A Glimpse In the Life of A Leader

When asked why she decided to work while she was younger and in school, she replied that while she was at home she did it initially to help out, but as she got older, she worked because she had to and she had already become accustomed to it. Her tenacity and strong work ethic can serve as a learning lesson to students, especially since we live in an ‘instant gratification’ society.

Dr. Whitely’s hard work from a young age shows that dedication, as well as perseverance, will yield positive results. It also shows that being responsible is important, and is a good character trait to have.

While in school, Dr. Whitely enjoyed studying science, and English but she ended up earning a business degree with majors in management, economics, and theology. In addition to multiple majors, Dr. Whitely found the time to be involved on campus and was a member of Student Council, National Honor Society, and she held other student leadership positions on campus as well.

What I took away from this is that making it through college requires balance. I have always heard people say that you make time for what you want… but I realize now more than ever that this statement is true. For example, I have numerous commitments both academic and otherwise on my plate this semester, and I believe that if you commit to do something you need to either do it one hundred percent, or not at all.

That being said, I have learned to make time to balance my school work, church, job, and extracurricular while, still finding time for the basics such as food and sleep. At the end of the day, it’s all about sacrifice; the road to get where you want is not impossible, but it’s not going to be a ‘breeze’ either, the things you want in life are going to require some action and effort on your part, even with God’s help and intervention. God will step in to help us but not if we are being lazy and not doing anything to help ourselves.

In addition to being involved with student affairs and everything that goes on on campus, Dr. Whitely is married, with one child, a daughter. I asked her how she found the time to do both a career and motherhood, because they are both very demanding jobs.

She admitted that they do both place a demand on her time, because she is essentially on call at the University 24/7 to handle any emergencies, or sudden crisis that may arise, but that she manages to do both jobs well. She told me that one of the key factors to her being able to do both is having a supporting and understanding husband at home.

She married her husband in 1995 but from 1990-1998 they were living in different states due to their jobs, and they would rotate commuting to see each other every 3-4 weeks. Dr. Whitely says that she feels the decision to commute and stay in Miami while her then fiancé took a job elsewhere, was probably the hardest decision she has had to make but that it was worth it.

The fact that they were able to remain faithful and keep their relationship and eventually marriage strong for eight years, truly shows how important it is to find a spouse who will support you, and be with you no matter what. Though they both now reside in Miami, the fact that they were able to do that for so long shows that their marriage is built upon a solid foundation and is long lasting.

I asked Dr. Whitely if she had any regrets up to this point and she said that she doesn’t, she’s happy with the decisions that she has made over the years, and how everything has turned out.

When asked for some words of wisdom for young women like myself and she told me; “follow your dreams, and pay no attention to media stereotypes. It may not be possible to “have it all” all at once, there will be sacrifices that will have to be made at various stages in your life. Also, take advantage of all of the opportunities that are available to you because you have more opportunities now than previous generations and make sure to take the time to eat well, and stay and shape, as both will be beneficial in the long run.”

Being able to interview Dr. Whitely was an honor, and it was also very insightful. Many students see administrators and faculty as adults who are ‘out of touch with reality’, and just hand down various rules and regulations to make their lives difficult.

By getting a chance to really talk with Dr. Whitely, I personally got to see that administrators are relatively normal; they have lives, they have hobbies, and they can get tired, just like students. Two things that they possess that not many students capitalize on, are wisdom and experience.

It was great getting a chance to learn things about one of the most visible administrators on campus that not many other students know, and to fully realize and accept that administrators at the end of the day are people too.