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 🙂