day 9 there yet


Good morning, everyone,

I hope this morning finds you still in pajamas, waiting on that first cup of coffee to cool off.  Or, maybe you've been up for hours now, walking your dog, getting ignored by your cat.   At any rate, happy Saturday.

During this blog, I've been using the weekend posts to showcase new staff at the College.  However, what about our existing staff?  That's the cool thing about Saint Joe's - we periodically bring in new members to our faculty and staff families, but we also have a core group who've been at the College for several years.

So, David Lischer, come on down! (cue the Price is Right theme's a great mental image)

David has been at the College just north of 20 years and works in our Counseling Center as a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW).  For those of you who know Dave, he's a thoughtful, supportive, engaging, and committed professional.  And, I might add, that's an accurate description of all of our staff at the Counseling Center.

I'm so proud when we get the opportunity to talk about how welcoming our students find our Counseling Center - in fact, around 30%  of our students utilize their services during their time on campus - everything from individual counseling, anxiety, depression, stress, relationship and couples counseling, or even when students just want an unbiased person to talk with confidentially.

I've known David for going on 6 years now, (fun fact, he was on the search committee that hired me) and I wondered if he'd be game to turn the conversational tables, so to speak.

I hope you enjoy my conversation with him and hope you're able to ask him some questions this year, too.  If you'd like to schedule an appointment to speak with him, or with one of our other counselors, swing by the Counseling Center (1st floor, St. Joe's Hall) or, shoot them an email - it's confidential, too.

Enjoy the day,


Hi Dave, this summer has been a strange one.  But, if you had an entire day of unscheduled time, and money wasn't an issue, how would you spend it? 

Seems I'm going to start right off with complicating things.  I honestly don't know how to answer this, as it would change day-to-day.  I think the best way to answer this would be to create a menu of "mix-n-match" ingredients that can be combined depending on the mood, weather, season, or whatever other influences are at play.
So, a perfect day would include a combination of great friends and family, my dog (Elsie), a wooded trail, a sunny beach, a convertible car (or a 4-wheel-drive Jeep for a snowy day), a lake-side restaurant, a roaring campfire, a gripping novel, a cup of good coffee, a roaring campfire, a stary night.
And then, once the right combination was all pulled together, the "cherry-on-top" would be a broken cell phone (that would magically start working again at the end of the day).
What's the best advice you've ever been given?
There are three pieces of advice that come to mind, though I'm sure I've gotten lots and lots of meaningful advice over the years.  Of those that float to the surface of my mind, they each focus on giving ourselves the permission and freedom to make mistakes.
Years ago, an education major was completing her student teaching, and she shared with me a sign that her cooperating teacher had posted in the classroom.  It read: "If you haven't made more than 10 mistakes today, you haven't tried hard enough."  Any time we're learning something new, we will invariably make mistakes along the way - sometimes lots and lots of them.  If we become afraid to make mistakes, to look stupid, to feel embarrassed, or to fail, we become stuck, unable to venture into new and potentially interesting, life-altering territory.
Along those lines, the second piece of advice came from a friend of my mother's from when I was about 8 years old.  Mom's friend said, "You can't steer a parked car."  If we want to get anywhere, we can't stay stuck, worrying about all the different roads or directions and feeling like we have to wait until we feel certain of "the right" path to take.  Eventually, we simply have to put the car in gear and head off somewhere.
Lastly, among this theme of trying things and taking risks, my good friend, Liz, passed along the advice to remember that most things are fixable.  So when we make a mistake or take a turn that didn't land us in a good place, we can most often find a way to repair and restore whatever was broken or went off-track.
What's the best part of your job?
Again, this is not a "one-answer" reply.  There are several aspects of my job that come together to make it so fulfilling.
There's the sense of community at Saint Joe's, a sense that we're all in this together and can find meaningful connection and support among each other.  There is the aspect of the Saint Joe's core values, emphasizing our responsibilities to ourselves, each other, and our community.
And there is the specific nature of my job, being able to form deep connections with students, being honored to be invited into some of the most personal aspects of students' lives, developing the trust that allows students to share thoughts, feelings, and experiences they may have never before spoken about, and having the opportunity to help students find their best selves, even in the midst of sometimes difficult or painful experiences.

Matt Goodwin is the Dean of Students at Saint Joseph’s College.

Along with a team of 11-mistakes-a-day Campus Life professionals in the areas of Student Engagement & Residential Living, Counseling Center, Health & Wellness Center, Campus Safety, and the Mercy Center, Campus Life supports students’ holistic personal development, learning, and empowerment in service to a global community.