I’m Back! Conference Update

Happy Monday Everyone!

I returned from my conference last Tuesday (election night), stayed up way too late watching disappointing results, worked two days and then had a 3-day weekend (thank goodness)! Now I’m back in the routine of work …nothing like being back to reality haha.

Last year I attended the Annual NODA conference in Denver, CO and had an absolute blast! This year that conference was in Indianapolis, Indiana and was just as much fun! I flew out on Friday 11/4 so most of that first day was just traveling. On Saturday 11/5 my colleague from SJSU, Rigo went exploring in downtown Indy.

We started our downtown tour at Monument Circle which is considered the “true heart of Downtown Indianapolis” and is “truly a must-see for anyone visiting the Circle City!” Well lucky us! While walking around Monument Circle we decided to tour the Soldiers and Sailors Monument as well. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument was designed by Bruno Schmitz and was dedicated in 1902 to Indiana’s heroes who died in wars before World War I. Erected as a memorial to the soldiers and sailors of the War for the Union (1861-65), it also commemorates the War with Mexico (1846-48), Indian and British Wars (1811-12), War of the Revolution and the capture of Vincennes from the British on February 25, 1779. Visitors can hike up to the observation level, located 330 steps up (yikes) or take the elevator (which I ended up doing) to step 290. Too many steps for me! Once at the observation deck you can see stunning views of downtown and even the capitol building in the distance. Great way to start out tourist day in Indy!

After, we headed towards the Capitol building and even got to join a tour group! Our first day was clearly all about Indiana HISTORY haha. While on the tour we discussed/visited all three branches of of the government: Executive, Legislative and Judicial; got to see Mike Pence’s office; take a seat in someones actual seat in the House of Representatives; and tour the Supreme Court Room. We learned so much about Indiana, it’s state capitol, the Indiana flag, etc., etc., etc. It really was a history day haha.

After our capitol tour and lunch we headed back to the hotel to hang out and change before the offical opening of the conference. I stayed at the JW Marriott and that’s also where the conference took place. The hotel was super snazzy and a perfect great place for a conference. To kick things off before the start of the conference we had regional meet ups and then a sit down dinner. Yum! So nice to be able to sit down and actual hear the speakers. Great way to start NODAC 2016!

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The person in charge of social media for the conference created NODA snapchat filters so of course I had to try them out. Haha too funny! I don’t know how to do anything with snapchat except the filers.

After the first featured speaker on Day #1, I headed to the first education session where I was going to be PRESENTER!! This is the SECOND time I’ve presented at a national conference! Waahoooo. Checking off those professional bucket list items!

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Our group presented about our OPI/NODA experience from last year and what to do with all that we learned. Attending a conference like NODA can be really overwhelming, so we thought our session would be helpful to new attendees and OPI grads. We had a pretty good turn out and even had a few OPI faculty members attend! Yay!

Presenting at a national conference has been something I have always wanted to do and I feel so excited and proud of myself for accomplishing this two years in a row! I hope to continue to attend NODA and to keep presenting! THANK YOU again to my co-presenters Natalie, Megan, Allison, Genna and Paige! You ladies were fabulous to work. Who knows, maybe we will be presenting again next year… 15056259_10105046099023937_4976138298608371360_n.jpg

During NODA I love being able to meet so many new people but also reconnecting with friends/colleagues! Here I am with my friend Heather who works that UC Riverside. We first met at UCSB and were on O-Staff together! It was great seeing/catching up with her again. Go Gauchos!

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During the conference I always look forward to the featured speakers. Somehow NODA always gets truly phenomenal featured speakers. This year was no exception! We had unbelievable folks talking to us about topics that are so prominent and true on all of our campuses. One of my absolutle favorite speakers was Dr. Terrell L. Strayhorn. He was beyond AMAZING. He is probably one of the best speakers I have ever seen, incredibly inspiring and motivating. Dr. Terrell L. Strayhorn is a professor of Higher Education at The Ohio State University and also serves as the Director of the Center for Higher Education Enterprise (CHEE). He gave a talk on what is belonging research shows and why NODA should care. At times, the audience was crying, sitting on the edge of their seat, tweeting in responses and standing up and singing! I have never felt so moved or empowered. THANK YOU Dr. Strayhorn for your incredible talk!

#thisiswhataprofessionallookslike

#dogoodwork

#mamabelievesinyou

#ibelieveinyou

#youareaneagle

#openthewindowandletthelightshinein

WOW is all I can say! This guy is AMAZING!

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After Dr. Strayhorn’s talk we all went to the Eiteljorg Museum for a networking event called NODA Connect. The Eiteljorg Museum was a stunning place for a networking event. The entire museum was also open so we got to explore all the exhibits. Clearly Rigo and I had a blast hahaha. We even got to see a GEORGIA O’KEEFFE!!!

Another highlight for me during the conference was the Author’s Luncheon. Last year I had no idea what this was and didn’t participate. So glad I went this year because it was really fun and I got a bunch of FREE books! Who doesn’t love free books?! There were 5 different authors that shared a little about their works and then signed our books after. We heard from the following:

Margot Lee Shetterly – Hidden Figures

Ken Ilgunas – Trespassing Across America

Jennie Capo Crucet – Make your Home Among Strangers

Patrick Phillips – Blood at the Root, A Racial Cleansing in America

Michael Puett -The Path

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I seriously can’t wait to start reading each of these books. Their stories all sound so interesting and it was grerat to meet the authors! In the future I plan to always attend the author’s luncheon. Can’t wait for next year!

The last featured speaker we had was Courtney O’Connell who talked about becoming innovative educators. She too was really inspiring and touched on so many important issues. I learned so much on how to become an innovative educator and even got a list of more books to read! #booknerd #ilovetoread book

When seeing these kinds of people speak, I get so inspired and often feel like I want to be just like them! I truly want to be someone in my field, not just another person working in an office. Sometimes I dream/wonder if some day I will be the person on a big stage speaking to an audience at a conference…do I have the power to motivate and inspire people? I sure hope so! That would be pretty cool…to sorta come full circle. #futuregoals

I love going to these types of conferences and getting inspired! Often I get back and truly feel like I can do anything! I know I can, but I just need to do it one step at a time…

For my last night in Indy, I spent it hanging out with my friend Heather and her co-worker Lizze. We explored more of Indy, had dinner at this great place called The Eagle, walked around Massachusetts Ave., did a little shopping and took a few more pictures of the capitol all lit up at night. Such a great way to spend our last night!

As the conference comes to a close I always get a little sad..I had such an amazing time and didn’t want to go leave. Over the last few days I loved being able to soak up so much knowledge, meet and talk with so many people and truly feel recharged. Although it’s sad to see NODAC 2016 come to a close, I’m already looking forward to next year! For 2017 the conference will take place in LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY! I’ve never been to Louisville, but it looks awesome!

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During the conference I learned so much and realized this really is what I want to do with my career/life! It felt good to get reconnected to my profession if that makes sense. I also feel so thankful for the opportunity to have gone to another conference and to have presented for the second time in a row! Can’t wait unitl next year!

Hope your week is off to a great start!

Xo

Indianapolis Bound ✈️

Happy Thursday everyone! Tomorrow I fly to Indianapolis, Indiana for the NODA conference. Waaaahooo!!!

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I’m really excited to be attending NODA again. Last year was a blast and I learned so much. Really looking forward to reconnecting with some of my OPI peeps and other colleagues. During the conference last year I fulfilled one of my professional “bucket list” items; presenting at a national conference. Guess what?! This year I get to DO IT AGAIN!!! YAY for PRESENTING two years in a row!

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Can’t wait to explore a new city (I’ve never been to Indy!), meet/connect with more higher education/orientation professionals, present AGAIN, see some old friends and learn even more about the field of Orientation Transition and Rentention! #higherednerd #otr

I’m going to be pretty busy during the conference, so don’t expect any blog posts. When I get back next week, you’ll get a full update with lots of pictures.

Have a great rest of your week and weekend! See you next week!

Xo

Happy Friday + 3-Day Weekend

HAPPY FRIDAY!!!!

We made it through another work week! Super excited because we also get a 3-day weekend!!!! YAY!!! My poor hubby has to work on Monday, which is a total bummer. But I can’t help my excitement for having the day off!! Feeling just like Snoopy right about now.

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For some Friday fun, if you haven’t seen the Adele & James Corden Carpool Karaoke video you MUST! It’s fabulous! I absolutely LOVE Adele and this video proves even more why I thinks she’s fabulous. Hope you enjoy.

Happy Friday everyone and I hope those of you who have a 3-day weekend enjoy every moment of it! See you next week!

XoXo

Paint Nite: Round 3 🍹🎨🍷

Happy Thursday everyone! I’m so glad that it’s almost Friday and the weekend is fast approaching!

Last night my co-workers and I did another Paint Nite and it was so much fun! This was our second time going as a group (but my third time doing Paint Nite) and we had a blast! You can read about our previous night of too many drinks and painting here.

We went to happy hour first at Billy Berk’s and then headed over to The Blue Chip to get our paint on! After a few drinks and way too many appetizers we were ready to get painting! Last nights painting was an “abstract” cityscape that was so much fun to paint. This time instead of mixing green, orange, and purple on our pallet, we did it right on the canvas! Later we got to splatter paint all over it too.

Here’s a collage of the progression of my painting. We started with what looked like buildings, then blended them down the canvas, added paint splatter everywhere and ended by adding the white building outlines and windows. Pretty cool right?!

Of course we had to take a bunch of pictures to document our fun time! I just love these girls!

Here we are with our finished masterpieces! They all look so good! One of the things I love about Paint Nite is that everyone interprets the painting in a different way. We all add our own artistic touch and style. In the end, they come out totally different and very unique! Thanks ladies for another FABULOUS night!! Cheers! Can’t wait for our next activity! 🍹🎨🍷

If you haven’t done a Paint Nite, I highly recommend you do one. They are so fun! I love that in my office I now how three different paintings I’ve created 🙂

And since I never posted about my second Paint Nite I did with my work wife and our hubbies, here’s a #tbt to when we went back in December.

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Hope you all have a great rest of your week! I’m excited we’re almost there and that Oscar 2016 nominations are out!

It was also incredible sad to hear the passing of Alan Rickman. He was a tremendous actor and was in so many fabulous movies that I love. I’ve seen so many wonderful tributes to him, but I have to say that I loved this one the best. In memory of Alan Rickman: every Severus Snape scene in chronological order. If you love Harry Potter, get your tissues ready.

RIP Alan Rickman…you will be greatly missed!

“When I’m 80 years old and sitting in my rocking chair, I’ll be reading Harry Potter. And my family will say to me, ‘After all this time?’ And I will say, ‘Always.'” -Alan Rickman

🎃 Halloween Weekend 🎃

Happy Monday! Has everyone recovered from all of the weekend festivities? It has been a little bit of a struggle this Monday especially with the time change, but I’m making it work.

Here’s a recap of all of our FUN! 🎃👻🎃👻

Friday 10/30/15: Office Celebrations! As promised here is a little collage of my co-workers offices. They look pretty good right?! It was so much fun decorating! We are all ready to do it again next year! Sadly my office didn’t “win” the competition, but it was still fun. Very sad today to have to take it all down though…

In addition to decorating our office, we also did an office theme for dressing up. Can you guess?! SUPER MARIO! Work on Friday was pretty much just hilarious! We took so many ridiculous pictures and totally met with students with our mustaches on! LOL. I feel like I wasn’t very productive, but that’s ok. We had a potluck, where I ate too much good food! It was a blast dressing up in a theme this year and so many people got into the Halloween spirit! Did any of you dress up for work?

For my character, I dressed up as Luigi’s evil twin Waluigi. Pretty close comparison right?!?!?!?!? I think so! Haha. Clearly I have no problem dressing up and being ridiculous!

Friday Night: Pumpkin Carving After work we headed to my bestie Ashley’s house to carve pumpkins. We ate pizza, hung out and carved some really good looking pumpkins! It was fun seeing Christina and her boyfriend Brett as well. We really need to get together more often!!! I miss these girls! Check out our spooky pumpkins!

Hubby did a skull and I did a scary/fire face. They look so good lit up!

Saturday 10/31: HAPPY HALLOWEEN!! 🎃👻🎃👻 My favorite holiday of the year!!! This year we went to hang out with our friends Jess & Dan who live in Oakland. They just got back from their honeymoon to Vietnam so we couldn’t wait to hear all about their adventures. USC and Cal were also playing, so we spend the first part of the day munching on snacks, drinking beer and watching football. After the game we took the pups on a little walk and took a bunch of “family” photos at this little school/park. Some of these really turned out great! Emma and Dash also went down the playground slide which was hilarious to watch!

I love this picture of Jess with the pups. Totally looks like Dash is the one taking the selfie LOL. Thanks for loving our dogs as much as we do Jess & Dan! 

For dinner we had pizza and more snacks but the best thing was that Jess made fodu in a PUMPKIN!!!! OMG it was delicious!!! Yum! We spent the rest of the night watching Pitch Perfect 2 (yes you read that right!) and then taking it back to the 90’s by watching Scream! Such a fun evening with some of our favorite people! All in all we had a great Halloween weekend. I was a little bummed at first that we didn’t have a big party since Halloween was on a Saturday, but there is always next year. And to be honest, this one was pretty fang-tastic!

And like that…October is GONE and November is here. As someone who LOVES Halloween and October, I always get a little sad when the month is over. I was so busy this month it just flew by! I’m just glad we still got to do a lot of fun “fall” things. Until next year October/Halloween…you will be missed!

And last but not least I will be doing my 30 Days of Thankfulness on the blog again. Feel free to join me…first post should be this Friday. Have a great start to your week!
XoXo

I’m Back! Conference Update

Greetings everyone!

I returned from my conference late Tuesday night and going back to work has been a little rough…ugh. Work has been so so busy and I’ve had a hard time just getting back into the swing of things. Anyway I’m here and ready to blog!

Three words…I LOVE DENVER!!! That city is just awesome and I’m almost ready to move there! I got off the plane and was greeted to RAIN and 42* temps. So delightful! No joke, it was such a pleasure to get away from the warm temps in San Jose, CA and be in a place that actually feels like fall. It was pretty easy getting out of the airport and catching my shuttle into downtown. Got all checked into the hotel (only three took three rooms-don’t ask) and then I was off to eat and explore a little.

I headed to Denver early for my conference so that I could attend OPI (Orientation Professional Institute). This was 2.5 day workshop designed for professionals new to orientation and transition services with 0-2 years of experience with direct programmatic oversight. We covered topics such as developing mission and goals; assessing campus realities and politics; program design and planning; staffing, training, and supervision; identifying campus resources; and evaluation and assessment. Since grad school I have always wanted to participate in OPI and I am so glad that I did. It was such a rewarding experience and I got to meet so many fabulous individuals! Not to mention working and talking with some top faculty members that led OPI. These folks are so inspiring and people I hope to aspire to be like.

During one of our long lunch breaks, a few OPI folks and I headed over to the capitol to walk around. Located at the capitol is a step that reads “One Mile Above Sea Level.” So totally cool! We had to take a group picture and individual ones with the sign. Denver is regarded as the Mile High City since its height is one mile – 5,280 feet – above ocean level. Can you believe that? Kinda hard to imagine.

I was so excited once my SJSU peeps and Emily got into town! Friday night (10/23) was our first night out exploring downtown Denver. We walked along the 16th Street Mall which is awesome. The mile-long, pedestrian friendly Mall is packed with shopping, restaurants and attractions.The 16th Street Mall is considered the “heart” of the city. Free electric shuttle buses travel up and down the Mall, stopping on every corner. You can hop on and hop off, or just walk it like we did. Either way this downtown area is really superb!

For dinner, we ate at 5280 Burger Bar. OMG so good and delicious! One of my students suggested we eat there and I’m so glad we did. Hit the spot!

Saturday 10/24 was the last day of OPI. Here is the entire OPI class of 2015 as well as my foundation group. Shout out to Jamie’s group!! Seriously some of the most amazing people I have ever met! It was such a pleasure to spend 2.5 days with these folks! I know that we will stay in touch and I can’t wait to see everyone next year at the OPI reunion! Feeling really thankful to have a good group of colleagues that I can reach out too. Keep doing good work!

After OPI was over I met Emily, Nancy and Lauren and we headed to Red Rocks! Emily rented a car and we headed out of the city. Going to Red Rocks was the BEST.DECISION.EVER! Colorado is beautiful, but OMG Red Rocks was something else!!!!! I was like a kid in a candy store!!! Beyond excited to be visiting and secretly hoping DMB would show up haha.

For those of you who don’t know, I’m a huge DMB fan and have always wanted to see them play at Red Rocks. DMB recorded Live at Red Rocks on 8.15.95. It was then released to the public on October 28, 1997. Tim Reynolds was a guest guitarist during this performance (he’s now a full member of the band). Love me some Tim! Live at Red Rocks was the first of many live releases by DMB. Interesting fact…this release has so far been the band’s most successful live release to date!! It’s still on my bucket list to see them play at Red Rocks (the Gorge in WA too) and I know we will make it happen. For a little preview of DMB Live at Red Rocks, check this out!

Red Rocks has an awesome museum that was fun to check out. Of course I was searching for DMB and I found them listed on the wall. I also learned that the Beatles played there in 1964. We had fun walking around the museum and then walking all the way down to the stage. I felt like such a kid being so excited haha! I stood on the stage where so many amazing musicians have played!!!! Ahhhhh!

On our way to the Performing Arts Center for the official conference opening, we walked by the Denver Convention Center and found this big blue bear! This guy is 40 ft. tall and peers into the Convention Center creating a sense of fun and playfulness. The big bear was created by a local artist,  Lawrence Argent and was installed in 2005. Gotta get a picture of the bear!

Saturday night was the opening reception for the annual NODA conference, so we got all dressed up! Looking good ladies! The reception was held downtown at the performing arts center which was really beautiful. There were so many stations of food and fun things to eat. Great way to kick off the start of the conference!

#NODA2015 I’m ready for you!!! Love all the decorations for the conference. The planning committee did a really good job! Everything was so organized and easy to navigate. The conference had 1,000+ attendees, but it was always easy to get around, find your room and attend sessions. I don’t think any of my sessions ever got too full which was really nice. Way to go planning committee!

The first morning of the conference started off with a welcome from Dr. George Kuh. I remember my first semester of grad school in my foundations class we had to do a project on someone who was considered a pillar in the profession…this guy was on the list! I was totally nerding out during his entire talk. Where are my other PASA peeps at?!?!

After Dr. Kuh’s welcome I headed to the first education session which I was actually going to be PRESENTER!! This conference had a few professional bucket list items for me. One was to attend OPI, which I am so glad that I did. Second was to present at a national conference!!! Waaahooooo!

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Emily and I presented on how to effectively serve our out of state students and used SJSU’s first off-site orientation in Hawaii as an example. I was so honored to be representing SJSU, presenting with Emily and feeling so accomplished! Our presentation went really well and we had a great turn out (about 25 people). People also seemed really interested in the work we were doing at SJSU. I hope we can continue to build that off-site orientation and keep going to Hawaii.

Presenting at a national conference is something that I have always wanted to do and I feel so excited and proud of myself for accomplishing this! I hope to continue to attend NODA inthe future and to keep presenting! Nothing can stop me now! Thank you again to my co-presenter Emily, I couldn’t have done it without you!

One thing that I loved about NODA was being able to meet so many new people but also reconnecting with other friends/colleagues! Here I am with my friend Heather who now works that UC Riverside. We first met at UCSB and were on O-Staff together! Small world! It was great seeing/catching up with her. Go Gauchos!

More fun with my SJSU peeps! We loved exploring downtown and just hanging out.

During the conference there were several panel discussions that were really fantastic. The Career Advancement Panel was excellent and featured two OPI faculty members that I got to know earlier (Marcus Langford and Jeanine Ward Roof). I learned so much about career advancement and felt so inspired by these individuals. The big take away was to “do good work” and when you think you have accomplished that then it’s time to move on. So powerful. I also attended the Transition Summit. Wow! This was unbelievable.  This session had key players from across the field of higher education to discuss issues in transition for students on our campuses. The last panel I attended was the Women in Leadership Panel #NODAwomenlead. I loved hearing these women speak about leadership and also their experience as being a women in the field of higher education. It was great that they kept things real and didn’t try to sugar coat anything. Again, I felt so incredibly inspired by these amazing women. I really hope to some day be on a panel like this talking to professionals about my own journey.

For our last night in Denver, Lauren and I ate at 5280 Burger Bar again and then walked all over downtown. We ended up at Union Station which was awesome! The train station has been completely re-done and includes a hotel, bar/restaurant and a few other shops. How cool would it be to stay at a train station?

On our last day in Denver, Lauren and I skipped out of the last education session and headed over to Capitol Hill and Congress Park. We had another gorgeous day so we took advantage of the good weather and explored outside. We both love to take pictures so there was a lot of that. We took a few more pictures on the “one mile above sea level” step and then took a quick tour of the capitol building. After our little outing we headed back to the hotel for the conference brunch/wrap up.


I was sad to see the conference come to an end especially since I had such an amazing time. Participating in OPI was a big highlight, but I still really enjoyed attending the entire conference. Over the 7 days I was there I felt like I learned so much and got reconnected to my profession if that makes sense. I feel so thankful for the opportunity to have checked off a few professional bucket-list items as well! I’m already looking forward to next year’s conference in Indy and staying connect with my new colleagues.

Hope you all have been doing well! TGIF

XoXo