Goals For 2017.

Honestly, I can’t believe how fast the year flashed by.  I feel like 2016 just started…and yet here we are, on the second to last day of the year.  I think it’s been harder for me to keep track of time this year because of all of the big life events that happened during the last 365 days.

Just to recap, 2016 brought:

  • my final semester of college
  • a stressful and exciting grad school/job search
  • an offer (and acceptance) for a graduate assistantship at the University of South Dakota
  • the creation of this blog!
  • college graduation! #NMUAlumni
  • a move back to my parents house for the summer
  • a new summer job at the local cafe
  • my first big adult purchase-my 2011 Chevy Impala!
  • a cross-country trek to my new home, Vermillion, South Dakota! #FromNoMiToSoDak
  • my first semester of #SAGrad
  • new friends
  • an interest and focus on holistic wellbeing
  • meditation
  • an unforgettable roadtrip and hiking adventure to the Badlands with my best friend, Monica
  • trips to exciting cities-St. Louis, Missouri, and Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • more time spent in airports than any year prior

and…

  • lots of new adventures!

So, as I ring in the new year, I can’t help but to think back on all of the positive and negative things that I experienced in 2016 and the things I look forward to in 2017.

I am not really big on new years resolutions because I don’t believe they really work.  I don’t ever stick to them and neither do most people…it’s just a fun trendy thing to do so we all hop on that bandwagon.

However, something that I am pretty big on is goal-setting (cue all student affairs related programming).  So, rather than creating a resolution each year I try to make a few reasonable goals for myself.

This year my goals are:

  • land a summer internship.
    • I am currently applying through ACUHO-I  but am also looking into other internship hosts and campus locations.
  • read six books.
    • I am working on knocking off some books on my To-Read shelf on Goodreads.
  • #RunTheYear2017.
    • I hope to run 2017 miles in the year of 2017, which equates to 5.5 miles a day.
  • Build a mostly plant-based diet.
    • This one I am still unsure of but really interested in!  
    • I am shooting for 75-80% of my diet being plant-based but am not sure how I will track this yet.  Because of my running goal, I want to focus on filling my body with nutrient-rich foods right from the ground in order to provide the energy needed to reach this lofty fitness goal.  I have been thinking about and researching plant based lifestyles for a long while now but have been scared to try it.  I hate the idea of dieting and restricting myself to only certain foods, but I wholeheartedly believe that a mostly plant based lifestyle is the way to go for me.  Being mostly plant-based will allow for me to consistently practice positive physical wellbeing and monitor the foods that I am eating while still being flexible enough for me to feel unrestricted and still have fun too…aka ice cream, french fries, and craft beer.
  • minimize.
    • The idea of minimalist living has always intrigued me.  I hate living in clutter.  I hate having things that are unused or don’t bring me happiness and positivity in some way.  I would like to be able to pack up the items that I have and move easily when I am done with grad school, so it makes sense to start minimizing now.  The less I have the less I have to worry about, right?

As of right now, these are the goals that I have set for myself in the next year.  I am sure I will add, subtract, or alter my goals, but I think that I have a great foundation right now.

I will be sure to update my progress as I go along.  Good luck to everyone else on their 2017 endeavors!

-Joel

Connecting Student Affairs To Real Life.

The post-grad life is treating me pretty well.  I’m living with my parents for the Summer, in small-town, rural Northern Michigan, and I’m working at a family owned, local café.

My intentions for this Summer were to find a job in which I could work as many hours as possible, make a few bucks, and avoid the people I went to high school with, while having a little fun along the way.  However, I am getting much more out of this summer job than what I originally intended.

I have already learned so much about myself and the world of Student Affairs through the work that I am doing at the café and I thought it would be fun to share what I’m learning with others.

Flexibility is key:

Working in both Student Affairs and a Café, you just never know what you’re going to run into.  Whether it is an emergency/crisis situation, a spilled coffee drink, a messed up order, a crying student, or any other possibility you can think of…YOU MUST BE FLEXIBLE.  You have to be willing and able to set off on an uncharted course, throw away your itinerary, and just wing it sometimes.  You can’t be upset when something unplanned occurs, and you must remain in control of the situation.  It is not always easy, but it is necessary, and sometimes brings a laugh or two.

Go to where the people are:

Student Affairs and the Food Service industry are both “Customer Service” related fields.  This means that you must be able to meet your “customer” where they are, and cater to their needs and interests.  Whether you are coordinating an event or a program related to Study Habits, Sexual Assault, or Traveling Abroad, you must always keep the needs and interests of your students in mind.  The same goes for your “regular” customers at the café who you know by name and drink order, as well as the first time coffee drinkers who can’t pronounce half of the drink names correctly.  Take the extra time to get to know your “customers”, observe and evaluate their wants and needs, and use this information to provide the best support to them.  In the end it will benefit both parties.

People will always ask you “What is Student Affairs?”:

As a #FirstGen student, I didn’t know what this field was until I entered college. Even when I first heard about it, I thought it was just something “retired RA’s” found themselves a part of when they realized that one cannot be the RA of the world.  I actually think the world would benefit from having RA’s, and as it turns out, that is not at all what Student Affairs is.  There is so much to this field; it is vast and varying, and it is such a new field as well.  No wonder no one knows what it is.  That’s ok.  Not everyone knows why the lights turn on when you flip a switch, either-I will never understand electricity-but we still need electricians, just as we need Student Affairs Professionals.  I am learning to be patient as I explain my future goals to my family, friends, and customers at the café.  The important thing is that they see my passion for this field as I explain to them what it is that I want to do with my future.

“You don’t have to be crazy to work here.  We’ll train you.”

Anyone who has ever worked in Student Affairs or a café knows how crazy it can be sometimes.  There are slow days and fast-paced days.  You’ll put on a program that will bomb and a program that will be a raging success.  You’ll work with awesome people and lousy people-Both will be rewarding and allow room for growth.  You’ll mess up an order, or spill coffee down your whitest shirt.  You’ll be sent home early and you’ll spend long hours in the office working into the wee hours of the morning.  These fields aren’t for everyone-just the hardworking, passionate, caring, dedicated, service-oriented individuals who strive for the success and happiness of others.  It may be crazy at times, but that’s what keeps me coming back for more.

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Even though my summer job at the café is just a point in which I will pass through I have gotten so much out of it.  I love the work that I do here, and will forever appreciate this job opportunity.  Four more weeks until I move to South Dakota!