Nathanial Garrod

During Fall Term, Time Seems to Move Faster

At work, the term has quickly moved from week three, all the way to week five in the blink of an eye. With a conference then some travel for work on the horizon next week, I imagine that week six will all but disappear, putting me right back into prep for the beginning of the next term.

The last few weeks have been really great at work! I mean, I did have a day where I felt pretty discouraged and left around 3:30, and I had a day where I was scheduled out for some vacation to attend to personal matters at home but went into the office after a flight cancellation. But those small things aside, I have really enjoyed watching our student community thrive.

Honestly, this picture looks kinda boring. It's just a cemement walkway with some dead leaves on it and in the caption, the author gets sentimental about trees dying seasonally and the magic in the world.
The last few weeks have felt particularly fall-like. I had to run to the store a couple times for some of our events, and one day I walked on a pathway under some trees that were actively shedding leaves and the leaves were dancing gently in the wind as they fell to the ground. It felt nearly magical.

I had a chance about halfway through week three to sit down and chat with members of the leadership of the student organizations in the School of Business. This is a portion of my job description that I was too overwhelmed last year to fulfill and what I am coming to realize is one of the most important segments to move the work I have spent the last five years on forward.

In Week Four a few of the Peer Mentors I supervise put together one of the most energized and authentic events I have seen – they just had a room open and made bubble tea. The two mentors that planned it are really into Friends, so they pulled up some episodes on Netflix and had almost 40 students come through and hang out for some period of time. I popped in a few times between meetings to check on them and make sure they were good on supplies, and the energy was so positive and enthusiastic. I have been trying to figure out if it’s the time, the authenticity, or the lack of strongly structured activity that made this event so wildly successful.

Later in Week Four I got to visit an off-site event hosted by our Center for Retail Leadership – this was a really cool opportunity – I had the chance to connect with an alumnus who graduated a few years back that was in second iteration of the Career Development class I taught. Connecting with some folks who work at businesses in our community was pretty cool, seeing a student – someone who was actively involved in the School of Business – and hearing about how he wanted to give back was really cool.

The leaves on the tree growing increasingly more dead, in a way that people find to be beautiful somehow. Leaves range in color from green to yellow, to an umber orange and on to shock-your-mom-with-your-new-hair-red.
This tree is particularly delightful for roughly two weeks every fall, and they are the happiest two weeks of the fall.

To top it all off, I had a conversation with some of my coworkers and a couple of our current student leaders about how impressive, active and vibrant the student community has been so far this year. I am seeing regular events put on that are pulling in 30-40 people, which is a huge improvement from the 10-20 we have been seeing for awhile. I am hoping to work towards more clear planning and direct communication. If you are reading this from another campus, I would love to hear in the comments more about how you plan and structure events and what you do to communicate them to your students! This past week (week five) has been the kind of week that has been a bit more mellow, but exhausting – honestly, I cannot believe it is already over. I had a lot of really good conversations this week – had some chances to hear stories and experiences of the students I work with.

This week is also the turning point week in my work, where I am managing things in the present but also really working to make sure everything is ready and organized for the future. We have been pulling in some data from across campus on our student population, ranging from survey responses to faculty feedback on progress. In the next few weeks, we will pull this data into one document and figure out which students need what kind of help and what the proper outreach is.

Next week I am going to a professional conference (NASPA Western Regional) for the first time in a few years. My last conference might have been when the regional NACADA was in town. I am pretty excited. From there, I have a trip out to Arizona with some of my colleagues to learn about high-impact practices for student success at Arizona State.

On a bummer note, my favorite coffee-guy left the coffee bar at the grocery store by my office.

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This entry was posted on November 2, 2019 by in Education, Student Affairs, Thoughts and tagged , , , , , .

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