That Was… Interesting.

Week 7, in a nutshell, was interesting. It was interesting in that “I’m not sure if I’d want to do that again, but whatever” kind of way.

Monday I’d gladly do all over again, but that’s because I got to sleep in, spend all day in my jammies, and do laundry. I’ve tailored my winter schedule to allow for a lot of PJ-clad portfolio writing, so I’m looking forward to that!

Tuesday through Thursday was jam-packed busy. I’m leaving tonight to fly to San Diego for the NASPA Western Bi-Regional Conference, so naturally, I was rushing to cover my bases. A combination of delegating more event-planning responsibilities to my trusty students and only taking one academic class has left me feeling like I’m forgetting something. According to my to-do list, though, I’m okay.

However, I spent Wednesday night onwards trying to process a lot. I’ve been up in my head and spewing out verbal nonsense here and there.

I came to a few conclusions, or at least reaffirmations of what I already knew about myself.

I am not an activist. I am not an activist in terms of racial equality nor gender equality nor anything else. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. I am, like we discussed in Multicultural Issues, a “tempered radical.” I do my best work by seeking to understand the context of my environment and making subtle shifts and changes here and there. I am proud of my heritage, and I am frustrated when my mixed identity confuses others. I am sad that I haven’t found a support network like WWU’s FASA here at Oregon State, but I fault myself for not being proactive in some ways. I don’t blame OSU for the make-up of its student body or its staff or its faculty. They are working towards becoming a truly multicultural institution, and that comes with hiccups and uncomfortable stops along the way. If change and progress were easy, well then, why would we even care to try in whatever capacity we can?

I lead by example. This is something my former cheer coach told me. Maybe I was the worst stunter on the team, but I did the work I needed to do. I networked with other members of Athletics, and I did my best to keep a program I cared about on the path to being great. No, I was not a perfect leader, and there are many instances I would go back and alter. I wasn’t necessarily loved dearly by everyone, but I can tell you that I cared about all my teammates and that I saw potential in every single one of them. I tried to provide positive feedback, reminding individuals, “Hey, you’re really skilled at x. I want you to take charge of this because you’re great at leading, too.” We all have our strengths. We are not all perfect. Some of us are better at seeing the big picture and putting smaller pieces into place, and that’s my style. I don’t lead by establishing myself as an expert. I lead by trying to show others how to cooperate and move towards a common goal.

I’m not done developing. You can snicker a bit at that sentence, since it sounds like I’m talking about puberty. Regardless, I recognize that I still have a long ways to go. I still feel like a 25-year-old child. (Turning 26 rather soon, too.) Like Robin Scherbatsky, I have this cool-girl attitude that masks the fact that there is a lot of confusion and some hurt that I still need to work through. In a recent episode, Robin says, “I’m such a mess. Why do you even like me?” She gets two very different answers when she asks that question. The second response affirms her, stating, “I am constantly amazed by the things you say. Entranced by the things you do… I hope that one day you see yourself the way I see you.” I think I’m pretty rad, don’t get me wrong, but I need some time. I am still becoming. (Sometimes we forget the “students in transition” thing applies to graduate students, too.)

There’s where I’m at in my program right now. I don’t do things “perfectly,” whatever that may be. I am still getting the most out of this experience, though. I came to this program to make my experiences, not to just get them.

An Introduction

Hi everyone. This is Ardith, currently stationed at the Island Coffeehouse in Langley, WA. Next to me, there’s a group of kids talking about finishing up their college applications. I remember the excitement I felt over applying for college. I also remember being incredibly nervous.

I was pursuing a degree in music, but I hadn’t quite thought out my path when I got to my first (and only) audition. I remembered thinking I could follow in my band director’s footsteps, making band a memorable experience for high school kids.

However, as my first quarter progressed, I was unhappy. I was unhappy with my choice of major, and I was unhappy with my choice to leave home. I spent many weekends back in Wenatchee, WA, staying at my parents’ house and hanging out with my high school friends.

I decided to drop music as my major. After wrestling with what I wanted to really do and that communication was a “fake major,” I applied for admission into the communication program. I wanted a field that was versatile career-wise. Communication not only provided that, but it provided me with the chance to really dig into the workings of human interaction. What’s not versatile about that?

After graduation, I had a new outlook on life. No longer was I going to be a music teacher, I was going to be a…

actually, I didn’t really know. 

I thought maybe international business would be fun, or marketing, or even working at an airport. Nothing sat right with me, though.

Right about the time I decided I was undecided, I moved. I again moved away from my friends and the city I called home. I downgraded to a city with few people my age and a seedy reputation. When winter set in, so did the hopelessness.

I’m convinced I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but I’ve never visited a doctor about it. I know I should. Anyway, if you’d like to read my downward spiral, it’s located at Word Whirl Too.

I slowly came out of my low point when I moved to Seattle. I got a roommate (I know her from college), and there are things to do in Seattle. There are also people my age. It was the best thing I could have done for myself.

That brings me up to now. I’ve almost come full circle, but I’m still in the midst of a quarter-life crisis. I think I know what I want to do now with my life– student affairs administration in higher education– and I’m applying for grad school.

The thing about this possible career is it sits well with me. I’ve never settled on a field for more than a few weeks until now. Of course, I’m still nervous.

I hope this works.

Now you know a bit about me. Where are you in your journey?