Nurse Pam has been the Director of Health and Wellness at Maryville University since 1992. After 26 years of service, she has decided to hang up the fanny pack and retire from her position.
What are you feeling as you go into your last weeks?
“It’s truly weird. It’s been a great job, I’m going to cry again. It’s been a dream job, honestly, for me because it’s all the stuff I’ve ever wanted to do. I love to work at a school, I got to go back to school, my kids got to go to school here, I’ve gotten to do travel and I’ve met a lot of nice people.
I don’t really know what it’s like to work in a place that isn’t nice, cause every place I’ve worked has been good. I’ve just been really lucky that way. This has been a nice way to have 26 years of work, you know, with people who work hard and care about their students. It’s really been a neat job. I’ve been lucky, I’ve been really really lucky, very fortunate soul.
It’s going to be hard, just like how you guys are in a transitional space going from high school and then getting on towards your life, this is a transition for me, too. But there’ll be good things, too.
I hope I still have a connection with Maryville. I don’t know what but something I’m sure. Probably going to come back and see how students are doing. Keeping open for possibilities.”
Do you have any favorite stories?
“Some we probably couldn’t talk about and aren’t appropriate for print.
There’s lots of stories, you know? There’s just a lot of great kids that I’ve met. Fun things, I was telling some other students that you get to see how relationships develop in front of your face. They don’t know you’re watching or maybe they don’t even know it’s happening.
One instance, on one of our Habitats for Humanity trips, one of the people that was with youth core or something like that really took an interest in one of our girls. The girl was oblivious to it all. She didn’t even know it, and in the end, they ended up getting married years later.
It’s fun to see. Hmm, I can see she likes him but that’s not happening. He likes her, but she doesn’t even know it. That kind of stuff. Oh, and the changes, you guys do grow a lot from freshman to senior year and that’s neat to see.
I’m always learning something new from you guys. Students bring a new perspective and international students bring a very interesting perspective that I would’ve never have an opportunity to speak to someone like that.
Sometimes I’m the first one that a girl might come to if she’s pregnant or if a student is worried about a health issue. It’s fun to help guide them wherever they need to go. Lucky enough, we live in an area with three major hospitals.
There’s also wonderful faculty and staff, we really do care about the students. I think that Maryville is a little bit different than a lot of schools in that respect.”
What are you going to do after you retire?
“I have like four sheets of things I need to do at my house. ‘Oh my god I need to paint this room’ that kind of stuff. Several of my friends are retired, so I hope to get together with them.
I have relatives in Canada and my husband has relatives in Florida, so I hope we do some traveling. I love to canoe, probably going to canoe when I can. Going to walk and exercise and stay in shape. Stuff like that, nothing earth shaking I don’t think.
I do want to learn more about how to manage money. I don’t know much about business stuff. Something I should have some knowledge in my wheelhouse about.
I’m sure I’ll volunteer, just don’t know what I want to do yet. Want to give myself a little time to settle before I make any decisions. Kids are important so I’m sure it’ll be related to children. Learning, reading, I don’t know yet, but we have a lot of opportunities in St. Louis for that.”
“I feel all your pain as you try to decide what you’re gonna do and where you’re gonna go and how it’s gonna work, I feel the same right now. Many of you don’t cry about it so I don’t know what my problem is.
I’ve known about it for a long time [the retirement] but when it comes to talking about it, that’s a whole other story. I was surprised I didn’t cry last night, [referring to the Golden Louies where she won the Mary Poppins award.] I guess I was shocked, that kind of took me by surprise.
When I talk to students or staff, that’s when I get emotional. Just a lot of nice people. Sorry about that, it’s embarrassing I guess, but I know I’m just a big crybaby, my students know that too, so they’re not surprised.”
Any last words?
“Just do your best and have fun. Be nice. I hope that’s what the students remember. Step up and help each other. Oh, and still take good care of yourself, that too. That’s important.”