Sunday, February 3, 2013

...what this new phase means...

So, I've not blogged in over a month.  I think I'm still relishing in the glory of having weekends and evenings, and frankly, I've not been doing much of anything productive during those times.  It's time to get back at it, though I'm going to be off blogging next weekend, too.

At this point, I've graduated and am working 5 days per week.  It is fabulous.  I'm enjoying being challenged by my job, learning new things every day, and having time to see family and friends that I missed a lot during my time as a full-time student and nearly full-time employee.

And now, I'm still figuring out what this new life means.  It's been quite some time since I've "just" worked.  During other full time jobs, I traveled for work at least monthly, was studying for the GRE/applying to grad school, or had another commitment that took up a lot of time.  This time, I go to work and come home...  I do yoga or workout 2-3 times per week, and try to read but end up watching sports instead.  I'm finding myself needing to find what this life means, and it's fun and interesting, and slightly anxiety-inducing, since I'm used to being so busy.

And so, this blog may change a bit too - no more classwork to write about.  I am going to work over the next several weeks to help this blog find it's new identity, as I am doing myself.  Maybe my website will change, maybe I'll do more to integrate the two.  Maybe I'll try to connect my blog to my work, or the blog at work that I facilitate.  It's an exciting time of which I need to take advantage - but truly, taking some time off the last month has been rejuvenating, motivating, and much needed.

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Prepared for what?

I don't often write about something that is outside of my own little world, but what happened last Friday in Newtown, Connecticut is something that affects all of our worlds.  And will.  Forever.

No words can express the absolute tragedy that occurred.  I won't even try.  This horrific event reminded me of how precious life is, and how something that we never thought could or would happen, can and did.

On Saturday, the Dean of the School of Education at the University of Michigan sent an email message to all affiliated with the school in an attempt to allow a community of educators to come together and to take action.  Further, the website ( reads:
The School of Education community is shocked and saddened by the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut on December 14. We send our deepest sympathies to the families of those who were killed, and to all those who witnessed and experienced this terrible and senseless event. In memory of the children and adults who died, we are committed to work against violence, to become more knowledgeable about mental illness, to increase our sensitivity to threats to the safety of others, and to develop ways to support survivors of tragedy.
--Dean Deborah Loewenberg Ball
This is a reminder to me, that as an educator, I have a responsibility to be prepared and knowledgeable about issues that I could never imagine.  I'm thankful during this time that I am part of a community ready to acknowledge this and face the possibility that this - what happened in Newtown - is the reality of not only that town, but for parents, families, and educators everywhere.

Sunday, December 9, 2012


This week, I will have my two final classes at the University of Michigan (after 15 total semesters including undergrad), will finish my final two papers, and one final exam.  Pair that with last week's three presentations, one group paper, and another final paper, and that's a lot of finals work.

So, I'm not feeling creative today, and thus am not going to write here.  But next week at this time... I'll be done. :)

Sunday, December 2, 2012

What really matters - past to present

Finals time!  The next couple of weeks will be dedicated to the final semester push to finish graduate school. It's hard to believe the end of the road is so near... five semesters of studying, paper writing, reading, and learning are about to culminate into a goal I set out to achieve three years ago.

Three years ago, in December 2009, I was studying for the GRE, transitioning jobs back to the UM library (while consulting for my previous employer), gathering letters of recommendation for my graduate school applications, filling out the applications, and writing numerous essays.  I remember at the time feeling so much stress and pressure, because my future aspirations hinged on my acceptance to the University of Michigan School of Information (UMSI).  My work then paid off, and I'm starting to feel the weight of the past three years of challenging and meaningful school work, paired with working in professional positions, lifting.  It's starting to feel like I really will have fully accomplished the goals I set for myself.

People ask me what I'm going to do when I'm done - with those weekends and evenings free for taking care of "real life things" (and not having to squeeze them in when I can get to them) and whatever else I want.  I want to concentrate on becoming great at the amazing job I have, do a lot more yoga, read books for pleasure (my book club will appreciate that I don't simply show up for the good company), indulge in the pile of US Weekly magazines that has grown tremendously since August (it's my guilty pleasure), learn to cook(?),  and so much more.

But most of all, I'm excited to spend more time on the things that really matter... the friends and family whom I've barely seen and who have supported me so well over the past three years.  Without them, I wouldn't have been able to accomplish my goals, and so while the time to relax and think will be nice, I can't wait to support them in their endeavors... or just enjoy spending time with them.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pulling it all together

Finals season starts... now.  In the next few weeks I'll be pulling together what I have learned over the past semester into papers, presentations, and one e-portfolio.  While papers and presentations are one great way to show my learning over the term, the e-portfolio brings together reflections, goals, and my professional philosophy for my student affairs course.

e-Portfolio's are one way to help students synthesize what they've learned.  It's an interesting final project for me because I already have a website, I have a blog (here :)  and I have already thought about how I project myself and my work online.  The e-portfolio brings in one other way to do that.  The blog crosses both my Master of Science in Information degree, my work, and my higher education degree work.  My website is more personal and is a showcase of my School of Information master's work, and the e-portfolio focuses on one student affairs class that I had this semester.

When I had my mentor review my e-portfolio, she brought up the question of whether I would be wanting to add to it and suggested I might start adding in things from my job.  I think this is a great idea, and when school is over in a few weeks, I'll start to consider my online presence as solely a working professional (and no longer a formal student).  Do I need a portfolio, a website and a blog (and work blogs?) (not to mention LinkedIn, my profile for work, and Facebook, and Twitter).  Probably not, but the question will be how to tie all of my work over the past 2.5 years together.  It's a fun thing to think about - and I wrote about the topic of being a professional online in December last year.  As I think more about this, any thoughts about how you do this - maintain a presence online that is manageable and effective - are most welcome.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Feeling thankful today

With the Thanksgiving holiday right around the corner, I'm feeling particularly thankful today...

  • To my family for all of their support and love during the last two and a half years (and my whole life!)
  • To my husband who yesterday cleaned the whole house and did all of the laundry and brings me to work or class everyday and cooks for me and has helped keep my day-to-day life happening 
  • To my friends for putting up with me saying "sorry, I can't" because I'm too busy doing homework or working - and still being totally awesome
  • To my past co-workers at the UM Library for teaching me so much about service, research, technology, teaching, and professionalism
  • To my current co-workers who are some of the most positive and supportive people I've met
  • To my former classmates at UMSI from whom I learned so much and am glad to still know!
  • To my current classmates at the School of Ed whom I've been lucky to get to know better this semester
  • To myself for being almost done with school
  • For this week - the calm before the storm of final papers
  • For my life- I'm so grateful for all of the people in it and for everything I have
Wishing you and yours a fantastic Thanksgiving this week!  Enjoy!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

One year ago...

Just over a year ago, on November 3, I wrote a blog post about being accepted into the Higher Education master's program at UM.  At this point in 2011, I still had a semester left of my degree at the UM School of Information and my hope - as I outright stated in my blog post - was to find a job for the fall where I could work 30ish hours per week and finish my degree in Higher Ed.  It's funny to see things written in the past - hopes and dreams - and realize that sometimes, they do happen.

More importantly to this reflection... Wow, how fast a year has gone!  I remember sitting in my Intro to Higher Ed class and receiving the email that indicated my acceptance into the master's program.  I knew I could learn a lot in a year, but little did I know how much.  Between finishing my master's degree in Information, taking a semester's worth of purely higher ed classes, and starting a new job at the School of Information, I am overwhelmed and so excited with the knowledge and skills I've acquired in the last 12 months.  I've learned about research, information literacy, privacy and security, non-profit and library management, student development, student affairs, recruiting, networking - and those are just the high-level buzz words.  I've learned about community outreach from academic libraries, skills to facilitate technology instruction, "reference interview" best practices that transfer into my job of meeting with prospective students, how to plan large events, considered ways to interact with and support international students, and so much more...

After this semester is over (classes end one month from today!) I will cherish the chance to make meaning of all of this and consider how it has helped me professionally and personally.  For now, I'm going to trek through my final four and a half weeks of school, learn as much as I can, and then, relax and reflect.