Radiating Sunshine: August 2015

Monday, August 31, 2015

Weekend Recap 8/31/15

I can't believe tomorrow is September! This summer just blew right on by and Fall is practically upon us! I love Fall, so this whole weekend I have been doing a lot of cleaning and shopping to prepare for this season! Now that I have my own home to decorate, I'm really excited to see what I can collect to decorate this space with. Anyways, here is how Josh and I spent out wonderful (duty) weekend together.
 On Saturday, we went to the annual Corn Fest in downtown Shippensburg, PA! I love going to festivals. I really enjoy walking around and looking at all of the crafts from local vendors. I love eating the food and just getting lost in the sea of people. Corn Fest was definitely one of the biggest festivals I have ever been too! My parents came up and we all probably walked at least 3 miles. It was so cool walking down a street that would ordinarily have cars and traffic on it.
And naturally at Corn Fest, you need to eat corn dogs and corn fritters. After buying lunch, I think I chose the wrong business to get into... for 2 corn dogs, corn fritters, and two lemonades it cost us $24! These food trucks are racking in the cash and I was completely mind blown. Not sure how I would like giving up every Saturday/Sunday of my weekend's to sell fried foods, but its one heck of a business idea! Especially when you can sell a lemonade for $5!
We couldn't have asked for a prettier day! Since classes/work has fully begun for the both of us, we don't get to spend too much time out and about. So, a day spent in the sun was the perfect way to spend a Saturday to me! Now if only we had a local pool to cool off at :)
 After Corn Fest, Josh and I came back to my apartment and we watched some football. We are ready for Fall and football to officially begin. I took my usual football watching nap, which I'm sure will become my favorite thing to do this fall on the weekend. I made sloppy joes, green beans, coleslaw, and rolls (from a package) for dinner. It was quite a delicious and hearty meal and sloppy joes are definitely a way to our hearts. I also lit my Glade Fall/Pumpkin Candle and am so in love with the smell. They are currently 5% off at Target using the CartWheel app! Go check it out because it smells heavenly.
And the candle inspired me to bake an apple pie! This is the first pie of the season and it turned out so good. I bought this blue pie dish from TJ Maxx a few months back and am so excited to start using it more frequently.
 On Sunday, I went to the local Planet Fitness and purchased a membership! I feel like a full adult now by paying my bills, having an apartment, a car, mail to sort through, and now a gym membership. I'm really excited to continue getting fit throughout the fall and winter months. The facility is really nice and my goal is to go twice a week! I've never been one to take the "before body" pictures and then the "after body" pictures, but I'm really committed to not only maintaining, but improving my figure throughout graduate school. I've heard Graduate School, especially as an RD, can be really hard on people's figures. So, I'm being proactive and committed to my health!
And lastly on Sunday night I did some Fall decorating! I really want to decorate for every season and I purchased some cute decorations while I was at Corn Fest. It's crazy thinking that I have started my collection of decorations that I will probably continue to use when I have my own house and my own kids! I'm looking forward to collecting more decorations throughout the fall and maybe getting some hand-me downs too.

I feel so incredibly blessed for every thing I was able to do this weekend. I felt like even though I was on duty/call I still managed to do a lot of fun things like walk around and deliver cookies to all of the RAs on Duty. I feel so incredibly thankful that we had a safe duty weekend and hopefully this trend will continue throughout the semester.

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Fall Welcome Week

Happy Fall Welcome Week! The last few weeks of August is an important time for most colleges and universities... and it's called welcome week. This is an opportunity where new students move in and we plan a bunch of fun activities for them so they don't go out drinking. Most of them involve free food or prizes and they serve a great purpose on the college campus. I love Fall Welcome Week and it was awesome experiencing welcome week at a new university. I wish I could have gone to more things, but my building is mixed housing-- so we opened throughout the weekend! Some of the things that Ship did during fall welcome week, was an ice-cream party, carnival, and breakfast bingo (late night)! It's fun meeting new students and kind of sad knowing that statistically some of them won't continue their education for variety of reasons!
Bulletin Board of the Month!
The fall is such a special time for my job! It is theorized that the first 6 weeks of the semester are the most, because this is when students/residents begin making impressions, meeting people, and choosing who they want to be in college. "Fitting In" is a huge deal for the majority of college students. So, I am working really hard to make sure everyone has a voice and people enjoy themselves and learn while living in my building.

Fall welcome week also comes with the onset of residence hall room supplies and items being sold at a ton of stores. I love walking through the isles and remembering what was in my section when I was a first year student (which, was officially four years ago yesterday)! I also love looking at the items someone should never buy... like bed raisers (they are band on almost every college campus). I feel bad for all of these worried parents and annoyed first year students when they arrive and are told they can't use what one of the "200 Things to Buy for your Dorm Room" items from a list they found online. I also chuckle quite a bit at how much of a business "college shopping" has become! When I left, I felt like I kept the expenses at a minimum. Sure there were some purchases and things that I never really needed like a 20 pack of Double AA Batteries or 5 travel mugs. In reality, I used maybe four batteries all year and only one mug that I just washed every day. I also get a good laugh at the way some of these items are marketed... for example the mini-fridge you see above. How many college students do you know have apples (that look like tomatoes), olives, a small bottle of milk, and SUN DROP in their fridge? Looks like this fridge needs to be updated... maybe with a bigger jug of milk?
And one of the final reasons why I love Fall Welcome Week is because of all of the guest speakers. I love getting educated for free... probably why I watch so many Ted Talks. Anyways, fall welcome week is full of great speakers, who try to enlighten the audience. We had Lori Hart come talk to use about the differences between men and women and how all of this plays a role in consent and drinking. I don't remember laughing so hard in my entire life. She discussed the stereotypes behind the two identities/genders and called on the audience to discuss why men and women act the way they do. I wish Josh was sitting next to me, because I felt like her talk would have given him some insight into my crazy-multi-tasking mind!

I have loved my first as an RD and am so excited for the rest of this semester! Fall Welcome Weeks can definitely drain a college's budget, but are so important in the long run for the safety of their students, for retention rates, and for my entertainment (probably the most important reason-- JK)!

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

RA Training 2015

In these past few weeks, I have experienced several milestones as an emerging student affairs professional. I successfully facilitated and executed RA Training 2015! I opened my own building and even got to assign students to rooms. I led team builders, drove 15-passenger vans, attempted to park said vans, averaged 4 hours of sleep a night, and averaged four cups of coffee a day! I learned so much about my supervisory style and learned some tricks of the trade. As an RA, I loved training... as an RD, I loved training in different ways. I loved getting pumped up and presenting a presentation in a bright and chipper way. I loved learning the names and backgrounds of the RAs we have on staff. I loved having the opportunity to bond with my own staff and watch them grow. Although, I have neglected my personal, emotional, spiritual, physical, and blogable life, I feel like I have accomplished so much. My soul is happy with this profession and I'm excited that classes officially started yesterday! Here is a little preview from my iPhone on how training went for me :)
Initiative: Giant Texas Lizard Egg

The goal of initiatives (is to get me to spell initiatives correctly on the first try, haha jk)... the goal is to build a team and have them problem solve and communicate effectively. We originally had a whole day of team builders planned... but, because of exhaustion and the heat from the Summer's day we decided to only do an hour and a half of initiatives. Each staff had a different initiative and showed up to the field wearing their staff colors! My staff's color was orange and we splatted painted our shirts and wrote "McDream Team" on the back! My Grey's Anatomy loving self was quite thrilled with the idea. "McDream" was inspired by our building theme, which is to "radiate good vibes!" My staff is quite committed to the positive lifestyle and they make me smile all day everyday!

Here's a little behind the scenes action of my RD Buddies and I! After a long day of training, followed by In-Hall, followed by Lip-Sync, followed by prep for opening... my buddies and I drove to Sheetz for root beer floats, Wisconsin cheese bites, and bam bam sauce! We needed a quick little off-campus time and needed to fuel up for our busy night ahead. After our Sheetz run, we ran to Walmart and got refreshments like cookies and muffins for our opening snacks! I'm really grateful for these two! They have helped me with so many things and after we spend time together, I feel so much happier and calm. Definitely the greatest A-Team out there!

At the very end of training, I had to ensure my building was ready for the big day... which, involved doing lots of walk throughs. I did an entire walk through with my whole staff. On this walk through we practiced a mock rounds and everyone got a chance to explain their bulletin boards. I feel like this a was a great opportunity for our whole staff to bond and learn more about each other. I was seriously impressed by all of their bulletin boards and I look forward to seeing what they can create throughout the year. While doing some of my final walk throughs by myself, I came across this adorable floor decoration that you see below!
It was so incredible how much this made me smile. When I first applied, I was so nervous about this slogan... maybe it was because I came from a conservative/ private/Catholic university background? Not entirely sure... but, now it has kind of grown on me! It's definitely eye-catching!

Thursday, August 13, 2015

1st RA Training as an RD

So, we are smack dab in the middle of RA Training and it's going great!! This whole week has been such a great learning experience for me. RA Training looks completely different when you are the person who is planning it, answering emails, running to meetings, and debriefing with the RAs. I've really enjoyed getting to know all of my RAs and working on the inner design of training.
I've realized that now that I have access to a Starbucks on my campus, it has slowly become an afternoon staple treat during training. I ordinarily wouldn't purchase Starbucks this regularly because it's so expensive. But, the Starbucks employees are being trained this week... which, means free coffee and or really delicious refresher drink things! When I was an RA, I thought training was exhausting. I'm a pretty extroverted person, so I re-charged with others... but, the constant on-the-go aspect of training really wore me down. Exhaustion has taken on a new form as an RD! I swear every morning is a struggle... but, nothing a little music, a hot shower, a cup pot of coffee, and time with my staff can't fix!
One aspect of RA Training that I loved as an RA and as an RD is all of the team builders/initiatives! I have learned quite a few new ones over these last two days and am loving it!! I'm not sure why I love initiatives... but, my favorite ones are when we all run around and can be as active as possible. It's definitely needed when you sit in a chair all day!
At Ship, we have a tradition that each staff decorates a flag and carries it with them to all of the trainings to boost staff spirit. This year my staff received the color orange and chose to decorate their flag like this! My heart swelled when they came up with the word "Radiating." I knew I had to include this flag in this post!
My mentors/buddies
Going through RA Training as an RD is a completely new experience for me. Last year when I held a leadership position on my staff I wasn't required to have all of the answers... this year I am! My staff looks to me to offer them support, provide them with the answers to Res. Life, and field all of their unique and challenging questions. I have loved building rapport with my staff members and I am so excited to continue working on staff development! I have some big things planned for this year and I am over the moon about everything I am experiencing. My RAs and fellow RDs are great and I cannot wait to be apart of an incredible staff!

Monday, August 10, 2015

How About a Two Week Recap?

How can it already be August? It felt like this summer flew by! As I sit on my couch, the last night before RA Training, I am completely blown away with how quickly this summer has gone. Now, I know summer doesn't officially end for a few more weeks... but, the end of August for a Student Affairs professional basically means work/the office is crazy!

So, I really enjoyed my last weekend/ week before RAs and residents move in. Josh and I went to Ocean City, MD for a weekend away with his family. We lovedspending time at the beach. This was our first beach trip together. So, naturally we loved our long walks and taking little naps on the beach. 
We even knocked off an item on my bucket list, which was to watch the sunrise on the beach. I've been going to Ocean City for years... decades even and I have never taken the time to watch the sunrise. It is amazing to me how much you can get done when you watch the sunrise. We woke up around 5:30AM and boogied on down to the beach. We sat and enjoyed some alone time and watched the gift of a new day begin.
After the sunrise, we headed back to the hotel we were staying at and woke up his dad and his sister. We rallied the troops and headed down to the boardwalk to go on a bike ride... another thing I have never done. When my friends and I went to Senior Week, we always talked about waking up early and biking on the boardwalk, but we never did it. Probably because we wanted to sleep in! I would definitely recommend vacationers to bike ride on the board walk! It's a great way to start your day off exercising and you can people watch. Oh and you can also get delicious donuts that look like these!
Fractured Prune Donuts: Blueberry Hill {Left} & Trail Mix {Right}
Josh and I had a really wonderful weekend together. It was nice being able to catch up with him and just have some Josh & Alex time. The only thing we didn't get to do was go on the Ferris Wheel! We have been trying to for over a year now and something always comes up. I guess we will have to add that to next summer's bucket list!
It is going to be awhile until Josh and I see each other next. He was away this past week and between both of our jobs and the fact that I will be working until 9:30-10:00PM most nights until the end of August, there's just no wiggle room to see each other. I know going a few weeks really isn't that big of a deal and we will be doing it a lot this upcoming year. But, I can't help but feel the sad-i-miss-my-boyfriend feelings! It's been a little over a week and it has felt like a lifetime... but, that could be due to the fact that this past week I MOVED!

And this is all my stuff... can you imagine if I had Josh's too!
I promise to provide pictures of my newest place once life settles down and I have a moment to finish organizing. I really miss my old apartment, particularly the kitchen/bathroom. However, this new place has some definite charm and it's nice knowing that this will be my home until May. Moving three times in four months really isn't the most ideal situation, so I'm excited to write about tips that I found beneficial in the process.
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