has to be willing to do things that anyone else is willing to do so that they can model the way! They shouldn’t be afraid to roll up their sleeves and do some demanding work.
You need to make sure that you aren’t expecting others to do things that you wouldn’t be willing to do yourself. You should also lead with compassion and grace because there are going to be things that happen and sometimes giving grace is needed. I learned that through COVID!
Part of being a leader is exhibiting good ethics and values. Good leaders need to know what values they are willing to stand their ground on. When all of these factors work together in harmony, a good leader is made!
Q: How has the past year and a half changed your outlook in your personal and work life?
A: There was the old attitude that we had to think outside of the box, but we recently have really had to do this and learn how to expect the unexpected. It seems like nothing is out of the ordinary anymore. We need to be able to realize that we cannot do things the same way, so each person has the responsibility of being a little more flexible and widening their mind in a unique way.
The uncertainty is hard, but there are a lot of positives that did come out of the situation that we are living in. I do not think any of us expected them.
One example is remote work! Having remote options for work is something that has been great for so many people in so many different situations! COVID also helped me practice leading with compassion and grace more. There are a lot of positives that have come out of what we are still in!
Q: What is something you look forward to going back to the so called “normal” and why?
A: It is hard to remember what I used to consider normal back then! It’s going to be nice when we get to a place where we don’t have to fear the unknown. Right now, we live in a world where we are so fearful of someone getting sick all the time and I am looking forward to going back to where there isn’t that constant fear. I’m looking forward to going back to a day where we can all hug again and being close to each other again. I’m ready for there not to be barriers between us all to feel safe.
Q: What do you think is our new normal?
A: We need to embrace every day for what it is and love the life that we are leading. We need to remember that being here is being the best that we can be, and we need to be trying our best. Live your life and don’t try to control it because that is where fear and anxiety creep in. Just remember that we are still all here together to support each other!
Q: What is one piece of advice you would give to the student body about being resilient?
A: I think it’s important to remember that you can’t sweat the small stuff, but you also have to break down the big stuff. If you take it piece by piece, you are going to make it through! Instead of looking at the totality of what it is, look at the small pieces and you can get through them!
I hope you all enjoyed getting to see how Dr. Weber is feeling about getting Back to the Future! Make sure to keep a look out for the next interview where I will hear from other university staff about how they plan to go back to the future this year!
Thank you so much for reading and I hope you have a great rest of your day!
Until next time,
(Sarah Farrar is a senior from Webb City majoring in Psychology. She is the Family Assistant for the Office of Family Programs and the Vice President of Development for the Student Activities Council.)