Thursday, April 7, 2011

Trave(b)logue, Part I

Considering that this will be my sample submission to Conde Nast Traveler, you should all feel very privileged to read this before I become super-famous, like Samantha Brown (how do you get a job where you stay in fancy hotels all the time?).

Wednesday, April 6th, 2011

2:30pm: I gotta be honest here--I'm a little traveled out, after a marathon weekend in Vegas for a friend's (incredibly gorgeous) wedding. Between a 72-hour turnaround and it taking an hour for our luggage to get from the plane to baggage claim (all occurring after midnight. Thanks, PHL!), my enthusiasm for any more "living out of a suitcase" is wearing a little thin. (Hmm...maybe I should re-think my "travel journalist" dream career idea...)

7:30pm: After a lull-inducing 5 hours aboard the Northeast Regional, we finally make it to Charlottesville. Hooray! Our staff proceeds to eat some very delicious and highly recommended pub fare at Horse & Hound, and then the six of us pack into a Honda Accord (yes, you did the "seat" math right) and begin to marvel not only at how gorgeous UVA is, but also at how many wonderful amenities the suburbs have to offer. A Kroger! Old Navy! Gee wiz, we're easily impressed!

10:15pm: I just realized that I'm really presenting tomorrow. The anxiety kicks in.


Thursday, April 7th, 2011

7:00am: Rise and shine! I can't wait to get some new ideas to incorporate into our practices! I can't wait to meet new people, people who are excited about their profession, people--WHAT? THERE IS NO HOT WATER? I shower, a grimace on my face. This is not a good omen.

8:15am: I claim to be a history buff, but I never said anything about also being good about geography, and seem to have gone my entire life until this moment not realizing that Jefferson's Monticello is basically down the street. (I should really sankofa to my state presentation on Virginia in 5th grade for a refresher.) I try to solicit enthusiastic volunteers for a quick trip, though nobody seems to be as excited to see the original dumbwaiter and Lazy Susan as I am.

8:30am: Concurrent presentations--so exciting! I get some great ideas about incorporating technology, particularly video via tools like Camtasia, into our practices to cut down on transactional advising. Many thanks to Richard Sigal from Rutgers and Stephen Brown and Alissa Carpenter from Penn State--Abington for some useful info!

12:00pm: Lunchtime! Nom nom nom (nobody ever say this out loud, please. Cookie Monster owns this, it's his.) Peter Hagan gives a truly wonderful keynote about reflecting on the role of advising throughout history and how we build upon the successes of the past as we venture into NACADA's fourth decade. I loved the point about students being the product, not the consumer, and that they're not always right--after all, they're still learning. It's not always our role as advisors to provide customer service a la retail; we should always be personable and keep in mind where the student is coming from, but sometimes it's okay to say no and point out where students are misinformed about a class, a policy, and so on.

Somehow, I also win the raffle for Virginia state basket. Only later did I realize that I had also gotten chocolate frosting all over the front of my pants, soooo that was pretty embarassing.

3:01pm: I give my first presentation on effective assessment practices and establishing an office/department-level assessment program in just 44 minutes. Still fine-tuning! (See previous post.) Will the lukewarm shower prophecy from earlier in the day bear fruit? Stay tuned!

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