We Are Chickens, People, Chickens…No Turkeys Here!

I’m thankful to be a Thundering Chicken.Happy-Thanksgiving-Poems-Funny

There is still time to stay off the “hot plate.” After some Thanksgiving R & R, F & F (family & friends) and P & P (pie &…um, pie)…we’re back for two more weeks, chickens. Plenty of time to meet with your advisor, get registered for spring AND ace your final exams…before the crazy, Christmas cloud bursts…

…and the spring semester rolls around…spring, hmph?!? We’ll be wrapped from head to toe, huddling up to our space heaters for most of the spring semester. No doubt the chill will be much worse for students who haven’t prepared…a’la registering, getting books, checking on financial aid or payment plans…yada, yada…all the ‘biz’ of beingturkey in college…the ‘biz that gets you one step closer to being thankful for that college degree, new job, new house….

So here they are…a few things I’ve overheard recently that make me say  “a’thank’ya,     thank’ya, thank’ya” for being chickens not turkeys:

  1. “Oh my God, I’m so glad that’s done [registration], I thought I was going to be late” ~ student after meeting with advisor for registration on November 17
  2. “I really think I can handle taking more than 15 credit hours in the spring because I have a 4.0 right now and I really want to finish on time” ~ student submitting request for overload in spring
  3. “Sure, I can come down in about 5 minutes…” ~ instructor making time to meet with advisee and me
  4. “Yes, it is getting better…I’ve made progress…” ~ student after being asked how things were going in math 86
  5. “A placement test predicts starting point, not potential…” ~Nathan Klingbell, Dean, College of Engineering and Computer Science, Wright State University, speaking about student difficulty with math classes nationwide

Stay-tuned for the big reveal of our $100 Walmart gift card winnersthose lucky chickens who registered prior to Thanksgiving Break...coming soon…

Registration Tip #1 = #CCC

You guessed it: Calm, Cool, Collectedcucumber

High drama is the last thing you need right now with exams and final papers/projects on the horizon…so here’s a top (less-than) ten for keepin’ it #CCC:

  1. Plan to spend some QT with your awesome advisor…don’t try to figure out the matrix of Northern Navigator, course catalog, schedule books all alone. (Can’t confirm…but I’ve heard the secret of the Bermuda Triangle is embedded somewhere in Northern Navigator course descriptions.) This is why you have academic advisors – use them! They’ll help you stay on track and graduate on time – sans stress. Navigating pre-requisites, co-requisites, campus codes, schedule changes, program requirements…aye-yi-yi…I mean, I’d bring my sleeping bag and ‘camp it up’ outside my advisor’s office door if need be. I’m just saying…it’d be a lot warmer than Walmart’s sidewalk, even in a tryptophan-induced trance.

  2. pre-reqsHave a ‘Plan B’…C, D and E. The last thing you want to be doing on January 10 is scrambling to find a class…any class at all…that still has a seat. Go into registration with some options in mind and be flexible. Scheduling often requires some compromise and negotiation…and a big pink eraser. Don’t let this frustrate or discourage you…ultimately…it’s a normal part of the process. What doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger, right? Not getting the “perfect schedule” (HA! The perfect schedule…have you seen one? I bet you’ve seen a Yeti too, haven’t ya?) is not a deal breaker and doesn’t mean you won’t graduate on time.

  3. Keep hard copies of the scheduling worksheets you and your advisor complete. These can come in uber-handy with employers, family members, classmates… for work schedules, ride sharing,etc. They also provide you with all the info. you need – in hand – when the semester starts and make it easy to follow-up with your advisor if needed…and it’s often needed (see #’s 1 and 2).

  4. Get it done now…like, seriously…I mean, can you even give me a reason why you don’t want to get this taken care of today…right now…this minute…tick-tock, tick-tock….

Follow Your Bliss…Say What Now?!?!

So I attended a workshop a few days ago where I was encouraged to “follow my bliss” and  encouraged to encourage college students to “follow their bliss”…


Okay, so you can call me “anti-everything” if you want to…I have a very good friend who does so on a regular basis…BUT…

I don’t know what that means? (grumble…grumble…*^$#&?!@)

I mean…I know what’s it’s supposed to mean… “do something you love and you’ll never work a day in your life…” kind of sentiment. But – I’m sorry – it just doesn’t ring true…for me. And I think it’s kind of misleading, especially to students, many of whom are struggling to figure out exactly who they are and what they want to do when they “grow up.” When, officially, does that happen (growing up) anyway?

It’s kind of a disservice, really, to imply, first of all, that we have a “bliss” and that it can somehow allow us to pay our bills, put food on the table…you know, all that mundane, practical stuff.

I’ve sat with so many students who’ve said “I don’t know” when asked what they would do if money wasn’t a factor. And I get that. I was the same way. To be honest, I’m not sure I could put together an articulate response right now.

cookieWhat if my “bliss” is eating OREOS and watching documentaries? I can’t really follow my “bliss” now can I? I mean, I’d be terribly unhealthy and have no HMO to combat diabetes, heart disease etc….how blissful is this? You’d tell me that as an evolved and enlightened species, at some point my soul would cry out for more…hmpf…we’ll save this debate for another post…

Don’t get me wrong, it’s wise to get to know ourselves and make choices that align with our strengths, our personality, our interests. It is absolutely reasonable to expect that we should derive some pleasure and satisfaction from our work.

But this is, I think, the difference…for most of us. If we take to heart “follow your bliss” we internalize the idea that there is a career equivalent of Prince Charming…that’s going to gallop up to the castle, rescue us from the “who-am-I-what-do-I-want-to do-for-the-rest-of-my-life” tower and ride us off into a happily-ever-after 401K.

sad-frog-clip-artIsn’t there a lot of work (and life) that’s more like kissing frogs? And this is just it…if we can come to value the frogs, I mean frogs are pretty amazing…when you really kind of watch them..and that noise thing they do in the summer when their throats swell up – I mean, I could hang out with frogs for hours!

We do ourselves a disservice, I think, to head into the world of “workin’ for a’livin'” thinking it’s supposed to be “our bliss.” It’s work…it’s challenging, frustrating, difficult, exhausting…but it’s also rewarding, satisfying, engaging, fascinating…

“Bliss” is a fickle friend…it morphs and moves…before you know it…you’ve spent the bulk of your life chasing after it. Maybe instead of “following our bliss” we should “shop for a great pair of jeans”…you know how it is…when you’ve tried on a million pairs…but nothing feels right, nothing seems to fit right…in all the right places…until you finally find “the pair”…ahhhhhhhhhhhh!…I mean, jeans can’t make me 10 pounds thinner or a foot and a’half taller or more patient…but they can look good and feel good…and hold up even after crawling around in the mud to hunt for frogs…