Sunday, July 28, 2013

Connecting With Co-Workers: Part 2

Day Two: Comfort Zone
The next day, we went to a different town to visit a couple of pistachio farms/wineries. I bought my very first bottle of wine ever! I felt like such an adult! But, let me tell you. Where I bought my wine, I was I.D.d. Okay. Great. The second place, I got carded just to taste the wine, and they wouldn't take it. Why? Because I have a Vertical WI I.D. New Mexico law. Let me tell you. They lost my business. I was angry. Not because I couldn't taste, I don't like wine that much, but because I got away with it at the first place. 

After we all finished there, we went to visit the White Sands. I had been very apprehensive about going there, because, well, I hate sand. And sledding - which is what we did there. At first, I was uncomfortable, and was ready to be done and leave faster than the time it took to step out of the van. But I sucked it up, I stepped out of my comfort zone, and embraced the beauty that was White Sand. It was wonderful. Then we had dinner and it was great. 

I was so exhausted that night, I just wanted to go to bed. But I took a shower, and it was so horrifying that it woke me right back up. The pressure was so high, I felt like I was being assaulted by the water. So, I painted a co-worker's nails and then joined the staff members in the lounge where they were playing hotseat. Once again, I learned so much more about people and their lives that I stayed awake hours past my normal bedtime just to do so. It was so wonderful. I felt even more connected to my staff.

Day Three
On the last day, I led with an activity called, "Touch Someone Who..." (Real name.) I learned this activity from my supervisor my first year as an RA and it stuck with me ever since. It is a silent affirmation activity where everyone faces outwards in a circle with their eyes closed. A few people at a time are selected to touch someone's back who fulfills the requirement I state. It's a lovely exercise and I'm happy I was able to share it with my peers.

For our closing activity, we learned about authentic leadership and six individuals shared deep parts of themselves and even more emotions poured out. I felt heavy again and just wanted to hug everyone. And cry. But I fought it. I fought it so hard. I was wearing make-up dang it. No raccoon-face for this girl.

Then we each took the time to share one thing we learned, felt, and will take action in after returning to campus. Once again... Emotions Galore! Every time I calmed myself down, someone shared a beautiful thought, or cried themselves, or I just started thinking about all of the things I heard about over my time with them. 

It was almost too much.


But I wouldn't trade the experiences I learned over those past few days for the world.

And for this, I am grateful.

Thank you.

<3 Tawny

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Connecting With Co-Workers: Part 1

I had never been on a staff retreat before. When I was an RA, we "retreated" to the University Center for an afternoon. While it was great fun and beneficial, it was nothing like i had experienced in the past few days.

We went to a site in Sacramento, New Mexico. No, not in California.

Day One:
From the moment we got there, we began teambuilding. We played an energizer called, "Gorilla, Man, Net" that I learned from my undergrad. It's like, "Rock, Paper, Scissors," but more involved. Then we began to talk about our strengths from StrengthsQuest. I will talk more about my specific strengths in another post, but I will say that I learned a lot about the commonalities and differences in each person's stengths. And I've always known that every person is largely unique with underlying similarities, but it made me more aware of the fact.

We then participated in a teambuilder that I will call, "Connections." One person started the activity by stating a fact about herself and then whomever related would connect to her and proceed to recite a fact about himself. Then it continued to progress until the last person connected with the first. We did two rounds of it. The first was was pretty superficial and consisted of deeper and highly personal facts. These ranged from illnesses, to traumatic events, and everything else in between. For it being the first day of training and our first in depth activity, I was... floored. To share and hear others share such personal information was wonderful.

Later that night, we participated in a teambuilder of which I will call, "Short Truths." (I'm sorry I don't know what any of these are called.) Basically, we all sat in a circle and the facilitator would ask a question where everyone had to respond to in a short phrase or single word, without any explanation to their answers. The questions started simple like, "What book are you currently reading?" Increased difficulty to, "What's your biggest fear in life?" And rose to questions such as, "Who or what would give your life up for?"

The exercise was intense. In a group of 30+ people, you would expect to hear a plethora of answers, as it's difficult to sum life up into one word. And, I know everyone is different, everyone has experienced life differntly, and everyone perceives life differently, but to hear all of those responses? It was difficult.

Everyone, including myself, opened up so much, and through their responses, even though the words weren't fully descriptive, it was a lot. Empathy is not a strength of mine, but I could feel the conviction, the emotions, the stories, and the experiences of peoples' lives. Including my own, it became very heavy. I was bearing all the weight of so many questions; so many feelings. It took every ounce of strength in me to not either walk out or simply burst into tears. I also fought with wanting to hug everyone. But I stayed put, and I kept it held together, because I had never felt so connected to so many people, in such a short amount of time, and that made me feel amazing beyond belief.

But after that activity, I was so drained, I decided to unwind all of the emotional build-up with a friend by relaxing away from the rest of the group. And for that, I am grateful.

I shall continue tomorrow
I pre-wrote this post on the ride home from the retreat, and it's a total of 5 pages long. I figured it wasn't actually that long because I was writing in a large font.While typing, I realized it was a bit longer than I thought. So, for this reason, I shall post the rest tomorrow.


<3 Tawny

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

A Whole New World: Texas

I left for Texas on Sunday, July 7th. So for my last week(end) and a half I tried to see as many friends as I could. I posted my story in my blog for two reasons: because I knew it was worth telling, and I wanted to create a big build up. I also don't want to post my whole life in FB statuses. Not too classy. Oh, and I wanted to tell as many people as I could in person so it wasn't too much of a sudden shock.

So I guess that's four reasons. Whoops, can't count.

But anyway, if you didn't know that I left Wisconsin by now, don't be upset with me, be upset with yourself. I tried to tell you.

Before I continue, I would just like to thank my parents and my grandmother for helping me move all my junk across the country. Thank ya'll again for your help, I really did appreciate it.

My New Apartment:
I took these pictures a few days ago and it has since been cleaned and decorated further, but I didn't feel like taking new pictures so... Sorry not sorry. Take what you can get.

Living Room




Hallway - From bedroom to living room



It's small, but it's just enough for me and my needs, and Iiiiii Like it! :D

Upon moving here, I've been getting to know my staff and hanging out with everyone as much as possible. We're so close already that we broke in Cards Against Humanity with the new grads right away. What a great time that was! I already can not wait for the next game night. :)

Also, that night before CAH, we went out to dinner and then got ice cream. There's a place called The Arrogant Texan, and they make an ice cream with real beer. Not beer flavored, real beer. They also have an Olive Oil ice cream. I didn't try it, but I heard that it tastes like string cheese.

Anyway, beer ice cream. Good. I want more. If you come visit me, we can have some together. :)

Beer ice cream with a sprinkle cone

I started training this week, so far it's been great. It's my favorite time of the year and I just love learning about my campus, my job, and my staff. We all have so much fun together. I could not have been blessed with a better job!

My supervisors are fantastic as well. For our first meeting together we went to Starbucks for coffee. I'm not mad. Haha, I truly feel I'm going to have an amazing experience here for the next couple of years!
Blog Exclusive Uniform Shot! ;)
Talk to ya'll later!
<3 Tawny

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I Not Claustrophobic But...

...When it comes to mass hordes of people, I panic on the inside.

I can crawl into the tiniest of spaces and giggle like a little girl. That's fun, as long as I can get back out.

When I'm surrounded by hordes of people, I can't just push my way around them. I can't just crawl into a cupboard and sneak away. I can't just throw a blanket over my face and wait for people to go away.

I become introverted and have to force myself to be extroverted. That's difficult to do.

I didn't like going out to the bars, unless I was going with a group of friends that I was comfortable with. But then I would just follow them everywhere like a little puppy dog.

I never went to any house parties. Nope. Too much for me.

When it comes to concerts, I've been to them, I've enjoyed the bands. I've seen a small share of groups. But it's always uncomfortable for me. Mass hordes of people + booze + smoke + loud music = craziness. Oh yeah, I hate too much bass. It makes me sick. Feeling my organs inside of me vibrating from the bass booming freely through the subs, no. Uh uh.

I wish I enjoyed that kind of stuff. It'd make my life that much easier.

I went to Summerfest once, I've been to Oz Fest, I've been to Crue Fest, I even went to Harbor fest back in the day.

They were fun, but I've never really wanted to go back. It's uncomfortable for me.

Why am I telling you this?

Well, today, I'm stepping out of my comfort zone yet again.

I'm going to Summerfest for the second time in my life. My parents want to go because admission is free from noon to three. I looked up the line-up, AWOLNATION is going to be there tonight. That sold me. I've been obsessed with their music. Yeah, I could've gone to see Imagine Dragons with everyone else, because I'm in love with them too. But, I also hate doing what Everyone else does. So, AWOL it is. And I am Puuuumped.

If you're going to be there tonight, you should hit me up. ;)

Thanks for reading again!


Monday, July 1, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions Answered

So, I know there are a lot of unasked questions about the next phase in my life. I'm going to answer as many as I can, if there's anything I miss, please do not hesitate to ask.

Also, Happy Canada Day

Q. So what school are you going to now?
A. Texas Tech University

Q. Where's that?
A. In Lubbock, Texas

Q. Where's that?
A. In the northwest of the state.

Q. That's a big change, you know it's hot there right?
A. Yes. Yes, I do. That's one of the pros I'm excited for.

Q. So, what will your Master's be in?
A. Higher Education.

Q. Oh! So, like, teaching?!
A. No. I'll be working with college students outside of the classroom.

Q. Oh! So, tutoring!?
A. No. Outside of purely academics. Another name for it is Student Affairs. A link to a better explanation than I can give can be found HERE

Q. So what exactly will you be doing down there?
A. It's an assistantship. I will be working for the university, much like what a teacher's assistant would be, except I will be working for Residence Life and Housing. The job title is the Graduate Assistant for Recruitment and Training. Basically, aiding in the recruitment of student and professional staff along with planning training for those individuals. There's also a lot more to it, but those would probably be the biggest things. I don't know yet. I could read you the job description, but that's not very fun.

Q. Are you excited? Nervous?
A. Let's break the emotions down mathematically. Now, there's no algorithm for my methods, just total guesstimation. But I would have to say, I'm 98% excited, 12% relieved, .5% nervous, 10% anxious, and 60% pumped. What do you mean it's not to scale? Well, I said it was mathematical, not mathematically correct. ;-P

Q. How long will you be gone?
A. The program is two years.

Q. Are you going to come back after?
A. That's a long time from now, so I really don't know. It also depends on what positions are open on what campuses.

Q. Aren't you afraid of not knowing anyone or being around strangers?
A. No. I'm moving to a large city, with a large university, working with people, attending classes with a cohort of other people just like me. I've met a ton of people already in my interviews and I make friends quite easily. I'm not moving into an igloo in the middle of nowhere with zero civilization. Even if I didn't know anyone already, I would be okay. That's what the internet is for. ;)

Q. Are you ever going to come back?/Will I ever see you again?
A. If you want to visit me, come on down. I'll be up for a holiday every once in a while, but that's about it. Time will fly. Don't worry. Like I said, I'm not moving to a deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. :P We can have Thanksgiving over skype.

Since no one asked me any questions, these are all of the ones I can think about answering for you.


I would be happy to answer any and all burning questions of yours.