Ignite Leadership. Influence Change. NASPA 2012.

Hello from Phoenix, Arizona!

I’ve been in this city since early Friday morning (which necessitated a 2AM shuttle pick-up that morning). It’s been a fantastic experience, partially because of the weather, partially because I’m not sick this year, and mostly because being surrounded by so many other student affairs professionals and interested students is incredibly re-energizing.

I spent the weekend attending and helping out at the annual International Symposium, which is a pre-conference event bringing together practitioners from around the world to discuss current issues in global education. I had the chance to speak with several other graduate students in the field, as well as professionals from around the US, England, Pakistan, Germany, and Australia (to name a few). One of the keynote speakers talked about the journey he is currently on, which is–quite simply put–establishing a brand-new university in Pakistan. (More to come in future posts about that.) Being around a pathway like this is so eye-opening to a graduate student and new professional. It again gives me something to which I can say, “I never even knew that was a possibility.”

Digressing a bit, I have to also say that sharing these unknown possibilities with students is going to be a primary thread in how I approach my work. Whether it is transitioning into college or into a new institution (transfer students), or urging students to contribute to literature on Asian-American and Pacific Islanders in higher education, or even exploring new career paths, I want to be able to present new opportunities to my students.

I have seen how theory influences practice through various presentations at this conference, how change can be difficult and slow yet so critical to student success. I have begun to identify areas where I believe I can make contributions: international education, transfer student services, commuter student services, AAPI issues, and how all of these issues translate to the two-year, community college world. I am swimming in ideas–yet I am also aware, by the presence of NUFPs (NASPA Undergraduate Fellows) and other graduate students and professionals, that there are colleagues who yearn to collaborate and contribute.

I have much more to share with you all in the next month or so before my Master’s defense. I hope to have even more to share afterwards.

All I Do is Win.

“Blah blah blah, grad school’s awesome, I picked a field that speaks to my true passions*, blah blah blah.”

You’ve heard enough of that.

I know since last January I’ve been kind of sparse on the “personal updates.” Well, I suppose it’s time to let you all know some things…

I’m pregnant.

NO, JUST KIDDING.

Actually, I want to say this past year has been one of the biggest in terms of personal growth. Reflecting on where I was at the beginning of January and looking at myself now, near the end of November, I have to say, “Self, you impress me.” I am sure that part of my resilience has come from my parents. Knowing what my mom has gone through this year and seeing how positive and fun and loving she is has been inspirational. (Hi, Mom. Can I have money for some airfare for Christmas?) My dad has always been a hero of sorts– although my teenage self would have said different and whined that he’s totally “like, wayyyyy too strict!” Not really. Both of my parents did a great job in somehow communicating that I got more freedom when I became accountable and took responsibility for things.

I’m also impressed with myself. I’ve learned to recognize warning signs and how to cope with them. I could say that SAD doesn’t affect me, but it does. It’s never been diagnosed, but I’m starting to feel sluggish and irritable as the days get shorter and shorter– so, I’m probably going to rent a light box for a little while.

What about boys, ‘Dith?

There is one. And you know who he is. And he makes me smile, even if I get to Seattle and he’s wearing a “DUCKS FOOTBALL” t-shirt. *shakes fist*

You’re going to talk about school again aren’t you?

Yes, but only because I’m signed up for a tumbling class next term! Right now, I’m also signed up for yoga, and I hope I can keep that course. It’s really hard to get into the gym with the type of work I need to do and the routines I usually keep, but I hope I can shake things up in the next quarter. Because I know a few things that need shakin’ up, er, personally.

*Other passions include: eating, being funny, and blogging. All of which I think I can somehow incorporate to the life of a future-advisor and/or education abroad administrator or what have you.