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In my free time, I have become a willPower & grace® instructor. At it’s core, the class is barefoot, and we do a lot of squats and flexibility work, as well as strength training. On a deeper level, each week builds on top of the last and instructors work to inspire participants to be their best, beyond the fitness capacity. (To learn more about the method:

Each week there is a word of the week. This week it is willPower. I feel quite connected to it. Especially during this time of the year… with the Holidays upon us and the end of the semester nearing.

Memes are quite in, so I googled willPower images. There were, of course, many others. Some offensive, others not really related.  But these struck a chord with me.

There were the standard “Work out more, eat less” memes which I understand but also struggle with. This one I found humorous.  Except for the punching people you hate. No hate up in here! But sometimes I do need the willPower to get up.


The word of the week is more about change for me. Focusing on something you need to work intentionally on. As we usually reflect on the word in a fitness setting, those goals often come to mind. However, it is so much more than that. One can develop the willPower to have patience or stop a bad habit or start a good habit. We all are human with flaws. Part of living is working to make ourselves better people one day at a time.


willPower is bigger. It fuels us. It motivates us. It inspires others. Don’t underestimate your own willPower.  Image

We all have goals. Often these goals are lofty. My current goal is to hold a plank for 10 minutes straight. I practice, but it doesn’t seem to get easier. I have about 14 days to get ready. I know it’s going to hurt. If I just believe in myself, I will be able to hold it.Image

Of course, no meme compilation is complete without a Feminist Ryan Gosling. So there’s that.


But ultimately, your willPower has to come from within. Only you have the ability to say ‘yes’ or ‘no’ to make yourself better.Image

There are only 30 more days of 2013. Perhaps you have been reflecting and working towards those 2013 New Year’s resolutions.  Perhaps you forgot them long ago.  Either way, there is a whole new year to look forward to while reflecting on what 2013 gave us, both the good and the struggle.

As we round out the next month, I wish you the willPower to get you through what you need. Whether it is related to a job, academic work, family, or a personal goal, you have the willPower within you to do what you need to do!  Just put your mind to it.

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It’s That Time of the Year: Preparing for Training

During our first summer Orientation, I showed one of our triple spaces with a current summer student and a future RA.  We were chatting about his summer and all that he needed to get done.  He seemed to be feeling a little overwhelmed, so we discussed his individual commitments.  One in particular was preparing to be an RA.  He did not know if he was going to be ready for the experience. 

Me: What do you need to be ready?
Student: Well there is training.  I also want to get all of my bulletin boards and door decs done by training.


 A few sentences later and after some reflection,
Student: I’ll be prepared. Don’t worry.
Me: I’m not. There is time built into training to be creative.


In a span of a few minutes the student expressed his concern for not being prepared, but also stated that he would be prepared. I proceed to ask him about this further. I knew exactly what he meant, but wanted to help him get ‘there’  …to get to a place of understanding that there are different types of preparing that need to happen for something so consuming and life changing.

After some further reflection following our conversation, I know my preparation process for student staff training is quite intentional. I’ll be going into my eighth year, so it has to be. Training is a time to watch the growth in our student staff members, to develop relationships, and to build a strong team for the upcoming year. But it can also be fairly draining.  I am a huge proponent of wellness and it’s components (intellectual, physical, emotional, social, spiritual), so I rely on the wellness wheel model to prepare myself for this intense and amazing experience. 

I need to mentally preparing myself for training. This happens many weeks in advance through setting the schedule, reaching out to outside presenters, and putting international time into the presentations and discussions I’ll be leading.

I become very aware of what my body needs during this ‘go-go-go’ time. I know I need to be intentional about my sleep. I prioritize what MUST get done in the office following each day of training, and what can wait. I also know that I need to get exercise. Too much sitting makes me incredibly antsy. We made sure to infuse some play time into the training schedule for everyone and I scope out evening workout classes nearby that I can spend an hour at in the evening while my staffs are completing in-hall tasks on which I have already provided guidance.

I need to gear up for training through understanding the time that will be dedicated to the weeks leading up to opening. As long as I know it’s going to happen, my mind and body plug through until the end. It’s similar to getting through an incredibly stressful time and getting sick as soon as things calm down.  I guess it’s the body’s way of protecting itself. I also take time before training to thoroughly enjoy summer.  Walking by the creek, reading a book, or shopping are things that fulfill me, so I try to fulfill my life with these things leading up to training. 

Generally social time with anyone not associated with training is the first to go.  Summer time is perfect to get in your fill of connecting with friends and loved ones. I also prepare them for the change in my availability so they understand why I don’t respond to social requests or phone chats quickly. I usually try to plan something in advance to reconnect following training.

Everyone’s definition of spirituality is different. For me it’s connecting with myself and rejuvenating. I build in a checkpoint each day throughout training to touch base with myself, with my energy. What do I need? What do I need to get that? I can’t take care of my staff, and therefore students, unless I take care of myself. I also make sure I take a moment each night to have some quiet, reflection time before bed.

As much as we love the energy from our student staff members, we all know training can be a busy, consuming time. Simply put: there is much to get done before our residents arrive. I encourage you to prepare intellectually, physically, emotionally, socially, and spiritually. Good luck to all my SA folks as training approaches!

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My First (Vegan) Recipe Book

I bought my first recipe book today!


It has great recipes for any kind of party… that just happen to be vegan! I like throwing parties, so I figured: Why the heck not?

I can’t wait to try a few out!

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Lifestyle vs. Diet

‘Living-on’ means eating in the on-campus dining facilities.  Today was my first day doing that with my new lifestyle.  As someone who is quite intentional about the food that goes in her mouth, I found myself being even more purposeful in my selections.  Instead of thinking “colorful plate,” I was thinking about the different vitamins and minerals in each of the foods.  I grabbed some cooked spinach because I knew it had more iron (found in red meat) when it is cooked.  I also grabbed a standard salad.  Not a lot of protein, but I was not about to eat mac and cheese to get it.  This may be difficult.  I was hungry by 4…  Darn my metabolism.

As a side note, I taught willPower&Grace at lunch and then went to Pilates after work.  Two-a-days are usually exhausting.  But I was feeling good.  I even ran back up the hill to campus. I kept thinking of reasons I could stop: My body will be tired tomorrow.  The hill is steep.  It is still warm outside, which sometimes makes me nauseous/dizzy.  But the excuses made me want to finish at the top, so I did.

Just to be clear, this is not a diet.  I do not believe in diets. I never have.  I believe in changing one’s diet, as long as it is meant to be a lifestyle change. But not dieting. Temporarily effective, but not long term. Usually do more harm than good.  And this vegetarian thing isn’t about a diet.  I don’t want to lose weight, nor do I need to lose weight.  I’m happy the way I am.

This morning I proudly announced to the ResLife crew that I had a new identity: vegetarian.  It’s good to know I have the support of people I trust… and will keep me accountable.


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Going Vegetarian

We all want to better ourselves.  There’s always something new to aspire to or an area of personal development for which we strive.   I feel like it is something new each day.  As someone who is passionate about holistic wellness, I believe in exercising the mind, body, and soul, and feeding oneself with knowledge, healthy food, and love, respectively.  Sometimes I’m good at it.  Other times I am not.  But each day I work towards this lifestyle.

Recently, I was following some tweets about a vegan conference.  The participants tied veganism into a whole range of social justice issues, which I definitely align with.  However, making the jump to a completely vegan diet sounds a bit scary to me right now.  I would need to do a lot of research to ensure that I am still getting the protein I need.    In the meantime I have decided to ease into it by going vegetarian.  I would say I don’t eat meat about 2-3 days a week, so this seems like a less scary approach.  While I made the decision today, I realized I hadn’t eaten meat since May 30.  But for the purpose of this, my no meat start date will be June 1.  I definitely need to do research to make sure i’m getting complete proteins everyday.  As someone who is fairly active, I know my muscles need to be fed well :).

I plan to blog my journey, as telling the world usually helps me hold myself accountable.


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Honesty, Humility, and Humor in 2013

It has been a while.  A while since I have written, since I have taken the time to reflect my thoughts on paper.  I usually do my self-reflecting when I shower or run.  As someone who is not innately a writer, I have appreciated the challenge of writing for various blogs.  I have taken a bit of a hiatus this past semester, but I’m ready to jump back in.  With any writing, I have found genuine honesty, a little bit of humility, and some humor to be the best combination for a good post.


This semester is going to be jam packed with goodness.  Only 4 days into 2013 and I can already tell. 

– Running my fourth half marathon in February
– Chairing New RA Selection
– Continuing to be Involved with Golden Young Professionals
– Attending my cousin’s wedding festivities in Boston in July

And while I’m not a huge fan of the “resolution” situation, I have created some goals for myself.

– Blog more (check!)
– 6 pack abs (this is where the humor comes in)
– keep workin’ it!

While those are my “official” goals for 2013, I also want to do better with taking my daily multi-vitamin.  I think this is really important.


All in all, 2013 is shaping up nicely.  May my abs do the same.

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I am a woman.

My ninth @SAFirstYears blog post – published date of 3/21/2012:

I am a woman.

I recently came across the following article:  These types of articles always create a dialog in my head:  “Why must I assume traditional male traits to be considered successful?  What is successful?  Why do certain traits have to be linked to a specific gender when they can be emulated by all?  If I decide to deviate from the norm, will that be respected or questioned? How can I empower myself and other women without losing credibility, but still being authentically me?  Which battles are worth fighting?” or something like that.  

The reactions below are not based off of my entry-level experiences, but rather my life experiences as a whole.  Once you become aware of your privileges, and your non-privileges, you are able to connect them to your everyday life experiences.  I have found this to be taxing, because it is so much easier to recognize when I get a “free pass” as well as when I am dismissed or ignored when others are not.  But I have also found it to be uplifting because I know I have the ability to challenge norms.  I also have the ability to empower others who share (or maybe don’t share) my non-privileges.   While this is not specifically related to my current position, I find value in this reflection, because it shapes who I am as a professional. 

For the records, I am a self-proclaimed feminist.  We can argue the meaning of that term until the end of time, but ultimately, I believe in equitable treatment for all.


With no further ado:

I am a woman.
I am accommodating, not timid.
I am direct, not a bitch.
I walk with confidence because I have made mistakes and grown from them.



I am a woman.
I am confident, not snobby.
I am accepting, not a push over.
I am kind to people because that is how we should treat other humans.


I am a woman.
I seek to understand before I question.
I question because I can think critically.
I recognize my privileged identities, but I also work to understand how those have helped and how I can use them to help others.


I am a woman.
I make decisions because I have the knowledge from past research and experience.
I do not automatically receive respect when I walk into a new room – I have to earn it.
I may win people over with my chocolate chip cookies, but I also win people over because of my genuine personality, my honesty, and my work ethic.  And because I respect those with whom I interact.


I am a woman.
And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

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