About a month after we moved into this place, we started hanging pictures around the house. As I sit at my desk in the basement, over my right-hand shoulder is my Aviation Diploma, Business Degree and my recently-awarded Master’s degree. These three are neatly arranged from top to bottom, with the MBA at the top. Underneath this academic credentials are two smaller plaques -> one presented to me by the #185 Olds RCAC squadron for being the Reviewing Officer in June 2018, the other presented from Mount Royal College (now a University).

This is the place where I got the Aviation Diploma and Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA). The plaque, however, has little to do with my academic performance but more to do with my performance as a Resident Advisor (RA). I was the Most Valuable Player (MVP) for East Residence, in the Year 2008-2009. As I hung that plaque it brought back a few memories, and ironically just a week later I was asked to do a ‘teaching moment’ on Loyalty.

When I first go the RA job, we did a round-circle during the training where our leadership team (one of whom was a gentlemen named Brandon) asked us to list one quality of a leader. You see, as an RA we would be responsible for leading a group of students (in my case, fellow pilots in the aviation living learning community). We went around the circle and all your normal buzz words came up – honesty, decisiveness, etc. There were no ‘new age’ terms like vulnerability, followership, etc. But there was one RA-in-training – Dave, who I liked because he was the bouncer at the student pub (the Lib) and also was a returning RA – who said loyalty.

For me, that wasn’t even in the top 3. I agree it’s important, but I didn’t understand how important.

Fast forward a year and I get this MVP plaque, and with it a book called “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”, and also a bamboo plant. I held onto all three, with the plaque now hanging behind, the book beside me in my desk (mostly because I used it as part of my show-and-tell teaching moment), and the bamboo plant in my betta tank. In a strange, maybe ironic, twist the bamboo has started dying ever since I did the teaching moment a week ago.

The death cycle.

It stood the test of the time -> I moved it into a wine bottle at some point, and then into a much ‘cuter’ rectangular glass with two other bamboo plants, until it finally resided in the betta tank last year for my birthday.

I was planning to return as an RA in the fall, but during the summer I attended a party. And at this party someone somewhere was drinking alcohol outside, which was against the rules, which I chose not to enforce. A picture was taken, my offer to return was rescinded, and I was left looking for a place to live while I finished my BBA (and also started my aviation career).

I lived with my great-great aunt for a couple months, and learned some valuable lessons from her.

The lesson I learned from this RA experience was the important of loyalty. You see, I chose to be loyal to my friends at the party instead of my work friends. The one who came to break-up the party was Robin, who actually voted for me to have the award.

The funny part, I can’t remember anyone at the party. But I remember Brandon, Dave and Robin.

The Bamboo mentioned above is the middle one (starting to die by the looks of things).