Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Unexpected Surprise

I serve on the government of the graduate dormitory where I live - I am the equivalent of an undergrad RA (residential assistant), except for graduate students. This is mostly a social or facilitator role; my job is to know everybody, foster community, and use money I am given to throw dinners, study breaks, and organize the occasional outing for my residents. I love doing this, as it indulges just enough of my outgoing side while still letting me retreat at the end of the day to my own room. I have become friends with the other members of government over the year I've been doing this, and so I end up volunteering a lot to help with other dorm events. I also have a selfish side - the events we throw almost always include free food (and good stuff, too, not just pizza), and I have learned that the volunteers get to eat as much as they want beforehand if they help prepare the food.

So we serve brunch twice a month, and if I make pancakes I get to eat however many I want before the long lines show up. Yum, strawberry ones! And once a week is coffee and dessert hour, and I get to steal a slice of cheesecake if I chop pineapple and apples and bananas. Last night we had a one-time event, "Chocolate Feast." Well you know I'm going to volunteer to help for that one. We had boxes and boxes of Godiva chocolates, a huge chocolate fondue fountain, cakes and cookies and rich creamy hot chocolate... oh, yum. Of course we also had lots of fruit, which is what I helped chop and peel and prepare. My specialty is pineapples - nobody else likes to do those, for some reason.

In any case, it was sublime. I got to pick several Godiva chocolates, and sip my dark hot chocolate in peace. Then at opening time everybody showed up and surrounded the fondue fountain, and in order to conserve resources we could only let people have one Godiva chocolate and one piece of gourmet cake.

But I digress.

The other half of my office's responsibility is to go to monthly house meetings. These are generally painless and only 45 minutes long, as opposed to student government meetings in undergrad which could easily last two hours (mostly of arguing, if the law students showed up). Tonight we had an unexpected item on the agenda: appreciation gifts. I was pleased to see some of the hardest working officers be recognized with gift cards, and clapped politely for all the nominees.

And then they called my name! I was floored, I didn't think I was doing anything above and beyond my position. But I got a nice little speech about me before I got my award, saying I did a great job involving my residents, contributing new ideas, and giving extra of my time to volunteer.

It was absolutely lovely to be recognized for something I enjoy doing, even more so because it was unexpected. If only there were more such awards for being social and eating macaroons...

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