Brandy Garlic, the resident director of University Village Apartment, authored the below article on page 32 in the Winter Issue of MACUHO Magazine, a publication of the Mid-Atlantic Association of College & University Housing Officers. At first, the plan for this webpage was to simply mention her authorship of the piece and summarize its message. However, after reading it, it became clear that it was a message that every member of the DSU community – students, staff, faculty, administrators, alumni and anyone else who takes the time to read it – could and would benefit from it. So the article has been reproduced below in its entirety.
The University Village Residential Education staff appears on the front cover of the Winter Issue of MACHUHO
THE POWER OF POSITIVITY
Brandy Garlic, Resident Director
University Village Apartments, Delaware State University
Let’s be honest. Working in housing and residential education is a lot of work! There is so much emphasis on customer service, office hours, on call, late nights, policies and procedures that sometimes we forget the bare essentials that we need to get to the meat of the job done. I am a firm believer (and I preach this to my students and staff) that, “your
attitude determines the outcome.” If you approach the Resident Assistant position and a career in general with a negative attitude, then you will have negative results. If you approach an irate student with negativity, you had better believe that you will get negative results. There truly is power in positivity.
This may seem like mere words to you, but it has become a movement on Delaware State University’s campus specifically in the Department of Housing and Residential Education. While planning for fall training this year, I brainstormed a great deal trying to find a theme. Just like most of my “great ideas,” it came to me at 2 a.m. while trying to fall asleep. Positivity!
During my welcome and expectations sessions, I told the RAs, “I do not do well with negativity because I am a positive person. So, if you are having a bad day, and I encounter you, I will sprinkle you with positivity. Smiles are contagious and so is a positive attitude and aura.” To support my thinking and my way of living I showed a TED Talk, “The Happy Secret to Better Work” by Shawn Achor. Shawn’s talk is about positive psychology. He challenges listeners to not allow their external world to determine their happiness.
“If you raise someone’s level of positivity in the present then their brain experiences what we call a happiness advantage,” says Achor. He does a fantastic job of exuding the positivity and energy he discusses in his talk. The feedback from the RAs after hearing this was filled with positivity.
Because of this new way of approaching training, this positive movement, you could see the difference in the way the RAs bonded with their staffs, the way they learned new policies and procedures, and the way they accepted the challenges of training. This may sound like something small, not anything new to professionals or even Chief Housing Officers, but it is something that we as humans sometimes take for granted. Reintroducing positivity to the RAs during training produced powerful results and provided an amazing atmosphere. Anytime they are faced with adversity in life or in the job I challenge them to “sprinkle it with positivity.” I tell them that I don’t care if it’s a salt shaker filled with positivity or a bucket. Sprinkle it with positivity because your attitude in just about any situation can determine the outcome.