“We stand on the shoulders of giants…”

20140406_154653

I love ACUI. I do, truly. The Association of College Unions International is the organization that completely changed my life. And I don’t say that to be hyperbolic or dramatic; I say it because it truly altered my life path in 2008. It is a major reason why I do what I do. A little over a week ago I returned from ACUI’s 100th Anniversary Celebration and I can honestly say I returned home with my heart over-flowing with hope, inspiration, and a feeling of whole-ness.

As a new professional, this organization has been overwhelmingly welcoming. I have been privileged to be selected for two conference planning teams for my region and to have now attended two international conferences. The amount of support and resources that this organization has provided me with has made all of the difference in my career development. The colleagues I have met and the friends I have made through ACUI are amazing.  These people inspire to be a better professional and most importantly, a better person.

20140409_215543

Me & @edegrandpre, friends since 2009 Region 1 Conference 🙂

As I listened to keynote speakers and the “giants” of our past, I sat in awe of all that we have done and all that we can do. Staring at the stage of past presidents of the organization during the closing banquet, I was forced to envision who will someday fill those chairs.  Will it be my colleagues from IPDS that I met last summer? Will it be my fellow Region VIII members? Will it be me? And as I listened to Kim Harrington-Pete tell us “what you do matters” I got chills and my eyes got teary (typical for an ACUI conference).  Then I looked around my table and around the room, and I counted my blessings that I am in a field with professionals who love what they do and love this organization as much as I do.

20140406_155615

Mark & Marsha

I could write pages about the amazing ed sessions I went to, the camaraderie that I felt during the Battle of the Regions, and the historical beauty that was documented in the ACUI museum. But more importantly than all of that were the conversations in the hallway, the introductions over desserts, the stories shared and the laughs conjured. It was statements such as “we stand on the shoulders of giants,” and “to see people not as they are, but as they could become,” and “students keep you honest.”  These are the little nuggets that truly touched my heart; my twitter feed is full of them.  

The future is yet to be seen, but I am confident that ACUI will continue to play a large role in my life. I hope that we can make those giants proud.

   

20140408_135231

“The future of ACUI is in your hands….”

“Am I living it right?” -John Mayer

Today was a snow day for the majority of the East Coast, and for us Higher Ed types that just gave us more reason to participate in the weekly #sachat.  Typically, I follow the chat while I get other work done in the office. Now, I could say that I usually lurk strictly because I have too much to do, but that would be a lie. More often than not, I am really just too afraid to add my two cents. Yes, I am afraid. In a field that I consider to be much more forgiving than others, I am still afraid to insert my opinion into the conversation. Today was a little bit different, but not much.

I’m sure this fear derives from the usual suspects: fear of rejection, of an inability to articulate properly, or of just being plain wrong. And as I begin this journey of blogging about various topics, including higher ed, my fear is evident here as well. The thoughts creep in: “Do I really know what I am talking about? Will anyone even care?”

I am not looking for followers, but to some degree, I am looking for affirmation.  Many SA Folks have been blogging a lot recently about why they blog, what are the driving forces and I am not really going to get into that here. But, what I learned today from the #sachat and from reading other bloggers is that we are incredibly caught up in why we choose to share and why knowing why is important. And I agree, knowing what drives us to share certain things and not others is important. In fact, I think it is an incredibly interesting thing to figure it out.  However, I believe that knowing why shouldn’t alter what we choose to share. If it does, then we are filtering our opinions before they even get a chance to be fully developed.

What I will say is that my blog posts will be an accurate representation of topics I wish I had more opportunities to discuss with other people. I will not have all the information and I do not claim to be an expert in anything that I plan on writing about, except maybe the environment, I have an entire degree in that. 🙂

In conclusion, I have no idea if I am doing this (blogging, #SoMe, my first years as a professional) right. And I guess that’s okay; that’s how I will learn, right? People will either read what I write or they won’t. I want to contribute, I want to add value to the conversation, but maybe I won’t.  Maybe my thoughts will be for me and me alone; a means for me to flush out my opinions. And that’s okay. I will just continue to hum John Mayer’s “Why Georgia” in my head until I figure it out.