We Trust You.

“Oh, you don’t need that. That’s just for students. We trust you.”

That’s what the notoriously bitchy campus safety lady said to me today when I handed her my registration and license to get my brand new staff parking permit (which I didn’t have to pay for or show my ID to get) that allows me to park anywhere the hell I want on campus at any time of day. Oh how the tides have turned from days of living in the mods and rushing out to the Citrus annex with my bedhead at 9:30 on a Saturday morning hoping not to find a ticket on my windshield from forgetting to move my car… again.

It’s true, I am now an official staff member, with the ID card to prove it, after going through a day filled with informational meetings, paperwork, and a seminar from IMT where I learned all about the mystical web-portal known as the Cougars’ Den. The day included a little shpeel about the four cornerstones, the aforementioned two-hour IMT seminar on how to use the Cougars’ Den, and a small walking tour of East Campus on our way to our free lunch in… drumroll please… the caf. Apparently they used to take all the new hires to chapel, too, but they stopped, because that cut too much into the IMT presentation, which might I add, featured slides with pictures of the IMT lady’s two sons, one who is a senior in high school and drum major of his marching band, and the other who is eight, loves Disneyland, and barfed all over the person sitting next to him the last time he was on an airplane. It was strenuous, to say the least. By the afternoon presentation on office injury prevention and proper desk chair height and monitor placement, I was pooped. We all were, actually.

There were a handful of people in the orientation with me, all doing a wonderful job of fulfilling the exact stereotype they should in order to work at APU. There was the talkative, curmudgeonly old man with a raspy voice who used little quips like, “I’ve been doing this job since Moses took the animals on the ark. Did you catch that? HA! Moses didn’t take animals on the ark! But I always say that, you know, just to see if people are payin’ attention.” He described himself as having over thirty years of experience in the “security industry,” and will be patrolling the parking lots soon as APU’s newest campus safety officer. There was also a sweet-looking, church-going lady in her mid forties who was obviously dying her graying hair the same color blonde it had always been to please her husband who already worked at APU, which admittedly was her motivation for applying to the University in the first place. She was a secretary. Another young gal with ethnic-looking jewelry was starting work at the Multi-Ethnic Programs office, and said that she didn’t really care about retirement, because she was “probably going into missions anyway and wouldn’t need it.” We also had the nerdy looking grad student who was getting a part-time job entering graduate application data from 12am to 5am in the morning to supplement his income and give him a tuition break, and we had a bubbly Hispanic alumni coming back after a few years away to take a part-time position in the Chapel Programs office entering ID numbers off of chapel attendance cards.

The whole orientation was supervised and planned by a girl who I discovered graduated from APU only a year before I did, making her the second-youngest person in the room to yours truly. She apparently had worked as a student worker in the HR department while she was at APU, and then forayed that into a lovely career processing applications and presenting new staff orientation every Monday to miscellaneous groups of employees like ours.

The entire day was certainly not useless, though. Sure, there was plenty I already knew simply from being a student, but I did learn a lot about my benefit options, and discovered that as a staff member, I could apply for an account into the all-student database, where I could look up the class schedule, mailing address, financial information, or even grades of any student that goes to or recently graduated from APU. The power is staggering. So if you’re reading this, and you still go to APU, I can know your grades with the click of a mouse. So study hard.

It’s definitely a trip. Walking around campus at lunch time, I already started to look at myself differently. Now people I used to know and share classes with are “students” and the professors and staff members that always seemed so out of place in the caf or Heritage are my peers, and are just taking advantage of their $4 a meal discount. I think it will be an interesting transition, and probably a weird one to get used to, but that’s pretty standard for any transition, I guess. For now, it’s good to know that I’ve got some security, I’ve got some sweet perks, and I’ve got trust.


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