Our Rock Has Been Struck

Dear… Whoever You Are,

You’ve made our precious, holy rock quite holey (insert ba-dum-chh sound here). I’m not writing this post to shame you, nor am I writing it to glorify your actions. Your violence toward our rock was obviously intentional. Perhaps you had a chip on your shoulder (insert another ba-dum-chh sound here).

Whatever your reasoning was, it’s clear you wanted to provoke aggravated chaos. I, for one, am not giving you that satisfaction.

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Layers of Albion College’s History

Dear Fellow Brits,                                                                                                           Cease all of the guessing games, “Whoever You Are” doesn’t matter. We’ve been trying to fill in the open wounds on our rock with blame, but now is our chance to view our history in a way that has never been possible.

Look at all of the layers that had to be fought through.

Look at the different colors that molded together throughout time.

Look at how beautiful the layers of our history are. (#NoFilter)

Look at how the student organizations of our campus have repeatedly contributed to the enamel shell that shields the heart of our campus.

Realize the white underneath the layers is most likely another layer of paint.

We, Albion College Brits, do not go down without a fight.

We, Albion College Brits, mold into one entity through growing together.

We, Albion College Brits, are students and alumni alike. Once a Brit, always a Brit.

We, Albion College Brits, are devoted to our campus in various ways, and the combination of each individual is what strengthens and defines Albion College.

Know who we are is deeper and more impactful than any superficial bash that is thrown at us.

(No, Whoever You Are, I’m not condoning your actions. You’re foolish.)

“Whoever You Are” will eventually be forgotten, and there will be more individuals of their kind that will hit us with their best shot…

Our Rock: The Heart of Our Campus

Our Rock: The Heart of Our Campus

…And our rock will remain concrete. Io Triumphe. 

 

Meet Me at the Coffee Shop

The smell of freshly roasted coffee beans fills the air like a perfume freshly sprayed throughout the room. The sounds of chatter, playful banter, and intellectual conversation resonate in ones ear. The tumultuous yet somehow perfectly ordered design aesthetic of shop is inviting and exciting to newcomers as well as the repeated regulars.

Jackson Coffee Co., a roaster/brewer and coffee shop, have been in the business of “liquid gold” since September 2006. With few locations spread around Jackson, MI, Jackson Coffee Co. has become a true gem and local favorite. Since their inception, they have climbed the ranks in the coffee shop world with much haste.

Their website goes on to mentions such accolades as “In 2007, 2008, and 2009 we won awards for ‘Best Coffee House’ in Jackson. We have won every year since opening, beating out the likes of Biggby Coffee, three Starbucks, Bearclaw Coffee, three Tim Hortons, Dunkin Donuts, and 5 other independent coffee houses.”

It’s not just about the coffee at Jackson Coffee Co., its also about a strong sense of community and bringing the people together. With activities such as live music on Friday nights to weekly book club meetings to the group of students studying for their exams, there’s always something going on at the shop.

The next time you are in the mood for some quality java, skip the big brand stores and cruise on over to the one place where the staff is a good as the coffee and you won’t be disappointed. I promise that if you go once, you’ll be looking forward to your return.

Below are a few images of the Downtown Jackson 201 S. Mechanic St. location:

(Photo Credit: Zach Francis)

 

 

The Not-So-Offical Albion Senior Bucket List

During your four years as a Brit you are always involved in either something academically, athletically, extracurricularly, job-related, or all of the above. All of these things can easily take up all of your time, and then some, leaving no room to explore what else is out there. With that said, here’s a bucket list to check off the things that you may have missed out on during your time at Albion…and now’s your chance to do them before you graduate! Albion Senior Bucket List 

  • Sing karaoke at Relli’s on a Monday night
  • Go see a movie at the Bohm
  • Canoe down the K-Zoo river
  • Paint the Rock
  • Go to every restaurant in downtown Albion
  • Walk through the Nature Center
  • Disc golf at Victory Park
  • Get mentioned/retweetd by the Albion College Twitter account
  • Pull an all-nighter during exam week in the library
  • Hang out with a professor outside of class
  • Get a pic with Brit
  • Go see a campus guest lecturer or speaker
  • Go sledding on “The Hill”
  • Chow-down on a Kellogg Wrap
  • GRADUATE!

Whether or not you complete one or all of these by the time you graduate, you’re still a Brit through and through and you always will be!

Taught to Train

One of my favorite things about Albion College has always been the way we are challenged to learn through experience. Students on this campus are not taught what to think, but how to think, and how to teach others to do the same.We’re given subject materials and are asked to our demonstrate understanding of it in a way that we will be able to use in the future (running a theoretical/real campaign, professional presentations, making a change on the campus community as a class, etc.)

I am taking Social Media with Andy Boyan this semester, and he presented my class with the challenging assignment of  hosting a training session during our class period two times in the semester. The class was split in half, and I was assigned to group one. We had to brainstorm ideas for what population we wanted to reach, and what we wanted to train them on. We decided the training should be for anybody that wants to learn something from what we know, and we came up with a few topics that would be informative for every individual in such a large population of interest. We figured that most individuals could use training with the topic of professionally using social media, and we decided our subject reached out especially to graduating seniors who are searching for a job.

The world is continuously increasing in connectivity due to the internet, and students need to understand how social media is used by businesses if they desire to reach their full potential in their careers. After planning what subject we wanted to cover and who our audience was going to be, we began planning the training session: Social Media Appropriateness and Professionalism for Job Security. The event is taking place in Olin 112 this Friday, February 27th from 10:30am-11:30am. Representatives from Comm 215 (Social Media) will be providing a variety of training, including a LinkedIn briefing and a Twitter briefing, to individuals who come. We have done our very best to ensure the training session will be valuable to the people who attend. There are going to be different activities about a few different topics.

By covering a wide range of topics, our hope is that every person learns at least one new thing. We want to use what we have learned in Andy’s class, and supply other people with a solid foundation of understanding regarding the subject of professionalism in social media so their thoughts can continue to develop after the experience they have during training. If anyone is interested in attending, they definitely should! This is a free opportunity to learn new skills and develop a clearer understanding of social media’s relationship with employment.

Again, the session is this Friday, February 27th, from 10:30am-11:30am. We hope, for the benefit of others, that they come to Olin 112 to learn new skills and / or develop an awareness of how to professionally use social media: this is a topic most people could always improve on, and we want to help them learn how.

Hope to see you there!

Humanities Lab: #1

For the first time ever in Albion College history, four classes have come together to partake in what is now known as a Humanities Lab. There are two versions of this lab this semester, but I am in the one that is focused on learning about the outdoors and how humankind had to at one point, survive and live off of the land. I am in a class called “French Louisiana: Cajun and Creole Experiences,” taught by Dianne Guenin-Lelle. The other classes combined with mine for the Humanities Lab are Brad Chase’s “Ancient Civilizations,” Nels Christensen’s “Wild Things: The Literature of Wilderness and the Wild,” and Clatyon Parr’s “Briton Singers.”

What do these classes have to do with one another? I wondered the same thing. When we all came together, though, I can see how we all seemed to be studying similar ideas. From one direction or another, we are all approaching the study of how humans interact with the world around us, specifically early settlers moving to wild or foreign lands.

During this lab we did a lot of hands-on activities. After an introduction to the day’s schedule by Nels Christensen, we started with a trek out into the Nature Center where we looked for “food signs.” This could be anything from animal prints to animal poop. We documented what we found, and noted that if we needed to, we could track that animal down for dinner. (Luckily Baldwin was right up the street, so there was no need for that.)

Next we gathered back at the front of the nature center around a fire pit where listened and watched as Brad Chase made a sort of berry cobbler over the open flame. He told us that if had we actually been out there hunting for dinner and come back unsuccessful, we would have to eat something to survive. That something was a mixture of fruit, nuts, corn meal, and maple syrup boiled in a pot.

After we ate the savory, warm concoction, we escaped the cold and sat inside as we listened to the Briton Singers perform a piece that high lighted the loneliness that early settlers of foreign lands may have experienced. We ended with Dianne Guenin-Lelle’s presentation about the early settling of Louisiana.

This lab was about two and a half hours long, but it was surprisingly very fun and enjoyable. I felt like I had traveled back in time rather than simply walking a half mile to the Nature Center. I learned a lot and I cannot wait for our next lab.

Maggie: The Therapy Dog

For me, It has gotten to that point in the semester where all I want to do is head home and cuddle up with my family and puppy dog and watch movies by the fire without any worries. Unfortunately, it has also gotten to the point in the semester where course material is picking up  and tennis season is in full swing.

Although my family does not live too far away, I am still unable to pack up and head home to cuddle with my pup as frequently as I would like.

Enter, Maggie the Therapy Dog.
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Maggie and her owner Stacey visit campus on the 2nd and 4th weekend of each month from 11:00 am – 2:00 pm in the Kellogg Center to bring smiles and love to the students of Albion College, made possible by Student Health Services.

I have gotten to pet Maggie many times, and she has brightened my day on many occasions when I could use a smile from a furry friend. IMG_4571

Mauri in Memes

A few memes that I put together in honor of President Ditzler. He’s a dynamic leader, a passionate Briton, but most of all he’s Mauri Ditzler…the president of our fine institution. Here’s his presidency explained by memes:

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Dart Games and Snow Days

When I first applied to Albion, I had no idea what I wanted in a college. I have always been the type of person that dreams of big cities full of opportunities, so when I fell in love with Albion, everyone was a bit surprised, including me. What it came down to was that I like attention. Whether that is from coaches, teachers, and friends – I thrive from it. I knew I wasn’t going to get the attention I wanted from a school where I was just a number, so Albion seemed like the perfect place for me.

The first few weeks of my first year at Albion, nearly the entire campus participated in a game called the poison dart game. The game was simple, if someone called your name from across campus and you look at them in the eye, they could shoot a pretend poison dart at you and you would have to pretend you were dead until someone came to pull the pretend dart out. I know what you’re thinking – this sounds juvenile and immature – it probably was, but it was so much fun, and was an incredible way for people to get to know you as a freshman on a new campus.

Along with the other students, the staff really takes the time to get to know you as a person, not only as a student. The other day, Albion was hit with a pretty severe snowstorm, making it nearly impossible for staff to get to campus. Now, most of us believe we should have had a snow day, me included, but that’s beside the point. My Professor for my Pop Culture & Politics class decided to make class optional and we could come if we wanted. There were six of us that showed up. For the first part of class, we asked her questions about her life, and other random questions. I found this to be very intriguing afterwards, because this sort of occurrence just doesn’t happen at a large school. We then spoke about topics dealing with the class that interested us. This professor is also the same one that wrote my recommendation letter for my off-campus program that I participated in, as well as one of my references for my summer job I recently obtained.

I may dream of the big city full of opportunities, but I have learned that there are just as many opportunities on a campus like Albion’s. I have made so many relationships with other students, as well as the faculty. I am so happy to be back on campus this semester.

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Albion Does What It’s Supposed To

Every year Albion sends off its crop of new graduates to the world beyond to the sound of thunderous applause, Mauri’s grandfatherly intonation, and the sound of 1,244 parents’ and grandparents’ tears splashing on the quad. It’s a bittersweet moment.

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It was especially bittersweet for me last semester, knowing that in a year’s time, I would be the one wearing robes and funny hat with nothing to separate me from big blue yonder of the future but a piece of paper with a couple of signatures.

During my entire junior year, I became quite irate with my senior compatriots. To me it seemed that they were making everything overly dramatic. It didn’t matter if they were putting their laundry in the wash or sleeping through their alarm in the morning, everything they did, mundane or not, was a “The Last Time I’ll Ever _______” moment. It grew old.

I was reflecting on this emotion over break, when I was having a The Last Time I’ll Ever Be Able To Sit On My Mom’s Couch And Watch Netflix For 12 Straight Hours A Day For 6 Weeks moment. I always remember the seniors speaking about their The Last Time I’ll Ever (henceforth abbreviated as TLTIE) moments with sadness. But that’s not the entire picture.

Albion College is a four-year institution. With the exception of a few kids who stay an extra semester to student teach, everyone graduates in four years. Albion College does exactly what it’s supposed to do: it gives you a world-class education and then sends you out into the world to make a difference.

With that in mind, the TLTIE moments aren’t bad; if anything they’re something to be proud of. I should be happy this is the last time I have to trek across the quad to my 9:15; a year from now I’m going to be trekking across Africa designing low-cost healthcare equipment for developing nations.

OK, that’s a bit of a hyperbole.

Also, sitting on your butt for 6 straight months sort of hurts.

I’m still going to try my hardest to remember small detail I can about this semester. There will still be moments where I’m randomly hit with pangs of sadness about leaving this place. My point is that we should associate that feeling with all the good ways in which Albion has prepared us for the future. Not with bits of routine that have no significant meaning.

Excited

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To help me with this goal, I’m going to be blogging weekly about one TLTIE moment. But instead of being really mope-y and sad about it, I’m going to reflect about some aspect of Albion that has done exactly what it’s supposed to and changed the way I live my life for the outside world.

-closes computer. *Sigh* “This is the last first blog post of the semester I’ll ever write for the college…”-

That Networking Game

We all know the age old expression, “Its not what you know, it’s who you know,” but how many of us really take it seriously and do it right?

Is there even a right way to network?

Networking 5Well, there is definitely a wrong way. I was at an event recently – but not just any event – it was the kind of event where you could be rubbing elbows and bumping into the CEO of Ford or a major news castor and have no idea. Really, an ideal place to network, but only if you know how to play the game. It’s a soft and delicate balance between being aggressive enough with your message and still following all of the basic social rules. I found out that’s it’s harder to achieve than I might have thought; more often than not you walk away looking overly intense, rude, or just plain weird.

I tried to reverent back to the elevator speech that I had honed and polished in all of my Gerstacker and Communications classes but often just ended up stumbling over my words. Maybe that stuff would have worked in an actual elevator but at a high society event with all of Detroit’s elite it just didn’t seem like the way to go. They were out enjoying their night and who was I to come and bombard them with my personal plug? I had to schmooze with them, make them feel comfortable with me, and then slowly work it in. Sweet-talking someone really can be an art form, but they don’t teach that in a classroom.

Networking 4But what else are we supposed to do? Whether we’re trying to get internships, jobs, or just promoting a brand networking really is the key. Every job I have ever gotten, including babysitting gigs and my corporate one now (with the exception working at Little Caesars in high school), I’ve gotten because I know someone. So how do you meet all these people? How do you build that network without coming across wrong?

The truth is, you have to treat everything like a networking event, from family parties to a night out because you never know who you’re going to come in contact with and you might be surprised at the people they know. I found out at a family function that I have a relative who knows some pretty big people in the non-profit world – I’ve known her all my life but I never considered how much of a resource she could be to me. You really have to be alert and consider every person as a possible aid to you. The question “What do you do?” doesn’t have to just be small talk, it can be a tactful entrance into your own future.

NetworkingSo, treat everyday like a major networking event, but that’s not all. You must also rely on your network’s network. This might seem obvious since it’s the whole premise of Linkedin but it’s way more valuable without the computer screen. I can’t tell you how many connections I made in the time I was searching for a job. It seemed like every person my parents had ever met was coming out of the woodwork as a possible lead. Even though most of them didn’t turn into anything at the time, the seed was planted for me to reach out to them again later down the road. Since I’ve taken my job I’ve gotten multiple other offers from these random people I e-mailed with along the way. Thankfully, I don’t need them now but one day I might and when the time comes I’ll be thankful that I reached out to them in the first place.

That’s another thing – don’t be shy about all of it. Initially I was afraid of looking too desperate but the truth is, you’re in college, they already know you’re desperate and they want to help! Most people have been there, they know how real the struggle can be, and they might even have kids who are in the same position. I was so shocked to see how many people were so eager and willing to help me but the whole “right out of college” pity doesn’t last for long. You have to use it and take advantage while you can!

Networking 3Finally, my last piece of advice to all you job seekers out there, pay it forward! Don’t think that just because you’re all set in your nice little cubicle or whatever that this means you’re all done with the game. Besides for continuously trying to build your own network you should also be maintaining it so that when someone comes to you asking for a connection you can return the service that other’s gave to you. Your friends, siblings, significant other, and acquaintances will all need jobs at some point! How lucky are you if you’re already in a position and are able to help them? Think of it as good working karma, or as paying back your dues, either way it’s important to share the love.

Lets review – These are my rules and strategies (from the little experience that I have) on how to play the networking game:

  1. It’s not just what you have to say, it’s how you deliver it. Consider what’s appropriate for every situation.
  2. Treat everything like a networking event.
  3. Treat every person you meet as a potential connection, no one is to big or two small to approach. Consider that it’s not necessarily him or her that you’re after, but also the connections that they might have.
  4. Milk every ounce of help you can get.
  5. Like all things in life, pay it forward.

Hungry 4 Change

After reading Spencer White’s article in the Albion Pleaid on ways students can aid in helping the city of Albion, I stepped back and thought what else students can do to contribute to the rebirth of Albion.

As the clock ticked, my stomach started to grumble as it was getting late that night. Then, it hit me.

The reason I was hungry was because it was 12:30am and there was only one place open to get take out food in the entire city of Albion: McDonald’s.

Although there are many delicious restaurants in our city, most of them close at 9pm.

As a student athlete, McDonald’s wasn’t going to be ideal, so instead of spending around $5 that night on food, I saved that Lincoln and ate some mac and cheese.

A typical student is on campus roughly 32 weeks a year. If there was more options for food later in the night, I can see many students spending $5 twice a week which could come to 32x$10= $320 a year.

Now, let’s say 1/2 of Albion’s campus (650 people) also wanted a late night snack or fourth meal twice a week after studying in the library or hanging with friends which could come to $320×650= $208,000 a year.

Most students are on track for a four year degree which could potentially bring in $208,000×4=$832,000 to the city of Albion.

I understand there will be a cost for the restaurants staying open later, requiring them to purchase more food, a higher cost to operate the building, and require them to pay the employees for their time. I feel that the benefit will out way the cost and the city of Albion could benefit greatly by students supporting our local restaurants around the clock.

By bringing more people and money into the city of Albion, I feel that Albion can be a vibrant city once again.

Sunday Showdown

Dust off the ole jersey, whip-up some hearty wings and nachos, snag the cold drinks, and position that stained up/rundown recliner right in front of the TV, because ladies and gents….its time for NFL Super Bowl XLIX!

This Sunday, February 1 at 6:30pm EST on NBC, the New England Patriots take on the Seattle Seahawks at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Arizona.

With heavy-hitters such as Marshawn Lynch and Richard Sherman from Seattle butting heads with the likes of Tom Brady and Rob Gronkowski from New England. From the infamous “deflategate” scandal to popular or perhaps not so popular attitude of Richard Sherman this is game is gonna be one for the history books. So everyone grab your gear and cheer on your favorite team till the very end!

Little Moments

I have often experienced moments at Albion that remind me of how glad I am that I attend this college. These moments happen in big or little ways, whether that be by bonding with a professor through an interesting class topic or sharing a laugh with a friend over lunch.

Today this little moment came through an interaction with a stranger as I was going about my day:

After lunch I went over to the Ferguson administration building to pick up some easels for an upcoming sorority recruitment event. I took the elevator up to the third floor of Ferguson and asked the receptionist for the easels.

As I waited for someone else to go and bring up the easels, the receptionist chatted with me about the slippery, icy campus, my classes this semester, and my major and interests. She was very nice and easy to talk to; just talking to a friendly face with such enthusiasm put me in a better mood for the day.

When the other woman returned with the easels, I thanked her and started to be on my way. I ran into a problem, however, when I tried to carry them out with me. You see, I was already carrying a large box that I received in the mail for my birthday the previous day (woo hoo!). It was a large box full of packaging peanuts that surrounded an edible arrangement. It was a nice gesture from my parents, but at that moment, just a huge mess.

The receptionist noticed my struggle and suggested I call and ask a friend to help me carry everything. As I took her advice and started to “call for help,” in between my phone calls we laughed about my predicament, joking about how I could bribe people to help me with the goodies I had just received in the mail, or plotting what pranks I could pull with the copious packaging peanuts.

My friend Hannah eventually showed up with her car, however there was still no way for me to get down the stairs. The receptionist saw this and went looking for a bag for me to take the arrangement out of the box and place in the bag. She even took care of disposing the box for me. She was so helpful and kind throughout all of this, and we both laughed as I left and stepped into the elevator, easels in hand.

This was a small encounter in my day, only about 15 minutes or so, yet I left the office with a smile on my face with a sense of pride with the school I attend. I love it at Albion College, and a large part of that is due to the exceptional character of the people here.

 

Less is More

As a student at Albion you look around yourself and say, “WOW, How lucky am I to be surrounded by such smart, world changing, talented, and insightful people?”

During my last semester on campus I knew that each of my classmates were about to go into the world and do incredible things. I stood there on graduation day and knew that I was standing next to America’s future politicians, professors, physicians, and professionals.  Dannie’s success is a testament to this, yet is only a small just part of the success that our class has seen since leaving that beautiful campus almost a year ago.

As alumni, we root so hard for each other. We encourage the current students and we cheer for the alumni who came before us, but I don’t think there’s anything more personal and fulfilling than the success we see in our peers – those who are in the same stage of life as us, who were there through all the hard and incredible times – and to me there’s no one that I’m cheering louder for than Jane Finkel and Brian Spencer.

Less-is-More-Amid-the-Flowers-Music-InformOkay, so Brian graduated the year before I did, but the point stands. These two have shown exactly what it means to be young and to go out and fight for your dreams. To me, these two epitomize what it means to be part of our generation of college graduates. They worked their tails off recording the debut album, Amid the Flowers, for their band Less is More; coordinated and executed a cross country tour, the Time Isn’t Money Tour; and made sure to give back to everyone they could along the way.

How do I know this? Well because I’m a giant stalker and huge fangirl of course.

Don’t judge me.

1620930_284159951737600_327451321_nI followed every blog post from their tour and have listened to their album pretty much constantly since it was released – it’s AMAZING! I invited practically everyone I knew to their homecoming show in Lansing last month and have heard pretty much every podcast interview I could find that featured them as guests. Why? Because they are unbelievably talented musicians, because they are fellow Brits, and because that’s what we do.

Albion’s always preaching about this incredible alumni network we have and this is it. We are so lucky to have some of the most inspirational young minds on campus, each of which has the potential to be AMAZING, and it is our job to support each other.

So, this weekend, go support Brian and Jane! They’re playing in The KC Stack on Saturday starting at 9 PM and I guarantee it’s going to be spectacular (they’re outstanding live). The whole campus should be there. Whether you had a class with one of them or not, whether you never met them or are their besties, it doesn’t matter. Go. Go listen to some fantastic music, go support Euphonics beforehand at 7 PM, and go celebrate your fellow Brits.

Jane and BrianFollow Less is More on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, and their website.

The Most Rewarding Job on Campus

“Your smile is your logo, your personality is your business card, how you leave others feeling after an experience with you becomes your trademark.” ~Jay Danzie

First West Central, Wesley Hall

There are many reasons why someone shouldn’t be an RA.

Wait… what? Yes. You did read that sentence correctly, and I’m going to say it again.

There are many reasons why someone shouldn’t be an RA. For time’s sake, I’ll only list a few.

  • The Lack of Sleep.                                                                                                    As a person who is very emotionally connected to sleep, it is safe for me to say this job has a knack for interrupting my loving relationship with the Zzz’s. RA “on-call” hours are from 8pm to 8am. On the nights we are on call, we have to be ready to help in an emergency. (No, being locked out of your room or needing to return a game at 3am does not qualify as an emergency. If I have to wake up to put ping pong paddles away, you can bet someone is going to pay.)
  • Emotional Exhaustion.                                                                                              I’m not saying you’re going to cry everyday, or even every week. But there is a point where all of the emotions may seem like too much. You are accountable for your own mental health, as well as monitoring the mental happiness and health of your residents. As RAs, we are trained on how to handle a variety of crisis, from alcohol poisoning to suicide and depression. Dealing with all of these serious, life dependent situations may prove to be overwhelming.
  • Loss of Time.                                                                                                             You will live in the same place that you work, and you will work far more than you may have expected. There are going to be times that you won’t be able to take that daily nap, or watch the latest episode of whatever TV show you’re binge watching. Blocks of free hours will quite possibly become scattered increments of free time throughout the day. You will come to know what the word “busy” actually means.
  • Fishbowl Living.                                                                                                        They are watching, always watching. Not just the residents of your floor. The residents throughout your building, the other RAs, the RDs, the other students, even the profs are watching if you’re well known on campus. You are always going to have to be aware of how you present yourself, and think of what you want to be remembered by.

Like I’ve said, there are many reasons why someone shouldn’t be an RA. Honestly, it’s not meant for everyone. It’s challenging, and exhausting, and draining at times. But, if you have what it takes, there are COUNTLESS reasons why you should be an RA.

There are the obvious reasons everybody tells you: stipend pay, you get a single, get great work experience, etc. I can tell you that if you’re only in the position for those reasons, and only for yourself, you probably won’t be happy as an RA. It takes something more. You have to have some sort of spark or passion. The type of spark that allows you to find the most meaningful moments in the worst aspects of the job.

  • Fishbowl Living.                                                                                                       It is a true fact that you will always be watched. It can get a bit overwhelming at times to constantly be aware of your role on campus. After a few weeks in the position, I eventually began to realize that this fishbowl living was actually a benefit in disguise. Living under the microscope forced me to become the person I wanted to be looked up to as. Fishbowl living could quite possibly be the reason last semester was so successful for me, because constantly being aware of my own presence and actions made it easy to put everything in my life into perspective.
  • Loss of Time.                                                                                                             When you lose time, you begin to appreciate and work with the time that you do have. Similar to a majority of RAs, I am involved in a lot of different organizations on campus. Being an RA taught me time management skills and how to prioritize between my different organizations. I had to quickly learn how to function on moving from task to task during short increments, as opposed to starting and finishing one task for multiple hours at a time. Effective time management is a useful skill to have both personally and professionally.
  • Emotional Exhaustion.                                                                                             All of your residents will go through different things, and it will be your job to make sure that every individual is happy and healthy throughout their residency in your hall. Some of your residents may be battling with personal issues from home, and some of them may be struggling with grades. You are there to be their resource, to point them in the right direction for improvement.

    Obviously, you probably have your own emotional issues too. In the RA position, it is important to keep yourself happy and healthy so that you can keep your hall happy and healthy. The importance here is to find the balance between how many personal emotions you are carrying, and how much of somebody else’s emotion you can handle taking on. The job gets easier over time, and you will slowly be able to balance more and more.

  • Let’s Talk About Work Experience.

    You hear it all the time: being an RA will give you good work experience. But, what does that even mean? Being an RA will give you professional skills including, but not limited to: communication, organization, leadership, interpersonal, and management and administration skills. There is so much that goes into being an RA, you will eventually be able to reach into the skill pool and pull something impressive out for any job interview. (For example, planning and implementing meetings is an impressive business skill to have. The experience simply comes from planning hall meetings.)

  • They May Turn Out to Be Your Biggest Fans.
    Over the past six months, my residents have become much more than just residents to me. I’ve loved them from the moment I took them out to the front of Wesley Hall to do some (very fun) icebreakers. I’ve gotten to watch them grow and find their own niches on campus. In the beginning of their first semester, I told them I was there to be their authoritative big sister. Somewhere along the way, that statement was validated and I gained over 17 little sisters. I’ve probably learned more from them than they have from me, but that is a post for another day.

    Wesley Hall, First West Central. Euphonics Concert, Fall 2014.

RA interviews are around the corner, and if you think you are right for the job, and, just as importantly, if you think the job is right for you, I strongly encourage you to apply. Becoming an RA was without a doubt the best decision I’ve made at Albion. It will change your life.

P.S. I’m not going to say the loss of sleep has any pro to it, that con is just a complete tragedy.

P.S.S. Shout out to The Pod!! (First West Central)

 

Change is Permanent

10341767_10204017032095356_7533121341655485249_nThere is nothing permanent in life except change…

Po wrote about change in her first alumni post and I’m here to discuss the same.

It’s been over six months since I started at Whirlpool Corporation and closer to eight since I graduated Albion and moved away from the town I called home for three years. In the past eight months, a lot of things have changed. I turned 21, traveled for work more than I expected to, adopted a Savannah cat that jumps 6 feet in the air without much issue, and started my master’s degree.

As 2015 begins, the first year since the turn of the decade that I haven’t in some way been involved with my undergrad experience at Albion, many more things are about to change. I’ll graduate with a Master’s this year, earn my first promotion, start a PhD, travel to more places I’ve never been, stand by my mother’s side as she gets married, and maybe even grow up.

In fact, the only thing that hasn’t shifted is the fact that change is inevitable. The Class of 2014 – we’re all young twentysomethings navigating the world, facing challenges and gaining experiences. We’re taking the education and the opportunities we had at Albion and parlaying them as currency for growth, for more experiences, more opportunities. No two members of our class have taken the same path and no two of us will end the same, yet we started from the same place, comrades on a campus rich in history.

To the Class of 2015 – use this last semester to soak up whatever experiences and opportunities you can, you never know how valuable they’ll be as currency in the future. One day spent volunteering with ESL students could translate into a side job as a Spanish translator that’s helping you fund your travel savings.

All it takes is one experience to change your future!

New Perspectives

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My Host family is a dream, and my host dad is a self proclaimed “Rey de la Cocina” (King of the Kitchen).  He even allowed me to be his royal assistant in the kitchen…. meaning I helped him cut onions.

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The myth, the legend: My host dad’s paella.  Paella is a traditional spanish dish typically eaten at lunch consisting of rice, various vegetables, various shellfish, and lemon.  

As my fall semester abroad comes to a close, I cannot help but think how fortunate I am to have experienced Spain through a college student’s eyes. My dream to visit Spain came to fruition with the ease of accessibility to discover off-campus programs at Albion. Additionally, the assurance from my classmate’s international travels boosted my confidence to embark on this dream even more so.

Having a semester abroad under my belt makes me beyond excited to become part of the international community at Albion, and to share my experiences with the student body. Every aspect of Spain has influenced me. From the city of Seville that I’ve come to know all too well. The Spanish people who have given me an entirely new global experience. The food has even left a lasting impact on me. I’ve surprisingly discovered a new hobby in cooking. Before I just did the eating part, but now I can make a few delicious Spanish dishes (emphasis on the word few). All in all Spain has treated me well, and I can only hope that there are more fulfilling experiences to come.

The New Year as an Alumna

New Year 2015 formed from sparking digits over black backgroundLooking to 2015 it’s hard to imagine exactly what life will bring. For me, and many other college grads that entered the “real world” in the past year, 2015 has the potential to change our lives entirely. Personally, it feels like every decision I’ve ever made has been leading to this time in my life and like every decision I make in these next few years will determine the rest of my life. Maybe that doesn’t sound daunting and thrilling to you, but from the seat where I’m sitting – in my brand new office at an amazing job – it is.

 GraduationTwo thousand fourteen was a year of friends, triumph, and foundation building. I look back at the year I graduated and think of all of the amazing things that I got to experience. I got to travel around The United States on Service Project Appalachia. I got to do research with a professor that I admire so much and present it in front of my peers. I got to share some of my personal insights with my fellow graduates on the chapel stage the night before graduation, and then I got to go celebrate with the people who have shaped me into the person that I have become. I got to watch my friendships grow and flourish, in new and fulfilling ways, and got to spend another beautiful summer in the woods. I also got offered multiple jobs and opportunities before I settled on the right combination for me. But that wasn’t all; I also got to make some really hard decisions about life…

What was my next step going to be? Where should I live? Was entering a relationship right before graduation a good idea? Is it smart to pass on a dream job to be closer to your family, because life isn’t all about your career? Is it okay to overpay for your own place because you know it’s better for your own mental health? Is it okay to make people uncomfortable if it makes you happier in the long run?

It might not seem like a privilege to some of the college seniors, or even high school seniors out there to make such decisions, but it is! Although it is daunting to be faced with such giant choices, it is also rewarding and amazing. To be faced with all of this validates all of the hard work that you, and so many others have done, to get you to where you are.

HomecomingAs an alumna, I look back at the year of my graduation and know that it was one of the best and most exciting years of my life. However, I also know that I have so much more life to live with so many opportunities ahead of me. Looking forward I see how much potential 2015 holds, and though it will be hard to beat 2014, I’m prepared for the challenge.

So, to all the seniors out there, I say this: The next semester can, and probably will be, the most incredible experience you’ve had yet. I urge you to live it up! Stay out late with your friends, make the memories that only college can provide, and work your butt off. Make sure that when, in a year from now, you look back at your college days you see what you want to see.

Yet, at the same time, don’t fight the change that’s coming. The quicker you let go of the things that will soon be out of your control, the better your last few weeks will be, and the easier the transition will be upon your departure into the next stage of life. It’s okay to be scared for what’s coming – to be afraid of the unknown – but trust in yourself and the education you’ve received and you’ll be just fine.

A post about food

With Thanksgiving last weekend and more holiday gatherings quickly approaching, food has been a frequent subject on the brain for me. With this in mind, I asked two of my closest friends to describe the best meal they’ve eaten in the past 6 months. Their stories are below and mine follows afterwards. Enjoy! But I warn you, you might work up a bit of an appetite.

Hannah’s Reuben

“I was headed to a new place in East Lansing with my friends. It was an Irish pub called Dublin. This past summer I realized I had never tried a reuben sandwich before. I even told my dad it was a goal of mine. As I sat down at the table with my friends, I saw my usual picks on the menu, but my eyes caught something new: the reuben. My friends agreed it was a good choice.

“I ordered and then sat there, hungry, waiting for my sandwich to arrive. When it finally came, on the plate appeared heavenly shreds of corned beef toasted on marble rye bread. The sauerkraut and Swiss cheese paired perfectly with the beer-battered fries on the side. It also came with a pickle spear, lightly pickled so that it still held on to that fresh cucumber-like crisp. I indulged, and forgot my friends were there. I’m looking forward to my next reuben.”

Taylor’s Chicken Nuggets

“One time I ordered chicken nuggets at Albion College’s infamous Eat Shop. These were not ordinary nuggets. These were special. They were extra golden and crisp. The contrast of the hot flakiness of the breaded chicken matched with the cool zing of the ranch dressing is something my tongue will never forget.

“I paired them with curly fries. Always crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside, it felt like I was eating gold. This particular time, the Eat Shop was about to close, so the employees let me eat these fries with all of the sauces they had available. They were so accommodating and nice; they were happy I was happy. It was an experience I will never forget.”

Alex’s Club

I wandered through the streets of downtown Windsor with my friends. All we had in our stomachs were a few pretzels and some Canadian Molson (the legal drinking age in Canada is 19 years old) and we were hungry for some good bar food. We stumbled across a garage-looking venue called the Beer Exchange.

We immediately sat down at the bar and demanded a menu. My surroundings was dark and loud, so I just ordered my usual favorite: the club. I expected the  usual assortment of turkey, ham, cheese, tomato, lettuce mayonnaise and sometimes bacon piled between three slices of bread. But this was different.

Accompanied by seasoned waffle fries, The thick slices of ham, turkey and swiss cheese rested in a soft onion poppy-seed bun. The tomato was served on the side along with a cole-slaw like mixture of green cabbage and kale. Everything blended together perfectly. It was the perfect sandwich: warm and flavorful and just right.