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.

Re-Visiting One Word 2012

Almost halfway through the year, the end of the academic year, and inspired by Ann Marie Klotz, I am revisiting FOCUS, my One Word for 2012.

As I read, I knew that I’d done a poor job of living up to my word. Some definitely has to do with still learning my job; and graduation is, to say the least, a hectic time of year in Registration-land. Some has to do with my need to “do it all” so people will recognize me and I will feel accomplished. Do you know what that does though? The exact opposite. I have taken on so many things with Girl Scouts and work that I am going a little crazy now and have had to cancel/put off things I said I would do because I’m over booked and not paying attention so am making mistakes. Some people who replied to Ann Marie’s post are, like her, choosing new words for the 2nd half of the year. I’ve barely lived up to my initial word, and I won’t abandon it, so I am going to RE-focus for the second half of the year.

The Cosmos responded to that decision this morning as I listened to a recording of a 2010 Tolkien Survey Course taught by the Tolkien Professor, Corey Olsen. I have long wanted to take a Tolkien class, and thanks to Prof Olsen, I can do so for free without any of the hassle of assignments or papers. ANYWAY, they were discussing Saruman the White’s dislike for the color white  & his desire to break it down into the various colors which make it up; he declared himself Saruman of Many Colors.

“White! It serves as a beginning. The white page can be overwritten. The white cloth can be dyed, and the white light may be broken.” -The Two Towers

Prof Olsen & the class discussed why Gandalf thought this was a bad thing. What it boils down to is this: by breaking the white into the separate colors which make it up, Saruman is weakening himself, spreading himself too thin. His eggs are all in separate baskets, which one might initially think is a good thing–less chance of losing your eggs–but it’s not because you have to attend to each of those eggs, making sure they get where they need to go (the market, your belly, etc) and you can’t carry them all at the same time [egg analogy mine]. 

I’ve been Saruman this past year. Sure, as a new professional, one is almost expected to take on too many tasks and volunteer for everything. But that hasn’t been the case. I’ve been so decidedly adamant about keeping myself segmented into “wedding Jessi,” “BU Jessi,” “friend & family Jessi,” relaxed Jessi,” “Girl Scout Jessi”…(you get the point) that I’m not a whole person. My Focus has been too literal, and it’s been making me crazy. When I get crazy, I shut down and don’t get anything done.

I’m not sure the best way to go about re-focusing and putting the prism back together, but I know it needs to be done. Come August 1, I will have been in this job for a year, which means in some ways, I’ll no longer be a new professional. What do I have to show for this past year at BU? What connections have I made at BU or in student affairs? Have I reached out to anyone? My life is not my job, but I think my job and the SA community might be my starting point for making everything else flow.