Sunday, May 15, 2011

Blog Prompt Monday - Things that most challenge me as a woman in Student Affairs.

This to me was an interesting prompt because I never know what to say about my gender in relation with my job. I have always felt that there were two factors that have created challenges for me as a professional - being short and looking younger than I am ...but being a woman in student activities in general has never held me back or been a challenge. Probably because it's a female dominated area of Student Affairs.
However, moving beyond that into the world of Student Union work, I have found that you must have a certain toughness to you, and a working knowledge of certain topics in order to be taken seriously. I've gone back and forth over the years as to whether or not I have what it takes to be a Union Director. I'm still not completely sure if it's something I would enjoy as much as I do activities. I know that I could do the job, and I honestly wouldn't worry about how I would be treated. I find that if you walk the walk and talk the talk and stick to your guns, usually people will respect you.

If had to think of a time that being the girl in the situation hurt me, or if there was a time that I knew a student or co-worker or colleague needed to hear what I had to say via a man, I'd just find a man to say what I wanted. So far that's worked pretty well for me. Maybe because in the end I got what I needed? I'm sure I should be able to get the same respect and use my authority to get things done at all times - but sometimes I don't worry about it - I don't have time to take things personally, (it's someone else's issues at play not mine), and I just get things done.

The times that I have been most challenged as a professional were when I knew I didn't know all the answers, was too new, had to make choices outside of my comfort zone, or when viewed as the "young professional" when there were others in the room who had seniority.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Blog Prompt Monday - Books

Okay. So you had to go there. You had to ask me about my books. You're asking a Lit Minor. The best way I know how to go about this is to start at the beginning.

Childhood Books of Choice: Nancy Drew. I had the complete set. They belonged to my aunts when they were growing up, so my books were grey, no covers and were printed in the 40's.

Tween Books 1. It, Stephen King. First "real" book I read. Huge and fat, scary and adult. I knew there was a reason I hated clowns. 2. Bonnie. Another hand-me-down from my Aunts. Squeaky clean teenage love. 3. Karen Kepplewhite is the World's Best Kisser. 4. Janet Hamm Needs a Date for the Dance.

Teen years: The Dark Tower series by Stephen King. Don't know why these attracted me. I don't like Westerns, was never a fan of Fantasy. But somehow he brings it all together to create a journey that I had to go on.

College: It was all about Shakespeare and Walt Whitman. I came to hate "Romeo & Juliet" with a passion and adored "Hamlet". Couldn't get enough of it. Watched every movie interpretation there was. Wrote papers about Walt. "Tears, Tears, Tears" - the drama! Perfect for a college girl.

Post-College till now:
  • Came to love the world of Harry Potter.
  • Picked up and put down John Irving's "The World According to Garp" a million times in the bookstore. When I finally managed to buy it and finish it - I was hooked. I love John Irving's books (excepting a few and unfortunately his most recent). He can weave a story and then knife you in the gut with a plot twist you never saw coming. His stories helped me choose to visit Amsterdam over other European cities.
  • "Wicked" blew my mind with it's imagination. (The musical is even better!)
  • Nelson DeMille ("The General's Daughter") and Dan Brown ("Angels & Demons") write novels that read like movies.
  • Phase I went through: Sherlock Holmes until I had to take a breather.
  • Phase I'm going through: "The Wheel of Time" series. On book 4 of 13. Am I a glutton for punishment or what?!?! I blame this on younger co-workers who grew up reading these books.
  • Moving "up North" after Hurricane Katrina, I would find myself longing for some Southern flavor and found it in Truman Capote. It started with a free hardback book I somehow acquired entitled "Three by Truman Capote". I started with the first story, "Other Voices, Other Rooms" and it went from there. I have all his books, read his biography that all the movies are based on. Oh how I would have loved to have been one of his "swans".
But if I had to pick favorites...
My all time favorite book is Pride & Prejudice. I liked Jane Austen before Jane was cool! Before all the movies and reworked adaptations (Clueless, etc.). I saw a P&P play while in high school and loved the wit and the back-and-forth banter and was hooked. I am holding back and will not write anymore about this. I am controlling my passions!

My second (a very very close runner up) is: Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund

"Ahab's Wife, Sena Naslund's epic work of historical fiction, honors that aphorism, using Herman Melville's Moby-Dick as looking glass into early-19th-century America.Through the eye of an outsider, a woman, she suggests that New England life was broader and richer than Melville's manly world of men, ships, and whales. This ambitious novel pays tribute to Melville, creating heroines from his lesser characters, and to America's literary heritage in general." Description from

She takes a few lines from Moby-Dick and turns it into an entire novel. It spans growing up with a raving mad religious father, living with relatives at a lighthouse, dressing up as a boy to go whaling, cannabalism, meeting Ahab, marrying Ahab and waiting for him to come back. Moby Dick for the ladies if you will, or Moby Dick with depth.

That's it all. If you made it all the way to the bottom, I hope it was worth it. It's Midnight. I gotta go to bed!

This post was written in response to Blog Prompt Monday, a weekly feature of the Student Affairs Women Talk Tech blog. This week’s prompt is: “What are your favorite books and why? Or, alternatively, what kinds of books do you like to read (if you like reading)? What books have you read lately?”