Tag Archives: personal thoughts

A tribute to high school….items

Last week I played the below YouTube clip for students in my public speaking course. It is the commencement address delivered in 2009 by comedian Eugene Mirman. If you have 5 minutes, you won’t regret watching it. After we discussed the necessary tie-ins with his speech and public speaking, we continued down high school lane to pull ideas and examples for additional portions of the lecture.

With the high school graduation ceremonies in full gear, I thought a tribute to the season fitting. Yet the focus of this post is not memories from high school verbatim, yet an homage to the the things I can still wear from high school. (I could supply an endless lists of items that I don’t use/ can’t wear from high school.)

5. My high school ring. (Granted, it may have to be on a chain around my neck, but hey, it’s on.)
4. My gym shorts. (Really. The beauty of wearing a large t-shirt with it is that people can’t see the belly hanging over the top. Who doesn’t enjoy an elastic waistband?)
3. Earrings. (Hoops, studs, and crosses are always in style. Somewhere.)
2. Nail polish. (The bottles might be different, but the color is still cool.)
1. Sunglasses. (Everything old is new again.)

Granted, some of these items I wouldn’t wear outside the confinements of my house, but I can still wear them. What are some items you can still wear from high school? Or better yet, what are some items you wish you could still wear from high school?

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Making it to Thanksgiving Break

As you all know Thanksgiving Break is around the corner (Woo hoo!!). Yet, the problem with knowing the end is in sight is when become lazy and desire to quit working before we should. So before you get too caught up in your holiday plans, here are a few tips to get you through the remaining two weeks.

  1. Schedule daily breaks. Our body and brain need rest. You are physically at your best when you feel refreshed and not overwhelmed. Besides, you bring fresh eyes to the table when you come back to a task. Your break may consist of a walk around the park, a trip to the gym, or a short drive to get something to eat. Don’t work and eat as that defeats the purpose.  

    Thanksgiving table

    Photo credit: basykes

  2. Map out your next two weeks in detail. Make yourself a spreadsheet, on paper or electronically, that highlights the remaining days and times you intend to complete various tasks. Be as detailed as possible, inserting times you will work to complete tasks if necessary. If you have a visual reminder of everything that needs to be completed it should (key word should) help you stay focused as task completion will put you one step closer to Thanksgiving Break.
  3. Break-up long tasks. Do you really have 5 hours to put aside on one day to one task? Yes, some people are great at this, but the average person, looking at their schedule, wouldn’t have the time. Instead of attempting to do 5 hour chuncks at a time, choose to focus 1-2 hours on a specific task instead. If you do this throughout the the day you’ll eventually complete 5 hours on that task.
  4. Gradually plan your break. The problem with breaks is that we become so consumed in planning them, because it is fun, we fail to recognize the amount of time we are devoting to the upcoming break that should be directed elsewhere. Should you plan your holidays, of course, but really, do you need one day to plan out whose house you’ll be visiting this break? Remember, the holidays are UPON US, they aren’t here yet.
  5. Treat yourself. Whenever you complete a task reward yourself. This could be something as simple as going to your favorite coffee shop or picking up that pair of earrings you been debating over. Your reward doesn’t have to be elaborate, just significant to you.

What are some things you do to stay sane and focused before upcoming holiday breaks?

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Students, are you professional?

I recently read “Survey: College grads unprofessional” and began thinking, I hope no one says that about our department graduates. Although I have some issues with the information presented in the short excerpt (I’m sure my issues will be cleared up once I listen to the podcast), such as methodology, research sponsor, questions asked, ecetera, it did get me thinking about what I am doing to prepare students for life after graduation.

Photo credit: Amber Rhea

Photo credit: Amber Rhea

Students complete internships, participate in various organizations, maintain a job, etc. , but do not always make the connection between now and then. This is evident through the rumblings in the hall. For example, a colleague overhead a student exiting a course say to a fellow classmate, “Man this class isn’t called ‘Public Speaking Outlining”; it’s ‘Public Speaking!’ I just don’t get why we have to do outlines at all!! They should NOT be part of our grades!” It’s statements of this nature that make me wonder if they will ever “get it.”

Although we (professors) attempt to prepare students for entry into the job force, students must desire to better themselves. It is heartbreaking to hear and see students view assignments as irrelevant. As shown through some of the comments provided in the story excerpt regarding the survey, employers are seeking graduates with good grammar, hard work ethics, professionalism, ecetera. These are not attributes that magically appear. They require consistent practice and the ability to take constructive criticism and move forward. How can you hone these skills if you are not provided the work to practice them? You don’t become an expert overnight. Therefore, I’d rather you fail an assignment in class, which is a designated place of learning, as oppose to losing a job.

I can’t recount the number of times I’ve had past graduates send me an e-mail or stop by my office when they return to campus and express their gratitude to me for pushing them to complete tasks beyond their comfort level while maintaining integrity and professionalism. Many of them admit they didn’t understand why my expectations were so high, until they were working in an office, but are nevertheless thankful. They also check-in with me every now and then to make sure that I’m not slacking on the job 🙂 These are the alumni that remind me and allow me to share their stories with current students in hopes that these students will realize that the workload is NOT a form of punishment, but a strategic decision to make them better. A degree may get you the job, but it is the traits learned/honed while obtaining the degree that dictactes whether or not you keep the job.

What are your thoughts on the survey findings? How or can this issue of unprofessionalism be combated?

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Univeristy Dress Policy

Over the last few years more and more Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) have implemented a dress code policy of some kind with Morehouse College (ATL) being the latest. View the CNN clip.

Granted a dress code policy is fairly easy to implement at a private university, but what about those of us who work for public universities?
I clearly remember asking my department chair during my first week on the job if I could implement a dress policy in my classroom. Of course the answer was no, but the point was how do I get students to understand that neither I nor their classmates wish to see their pajamas, do-rags, unmentionables, or anything else that should stay in the privacy of their home.

Photo credit:Mike Benedetti

Photo credit:Mike Benedetti

I’m sure your thinking, “Well your working, you should be dressed everyday.” True, but you can be appropriately dressed in a pair of blue  jeans, and that’s my point.  Regardless of whether your university is public or private, at minimum have respect for your family. Really, do you think your parents, grandparents, or whomever else you respect would approve of you wearing pajamas to class (or Wal-Mart) after they’ve spent money on your education? Uh…..NO. Besides, your professor is NOT the only one working in the classrooms. As a student you are working as well, for recommendation letters,  as representatives of a campus organization, to increase your GPA for potential job employment, etc.

So next time  you see someone or you consider walking around in pajama pants and what have you, ask yourself “Did I just pass a future employer, misrepresent my organization, misrepresent myself, etc?”

These are just my thoughts, but I’d like to hear your comments. What are your dress expectations when you walk onto a college campus?

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