Saturday, December 6

The Journey of a Film

An interesting conversation came up a few days ago about film, more specifically finding the journey in a film. Something that when not there leaves a painfully obvious void.

The conversation evolved from a final clip of a film in a class I am making my rounds through. Diversity through Film is a course that pulls out key scenes from films and connect them to a theme among diversity; ability, race, gender, sexual orientation, class and privileged.

The scene in question is from Schindler's List and it was the final scene as Oskar Schindler is leaving Germany and in the process apologizing for not doing more to help his Jewish "employees". This is powerful scene on its own with little context needed.

After the class the professor, myself and a few teacher assistants had a conversation. A few of us were making an argument that during that scene we were fighting back tears, for the scene alone. Then a couple of folks in the conversation mentioned they had not seen the film. Leading to the real conversation, what is more heartbreaking are the folks who did not go on the journey to get to the final scene. Those who did not meet the girl in the red coat, the pistol jamming, of course this scene and so many more. To know these character exponentially the power of this scene.

The similar topic came up regarding The Shawshank Redemption. In the final scene the feeling of hope is so prevalent one cannot avoid it. However if you stay on the journey from start to finish with Red and Andy you cannot but be moved to tears.

The soul of a movie is not in the final scene(s), just as the soul of a book is no in the final chapter. Although these scenes can summarize a feeling and conclude the film. The power, dare I say passion toward a film is of when one can take the viewer on the journey from a characters high to the characters lowest of lows; then in some cases miraculously, conclude and leave you changed in ways you just do not know until weeks even years later.

Tuesday, December 2

Coldplay - Christmas Lights

Christmas night, another fight
Tears, we cried a flood
Got all kinds of poison in
Of poison in my blood
I took my feet to Oxford Street
Trying to right a wrong
Just walk away, those windows say
But I can't believe she's gone
When you're still waiting for the snow to fall
Doesn't really feel like Christmas at all
Up above, candles on air flicker
Oh, they flicker and they float
And I'm up here holdin' on
To all those chandeliers of hope
Like some drunken Elvis singin'
I go singin' out of tune
Sayin' how I always loved you, darlin'
And I always will
Oh, when you're still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all
Still waiting for the snow to fall
It doesn't really feel like Christmas at all
Those Christmas lights light up the street
Down where the sea and city meet
May all your troubles soon be gone
Oh, Christmas lights, keep shinin' on
Those Christmas lights light up the street
Maybe they'll bring her back to me
And then all my troubles will be gone
Oh, Christmas lights, keep shinin' on
Oh, Christmas lights, light up the street
Light up the fireworks in me
May all your troubles soon be gone
Those Christmas lights keep shinin' on

Saturday, November 29

Finding a Different Path: When I Grow Up I Want to Go Into Student Affairs

I found this article over the summer, skimmed it, didn't think much of it, saved it. I thought that was it.

Yesterday I found it in my bookmarks and read through it with a different set of eyes. As many may know, I have made steps going on a different career path than what I originally set out on.  I imagine more posts to come on this transition.

The article is titled "When I Grow Up I Want to Go Into Student Affairs" by Josie Ahlquist and can be found here. This was written over a year ago now, but just as relevant today to me and my current scenario.

I was planning on summarizing it, but couldn't, so here is the full article:

"When I Grow Up I Want to Go Into Student Affairs" by Josie Ahlquist

You may be reading this from a variety of perspectives.  Maybe a season student affairs professional, someone exploring the field of student affairs, or even a reader that stumbled upon my post haphazardly.  To give a quick reference, especially for the later, Student Affairs is a division within Higher Education that provides student development services on the campuses they serve.  For example, residence life, student activities, student life, campus recreation, career development, and much more.
I have been called a party planner, producer, educator, teacher, project manager and more.  However, we facilitate many of the holistic elements that make up the college experience.  We are educators, outside of the classroom.  Yet our field is still rising to the level of awareness and legitimacy among our higher education colleagues in academics and overall general public.
October is designated as Careers in Student Affairs Month.  This post recognizes this field of which I dedicate my life work.  But much work needs to be done in advancing and promoting the Student Affairs profession.
It is the question every child is asked, what do you want to be when you grow up?!  Insert adorable responses *here* like fireman, nurse, truck driver, teacher, football player, singer and more.  A few of mine included teacher, swim coach and professional Rollerblader (oh yes I had moves).
It is understandable that young children would give well-known occupations, that can be found in children’s books, cartoons, movies, toys, etc.  As the career exploration process advances, especially starting in middle school, students drill down further into specifics of career fields for possibilities.  During this time, careers get little more specific such as expressing interest in becoming an elementary teacher, lawyer, dentist, fashion designer, etc.  I remember one of my ideas during middle was to become a orthodontist, going through the painstakingly process of braces and retainers. 
But still, at no point in this process would a young person say,

Then there is high school, where classes are fused further to challenge and support rising young adults to consider fields of study in science, communications, business, education and more.  I remember looking through countless career cards at my counselors office, sorting those jobs that sparked more or less interest.  Jobs that included working with people, but also helping them be their ‘best’ selves, rose to the top.
Students primed for college attendance commit to majors, listed out on college websites.  At this point, no student has even lived the college experience, yet alone think they could one day make a living working on campus.  There is no undergraduate major listed called ‘higher education administration’ or ‘Student Affairs.’  So, it is no surprise that young adults have no idea that the field of Student Affairs exists.
The stories of how many of my colleagues in Student Affairs ‘found’ the field have a lot to do with mentorship.  A strong advisor or supervisor who said a statement like, ‘have you ever thought about doing this for a living?’ or ‘do you know about the field of Student Affairs?’
What follows usually includes the exploration process of the field, the requirement for graduate programs, professional association/conferences and internship/graduate assistantship opportunities.  Those reading this that relate to this process, probably have that mentor clearly pictured in your mind.
For me, I can think of the woman at South Dakota State University who opened my eyes to the field, Jen Novotny.  Now Director of Student Activities, she was (and still is) a strong independent leader, high energy, great with students, appearing to loving her job and doing really great work.  It was my junior in college, when I was realizing college was ending sooner than I was ready for, she approached me.
I was the typical overachieving involved student leader, juggling time as a college athlete, programming board coordinator, orientation leader and more.  It really only took a couple of conversations with her and I was sold.  I soon was researching graduate schools and applying for graduate assistantships to support my studies.
Before I knew it I was enrolled at Northern Arizona University in the Master Program of Counseling, with an emphasis in Student Affairs. I was super lucky to land a graduate assistantship with Residence Life, which also provided a place to live and a meal plan.  From there I forged into professional positions, first in Residence Life and then in Student Activities.  To date, I’m a decade into my professional career, now pursuing my Doctorate in HIgher Education Leadership.  I think you’d consider me a success story for Student Affairs.  Mentored into the field, retained and now ready to stick it out through retirement.
But could all this be much too haphazard?  If a student is lucky enough to work with a professional that speaks up and notice skills, then they know about the field!  This is not enough.
Call it fate or destiny, but I am not sure if it wasn’t for my SDSU mentor, I would be in Student Affairs today.  I went to college to become a high school guidance counselor, so my discovery of student affairs wasn’t too far off.  I knew I wanted to help young people.  I’m sure I would have been happy going in this direction.
But doesn’t the field of student affairs deserve more?  Shouldn’t there be aggressive ways to promote, educate and move strong young leaders in the field?  I say yes.
Since my introduction to student affairs in 2001, much has advanced in responding to my last question.
  • Professional associations like NASPA and ACPA have recognized undergraduate development, offering membership, career education, leadership opportunities and scholarships.
  • October Careers in Student Affairs Month is celebrated and highlighted yearly.  In Southern California, a day long conference called Western Careers in Student Affairs Day.
  • Masters programs are infusing education on mentorship and supervision of undergraduates.
  • Masters programs are also beginning to recruit students more aggressive, especially at student leadership conferences to aid in the discovery process.
But I believe more should be done to forge the discovering process for the field of student affairs, as well as the entire field of Higher Education.  Let’s not forget the important work of Enrollment Management, University Relations, Alumni Affairs and much more who need strong future leaders in their divisions.
Here are a few ‘dreams’ that I’m putting out into the blogosphere:
  • At minimum, provide a session at your university for college juniors on the field of Student Affairs and other careers in Higher Education
  • Integrate and include Student Affairs Career Education into Student Leadership Programs and training, such as for resident assistants, orientation leaders, etc
  • Educate School Counseling Masters Programs about careers in Higher Education, so high school and middle school counselors know about the field and can talk to their students about it as an option.
  • Development of a Student Affairs Undergraduate Degree.  Create a feeder-like undergraduate degrees, based upon leadership development and business administration, that would lead to a Student Affairs/Higher Education Administration Masters programs.
  • Evolve Student Affairs into an Academic Profession. This idea came from a keynote I recently heard from Peter Lake, prominent author in Higher Education and law.  This revolutionary idea will allow our field to be reborn, moving beyond the idea that Student Affairs are project managers or event planners.  We are educators, teaching just as faculty do, just taking place outside of the classroom.
But for now, we have this month of October celebrating Careers in Student Affairs Month.   A gentle reminder to current professionals the important to promote our field, especially to undergraduates.  This is not a time to ‘sell’ our field, racking up scout badges for every recruit we bring on.  Rather, to educate students on what we really do the good parts and even the bad.  Also, to celebrate that what we do is a career choice and a choice we should celebrate.  It is also a teachable moment to those around us that don’t get what we do.  Those in the field know exactly what I am talking about, the blanks stares we receive when explaining our jobs.
A few last thoughts for those in the field:
What is your discovery story in how you got into the field?
Have you thanked your mentors lately who guided you into Student Affairs?
What else can you do in your position/at your university to promote the field?
Who have you mentored into the field?  Where are they now?  When was the last time you reached out to them?
What students do you know/work with that could be possible future Student Affairs educators?
Fellow blogger, Mallory Bower asked current or future student affairs professionals a variety of questions to send her, to showcase our stories.  Check out the post here and think about responding with your Student Affairs story!
For those possibly interested in going into Student Affairs: I urge you, if you do not have a mentor in the field who can guide you through the process, please put that #1 on your to-do list.  Don’t worry about bothering us, it is a huge compliment to a student affairs professional to be sought out to help a future colleague, pursuing the path to student affairs.  Next, gather information.  Here are a few great resources to continue to explore the field.
After getting a strong sense of the field, your next to do’s are as follows (mostly in order)
  1. Do more research about the field of Student Affairs.  Like any career choice, there are ups and downs.  Student Affairs is not perfect.  It is a lot of hard work, low pay and long hours.  But the pay off is there for those that are in it for the right reasons.  Do your research what being a Student Affairs educator is really like.  I highly encourage you to read this post from Becca Obergefell here, who reflects upon the realities of the field.
  2. Find and apply to Masters programs.  Look for programs in Student Affairs and/or Higher Education.
  3. Explore taking on more responsibilities in your current leadership roles.  For example, after deciding I would pursue a masters in Student Affairs, as a 3rd year Orientation Leader, my mentor Jen Novotny promoted me from my orientation leader role, into supervising my peers and coordinating our summer training.  Resident Assistants, Student Managers, Organization Presidents, Front Desk Managers and more have job descriptions that can be altered to provide enhanced learning and experiences.
  4. Take the GRE test, ideally the spring of your Junior Year or Fall Senior Year.
  5. Look into joining a professional association.  NASPA and ACPA are the two major ones in Student Affairs.  There are countless others that are functional area focused, based upon the department such as ACUHO-I for Residence Life, NACA for Student Activities, or NIRSA for Campus Recreation.  Look into these, based upon your interests.  Almost all of them have a significant discount for undergraduate and graduate students.
  6. Find & apply to graduate assistantships which may support your tuition, give a stipend, and/or  provide room & board.  Look into these three placement services for your search: Oshkosh Placement ExchangePlacement Exchange and ACPA Career Central.
  7. Ask three close professional contacts for recommendation letters.  Give them a least two weeks to prepare these, two months would be even better!  REmember these professionals are very busy, but want to make the letter strong.  Give them the time they need for this.  Ensure you give them your resume and all contact information needed to complete it.  In other works, make it as easy as possible, without writing the letter yourself.
I’d love to hear your stories, how you discovered the field of Student Affairs, why you stay in it, and/or what makes you interested in going into the field.  Join me in the ‘dream’ that within the next decade, students younger than college Juniors will declare the statement, “When I grow up I want to go into Student Affairs!”
Happy Careers in Student Affairs Month!!!

Saturday, November 22

10 Things

1. "Life is the fire that burns and the sun that gives light.  Life is the wind and the rain and the thunder in the sky.  Life is matter and is earth, what is and what is not, and what beyond is in Eternity."  ~Seneca

2. Still feels freaking amazing to be back here:

3. I have the worse timing.

4. Christmas does not start until after December 1st....

5. please turn off the ads from Santa, just one more week, you can do it.

6. The song playing through my mind right now: Arms ~Christina Perri

7. Connecting with 3., I rarely see what is right in front of me.

8. "Life is a horizontal fall."  ~Jean Cocteau

9. As we grow older we tend to remember the great and amazing parts of our past. Even, to this extent, ignoring the absolutely horrible, darkest of days....looking instead at the brightest.

10. I just finished a pot of coffee and finished randomly writing this in 4min, new record.

Thursday, November 20

Ode to Jim Croce

One of the greatest singer/songwriters to ever, and sadly not many will ever know his name.

Please, just take a moment and watch this...not much more is needed to be said.

Sunday, November 16

I love.

I love the incredible story within Contact.

I love every aspect of The Shawshank Redemption.
"Get Busy Liv'in, or Get Busy Dy'in"

I love the way the last episode of the last season of The West Wing makes me feel. 

And I love Danny and CJ's final 
conversation: "I like the sound of your voice."

I love Norman Rockwell's "

I love '
Jungleland' by Bruce Springsteen.

I love everything by Bruce Springsteen.

I love Simon and Garfunkel's Live in Central Park show.

I love 'Fix You' by Coldplay

I love how Toy Story knocks my socks off.

I love Harry and Sally.

And Monica and Chandler.

And Jordan and Leo.

And Topanga and Corey!

I love the 
ingenuous plot of Terminator 2: Judgement Day.

I love Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind, and miss it being in my collection.

I love Freddie Mercury's style.

I love everything about Freddie Mercury.

I love the 
concept of Batman Beyond .

And this scene seals that point.

I love short stories.

I love incredible graduation speeches like 
David Foster Wallace and David McCullough Jr.

I love flash mobs.

I love it when a song can take me back to an amazing memory.

And I love Wonderful Tonight for that exact reason.

I love "The Book Thief."

I love "The BFG".

I love Herm Matlock's passion towards Jazz.

I love the 
chemistry between Amanda Peet and Ashton Kutcher in A Lot Like Love.
Does this not take you back to a special moment in your life?

I love Forrest Gump's and the older ladies conversation, and her genuine interest in the story. 

I love Tom Hanks.

I love Helen Hunt, too.

And, I love every movie both have been in.

I love Castaway.

And Field of Dreams.

I miss Mark Greene.

I love Wicked.

I love random quotes.

I adore Robin William.

I love the visuals in What Dreams May Come.

I love Heaven in What Dreams May Come.

And, even, Hell in What Dreams May Come.

I love everything Daniel Day Lewis has done.

I love the video and song of Man on Fire by Edward Sharpe and the Mangnetic Zeros.

I love to dance.

I love when others dance.

I love waking up in the morning.

I love genuine inspiration.

I love passion.

I love creativity.

Wednesday, November 12

When You're On Top - The Wa­ll­flo­wers

I need a bed
That nobody’s slept in
I need some air
Nobody’s been breathing
I need a thought
That I can believe in 

Is this fog
Or is the building really burning
I need you
Much more than ever

I’m making new friends
But none of them matter
Maybe now
We don’t fit together
But you’ve got your arms around
No one but strangers

I feel fine
With the sun in my eyes
The wind in my hair
When I’m falling out of this sky
I’m doing better than I thought I would
But nothing’s ever as good
As when you’re on top

I want to wake up
And just start running
Into a ditch
Or straight up a mountain
I want to get
Where no one been gettin’
Make it deeper than hell
Or make it higher than heaven

I need someone whose price hasn’t been met
When everybody’s disappearing
By the minute
There isn’t anyone left
I haven’t meet yet
Well I remember
When they hadn’t gotten to you yet

Half way up
And over this rainbow
I heard a shot
Fire up from a ghetto
As I drop
I didn’t think you’d follow
Just didn’t know
The sky was this shallow

I need a garden
Where nothing’s forbidden
I need an apple
That no one’s been eatin’
I want to start again
Back at the beginnin’
I had a vision
That this feeling maybe has an ending

Monday, November 10

Some Nights ~ Fun.

Some nights I stay up cashing in my bad luck
Some nights I call it a draw
Some nights I wish that my lips could build a castle
Some nights I wish they'd just fall off

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh, Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for oh
Whoa oh oh (What do I stand for?)
Whoa oh oh (What do I stand for?)
Most nights I don't know anymore...
Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh,
Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh

This is it, boys, this is war - what are we waiting for?
Why don't we break the rules already?
I was never one to believe the hype
Save that for the black and white
I try twice as hard and I'm half as liked,
But here they come again to jack my style

That's alright (that's alright)
I found a martyr in my bed tonight
She stops my bones from wondering just who I am, who I am, who I am
Oh, who am I? Mmm... Mmm...

Well, some nights I wish that this all would end
'Cause I could use some friends for a change.
And some nights I'm scared you'll forget me again
Some nights I always win, I always win...

But I still wake up, I still see your ghost
Oh, Lord, I'm still not sure what I stand for, oh
Whoa oh oh (What do I stand for?)
Whoa oh oh (What do I stand for?)
Most nights I don't know... (oh, come on)

So this is it. I sold my soul for this?
Washed my hands of that for this?
I miss my mom and dad for this?

Come on

No. When I see stars, when I see, when I see stars, that's all they are
When I hear songs, they sound like a swan, so come on.
Oh, come on. Oh, come on. Oh, come on!

Well, that is it guys, that is all - five minutes in and I'm bored again
Ten years of this, I'm not sure if anybody understands
This one is not for the folks at home;
Sorry to leave, mom, I had to go
Who the fuck wants to die alone all dried up in the desert sun?

My heart is breaking for my sister and the con that she called "love"
When I look into my nephew's eyes...
Man, you wouldn't believe the most amazing things that can come from...
Some terrible nights... ah...

Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh,
Oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, whoa, oh, oh

The other night you wouldn't believe the dream I just had about you and me
I called you up but we'd both agree

It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance... Oh...
It's for the best you didn't listen
It's for the best we get our distance... Oh...