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.

Week One Paraprofessional Training
August 28, 2011

It was quite amazing. We spent time getting back to the basics, learning about diversity issues and their intersection with humor, spiritual development, conflict resolution, and confrontation. I got to experience my first Behind Closed Doors from the side of an RD, helping facilitate discussion with three of my staff members about their roles as an RA in crisis situations. They all did a fantastic job, and it gave me an opportunity to witness some of their strengths and weaknesses in that area.

We really bonded as a staff this week, even if we couldn’t have everyone there for every day. We learned personal things about each other, discussed True Colours and who leans towards the side of sarcasm in a game of Apples to Apples. We taught each other new games, played Sardines, and met staff members from all the way across campus. Yesterday we had a retreat day and all went to see The Help. I was first-off impressed that my staff decided they wanted to see the film, as it was generally much more serious and thought-provoking than most of the others currently out. It addressed a lot of the diversity issues we’ve been discussing and was also really well done. Everyone said they had a fantastic time, and a few of us played some games when we got back as well.

I definitely feel like I’m fitting in here. Even though I’m missing the city and the Asian cuisine of Berkeley, I’m beginning to find my place here as well. I’ve gotten better at finding my way around both walking and driving, and I now know where some of the buildings are on campus. I really think these are going to be some amazing two years. I can’t wait to tell you all about classes once they start on the 6th…though Wednesdays are going to be tough for sure. We have one class 1-4 and another 4-7. Six hours of class in a row! I’ll be needing to bring food with me, no doubt about it.

End of Training Week 2
August 14, 2011

This weekend marks the end of training week 2, and also the end of prof. staff training. Monday is a work day, Tuesday we have some departmental meetings and things, and Wednesday the ARAs get here. The current plan is for a bunch of the new staff (and some second year grads) to get together Monday and organize our in-hall materials, figure out what we still need to do, and generally get ourselves prepared for the arrival of our RAs.

In just these two weeks, I feel like I’m starting to settle in here. I have a better grasp of campus, I’ve taken the car for a spin around town, and I’m almost finished completely cleaning and re-organizing my office. I have a to-do list that I’m keeping up with and things in the apartment are getting settled down and organized as we go along. I had a great supervision last night in which my RC and I discussed my goals for the year; I’m currently working on getting them well-worded so they are actually track-able. We also had a great conversation about the new Educational Initiatives model that is replacing the old programming model. It was a good chance for us to both discuss how we planned on implementing certain pieces of the new model and how we planned to integrate traditional programming into it. It was a great chance for us both to bounce ideas off of one another.

I also e-mailed my RAs yesterday to introduce myself and tell them how excited I am for them to get here. I really want to make a good first impression on them, especially since many of them will be close to my age. It’s nice that most of the other new RDs recently graduated as well, and some of them were actually ARAs and SRAs here at OU.

I expect I’ll be feeling much better once my office is finished and I plow through some of the larger, scarier items on my to-do list. I’ll be sure to let you all know how it goes.

In other non-student-affairs-related news, pretty much nothing else has been going on. Training has essentially been 9-5 so M and I have been spending the evenings watching South Park. We played DDR one night which was a lot of fun, and a few nights we went to get groceries. The second year grads also had the new folks over for a barbeque which was awesome.

I’ll keep you up to date on this week’s happenings! Don’t forget to comment, ask me any burning questions, and I’ll see you next week 🙂