Thursday, April 27, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 20

Post 20 from Now Hiring?

The Mood: Tired, but not tired enough to do dishes
The Music: Al Green "Love and Happiness"

Meh...just got back from class. Tonight I had History of Higher Education. We've studied higher education since cavemen emerged into sunlight. We've looked at the beginnings of colleges during Roman time, to English institutions like Oxford and Cambridge, to the "German model", and on to the evolvement of U.S. colleges. Tonight, we all gave our final presentations on a subject relating to the historical development of U.S. institutions. Being the sports geek that I am, I focused on college basketball tournaments. Let's just say I bored the class with the intracacies of tournament scheduling and seeding.

However, I'm done with class and finished my final project. Except for a final paper I have to e-mail, for all intensive purposes...

I'm done.

I've been in college 7 years straight, then another 12 years through our wonderful public education system here. And, after tonight...I'm done with school (for now). It feels kind of weird, not like after undergrad studies and I knew I was going to grad school. I'm going into this unknown territory called life, and it's a little scary and exciting at the same time. I don't know how to feel...maybe it's fatigue from all the studying I've done the past 19 years.

In closing, let's just say it's been a helluva ride getting a good education. It's had its ups and downs, but next week I'll be getting a Master's degree. It's crazy if you think about it...I'm recieving an advanced degree. I don't think it's hit me head on, but it probably will next week when I'm on that stage and I hear my name.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 23

12 days until graduation.

Quote of the Day: “Some people come into our lives and leave footprints on our hearts and we are never ever the same.” – Flavia Weedn

Song of the Day: still…“Bad Day” – Daniel Powter (I just LOVE this song!)

This weekend has been extremely busy. If I wasn’t sleeping, I worked. And there really wasn’t much time to sleep, which is why I’m absolutely exhausted now. But hey, I’m a workaholic, so I actually had a pretty good weekend. I got to hang out with some of my favorite staff members (you know who you are...THANKS for making me smile!); and I felt like I was working in ResLife again and not being a glorified landlord. And hey, I was so busy, I didn’t have time to worry about the job search. Yes, I definitely had a really good weekend!

Now the week is starting though and I have two papers to write by Thursday, lots of work to do and then an on-campus interview on Friday and one on Monday. My parents are coming on Saturday (yes, they’re coming for graduation), so I’ll briefly see them in between interviews. I feel bad because I don’t know how much time I’ll have to hang out with them. It’s just such a busy time right now.

I’m not really excited about graduating without having a job offer. I’m still hoping that one of those two interviews will result in a job offer that same week – I know that’s asking a lot, but a girl can dream, right? I know it’s not all about having a job offer when you graduate, but it’d just make me feel so much better and let me enjoy my graduation ceremony a lot more.

Oh, my OPT was approved. I just got my Employment Authorization Card on Saturday. Finally good news! I was definitely relieved. But I’m just so anxious about all this job searching right now that I can’t even truly be happy. How pathetic is that?

I’m debating whether or not I should get a hair cut before graduation. You always take ten million pictures at graduation, so I should probably try to look my best. I don’t know if I’ll have time though.

Alright, time for a bubble bath (for some reason, I’ve been freezing all day…probably because it’s freezing outside and raining and just nasty) and then it’s off to bed.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 19

Post 19 from Now Hiring?

Music that keeps me going: Goapele "First Love"

Yes, yes it's been a long time since I've written. Well, patience my friends. I'll detail what's been going on in Now Hiring?'s world...

1. My dad came to visit. I guess he was pretty bored and decided to visit his oldest son. We chatted a while, saw "Scary Movie 4", and had some good Godfather's Pizza (yummy!).
2. I became an uncle. My brother and his lady had their first child, a son. He came in 7 lbs., 8 ozs., and had a full head of hair. Already he has had ladies want his phone number (when he gets older, of course) because of his good lucks. He gets it from his uncle, no doubt.
3. One of my students got into trouble...serious trouble with the law. It pertains to the next point below.
4. Our annual spring celebration is in full swing, so I've been trying to take in the festivities before graduation. Our celebration is to, as the PR folks would say, "to showcase our university and its students". It's more like students get a free pass to act a fool and imbibe as much spirits as possible.

Lemme just say, this weekend has been an experience in watching the different developmental levels of my students here on campus, and in some ways, how we as professionals have a long way to go. While my girlfriend and I were walking to the parade, I overheard several students (who looked like freshmen) talking about going to a "kegger" after the parade...that ended at 12:00 in the afternoon! I wanted to stop them and ask them "why drink in the afternoon? why drink underage?" And this got me thinking about a couple of points...
(1) As a professional, we should immediately focus on moral development and making "good choices". And, we should go to the student's level and educate. The police out here are doing that with advertisements on campus saying "Don't drink in public; it doesn't look good to the ladies" (or something to that effect). We can use theory, but it only goes as far as the level of the student.
(2) I feel (and this is personal) that I'm more "reactive" than "proactive". That means, I handle problems after they surface, rather than before it becomes troublesome. When it comes to responsible decision making, I guess I trust my students to do the "right thing". But, what I think the "right thing" is doesn't usually correlate with the student's upbringing and thought processes. I try to relate to my past experiences, but with some students they want to experience life for themselves. It's a bitter pill to swallow, because I want them to succeed, but I want them to live.

Okay, enough of the fussin' and cursin'...back to work. I guess I better finish this paper or I won't graduate, and who wouldn't want that?

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 22

17 days until graduation.

Quote of the Day: “Impossible are only the things we don’t do.” – Princess Fantaghiro

Song of the Day: “Bad Day” – Daniel Powter

There’s not much going on with my job search. I still have those two on-campus interview coming up (toward the end of the month) and I’m getting more nervous and confused the closer they’re coming. Do I really want to work at these schools? They are nothing like what I dreamed off just a few months ago. Will I be happy there? How important is it to be happy?

And will I even get an offer with this attitude? I’m trying very very hard to be positive, but how can you be positive when you had to give up on all your dreams over the past few weeks. They’re not bad schools…just not what I was looking for. One of them stands out for me right now…but I don’t want to put this pressure on me…what if this new top school doesn’t offer me a position…what do I do then?

And what about the schools I haven’t heard from yet. Does that mean they didn’t like me? Or are they just slow in their process? But if they’re not doing any on-campus interviews until later in May or June, can I wait that long? I should be able to stick around at my current school for May and June and possibly the first half of July. But after that, if I don’t have a job, I’ll be out on the street. And for me, being out on the street means that I’d have to pack my stuff and move back to Austria. And then it’s not just goodbye dream job, but goodbye America and possibly even goodbye Student Affairs.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 21

24 days until graduation.

Mood: drained

Music: noise of the maintenance workers fixing the apartment upstairs

The students of our Residence Hall Association recognized me at our Banquet on Monday. It was the cutest thing ever. They had this whole little speech for me that almost made me cry, and I got beautiful flowers and a book. The whole thing was totally unexpected. And it meant so much to me because it really seemed to come from the heart. I will miss these students so much!

But while things are going well at work, the job search is continuing to cause me headaches and pain. I got two more rejections on Monday, one before and one after the banquet…so much for being happy for more than an hour. I have set up another on-campus interview, but the school is not necessarily a place I’d love to go. I just feel like right now, I need to take any offer I can get because there aren’t that many coming in. And if I don’t get a job, I will have to leave this country…and this may sound immature and childish, but if I need to leave after this year, I am not planning on coming back. I will move to England or Australia and start a new life there and try to block out all the bad memories of my time in the United States.

I haven’t thought of myself as an international student in five or six years, but suddenly I feel like I have ‘international student’ branded on my forehead and suddently everything I ever dreamed of isn’t possible anymore. At the same time, some of my colleagues, who haven’t worked half as hard as I did over the past two years, will get job at their dream schools. It’s enough to make anyone bitter and frustrated.

But hey, at least I got three on-campus interviews now. One already done, two more to go. I may not be doing cartwheels by the thought of working at any of these schools, but it’s a job and somehow I’ll manage to get my motivation and energy back (not sure yet how but it’ll just have to happen). One of those schools I do like, a lot; I’m just not excited about the location. But I can get over that because it is a really really good school. It’s the one school, where it wouldn’t upset me that I didn’t manage to find a job somewhere nice and warm. But then again, I only have a on-campus interview so far…I don’t even know if they’ll like me and offer me a job. So putting all my hopes in that one school probably isn’t the smartest idea because if it doesn’t work out, I’ll crushed once again.

I’m also still waiting to hear from a couple of schools. I e-mailed one of them on Monday and am now anciously waiting to hear anything. So I guess there’s still hope out there…I’m just feeling very hopeful myself right now.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Candidate #0000 - Post 20

26 days until graduation.

How am I feeling right now? I have a bad headache, to be honest, and am really really tired.

Last person who e-mailed me: my friend from undergrad, who is currently in the Peace Corps and will be back in the country in June. I can’t wait to see her again!!!

Okay, so I have to apologize for not having posted anything in a while. This past week has been absolutely crazy. It’s “Appreciation Week” here, which means Hall Directors want to rip out their hair becaue of the stress of appreciating everyone else. Hey, I’m a member of NRHH, the National Residence Hall Honorary, and I truly believe in recognition. But when I have to appreciate everyone in a week that’s already busy and hectic, the appreciation just becomes something forced and painful instead of something from the heart. We had Maintenance & Housekeeper Appreciation Week and were supposed to do something for them for every day of the week. We also had a Student Employee Appreciation Reception, then the Resident Assistant Banquet and tomorrow is the Residence Hall Association’s Leadership Banquet, which unlike at other schools I know isn’t organized by the RHA members but by the RHA Advisors, which basically means I do the bulk of the work here. And it’s not like we could postpone all the other things we have to do to have time to appreciate various people…no, we still have to do judicials and housing assignments and and and.

But enough about my hectic week: Let’s talk about the job search. I’m still slightly bitter and upset about schools that are not able to hire me because of my international student status. I think at this point, I have just given up on my dream of moving out West. Now, I just want a job…and preferably one where I actually get to interact with undergraduate students. Because that’s why I got into this profession but I barely get to do any of that now.

So I had an on-campus interview and I think it went pretty well. I mean, obviously I won’t hear anything from that school for another month or so, especially since I was one of the first candidates to interview on campus, so it’s hard to say anything right now. I have a really hard time knowing whether or not I did well. There were some interviews at ACPA that I thought I had nailed and then I didn’t get a second interview…and there were some where I felt like I had bombed and was ready to curl up in a corner and cry about it, and then I got a second interview. So now I just don’t know anymore.

But I enjoyed the interview and I could see myself working there, although there were some things I didn’t like that much. The school is definitely not my top choice right now, but you never know, it may be my only choice…or it may not even be a choice.

If you don’t like ambiguity and are not the most self-confident person in the world, this job search process won’t be a positive thing for you. My self-esteem has entirely evaporated over the past few weeks. I was never the most confident person to begin with (even thought I try very hard to come off as such), but I thought I did a decent job as a Grad Hall Director and would have some good job prospects. After all, I have won an outstanding graduate student award from NASPA, a Student Life Award from my institution and many of my supervisors and colleagues have told me that any place would be lucky to have me. Right now, it sounds like I will be lucky if any place wants me.

I really need to send out another round of resumes, but my hectic schedule has kept me from doing so. I have also lost a lot of motivation in regards to the job search. It’s become this black cloud that’s hanging over me every day and is threatening to crush me. Right now, I feel like taking the first job offer I get (if I get one) just for this process to be over. Who cares about fit? I just need a job!!!

Saturday, April 08, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 18

Post 18 (actually 19) from Now Hiring?

TV: Cardinals vs. Cubs
Radio: Raheem Devaughn "You"

Well, this is post 19...but your beloved blog screwed up on my entry and it didn't show up. Nonetheless, I'll recap this past week for ya...

Monday: Nothing
Tuesday: Nothing
Wednesday: Had oral defense...and passed!
Thursday: Nothing
Friday: Nothing

The past week has been pretty boring. With the semester winding down, there's a lot of "down" time in my office. Students know what's coming up (finals, spring celebration on campus), so there's no immediate need to swing by and say hello. With all the down time, I've started cleaning off my desk (it was an absolute pit, trust me) and making sure the next graduate assistants have everything (I've also had enough time to draft my fantasy baseball team, though my starting pitching lineup is left to be desired).

On the job front, it's still a wait-and-see approach. I have an on-campus interview later next week with a pretty good school. I went to their reception on ACPA and was impressed with their family atmosphere and willingness to get to know me. I'm having a good feeling about this visit and the kinds of people there.

Well, baseball is here, and it requires some of my attention. Take it slow, peeps.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Now Hiring?-Post 17

Post 17 from Now Hiring?

What's Blastin?: LL Cool J "I'm Bad"

Well, sorry for the delay. I've had some computer trouble here in my world, plus when I got back from my on-campus interview (I'll explain later) all my students came en masse with their questions and troubles. How good it is to be back...

First, the on-campus interview. I had it scheduled before ACPA, so I had a half-day to rest then I was on a plane. The interview went pretty well. The campus is really progressive when it comes to issues of diversity and multiculturalism, which I really liked. Plus, the staff seemed receptive to the things I've done here. The students were really intelligent (they critiqued every answer to my question, even the "Which is better...Coke or Pepsi?") and had a keen sense of what kind of education they wanted. I felt it went pretty well, and I'm just waiting to hear back from them.

One question for ya' work with faculty? How's that like? Because I had an encounter with some faculty members that has me going nuts. Here's the scenario...
The program I work for is a collaboration between multicultural affairs, admissions, and the provost (hence the faculty part). Admissions admits students, multicultural affairs provides student affairs support (and teaching freshmen level courses), and faculty oversee the academic components of the program. Pretty simple, right? Well, the faculty kind of want to take over the admissions and multicultural pieces because...they're faculty.

NOTE! I like faculty, I really do! Many have done some great things and care about their students. Whom I'm speaking about is a small minority of this group.

So, we're presenting to the faculty about some of the student characteristics. Some professors feel our students aren't up to an academic par as their previous counterparts. So, one of the grads (who's getting her PhD in statistics, mind you) gives some numbers that show our students are achieving at the same levels as their former peers. Simple enough, you think...but one professor (in...STATISTICS!!!) starts asking statistical based questions. Ugh. After 10 minutes of that, 2 of my colleagues start talking about some students that are, for a lack of a better term, "at risk". They put up some characteristics (family issues, learning disabilities, personal health issues, etc.)...and the statistics professor asks for numerical data on this. Now, I'm trying to stay cool here, but here's the interaction between him and I
HIM: You have no data to support this?
ME: Well, it's hard to get numbers when we're worried about their well-being.
HIM: But, you're making completely unsubstantiated claims about students, when you could have some bias towards them.
ME (getting pretty angry): Since we don't have that kind of instrument, could you just trust us and know that we...
HIM: No! I'm a statistician, and I need to see numbers to support your claims.

I guess I shouldn't have asked for trust in the very first meeting, but that disconnect between academic and student affairs we learn in class? Yeah, it's there. So I have to get "data" to support our claims. I've tried to learn a lesson of walking a mile in their shoes to see their points, which I do. If I had data, maybe he would't have been the way he was, and they would see the issues more clearly. But, if they actually saw the students and heard their stories, then we'd probably work better. From this, I'll be a little more professional (and a little more calm) the next time we talk. It's all about the students, right?