Friday, February 29

Today I got a text message from a student asking me what was going on at the library.  When I asked her to clarify, she said that the building had been evacuated and there were 6 police units in the parking lot.  I grabbed my Res Life raincoat (because it was raining, and it makes me look more official) and I went down to make sure they didn’t need help with crowd control.  By the time I arrived the action was over, and there was one lone police car driving away.  I caught up with one of our Safety and Security officers who informed me that some students had been in the library and seen a man who they believed to be in his 30s holding something that looked like a gun, so they expressed concern to library staff, who calls Safety and Security.  It turns out he was holding a set of keys.

A few weeks ago there was a tornado that took out a large portion of Union University in Jackson, Tennessee.  Pepperdine in Malibu, California was threatened by fires in October, and part of the campus had to be evacuated.  Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois have both lost students in campus shootings this past February.

And if anything were to ever happen at my university, I’m one of the people who has to respond.

So that’s an overwhelming thought.  Whenever I read any of these stories, my mind immediately jumps to the people who work in residence life and student affairs on those campuses.  What they must be going through, what kind of stress they must be under.  Because the thing is, if you’re at the bottom of the totem pole like me, you’re probably the one the students are looking to first, because you’re the one they recognize, the one they feel safe with.  And you have absolutely no power to help them, because all the decisions being made are coming from people much higher than you, who have to make the best choices for the campus as a whole, and those decisions might not make sense to the people on the ground.

A few days after the tornado I found a collection of pictures on flickr that had been put up by some students and staff who had gone out after the storm, trying to capture what they could.  I sat at my desk one afternoon and watched the slide show for nearly an hour.  When it got to the pictures of the residence hall that had been destroyed, I cried.

Occasionally I have a meeting with a student that ends poorly, and sometimes the thought crosses my mind that if they were going to lash out, I could be their target.  It’s silly, I know, and I can’t let these highly-publicized violent acts on what is actually a small percentage of college campuses create a sense of fear in my job.  But it still happens.

Tonight my girl PAs are coming over to watch My Date With Drew, which might be the best documentary ever made.  I’m looking forward to it, because I haven’t given myself the time to enjoy my girls this year like I should, and really, they’re why I’m here.

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Thursday, February 28

Again, I’m posting a day late.  I’m so lazy.

Thursday was ridiculously productive, both professionally and socially.  In the morning we started our PA selection talks, and I was slightly shocked at how smoothly the conversation went.  I suppose we’ll see how next week goes, but as of right now I’m feeling good.  This might be relatively painless.

In the afternoon I met with one student after another, all of the meetings pleasant.  I usually end up spending less time in my office during Winter quarter because I’m down in the SUB working on selection stuff, and I don’t realize how much I miss it until I finally make it back up to Ashton.  Students were popping in and out, waving as they walked by, asking random questions about housing, trying to distract me from what I needed to be doing.  I love it.

In the evening I met Carly, one of my old PAs, for happy hour at Ponti.  I had this inexplicable craving for salmon quesadillas…while at Ponti we bumped into JJ, one of my fellow RLCs, and his wife Lisa.  JJ is holding the pager this week, which means that he gets to respond to any “incident” that happens on campus.  Turns out that right before they showed up at Ponti, JJ had been called because someone decided to set off some fireworks in Martin Square.  Martin Square is the ill-named circular area that sits between the library, the cafeteria, and one of our classroom/office buildings.  After reviewing the video, Safety and Security determined that the culprit was a lone ninja. 

Yes, ninja. 

My job is remarkable.

If any student readers have any information on this ninja, you are asked to contact myself or the Office of Safety and Security.

So dinner with Carly was wonderful.  I am so thankful that I get to continue to have relationships with students after they graduate.  When I started working in higher education, I was always amazed at how much an individual grows and changes during college.  Now that I’ve been doing this for over six years – nine if you count my own time as an undergrad – I find that I’m even more fascinated with the maturity that comes in that first year or two after graduation.  Just within the first six months is feels like this mantle of adulthood has started to rest on their shoulders, and they begin to speak with a very subtle hint of gravitas, as though they’ve started to realize what the rest of their life holds for them.

Of course, Carly and I mostly talked about boys, and compared notes on our respective gall bladder removals.

After that Joel picked me up and we went to Capitol Hill so he could meet some members of the Bible study.  Ryan reflected last night that this can be a hard group to enter; it’s a bit like being inducted into a family.  Joel handled it, though, and (I think) we all had fun.  I know I was excited to see my friends, especially after missing Bible study on Tuesday night.  And Kevin had amazing news: a little over four months after his motorcycle accident, he is now able to put weight on his leg.  Take that, UPS truck. 

Wednesday, February 27

I didn’t post yesterday, and now I’m posting so late on Thursday that I’ll probably be posting again in a few hours.  I know, this is ridiculous, but the OCD in me wants to have a post for everyday, so here it is.

Yesterday was full of meetings, but they made me smile because they all went well, and many of them were with students, who I always enjoy.  Seriously, guys.  Love all around.

I also enjoyed being stalked by Margaret and Shannon, who met me in the 6th lobby as I was coming in from my car, for no reason other than they saw me from their rooms and wanted to say hello.  I know they’re reading this, so let it be known that they used the term stalker, not me.  Although I probably agree.

Last night was the final night of PA group process interviews, which means no more extra work nights for the rest of the quarter.  Granted, the quarter has two and a half weeks left, but it’s the small victories, right?  Now all we have left to do is pick, and while this doesn’t take up any evenings, it’s the hardest part.  Being on such a small campus means you know everyone, and I know that everyone who applied would do well, but we can’t hire all 80-something people.

The highlight of my day, though, was making my weekend plans.  I’m real excited about my weekend plans.  I’ll tell you about them later.

Tuesday, February 26

Seattle has had sun for a solid week now.  Not constant sun, but I believe I’ve seen a few rays shining through nearly everyday.  As we say at the end of church every week, thanks be to God.  I think that, for me anyway, the sun is one of those things I don’t realize I’m missing until it pops up after a long hiatus.  Like Psych, or some other mediocre-heavily-dialogued-guilty-pleasure TV show.

So that’s been nice.  Also nice: one more night of group process interviews, and then we’ll have all the information we need to start picking PAs.  Having an extra three hours of work two nights during midweek doesn’t exactly make me want to jump and squeal, but it is fun watching all the candidates…process together.  And it’s an excuse to hang out with my co-workers, whom I love, or at least am entertained by. 

(Just kidding.  I love you all, or “all y’all,” for those readers from the South.)

Tonight Sharon and I were discussing how the current candidates reminded us of old PAs.  Almost all of them had a match from the past, and the fact that I had three years of previous staffs to draw from made me feel old.  It’s strange to  when this year’s seniors graduate, I’ll have been through what was essentially another four years of college.  I was a “freshman” with them.  And next year I’ll be a “super senior”.

Reflecting on today, I think I really had a lot to smile about. 

Walking to the Grinder with Azlan, which means that all of my PAs have now met and fallen in love with Kristen, my favorite barista.

Emails from Joel (3!).

Having an extra hour open up in my schedule, which allowed me to sit and catch up with Andrea without the guilt of postponing work…ok, really, who am I kidding.  I seldom to never feel guilt for postponing work.  I would have enjoyed that time regardless.

Having students pop in during office hours, which made it feel worth my while to be sitting alone in my office.

Getting the first issue of my year-long subscription to Seattle Metropolitan Magazine.

Wearing the scarf my friend Chris made me two years ago, which made me think of her all day.

Seeing all the RLCs at group process this evening, and realizing that I’ve missed the ones who have been gone for the past few days.

Now I have to eat, because as you might have noticed, none of the things that made me smile today involved food.  At some point I remember eating an egg-white salad sandwich and some leftover chicken lasagna, but nothing of actual substance or nutritional value.  So much for taking care of myself.

Monday, February 25

I have no excuse for not posting yesterday, other than the fact that I was having such a lovely evening that I didn’t feel like stopping in the middle of it to record it. 

Yesterday Joel walked into my apartment with tulips and said, “Happy Sunday.”  Advice for men: this will always be a good idea.  Giving a girl flowers just because it’s a Sunday, or Monday, or Thursday, will win you enough brownie points to wreck her car and kill her plants and get away with all of it.  Everytime I’ve looked at those flowers today, I’ve smiled.

Today I shared meals with two of my favorite people.  I love working in my home and being able to have company over in the middle of the day.  I also love not cooking for myself and being invited to other people’s houses.   

This evening I led staff meeting alone because Levi is at a conference in lovely Vancouver, WA with the other new RLCs.  I’m a little jealous.  Being the extreme extrovert that I am, I love a good conference, especially when they include opportunities to win things like a free Evergreen State College Geoduck t-shirt.  But I have to give others the chance, so this time I stayed home.  I was a little nervous to lead staff meeting by myself because I knew we had some deep things to talk about, one of them being my apology for being uptight for the past 6 months, but when it was over I realized that I left feeling more encouraged and valued than I have felt all year.  This might be because we had a forced encouragement activity at the end of the meeting, but regardless, I felt loved.

As I sit here and think about my day, I realize I’m about to go to bed with all kinds of warm fuzzies, which is unusual for a Monday.  I typically end Mondays feeling like the week should already be halfway over.  That makes me grateful, and it reminds me that I need to keep letting go of all the stuff I’ve been grabbing hold of this year, because holding on that tight only makes me tired and sore.

Friday and Saturday, February 22 and 23

I’ve decided not to make my bed today. I’m aware that for most people this is a small thing, a non-issue, but with the exception of nights I’ve been sick or been staying in hotels, I’ve made my bed every morning for at least the past 9 years. I’m sure there was a day during my freshman year when the top bunk was too much to work around, but I can’t remember a normal morning where I didn’t put everything in my room back in it’s place after my evening slumber. Why this morning, then, to break nearly a decade of routine? Mainly because it’s noon-thirty, and I’m currently still in bed. I have big plans for today: heading to Barnes and Noble to use their travel books and plan my trip to LA in March, washing my dishes, watching some West Wing. But right now I’m still under the covers, ignoring phone calls, surfing the Internet. One of my finds is the video below. I feel like my sisters will especially appreciate it.

So that’s why my bed isn’t made. I think I’ll get up in a few minutes, and only then because my stomach is starting to growl audibly, but I still don’t think I want to take the time. I might just want to crawl back in.

Thursday, February 21

Do you ever have one of those days at work that makes you want to update your resume? 

Whew.  That’s all that’s necessary to say.

Today was a long day, but the sun is staying out longer, so I went for a long walk after work.  By the time I got to Kerry Park the sun was setting, and the clouds above the Sound were pink and purple and beautiful.  Oddly enough, there was not a soul there.  I always expect to see news crews or young couples or photographers at the lookout, and it was somewhat bizarre to be standing at the local landmark alone.  It was nice.  I took a few deep breaths and enjoyed my peaceful perch looking down at the chaotic downtown.  And then I fell in love with Seattle for the 100th time.

While walking I listened to the Shins first album, and I could just hear the birds chirping over “New Slang”.  Spring cometh not a moment too soon.

On the way home I walked by Video Isle, and on a whim I slipped inside and ended up renting the first three discs of West Wing Season 6.  This will forever be one of television’s greatest series.  I don’t feel guilty about sitting on the couch and watching this show for hours at a time because, in addition to being entertained, I have learned more about the U.S. governmental system and international polictics by watching seasons 1 through 5 than I did through the combination of all of my high school and college history and government classes.  Plus, figuring out what is going on in the midst of the quick-paced dialogue makes me feel smart. 

And if Martin Sheen ever runs for president, I’ll run his campaign.