COLUMBUS — A New Albany native, Phillip Brent Cissom, 24, is housing assignments coordinator for Mississippi University for Women, where he manages the Office of Community Living, supervises student office workers, assigns students in residence halls and oversees guest housing operations, among other duties.
A four-year resident of Columbus, he “loves” what he does.
“I don”t come to work because I”m made to,” he said. “I come because I want to.
“Ultimately we are here for the students. We are a family of professionals with one goal, making sure these students get the tools to help them achieve an education and become honorable, upstanding adults.”
What do you find most rewarding about your job?
We have an amazing staff working for Student Services, and working along side them is one of many rewards I have from this position.
And I do love it. There are many people I have met through this position. You see these students day in and day out. You feel you really get to know them, and then they leave to start a new chapter in their lives. A bit sad really, but that”s life. You just hope that you might have helped them in some way. And there are some, of course, you will never forget. There was a student once who called me every day I was in the office the summer before he attended. It got to a point that I expected his call.
When the fall semester came around, and all the students were settled in, a young man approached me with a card. I had never seen him before that day, but there he was handing me a sealed envelope. It was a thank-you card in which he expressed his gratitude for my patience in talking with him. I realized that he was the young gentleman I spoke with for what seemed like every day that summer.
I still have that card and probably will always keep it. That is just one of many similar stories, and I have many cards and notes to remind me of them. I don”t need anyone to tell me that my job isn”t important or I am not needed. I know it isn”t true. The young man has now graduated and is out living his own life. The last time I heard, he was doing a good job of it also. I like to think I had a small part in that.
What advice do you have for upcoming students on college life?
A lot of people think that college is just a place to come and get a classroom education. That is just one part of it. It is the main part, but still just one part. Through campus-sponsored events, which are happening all the time, if not every day, students learn social and life skills that are just as vital as the education they receive from the classrooms.
These students come and you can see them grow. You see them break out of their shell and turn into young adults. Campus, although small, has life bursting from every crack in the sidewalk. This fall will be a new semester brimming with new students to carry on the many traditions of The W along side our returning students. A lot of these new incoming and transfer students will be housed on campus, and we look forward to it.
I have gained a lot of life knowledge through this job. In fact, I am still learning little things that help me get through it all. The best advice I can pass on though, was passed to me just days ago by my friend, Stacy. If there is one thing I could tell every student that walked on this campus, it would be, ”they can”t eat you.” No matter how tough it seems to be, or how overwhelming it gets — and it will — just remember they can”t eat you.
Life will still go on and you will find a way to get through it.