Friday, May 13, 2016

It's the End

It's the end of the school year as we know it!  By now most, if not all colleges have closed up shop for the summer.  I am sure it's such a good feeling.  I know for me it is.  For what will be a short month there won't be night and weekend obligations.  I hope everyone had a good year and all those who started new jobs, either moved institutions or were starting your first jobs had good experiences at new places.  It's kind of hard to decide if your year has been successful or not, well you survived so that is the first sign of success.  If you made an impact on just one person's life weather it was a student, someone you were advising, or even someone you were working with, that would be considered successful.

I am sure all of you have had to do this at one point or another, close a building.  As a wife, I don't completely understand all that goes into closing a building other then not seeing my husband for pretty much a whole weekend.  Those experiencing  this for the first time, trust me it's normal and it's all apart of the business.  Yes, it can be hard because it's not something that happens, but the sliver lining is that it's only one weekend out of the year.  Yes, on the flip side of that is opening but that's not as time consuming at most places as closing.  When you have a significant other having to close a building the best you can do is be patient.  Understand that even when they are home they might be call away to deal with something.  They will come home completely worn down because they are walking the whole entire building and doing it multiple times depending on where the rooms that still need to be checked are.  Also be prepared for what could be horror stories.  College students aren't always as clean as you were in college(and if you weren't the cleanest person in your residence hall then you now have a new respect for your hall director).  I am sure your significant other will complain about everything from the smell to the state of the bathroom.  Unfortunately not everyone will think about cleaning when they are just wanting to get the heck out of dodge.  Who you should feel for are the custodians who will have to get all of that cleaned up.  If your college hosts conferences or camps most of the buildings will be used throughout the summer so will need to be completely cleaned in a timely manner.

Now is the time of the year that you can actually do most of your couple stuff.  Over the summer before training starts there are not that many night and weekend obligations because student organizations don't meet, there are no events going on and unless they are coordinator for a camp or conference they spend all their time in their office and just meetings among other housing staff.  For the first time they might come home at a decent hour, not have to go back to work after dinner, won't have to be up early on a Saturday to make an event.  That pesky duty phone will barely ring.  It will be a wonderful and glorious thing until training starts so take advantage of summer time while you can.  It will go by fast and before you know it, your significant other will be knee deep in training and opening and then the regular school year will start and everything will start all over again.

A bit of good news is that it does seem to get easier as the years go on and of course as your significant other gets different jobs at different levels, there will be different obligations when it comes to all those different times of year and that will also make it a bit easier.  Now it might never get to the point there they have no obligations at closing, only if they leave housing, but their level of participation will change as they change jobs.  Just know that you can handle it.  It's honestly only a small blip of time in the course of your life.  For me, when my husband works late, it's time for me to watch those chick flicks I know he wouldn't really want to watch with me.  I haven't done it yet, but if you have a lot of girlfriends, or are friends with other housing wives, then take this opportunity to have a girls night so you all don't feel alone.  Heck go to bed early just so you can have the whole bed to yourself for a while.  Just remember they are doing what they love and are passionate about and your love and support is all they need to get through the long days.

Hope everyone experienced a smooth closing and will enjoy their summer.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016


I have been thinking long and hard about if I wanted to post on this subject or not.  I mean who am I really to talk about diversity.  I am a middle aged, white female.  There isn't much diversity in me but, it's all around me.  It's all around everyone and with this day and age of social media it's getting more and more attention and people need to pay attention to it.

Working in a college or university setting you are probably exposed to the most diverse population.  A university is made up of all types of people.  All different races, genders, ethnicity, sexual orientation, economic status, social status, emotional state, make up a university.  As a member of housing you are probably exposed to it the most because you interact with all those students on a daily basis and are charged with making sure each and every student is housed and feels safe in the environment you are providing them.  All of those different people are mixed together and honestly some are not use to such diversity and they need to be helped to understand the world around them.

As professionals it's up to you to set the example of tolerance and acceptance of all people.  Especially this year being a presidential voting year there is a lot being said about all different kinds of people and the best you can do is the best to keep the negative out of both your work environment as well as the general student environment that you are charged with looking after.  I am not discouraging not talking politics but I am encouraging that you do it smartly and carefully as to not offend anyone, especially those you interact with on a daily basis.

I honestly believe that the university system is the most diverse population in the world, no other place will have a blending of so many different kind of people.  Just think about it, at any given American university there are obviously natural born US citizens, students who have come over from other countries in order to get the best education that they can get(especially those from countries who have limited higher education opportunities).  You have whites, African Americans, Latinos, Hispanics, Europeans, Asians, Native Americans, people whose family has been living in this country for centuries, people whose family immigrated not that long ago.  You have people of varying genders, you have obviously males and females, but you also have those who are transgender and going through major changes in their lives.  You have all different sexual orientations, those who are homosexual, heterosexual, bisexual, questioning their sexuality and all their supporters.  You have people of various economic statuses, those who are lucky enough to come from wealthy families that might be able to afford to pay for college, those who have to take out loans in order to attend, those who are able to get scholarships to pay for all or help pay for college, those who have worked for as long as they can remember and continue to work in order to pay because they don't want to take out loans.  You also have people coming in from different social status, those that were super popular in the last school they were in and expect it to be that way again.  Those that were considered the outcast and will find it hard to fit in to such a large population.  Those that are somewhere in the middle and are trying to find the right place.  Everyone trying to decide where they will fit in to the dynamic of the college setting.  Even people of all different emotional states come to college.  Those that are always happy and constantly see the sliver lining and the best of everything.  Those that struggle with depression and have a hard time finding the good in life, those that have anxiety that will only be magnified in the high pressure situation of doing well in class and getting that degree.  I know I am missing groups of people, but those are all I can think of off the top of my head.

As people who work in Res Ed, you are probably exposed to every single one of those people at some point throughout at least the college year.  You talk to students on a daily basis and you probably know more about the population of students living on campus then those individuals actually living there.  You have to help those students get along with one another.  Most students will not have been exposed to all those types of people before and they will not completely understand or know how to interact with certain types of people.  It's your responsibility to help them.  Encourage them and guide them through their years of living on campus and hopefully teach them a thing or two about what is going on around them.

Best thing I think anyone working in Res Ed can do for themselves and for the students living on campus is to educate yourself and your students.  Education yourself and your students on all the different groups of people that may inhabit within the residence halls.  You might not be able to cover them all but you can do as much as you can.  Best way to educate students is through programs.  Programs that help students learn about the various groups of people I honestly believe will help those students become more well rounded and accepting adults.  You are usually scared of the unknown, and so if you educate yourself and others about things that they might not know hopefully they won't be as scared and can have a better understanding of life and be more accepting.  By educating on the various groups of people you are teaching tolerance and acceptance, not only of other people but of yourself.  You honestly don't know who is struggling with what.  If you teach students it's OK to be who you are and to be accepting of those who are different then them, then you are honestly creating a better living place for everyone.  Will everyone be moved to change how they behave towards others, of course not.  But if a program educating the students on a certain group of people even helps one person be more accepting of another then I would call it a success.  With the way society is being divided, it's up to us to help bring people together and understand and accept people who are different then us.  What better way to bring people of different backgrounds together then on a college campus where diversity runs through it all.

On a different note, I know it's spring break season, so safe travels to all who are going on adventures for spring break!

Sunday, December 13, 2015

Back at it

Well, I went on a long hiatus from this then I anticipated.  Once again I will try and be more vigilant about updating the blog.  Trying to adjust to a new area took a lot of time.  Especially when we finally found a house and moved in.  Casey survived his first summer, fall training and fall move in for the university.  I guess the biggest news is that I have now entered into the university system.  At the end of August I accepted a position as a dispatcher for the Office of Public Safety.  I work over night so I know what happens when everyone goes to bed.  Some nights it's thrilling other nights you are begging for a car to get pulled over just so you have something to do.

As many of you realize it's amazing how much housing and public safety interact with each other on a regular basis.  In a way we both have the same goals, to keep the kids safe and let them have a great college experience.  We are there to provide help when something bad happens, which we always hope nothing bad happens to students.  You are there to provide help if they have issues with simple things.  Housing also provides fun and interactive things for the students to do.

From moving around to different universities I have always like to see how the University and even housing interacts with the city around them.  Mostly when it comes to major events.  Most colleges with football teams have homecoming festivities and they do make sure to provide some that are family friendly.  Here we were able to watch the homecoming parade and the girls enjoyed a few bounce houses afterwards.  At Halloween RHA put on a Hall-o-ween program, they opened on of the halls to the public and had Halloween themed games as well as trick or treating through the residence hall.  My kids thoroughly enjoy that, mostly because it means more candy.  As a parent it's nice that college students recognize the need to provide a safe environment for kids to have fun and trick or treat without worrying about traffic or other hazards.  I know the college students also love seeing the kids all dressed up.

If your University Housing doesn't already have programs like this lined up for holidays, I honestly would highly encourage you try and start setting it up.  I know it's greatly appreciated by parents of smaller kids who doesn't necessarily want to take their kids out trick or treating on the streets.  Also here they did an easter egg hunt for the kids, and divided them up by ages so it was more fair for the younger kids.  This is good for the community too since not every town has places that do egg hunts or egg drops.  It's also a great way for your student leaders to get even more creative especially when it comes to expanding to a larger section of the population and not just planning things for college students.  It also gives the public a better look at what goes on in University housing being a bunch of college kids living in dorms. (I know that is a bad word in the housing world, but to be honest, everyone outside of university housing still call them dorms).  Honestly planning a community involved event will give your student leaders a little bit more of a challenge because they would have to think about how to cater to a wider audience, especially when it involves children, mainly because you want to make sure you don't exclude any age groups.  When you plan a hall only event it's easy to pick something the general population of your hall would like, because they are all around the same age and would probably enjoy the same thing.  Letting them get their hands wet into planning something more board would be great real world experience and give you a better sense of how they are at tackling bigger projects.

Hopefully now that I work over night and honestly come 4 a.m. I am usually just trying to stay awake I will keep up with this blog more regularly.  I ask only one thing of those who read this.  Please share among your university housing friends,  I would love to building a reader base and hopefully provide some helpful tips to those in housing and those who are the spouses/significant others of those in housing.   I know this post was all over the place but I will come back with more solid topics that pertain mostly to surviving as a residence life spouse or significant other.  Hope you will come back to reading and enjoy my insights.

Monday, June 29, 2015


As my husband is off attending a conference and bunches of now holders of master degrees move into new positions at new institutions I figured I would finally sit now and write a new post.  With out recent move(s) I have been trying to find the time and the right nows to write this one.

Most people like instant gratification on a job well done.  Usually that's not always the case, and it's no different with people working within Residential Life at any college/university.  You deal with so much stuff from students to parents and most of the time you do not get a thank you.  I am here to tell you that even though you don't get recognized for all that you do and the wonderful job each and every one of you do in your job people do notice and do appreciate it.

I can imagine that leaving one institution for another is hard, and maybe even harder when you leave wondering if anything you did there was noticed or even made a difference.  Sometimes you leave wondering all of that and then one day you get your answer.  It may take a while but somewhere down the line a person who you made a difference to will give you that recognition.  Even if you don't hear from the people whose lives you touched(some people aren't good at saying things) know that everything you do is for a great reason.  Without everyone within Res Life college/universities would be lost when it comes to housing their students.  Even though more and more students choose to live off campus it's still a rite of passage for some to live on campus and get the full college experience and it's part of your job to make sure they have a safe and fulfilling experience.  With so many students don't expect a thank you note from every single one of them.  But know that you made a difference to some of them.

So thank you for all that you do and know that you make a difference and your job is important and that people do understand and appreciate all your hard work.

Also good luck to all recent grads starting their first 'real' jobs and to anyone who may have found new jobs and all who have changed colleges/universities.  Settle in and show your new place what you are made of, you will make a difference wherever you go.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Being There

I know it's been a while again.  Still trying to settle down in Georgia.  Hoping once we finally move into our house I will keep up with the blog more.

This post is about being there for work stuff.  It's the end of the school year and for most housing staffs you have one if not more banquets to attend.  I usually attend as many as I can.  I will even request off work to do so.  It did become more difficult once we started having kids.  Sometimes brining kids is ok, usually everyone loves to see your kids and know how you and the kids are doing. If I know it's going to be a long banquet I will try and find a babysitter.  You will find out what works best for you and your family when it comes time to be involved with staff stuff.

You might be wondering why as the significant other you should show up to staff events.  It's just like for any job it always looks good to have your significant other show up to things.  You want to show your significant other and their colleagues that you support them and their career.  Usually most events are fun and you will end up having a great time.  The banquets are always nice because it's usually a free meal.(LOL).  Even if you can only show up for a minute, that can make a huge difference.  You really want to let your partner know that you support them and their job.  That is why I try and show up to all the events I can.  Of course I am not saying you should put your job second like I do mine sometimes, but you have to put forth the effort.  It will be a two way street.  If you are willing to show up to work events for your partner, they will be more then willing to show up to work events for you.

I work part time so showing up to events are a little bit easier for me.  Banquets are usually the easiest to attend especially if you also have a full time job because they are in the evening.  Banquets are usually celebrating the RAs and any student group that is a part of housing.  So there will be a lot of talking and speeches but it's a great way for you to learn about the people your partner works closely with every day.

Other events throughout the year are usually hall programs that are a little more relaxed and most of the time have food as well.(LOL).    All programs are usually geared toward something educational mixed in with fun and entertainment.  These kind of programs are usually the best to take the kids to as well because the kids will be more then welcoming and willing to let your kids participate.  We haven't had many opportunities to attend programs here being only here a semester but one that we did go to had a pie your CL(community leader) to raise money.  Someone paid the money but let our oldest do the actually pie throwing.

Weather it is a formal get together, an informational program and a just for fun program it's good that you try and be there to show your support for you partner, their job and their school.  You will have a better understanding of what they do, and of the people they are working with.  I usually become friends with many of Casey's co-workers and I first get to know them by attending programs and work related events.

As an end and different note I want to say congratulations to all grads who will be getting their Masters in Higher ed sometime within the next month.  Also congrats to those who have found jobs and urge patients to those who haven't yet.

Friday, February 27, 2015

Going on a HUNT

A Job Hunt!

I know in my last post I said I would be doing my next post on duty calls, but with hiring conferences going on, I figured I would do a post about job searching.  I have experienced job searching first hand from the first job hunt while still in grad school to job hunting for a different, possibly bigger and better position.  I have picked up some tidbits on the way.

First time searchers might feel overwhelmed by all the possibilities and all the interviews.  The best thing to do is make sure you have an open mind.  Don't expect that your dream job at your dream school will be there waiting for you to apply.  If it is there waiting for you, expect that you won't  be the only one applying.  Have back up plans.  First off you need to have an open mind about where you are looking for a job.  If you have a specific place you want to move to realize that there might be limited options so have alternative locations you wouldn't mind moving too.  If you were like Casey and didn't really have a preference of where you want to move, know what kind of position you are looking for and perhaps even narrow it down to the size of school.  Do you want to be a little fish in a big pond, or maybe a smaller school where the department you are working in will be smaller?  Like I said make sure you know what you are looking for in a position and in a school in order to know what positions you would like to apply for.

Also what can be overwhelming to a first time searcher is the amount of interviews you will probably engage in while you are searching.  When you attend a hiring conference it's very easy to stack your day full of interviews.  Casey went to a hiring conference and his interview card was full.  Make sure you apply and try and get interviews for the schools and positions that are on the top of your list if they are in attendance.  Wouldn't hurt to have a few back up interviews.  Don't stretch yourself too thin that you are over stressed and that you cannot function from one interview to another.  Make sure you leave time to prep for each interview because if you don't have time to review each school you might go into an interview feeling overwhelmed and under prepared.  Also you don't have to thin out your interviews so much that you leave the conference not feeling like you had a productive time.  This same goes for doing traditional phone interviews outside of a conference.  Don't stack them all in one day or back to back.  It's very easy to get carried away with interviews, especially if you worry about not finding a job.  In the same turn it's also easy to feel very confident about getting a position that you won't have enough options just in case the one you really want falls through.

Expect to spend some money.  Job searching doesn't come free.  Depending on your school you might have to foot some of the bill for attending conferences.  Also depending on the school you will be interviewing at you may need to foot the bill for on campus interviews.  Yes, you will most likely have to go on at least one campus interview.  Especially in the field of higher ed they will expect to bring the top two or three candidates to campus for in person interviews.  Depending on what position and how high it is in the department will depend on the amount of compensation given for campus interviews.  So that is one thing you will have to take into consideration when accepting a campus interview.  If you weren't impressed or feel like that job is right for you based on a phone interview then consider if your money would be well spent going on a campus interview.  Depending on how you do your taxes you might be able to claim some of it on there, but like I said that depends on how the taxes are done.  I know moving expenses for a job can be claimed on taxes if the new place doesn't cover it, but that's a whole other story.  If you are gonna fly make sure you price out airlines and several airports especially if you live within a reasonable distance to more then one airport.  Flying out of the closest airport  might not be the cheapest option, so do your research on flights before accepting a campus interview if you have the time before accepting the interview.

Research is another important to do with interview.  Researching the job, the department you will be entering into, the school you would be at, the town you will be living in, the surrounding area.  If something doesn't jive with you about any of that, that might be a red flag and maybe pass.  You have to like the job, like the school and like the area.  There will always be both pro and cons to every position, department, school and town, so don't feel like you have to search for the perfect of everything, because honestly there isn't a perfect of everything.  Just so about your researching the area this way.  Could you see yourself spending a few years in that same place.  If the answer is yes, it's probably a good idea to apply.  If you cannot see yourself in the position for more then one year maybe pass on it.  Take your time to learn as much as you can about the place.  It will also help you in the interview if you research the school.  Interviewers will ask if you have any questions and that would be a good time to ask questions you have about the department that you may have stubbled across while you were looking into their department and school.

You may also need to take into consideration other people.  When Casey first started his job search we were living together and wanted to continue to do so, so on his list of things a school needed to have was a domestic partner policy.  We were lucky that he was able to find a place that allowed couples to live together without being married.  Obviously we did end up getting married, but having a place that allowed us to live together before being married was really nice.  Then once we were married and started our family our moves had to take into consideration our growing family.  The place not only had to work for us but also for our children.  Now obviously most first time searchers will not have family to move with them, but maybe that is something down the road you will have to consider.  As you get further and further along in your career the more and more things you will have to take into account when it comes to job searching.

For all of you out there searching right now, especially those who are on their first job search, relax and know that you will find a great place for you and a great place to help get you on the career path you hope to be on.  I hope some of what I wrote was helpful and feel free to post comments if you have any questions.  I wouldn't mind sharing some more insights from my role in the res ed job hunting.  So to all of you job hunting right now, take a deep breath, relax, research and don't get discouraged you will find a job that is good for you.

Good Luck going on a job hunt!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Been a long time

Sorry to anyone who had started reading this blog and then I suddenly stopped posting.  Things got crazy and a lot has changed.

First of all I would like to say that we have moved down to Georgia.  Casey accepted a position at Georgia Southern University and the holidays for us were spent packing up the house, listing it on the market and then making the trek down here.  The worst part was probably packing and trying to get a moving company at a good price.  We were able to get a good deal and loaded up the truck, our cars and the kids.  We left three days after christmas and took about four days to get down here.  All and all it was an uneventful trip and for a drive with two small kids an uneventful trip is the best kind of all.

Casey's job is very similar to the one at UND.  He will help advise the Association of Residence halls as well as take on call rotation and supervise the hall directors for some of the residence halls.  He also gets to attend professional conferences as well as student conferences.  He has settled into his job really nicely.

We have sort of started to settle into life here.  What I mean by sort of is that we are still in temporary housing while we look for a permanent place to live.  We have started looking at houses now that the sale on our house in Grand Forks is pending.  It's actually been kind of fun looking at houses trying to find the best one for our family.  Hoping by sometime in April we will be in our new one.  All of our stuff is in storage and I know all of us are starting to miss our things and just the feeling of home when we have our stuff.

I cannot complain about the weather down here as I sit inside on a a rainy day.  I know that up in Grand Forks the temps are below zero up there.  It's kind of been a perk of the move down south, their winter isn't nearly as bad as we had up there.  We are still getting use to the area and figuring out things for the girls to do but we are getting to know the place and are getting into a routine.

Now that we are somewhat settled I am gonna start this blog up again.  Tonight I will be posting about duty calls with maybe a few stories about things I have been witness to over the last 8 years that I have been with casey and he has been in Housing.