You can take the girl out of Residence Life

August is the time that colleges come alive in anticipation of students returning to campus.

Here was my freshmen floor community.

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I think this was the first night we were all there, but certainly not the last. We had hallway parties pretty regularly, which shaped my housing reference for years to come. 3rd floor Hosey was really the best. Some of us will be reuniting soon for a wedding!

Since 2003, I have had an active role in students moving into residence halls, whether that was my own move in Fall of 2003 or being the staff since 2004 who checked people into those rooms.

It’s hard to shake that Housing identity, so this past month has been painfully difficult realizing that I was not part of this excitement anymore. So when the opportunity for our office to volunteer for APSU’s Welcome Wagon on Freshmen Move-In arose, I quickly signed up for a morning shift.

It really was a sad attempt to still have ties to my housing roots, but I digress. I had fun in my neon shirt anyway walking up and down stairs all morning. It was a great way to connect with other faculty/staff and welcome new students and their families to campus.

In my transition out of housing, here are some observations that I have made.

1. I took my flexible housing schedule for granted. I could choose my own hours and generally was more free during the day, but a lot of that had to do with being on call. I could go home any time to check on Grace because it was just a few minutes walk from my office. There is no way now to just go home to check on her, since it is a 20 minute commute. Now I have to be at the office during open hours (8-4:30 like clockwork), and if I need to have some time off during the day to run errands, I either do it on my one hour lunch break or get approved to leave early. This has been an awkward adjustment to say the least, but the upside is that I never have to deal with a duty phone or late night meetings. The latest I have been at work or done work period is 4:30. Sweet.

2. I thought I did really good job balancing things when I was in housing. haha I was a mess compared to how my schedule is now. My routines actually resemble routines and are consistent! I had no idea what I was missing with my at home balance and weekend freedoms.

3. I ACTUALLY like commuting. This was the thing I was dreading the most after living on campus for the last decade and having a walking commute no more than 5 minutes. I hate driving, but I find myself really enjoying the time I have before and after work to myself. Part of that has to be because it is really the only time I have completely by myself, so I love just being in my own element. It gives me time to get ready for work and drink my coffee as I listen to the best radio station. Sometimes I find myself leaving the house a little early so I can sit in my car before heading in to catch a couple extra minutes with Q108. Then heading home, it’s so nice to decompress the day before I come home to Tom. I can just unwind a bit. I have also used this time to make phone calls to stay in touch with friends and family. I will say though, I am much more aware of gas prices…

4. Housing people take their departmental resources for granted-ok I will just say that I did instead of making a blanket statement. I miss my big budgets for programming and incentives. I also miss the man power of staff. Being an auxiliary unit has it’s perks that I wish I had taken more advantage of while I had them. You think housing people wear a lot of hats? Try being in an office with 5 people serving all of campus. I knew so little back then, not that Iknow more now, my eyes are just being forced open a little wider.

5. On the flip side though, because I am in an office with only 5 people there are more opportunities to be plugged in many roles. In my short 3 months here, I have seen more of the university than I did in my three years at Iowa State (and I was even on a bunch of campus wide committees at ISU). Because we are a small staff, we all have to pitch in on the big stuff. And let’s be honest, I also see more of the university because I have to leave my building every day. Although, it was nice to not worry about weather while in housing, I missed out on a lot of day to day things by just walking to and from my car every day, or having lunch in the courtyard. My staff use to make fun of me because I didn’t know where most academic buildings were. I can say confidently that I can pretty much master an APSU campus map right now. So I encourage any housing professional to take some time on just normal days to walk around and see the sights of campus, and make it a routine thing to do instead of only when there is big programming. I get to see the beauty of the campus, but also see where the pulse is by actively walking through campus each day. APSU is seriously one of the most beautiful campuses I have been on; maybe another reason I love exploring it everyday. These are all spots on my way into my office.

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Seriously, this campus was made for me with all of its swings. Each morning I am tempted to be late by taking a few moments to sit here.

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There are a bunch of fountains and art around to look at.

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Another pretty swing in a little garden!

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6. Lastly, because you come from housing, people automatically think you LOVE planning events. I was voluntold to be on our party planning committee because “she[meaning me] likes doing that stuff.” (Party planning is not what it is called for real; that’s just my name for events.) Let’s get real, just because I have done a lot of event planning, doesn’t mean that I like it. But this is an assumption of every housing person ever. I mean it’s just one big pizza party right?

Even though I was voluntold for the party planning, I asked to be in charge of our office bulletin board. (Another assumption is that we are all creative, which is an assumption I am ok with.) I loved doing bulletin boards and door decs! Actually love is an understatement…So I hopped on the chance to do the one big board we have outside of our office.

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It was fun to back in housing for the morning and it helped me close some doors that I had been leaving ajar for who knows why.

I cannot believe that it has been 10 years since my dad dropped me off at Hosey Hall before marching band camp started at UCM.

Here are some more Throwback Thursday pictures from my freshmen year of college!

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I have never been an experimenter with my hair, but I think every woman goes through a right of passage by stripping their locks with chemicals. I chose the the perm since I never did during elementary school. We had a night of hairdos on the floor. I remember there were so many chemicals in that bathroom between my perm and everyone’s else’s dye jobs.

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These were the first gals that I met at college. They lived across the hall and were in band with me so we all moved in prior to most of campus. We also joined an honors fraternity together that year. Love these ladies!

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This was my freshman year roommate who was one of my closest friends through out middle and high school. And we were two of like 6 people from our high school that went to UCM that year, so it was nice to know someone. So many more memories were made that first year at Central! I spent about an hour tonight looking through my old albums and just laughing at some of the things we got ourselves into. She just had her first baby, and I couldn’t be happier for her and her expanding family!

College is a great time in a person’s life. You are able to learn so much if you take advantage of the opportunities that come your way. I am just excited that every day I still get to be a part of those opportunities for someone else. I have the best job!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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