It was a long time ago, in a galaxy far…far away…
Today is Star Wars Day. It’s also crunch time for most of us in Residential Life. Prepping for closing. For some of us, we have two weeks left. Others have a month. Either way, we are in crunch time. Don’t get so caught up in closing prep to forget about something of great importance.
Here is what I thought was the coolest thing about the original Star Wars (I refuse to call it “A New Hope.”) It wasn’t the cantina scene. It wasn’t even the trench run. It was the FINAL scene.
You see, you didn’t know there would be a sequel (although Darth Vader not dying certainly left the possibility open). Sequels were NOT the norm back then. Sure, there was a Godfather Part II (Released in 1974) when Star Wars was released (1977) but Jaws 2 and Rocky 2 hadn’t been made yet (1978, 1979). So you weren’t sure there would be a sequel.
But that final scene. That’s what got me. I got chills when I watched Luke Skywalker and Han Solo walk “down the aisle” being saluted by their fellow Rebel Alliance. The fanfare is going – the brass, the march, everything speaks YES! WE WON!!! As they approached – there was Princess Leia – not the teenager we saw during the entire movie – but a young woman who was dressed to the hilt. And then you see C-3P0 – shiny and golden like you’ve never seen him before. And you are left wondering. What about R2-D2? Did he make it? And there he is – beeping and whirring and shiny and new. And you felt satisfied. I still get chills watching this scene. So what’s this have to do with housing? EVERYTHING.
I think we, as housing professionals (and more specifically I) struggle to do this. This final scene in Star Wars represents CLOSURE. We get so busy saying goodbye to our residents – that we often forget to celebrate the heroes of our “movie.” By the time closing comes – our staff is ready to leave. Some of them are moving on, some returning. Some limped through closing just to make it. Others finished strong. But once the trench run of finals week is over and the Death Star destroyed and the residents move out, what is left? How many of our staff, like R2-D2, were almost destroyed this year, but made it to the end? How many Han Solos were doing this for the wrong reasons but in the end found purpose and saved the day? How many Luke Skywalkers reached their destinies? And what do we do? Meh. We’re exhausted. See ya. I’m outtie (or as we liked to say in the 90s – Audi 5000). I’ve been guilty of this. But Princess Leia – who struggled right along Han, Luke and the gang, wasn’t there to collect a reward. She was there to BESTOW a reward. To BESTOW honor. To BESTOW praise. For a job well done. These are the ones who made it. How many Aunt Berus and Uncle Owens or even Obi Wans didn’t make it to the end on your staff? How many Greedos chose the wrong side and had to be fired? (After all, Han shot first!) But these. These who went through finals with you. They made it. Let’s remember to honor them for the heroes they are. Whether it’s a handwritten note after they’ve all moved home for the summer, or you hire members of your college band to play a fanfare on Friday evening after the halls are closed. Do something. Now is the time to plan it. For most, there is a calm before the storm. Even if there isn’t, use the calm AFTER the storm and bestow the honor and praise on your staff and like princess Leia, finish strong, not looking to be praised, but instead to bestow praise on others. Restore the C-3P0s and R2-D2s into their glory.
And May the Fourth be with you. Always.
As a special treat, click below to watch the final scene in star wars: