Tag Archives: RA

How to Not Be THAT Freshman

Note: I originally posted this last September. After walking around campus today, I realized that it still applied. 2017, enjoy!

Everybody eventually looks back on their first year of college and says to themselves, “was I really that clueless/naive/dumb/etc ?!?!” I started asking myself that about halfway through freshman year. I’ve thought long and hard about what makes freshmen so…freshmen-y and have compiled a list of tips for you.

Look down.

Are you wearing a lanyard with your key/ID/meal card around it? Take it off. Right now. That’s how everybody knows you’re a freshman. At one institution where we used our IDs to enter our buildings, I carried mine in my back pocket. There were only a few instances of leaving it in yesterday’s pants. A lot of schools use some type of proximity sensor so you have to just wave something as you walk by. Figure out what works best for you, but seriously, take the lanyard off your neck. You don’t want to be THAT freshman wearing a lanyard.

Look to your left. Now to your right.

How many people are you walking around campus/your new city with? Is it more than four? Stop, stop right there. I know that they say “safety in numbers” but you’re going to the extreme. You know that awesome party you’re about to go to? Well, it just got busted because a neighbor saw twenty five freshmen walking up to the door. Walk in small groups so you stay safe but don’t anger the neighbors. Also, if you’re coming home from a party, it’s much easier to see if you’re missing a person out of a group of four than forty. You don’t want to be THAT freshman wandering campus in a herd.

Got Questions?

Contrary to what some professors and teachers say, there are dumb questions. There are certain people provided to you early in your freshman year to answer many of your dumb questions. These are your orientation leaders and RAs. But after a certain point, Google is your friend. Need to contact the Health Center? Search for “(your school’s name) Health Center”. Tada! In class, if you have a question that only relates to you (“Can I miss a quiz because my brother’s wedding is that weekend?”) ask the professor at the end of class or during office hours. You don’t want to be THAT freshman asking dumb questions in the last five minutes of class.

Know Your Limits

In college, you can have too much of a good thing. Just because your dining hall is all-you-can-eat doesn’t mean you need to eat it all. Put down the brownie. Grab a piece of fruit every so often. You don’t want to be THAT fat freshman. For alcohol, take it easy. Yes, you probably will have at least one night you regret, but you don’t want to be THAT freshman that throws up all over the communal bathroom during orientation. As for sex, wrap it before you tap it. No glove, no love. However you want to say it, USE PROTECTION. Susie Q might look at pure and innocent but you do not know what sort of Fifty Shades of Promiscuity she might be into. Likewise, Susie, make sure you’re on birth control. You don’t want to be THAT pregnant/STD-carrying freshman.

Don’t Panic

A lot of what I said probably just made college seem like the most terrifying (or most wonderful) place on earth. Everybody will be stressed out or nervous or scared at some point in their college career. You might go from being be THE valedictorian of your class into a freshman class where there are many other valedictorians. Congratulations, you are now average. You might get a bad grade. You might sleep through a class. You might be sitting here reading the above realizing you are THAT freshman. Stop. Take a deep breath. Don’t have a meltdown in the middle of the hallway. You will survive. You don’t want to be THAT crying freshman.

Congratulations, Class of 2017, for making it this far. Good luck with classes and don’t try too hard.

Advertisements
Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

What I DIDN’T Do On My Summer Vacation

I cannot believe that summer is over. It seems like just a few weeks ago I was making my summer to do list and thinking of all the time I would have to do things since I wouldn’t have students popping in every few minutes. Boy, was I wrong!

Some student affairs professionals have ten month contracts meaning that they don’t work during the summer. While a two month vacation sounds lovely, I kind of collected student loans like Beanie Babies and I need every cent I can get.

Unfortunately, unlike Beanie Babies, my student loans ARE worth tons of money.

I really thought that I’d have time to get all this stuff done. Most of the things on my to do list were things I wanted to do…I wasn’t taking departmental things into consideration because I had never done any of that stuff before. Next year when I’m planning for summer I will definitely know better!

So what was on my to do list?

To Do: Clean My Office

I really wanted to re-organize EVERYTHING and make my office look brand new by the time the RAs returned for training. I had all of these grand plans. My office was going to look like something off of Pinterest.

What Got Done

I did move old files into a filing cabinet to make room for things from this year. I also went through the mountain of papers on my desk…only for a new mountain to start growing. I’ll take care of it during Christmas Break.

To Do: Update The Website

I wish updating my department’s website was more like this…I could log on whenever and update it myself. But that’s not how it works. I have to send whatever changes I want to make to this IT person and he has to do it. There were some sections of our site that were in DESPERATE need of an update and I decided I would do that this summer.

What Got Done

I passed it off to a new employee. She needs to meet people in a different department, so IT’s a great place to start, right?

To Do: A Bulletin Board In Each Building

I wanted to do a bulletin board in each of my building’s entryways. I thought it would give the RAs a good example and be visually pleasing for all of our lovely summer residents. I saw so many cute bulletin board ideas on Pinterest and in the teacher supply store.

What Got Done:

I bought cute bulletin board supplies…that’s about as far as I got.

 

So what am I going to do next summer? STAY OFF PINTEREST!! Pinterest just gives me wonderful ideas that I don’t have the time or creativity to follow through with. I’m also going to put departmental things on my to do list (like planning RA training and training the new hires) and give those items timelines so I can fit my own tasks in more realistically. Did you do everything you wanted to this summer?

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

June Goal Updates

This month has been the complete opposite of May! One day it was June first and the next the month was half over! Come on, summer, hang around a bit longer…

Be More Organized

Lately, I’ve been letting things slide. I’m in the middle of working on a ton of crafts for the upcoming Birthday Season and there are paints and brushes and half-finished things everywhere. Also, there’s a growing pile of dirty laundry in my bathroom. It should be in the hamper. But at the end of the day, I’m just so tired that I want to crawl into bed and do nothing more. I need to take ten minutes before bedtime and just use that time to straighten up a bit.

Also, I need to clean out my closet again. I went a little overboard during my shopping trip earlier this month and it’s getting to the point where it’s hard to move things around in there. In my current apartment, I’m blessed with closest space and I’ve come to the realization that I’m screwed when I move somewhere else. My first year at Grad School State, I had this huge apartment all to myself but I only brought what could fit in my car. I wound up spending the year buying things to fill the space…only to move to a much smaller apartment the following year. I think I’m doing that but with clothes.

I have a real fear of being a hoarder later in life because I have such a hard time parting with things. Like, seriously, I’m just one traumatic event from winding up on TLC. In my mind, the more I force myself to clean and part ways with junk, the easier it will become.

Read More

I know that when it rains, people say that it’s the perfect time to cuddle up with a good book. It doesn’t work that way for me. When it rains, I want to cuddle up with Netflix. And it rained A LOT this month. It didn’t help that season four of Arrested Development was released Memorial Day weekend…I had a lot of TV watching to do!

The thing is, I’d much rather read outside! If I’m inside, I could be playing video games, watching TLC, or maybe even cleaning my apartment. Outside, there’s only so many times I can refresh Instagram. I bought a Nook a few years ago for the sole purpose of reading outside, but unfortunately it broke. I do have an iPad with a Nook app, but with the glossy screen it is kind of difficult to read outside.

The books that I have been reading (unfortunately haven’t finished any yet) have been a lot of the novels I loved when I was in middle school. Basically, I raided my own book collection at my parents’ house. Also, The Baby Sitters Club TV show is now on Netflix. I never saw the show as a kid, but I was OBSESSED with the books. I’ll save that for my next rainy day!

Schedule More Me Time

At some point I realized that I had a lot of time off stored up. I guess it’s because I haven’t taken a major vacation – just a few days here and there. PDFM U has a “if you don’t use it, you lose it” policy about vacation time, so I decided to take some time off when my friends came to visit for the Lilly sale.

I also want to take some time off before RA training starts. Once the RAs arrive, we go all day every day until after move in. It’s rough. My friends from Undergrad U have been trying to plan a trip (see below) and some of my friends that I’ve made here have talked about doing a long weekend at the beach.

Keep In Touch

Just like I don’t like reading indoors, I don’t like talking on the phone indoors. My mom used to yell at me growing up for pacing around the house while talking on the phone. Apparently my walking drove her crazy. Why couldn’t I sit still and talk on the phone? It was a good day for both of us when my dad brought home a cordless phone that I could use in the backyard. Anywho! On the days it hasn’t been raining, I’ve been heading outside to chat with my friends while walking around the block. I figure it kills two birds with one stone – exercise and communication.

As I mentioned earlier, my friends are attempting to plan a vacation for next month. Normally, the girls do the bulk of the planning and the guys just show up, but for some reason this year the guys decided to take control. That’s cool…except the weekend we blocked off is two weeks away and we don’t even have a location. Oof. I’m sure they’ll pull it off…and I’m really excited for it. Even if it means we’re just hanging in somebody’s basement for the weekend.

I recently went to visit one of my friends from Grad School State who accepted a new position and will be heading out west this weekend. We arranged to have brunch at a little place in between the cities we currently live in and then did some shopping. I’m sad to see her go, but super excited for the next chapter in her life!

Be a Grown Up

I wrote a whole post earlier this month on the idea of feeling like a grown up and how I usually associated it with negative things. Just the other day I remembered another time I felt like a grown up. My second year at Undergrad U, my friends and I held a cook out. People brought different dishes and we had appetizers and stuff on the grill and desserts. It felt like all the cook outs I had been to with my family growing up. There was definitely drinking at this cookout, but I don’t remember anybody getting wasted or playing any drinking games. It was a classy affair.

Earlier this month I went to another cook out. There were drinking games at this one, which was fine by me. I’m starting to realize you just have to re-frame what’s “fun” as a grown up. I look forward to putting events with friends on the calendar, even if they aren’t “parties”.

And in the more boring aspect of grown up life, I’m still paying off those student loans. I’m constantly looking for “better” ways to pay them back. Author, wouldn’t that just be paying more?  Well, yes, but that’s not what I meant. I’m paying much more than my minimum payment and it’s about as much as I can pay per month without resorting to eating ramen noodles for every meal. BUT I am researching things about consolidation and which loans I should try to pay back first. I know absolutely nothing about student loans. I just signed away! Maybe high schools should offer a “College Prep” class that teaches you about financial aid and loans and all that jazz.

I’m also still afraid of the dentist. Next month I tell myself, next month.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Some (Duty) Nights

Along the same line as Go The Fuck To Sleep, a wonderful video that still applies to those of us who live on campus.

Tagged , , , , , , , ,

Well I Guess This Is Growing Up

One of the things I truly enjoy about being an entry level professional is that I am close in age to the students and can almost function as a bridge between the students and the upper level administration. There was one day last year in which I was speaking with a  student about a policy that had been implemented that students were not happy about. I understood but I told them where the administration was coming from. The student I was speaking with understood and eventually we reached the conclusion that the policy itself is fair but it could have been implemented differently.

During a recent training session, several campus officers were telling some of the more…interesting…things that they have responded to in the past few years. I sat there shaking my head at how STUPID some of the students from these stories were. A sudden realization hit me. Was I getting old? My suspicions were confirmed the next day. Some of the RAs were going over duty protocol and talking about responding to incidents. For a moment there, I thought that students listened to their RAs and followed the rules in the building. I completely forgot about the evenings I spent sneaking cheap beer into my dorm via backpacks and laundry baskets my freshman year. Oops.

I was joking with friends that being a grown up is knowing what the right decision is but making the wrong one anyway. And that’s how it is in my personal life. I have a terrible diet, I don’t exercise enough, I spend too much money, my apartment is a mess, my love life is worse…I could go on and on. But at work, I HAVE to make the right decision. I have to act like a professional around my students. I have to tell them to do the right thing.

One of the hardest things I had to do recently was hand out some hard sanctions to a fraternity that broke a lot of rules. I remember being a student and hating the administration anytime they punished one of my fellow Greeks. Heck, even as an alum I was livid when an organization was kicked off my undergrad’s campus. So I see that. I know how much it sucks. But at the same time, my job is to “enforce” the rules that the school puts out there. If I were to put grown up me and student me in a room together, grown up me would have to yell at student me for A LOT of stupid stuff.

What are some of the harder decisions you’ve had to make at work? Do you ever feel hypocritical?

Tagged , , , , , , ,