Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankful in 2013

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone!

Thanksgiving this year is a little bit different for me. I'm spending it away from my family for only the second time in my life (the first time was when I was abroad in London in 2010), but I am spending it with Brett and his family which I'm sure is going to be great! One thing I always make sure I do, whether or not I'm home, is reflect on what I'm thankful for. (That's the whole purpose of the holiday right?) It's easy to get caught up in the negatives and the things that frustrate you on a daily basis, but it's so important to be aware that no matter how bad things seem, they could always be worse. Today is the perfect day to be Thankful for what you do have instead of focusing on what you don't. I thought I'd share with you what I'm thankful for this Thanksgiving!

Everyone I know and love is healthy and well. The day of the marathon bombings was terrifying. Knowing that my students and friends were in the city near the site of the attacks was absolutely the scariest moment of the year. I am beyond grateful that everyone I know was okay and we all made it safely home, and continued to be safe throughout that crazy week.We are all extremely fortunate to have been so close to a scary situation and to come out unharmed.

My jobs at BSU and Dean. It's obvious that I would be thankful for them because they put money in my pocket and a roof over my head, but really, it's so much more than that. For the first time in my working life, I'm really happy to go to work every day. I'm interacting with some pretty incredible young adults on a daily basis and I learn something new about myself as a professional each and every day. I'm excited to read up and discuss issues in my field, and although it can be extremely stressful and difficult at times, my life in the student affairs field is so rewarding. I'm meeting new people and given so many new opportunities time and time again, and I don't think I would have gotten that anywhere else. I'm so happy I found a career path that is the right fit for me! :)

Having people to rely on. No matter where I am in life, I know that I have someone to turn to. Though I couldn't make it home for Thanksgiving this year, Brett and his family opened up their home to me. If I'm ever feeling overwhelmed, my family is just a phone call away ready with a listening ear. If I'm ever having a bad day, just spending 5 minutes with a student will make it all melt away (even though they may not realize it!). I have people all around me that will catch me when I fall, and I am so grateful for that.

What are you thankful for?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Life is a Cabaret, Old Chum!

photos by Sean McVeigh - more Cabaret photos here!

Dean put on a production of Cabaret last weekend, and I just knew that I had to see it. Brett, Rob, Emily, and I attended the Thursday night show and we were blown away! I had never seen Cabaret, movie or live performance, so I really had no idea what I was walking into, but I was pleasantly surprised. A few of the students that I work closely with played some of the leading roles (the Emcee and Ernst Ludwig were played by past and present CAs!) and they did so phenomenally! Brett and I could not get over how good the show was for days after, and we seriously considered going to watch it a second time. (I'm sure if I didn't have a paper to write we would have!) We were singing "Willkommen" and dancing around the apartment all weekend long, haha! It really was so great, and if you ever get the chance to see the show live I definitely recommend it!

photos by Sean McVeigh - more Cabaret photos here!

The show was picked up to compete in a theater festival - so exciting! Break a leg everyone! :)

Monday, November 25, 2013

Caffeine for Blood

If you can't tell by my Twitter and Instagram feeds, the past few weeks of my life have been totally run by school work. Just like how work ran my life in October, school has run my life in November, so sorry for the lack of updates! I've been wanting to blog, but I figured no one really wants to hear about my presentation on Kolb's Theory of Experiential Learning or my paper titled "The Impact of Social Identity on Campus Involvement" (unless, I mean, you do, and in that case... why? :P). I've been chugging coffee in order to trick my brain into working at a high enough level to process grad work, and I'm pretty sure my blood about 90% caffeine and sugar at this point.

That's what I came into grad school expecting, but expecting to experience something and actually experiencing something is completely different. So again, zoning out in front of the TV and sleeping during my free time have taken priority over blogging and even working out (working out during my free time made me feel guilty that I wasn't working on school work... is that weird?). I'm hoping to get back into the habit of regular writing and exercise during this Thanksgiving break (I mean... I have a half marathon to run on December 8th... ruhroh) now that two of my major projects are done. Let's see how that goes.

Basically, sorry for being a bad blogger lately. I have a few exciting things coming up that don't involve school, work, or eating my body weight in candy while watching How I Met Your Mother reruns for the umpteenth time and passing out in a pile of wrappers and shame, so stay tuned! :)

I hope you all are doing well and have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

College Survival Series: Staying Afloat

The College Survival Series introduces and discusses different aspects of college life, and aims to prepare college students for all situations they might encounter during their college career.

Staying Afloat

We are right in the thick of the fall semester. Many college students struggle with this time of year - weather's getting colder, the workload is getting heavier, and for some reason, all of your professors seem to have given you giant projects and papers on the exact same day. With Thanksgiving being on it's latest possible Thursday this year, it seems like the students I work with (as well as myself) are more burned out than usual. At times like these when there are pressures from all angles, it's easy to get lost, fall behind, or just plain give up. I figured now is a more appropriate time than ever to give tips on how to stay afloat.

1. Don't lose sight of what you love to do most. 

Of course, it's important to prioritize your schoolwork when it's coming down to the end of the semester, but it's also important to keep doing the things you love, even if it's less often than you'd like. Take a 15 minute study break every couple hours to shoot some hoops, play a couple rounds of your favorite video game, or even just watch an episode of your favorite show on Netflix. You'll come back recharged and ready to tackle a few more hours worth of assignments!

2. Less caffeine, more H2O.

I know that sounds INSANE at this point of the year, but at a certain point, caffeine can start having adverse effects on your body, and may make it even harder to study. (Check out this article on what too much caffeine can do to your body!) Your body needs lots of water to operate at its best (we're made up of 90% water - it only makes sense, right?) so make sure you're drinking at least 2 bottles of water between every cup of coffee or can of Red Bull! (Here's an infographic on the benefits of drinking water!)

3. Keep things in one place.

When there's so much on your mind, it's easy to lose track of things, no matter how important it may be. Come up with a system to keep things for each class in one spot (binders, folders, drawers, specific piles on your bedroom floor - anything works as long as you know your system!). That way if you need a specific source for your 15 page paper that's due in 3 hours that you know you printed out, you'll know exactly where to look!

4. Work in a space that makes you feel comfortable.

Maybe not so comfortable that you'll fall asleep, but you'll want to have a place where you'll be able to work without worrying about other people, time crunches, and other distractions. When I was in college, for example, I knew that studying in the library was not a possibility for me, as many of my friends were there and I wouldn't be able to concentrate. Our library also closed at midnight, and I was often doing homework much later than that, so that big interuption of packing up my things and walking back to my dorm room really threw off my concentration. So I opted for studying in my room where I could stretch out on my bed, snack on Ramen noodles, and not worry about someone kicking me out before I was finished with my work. Keep what works best for you in mind when selecting your study space!

5. It's okay to say no!

Lots of students who are involved in activities outside their studies may feel overwhelmed with how many obligations they've gotten themselves into when it comes to crunch time. Your advisors and fellow club members know that you're a student first, so if you need a day off to catch up with your school work, or if you can't take on that extra project because you're swamped with papers and projects, they will understand if you say no! There's absolutely no need to stress yourself out even more than you already are.

I hope these tips help you get through the end of the semester!
You can do it!!! :)

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Everyday Heroes: NACA Northeast 2013

Taken by one of our lovely delegates for their conference blog! {source}

Two weeks ago I attended my first National Association for Campus Activities (NACA) regional conference! Bridgewater was super generous and brought me along to enjoy the weekend with them. I advised a delegation of 12 wonderful students, and my awesome supervisor was chair of the conference!

Bears assemble!

Despite being sick for virtually the entire weekend, I really enjoyed myself. I attended a handful of professional development and educational sessions which left me feeling energized and inspired about my jobs and the career I'm pursuing. I got to reunite with my friend Andrew from Lasell and hang out with him for a lot of the conference.

Of course we had to take a picture to send back to our former Director of Student Activities!

I got to see a number of wonderful performers which kept me entertained to no end all weekend long. I got to meet Dan Henig (what?!) and introduced him to one of our students who's actually really interested in bringing him to campus next semester (awesome).

He was so friendly and awesome! (And even retweeted me! :D)

And most importantly, I made some really great connections and met many other Student Affairs grad students that I could relate to, as well as get advice from those that are further along in their program than me. I felt (and still feel) so re-energized about this field which can be rather draining at times. I'm so grateful that BSU took me along with them. I'm so excited for next fall! :)

The Director of Student Involvement at BSU gave me that awesome orange button to wear around the conference, haha.

If you'd like to see the conference from the BSU delegation's perspective, check out their conference blog!
If you want to see more things that I did, check out the #NACANE tag on HESA Life!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

I LOVE Planners!

My 2014 Erin Condren Life Planner finally arrived last week and I am OVER THE MOON in love with it! I thought that this called for a video review of the planner itself so I could show you all why I'm so excited about it, so I shot one and put it up on the interwebs just for you guys.

I also wanted to show in this video how I've been using my current planner and share how I've been organizing my life. I know that I've picked up a bunch of tips from watching similar videos, and figured you might get some organizational ideas that you like from my planner! Yay organization!

I know this video is pretty long, so here's a little cheat sheet if you don't feel like watching the whole thing:

1:26 - I show you my current 2013 planner and how I've been using it over the past year.
6:37 - The unboxing of the Erin Condren Life Planner!
9:50 - I take you through the Life Planner itself and you some ways I've been using it so far.
24:08 - A quick wrap-up review of the planner and the whole ordering experience with the Erin Condren company!

Hope you all enjoy the video! :)

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Big Announcement!

If you read my Tumblr HESA Life (where I talk about all things student affairs, grad school, assistantship, higher education, life as an RD, and all things inbetween as I stumble my way through becoming a new professional in this field #shamelessplug), you already know what my big announcement is, but I wanted to share it on my main blog as well because I'm just so excited about it!

Last week my Student Development professor asked me and a couple other students to stay after class. I thought it would be regarding our grades or something along those lines, so I was pretty nervous as to why I was being held after. I was pleasantly surprised when our professor told us that two of his program proposals for the ACPA National Convention were accepted, and that he wanted the four of us to help him present!

That means I'll be flying to Indianapolis in March to present at a National Convention for Student Affairs.

Of course, a few things still need to be worked out (such as funding and travel arrangements), but if all goes according to plan, I'll be presenting to a room full of professionals from around the country as a first year graduate student. They're going to be learning from ME. Mind. Blown.

I am super grateful to my professor for giving me this awesome opportunity! I never in a million years would have pictured myself presenting at a national convention, let alone doing so as a first year student in my program! I'm SO excited and hope that everything works itself out so I can go! :)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A Very Spooky Birthday

Aren't these adorable? My mom hand painted them and gave them to me as a gift!

Last weekend Brett had his 25th birthday! Since I was going to be away for Halloween, we thought what better time to throw a combination Halloween/birthday party than the weekend before? So we invited a few friends over to celebrate with us!

Nerd, Misty, and Wolverine!

Wolverine was feeling a little aggressive

One of the X-Men and a Pokemon trainer... the unlikeliest of couples.

We made a cauldron of witch's brew...

...and when the clock struck midnight and it was *officially* Brett's birthday, I brought out a candle-lit peanut butter cup cupcake and we all sang happy birthday to him. We spent the rest of the night playing N64 and chatting. It was a great, relaxed night with a few close friends and we all had a great time together!

The next morning Rob and I went out to grab Brett some birthday breakfast from Elizabeth's Bagels which Brett had been raving about since we've met, yet somehow we hadn't gotten together yet. (It was delicious.) After breakfast I gave Brett his birthday gifts! I was so excited to finally give them to him (they had been sitting in my office closet for about 3 months just waiting to be opened) and I'd say he was pretty excited to receive them!

I got him some new socks (which he's been asking for), a new pair of sandals (his were falling apart), a basketball hoop he's been wanting, and, of course, a bag of Reese's (his fave!). I'm so happy he liked all of his gifts - he's been playing basketball ever since he unwrapped his hoop! :) We finished the day by heading to his hometown to watch Red Zone at his friend's house, and to visit his family for dinner, cake, and ice cream. It was such a nice day and I'm so happy Brett enjoyed it! :)

Hello, November!

And hello, blog friends! Life has been super hectic for the past few weeks, and as a result, I was sick for a solid 6 days. Yeah. It wasn't fun. But I woke up this morning feeling like a million bucks! (WITHOUT having to use any meds to do so!)

For the month of November, I'm not going to make a goals post. My main goal this month is to just catch up on all of my school work and focus on finishing the semester out strong! But now that things have settled down a bit, I'll have more time to blog (and READ blogs, which I miss so much!) - and I have so much to write about! A little preview of what's to come...

- Photos from Brett's birthday!
-I just returned from my very first NACA Northeast Conference!
- My Erin Condren Life Planner finally came in the mail. Video review!
- A big announcement in my grad school life!

Stay tuned... I'll be writing soon! :)