tomgerines, solo cup speakers, & “the time of your life.”

I have to admit, while the hours are long and the pay is, well, limiting, I really do love my work in higher education and student affairs. What it lacks in monetary compensation it makes up for in personal satisfaction. (This is likely how we justify working 12 hour days and on weekends.) In this particular case, humor wins my higher ed. heart. Tonight I choose to “reflect” on #ACPA12, thirty-seven seconds style.

ACPA: College Student Educators International is a professional organization for staff and faculty who work at colleges and universities around the world. Each year, those of us in the profession head to the Annual Convention, this year in Louisville, Kentucky. And it is typically so packed full of sessions, workshops, and presentations on everything from leadership education to social justice to strategic academic partnerships, that over-programming yourself for those four days is pretty much inevitable. Claiming that the convention is a whirlwind of activity would be the understatement of the century.

But, this is what we’re used to. We “college student educators” often profess that what we do is not a job, it is a way of life. I believe that, and I’m proud of that. Though, the time we spend being “thoughtful,” “intentional,” and “inclusive,” and the effort put into “making meaning,” “unpacking,” and “creating possibilities” (did you pick up on the jargon?) can end up consuming you to a point that you forget to just… breathe.

So, each night following the final session of the day and after stopping by a few networking receptions and “tweetups”, my pals and I committed to venturing out into Louisville to simply enjoy each other’s company. And enjoy we did.

I’d like to share with you a few snapshots from those nights. I knew that when I finally went to upload these from my iPhone that they would make me smile. Though, in taking some time to really look through them tonight, I’ve come to the conclusion that what happened those late evenings together in Louisville illustrates the first time in a long time that I’ve taken the opportunity to just let go of work, take off my educator hat, and enjoy the company of some incredibly charming and witty people.

When the the restaurant cut off the music and tried to close for the night, Kathy pulled out the iPhone and Tom created a speaker out of this lovely plastic cup. Who knew? Here, we feature Kathy’s “Ultimate Boy Band Playlist.” We stayed for another two hours. And we took the cup with us.

“Michigander in the Middle” (We made him do it.)

Me with social media all-stars, Kathy and Ed. Dream come true. #twitterati

Tom, Ed, and Chris had a slumber party. Tom brought snacks. He shared with me. He’s clearly better at peeling. #tomgerine

“On the count of 3, act like you’re having the time of your life. Ready? 1…2…3!”

Love you, friends. See you for our Vegas reunion at #ACPA13. I hear Planet Hollywood has a rockin’ ball pit… ūüėČ

the real deal.

I am of the belief that we are never done learning about each other. No matter how long you’ve know someone, how much you have in common, or how official or unofficial your relationship, people can and do continue to grow (Ideally. If you feel you can’t/don’t/won’t, then that’s a conversation for another blog post.) However, the really good stuff about us, the pieces of our character that make us truly unique and make people stop and take notice of us? Those things remain constant. If you are lucky, you will find one or a few people throughout your life who let you see “the real deal” parts of them no matter the chaos of the day/month/year/phase of life.

Enter tonight’s phone call. I got the chance to catch up with one of my real deal people. A true favorite. All in all cheerful, snarky, serious, challenging, sarcastic, empathetic… refreshing. You know the type – the people you can talk about everything and nothing with in the same conversation and at the end of it, your faith in the world has been restored. Just like that.

I actually got a pretty fantastic kick in the butt in tonight’s conversation. One I needed. I’ve been feeling restless lately, about where I am, who I’m with, what I want, what path to take next. The paradox of choice: blessed to be able to really do whatever and go wherever, talking a lot about it, and yet feeling crippled by all of the options, never making a move. Why? Well, you don’t know. You just feel like you can’t. And no matter how many different people urge you to “just do it” and make the call, their words don’t resonate with you. BUT when one of your real deal people says it, it’s like you’re hearing it for the first time. Not because of their particular words or style, or even timing. Because it came from someone who you feel you know at the core and who continues to give you the best they’ve got, no matter how long it has been or where life has taken them. That consistency, that connection, makes all the difference.

Who are those real deal people for you? The ones who could maybe give you the kick in the butt you need. The ones you’ll actually listen to, who you actually want to hear it from. Take some time to think about it. And if you’re confused by who it might be, just keep the idea in the back of your mind. The next time you talk to one, you’ll know it. I think you’ll probably even feel it. It’s probably the person you catch yourself smiling with, even just over the phone.

well, hello there.

Welcome to the re-imagined “thirty-seven seconds.” My name is Melissa, and for the past two years I have been casually blogging about little moments with big meaning.

Why, you ask? A message from one of my all-time favorite children’s movies helped ¬†provide me with a level of calm and perspective I really needed while working my way through graduate school a few years back. And, according to Strengths theory (and anyone who’s known me for thirty-seven seconds), I’m a Communicator. Sharing my thoughts with the world via blogging just seemed like a natural form of therapy. An excerpt from the introductory post from my original blog is below. My hope is to take the best from that initial effort, add in new insight and experiences, actually keep up with regular posting, and turn into something that provides more than just me with a little therapy. If you’re into that, I hope you’ll continue to join me.

So, let’s get on with it, shall we?

Scene: March 2010. Having just turned in a 22-page paper on theories of organization socialization after a solid two weeks of zero sleep. And yet, for some reason, I was inspired to blog rather than rest. Enjoy…


“…I suppose I should embrace the moment. I don’t really do that too often these days. ¬†All in all, that’s why I thought about creating this blog in the first place – as a personal commitment to documenting the little pieces of my life that I otherwise tend to pass over too quickly. I promised myself when I was younger that I’d never become one of those adults who misses the magic in between the big moments. Easier said than done.

I’m a sucker for children’s books and movies, mostly because they tend to provide adult insight. ¬†I have some important people to thank for introducing me to that little life secret… they will likely show up in this blog sooner rather than later. Anyway, I woke up this morning (after two weeks of work plus papers, minus sleep) for some reason thinking about the movie¬†Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium. (I know, but remember my secret? Just hear me out.)

There is a particular scene in which Mr. Magorium and his good friend and mentee, Mahoney, are playing in a clock shop on what is supposed to be Mr. Magorium’s “last day on Earth.” The two decide to reset all of the cuckoo clocks so that they go off at the same time. Waiting just moments before the shop bursts into cuckoo craziness, the following verbal exchange occurs:

Mr. Magorium: 37 seconds.
Mahoney: Great. Well done. Now, we wait.
Mr. Magorium:¬†No… We breathe. We pulse. We regenerate. Our hearts beat. Our minds create. Our souls ingest. 37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime.

And there it is.  37 seconds, well used, is a lifetime. Talk about perspective.

It seems to me that we get so wrapped up in life sometimes that we forget to live. I, for one, need to pay better attention. Perhaps this blog will help wake me up. I mean, I’d like to re-commit to living. Living would be nice…”

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