Week 5 – The Halfway Point
October 3, 2011

Well, tomorrow begins week 5 of the quarter and, shockingly, the halfway point! I can’t believe how much time has already passed; I certainly miss semesters, if only because I’m used to the pace. Every day I’m feeling more like an adult. I haven’t decided if I like or hate this particular feeling, but it certainly is different.

Work – My RD job continues to be fulfilling. Despite some frustrations and a few setbacks, the quarter is progressing moderately well in our building. I’m still trying hard to teach my staff to be intentional with the time they spend with their residents, but I’ve had to add in a new expectation of sorts each week. Our first few weeks went by without barely any organized activities whatsoever. Hopefully we can keep building them in and give our residents an opportunity to do something other than go uptown on the weekends. I’m also planning to host a few activities myself to help offer more to our students. Hall Council is struggling, but we have our third meeting tonight and I think I’ve developed a better role as an advisor. The first week I ran the meeting and the second I turned everything over to our President and VP, forgetting that not everyone at OU has run an organization before. Now I’m planning to step in and help a bit more than I originally expected. They need some time to get on their feet and see how to facilitate conversations from some role models as they try and do so on their own.

My time on the paraprofessional recruitment team has been fabulous so far. We’re developing our advertising campaign as well as our timeline for the RA application process. What I’m most excited about though is our potential to completely revamp the interview structure here at OU. In the past staff has been evaluated on interview skills and professionalism that I believe we’re going to radically change this year. I’m really appreciating everyone’s input and their willingness to listen to my experiences from Cal and see that this can be a very positive change in the process. I can’t even imagine how amazing it will be as we continue working with the team throughout the year.

School – Two of my classes are absolutely fantastic this quarter – Intro to Student Affairs and Intro to Student Development. I feel like I’m really engaging with my peers and with our professors, and the two papers that I’ve written so far have been interesting and fun to work on. This week I’m doing a practitioner interview with one of the RCs to learn how he incorporates theory into practice, as well as working on a group presentation on Women’s Centers at universities across the country. Unfortunately the lecture portion of my Counseling Techniques class hasn’t been quite as fulfilling…we gave our professor feedback last week and now we feel she’s headed down the passive-aggressive path. Luckily the lab section, where we videotape ourselves counseling a partner, has been rather useful in honing some of my skills. As long as I can trudge painfully through our lecture and get a decent grade, I think I’ll be content.

The Cohort – I’ve had an interesting time figuring out how I feel about our first year cohort. It seems that we’re already separating into cliques (not terribly surprising since we have 29 people now). Unfortunately, I’m not feeling too much like I fit in anywhere. We have a large portion of our cohort who is the drinking-a-lot-at-bars and party type, and that’s just not me. Sometimes I feel that they’re generally immature in disrupting class and such and other times, I think we just have very different personalities. The quieter, low-key folks in the cohort have very different schedules from me, so we haven’t had an opportunity to spend much time with each other yet. On the other hand, I attended some events with my partner’s cohort at OSU and I really enjoyed their company. I think it was a combination of having more to do, a more diverse group, and feeling like I was actually included in their activities. It was nice to have people listen to what I have to say; I felt like my stories were valued in the group, something I haven’t felt as much here.

I’m trying to stay positive and remember that I’m growing quite close with folks in the housing department, and that I can focus on school and work if I choose to. I don’t particularly want to fret over missed connections to folks I don’t particularly feel a strong affinity towards anyway. We’ll see how the rest of the year goes, but I’m going to try hard not to let it get to me.

Personal Stuff – Overall, I’ve mostly been trying to handle living with my partner. It’s complicated living with another person and honestly, I’m pretty exhausted from it. We have to agree on when to get groceries, who’s going out when, where the car is, and what we’re eating for dinner. Sometimes I’d rather just be on my own and deal with my own schedule only. Luckily for both of us, M is moving out in the next week or two. He’ll be much, much closer to school and I will have some breathing room to myself. There’s another load of stress about buying out his half of the car, but we’ll get it sorted out.

Speaking of the car, it essentially died on me yesterday. We were on the highway in Columbus and all of the electrical systems shut down – I had no windshield wipers, defroster, signals, lights, anything. Luckily we found a neighborhood auto shop to pull into and then as soon as I put the car in park it crapped out. We ended up having to pay for a new alternator to be put in, but everything seems okay now.

Overall – I’ve been feeling much better (despite getting a cold) about my work-class-life balance this last week or so. I’m also realizing that OU probably wasn’t the best choice of school for me. It’s nice not to be as stressed out about class, but I think I should have paid more attention to the camaraderie I felt with the folks I met at IU. It’s hard not having the support group here that I wanted, but I can remember that I’ll only be here two years anyway. It’ll be a nice experience, I’ll get to leave my mark, and I can move on to a bigger city where I think I’ll feel more comfortable. I’m thinking Boston, perhaps. And maybe, like Berkeley, I’ll find my love for Athens in my second year. It just might be that I need all of that time to settle in.

I’ll be sure to write more and give you all updates and thoughts as they come along! I’ve started jotting ideas down in my notebook so I’m sure I’ll have a lot to say. Catch you next time!

Move-In
September 1, 2011

Guess what day it is today? Yep, it’s day 1 of move-in weekend. Somehow I manage every year to pull a long night the night before and that’s exactly what happened yesterday. Despite my good intentions, I just had far too much to do. On top of that, one of the other housing grads hosted the rest of us at his apartment for dinner last night. We stayed until later than I planned, but it was a fantastic bonding experience that I dearly needed. After I got back I pumped though quite a bit – hall council flyers, lobby bulletin boards, running after staff to copy their welcome letters, and typing up some hall council applications. I can already tell that next year’s move-in is going to go smoother for myself, simply because I’ve already got resources typed up and a general idea of how long everything is going to take.

Yesterday was our CSP program orientation; honestly, I didn’t want to be there. I rushed to go to parking services early because I needed to get across campus by 8:30, but then it turned out the first half hour was socializing and eating fruit anyway. Really? I did not need to get up for that. Then the faculty re-introduced themselves, we talked about the tentative schedule for the switch to semesters, and we got to that which I was most displeased….teambuilders. It’s not that I don’t enjoy them, I really, really do. I find them fun and useful and I’m excited to be learning how to facilitate them better. But when I’m stressed, exhausted, and have a ton of work waiting for me at home, I don’t want to be dragged outside to do some teambuilders. Especially in the heat and on top of that, wearing business casual and heels. Nope. Not what I wanted. By the time we were done with the entire orientation I was only more stressed out. I understand that many folks had just arrived in Athens and usually I consider teambuilders a great idea, but not that day. Not when I know I’ll have 2 more years to bond with my cohort, I’ll be seeing them for 12 hours of class a week, and I had more pressing issues to attend to back at my hall.

Today was the Graduate College orientation and I chose not to attend. I’m sure I missed out on some free food and some information, but I’m willing to get it later if I need it. Today I wanted to be here for my staff, I wanted to get some work done in my office and have the privilege of enjoying move-in day. Enjoy it I did. My staff is doing a fantastic job, I got to spend time with C. over in Wilson, and I even met a few residents!

I feel like I’ve finally found the path I belong on.