Challenge Accepted (and Completed)

For the first time, I completed the Good Reads Challenge. Sure, 2016 was only the 2nd year I participated, and I only missed my goal by one book in 2015, but it is still my first win.

I honestly attribute this to two things:

  1. Audio books for my long commute
  2. Signum University

2016 Good Reads Challenge Books

About half of these books were read when I audited Modern Fantasy II at Signum or as part of the Mythgard Academy Seminars, which are free scholarly discussions of popular fantasy and science fiction works.

My biggest problem with reading all these books? I want to read MORE books and have challenged myself to read 30 in 2017. With the baby arriving at the end of February however, I’m not sure how I’ll do unless I add all the baby books. Time will tell, however.

Two of My Favorite Things–Girl Scouts and College Students

I found this draft from a year ago, and it’s still relevant–maybe more so.

A new book claims that today’s college freshman lack basic life skills. This is a gap that Girl Scouts should address.

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In How to Raise an Adult, Julie Lythcott-Haims, the former dean of freshman at Stanford University, claims that incoming students had impressive resumes, but were increasingly incapable of taking care of themselves. To remedy this problem, she says that, especially with teenagers, we should “seek out opportunities to put independence in their way,” such as making them responsible for their own food or learning to take public transportation.

She’s not alone in this belief. Many colleges have “College 101” courses to teach some of the basics. US News & World Report suggests that college freshmen need Seven Essential Life Skills.

Source: Skills Needed: Girl Scout Badges Could Help | Girl Scout History Project

The author of the post listed those seven skills, together with a Girl Scout badge that will help a girl gain those skills. She then lists several other skills (like laundry and cooking) she thinks college students need.

When I look at the badges included in the first Girl Scout Handbooks (and all iterations of the Boy Scout Handbooks–the Girl Scout badge program has been severely gutted in the last 8 years, but that’s another story), I see that Scouting was strongly based in teaching hard skills to allow a young person to succeed in adulthood. Looking at the young people in my life who are not Scouts, they do not have opportunities to learn and practice money management, cooking, outdoor appreciation, or first aid unless their caregivers teach those skills in the home (granted, some organizations and schools provide some of these, but I don’t personally know a child who gets any of this outside of home of Scouting).

Schools already have residence hall programs which teach residents how to do laundry and basic cooking. Is there a point where higher ed professionals can’t or won’t step in anymore? Is it ever feasible for courses like Home Ec to be included in the middle/secondary ed curriculum again? Or am I just longing for a dream of yesterday?

A Baby #OneGoodThing – The Student Affairs Collective

2016 was not my favorite year, but it won’t go down as one of the worst (I’m still pretty angry at 2006, and I’m a terrible grudge-holder).

This year, my wife got pregnant—by design, no surprises here folks! In January, we realized it was now or never to start trying to get her pregnant. We had researched sperm banks fertility clinics and the home insemination process for a while, but “now was happening NOW” and we had to go back to our online dating days (we met online) to find the perfect father for our theoretical bundle of joy. Then were the trials and tribulations of two women getting one preggers (look it up if you can’t figure it out).

Continue reading at: The Student Affairs Collective A Baby #OneGoodThing – The Student Affairs Collective

Organize for Your Interview NOW

This afternoon, I posted a tweet which received a few “likes.”

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That tweet was in response to the third email of the day, 5th total in 2 days, a drop-in and a phone call from a student trying to figure out her graduation from August. The moment I hit “send,” I realized that THIS was the exact situation interviewers are looking for when they ask that question.

I don’t know about you, but when that question comes up in an interview, I panic because I tend to move beyond those difficult moments–they are just part of the job, and once passed, I stop worrying. Thus, I forget part of all of the details and have to scramble for an answer.

Maybe I’m just behind in the game, though, and this is news only to me.

What are your tips for organizing now for an interview process which may not present itself for some time?

Why “Finding Center”?

I’ve long tried to make this some kind of “professional” blog; mostly due to a deep-seated desire to be “respected and known amongst my peers.” But that’s not me. I LIKE blogging but do my best work when I have a REASON, such as calls for contributors to other sites.

My life does not revolve around higher education. I’m an active Girl Scout volunteer, a wife, a mom to animals, soon-to-be mom to a human, helping establish an Alumni Affiliate for my high school FFA Chapter, and am circling back around to making religion a bigger part of my life. Higher ed is part of me, but it isn’t alone in making up who I am. How can I try to espouse the life mottoes of “Life shouldn’t be complicated” and “Be Prepared” when I fragment parts of my world?

“To make a long story even longer” (to quote my father), I turned toward religion as I thought about the reframe for this blog and came back to a symbol I embraced quite  a few years ago as the symbolic representation of my religion: The 7-circut labyrinth

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Photo credit: A L A N A via Foter.com / CC BY

A labyrinth has a single path leading to a single goal, but you can’t see what’s up ahead, and you loop back upon yourself, but never in quite the same way. I have never found a better symbol for one’s life path. Hopefully, by taking it as the symbol of this blog, I will be able to make something of this, even if no one else reads it (although I DO want people to read it!).

Advising to Graduation | ACPA

Three times a year, the Graduation Team in the Registrar’s Office sends several hundred emails informing students that they did not meet the requirements for graduation. The week we send the denials is inevitably filled with emails and panicked phone calls telling us “they didn’t know about Requirement X” or “Advisor Y told me I was ‘all set.’” Telling a student they didn’t graduate because of missing one or more classes is the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do in my career. I can see the betrayal my students feel at the hands of their advisors and the school, as they  are often at a complete loss about what to do. I’ve had students cry, yell, punch my desk, lose a work VISA or job opportunity, beg, and even try to make deals with me and my team.

Continue reading at: Advising to Graduation | ACPA

The Student Affairs Collective #SAVolunteers – The Secret Lives of Student Affairs Professionals – The Student Affairs Collective

In this time of giving, many people think of the needs of others and decide to volunteer at a food pantry, or with the elderly or children in need. Some people volunteer at specific times of the year, like during the holidays; others volunteer year-round with various organizations. Volunteering is a noble activity–giving of your time, energy, knowledge and skills to benefit others with no expectation of receiving back anything but a “Thank you” and a good feeling.  Yet, many volunteers DO expect something more, whether it’s professional connections, skills development, a sense of superiority, or something else entirely.

Continue reading at: The Student Affairs Collective #SAVolunteers – The Secret Lives of Student Affairs Professionals – The Student Affairs Collective