Going on an Adventure

Happy Summer!! Tomorrow I’m celebrating a pretty big milestone…5 years of working at UMD. Woo! I still love the work, the people, and the students. I can’t ask for much more than that.

I’m also excitedly off from work for the next couple weeks. Yay Vacation! I’m attending ACPA’s Student Affairs Assessment Institute in Baltimore and then hitting the road for a couple day road trip through Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. So excited! I’ve been prepping and mapping out my route. Can’t wait to go on my adventure! For prep materials I’m using a mixture of State Visitor guides, Google, Pinterest, and two books by Moon Travel Guides. Per usual, too many fun things to do and not enough time.

Adventure Vacation

Source: the #adventure digital word art is from Ali Edwards and the Pinterest Passport freebies she has available right now to help celebrate the start of summer.

The Bulldog Life

Hello fine friends! Sorry I haven’t been around lately. The good news is I made it through the holidays and the spring recruiting season in fine fashion. Every spring, I coordinate my office’s appearance at Admissions events called Admitted Students Days. These are days when students who have applied and been admitted to UMD can visit the campus and solidify the choice to attend UMD. Anyway, I just wanted to share the picture I took today for a social media post. It’s one of my favorites I’ve done for work in a long time.

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The Start of Something

Today marked the start of the Fall semester at UMD. We’re starting a whole week early. No more starting after Labor Day for our campus. I supervise the Peer Educators who work in our office. These students are primarily juniors, with a few sophomores and seniors thrown in there. This is a group of students (this semester 7) who primarily assist other students who would like help on their resumes. The group does so much more than that though.

Today, the Peers met for the first time as a group. We covered the craziness of job fair season that we are entering (just to prepare people). We also just spent a good amount of time getting to know one another. I had the “brilliant” idea that when people introduced themselves they ask the group a question. Yeah, that took so much more time than I anticipated. Oh well, in the long run it’ll be worth it that we spent the time laying the groundwork for the year.

I see the potential in the group as a whole.
I see that we all have room to grow (including myself).
I see that each person brings her or his strengths.
I see opportunity for challenge and support.
I see great things from each of these students both in and out of our office.
I see that we’ve got a great team of Peer Educators for 2015-16.

Most of all, I’m happy to be their supervisor and I can’t wait to see what happens this year!

3 Years a Bulldog

This week I’m celebrating my 3 year anniversary at UMD. All week I’ve been thinking about writing this post and have been struggling with what I want to write.

Me with champ

Yep, still struggling.

Here’s the nitty gritty. I love my job. I don’t know if I can really put it any other way so simply. 3 years in and I still feel challenged by my position. Challenged in a good way.

I’m excited to see where the next year takes me. The core of my work will be very similar to previous years and some of it will be different. I’m taking on some new roles including with the Commission for Women on campus and with our U of M Job Fair Committee. These new roles should be fun and I’ll get to do more work with people outside of my office.

Here’s to year 4!

Full Circle with my Undergrad Degree

As an undergrad, I earned a degree in Communication with a minor in Management from UW-Eau Claire. Could I have picked two broader topics to pair together? My emphasis in Communication was Organizational Communication, which is the study of how communication happens within an organization. Another way of looking at it is – the human side of business. Between my major and minor I pretty much studied the same topic, from two different schools of thought. It was fascinating at the time (and still is), and if I had to choose today, I’d probably minor in marketing. At the time of choosing the Comm/Mgmt combo, I had my heart set on going into Human Resources. I was a big fan of training and recruiting and wanted to do both of those things full-time. I had an epiphany about half-way through senior year that I didn’t want to go into HR anymore. My Organizational Change and Development class (aka: mergers and acquisitions) was what did it for me. I knew I could do the work, but that I wouldn’t love it. And that, the loving it part, was so important to me. So back to the drawing board I went. Luckily, I worked in Career Services so I had plenty of resources available to me to research what else I could do with my degree in Communication. The answer: pretty much anything (well, not really “anything,” but my options were pretty wide open). It was during this exploration process that I figured out I wanted to become a career counselor.

BW UWEC Mug

Even though I had to complete another degree after undergrad, I use my undergrad degree every. single. day. Here are my basic job duties: work with students 1:1 and in groups, run the office social media, and supervise students who work in the office. The beauty of my broad major/minor combo, is that I learned a broad range of skills that can adapt to the changing job economy needs. I thoroughly understand the process of communication, so I can easily apply it to different methods (in person, print, online, etc.). Management happens in practically every job environment in some fashion, so I was bound to come into a management role at some point in my career. Even my original HR intentions (recruiting & training), I do as a part of my current role. All of these awesome connections weren’t in my original job description (some were) when I was hired (being in a brand new position has allowed me to do some molding with what I do), but I have a supervisor who recognizes that I have strengths that aren’t strictly tied to higher education and career counseling. Yay!

Okay, now here’s the why for this post. I share this story with students a lot to show a couple things: that you don’t always end up where you initially intended, find a major that will help you achieve a broad range of skills, and to be careful with broad majors because you do have to add some definition to them to figure out what you want to do. You don’t have to have it all figured out at 18, or 22, or 30. Personally, I love that I’ve been able to make my two degrees work so well together. Of the career counselors who work in my office, I’m the only one who’s undergrad background isn’t psychology or education. I love that I bring a little bit different flavor to the work that I do with students.

How do you still use your earlier degree(s)?

Welcome to Bulldog Country

Tonight, I checked off another iconic Duluthian experience…attending a Bulldog Hockey game. If you ever visited or lived in Minnesota, you know that hockey reigns supreme. I’ve been wanting to go to a game ever since I started working at UMD. Kendra and I were due for a friend date so we decided to get tickets for the hockey game. Added bonus, staff tickets were discounted for this weekend. Woo!

One thing that’s interesting at UMD is that most of our athletic teams are Division 2, except hockey. Both our men’s & women’s hockey teams are Division 1.  This weekend, the men’s team is taking on the number 2 ranked Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. Sadly, we lost 3-2. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to a hockey game. I forgot how stressful they are to watch.

Anyway, I welcome you to Bulldog Country!

Kendra & I

Kendra & I

Opening Face-off

Opening Face-off

Hockey 1

Hockey 3

New Academic Year

For as long as I can remember, my life has revolved around the academic calendar. My “year” starts in September, not January. Even during the couple years between undergrad and grad school, I lived on a calendar similar to the academic calendar. I couldn’t shake it. Next Tuesday, the new year starts at UMD. Well, the year really started today, I guess. Faculty were back on campus and Med School classes started. Freshman move on-campus on Thursday. I even had my first presentation today for the freshman student athletes in football and volleyball. However, classes officially start next Tuesday. I’m ready, yet not. There are some bigger projects hanging over from the summer that haven’t been quite finished yet. That’s what this week is for…tying up loose ends before the craziness of the school year really sets in and I’m busy with supervising my students, taking student appointments, and attending meetings.

All that said, there are several things that I’m excited about as the new school year starts.

1. Implementing new training for our student employees. One of our students who worked this summer did an fantastic job collaborating with me (and the other professional staff who are supervisors) to put together an awesome online component to our student employee training. It was one of those instances where the timing, project, and personnel were a perfect match. I think we’ve come up with some really great new training ideas…especially for “challenging” our students who are starting their third or fourth years.

2. Solidifying our office role on campus as a social media leader. This is an ongoing process. As our campus proceeds more and more into the social media realm, I strive for Career & Internship Services to continue being at the forefront. One of the cooler things that happened this summer was connecting with incoming freshman before they even got to campus.

3. Working with the Peer Educators and feeling more comfortable in my role of supervising them. Last year, I was asked about two weeks before the school year if I would supervise the Peers. Then I proceeded to kind of fly by the seat of my pants for the entire school year. This year, I feel so much more prepared. I hope they’re ready to get some work done! I’m looking forward to hiring and training a few new students and also challenging my returners. I want them to continue to grow as employees, students, and people as they work for us. I think I’ve created an environment where that can happen.

4. Joining the Commission for Women on campus. I wanted to dive deeper into getting involved on campus. I thought this might be a good place to start. I’m looking forward to meeting and working with some fabulous ladies from across the campus.

5. Hitting my stride. I don’t know how else to describe this feeling I’ve been having lately, except that I feel like I’m hitting my stride in this job. I’m starting year three. I know the campus, I know my role, and I’m still excited to learn and grow to be better at my job. It’s a wonderful feeling. It took a long time to get here. I don’t know if I’ve felt this way about any other jobs I’ve had – both in and out of the University world.

Well, there you have it. This is what I’m excited about as the new school year is starting.

What about your job is exciting you these days?