Monthly Archives: January 2013

2013 Goal Updates – January

So back at the not-so-beginning of the month, I posted some goals for 2013. I know most people are pretty good at sticking to their resolutions for at least the first month, but I usually never even made it that far. This makes me rather proud of the things that I have done so far.

Be More Organized

While I haven’t gone through my clothes yes (ugh, dreading that task), I did make some major progress on the kitchen and the bathroom. I completely reorganized my kitchen cabinets. I know that sounds unnecessary, but I was sick of climbing my counter to reach things I actually use while having things I haven’t touched in months fall into a sink full of dirty dishes. Unfortunately during this process, I found duplicates of things like spices and canned food. A similar thing happened when I cleaned out my bathroom closet. I found extras of conditioner, deodorant, and other toiletries. I have WAYYY too many travel sized lotions. I also bought new storage bins for the bathroom closet so all those small bottles would have a place to live.

Read More

I did say that I wanted to do a book a month and I stuck to that. Unfortunately it means that I’ve only read one book this month – “The Carrie Diaries” by Candace Bushnell. The a TV series based on this book (and its sequel that I just discovered the existence of) recently started, taking the place of my Monday night fave, Gossip Girl. Keep an eye out for an entry about that. For next month, I plan on finishing two books that I started reading last summer. Not making any promises though – February’s a short month!

Schedule More Me Time

I took an entire weekend to clean my apartment and organize the bathroom and kitchen. Unfortunately, I have not been taking this approach with work and I’ve actually fallen behind on some projects.

Keep In Touch

I’ve officially made savings accounts for two of the trips I want to take this year. I mentioned my big trip to Disney for later in the year, but I’ve also planned some smaller trips as well. I did get to see one of my out-of-town friends at the beginning of the month and we are making plans for me to visit her after I survive formal recruitment. Another friend posted that her travels next month are going to take her pretty close to the city I live in, so I’m trying to make plans with her.

Be a Grown Up

Well, I registered my car. That meant I needed to also purchase insurance and get it inspected. Such grown up things. I mentioned earlier that I started more savings accounts and I am really trying to watch my budget.

Have you stuck to any resolutions or goals you’ve set?

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Long Distance…Like

I don’t really talk about relationships on here, especially MY relationships. But, since I recently got out of a “thing” (all you twentysomethings know what I mean) I’ve really started thinking about relationships and dating and how all of that has changed since I am no longer a student. So forgive me if you see more posts than you would like on the matter.

Back when I was younger, I swear I’d never do the whole distance thing. Multiple times. Yet somehow I always wound up doing the distance thing. I did however stick to my guns with not following a boy to college (which I proclaimed that I would never do after watching Topanga follow Cory to clearly a substandard institution – I mean they let Eric in!). In each “stage” of my life, the relationships were very different and how distance affected them was also very different.

Going to College

For most of high school, I dated a jerk. He was terrible and would cancel our plans at the last minute all the time but it didn’t matter because I was gonna graduate and go off to college and never see him again. When we eventually broke up for the last time, it was halfway through my senior year. I had no idea where I was going to college and I was like “WOOHOO FREEDOM!!” …and then I started dating someone who was actually nice and I really liked and I threw everything out the window. My parents probably should have bought stock in Kleenex for the MONTH leading up to move in day. Eight months after we started dating, we were in cities that were HOURS apart without a way of getting to one another. We were busy meeting new people and eventually just decided to break up. We didn’t stop being friends and actually are still pretty close.

Graduating College

This could seriously be a repeat of the above paragraph except for the ending. Towards the end of my last year of Undergrad U, I met this nice guy. He wanted to do the whole relationship thing and for the longest time I was like, “Nope, graduating” but he pointed out all the differences between how things were in high school and how things were at that present moment. We had cars! Cell phones! Texting! Skype! So finally I was like, “Okay, I’ll allow myself to like this person and see where it goes.” And then out of nowhere right before graduation, he dumped me and left me a crying mess. Totally unexpected. So how does this count as doing distance after graduating college? It doesn’t, it’s what happened when I agreed to try. So clearly I should have never done it again. But I did.

I hung around Undergrad U after I graduated since I didn’t have anything else going on in life. And wouldn’t you know it, I just happened to meet a guy. Gosh, it’s like they’re 50% of the population or something. Anywho, looking back, I didn’t like this guy all too much, but once I went off to grad school, the distance allowed me to ignore the negative aspects of his personality and our relationship. It got to a point where we pretty much stopped talking to each other and I honestly don’t know why one of us didn’t just bite the bullet and end it then, but we dragged it out until we saw each other again and then had a huge screaming match about how much we hated each other. Even though we had cars and saw each other frequently (compared to my previous attempt at distance) we had a bad relationship from the beginning and distance was NOT going to make it stronger.

As a “Grown Up”

Considering most of my long distance relationships have involved hours and hours of driving, living only two hours from someone seemed rather “short distance” to me. We both worked in similar fields, so I thought it would be easy. Ummm…we both worked in ResLife, when do we ever get time off?? This time, we both sat down and said, “Hey, we don’t know where this is going, let’s try, but no promises.” And it worked until one of us wanted something different that wasn’t going to happen because we weren’t in the same place. So here I am now…

I am not trying to say that distance doesn’t work…it just doesn’t work for everyone. You need a strong relationship to start to attempt the whole distance thing and I just never had one of those. For those of you making distance work, congrats, I am so proud of you, and I hope you and your honey get to reside in the same zip code soon! As for me, I’m doing my best to avoid distance for now.

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Let’s All Go To The Bar…

…or not. At least not one nearby. Definitely not one within walking distance. Maybe to be safe I’ll head to the next town over. Why? Students. My biggest fear is that I’ll be at the bar dancing with a relatively attractive individual only to later find out that he is a student at the school I work at (Please Don’t Fire Me University) PDFM U. Even though it’s a small school, I definitely do not know them all!

Like 90% of the time if I ever run into a student at an establishment known more for it’s drinking than say…it’s meals…we acknowledge each other’s presence and then make sure to stay far, far away from each other. That way it’s not awkward, we’re not trying to hide from each other, and we’re probably making sure that we don’t become sloppy messes. In my mind (and when speaking with most of my student affairs friends) that seems like a reasonable solution. You don’t need to make a HUGE deal about avoiding the chance run in with students but at the same time you’re not getting all up in their business or throwing back shots with them. That’s not cool (even if it makes your students think you’re cool). If you think you’ve had one drink too many or feel the need to procreate on the dance floor, it’s time for you to go home. NOBODY needs to see that (especially your students).

Including the above sloppy mess scenario, there are plenty of instances when a run in with a student is NOT OKAY. It shouldn’t be a thing that you are running into students constantly. If you know that a certain bar hosts “College Night” or some other event that your students love on a certain night, don’t go there on that night. Heck, if you know a bar is frequented by your students, JUST DON’T GO THERE. If you happen to run into students while out and about, don’t try to dance with them or have lengthy conversations about anything. Don’t buy them drinks or recommend drinks. That’s not appropriate. If there are students that are underage, LEAVE.

There will be times where you have to leave because of students. One time, my friends and I were out having a good time when a student came up and started dancing with her. Now I mentioned this being one of my fears…her situation was a bit different. She knew he was a student so she literally RAN off the dance floor. So was it a case of a student not knowing she worked for PDFM U? NO. HE IS A STUDENT WORKER IN HER OFFICE. When he crept up behind her, he even said, “Hey IndirectSupervisorLadyThatIHaveNoBusinessCreepingOn”. That’s not appropriate. What made it worse was that all of his student friends kept hanging around our non-PDFM U friends. Time to leave.

Does it suck that sometimes I have to leave because of students? Yes, it’s happened twice since I’ve been here. But you know what? I like my job and I like having the respect of my students and colleagues.

One interesting thing is to see my various friends’ reactions. They have all worked at different schools with different policies before this one. I have one friend who remains panicked whenever we go out just at the thought a student MIGHT be there. I have other friends that think nothing of it. Both Undergrad U and Grad School State were much larger schools. At Undergrad U, I wasn’t old enough to go to bars until the very end of college and the administrators weren’t coming to house parties. At Grad School State, I would go to our nice set of typical college town watering holes that were incredibly strict about IDing people…meaning if I saw students there, they were of legal age. Sometimes I’d see my boss or her friends out and about…the important thing was acting appropriately and drinking responsibly.

What sort of policies does your current (or previous) institution have regarding this matter?

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I’ve noticed something the past few years at previous institutions I’ve worked at and I’m seeing it here once again. Eventually something clicks with the students and they start to GET IT. Depending on what area of student affairs you are in, you might see this or you might not. I don’t see it so much in ResLife except with my staff members and in that case I see it earlier than I do with my students in Greek Life. So what does GETTING IT mean? Allow me to explain.

I’m in charge of Greek Life. I essentially advise all of my institution’s fraternities and sororities. I have a feeling that most of the students in those organizations (especially my organizations that are not the best behaved) don’t like me all too much. I’m the lady that makes the rules. I also enforce them. So some students fear me, some feel the need to rebel CONSTANTLY (“She said wear a black shirt for the picture? I’M GONNA WEAR GREEN!”) These students are impossible to get in touch with. I try to set up meetings or even host an event to get to know these members better, but they just don’t care. They don’t get it. They don’t understand why there are rules in place or why they should be trying to get higher grades. And to some extent, I understand. Remember, I’m not too far removed from these students.

And then the students grow up. I see it happening mostly during senior year, but as I mentioned at the beginning, I’ve seen it earlier and later. And sometimes it doesn’t happen in college. My student leaders get it sooner, even if they only reason they start to agree with the administration’s viewpoint is so their organization doesn’t get in trouble.

Last year, I actually had a lengthy conversation about the Greek students I previously worked with about a recent policy change that they were up in arms about. It seemed like every five minutes they were making jokes or nasty comments about it. During the conversation, the students said why they didn’t like the policy. I informed them that the same policy existed for other student organizations and explained the rationale behind it. After that, the students admitted the policy made sense, but that they did not like how it was implemented with no warning. I was glad to hear that the students actually understood the policy and the majority of the anger was coming because the administration (including myself) had done something not-so-great.

Have you noticed your students starting to “get it”? (And isn’t it the best feeling?)

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The Flu

I am afraid of needles. No…afraid might not be the right word. Terrified would be better. The last time I had to get a shot, I made more of a racket than the four year old in the room next to me. No shame. When I was a little kid getting the shots required by law to enter kindergarten, I brought my toy medical kit and gave myself a “shot” in front of the doctor and then proceeded to say, “See? I already did it, now you don’t need to give me a shot!” Clearly I was a cute kid.

This panic-attack inducing fear of needles is part of the reason I have never gotten a flu shot. The other reason is that it’s not 100% effective. They make the shot using a strain of the virus that they think is going to be prevalent in the upcoming season and then cross their fingers and hope for the best. That sounds so reliable. There’s a joke that being a weatherman is the only job in which you can be wrong 50% of the time and NOT get fired. I would like to add a profession to that – flu shot creator. And for most of my life, not getting the flu shot was fine. I never got the flu.

Recently, the news has been talking about how the flu an epidemic this year. All these blogs I follow are posting “at-home flu remedies”. WHERE WERE YOU WHEN I WAS DYING? Yes, I finally got the flu this year, well before the media was raving about it. And let me tell you, it SUCKED.

Day One

On the first day that I had the flu, I woke up feeling under the weather. Nothing major, but I didn’t feel 100%. I figured it was because I had had an exhausting weekend. By the time I got to work, I had sweat through my shirt and sweater. I didn’t think anything of it because I walk to work and maybe I had dressed too warm for the weather. I also didn’t think anything of going between being freezing and boiling in my office because the heat in my office fluctuates like crazy. It wasn’t until later in the day when I went to a different office that’s ALWAYS warm and was shivering that I knew something was wrong. At lunch, I wasn’t even hungry. I took a nap – something I never do! After lunch, I returned to work, but I couldn’t do anything right. I sealed envelopes without letters in them. I spent the last two hours sitting in my chair doing literally nothing except praying that I wouldn’t pass out before the end of the work day because I did not want to have to use my time off. When I got home, I crawled right into bed and fell asleep.

Day Two

On the second day, I woke up with my alarm just to call my boss and tell her that I was not coming in. I went back to sleep until late in the afternoon. I stayed somewhat awake for the next few hours, but I was hallucinating. I kept thinking that I saw birds in my room, so I went back to sleep because in addition to needles, I am also afraid of birds.

Day Three

On the third day, I woke up with my alarm once again and called my boss to tell her I was dying. Over dramatic  Me? Never! I slept until about lunch time and then kept going between awake and asleep until about six pm. I managed to catch the beginning of the same Lifetime movie twice. At this point, I was finally starting to feel a bit better and I decided to venture out in search of food, fluids, and (legal) drugs. When I came back from the store, I took my temperature with my newly-purchased thermometer and found that I had a fever of 102. And this is when I was feeling “better”. I ate some chicken soup and had a Gatorade and was sleeping by 9 pm.

Day Four

On the fourth day, I woke up feeling much better than I had felt the past two days. I was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna do this, I’m gonna go to work!” The effort of getting out of bed and attempting to get ready for the day wore me out and raised my temperature back over 101. And so I called out of work again…I slept for another few hours but when I woke up in the afternoon I felt okay, so I attempted to do a few chores. I managed to do a few dishes. Then it was time for a nap. I slept until 2 pm and then stayed up the rest of the day. At around 8 pm I was STARVING. The only thing I had eaten throughout this whole ordeal was a few bites of mac and cheese on day one and some chicken soup and gatorade. I ordered a pizza and ate the whole thing. Yes, I know that’s not the most healthy thing, but I have never had such a craving for pizza in my entire life. I don’t even like pizza all that much. I also went to sleep at “normal people” time.

Day Five

Pizza is the cure for the flu. On the fifth day, I felt better, but decided to take it slow and go to work late. Also, once I got there, I just barricaded myself in my office and really didn’t interact with anybody. I just had so much to do! I was incredibly tired by the end of the day, but I did drag myself out for dinner with friends.

Days Six and Seven

Ah…the weekend. My schedule for these two days went something like this – wake up, lay in bed, do something, lay in bed, do something, lay in bed, etc. I didn’t notice how tired I was because I was catching up on some of my favorite TV shows.

Day Eight

Monday. First full day of work. By the end of it, I was so tired that I went to sleep at seven pm.

Day Nine

Another full day of work…and afterwards I stayed awake until 10 pm. Baby steps.

The flu really took it out of me. I didn’t have a “normal” level of energy until almost three weeks later. I did manage to see some friends during that time, but there was no way I was doing anything like a full apartment cleaning or going to the gym. I also went to visit my parents during that time and had to stop in a parking lot and nap because I was so tired. I’m used to driving for six, seven hours without stopping. This was bizarre!

I hope none of you get the flu!!

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TBT – Passing

I remember when I was looking at grad school programs that I was completely opposed to any school that required a thesis to graduate. I hate writing (yet I blog…) and was terrified that there would be so much riding on a single paper. For some reason, the idea of the same amount of pressure to pass one test didn’t seem as intimidating.

During my first semester, a friend at another college studying a completely different subject took her comprehensive exams (hereby known as comps) and didn’t pass. I asked what her options were and she said that she was going to have to take them again. To me, that didn’t seem so bad. Hey, at least she was getting a chance to take them again!

As it got closer and closer for the time that my cohort would take the big test, I became incredibly anxious and stressed. I was actually sleeping with my study guides, as if my brain would somehow absorb the information overnight. I understood why my friend had not been happy about having to re-take comps – she wasn’t mad about not having passed, she did not want to go through this stress again!

And then the big day came and went. I literally don’t remember the actual test. I remember walking to the room and I remember nearly being in tears waiting for them to JUST HAND IT OUT. I know that I must have turned it in to somebody, can’t remember who, and then left and went to work like it was a normal day.

And then came the waiting. Everybody and their mother knew I had just taken this huge test. It was the only thing I could talk about in the weeks leading up to it. So now everybody and their mother was wondering how I had done on this huge test. It reminded me of when you’re a senior and everybody keeps asking you what your plans are for after graduation. I just wanted to shout, “I don’t know yet already, leave me alone!”

I guess in my cohort there was one individual who would stop by our poor advisor’s office on a daily basis to see if our scores were in. And one day, about a week before they were supposed to be in, she told him that yes, she had our scores. The news that scores were in spread like wildfire and everybody dropped what they were doing and ran to our advisor’s office. I had actually been hanging out with two friends visiting from out of town, so I missed the initial text and it wasn’t until after lunch that I found out. I told my friends that we were making a detour and dragged them with me to my advisor’s office. Apparently, I was the last one to find out my scores and the rest of the cohort was all together taking bets on whether I’d be the one person to fail (apparently it happens every year).

Clearly, since I graduated and have a job and all, I hope I don’t ruin the story if I don’t leave you all in suspense before telling you that I passed. I do remember that when I found out my score, I literally jumped in the air and screamed. My friends and I joined the rest of my cohort for our second lunch of the day and a longggg day of celebrations.

If you’re a grad student that has to take comps, the mere idea of them probably scares you. Just make sure you give yourself enough time to study and you will be fine. Remember, you knew this material the first time around. Later in the year, I plan on posting more tips.

Did you have to take comps or write a thesis? What was your experience like?

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Defining Friendship

My mom used to tell me I had no friends. Okay, that might be making it sound harsh. Let’s try this again…when I would come home from school and talk about my friends, there would be times where my mom would tell me that they were not my friends. This wouldn’t be a daily occurrence  but would be used when I wanted to something with my friends that conflicted with some family event or when my plans would fall through and I’d be upset. She would tell me that they were my “acquaintances” which was a rather large word for my middle-school-self to grasp. Basically, I wasn’t friends with all twenty five kids in my language arts class.

Now that I am older, I am DEFINITELY not friends with all twenty five kids that were in my language arts class. Even thinking back to my “close” friends from the K-12 days, I’m not friends with most of them anymore. I was reminded of this when I was visiting Manhattan during the holidays…on the train back, I saw a girl that looked familiar. She called out my name and it turned out it was one of my friends from my Girl Scout troop. We had been especially close early on in high school. I sat with her for the hour long train ride and I had imagined that we would have talked non-stop and pissed off the other passengers. Instead, we quickly caught each other up on major life details (she went to grad school out west and now works for a non-profit back home, her sister is doing well up in Boston) and then ran out of things to talk about. It was strange that we used to have sleepovers that lasted for DAYS and now we had  nothing to say to each other.

Even before leaving home for college, I grouped my friends based on how I knew them. Cheerleading friends, camp friends, music friends. This continued into college with sorority friends and dorm friends. Now, I lump them into broader groups.

Home Friends

Whenever I go home, there’s a handful of people that I always see. I’ve actually been friends with the majority of them since elementary school. What’s interesting is that I was friends with each one of them separately and later on they all became friends with each other. When I moved back home for an extended period of time, we would do EVERYTHING as a group. There are also some people that I was close with in high school that I will definitely make time for, but it’s not like I see them EVERY time I go home.

Undergrad U Friends

From my freshman floor, I talk to one person on a regular basis and it’s my ex-boyfriend. Not even my roommates. I don’t talk to anybody from my classes (maybe that’s because I took my career in a completely different direction). The people I still talk to from college can be lumped into “music friends” and “sorority friends” but I feel like as the years go on, there are less I talk to from each group. I do still try to go back for large events sponsored by each group and it’s great to see my fellow alum when I head back. Also, a lot of my friends from these groups both stayed close to our college town, so sometimes I will head up there even when there’s no big event!

Grad School State Friends

My cohort was rather close, but I haven’t seen any of them since we graduated. I chat online with them every so often. What’s nice is that we all have similar jobs, so we can toss ideas back and forth. Several of us are from the same area originally and we tried to plan something for over break, but the snow decided to ruin those plans. I would love to get together with them sometime! We kept joking about going to ACPA in Vegas…but let’s be serious, we’re all poor.

New Friends

Now that I have lived here for over six months, I’m starting to make new friends, including some that don’t work at PDFM U! I know someday I will leave this place and I’m curious to see which friends stick around for the long haul.

How do you like to stay in touch with all your friends from the past? Any fun traditions?

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Curly Girl Problems

I have a little secret, one I managed to keep from my sorority sisters for nearly four years. I have curly hair. And I’m not talking beachy waves or or Victoria’s Secret model curls – this is the real deal. The type of curls that go boing. Keri Russell during her “Felicity” days.

Minus the gorgeous face I spent most of my childhood looking like this.

Minus the gorgeous face I spent most of my childhood looking like this.

When I was a kid, I was made fun of for a lot of things…the clothes my mother dressed me in, the fact that I was a klutz, but I was never teased about my hair. Yes, sometimes my friends would throw things to see if they would get stuck (spoiler alert…they would) but I honestly don’t remember being teased about my hair. In fact, one year I got a rather drastic hair cut in the middle of the school year and when I went in the next day, a girl from my class didn’t even recognize me. I started crying because I missed my hair. Yes it was large and usually frizzy from running around, but when I was a kid it was what made me ME.

As I got older, I started hating my hair. It was an absolute nightmare to deal with. No ten or eleven year old knows what to do with her hair, much less if her hair has a mind of its own. Any time I would look in Seventeen or YM (throwback!), I would never see cute hairstyles that would work with my hair. In fact, when they had a special on new haircuts, the “curly” section would show wavy hair that was probably made using a curling iron. It made me so frustrated!!

NONE OF THESE ARE CURLY HAIR. (And yes, these were all found by Google when searching for "curly hair")

NONE OF THESE ARE CURLY HAIR. (And yes, these were all found by Google when searching for “curly hair”.)

The day before I started middle school, my hair dresser asked my mom if she could blow dry my hair straight. WHAT? THAT’S A POSSIBILITY??? My mom has stick straight hair, so she had no clue about it either. I left the salon feeling like a completely different person. For the first time in my life, I looked like the girls in the magazine articles! I remember stopping and looking at my reflection in car windows as we walked through the parking lot and literally petting my new soft hair. I couldn’t believe it! After that, every time I got my hair cut I had it blow dried straight. I would even save my allowance so I could go to the salon before school dances and have it blown out. All the tugging hurt like hell, but I loved the end results so much that I would sit in the chair repeating “pain is beauty” in my head the entire time.

In high school, the salon I went to called my house. They had started selling styling tools from a new company and asked my mom if she could bring me down to test out the straightening iron. Now, my mom had tried to buy me straightening irons before, but barely made a dent in my curls. My mom was hesitant, but I begged and pleaded and eventually she said yes. While the hair dresser straightened my hair, she gave me tips and tricks and even let me do a section so I could get the hang of it. My mom was so pleased with the results that she bought it for me as an early birthday present. I was so excited that I could finally straighten my hair at home even though it took HOURS.

From then on, I started planning my schedule around my hair. If I knew I was going to be doing something that might ruin my hair or get it wet, I would try to plan time to re-do my hair that evening. Likewise, I didn’t want to spent hours doing my hair only to go swimming. I definitely didn’t have enough time to straighten it every day for high school, but I still did it often enough to get pissed about a surprise rainstorm. In college, I had much more “free” time and I used that to straighten my hair. I developed a system that cut the time down and eventually bought an even nicer straightener that once my hair was dry brought the whole process down to only about thirty minutes.

After that, my curly hair was a secret. Yes, my friends knew I straightened my hair, but they were not aware of just how curly it was. Whenever anybody would see old pictures of me, they would say things along the lines of “Omigosh, that’s you?” “I didn’t even recognize you!” and “What happened to your hair?”. I could tell that people liked my hair straight, but it wasn’t until I applied for a summer job at a certain clothing store that you probably have in your local mall that anybody came out and said it. When I submitted my application and went for my interview, I had straight hair. The day I went to pick up my schedule, I wore my hair curly. My future manager told me to make sure that I straightened my hair for work so it didn’t look messy.

Unfortunately that wasn’t the only time that I had somebody tell me to straighten my hair. I dated a guy for quite a while who told me that he didn’t like my hair curly and that he thought it was “gross”. I’ve also heard my male friends express their dislike for curly hair and how they’d never date a girl that wore her hair curly. Even though I still wear my hair straight most of the time, I hate when people say that. To me it feels like they’re saying they hate the real me…that I can never be the real me around them.

I wasn’t just getting this message from people I knew…if it was a select few individuals I would probably just say screw it and go find my hair gel. Remember those magazine articles from middle school? How am I supposed to feel when there’s nobody who looks like me? Even going farther back, remember those American Girl dolls that you could order to look like you? My parents had to order me one with straight hair (GT9 in the link if you’re curious) because they didn’t HAVE dolls with curly hair. And in middle school, I learned that in order to go from ugly duckling to beautiful swan, all I would have to do is take off my glasses and straighten my hair. So I didn’t only have the media telling me I couldn’t be fat…nope, I had to figure out what to do with my lion’s mane as well.

Some of my school pictures truly resemble the before shots.

Some of my school pictures truly resemble the before shots.

Another legitimate issue for me is how to wear my hair to work if I want to wear my hair curly. I have yet to master the art of blow drying my hair into pretty Keri Russell curls…if I go anywhere near a blow dryer with wet hair, I wind up resembling a poodle. My routine in high school was to shower in the morning, throw some gel in it, and run out the door. I can’t go to work with wet hair. And if I shower the night before and lay on those curls, they’ll be crushed and frizzy. The only option I see is showering on Sunday afternoon so my hair has ample time to dry before I go to bed or showering the minute I get home from work…and I continue to be a slave to my hair.

Neither of these are acceptable for work.

Neither of these are acceptable for work.

This is what it’s come down to. While I’m still probably way too insecure to wear my hair in it’s natural state, I’d at least like to know how to wear it that way and still look presentable/professional. My hair is fried from being dyed and dried and tugged in every direction. Curly girls of the world, how do you wear your hair? Please, tell me in the comments, even if it’s only to say that you abuse your hair with a hair straightener too.

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Help Me, I’m Poor

One of the things I enjoy most about working in student affairs is that everybody wants you to keep growing and learning. Every school I’ve worked at has had a professional development fund, but they’ve varied in size from place to place. Some schools want you to go to every single conference, no matter how far, and they will buy you every single book you want. Others force you to make choices.

Being at a small school, I’m in the latter category. While sometimes it sucks to hear my friends saying things like, “Gosh, I can’t decide between NASPA and ACPA”, I’m happy that I am doing less as a new professional with the hopes of that when I advance I will have more opportunities. Besides, if my office is down anybody for a week, that puts a lot on the people who stay behind.

Earlier this year I was able to attend two regional conferences. I am definitely not heading to Orlando or Vegas this year, but I do hope to attend some more local conferences. Why are local conferences awesome? Well, first off it cuts down on costs for you and/or your office since you probably don’t have to fly there and, if you’re real lucky, it might be close enough that you don’t have to stay in a hotel. Also, all the other attendees of a region-based conference live and work somewhere near you. It’s a great way to make connections with colleagues at other schools. I did meet a bunch of people at one of the conferences I went to…but I also suck at keeping in touch. Since it is one of my 2013 goals, I think I might reach out to them. Sometime. Soon. Ish.

But Author, my office doesn’t even have enough money to send me to a local conference! It’s okay. You don’t NEED to go to a conference. You can connect with other professionals in many ways. The internet is an AMAZING thing, especially social media. Yes, Facebook and Twitter can be big time wasters, but they can also help you professionally. Every week there is a discussion about some student affairs topic using the hashtag #SAChat. It usually happens at a designated time, but you can post anything at any time with that hashtag and people will still see it. I know there is also a #GreekChat one. If you know any others, leave them in the comments!

Blogging has also been a great way to get in contact with other student affairs professionals. I honestly don’t know why I chose WordPress over Blogger or any other service, but one think I really like is the ability to follow “topics” on your reader page. I can click on “Student Affairs” or “Higher Ed” and read about all sorts of things and find new blogs to follow. I also have some other topics on there, like “Organization”.

If you want to go all old school, you can do what people used to do forty years ago – get a book! (Although now you’d probably order it off Amazon…) If there is something you are interested in learning more about, look online for books about the topic. I have a running list of books I want to read (another 2013 goal) and all I have to do is find them…and find the time to read them. You might not even have to purchase the book. Check your school’s library or interlibrary loan options. If you do have to purchase a book, ask your supervisor if it is something professional development funds can be used for. A book is not a huge expense and depending on the topic, it might be something the whole office can use.

One last thing – don’t be afraid to ask! You never know what your supervisor might say yes to. If you feel your department’s professional development funds are rather limited, you can tell your supervisor that you feel _____ opportunity would be really beneficial and try to budget for it at a later time.

In the comments, leave your favorite hashtags/chats, books, blogs, and conferences!

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Figuring It All Out

As I sit here writing down post ideas and scheduling updates, I’ve noticed less student affairs topics and more “life” topics. Sometimes I feel bad because this is sort of a student affairs blog and I think my readers (you guys) won’t want to read about dating or hair or clothes or friendship. But then I remember it’s my blog, I can do what I want.

The irony of all this is that I'm writing about growing up, yet including a South Park gif.

The irony of all this is that I’m writing about growing up, yet including a South Park gif.

One of my students came into my office recently and asked how old I was. When I told him 25, he goes, “Wow. More than a quarter of your life is over. How does that make you feel?” Ummm…like crap. Jerk. But really, I am feeling more “grown up” (whatever that means) this year and a lot of things around me have been changing. A lot of my friends are getting married and having babies – babies they planned, not babies of the “oops” variety. There’s a lot of stuff running through my head as I notice everything in my life changing. I used to talk it out with my friends, but they’re not here and we all have less time, so why not write about it. There’s plenty of twentysomethings in the world that feel like this, right?

So forgive me for the posts I’ve already made that have nothing to do with student affairs and I promise you there will be more posts that have nothing to do with the fact that I work for a college and sometimes act as a glorified baby sitter of young adults. But I will continue to write about student affairs, since, you know, I live where I work.

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