My how time flies.

I haven’t written anything in months and I’m pretty sure it was my New Year’s Resolution to write at least once a week. We all see how that worked out.

Well this summer (Yes, I know it is November) was AMAZING. I went to China for 2 weeks and had an amazing time. And then I moved on down to Florida to complete my internship.

Me on great wall

me at Qingdao University

Welcome to St. Pete

My time in Florida was so amazing. I was working at a very small institution and they wanted me to get the most out of my time there. I worked with some awesome people who I hope I get to work with again one day. I learned so much about myself and my future professional self in the short 6 weeks that I was there. My last post was Summer of Growth and boy, was that true.

I can’t wait to see where my profession takes me and what I end up doing. I do know that with the support of my friends, family, and coworkers that I will never be alone and will always have a listening ear or someone to push me in the right direction.

I have officially started my job search and this is when I learn if I will sink or swim as a new professional in student affairs. I graduate in 172 days. That is not much time when you think about it. And on top of that I have 110 days until I present at my first professional conference, 127 days until The Placement Exchange, and 144 days until the test that determines my fate. But before then I have to make it to Thanksgiving. I know that I can do it.

I’ll try to write more, I promise.

Y’all I am BEYOND excited about this summer.  This is going to be the best summer I have ever had and I can’t wait to share my experiences with you.

First off, closing is in 11 days. Yep 11 days. But before I can get to that I have to get past 3 tests, 1 paper, and a poster board session. I know that I can do it!

In just 19 short days I will be boarding a plane for China! It’s hard to imagine that in less than 3 weeks I will literally be on the OTHER SIDE OF THE WORLD! I have a lot of concerns about leaving the country but that’s for a different post, this one is all about the AMAZING OPPORTUNITIES that I have been given.

Qingdao University

24 hours after I get back from China, I will be heading to Florida. Yep, Florida. I get to spend 6 beautiful weeks in the Sunshine State completing my internship.

I’ve never been more than 2 hours from home and this summer I will be halfway across the world and then 15 hours from where my family is. Talk about scary!

I know that this summer is going to be the most perfect summer because I am going to be able to grow as an individual and as a student affairs professional.  If I had never realized that student affairs is what I want to do the rest of my life, I wouldn’t have been given these amazing opportunities.

Many people have been there for me and supported me in this journey and I can’t thank them enough for everything that they have done for me.

My summer of growth starts in just 11 days…

This week I am on duty and it has been a week. A friend has decided that the duty phone is a horcux because when people have the phone they get REALLY grumpy and angry. And boy has that been me this week.  It’s just normal duty things: lockouts, broken windows, leaks in lobbies, and doors not opening. But for some reason this week has completely drained me!  Maybe it’s because I live in Arkansas and there has been threats of severe weather and tornadoes but poop on this week!

truth

On the bright side here is a list of wonderful things about today:

  1. It is FRIDAY and that is always a beautiful thing!
  2. We have potential GA candidates here for their on-campus interviews.
  3. It’s a BEAUTIFUL day after last night’s storms.
  4. I have bubble wrap!
  5. I bought all kinds of Cadberry chocolates last night.
  6. I’m completely done with one of my classes until the final on May 1st.
  7. I get to watch an Extremely Goofy Movie for class.
  8. My Pandora station is playing AWESOME songs today.
  9. On Monday I get to take the Sword of Gryffindor and destroy this horcrux pass off the duty phone.
SHINE

SHINE

Today was awesome!!

The morning started way too early when I went to register to compete in the case study competition. My partner and I present first tomorrow. I’m excited but nervous. We were told it would be an intense roommate conflict. We have both been in housing a while so I think we will do great!

Today’s keynote speaker was awesome! Claudia Beeny PhD spoke to us about what makes us SHINE. In order for us to teach and lead others it is important for us to know what it is that makes us shine. I’m still trying to learn what makes me shine in this profession but what Dr. Benny shared with us today was great advice.

Here is a quick rundown of SHINE:
S- strengths
H- hobbies
I- interests and irritants
N- natural talents
E- experiences

After the keynote I spent my day attending different sessions put on by other professionals.

I went to a session about personal branding, a round table discussion for new professionals, a session on professionalism, and finally one on faculty in the residence halls.

Each session had its pros and cons but I’m glad I chose the ones I did. Most of the time I was away from my delegation so I was forced to talk to other people. In one session I made a contact with a graduate student who just got the pet policy changed on her campus, me and some other GAs are working on a proposal at our university and asked for her help. She said she would email me her research! Shoutout to Tsuki from UNT!!

After the sessions were over and prizes were given out I went to my state caucus meeting. I had no idea what to expect from this but I was glad I got to see that part of the conference. The Arkansas schools talked about what was going on with them and how SWACUHO could help. We talked about the numbers of employers going down at SPE and we talked about how in 2017 Arkansas will be hosting SWACUHO again.

I’m so proud to be part of a region that really cares what is going on at each individual school.

Every single day I am reminded that I am in the right place and I am in the right profession. I can’t wait until I graduate and get my first professional job so that I can give back like this region has given to me.

I’m that graduate student who is afraid to get involved because who knows where I will be working after I graduate. All I care about is that I get to work with students and be a part of something that is so much bigger than myself and my coworkers.

This is a VERY busy time of year for me and my co-workers and my cohort members. The second years are busy job hunting and us first years are looking for summer internships.

I applied for summer internships through ACUHO-I because I LOVE LOVE LOVE housing and really want to stick with it. I’ve been in Arkansas ALL of my life. I need to get out and try new things if I want to be marketable when I start job hunting next year.

So far I have had 2 interviews and I have 2 more set up for next week. I’m still waiting to hear back from a couple places as well, so like I said, I’ve been busy.

One of the things that makes the internship search so difficult is that I have very specific dates that I can work. Why you might ask? Because I AM GOING TO CHINA!! I paid my deposit last week so in May I will be boarding a plane and flying halfway around the world! How amazing is that?  I’m really really excited but also really really nervous. Because I AM GOING TO CHINA!

Well that is what is going on right now. I don’t think I’m going to have time to post again anytime soon because this weekend I will be at SPE interviewing candidates for next year’s cohort and then next weekend I will be going to Fort Worth to SWACUHO!

It’s a very busy month! But I will leave you with this…my birthday is in 19 days!

Dear college freshman,

You are starting your new life as a high school graduate.  You are going off to college.  It doesn’t matter if you know what you want to do or not, you have made the decision to attend college.  It also doesn’t matter if this school was your first choice or your fall back, either way the next 4, 5, or 6 years are going to be great!

Here are just a few helpful hints to get you on your way.

  1. Get out of your room.  You do not have to stay in there all the time. You are allowed to leave, in fact most people recommend that you leave and not just for classes.  Go to the events that are put on by your school’s Office of Campus Life.  Go to your school’s welcome week events, this will get you pumped up about the semester and you will probably make some new friends! Just GET OUT!
  2. You don’t have to be best friends with your roommate.  All the movies about college give you unrealistic expectations about what your roommate is supposed to be like.  According to the movies, you will be instant best friends. You will go to all the parties together. You will take the same classes. You will get along perfectly. But in reality you will probably barely get along with them.  They will hate your taste in music and you will hate their music. You will think that they are too loud in the morning and you will think they are too loud at night.  One of you will want the room cold and one of you will want it hot.  Whatever the issue is, and there will always be at least one, just remember that you don’t have to be best friends. As long as you two can live in the same room and not want to murder anyone, you should be fine.
  3. Please shower. You would think that as a college freshman you learned the art of showering in middle school, but sometimes you forget.  Please don’t make the resident assistant (RA) or worse a complete stranger tell you that you should probably take a shower.  You will be living in a residence hall with hundreds of other people, think abut what that place would smell like if people only showered every few days. Ewww, I would not want to live there and I’m sure you don’t either.
  4. Go to class.  You are paying for it. Or your parents are paying for it. Or your scholarship is paying for it. Either way, someone is paying good money for you to go to class. SO GO! Some professors will have an attendance policy and others will not, but you still need to go. You will get better grades and the professors will like you which will come in handy when you need a letter of recommendation from one of them.
  5. You are allowed to change your mind. You on’t have to know what you want to do the first day you register for classes. In fact, you might not know what you want to do when you walk across the stage at graduation and that is okay.  College is about finding yourself and that’s exactly what you are going to do. On average college students change their major THREE times before graduation. So don’t worry about the fact that you realized you actually hate chemistry or that maybe math wasn’t the best choice for you, find something you love and it will come easy.
  6. Be friends with your RA. This doesn’t mean you have to be best friends with them, but talk to them. That’s why they are there. They want you to talk to them about your problems. They want to share in your celebrations. They are there because they love students and want to see you succeed.  They are not there just to get you in trouble.  And go to their programs. They put a lot of work into those. Trust me, I was an RA for 3 years, I know how much work it takes to have a successful program.
  7. Your best friend in high school may not be your best friend in college.  So you went to different schools, that’s alright. Just because you are far apart doesn’t mean you won’t stop being friends. But it also doesn’t mean that you will be as close as you were.  People grow and change, it’s a part of life. Your true friends will stay your friends no matter what. While in college you will make new friends, but you will never forget your old friends.
  8. Do something that scares you. Find something that you wouldn’t dream of doing, and then do it.  I went to Washington D.C. with a friend of mine for a weekend to attend a rally. It was an amazing weekend. I never would have seen myself flying half way across the country just to go to a rally, but I did. It doesn’t matter what it is that scares you. Just do one thing that does. That’s what college is about. But don’t do anything that might kill you.

This is really going to be the time of your life.  You will have some ups and some downs, but in the end you will never regret your choice to attend college.

Sincerely,

A recent college grad

I  love my job.  I mean I really love it.  There are parts about it that I can’t stand and that annoy me but the good outweighs the bad in most situations.  Residents moved in yesterday.  That’s always a bittersweet moment.  I’m happy that they are back but I’m sad that the silence of this old building is gone.  I went through Spring Training and it was great! I presented 2 different sessions both of which got positive reviews and then I went to one titled “Avoiding Burnout.”

One of the main problems of a RA is burnout.  They get tired of doing their job and just stop caring.  I’m responsible for this as most 2nd year RAs are.  This is my 3rd year as a RA and like I said I LOVE IT! I want to do this for the rest of my life but there are things that start putting doubt in my head.  Here is a small list:

  • Disrespectful residents
  • Rude guests
  • Room inspections
  • Rounds late at night

Now that I have the negative things out of the way, there are many reasons why I keep doing my job and have a blast at the same time.  Here is that list:

  • Happy residents
  • Successful programs
  • Helping mediate conflicts
  • Introducing strangers and watching them become best friends
  • Watching residents grow educationally and socially
  • Knowing that I have impacted someone, somewhere, in some way.

This job is very rewarding and I hope that I get to do this for the rest of my life.  I know that there are going to be times when I want to quit and give up but I will keep going because in the end it will all be worth it.