Settle Down It’ll All Be Clear.

I have been in Vermillion for just over two weeks now.  During this time I have been able to fully move into my place, explore Vermillion and USD, and meet a few people.  I have started my position as a Fraternity Graduate Assistant and have completed training.  I can’t wait for students to arrive back on campus and for classes to start.

I have been so nervous with all of the beginnings and the new challenges that I am about to face this year so I just wanted to take the time to share a few things that I have done to make myself familiar with my new home.

Get a library card

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I love libraries.  I love books.  I love reading.  I am excited to be in a new city because that means that I have one more library to check books out from.  I really love that libraries use eBooks these days because no matter how far away from them I live I can still check out books.  One of the first things I did upon my arrival in Vermillion was make a visit to the library to browse around, check out a book, and get a library card-because lets just talk about how magical library cards are!

Current read is What I Talk About When I Talk About Running by Haruki Murakami

Go for a run or a hike

Other than Higher Education, running and hiking are two other things that I am truly passionate about.  So when it comes to moving to a new city, what greater way to get to know a place than by running through it or finding a hiking path?

Find a coffee shop to frequent

I love coffee and company, so a small coffee shop is vital to my living situations.  Good thing Vermillion has one that suits my every need.  Café Brule is a cute little specialty coffee shop, full service restaurant, bakery, and even has a long list of wine and beer to choose from.  If you don’t enjoy something from Café Brule, you are doing something horribly wrong with your life.  I have already spent too much time and money here, and I know that it will soon become a staple in my weekly routine.  Another plus to Café Brule is that they accept money from my meal plan!

Attend a community event

Getting involved in the city in which you live is one way to feel truly connected to it.  I love small college towns because quite often the city and campus communities are close-knit and allow for many opportunities to get involved in both.  Here in Vermillion, the young professionals network, Vermillion Next, works hard to provide fun and cheap entertainment for our community members.

The first event that I attended in town is a bi-weekly summer event called Thursdays On The Platz.  There is live music, free entertainment, food catered by local businesses, and beer and wine sampling.  It is a great way to meet people in town and is a fun atmosphere to be a part of.

Check out the local Farmers Market

I am a huge supporter of shopping local.  I love knowing that my food or gifts are coming from just up the street and I love building relationships with the people who are making the items I use regularly.  Most towns have some sort of farmers market, and Vermillion is no different.  I stopped by on Saturday and picked up a few amazing items!

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My first purchase was this local honey.  Moving to a new place, living in an old, dirty house, and adjusting to a new schedule does not make for the greatest equation in terms of allergies.  Some of this honey should do the trick in slowing down my allergies.

I couldn’t resist this little succulent in a coffee mug either.  I mean, how cute is it?  And, let’s just be honest…Did anyone think I was going to pass up cold brew?  Nope.  The Bean is a new start up company in Vermillion.  Right now they don’t have a location, but are selling at local events such as the Farmers Market and Thursdays On The Platz.  They sell cold brew coffee and home brewed iced tea.  I can’t wait to see what the future has in store for this amazing new business and I can’t wait to get my next batch of homemade goodness.

Relax.

Yes, amid exploring, work and getting myself comfortable in this strange new place, I have found the time to relax and breathe and do something for myself.  I think that while it is so important to get acquainted with your new home and to get involved and meet people, you also have to make sure that you are ok with all of this new stress.  Taking time for myself, making phone calls to friends/family back home, reading, and watching the Olympics have been ways for me to rewind and relax during all of this excitement.  I just have to remind myself that I may still feel lost and confused at times, but it will all be clear soon enough.  I just have to be patient and absorb everything as I go.

Wish me luck as I dive into Sorority and Fraternity Recruitment in the coming weeks!

-Joel

 

 

 

 

“My Great Place”.

IMG_6025If you’ve been following my blog, you know that I just moved to South Dakota from my home in Northern Michigan.  What you may not know though, is that South Dakota is home of many great faces and many great places.  So many in fact that they adopted “Great Faces. Great Places.” as their state slogan.

I’ve been thinking about this slogan since deciding to embark on this journey to South Dakota.  I’ve given a lot of thought to what makes a place great and even more so, what makes a face great.  This is a tough thing to think about, actually.

The more I thought about it, these three things kept coming to mind:

  1. Sense of place
  2. Sense of belonging and connectedness
  3. Community

In order for a place to be considered great, I believe you must feel connected to it.  You must feel some sense of belonging.  Once you feel connected and you feel that you belong here, a sense of place may develop.

I believe that many things contribute to your connectedness and belonging in a place.  First is your own willingness to become connected, meet new people, try new things.  Next is opportunities.  Obviously, in larger areas there are more opportunities to do more things, find your niche, and thrive.  But this does not mean that you can’t find a sense of place, or have an abundance of opportunities in a small town, just simply that you may have to look harder for them.  Lastly, I truly believe it is the people who make the place.  If you aren’t finding people that you are compatible with, it is much more difficult to get a groove and to make a place home.

For me, I have never felt a greater sense of place than I did when I lived in Marquette, Michigan.  So I’ve been reflecting on what it is that makes Marquette so great.

These are some of the things that I came up with:

  1. Lake Superior
  2. Northern Michigan University-My alma mater!
  3. Nature-Never more than a five minute walk away-For me this means trail running and hiking, cliff jumping, swimming, and many other things.
  4. The people I love live there-Shoutout to my Marquette family!
  5. Small town mixed with a big city vibe-While there is not a mall, I can get anything I need in Marquette, while still having that small town, close-knit community feel.

After coming up with some things that make Marquette great, I reflect on my values and interests and what is important to me and how they factor into my love for Marquette.

The things that are most important to me are:

  1. Love-family, friends, partners, pets, community, etc.
  2. Adventure-I am a sucker for trying new things and experiencing something for the first time.  Lump running, hiking, and nature into this category.
  3. Water- I have a deep connection to water, and feel most alive when I am near it.  I have never lived more than five minutes away from a Great Lake, so you can imagine that my move to South Dakota is a pretty big one.
  4. Education-Obviously I would not be pursuing a career in Student Affairs if Higher Education didn’t mean something to me.
  5. Coffee-No explanation needed.  Just coffee.

So friends, what made Marquette my home?

The fact that it offered me everything that I desired.  Everything that I truly can’t live without, I can find in Marquette.  This is why it is such a great place in my eyes.  With that said, I do however, know people who really don’t like Marquette, and could never live there.  This is because their values are different from mine.  The things that make a place great to them are probably different from those that make a great place for me.

Everyone is different.  Everyone has a different experience with people and places.  But it is all about what you make of it.  You must be flexible and find the things you value in every place you are, or learn to bring them everywhere you go.  Make that connection.  Find that gym.  Join that club.  Go on that date.

Fall in love.  With both new faces and new places.

This is what I’m determined to do.  Because in the two days that I’ve lived here, I have already come to believe that every place and every face is great.  You just have to adjust your perspective, step outside of the box and learn to appreciate it all.

As a #SAGrad, I must be able to show my students the positives of their new home, while still being real, raw, and transparent, knowing that every student may not love USD.  I need to be able to help them enjoy their time here and if I am not making this home and enjoying my time here, how the heck will they?

This is my newest goal for living in South Dakota.  I want to make this place home.  I want to feel connected.  I want to belong.  I want to explore my community and dive into the local scene.  I want to get everything that I can out of my GA position.  I want to learn as much as my brain and body will allow in each of my classes.  I want to make great new friends, and carry these friendships with me forever.

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Here’s to making Vermillion My Great Place.

-Joel