Archive for the ‘Personal’ Category

#trust30 – Travel by Chris Guillebeau

Travel by Chris Guillebeau

If we live truly, we shall see truly. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Not everyone wants to travel the world, but most people can identify at least one place in the world they’d like to visit before they die. Where is that place for you, and what will you do to make sure you get there?

(Author: Chris Guillebeau)


I’ve always wanted to see the Northern Lights while on an Alaskan Cruise. Something about this phenomenon just is awe inspiring to me. I’m sure some day I will get there. What will I do to make sure I get there? Hmm let’s say this. I’ll see it before 50.
Done and done.
Rock on,


Categories: Personal Tags:

#Trust30: Today by Liz Danzico Prompt

Your genuine action will explain itself, and will explain your other genuine actions. Your conformity explains nothing. The force of character is cumulative. – Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

If ‘the voyage of the best ship is a zigzag line of a hundred tacks,’ then it is more genuine to be present today than to recount yesterdays. How would you describe today using only one sentence? Tell today’s sentence to one other person. Repeat each day.

Here is how I describe today (or the rest of this year), “The time to rebuild is now, don’t F***(!) it up.”

Sorry for the expletive but in this case, it was pretty necessary to get the point across of the severity of not messing things up (for the second, third, forth time).

Rock on.





Categories: Ideas, Personal Tags:

Call of Duty + Rosetta Stone = Increase in Bilingual (Young) Adults

March 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Wow it has been almost a month since I have written a blog post with good reason; see #NODA9, #NASPA11, and well #SpringInStudentAffairs.

During the first quarter of this year, I was given the gift of a PS3 and Call of Duty: Black Ops by my fabulous partner Robyn (@RKaplan13) and subsequently I haven’t watched TV much since the new year as a result of being sucked into this game.

Now, I beat the story mode (in one night!) so I wasn’t focused too much on that but what did suck me in was the Playstation network of gamers. Every night you could log in and immediately find yourself in a 10-12 player (6 on 6 or free for all) battle and if you invested in a headset you could talk with people from around the globe!

From my New Years Resolutions post, one of my goals for the year was to reach level 50 as an online player which ended up requiring almost 30 hours of game play. Upon reflecting on this, I was left asking myself was it the goal of reaching level 50 that motivated me? Was it competing online and constantly getting better with each round? Or was it being able to randomly (trash) talk with players from all over the globe?

Here is where Rosetta Stone comes into the equation. I was driven by the fact that I was competing, gaining skills/experience, and seeing my progress on the leader board after every match go from the bottom to the middle to the upper third. Reading my New Years Resolution post, you can see another one of my goals is to complete the Rosetta Stone Italian series – this has been a struggle. Why? There is no competition, there is no leader board, there is no community to participate with. This is where Rosetta Stone has already taken the first step with their Total-E product but the online subscription is $199 for 3 months. No young adult I know is willing to put down almost $65 a month to learn a language, that’s equivalent to their mobile phone bill, and believe me they want their phones more than they want to know a second language.

But let me finish my thought, if Rosetta Stone partnered with Nintendo, Sony, Microsoft and turned their Total-E product into a game that piggy-backed onto the online networks the three gaming giants have established – imagine what would happen to the landscape of the globe (specifically the USA).

When I powered up the PS3 and put Call of Duty in, I could play for hours on end because it was engaging, competitive, FUN! When I power up my PC and click on my Rosetta Stone software, I can “play” for about an hour because it is no longer engaging, I’m not competing, and the “fun” factor runs low because it is the equivalent to sitting in a silent room repeating yourself.

My suggestion – play your part as the world’s leading language software and shift your company values from teaching new languages to those who have the money to invest in such a program and start educating the next generation to learn more than one language. The next generation will need it more than ever, but a $199 price tag is going to prohibit more than enable.

Jim Henson had success in Sesame Street because he saw an opportunity (with research backing it) that young children were coming home and being put in front of the television so why not put something educational there.

You can do the same with just as big an impact – partner with these console/content creators – construct an online environment that rewards users with Rosetta Stone Points and will make young adults WANT to sign in and run through a lesson or two so they don’t lose ground to their friends. Instead of a $199 subscription for online content, sell a series of CDs ($40 each) or downloadable online “maps” ($20 each) that allow gamers to choose the environment they want.

“Want to speak Italian at a baseball game? Pick up our MLB version and learn all phrases for the field!”

“Thinking of going food shopping in Barcelona? Pick up our Grocery Grabber map and explore the aisles of our market to learn popular food item vocabulary”

If you want to try strategy out on someone, I’d be more than willing – I fit in the male 18 -34 market and I am currently grinding through your Rosetta Stone Italian Level 1,2,3 series of software. It isn’t fun. It isn’t engaging. It is comparable to sitting in class for 2 hours, alone. That is not the way people want to learn a new language.

That’s my idea/rant for the day –

Rock on,

Comment: Would you be more interested in learning a language if there was an online community and scoring system so you can compete with others as you progress through?




Categories: Ideas, Personal

Furniture Delivery + Student Affairs

March 4, 2011 1 comment

@RKaplan13 and I received our bedroom set this week and as it turns out, the room and the furniture aren’t getting along too well. Our furniture is HUGE! Our bedroom, not so much.

As we looked, thought, fought, rearranged, looked, thought, fought, I couldn’t help but have a voice in the back of my head saying, “you know this can relate to student affairs right?” Sometimes I really dislike the voice, other times, I love the fact that my passion for student affairs is so deep that I can relate any everyday experience to it.

First off, we did NOT run into this issue (luckily).

Now let’s dig into the metaphor shall we?

Think of orientation, residence life, or any other large community/event on your campus that is looked upon as the cure-all for your campus woes or highlights. Every department/division wants a piece of it; they want to put their dresser, their love seat, their night stand into your room.

Wanting to be the collaborator on campus, you welcome and work the politics of wanting to make everyone support of your program while you support their causes. Here is where things can get sticky.

Some rooms (programs) simply are not equipped to fit everyones furniture (more programs).

Sometimes, a living only needs a sofa, love seat, coffee table, and desk. That’s what a living room mainly needs to be equipped with; it gives you a place to converse, relax, and enjoy company. A living room does not need a sofa, love seat, end tables, coffee table, recliner, TV, bookshelf, desk, ottoman, decorative flowers, art on the walls, fine carpet, and a sofa table. That is no longer a living room, it is a over crowded, cluttered, mess that no longer is a comfortable place to relax never mind attempt to live.

That being said, when it comes time to plan your course, living learning community, orientation, or even your floor program – just remember what the purpose of your program is and stick to it. Simple rooms often say more than rooms that have it all.

In the meantime, we must find a place for our second night stand.

Rock on,

Was Daniel Pink educated by the Jesuits?

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

I read Daniel Pink. I love the Pink Blog. I love Drive. I think his studies and TED talk on motivation are interesting, moving, and a hot plate for new research in higher education. Personally, his mention of “grit” in Drive has led to a small campus project revolving around what could possibly make my institution’s students stand out amongst superior business school students.

Along with this blog, I also try to do a small quote of the day e-mail to a group of people who first showed interest in it 2 years ago when I started it. Since I have taken over a director position, it has been extremely difficult to keep up and maintain it. However, I try at least once a week to send the small group a quote, a story, or a link to a blog post I found interesting. The last one I sent the group was a series of questions that Daniel Pink wants us to ask ourselves at the end of our day. Here they are:

How did the day go? What success did I experience? What challenges did I endure?

What did I learn today? About myself? About others? What do I plan to do — differently or the same — tomorrow?

Who did I interact with? Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback?
Read them again. If you are Jesuit trained having worked at an institution and/or have been educated at an institution that is affiliated with the Jesuits, you could see this:

How did the day go? (Contemplatives in Action) What success did I experience? (MAGIS: Striving for Excellence) What challenges did I endure (Contemplatives in Action, MAGIS)

What did I learn today? (Care for the Whole Person) About myself ? (Contemplatives in Action) About others? (Being Men & Women for Others)

Who did I interact with? (Being Men & Women for Others) Anyone I need to update? Thank? Ask a question? Share feedback? (Contemplatives in Action)

So while Mr. Pink may not have been educated by the Jesuits, it certainly sent a message that fits right into their values. Or…perhaps it wasn’t his education or his thought process in making them. Maybe it was my own education and “lens” of processing that has led me to see things in light of the Jesuit values.

Either way, those series of questions are important and interesting to ask yourself – even just once a week. Try it out and see what your answers are…were you surprised?

Rock on,



Special thanks to Deb Cady Melzer, life coach, mentor, and former supervisor for pointing out the Jesuit message in every day occurrences and surroundings.

Snow/Ice Day + Tweetdeck = Reflection

February 2, 2011 3 comments

I write about Twitter perhaps more than I should. I could write about my 52 books in 52 weeks journey that many others are also doing. I could write some responses to some of the articles in my Gmail from the Chronicle of Higher Education because they are usually good for starting ideas. I could write about what is it like to live in a house with two 100lb dogs, 3 cats, and 1 ferret. I could write movie reviews. I could, I could, I could…but I choose Twitter because there is just SO much that comes from this service that you can talk about.

Today I have a few simple words: community, growth, gratitude.

I’ll elaborate briefly on each because if I don’t limit myself, this would turn into an e-book of cliches, raves, and analogies.


I use Tweetdeck and currently have about 15 columns on the desktop application. When I open it I immediately see feeds for #SAchat, #StudentActivites, #highered, #edtech, #saLEAD, amongst a few others. My favorite part about this is that Twitter went from being a professional development and news delivery service to something resembling a block party. No longer is it necessary to wait for a regional/national conference to discuss higher ed with colleagues. No more is there the need to stalk Facebook to start conversations or catch up on what is going on in your colleagues lives.  No more is there a need to count on the newsletters from professional organizations to hear about the latest practices in the field. Twitter is now an on-demand, at your desktop, come and get it venue for all of those! When I open Tweetdeck…it is like opening my front door to see the neighbors and say hello. While we may not see their faces or some may not follow you back, people are sharing, teaching, and learning. I can’t help but think that sometimes looking at the #SAchat feed is like Tim Allen on Home Improvement walking into his backyard to talk to Wilson, the sage who never showed more than his eyes from behind the fence.

If you want to see this community in action, watch some of the self made hashtags some have created to support each other including: #saGrow #saDOC and a much smaller, more focused one that is great to follow to keep some #saDOCs going with support, #statsjail.


Watching Twitter and a following some of the thought leaders (@ReyJunco, @EricStoller) and social media celebrities (@EdCabellon, @StacyLOliver, @The_SA_Blog) in higher education has led, to what I think, has been the most developmental year in my professional career. I joined Twitter as an #saGrad when it first arrived on campus but did not know how to use it. I became engaged with 2 years later Twitter while in a position that had allowed me the time to explore this realm of social media. Since then, I have moved into director position at my alma mater which is a huge opportunity with lots of responsibility and an obvious need to growth professionally with my approach, thinking, and presence. Twitter has been my advisor throughout this entire process. As I continue to grow in my position and expand my reach on Twitter as well as other social media avenues – it has been those that I follow that have served as my coaches. In addition to those already mentioned, following the likes of @Kathy_Petras @OberBecca @DebraSanborn @CarolynGolz @CindyKane @jefflail @tbump and…well I could go on for a while with all of the followers that have taught me something since day 1 but remember I said keeping it brief. The point is this, Twitter has become the watering hole for professional development due to the community I follow and participate in. Twitter has become the backchannel for the larger conference that takes place in Higher Education, it’s called “everyday in the office.”


As I have already given shout outs to many Twitter users that show up on my stream and whose tweets I constantly favorite to read later, I must give thanks. I am a better professional, communicator, creator, writer, contributor, participant, supervisor, student, mentor, coach, advisor, presenter, and person for the growth, support, connections, network, skills, advice, role models, and opportunities that Twitter has afforded me.
And it should come as no surprise that the catalyst for all of this was stumbling upon 6 letters and 1 character: s-a-c-h-a-t and #.

Thanks for reading. I hope this post encourages you to reflect today if you are sitting at home on this snowy/icy day away from the office.



Facebook + IPO = No more Facebook for me.

January 10, 2011 2 comments

This is more or less a little brainstorm on how I would plan to detach myself from the monster that is Facebook.

Quick and easy steps:

Give 30 days notice via status that you are deleting your account.

Then give 15 days notice.

Then give 10 days.

Then 5, then 4, then 3, then 2, then have a party on the last day. Perhaps an independence day of sorts? Maybe a birthday? Abolish Facebook Day!

But how do you replace the stalking and all that is what Facebook is all about? Keeps tabs on people without having to talk or write to them?

Talk about a test of friendship/connection/acquaintance – will those who take the seconds it takes to say Happy Birthday on your wall do so via e-mail, tweet, or text without Facebook reminding them? Probably not. Facebook makes it convenient to be a friend – there really is no effort, a couple clicks here or there and you look like the most attentive and caring person.

But when the profile is gone, how do you replace that connection?

My rough plan would be as follows:

Replace Facebook Photos with flickr, webshots, picasa – you can take your of the options you have to share photos, there are plenty more than just these three.

How will people know what I am doing? Facebook Status updates = Twitter.

Facebook Personal Status updates about major life events! – See Twitter + WordPress, Blogger, etc.

What about my favorite books, movies, tv shows, interests? – See your own webpage/blog.

What about those who I want to show where I’ve worked, went to school, etc? – LinkedIn

How do I centralize all of this information in a nice package people having to click all over the place? – See

So you are seriously thinking of getting rid of Facebook?

No, not necessarily. What I am saying is that I plan to the amount of information I have on Facebook to not only open it up to more people but to also increase my web presence, furnish my digital identity, and solidify my “Google Resume” by the end of this year.

There is no need for Facebook to have a strangle hold on everything social on the internet. I’m willing to prove that while I won’t be on Facebook as prominently, more people will get to know who I am because not only will they find it, they will find it in separate packages that are easily to read, easier to navigate, and more appealing overall.

In my opinion, Facebook gives you too many distractions, to go from pictures to chat to profile info, etc. If you are on a photo sharing site, then you are only look at photos which (I think) will mean less distractions, more focus. Breaking up the services of my Facebook profile stirs an image of when AT&T was ordered to break up resulting in 7 “Baby Bell” companies.

If Facebook goes public and some company can invest thus being able to look at their assets (see all profile information) you can bet my Facebook profile will be a profile picture, a relationship status, and nothing but a list of links to explore who I am.

That’s my idea for the day and it will definitely happen,


Categories: Ideas, Personal Tags: , ,