Nathanial Garrod

Flying North

My journey to #ACPA12 on Saturday (March 24) began without sleep.

I planned on going to bed around 11p and sleeping for 4 hours or so until I had to get up at 3:30. After laying in bed for 45 minutes and still being awake, I got up and did dishes. Let’s just say that my entire apartment is cleaner than it has been since I moved in.

At around 2a I crawled back into my comfortable, warm blankets and put some calm music on. Around 2:30a, my upstairs neighbors began making a significant amount of noise. Like walking sounds and being drunk sounds, and etc. After listening for 15 minutes and realizing I had only 45 minutes before my alarm was going to go off, I got up and ate breakfast. After showering, packing my last few things and bidding my Yoda backpack farewell, I put my bags in the car and began the drive to the airport.

Driving was relatively uneventful. Alternated between listening to the radio and listening to my current audio book, Chelsea Handler’s “Are you there vodka? It’s me, Chelsea.” Arrived at the airport. Parked. Took the shuttle in. Checked my bag. Walked through security, Found my gate, Walked around a bit until I remembered that Will Rogers World Airport is tiny and it takes 10 minutes to walk to both ends of the entire terminal. Sat down at my gate and began reading this months issue of the Journal of College Student Development.

The first article is “Informal Theory: The Ignored Link in Theory-to-Practice” by Patrick Love. I liked Love’s ideas and they way they were presented. I specifically like his argument that practitioners are theorists in that we adapt our behavior every time we have an experience. When we have the same experience we use the previous experience to judge how we should engage.

I tried to plug my iPhone in to my computer to update a couple songs and playlists. As I was rifling through my items I realized that I had the wall-plug piece, but could not find the cord. “Shoot,” I muttered to myself, hoping that I had left it in my checked bag.

After I got on the plane, I read Evans and Guido’s response to the Love’s essay. Evans and Guido are particularly specific. Their response at times reads like a grocery list, but does bring up a number of points. Being in a social science field, papers need a significant amount of citations and sources to back up a point.  There are many flaws to Love’s argument, as pointed out by Evans and Guido. But I think I like Love’s side of the argument. The purpose of theory is to understand and evaluate ways to engage a person or persons. To that end, Love’s idea of Informal Theory is incredibly useful. To empower individuals in our field to think creatively. This would be especially beneficial when it comes to applying theory. Further, we need to use theory more in our practice. What’s the point of me going to school and spending tens of thousands of dollars learning this stuff if it is not used? This is a fear/doubt that held me hostage for months, and Love’s arguments definitely brought it out.

Between writing the above and playing Plants vs. Zombies, the flight moved along swiftly. I got off at my layover and looked around to see what gate I would have to walk to for my connecting flight. I looked at the monitor. “A11” it said. I glanced around to see where I was. “A11” the gate above me said. So I got off my plane just to re-board it. Awesome. When I reboarded, I realized my ticket had me sitting in exactly the same place. We got in the air, I pulled my laptop out and played Plants vs. Zombies for the entire flight.

After landing, I made my way through the Louisville airport and found a bus in front. After asking if it went to the convention center and paying the $1.50 fare, I hopped on-board.

After realizing that they too were going to ACPA, I started chatting with the two women who also got on the bus at the airport. It was the conversation one has at ACPA with folks they’ve just met – discussing where we are, what we do, what we want to do, what our work means to us, any cool facts we know about the region we are in.

I got off the bus at the convention center, found my hotel, checked in and rested for a bit.

I got a text from one of my classmates about a graduate student social at one of the bars in the main part of town we were in. After exploring a bit and looking for a place I could buy an iPhone cord unsuccessfully, I went to the social. At the social I got to hang out with my classmates, visit with another ACUHO-I STARS College 2010 alum as well as a friend from my undergrad who is now in the profession.

After the social, I went home and fell asleep.

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