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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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@SAFirstYears Post: Job Happiness Continued

My eigth @SAFirstYears blog post – published date of 3/14/2012:

I hope all the job searchers survive the placement exchanges: OPE, TPE, (almost) ACPA!

My last post was geared towards helping graduate students get a job that would encourage professional and personal growth, as well as enhance their happiness.

As I have a mini obsession with the concept of happiness.  I have been reflecting on my own search process and how I determined where I would be most happy.

After some quick digging I found my infamous job search excel sheet.  No one has EVER seen this excel sheet, so feel honored to be privy to such important information.  Please.  Not really, but just a little.

This document has everything from contact information to interview dates and times, from salary to initial reactions during my interview.  But what intrigues me most is my rating scale.  I have an affinity to use my left-brain (probably why I ended up at Mines), and so I devised five categories and rated them from zero to one.  Decimals were absolutely acceptable.

These were my 5 categories:

  • Do I get to supervise a graduate student?  (This was apparently very important to me then.)
  • Will I be personally happy? (Are friends or family in the area?)
  • Do I like the location? (Are there fun things to do?  Is it sunny?)
  • How is my supervisor? (Would s/he be focused on helping me be a better professional?  Would s/he provide new opportunities?  Would s/he be flexible?)
  • Is the department a good fit? (Would I work well with colleagues?  Do I like how things are run?

These numerical values actually helped me understand institutions I was really leaning towards.

Out of 5 possible points, Mines scored a 4.4.  There were only a few above, but quite a few below.

  • Do I get to supervise a graduate student?  (.8)  I get to supervise 5 undergraduate Hall Directors and help them supervise their 21 RAs. Close enough.
  • Will I be personally happy? (.8) I didn’t have any family, and only a small handful of friends in the region, but it was only a hop, skip, and a jump from Arizona (home) and I liked the people I would work with, so good enough.
  • Do I like the location? (1) I remember being so in love with Golden, Colorado the first time I visited.  The hiking and running trails were enticing.  And the small town feel, coupled with the close vicinity to metropolitan Denver was perfect.
  • How is my supervisor? (1) Awesome.  Hands down.  Awesome.
  • Is the department a good fit? (.8) Smaller, not exactly what I was used to, but it seemed like it would be good.  I think I was mostly concerned about not having set professional development funds.  Now I know that was silly.  We only must ask and we receive.

These were my first impressions written in my excel:

great professionals, small department, intelligent student population; great feel

Ultimately, I think I picked well.

So I ask again: What makes you happy?

Maybe it’s a few of the same things I chose to evaluate my experience.  Maybe you have others.  Maybe you think a numerical evaluation of your next career move is dumb.  That’s okay with me.  As long as you find a way to make a decision that will result in your happiness.

I know too many people who are not happy with their jobs.  Don’t be one of them!!

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@SAFirstYears Post: One Year Ago Today…

My seventh @SAFirstYears blog post – published date of 3/6/2012:
One year ago today, I arrived in Philadelphia with three good friends, all crammed into a car full of our suits, shoes, interview materials, and snacks galore.

As this blog is geared towards first year professionals (and graduate students who will becoming first year professionals oh so shortly), I feel it is only appropriate to reflect on my TPE (The Placement Exchange) journey one year ago, and offer a few tidbits of advice.  I, by no means, consider myself a job searching expert, and I generally am not one to offer advice unsolicited.  However, I got a job, so I figure I can say a few things.

To all the graduate students searching, I could say:
“Do your research on each institution.”
“Wear clothes that fit.  Don’t wear clothes that are too tight or too big.”
“Wear classy shoes.  Don’t wear bad (uncomfortable, unsightly) shoes.”
“Be careful what you say in an elevator… or in the waiting area… or at the restaurant a block from the convention center.”

But, I am going to focus on a few other concepts.  Yes, the thoughts above are good.  But hopefully your mentors have already been coaching you with those basics before TPE.  If not, well then there you go.

Here’s my advice.

Know what you want.

Think about your goals.  Will this position be able to fulfill those goals?  If you are not quite sure (as I alluded in my last post), do some thinking.  Employers are going to ask.  Even if you don’t know, there are ways to phrase it to make you answer prepared and thoughtful.

You have to fit with them, but they have to fit with you.

Employers are not the only ones doing interviews.  You are also interviewing them.  Ask questions about things that matter to you.  If you don’t ask, then you won’t know until it’s too late.

Don’t settle.

The temptation to jump at the first (or second, third, forth, and fifth) on-campus interview offer will be there.  It’s awesome to know someone is interested in you.  But are you truly interested?: Are you interested in the institution, in the department, in the professional staff, in the student body, and in the location?  If you know after the first interview that you aren’t interested, don’t accept the on-campus offer.  It’s not worth it.  (On-campus interviews are time consuming, and may require personal expenditures from you.)

Or maybe you thought it was a good fit after your TPE or phone interview, but then you realize it definitely is NOT after your on-campus.  Even if it is your ONLY job offer (right now) and they need an answer before other institutions get back to you about your status, don’t accept it.  This could mean being in limbo for a few weeks (yes, stressful), but it’s NOT WORTH IT.

Ultimately, make sure you’ll be happy.

Only you know what can make you truly happy.  If you are loving an institution, but also have an uneasy feeling about it: maybe it’s just not meant to be.  Ask more questions, do more research.  We are all meant to end up at the right place.  (This includes other people searching.  I promise they are looking for a different combination of things than you.)  Trust your intuition.  It wins, every time.

Here is the Mines table!

Happy searching!  And good luck!

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Third Time is a Charm

I never believed the saying, “third time is a charm.”  I always felt you should give it your all and get it right the first time.

And then I ran a half marathon.  Yes, this is the same Disney Princess Half Marathon mentioned in previous posts.  I ran it for the third time last Sunday.

And it was an amazing run.

This may be because I actually trained this year.  Or maybe my last two runs just made me more mentally prepared.

  • Mini #1 (2010): Anxiety.  Can I actually run 13.1 miles?
  • Mini #2 (2011): Last year was a fluke.  How the heck did I run 13.1 miles? Will I be able to do it again?
  • Mini #3 (2012): I have this on lockdown.

I think running that far in one shot is definitely mental.  But I think I was more mentally prepared this yearbecause I knew I could do it, and my training for the last 3 months gave me some additional confidence.  Also, the weather was perfectly cloudy and made wonderful running weather.


So maybe it does take three times to get something right. Or at least three times to know how to prepare accurately for something big and daunting 🙂

Dream big!

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