More Time

Friday, May 27, 2011

"just a few more months and I'll be fine..."

Sorry for not checking in much lately.  I've been a little busy.  I know, you're shocked.  But it's true.

I leave one week from today for my first summer session of classes at Columbia.  Yikes. A. Bee.  For so long, this whole concept of a new grad school program was so far off.  I first heard about the program last summer, applied in September, interviewed in November, and was accepted in December.  The idea of three weeks in June was always just an idea...June seemed forever far away.  Until now. 

I will be taking three classes this summer: Advanced Research Seminar in Education, Pro-Seminar in Adult Education, Workshop in Life History and Adult Education.  It's ok if you don't really understand what any of that means.  I only vaguely do.  Just to clarify, that's eight credit hours of doctoral-level coursework in 15 days.  Holy cow. 

One of my pre-assignments is to write a life history and autobiography of my learning experiences.  Here is something I realized...

In high school, I read Cliffs Notes almost exclusively, and I did just fine.  Oh, and there was an occasional PBS movie in there to fill in what the Cliffs Notes left out.

In college at Baylor, I sort of read the books.  You know, enough to get by long enough to forget it again.  I kept all my journalism, public relations, and religion books.  Maybe one day, in all my spare time, I'll read them all, for real this time.

In grad school at Baylor, I read about 78% of the assigned reading.  I'm not going to lie and say I read it all.  But I did read most of it.  And, for the first time, enjoyed the textbooks I read.  This is because there were no science classes.  Who needs any of that pesky chemistry stuff, anyways?

In anticipation of beginning a Doctor of Education program at Teachers College/Columbia University, here is what happened... 

I read the books. 

All of them. 

The articles too.


And I don't just mean the reading assigned for the first day.  I mean all of the reading assigned for the entire course, all three of them, beginning to end.  Now, in this autobiographical assignment tracing my learning history, I fully intend to chalk this up to the growth that occurs as individuals mature.  I'll talk all about how the more you study something you are interested in, the more you want to keep studying it.  There will be flowery words and references to my mentors who showed me what it meant to be a lifelong learner.  Maybe you will all stand in line at Barnes & Noble one day to buy a copy.  Beautiful.

Here's what it really boils down to...

Ridiculous amounts of fear.  Like, what have I gotten myself into kinds of thoughts.  Like, Elle Woods on the first day of Harvard Law kinds of fear.

Don't get me wrong, I am still so very thrilled.  It's just that now, instead of googling fun things to do in all my New York spare time, I read.  A lot.  All the time. 

(Note: my brain hurts.)

I still need to write two papers this weekend, but it's all good.  Both papers feature me as the subject...we all know I don't have a problem writing about myself.  You'll be able to preorder your very own copy before you know it.

In the mean time, I have one more day of work.  There's an awesome Quitters party happening this weekend to commemorate the occasion.  Pretty darn exciting.

Stay tuned friends...

{the ivy project} will finally be live in New York in a few short days.

Good times.

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Don't Blink

Thursday, May 12, 2011

"Cause just like that you're six years old and you take a nap, and you wake up and you're 25..."

Today, in a very special edition of {the ivy project}, a look back at how the Oklahoma girl got to the Ivy League and the Big Apple...

Ten years ago today, I graduated from high school.  Yikesabee.  I was convinced that the following summer was hands down, without a doubt, the best summer of my life...that it would never get better than that. 

Thank God it did.  :-)

In honor of the occasion, a look back at a few highlights of the last ten years...

One unforgettable summer in Italy

Two degrees from Baylor University (Sic Em Bears!)

Three trips to Paris with three different people (you know who you are)

Four churches...and, I am a little ashamed to admit in the same line, four trips to Vegas

Five apartments (three in Waco, one in Italy, one in OKC)

 Six best friends (Baby Sister, Chris, Mana, Grant, Michael, you all)

Seven suitcases for five countries, 16 states, and a ridiculous number of plane rides and road trips (including a miserable train ride through Switzerland and the infamous Los Angeles tsunami "vacation")

Eight family graduations (for just four grandchildren...we like school)

Nine higher education conferences (side note: I might be getting too old for the ridiculousness that occurs...they are a lot more fun than they sound)

Ten different jobs (OK Department of Environmental Quality, Baylor Magazine, Baylor Student Activities, Village Baptist Church, Waco Habitat for Humanity, Waco Baptist Association, Teach For America, Oklahoma State University Foundation, Baylor Counseling Center, Oklahoma City Community College)

And, in honor of the beginning of the eleventh year post-high school...

Eleven trips to New York (not including the upcoming one with a one-way ticket)

Here's to an even better next ten years...

Empire State of Mind

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

"These streets will make you feel brand new, big lights will inspire you..."

It's  funny when things actually work out exactly as they should.  Somehow things get a little complicated, because you're just not used to that happening.  You get used to things being good, but maybe not quite like you planned.  You tell yourself (and everyone else) that it's all good, that God has a plan, etc., etc.  It will all work out in the end.  But it wasn't exactly, totally what you really wanted.  You know the drill...

And then you get what you want. 

And somehow, it's ridiculously, panic-inducing scary. 

But it's also the most excited you've ever been.

Well, ladies and gentleman (the one man who reads this know who you are), the rumors are true.  Big changes are in store for {the ivy project}.  As of August 1, 2011, I will be a resident of the City of New York.  [insert minor panic attack here]  For the last six years, my secret hobby has been pretending like I live in New York.  I read real estate postings on Craigs List.  I watch "Selling New York" with The Chief every Thursday night.  I job hunt at Manhattan colleges when I get bored or frustrated.  I subscribe to "New York Magazine" and have stacks of back issues piled in my bedroom.  I have been to New York 10 times in the past six years.  I have pretty much been completely obsessed. 

So how to I begin to adjust/deal/prepare/comprehend the epic-ness of it actually happening?

If I started to tell every single detail of how this unfolded and all the tiny, epic little moments of confirmation along the way, this post would quickly become a novel (which may happen, but not all at once).  I'll tell the whole story in a series of posts, but here are the basics.

Remember how I came back from Spring Break and quit my job?  The truth is, I sort of had a plan, but not really.  I had faith that things would work out.  Well, about a week before that, I applied for a job, just on a whim.  I knew I wanted it, but I am also pretty used to applying for random jobs in New York and nothing happening.  Three days later, I received an email that they wanted to do a phone interview the very next day.  Higher ed friends, you may remember that this was mid-ridiculousness of NASPA fun.  I talked with them for about an hour, then did a follow up phone call a week later.  A couple of weeks later, The Chief, Baby Sister and I jetted up to New York for a little weekend shopping and my four-hour on-campus interview (sorry for leaving that part out of the original post).  Three weeks after that, I received an email that they wanted to do another follow-up call.  I could not possibly imagine what else they wanted to ask me, since we had already talked so much.  Turns out, they were calling to offer the job...

The actual offer and following week is a bit of a blur.  I was home sick with a variety of illnesses and enjoying the kind of medicine you need prescriptions to take.  I partly blame this for the stress and panic of, "oh my gosh, this is really happening, I don't know what to do" drama my family and very close friends endured for a few days.  But they offered the job...

And I accepted the job...

I will be a hall director at Barnard College, an affiliate of Columbia University.  Barnard is a really unique institution that has a small college feel in the middle of a large university in the middle of a huge city.  It is technically a women's university with about 2,400 students (the size of OBU, Oklahoma friends).  However, Barnard students have complete access to general Columbia courses and resources, and Columbia students (men and women) have complete access to Barnard courses and resources.  Barnard is directly across the street from Columbia's main campus at 116th and Broadway.  If you just walked across campus, you might not notice that it's a women's college, but it definitely has a legacy of amazing women who do amazing things.

As hall director, I will supervise a team of resident assistants for one of the residence halls on campus (not sure which one yet).  My job will be 90% mentoring, coaching and helping the RAs do the same for women who live on their floors.  The students I met on my interview were amazing, and I'm really excited about working in this area of student affairs.  Oh yeah, did I mention the FREE apartment in New York?  I'm pretty darn excited about that too.  No rent or utilities to pay for, no broker's fee to find the apartment, no figuring out how to get furniture from the Brooklyn Ikea to the Upper West Side.  Move-in ready, furnished, all-expenses-paid Manhattan apartment.  Plus, I also get a meal plan, so I will still be able to eat when I get really desperate and broke.  I have access to the apartment August 1 and start my job August 4. 


Believe it or not, that really is the short version.  Through a series of crystal clear moments, God has made it obvious that this is the right path at the right time.  Thanks so much to everyone who encouraged/prayed/talked me down off the ledge along the way.  More to come, I promise.  In the mean time, here are a few more pictures of Barnard's beautiful campus.  Please come visit for yourself.  Free place to stay for all who buy me dinner and keep me from getting homesick!

 "Now you're in New York..."

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Run for the Roses

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Yippee!  Today is my absolutely favorite holiday.  I am so very excited.  I've been looking forward to it for a while now.  Planning for it.  Counting down to the day.  It's finally here!  Now, even if you are one of my best friends, you're reading this wondering what is so special about today.  It's just Saturday, but it's not broadcast in little red letters on the calendar.  Well, my friends, it should be.

Happy Derby Day!

Yes, I'm serious.  The first Saturday in May really, truly is my favorite holiday.  My family celebrates the Kentucky Derby the way most normal, American families celebrate Thanksgiving.  It is a holiday for us. We all know not to make any major plans on Derby Day, because it is a day you should spend with your family.  Stop laughing at me's a big deal.

Here are a few things you should know about the Kentucky Derby.  You might want to take notes.  There will be a quiz later.

The Kentucky Derby is run at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky.  The track is a mile and a half long.  I was born in Louisville, not far from there.  This weekend actually is a holiday in Louisville (schools close on Friday and everyone parties all weekend).  It's in my blood.  

It's the greatest, fastest two minutes in sports, and a lot can happen in two minutes.  Lives can change.  Legacies are made in 120 seconds.

Horses have cool names.  When I win the lottery, I will buy a horse farm in Kentucky.  I will have a Derby horse...just working on the name now.  He will be a winner.  Jockeys wear awesome jerseys and colors.  My jockey will have an emerald green and sort of dark rosy pink jersey.  

You absolutely, simply must wear a hat.  Not wearing a hat to the Kentucky Derby is like not wearing a hat to the royal wedding.  Everyone will talk about you behind your back.  When I go to the Derby, I will call that guy in London who did all the royal wedding hats.

Just like on Thanksgiving, there are foods you only eat on Derby Day.  You cannot do Derby Day without benedictine dip, strawberries and mint, mint juleps, etc.  We pretty much just eat all day, staying glued to the TV until the 6:25 eastern post time.  Tune into NBC from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. for all the highlights.  The Chief even added a special sports channel package to our digital cable so we could watch the extended, all day coverage.  Do Not Call Me During Derby Coverage.  :-)

So that's the short version for all you Derby newbies.  Call me if you want to come to the party.  Just make sure you are wearing a hat...

Fast Cars and Freedom

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

College students think they are the center of the universe. 

To be fair, when I was in college, Homecoming and Baylor Leadership Council and Diadeloso actually were the most important things in the world, but that's beside the point. 

I've worked with all types of schools and students.  Rich students and poor students.  Pretty students and plain students.  Well-educated students and unable-to-read students.  Young students and old students.  Globe-traveling students and never-left-home students.  I really do love them all, but sometimes they make me crazy.

We have a lot of "bless their hearts" moments in student affairs.  For those of you who aren't from the south, that's a really sweet, Christian way of saying, "you are ridiculous, but nice job for trying."

A few examples...

Student recently wanted to drop my eight-week class seven and a half weeks into it, because he wasn't happy with his grade.  Bless his heart.

Man wanted to know why he was feeling tension among the group.  Dude, when you just don't show up for stated leadership responsibilities for multiple days in a row and don't let anyone know, tension is bound to occur.  Bless his heart.

Girl can't for the life of her understand why her pen pal boyfriend halfway across the globe hasn't written back in months.  Should she send him a care package?  Bless her sweet, clueless little heart.

And then there's my personal favorite...

Girl lists "not get pregnant" as one of her top five goals for the next five years.  To her credit, I did not define what the goals should be about.  Got to give her points for having a goal.  But bless her heart. 

Unless you work in student affairs, chances are you don't really understand what we do.  There's kind of an informal support group among us.  Everyone's loved ones know we do something at a college, but that's about it.  The formal version is something about challenge and support, and giving the right student the right balance at the right time.  Throw in a few student development theories and that about covers it.  Most days, it's more like being a motivational speaker or a coach.  I do a lot of "you can do anything you set your mind to" and "if you can believe it, you can achieve it" mixed in with "what the ______ were you thinking?" and "you're selling yourself short and it's time to stop" speeches. 

Seriously, never a dull moment around here.  Just days that make me long for dull moments...

Speechless Sunday

Sunday, May 1, 2011