[Caveat emptor: I am personally passionate about corps member development. In no way do I intend the post below to mean that CMs aren't a priority at institute. I'm simply encouraging a little kindness.]
Probably the most uncommon knowledge about institute staff is that the operations coordinators are college students. During the agonizing summer of 2008 when I was a corps member in training, I had no idea that OCs were college interns until I actually spoke to one named Gretchen who was studying education in Connecticut. She may have been the only staff member I spoke to kindly the whole summer. (That’s an exaggeration. Slight.)
I found out at institute that I am capable of being a horrible, callous person. No qualifications. No excuses. I can be awful.
I’ve been interviewing prospective OCs for the last few weeks. As I’m talking to these kiddos – I get to say that since I’m 10 years older than them AND my first class of freshman babies are now sophomores in college – I’m kind of blown away by how accomplished they are. But I also know that most of them, no matter how accomplished, aren’t ready for institute yet. They really don’t know how tough it will be for them as staff, working for CMs, most of whom don’t know they’re college interns. We’ll train them; we’ll support them. But we can never adequately prepare them for everything that will come. These, as of yet unchosen, operations coordinators are my babies. I can get down-right mama grizzly about them. I don’t want to see them hurt.
So here’s all I have to say: 2011 corps, please be kind to my OCs. Say whatever you want/need to me but please be kind to my babies.