Two Goals Down. #acui14

1978913_10101571371366036_2627168318887609916_nI made a list of goals (as I do at the end of every year) that I’ve been working on. I’ve been fortunate enough to complete two of these goals during my trip to Florida. Yeah, the place where I know I would never live, but my father does live near Orlando so trips to this state have to happen. What made it even better for me was that the ACUI Conference I was scheduled to attend basically made my travel plans much easier.

So just like that the first goal was already done. I wanted to visit my dad and step mother because it had been almost 5 years since I’ve been there and that is just totally unacceptable. Sure, I’ve seen them in NYC and even in the Dominican Republic, but I knew early on last year when I heard about this conference location that I was going to make it my business to visit family.

However, the other goal was for me to run a 5k at some point this year. In my head, I wanted to do this before I hit 40 in June. I circled April 9th on the calendar because I knew that the ACUI Fund Run would be that opportunity. The thing is, I know myself. I know that it wouldn’t take much for me to back out which is why I told no one that I was running this race. I signed up for this race last year in St. Louis but I backed out because sleep was my friend.

So, I knew in December I was going to try to do this. I did the best I could, in this cold ass winter that we had, to run and prepare. Of course, what discouraged me is that I would have to get up at like 5:30am on the day of the race so I can be up and ready to register at 6am. Despite the several beers I had the night previous and going to bed around 3am, I managed to get my ass up to run this race. How did I do it? Let me tell you a little story about that.

When you go to a conference, you should be personally challenged. You should be able to meet new people and rekindle old and existing professional relationships. I was on a panel the first day of the conference called Men of Color: Retention in the Profession. It was in that session that a fellow colleague sitting on the panel with me, Hayden Greene said, “You need to be a participant in the environment in which you want to thrive.” Those were very powerful words for me at the time because if there was any doubt on whether I needed to give myself to every part of this conference, it was gone at that moment. The 5k wasn’t just about me it was about being a part of something larger and like most conferences, these activities are there to help you get to your desired position in life.

So at any point if I felt socially inept, I thought about that one quote and when that alarm went off at 5:30am, I got up without hitting the snooze. I dragged myself down there with my Barnard sweatshirt prepared to run my legs off. The amazing thing about all of this was that there were so many people that were up that morning ready to do the struggle along with me through this course. Luckly, when the race began, I was able to latch on to a friend that I met two years ago in Boston and we pushed each other because after the first mile, I was ready to go back to bed.

So less than 40 minutes later (39:27 to be exact, because you know I just had to time myself), I managed to cross the finish line. No one there, except my buddy Jaime, knew how much of an accomplishment this was for me. That 5k represents all the things that I said I would do that I finally did. It made me think about this novel and how of a long road it’s been. It made me think about all the goals I have yet to accomplish. I can and will finish what I set out to do. It may just take me longer than I thought.

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I grow Stronger. #acui12

Believe it or not, I have been trying to write for weeks. I’ve had several thoughts in my head but couldn’t seem to narrow it down to something concise. I have often told myself that if I can go back finish the blogs I have in draft, I would probably have a month’s full of entries.

That notion pretty much describes me because I feel that I have a bunch of unfinished business that needs to be conducted. While the writing as not come to me much lately in the ways that I want, my long hours at work and doing homework have but a strain on the time I have to write.

As the school year comes to a close, I can see how my life this year is beginning to pan out. My goals, the ones that I have yet to reveal, are near completion. It is an exciting time for me because I am down to one 20 page paper and a summer of endless possibilities.

I am also in the process of identifying and solidifying my strengths. This is new concept for me because usually when you are in any workplace, we tend to focus on weaknesses. If you have been following me on Twitter you may (or may not) recall this hash tag I was using for about a week: #acui12. This was away for me to share my experience with others at the ACUI Conference in Boston. It was also a way for me to network.

For those who do not know, ACUI stands for Association of College Unions International. Every year, professionals within this field get together to share ideas on how to make our careers and our profession better. This was my first time going to this conference and I am happy to say that I learned a lot.
I made it one of my goals to go to this national conference because I felt the need to see who else was out there. The need to network, for me, is not just about the job search, it is about building relationships and discovering my path. Networking also give me a sense that I am part of something larger within my industry. I can really relate to people in my field who go through exactly what I do through. Not to mention the one thing we have in common – working with students.
One of the things that I has able to discover were some strengths that I really didn’t think about before I arrived. When you are a professional, it is almost standard to take leardership “test” like Myers Briggs to gauge how we can work together. During this conference, we were encouraged to do StrengthsQuest, which is designed to highlight our top five strengths. Why is this different from others? Well, the thought behind it that we work better when he use our strengths rather than focusing on areas of weakness that we want to improve. 
My top five strengths are Strategic, Adaptability, Connectedness, Futuristic, and Lerner. Without getting to deep into it. I will summarize all of these in a few sentences. I am a strategic thinker that can get by any obstacle that comes way. I live in the moment that allows me to be adaptable and not get flustered when something new pops up. I believe we are all connected in someway whether by history or experience. I am always looking to the future and what goals I can achieve now to my life better later. I love to learn and be kept abreast of new information.
For those who know me, none of this is new, but this speaks volumes to me. My hope is to cultivate the  things I know are my strengths so I can move on to complete yet another goal. I just get stronger in 2012. 

Boston Bound

It is not often that I get excited for business trips but for this venture out of Syracuse, I am totally pumped for. I am going to the ACUI National Conference in Boston. For those who do not know, this is a conference for student union professionals to get together to share ideas and best practices. What makes this exciting is that I get to network with people who do like minded work.

This goes with my motto this year of Investing in Myself. It has been a long time since I haven’t been to a conference since 2008 when I took 3 Latino students to the second annual AAHHE Conference in Miami. I did some networking there but not a lot because my life was different then. Regardless, I’m still happy to be able to be in a different environment learning new things.

Networking is very important because it all comes down to who you know in the job market. When you can put a face to a business card or a resume then chances are that person will get at least a longer glance at your job application.

It reminds me of something that happened to me 2 years ago when I was looking to hire a Graduate Assistant. The hiring process is pretty complicated for these graduate students that need to apply to get into the Higher Education program and then try to get an assistantship through a series of interviews. Before the big day there was a reception that allows departments to mingle with potential GAs. I went to the reception to see what the pool looked like because this was the first time I was in charge of this hiring process for my office. As soon as I walked in and got settled, she found me. With a plate a food in my hand, this woman comes up to me and introduced herself with a good handshake and tells me that she is looking forward to our interview. We had a great conversation that left a great impression and I remembered her the next day which lead to me eventually hiring her.

My point is, we never know who we can effect with our presence. The plan is to go to Boston for the educational sessions and mingle those people who can help me be a better professional. The other plan is to get a good feel for other schools as the potential for me to leave SU is always there. I need to make my own contacts and connections. I was commenting to my girlfriend that I have been here for 10+ years and barely know anyone outside of this place, so that needs to change right away.

I am also totally aware that I will be in Boston during St. Patrick’s Day, a fact that has not truly hit me yet either. I have never been the one to celebrate it so that means I am up for some good times. That is also why I went ahead and bought the shirt pictured above. Furthermore, I have some family in Boston that I would love to see. This will be my chance to connect and see the city.

If you follow me in my other mediums then expect to see a lot of pictures from my Instagram app. If you know of any places I should go see…please let me know!