New Beginnings!

Hey y’all!

It’s been a little while since I have made a real post but between moving from two times and starting a new job, all in the span of 2 weeks, I hope you can understand my absence. At the beginning of the month I started my graduate assistantship and even though students aren’t here yet I can already tell I am going to have a wonderful time. Guilford College is a small, religious, liberal arts institution, completely different from my large, photo 1public, largely STEM undergraduate experience. One thing that does connect my time at NC State to my few weeks at Guilford is the care for students. In one of the first meetings I attended in my department I could tell how much every single person at the table cared about the students at Guilford. That is all I needed to know.

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Can you see my name?

I also went to SPAHE Orientation! If you all couldn’t already tell I am an orientation nerd! I love school spirit, learning new information, and my cohort! It was great to see some new faces and familiar ones from Interview days! Monday, I have my first class and of course it is Social Justice. In light of recent events going on in Ferguson, Missouri, involving the death of an unarmed teen, it seems as though the universe is putting me in the place I need to occupy.

 

Tomorrow I start my graduate program. Tomorrow our orientation staff moves in for training. Tomorrow begins the next chapter of my life.

Because I’m happy!

I finished up my NODA internship for the summer! I met wonderful people and had one of the best times of my life. This summer has made me more confident in my abilities as a leader as well as made me even more excited to start my assistantship and grad program.

One thing that will always stand out to me when I think back on my time in Asheville are the mountains. I have lived in North Carolina all my life, just a short 2 hour trip up the road from some of the most beautiful scenery in America. The residence hall I lived in had 2 different hiking programs this summer and I was able to take advantage of each one.

Nothing makes your problems feel smaller than looking at this…

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So I’m trying to embrace the change and the happy, hopefully you will too! Step into your happiness fearlessly! I’ll leave you all a clip in honor of National Batman Day that recently passed. If the Dark Knight can embrace his happy so can you.

Orientation Round #3

Orientation was my gateway into the Student Affairs field, for me like it has been and will be for many other people. This summer I left behind my beloved NC State and took a trip up the mountains to the University of North Carolina (UNC) – Asheville as a National Orientation Director’s Association Intern.

I was nervous, sad, and hopeful about starting my professional journey. There are not a lot of students who have to chance for a NODA experience before starting their graduate program so I felt even more compelled to take the opportunity. I haven’t missed an NC State Orientation in 2 years and seeing them move on with the new staff broke my heart, but it is all a part of transition.

MOUNTAIN LIFE

Blue Ridge Parkway
Blue Ridge Parkway

Before coming to Asheville for the Summer I had only been here once as a child and as an adult I see the city in a totally different light. Asheville is the self-proclaimed hippie, liberal, foodie, town of NC and they want to stay that way. I have had the most amazing food of my life here. I was even able to get a bit presidential with a trip to an apparent favorite of the Obama’s 12 Bones Smokehouse (they have a commerative bumper sticker in his honor). I have been having a great time introducing my awesome co-intern to NC staples like Cheerwine and barbecue.  Experiencing Downtown Asheville that everyone should have from the Friday night drum circles to the double decker bus the happens to serve coffee it is always a good time. I have also had a chance to do some hiking on the beautiful Blue Ridge Parkway and a trip to Dupont State Forest where I visited Triple Falls, a site where they filmed scenes from the Hunger Games.

embark Orientation

2014 Blue Crew
2014 Blue Crew

UNC Asheville has given me a lot and I have had so many chances to learn and grow in the month that I have been here. I have developed really dynamic and meaningful relationships with the staff here including my co-intern and Head Orientation Leader. I feel much more empowered in my role and am able to push my boundaries. I have had such a great time learning from this staff full of women who are role models for how I want my professional career to be led.

My co-intern and I were also given the opportunity to create and help facilitate a multicultural awareness activity that all of the incoming first-year students were able to participate in. It made me fall in love with student affairs all over again. Students opened with their experiences, the orientation leaders grew into being able to have tough conversations, and at the end students said that the session made them feel better about coming to college. There is no greater compliment to me and it was what I plan on working toward for the rest of my life.

Today marks exactly a month since my time at UNC Asheville and I’m sure I will have more to say as my time here comes to a close but wow what a month it has been thus far.

Until next time,

Amanda

 

Craggy Gardens
Craggy Gardens

 

 

 

“…And they shall beat their swords into plowshares”

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Me in front of the bell tower door.

It is 6am and rather than sleeping the day away I have been up for an hour trying to figure out how to write about my time at N.C. State. I’m not sure how to wrap up four years of my life into a fun to read, easy to consume, 400 word for you all. My time in college has never been simple. I have had my worst and best times here. But something about this quote inscribed on the door of our Memorial Tower has been bugging me.

After doing some research (my degree hard at work) I found that it is a part of a longer Bible verse found in Isaiah 2:3-4. It is a verse about how the presence of God will bring about peace to the nations. The quote makes sense if you think about it, the bell tower was built as a memorial for students that passed away in World War I. Also, we have a strong history of being an agricultural college so turning from a time of war with weapons that create destruction into plowshares that are able to create and cultivate multitudes of food for people is right up our alley.

Cultivate. Create. Think and Do.

During my time at N.C. State, I have been empowered to go out and create an impact on the world. From my time working to register voters on campus, 100’s of us participating in service to the Raleigh area, and going to Belize and doing volunteer work I have always felt a charge to go out and do more.

As I wrap up my time here I am taking that charge. Those values instilled in me that can be described by the word, Wolfpack. I plan to take that with me to the University of North Carolina  (UNC) Asheville, during my NODA internship, and to UNC Greensboro for my graduate program and Guilford College for my assistantship.

I will miss the red bricks of NC State. I will miss the Howling Cow Ice Cream. I will miss the Wolfpack. But everything must come to an end. I have to make room for those behind me to take my place and grow into the people they will be for the rest of their lives. My formal education here may be ending but I will always learn something new looking at my experiences here for the last 4 years.

4 Days, 0 hours, 17 Minutes until commencement. It’s scary and big but I’m ready.

Thank you NC State, for being a home for me and introducing me to the woman I have the potential to become. As always, GO PACK!

Court of NC

How to Make Them Proud

Let’s set the scene. Toddler Amanda, at Christmas opening gifts. I’m in a onesie with my hair all over my head, Mom is holding the  large video camera (early 90’s style), and my Dad is helping me open gifts in a golden terry cloth bathrobe. “You are going to be a doctor! But first go to Spelman,” he says as I open my Big Bird Doctor kit complete with stethoscope and plastic band-aids. I’m more concerned about the gifts than what he is saying.

That was years ago and I only have home videos to prove it happened. Almost 2 decades later things have changed. We don’t live in that house anymore and my Dad’s voice is really only a distant memory. I am also, not at Spelman or any Historically Black College/University (HBCU).  A decision I have never regretted but always wondered, “What if?”

Call it fate or the stars aligning but 20 days before my graduation day I was in Atlanta for vacation and visited the beautiful campus of Spelman College. Walking around my friends and I saw banners with beautiful pictures of Spelmanite’s that said, “Welcome.”

“Welcome” is exactly how I felt. The picstitchadvertisements had young women who looked like me on them, making it easy for me to picture myself there. It felt like it could have been home. I wonder if that is how white students feel when opening N.C. State ads that usually feature students that look like them front and center.

Now don’t get me wrong, this post is not about my wanting to reverse the clock and go to the school that would have made my Daddy proud. N.C. State holds a dear place in my heart and I will always be a part of the Wolfpack.

Just because I don’t look like the first class of Freshmen at N.C. State doesn’t mean I have not changed my school for the better with my presence. Now being older (not that much) and wiser (barely) I know that I have made my Dad and Mom proud by accomplishing the goals that I have set for myself, not the ones they made for me.

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N.C. State’s first freshmen class in 1889, in front of Holladay Hall. Me in front of Holladay Hall 2014

Spelman will always be a beautiful thought even though I’ve only visited twice but sometimes it takes seeing what may have been to make you appreciate what actually is.

 

Until next time,

Amanda

I’m Perfectly Imperfect?

 

“You are perfectly imperfect! That’s what Brené Brown would say!”

I was told that over the phone as I drove down I-85  to Raleigh, NC, from Guilford College in Greensboro.  I called my mentor’s over at N.C. State Orientation to let them know I had thoroughly embarrassed myself by spending half of my day visit with just one large dangling earring in place. Of course, due to office cubicle life once you tell one person you tell them all.

I was invited to Guilford to see my Graduate Assistantship’s office and really get to take in the campus. I was able to meet people, talk to students, and even hear from one of the women in the running to be the President of the college. All while walking around with one large, dangling earring.

But back to the perfectly imperfect part. I have a bad habit of doing really embarrassing things when it matters most. I’ve come to use them as ways to humble myself and not to take things too seriously. I have fallen out of chairs in meetings, forgotten people’s names mid-sentence, and now visited my future employers, shaking a bunch of hands, and walking around with one large dangling earring.

Now, three days later, I’m not as mortified as I was and what made me sit down to write was looking at this bumper sticker I received during my campus visit.

Guilford CAB

Read the sticker closely. Maybe it was the stars aligning or just in God’s bigger plan for me to start my journey at a place that makes mistakes but is able to keep going.  Personally, I think being on campus “activites” board would have been fun!

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change.” 
― Brené Brown

Does anyone have any “perfectly imperfect” moments to share and make me feel better?

 

Until next time,

Amanda