The Student Affairs New Professional

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Learning to Fly - Post 9

Quote of the Day:
"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day." - Irv Kupcinet

Thanksgiving is one of these American things that I just don't understand. I mean, we all know the whole Pilgrims-Native Americans thing didn't work out all that well ("not all that well" is definitely an understatement but you know what I mean...). And why would we want to celebrate a holiday that basically consists of food and football when you can watch football any other day of your life (at least the residents in my building seem to be doing it ALL THE TIME) and half of this country's population is either overweight or on a diet because of trying to achieve some unhealthy body image that's portrayed in today's media. [Whoa baby...my English professor would roll his eyes in desperation about these long run-on sentences.]

With my family being so far away and my college friend now also being far away, I've decided to spend Thanksgiving relaxing and doing absolutely nothing. I don't want to intrude on another's family's Thanksgiving, especially not for a holiday that means absolutely nothing to me. But people's reactions are quite entertaining when they ask about my Thanksgiving plans and I tell them that I'll be eating ice cream and watching Grey's anatomy. Hey, I made it through 17 years of my life without ever celebrating Thanksgiving...not doing anything this year won't kill me.
Maybe it's just the combination of being a vegetarian and not liking football...

Anyway, I closed the building today. Let me tell you...it feels SO GOOD to have the building to myself. The quiet is absolutely amazing! :)

But let me catch you up on what's been going on in my "professional life" lately (not like I have another life...).

I've had some not-fun conversations with student staff members this past week. Of course last week was also evaluations week, so it was a little awkward doing evaluations and addressing current staff concerns. I decided to separate the two of them...having the conversation about current concerns in the beginning and later on going into the semester evaluation. After all, it wouldn't be fair to rip someone apart in an evaluation if they've been doing alright all semester but have just slacked of these past few weeks.
I definitely wasn't looking forward to those conversations though. I have to say, overall, they went pretty well. I think some of them got it. Some of them though definitely didn't and I'm not sure what else to do. I definitely struggle with addressing staff performance concerns...if someone tells me a good sob story about how stressed they've been lately or if I see them looking exhausted I have a hard time holding them accountable. I know, it's their job and they need to fulfill their minimum requirements. Especially when their stress is usually due to other outside commitments and not their academics. But I'm just having a really hard time with that.
Oh well, something for me to work on, I guess.

I've definitely been going through RHA withdrawal after coming back from the conference. As annoying those late-night meetings were at times (even I am not excited about working until midnight on a regular basis), I definitely enjoyed them and miss spending time with the delegates now. We're planning on having a little reunion soon. And there's been lots of Facebook conversations and pictures.

I've also spent some time this week reflecting on this first semester. (Yes, it's been less stressful lately, so I actually had time for this.) Sometimes it feels like I've been working for ResLife forever. And if you count my undergraduate and graudate experience, I am, after all, in my sixth year in Residence Life. But then again, it's my very first year as a full-time professional and there's clearly a lot more for me to learn out there.
I'm trying very hard to be intentional with what I do...to use some of that grad school knowledge as I'm developing new processes and models (such as my newest programming model for my RAs that I'm really really excited about...I showed it to them and they were just like "okay," but hey, I know it's going to be GREAT and very very EXCITING."
Now that I'm not as stressed anymore and not working 20 hours a day, I really want to spend some more time sitting down and evaluating what I've been doing so far. I know I can be an even better ResLife professional...I just need to think about what's been going well and what I've been struggling with. I also had all these big plans on reading professional literature and keeping up with new research and I really haven't done a good job with that. I started off this semester with reading the Chronicle of Higher Education during breakfast every morning...now I haven't read it in like three months. But maybe I'll be able to go back to that routine...

Well, it's getting late and even though I have nowhere to be tomorrow, it may be a good idea to start thinking about going to bed...

For those of you celebrating Thanksgiving with family or friends, I hope you have fun! :)

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