In some ways this has seemed like a lost term….I can’t believe it is the middle of March already! It has been one of the busiest in my career. Balancing school, RA Selection, Coordinating the Regional College Bowl Tournament and assisting with the hosting of the Northwest Association of College and University Housing Officers Conference (NWACUHO) has caused this term to slip past before I knew it. First, the good news…it looks like I will do well in both my classes (First Year Programs and Philosophies and Elements of Counseling), RA Selection is done, the College Bowl Tournament was amazing and the conference was incredible as well. And now the bad news…I have had little time for a personal life (I expected this going into this term, but now that this is reality it is kind of sad), I am really sick currently and have been for the last week and this is my first blog in a long, long time. So, it would appear that balance is an issue that I am struggling with. Hmmmm….not really all that different than what I have experienced throughout my career, but it seems to be magnified with the addition of school. Although I have been successful professionally and academically, my personal balance has suffered. I need to do better. At times, I think I am doing the best I can, but I can’t help to think I could be doing more. Specifically, in the area of personal wellness. It does not benefit anyone when I wear myself down and get sick.
So, with a new term, comes new goals. Get more exercise, eat healthier, avoid getting sick, spread out the reading for class more equally over the week, spend more time with friends, utilize my work day more effectively, say “no” a little more and be more consistent writing blogs. Wish me luck!
Like many of my other Cohort members, I am enrolled in an online class this term. It is the required Counseling course and I believe many of us had been questioning how a course like this could be offered online. After much doubt, I have accepted and actually believe that I may even appreciate the fact that this course is offered in this format. I do think that I might be less confused about course assignments if it were a traditional course offering, however it is giving me insight into how online course are for the students I do or will work with.
I have never participated in an online course and I assumed because of my perceived learning style that I would do quite poorly in an online course. Well, I actually found out through an assignment for the class that I have misinterpreted my learning style preference. I always believed that I had an experiential (aural) learning preference, much to my surprise my strong preference is actually read/write learning. This learning preference will be very valuable to my success in this course.
Traditional classroom courses will always be my preference in course offerings because I enjoy the personal interaction and the “high touch” atmosphere. I also miss not seeing all my cohort members. However, I am grateful for the experience that this online course will give me as I progress in the profession. Oh and another added plus, since I work full-time, it allows me to have more office hours at my job, at least for one term, which I am enjoying as well.
Have a great winter and a successful term everyone!
The term is over! It has been a time of transition that has been very difficult at times. However, it has mostly been extremely rewarding.
I took the Programs and Functions course and the History of Higher Education
course this term and I felt enriched by both courses. It was good to get
a good overview of all the Student Affairs functional areas and I actually
really enjoyed exploring the CAS Standards. This may make me a nerd, but
I have accepted the fact that this is probably true and have moved on.
History has been a great course as well. I have a history minor from my
undergrad, so it was fun to discover that I have not lost my love for history!
An assignment in the Programs and Functions class was a helpful reminder for me
as to why I chose a career in Student Affairs. The “One functional area on three different Campuses” assignment was a fun assignment. We were asked to contact three professionals at three different campus types. I focused on the functional area of Campus Activities. I really enjoyed talking with my colleagues, especially chatting with them about why they chose their careers. It was great to hear them talk about their passion for students and their jobs; it reminded me to reflect about why I do my job and appreciate how lucky I am to work at WOU. Mandy Ellertson from Portland Community College-Rock Creek shared with me something that really inspired me. I asked her why she has stayed working at a community college setting for so long (15 years). She explained that she really values the access that the institution provides and then said, “Everyday, I get to tell students something that many of them have never heard before, ‘You can do it!’” I thought it was incredible to think that there are people who have never had someone tell them that; and also thought how cool that is to be able serve in a role where you can provide that reassurance. I decided that I work with students who might
have the same experiences, so I am committed to helping students believe “they
can do it.”
I hope everyone had a good term and I hope you enjoy a well
deserved break! Happy Holidays!
My last entry was full of uncertainty and doubt. Well,
I am happy to say, that for the most part that is gone! Papers have come
and gone…I have written four now and my first of two exams in the whole program
is complete as well. We reminded Tom in History last night that he was
the only faculty member that had in-class tests. He seemed alright with
it. To be honest, I guess I am all right with it too. I wasn’t at
first, but it helped me concentrate on the material in a different way than I
had been and I could actually tell you about the “Reformers” with a
fair amount of accuracy now after studying for the test. I think it also
helps that the test turned out better than I expected…
I have worked in the Residence Life field for 11 years and I have a lot of
confidence in how I do my job. This program is helping me see other areas
of Student Services that I might be interested in pursuing, so that is pretty
exciting. For example, my undergrad and my current institution (one in
the same), does not include a Greek Life program. It was really great to
learn more about Greek Life in “Programs and Functions” this
week. Now, I can’t say that I will look to work in Greek Life, but it did
give me a better understanding and intrigue into that area, and if I ever did
get a chance to work with Greek life, it seems less daunting.
Fall term is a busy term in my department, so balancing school and work is
difficult, however, I am learning things in class that I am able to use in my
daily functions or learning things that help me understand why something has
happened or is happening in my field. I find that extremely valuable and
to an extent worth the extra stress. We will see how I feel in a couple
weeks when my History research paper is due!
A couple final thoughts, I am really enjoying the students in this year’s
cohort. Although I do not feel as connected due to commuting and not
taking all the classes, I do enjoy the folks I am studying with. Also, I
received some great thoughts concerning my last blog. It was very
encouraging to me personally and I appreciated the feedback. Please feel
free to share your ideas and thoughts with me. They are sincerely
Until next time…
Week four of grad school and I have two graduate level papers due on back to back days. I really don’t remember the last time I wrote a paper that I had to turn in as an assignment and receive a grade. Ah, yes it was 7 years ago, so needless to say, I felt a little bit rusty. I had been enjoying attending the classes, had kept up on the reading, but the thing that freaked me out the most was writing papers again. Frankly, I couldn’t even remember if I was good at it. The other kicker, writing in the APA style! That is a skill that I would have to learn, since that is a style that was completely foreign to me. When I found out that there was a guide that was 400 pages long that described and gave rules for the form, to say I was overwhelmed, would be an understatement. Well, with help from a veteran CSSAer and strategic searching through the APA guide, I think it turned out ok. Although, I do think it may have taken longer to figure out the style then actually writing one of the papers. Well, it was time well spent and I feel more confident for the future.
Working full time and going to school part time will be a challenge. Just like I believe working part time and going to school full time must be a challenge as well. I keep reminding myself that I can do anything for three years. Heck, it is not even three years at this point, I have made it through half a term. I already feel better! I know it will be a lot of hard work, but I also know it will be worth it. I already see ways I can use what I learn in the program in my day to day job duties, which I find exciting.
So, the transition has been going well. I would say the hardest part of the transition to this point has been learning how to be a student again. A few bumps in the road, but those bumps have helped me grow as a student. I also have been reminded and have been mindful of the transition that my first students are going through in my Freshman Year Experience Seminar that I co-instruct. Being a student myself has helped me be a better instructor for them.
Until next time….