Put on Your Happy Sweater

Last week, I got in an elevator with a student wearing a fabulous sweater. It was black and gray with a giant white smiley face in the middle. Obviously it was the giant knit happy face that drew my eye, but the sweater itself was cozy and soft looking. We had quite a bit of snow here last week, and this was our first day back at the university after two days of cancelled classes and a late opening.

“I really love your sweater,” I said. Continue reading

Ghosts that We Knew

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A few weeks ago my husband mentioned that he wanted to ride bikes on the High Bridge Trail. “The what?” I asked and he went on to describe a state park, less than an hour and a half from our house that is 31 miles of trail, built in the path of an old (think mid-1800s) rail line. The highlight of which, as the name indicates, is the High Bridge. Also part of the old rail line, the bridge is about a half mile in length and places you eye level with the tops of the trees. Continue reading

3 of the 8 Million Stories in the Naked City

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I’ve written about New York before. I’m lucky to live close enough that I can get there regularly, eradicating the need to cram every. single. thing. into a long weekend.  Instead there is time to wander the streets, sit in hotel lobbies and just drink it all in.

My previous New York posts have all been about my itinerary — what I did, what I saw.  This time, I thought I would reflect on the people I encountered and their stories.  And by their stories, I mostly mean the stories I created for them.  Sort of like Humans of New York, except without the actual interviews, just a few facts and my writer’s eye and mind.

Continue reading

Questions

In my senior year of college I reluctantly took over organizing several events for an organization I was part of.  It was my last year in college and just wanted to focus on classes and friends and soaking up what was the end of a really significant time in my life.  One that would be unlike any other.  Instead there I was, painting signs and making flyers and talking about budgets.

One particularly busy afternoon, I remember sitting in the organization’s office and thinking: I’m so tired of balancing all this with my class work and my life, but if I could do something like this as a job that could be pretty awesome.

Approximately seven years after that moment I decided to go to graduate school; seeking a degree that I would open the door to jobs in higher education.

Why did it take seven years?  There are countless reasons.  But one thing that I always come back to is the fact that I never thought to ask anyone who worked at the college how they got their job.  I had great relationships with several student affairs professionals, but it never crossed my mind to ask about their career paths.

I’m sure this just wasn’t on my 21-year-old mind at all.  I don’t blame myself, nor do I have regrets.  But I do find myself wanting to encourage others to ask the questions.

So if you’re sitting in a campus office or a coffee shop or a crowded hotel lobby tonight and you’re wondering how that person across the room or behind the bar or over there by the fireplace got where they are in this very moment – go ask them.  Who knows what you might learn about yourself through someone else’s story.