IAN APPROVED! 5/15- Emotional
One of my residents came into my room a few weeks ago and started telling me about everything that was going on in her life and she randomly said that she wanted to play cribbage. To her surprise I pulled out my cribbage board. We ended up playing a few games that night and she told me about her spring break and her friends that she wasn’t getting along with at the moment and the ones she was. She talked about her family and how she plays cribbage with her grandpa and how much she loves that. When she was leaving my room that night she said that we should have a nightly cribbage game. That sounded like fun but as our crazy schedules go, there was no way that was going to happen and it didn’t. On Monday we finally got to play again. This time she came into my room, grabbed the cribbage board off my shelf, sat down on my futon and started talking about her day as she set up the game. This time she just had to get some stuff off her brain about classes and her roommate. I am glad that just sitting down playing cribbage, while I listened to her talk about her day, week or life was something that she was comfortable doing and stress relieving for her.
IAN APPROVED! 4/25- Occupational
Sydney had her Women’s Wage negotiation event with Robin on Tuesday and I tried to get residents to come down to the event that I thought would be interested in the discussion. I almost convinced two of them but in the end they never ended up showing up to the event and I went to it by myself. I actually found the event really interesting and beneficial. I couldn’t stay for the last part of the event because I had intramural football with one of the residents, Brooke, that I tried to get to come to the event. When I got to the game, Brooke asked how the event was and I said that I was surprised how much I had learned and how interesting it was. She looked like she felt a bit guilty for not coming then, but we ended up having a really good conversation about the event anyways. Everything I had just learned from Robin, I told her about. We talked specifically about women in engineering, because she is also an engineering major, and how we don’t make wage negotiations as much. We talked about how to realize what you are worth with all the classes and skills that you have and how they are reason to make wage negotiations. We also talked about the differences between men and women and why women tend not to try and negotiate for more money or benefits. It was an interesting conversation to be having on the sideline of the football field while we were waiting for the game to start and while we were subed out of the game but it was a really good!
THE IAN APPROVED! 2/25-Social
Saturday night there was a suite of ladies that were trying to decide what to do with their evening. They were brainstorming with me and we decided to go out to dinner and bowling. I really enjoyed that this suite of ladies wanted to hang out with their RA instead of sneaking around me and going out for the night. We all got somewhat dressed up and had dinner at Benvenutos! As much as I didn’t want to spend money, I had a great time taking with these ladies, drawing crayon pictures on the table, and just going out and treating ourselves to a nice dinner. We talked about school, and boys, and eavesdropped on a conversation of this loud obnoxious lady three tables away. I got to learn about this children’s book that one of my residents had to write for her education class! I also made some pretty killer crayon portraits of each resident. It was just really good all around. After dinner we were all super full, and the bowling alley didn’t have any open lanes for a while, so we just came back to Rountree. The ladies ended up going to watch a movie and I went to hang out with other friends but the time I did spend with them at dinner was really great.
THE IAN APPROVED! 2/23- Emotional
On Thursday I saw one of my residents in the hall and asked how she was doing because the previous week she said that she was going to be attending a funeral on Wednesday. She admitted that the previous day was worse than she thought it was going to be. Her uncle (or moms uncle) had commit suicide and her family was really close with his when she grew up. She was trying to be strong for her mom and hold herself together because she knew that her mom was taking it really hard. On top of the stress of school and work, this event was just taking a toll on her and her week. She admitted that after the phone call she received on Friday about the news, she picked up a new bad habit. As embarrassed as she seemed to be, she told me that she had started smoking again. We talked about that a little bit and I think she was relieved not to get the typical “smoking is bad for you” lecture from me. It didn’t sound like something she was proud of or wanted to be doing and she told me she would stop after the pack of cigarettes that she bought and that I could hold her accountable for that. I think the smoking really clued me into how stressed she really was about everything going on. She was thankful that I was willing to listen to her and that I even asked how she was doing. The resident wanted to talk to someone about it, but her roommate didn’t really ask her how she was doing and she didn’t want to be lectured by her roommate about the smoking either. I am glad that I could provide the safe, judgement free space that this resident needed!
IAN APPROVED! 1/31- Emotional
Today I saw one of my residents in the hallway and asked her how she was doing. She invited herself into my room and sat down on my futon and started telling me about her frustrations with a few things in her life at the moment, one of them being work. She is working 32ish hours a week and she has 18 credits and with all that on her plate she is a bit stressed out at the moment. I encouraged her to reduce her hours so that she could make sure that she has time to get her homework done and also have a little bit of time to herself. She wants the money and hours so she doesn’t really want her hours to drop drastically but she also realized that she won’t be able to handle doing this all semester. I think for the most part she just needed to talk to someone and have them willing to listen even if it was just to complain about work. She left to go watch a TV show and came back a few minutes later because it wasn’t being aired yet and the “some presidential speech had taken over” her TV. She came back in and sat back on my futon with me and she just cuddled my giant panda while we watched the beginning of the bachelor together. I think taking time to just let her brain rest from the stress of school and her job by watching TV and venting was all she was looking for at the moment. Its my goal to keep asking how shes doing and be there so she doesn’t burn herself out, even if all she needs is someone to listen and watch TV.
IAN APPROVED! 1/30-Knowledge
I had a resident knock on my door for a math problem today. She was working with stem and leaf plots and she explained the problem to me and she was able to answer it perfectly. We found out that the real problem was the computer program that her professor requires the students to learn. The program was similar to excel and I was able to help her figure out how to graph what she needed and teach her some tricks with the program. On top of that, I got to reassure her that she already knew the math behind the problem and that she understood it well. That was fun because her face lit up and she seemed relieved to know that she understood everything correctly. We had a conversation then about professors because she was fairly frustrated with hers. I helped her understand that the professors give pre exams to help them know where everyone is at coming into the class. I also attempted to help her have a positive thought about learning a new computer programs that “professors force students use”, sharing that they are useful tools for the future. I’m not sure if I actually convinced her that the professors don’t suck (her words) but I hope that she feels that she can continue to come to me with math or computer problems in her math class when they come up. I love to help students with math!!!
Ian Approved! 12/7/16-Knowledge
Finals time is approaching and my residents are starting to get stressed out about their work load. I had a resident knock on my door on Wednesday while I was on a time crunch to get an assignment done. The resident asked if they could study in my room because their roommates were watching TV and being distracting and she wanted to get some work done. I explained that I was on a time crunch to get an assignment in to the drop box but if she was quiet she would be more than welcome to study in my room. She gladly agreed and said that she needed it quiet to get things done for herself as well. She ended up staying in my room until I went to a stop the hate session and she got a paper done. I’m glad that she felt comfortable asking to use my space as study space and that I was able give her the quiet space she needed. She ended up encouraging me to continue studying after I turned my one assignment into the drop box, so this study time seemed to benefit us both!
Ian Approved! 11/14/16- Knowledge
Monday afternoon I had an impromptu study session. I spent a good chunk of time studying with a resident in the kitchen. We had some small conversation in the beginning but for the most part we just silently did homework together. She introduced me to Beethoven radio because it helps her study and I really enjoyed that. We both were working on math related things so she shared what she was doing and I think her sharing and explaining helped her learn the concept of what she was doing a little better. I have already learned the concept that she was working on and was ready to help her if she needed it but it looked like she had a handle on things! When my resident had to leave after about 2 hours we talked about doing this study session together more often. We talked about making it a Monday weekly study time as long as she doesn’t have to work. I think that would be awesome!
Ian Approved! 11/10/16-Social
Three of my residents came to talk to me about a situation that I began talking about the day before with two of the three ladies. Generally they are never around at the same time as each other or me. I just happen to be available when the 2 had a class in 40 minutes and the other had her class canceled and was in the building. I ran into 2 of them in Kristine’s and met the other one upstairs. We talked for almost a full hour (the whole time they were in the building before going to class) and ate snacks together. At first we talked about the situation that they wanted to discuss but instead of leaving after that they just wanted to sit and chat about random things. This is a suite of ladies that I honestly didn’t think that I would have a connection to all semester, mostly because our schedules don’t match but also because they seemed like the type to avoid the Ra’s as much as possible. Two days in a row I had a conversation with them. The first time they talked to me, it was for almost 2 straight hours and the next day for almost a full hour. I feel like I know them better and they know me better now. I have already seen a better relationship between us. I have passed one of these ladies several times and she has initiated a greeting every time we passed since we have chatted. Before the chats, I would have been lucky to get a smile returned from any of them.
Ian Approved! 10/31/16- Occupational
I had a resident applying for the RA position ask for some help with his resume and cover letter. I asked if he wanted to see my resume and if I could look over his to give him feedback when he came into my room. He looked at mine and thought it was helpful but than he admitted that he had not started his resume. My resident told me that he had absolutely no job experience and that is why he had not made a resume. After I asked him some questions I found out that he also had no involvement to show from either one of the colleges he has attended. We were at square one. I asked him a lot of questions to try and get him thinking more creatively about how different experiences could show skills needed for a job, however we didn’t come up with a whole lot. I think he began to see how important it is to be involved, or at least I hope he did. I encouraged him to find a professional society, other club, or to start his own after finding out how little he had been involved at college. I’ll be honest, I was kind of stuck with what he was giving me. I told him to get a start on what he could with the resume that night based off of an example and then I would find Heidi to help him out further on the resume the next day. Stuck with the resume, I tried to help him out a little more with his cover letter. As he has never had a job, my resident really did not even know what a cover letter was. I explained the purpose of the cover letter and gave him some general formatting tips for it. This went over a bit better than the resume. He seem to see the importance of a cover letter and how the format was there by looking at four different examples of my own cover letters. He ended up leaving my room to go work on both the cover letter and the resume himself and the next day he went and got both of them refined with Heidi. I got his reference today (Nov 3), so I know that he must have completed both the resume and cover letter and got them to a point where he could hand them in. Now that he has a base for both the resume and cover letter hopefully the next time he needs it, the process will go a bit smoother and he will remember and understand how to update both of them. Hopefully, he also feels more comfortable and confident about applying for a job.
10/15/16- Occupational (IAN APPROVED!)
After discussing an ongoing situation two of my residents stuck around and talked to me and Brenden for a while. I think we chatted for 2 hours in total including the talking about the situation. Topics went in and out but I think we spent somewhere between 15 and 20 minutes talking about internships and jobs after college. One of the residents said he needed to get a job soon to help himself financially. We talked about jobs on campus briefly and he mentioned that he picked up an application for the RA position, which he was pretty excited about. We talked about the career fair and how important it is to go there and give out resumes and just to talk to employers. I introduced him to the career fair app. Even the there isn’t another career fair until next semester, I encouraged him to do some research on companies he finds interesting and to email them if he wanted. At one point he said that he didn’t feel qualified to apply for some internships or summer jobs, which hits close to home because that is often how I feel. I encouraged him not to sell himself short and explained how internships are meant to be a learning experience. Brenden chimed in to the conversation for a while and talked about specific companies that he should apply to because the both happen to live in the same area and have similar majors. Overall the conversation went very well and I believe that he is going to look into some of the companies Brenden told him about. He agreed that even though he wasn’t sure about qualifications that he wanted to apply to those companies and saw the importance of doing so early in the college career. The other resident didn’t have a whole lot to say during this part of the conversation but he was definitely paying attention and agreed that he should start going to career fairs as well.
9/27/16- Emotional (Ian Approved!)
I noticed one of my resident having a particularly rough day yesterday. We passed in the hallway and he got on an elevator, so we didn’t get much of a chance to talk. I know about an on going situation in his room and have checked in with him when I have seen him, however, I don’t see him that often. I decided to email him and ask him if he wouldn’t mind stopping by. I told him that I wanted to find out how he was doing and what I could do to help. He stopped by today and we just talked for a while. First we just had some casual conversation. I found out that he likes Boston Bruins, soccer, playing card games like euchre and he likes KitKats. All of these things we have in common. It was great for us to talk about random things before diving into the heavier stuff, because that is generally what our conversations end up being about, the stuff that isn’t as fun to talk about. He was having a better day today, but I just wanted him to remind him that my room is a safe place to come if he ever needs to walk away from a conversation with his roommate. We talked a little bit about yesterdays situation but mostly I focused the conversation on how he is doing stress wise in his situation. He assured me that he has made a great friend group because of the situation and when he is particularly overwhelmed with the situation he goes and talks to one of his friends. He said they generally end up cheering him up pretty quickly. There wasn’t really anything he wanted me to do to help him but he appreciates the open door and recognizing the situation going on and checking on how he is doing emotionally.
9/25/16- diversity/inclusion (Ian approved!)
Sometimes my residents completely surprise me (in a good way), with how open they are and how comfortable they are talking to me. It’s awesome! Sunday morning one of my residents came back after spending Saturday evening with her dad and she saw my door open past midnight. As she walked by to her room she said that she would be back to chat with me once she put comfy cloths on. She came back at 12:30, cheese burger in hand, wearing yoga pants and wiping off her make up. She was literally stripping down to her raw self and felt comfortable in front of me that way! We talked for over an hour about a variety of random things but the “meaningful interaction” part of our conversation was a 20 minute conversation we had about gender and sexuality. My resident began saying that she had a friend that was Brennan’s roommate last year. She asked/ wanted confirmation as to if Sammy the RA was Brennan. She was curious as to how the wing dynamic was on that wing as well. When she started asking her questions, she was using the wrong pronouns. From he to her to it, she wasn’t sure how to talk. I thought this was an excellent time to teach her how to use the right pronouns! Immediately, I jumped in and corrected her, focusing on getting her to say ‘she’ when talking about Sammy instead of ‘it’. Priority number one.. accepted and accomplished! As soon as I corrected her she felt more comfortable talking and was using the right pronouns. I said that I couldn’t tell her Sammy’s story because I wasn’t Sammy and didn’t want to speak for her. We went on to talk about people of different sexuality and specifically her non straight friends back home. She said she had one friend (seemingly a close friend), at home whom she thought was lesbian, recently refer to herself as a guy on social media. She kind of paused and asked me what she should do. I again talked about pronouns and how it would be appropriate, to have a conversation about noticing the reference to being male, and asking what pronouns her friend wants her to use. I told her that is a great way to make an effort and show that she is accepting, respecting and supporting her friend. I also mentioned that it wasn’t appropriate to ask about her sexuality because that is her friends choice to talk about or not. A lot of our talk was just about how people are different than us and how we cannot imagine/ understand what other people are going through but how important is is to respect everyone no matter what.
(Sorry for the long post.. this was an awesome conversation!)
Saturday evening Brenden and I weren’t up to much when two of my residents saw us sitting in my room as they walked by to play ping pong and decided t0 stop by to talk to us. They invited us both to go play ping pong with them. A little while later we headed down stairs and they were still playing. There were also some people down there playing pool, so Brenden branched off and taught them how to play pool. Meanwhile I got to focus on my residents and find out how everything was going for them. I got to hear how the first weeks of classes were going for both of them and just got to know them better overall. Both of them responded that classes were going well! I also found out that one of my residents, Ryan, who is normally pretty quiet, is quite good at ping pong. He had to play lefty against both me and his roommate Adam because he was so good and he still beat us every time. He will be hard to beat if he shows up to our program this upcoming Sunday. It was a really fun evening and I enjoyed seeing them as a random roommate pair bonding over something and getting along well. After playing ping pong for an hour they ended up coming to talk to me for another half an hour. That conversation started out about some problems in the suite and ended with Adam asking me what he needs to do to become an RA. Overall this was a rewarding hour and a half for me. I think it was good for them to get to know me in a fun atmosphere and then switch and feel comfortable talking about some serious topics as well.
I found two residents Jess and McKayla struggling through some math homework earlier in the week while I was going around looking for people to come to Suite Forum. I helped them with one problem but couldn’t stay longer because Suite Forum was beginning. As I left I told them if they ever needed help to stop by and I’d see what I could do. They both gave me that “maybe” answer that normally means that they probably wouldn’t stop by. I was surprised on Wednesday when McKayla knocked and came in carrying her calculus homework. We ended up spending about 45 min together talking and going through about a dozen math problems. I got to help clarify most of the problems in a way that made sense to her! I also told her about resources on campus like the Math Learning Center in Gardner 360 or getting a tutor in case I wasn’t around or couldn’t help her. She was on top of the ball and had already gone out and got a tutor. I told that was awesome because I know it is hard to ask for help. I encouraged her to use her tutor and get help from him as much as she could!