monthly moment: february 2016

Monthly Moment is a community where you are encouraged to share a single photo – few words – capturing a moment from the previous month.  A simple, special moment that you want to pause, savor, and reflect on. The February linkup will be open until March 31st!
2/16 Monthly Moment 1
Our office has been a pinch understaffed this semester so a foggy, food-filled cabin weekend for my friend Alexa’s birthday was exactly what the doctor ordered.  Yes, this is the same Alexa that hosted the beer breakfast from my last month’s Monthly Moment post!
2/16 Monthly Moment 2
There’s nothing quite like sharing a meal (+ the occasional mimosa or three) and hours of conversation with these ladies.

click link below

 Loading InLinkz ...

  1. Post your Monthly Moment on your own blog.  Posts from FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are also welcome to be linked up below.
  2. Link back to this site so others can see your photo.  You can use the button and the linkup (below) to connect with other bloggers. (Please note entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.)
  3. Link up your posts on any day of the month.
  4. Share your posts on social media with #MonthlyMomentLinkup and #FebruaryMoment
  5. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!! Visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them an encouraging/motivating comment.  This is such an important part of the linkup!  The purpose is to encourage each other and build a community.
Milagros Moments

4 ways i live authentically at work

In my experience, the concept of “authenticity” is widely discussed in student affairs but not as it specifically relates to authenticity in the workplace.

Authenticity is the quality of being real and genuine.  I recently read an article from the Journal of Counseling Psychology that shows authenticity is linked to well-being and happiness.  According to the study, authenticity (defined as “being true to oneself in most situations”) correlated with higher self-esteem, lower stress, and greater life satisfaction.

Inauthenticity is draining.  It takes energy and a mental capacity that isn’t worth the outcome.  I know this because in college I performed to other people’s expectations of me instead of performing for my own expectations and became exhausted by living inauthentically.  Similarly, workplace inauthenticity keeps us from performing to the best of our abilities.

Knowing this, I’ve been exploring ways to increase authenticity in my daily routine and a recent Fast Company article by Molly Petrilla inspired me to reflect on 4 ways to live authentically at work:

1. Identify your strengths and be honest about your weaknesses.
Clearly communicating my strengths and weaknesses promotes collaboration and growth. I’ve learned sharing this information with my supervisor, colleagues, and students has shown I am open to offer help in areas I excel and seek support in area of challenge.  Overall, self-reflection on these areas leads to increased engagement in my work and helps me feel more true to myself.

2. Give honest opinions.
This is a tough one for me.  When I am asked for my opinion, I generally tend to “overthink” my response in the hopes of considering every aspect of the situation and formulating the most tactful response possible.  Sometimes, in the time it takes for me to formulate my response, I can come across as uncertain, disengaged, or unopinionated, which is not me at all.  I often need to remind myself that if I’m informally asked for my opinion, the person asking genuinely wants to hear my honest, candid response.  As a result, I’ve learned giving honest opinions helps me display my own values and  enhances the relationship with that individual.

3. Stand for what you stand for.
Everyone is moved by different values and beliefs.  Thankfully I work in an environment that encourages it’s faculty, staff, and students to reflect on personal values and determine ways to regularly espouse those values.  Espousing my values in the workplace means I am being congruent with who I am.  As such, these values become a consistent thread in everything I do and helps me feel like there is harmony between who I am both inside and outside the office.

4. You do you.
This is a mantra many from my graduate school cohort will understand.  Often times, when I am part of a close-knit community, cohort, organization, etc. I am influenced by what the people around me are doing (wisdom of the crowds, anyone??).  While this isn’t necessarily a bad effect, it is also important to stay true to who I am and what I need to do to take care of yourself.  This is less about values and more about what I do on a daily basis.  For example, while many of my coworkers like to meet in the dining hall for lunch, I prefer to make my own meals ahead of time and use that time to complete personal tasks.  “Me doing me” might come across as distant or disconnected but it ends up helping me perform better and feel more “whole” in the workplace.

Ultimately, the goal of living authentically at work is to create less dissonance in your life, which will lead to greater well-being an happiness. My next step is to determine ways to stay accountable to these 4 authentic tips.  How do you live authentically at work?  What are some ways you keep yourself accountable?

xo vm

monthly moment: january 2015

Monthly Moment is a community where you are encouraged to share a single photo – few words – capturing a moment from the previous month.  A simple, special moment that you want to pause, savor, and reflect on. The January linkup will be open until February 29th!
 Beer Breakfast

mmmmm….BEER.   Every other year one of our favorite local pubs, Brick Store Pub, hosts a Breakfast Pancake Yard Sale in which you can sample delicious coffee stouts and buy their overstock glassware at a low cost.  This year Brick Store was not hosting their bi-annual event so my friend, Alexa, decided to take matters into her own hands and hosted her own breakfast beer event.  We all showed up in PJs (cause why not) and spent the morning sampling and rating a variety of breakfast beers.  I picked this photo because, yes, I enjoy beer, but also because it is the perfect example of my Atlanta friend group and their excitement for keeping things interesting. Whether it’s attending concerts, taking weekend trips, exploring new restaurants, or simply frolicking on the Atlanta BeltLine, they are always making the most of every day and I greatly appreciate them for that quality.

In case you’re wondering, my personal favorite was Creature Comfort’s Koko Buni (:

click link below

 Loading InLinkz ...

  1. Post your Monthly Moment on your own blog.  Posts from FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are also welcome to be linked up below.
  2. Link back to this site so others can see your photo.  You can use the button and the linkup (below) to connect with other bloggers. (Please note entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.)
  3. Link up your posts on any day of the month.
  4. Share your posts on social media with #MonthlyMomentLinkup and #JanuaryMoment
  5. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!! Visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them an encouraging/motivating comment.  This is such an important part of the linkup!  The purpose is to encourage each other and build a community.
Milagros Moments

recently: favorite wellness pins

Can you believe it has been over a year since I created our Wellness Community Board on Pinterest?  Initially this board was intended to serve as a visual space for us to share resources about living well.  Since “living well” means different things to different people, I have been pleasantly surprised by the variety of pins shared on the board.  Below are a few of my recent favorite pins:

Pinned by Kimberly White at UAB.Wellness Pin_White

Pinned by Chelsea Truesdell at UofMaryland.Wellness Pin_Truesdell

Pinned by Caitlin Still at Wholesome Wave GA.Wellness Pin_Still

Everyone is welcome to join the community board – comment below or email me (vmroman18@gmail.com) to be invited to the group.  For my fellow bloggers out there, this board can also serve as an opportunity for you to shamelessly promote your own wellness posts or blogs by your favorite wellness idols.  Bragging is allowed (:

Still not convinced? What if I told you that infusing positivity in your surroundings can boost your happiness?  That’s right. More positive images = an increase in happiness.

BONUS! If you are an SApro  on Twitter, I recommend you also explore #SAwellness.

Pin away, friends.  Pin away.

xo vm

try this: 6 creative ways to check-in with your students

5 creative ways to check-in with students

According to my MBTI type (ENFJ), I am extremely people-focused.  I understand and care about people and have a talent for bringing out the best in others.  I tend to have a strong need for close, intimate relationships and I will put forth a lot of effort to maintain those relationships.

Ever since I first took MBTI in undergrad, I’ve found all of the above to be SO TRUE.

Since I enjoy tuning into emotions, I am energized when I am able to create unique opportunities to “check-in” with my students and gauge how they are doing.  To me, “check-ins” are an opportunity to reconnect with students and to learn more about them more holistically, outside of their leadership role in relation to my advisor role.  Quite honestly, lately I’ve noticed that when my schedule (or my students’ schedules)  gets busier, we tend to go straight to business and forget the importance of checking in with each other so I thought I would share a few of my favorite, creative (and easy!) ways to check-in with students.

1. Fun-on-One

Turn a regularly scheduled one-on-one into a fun-on-one by doing something different than the norm.  For example, for my fun-on-ones I’ll recommend going to a local coffee shop, getting ice cream, having a picnic, or taking a walk around campus.  Sometimes we’ll even run errands together! Changing the environment and the tone of the meetings helps check-in with students in a dynamic, informal (yet energetic) way.

2. Reverse Bucket List

It feels great to reflect on the things you’ve accomplished.  Instead of focusing on things you have yet to do, a reverse bucket list is made up of amazing milestones you have already achieved.  When I ask my students to complete their own reverse bucket list, I’ll prompt them to reflect on how they were able to achieve that list and how they can apply that to their current/future circumstances.  This prompt helps them reframe their perspectives and gives them a confidence boost while also giving me a glimpse into their past.

3. Mind Map

A mind map is a way to visually represent ideas and concepts. It is a thinking tool that helps  you analyze, comprehend, synthesize, recall information while generating new ideas.  Mind maps can be simple or complex, depending on the student.  It is a great tool for students that have a lot on their minds and need a little help organizing ideas or making meaning of their experiences.  Bonus if you are able to facilitate that process by helping them get started (:

4. One Word

In this activity, I prompt my students to use one word to either 1) describe how they are doing at that moment or to 2) reflect on a particular program/event.  After they’ve had some time to reflect on their own, they are each asked to share their word.  This process can be particularly powerful because the students often select a word that conveys an emotion so they are able to adequately describe the experience.  Ultimately, this helps students identify shared experiences and provides some common language for conversing about those experiences.  It also gives you (the advisor) insight into how the group is doing as a whole.

5. Index Card Feedback

This activity is similar to “One Word,” except students are asked to anonymously provide feedback on the back of an index card.  When the cards are completed, they are thrown in the middle of the circle and the facilitator will reach each card anonymously.  Again, this helps students identify shared experiences and provides some common language and structure for conversing about those experiences.

6. Postcard Home

Ask your students to visualize a postcard they would send to family or friends from home.  What image would be on the front?  Who would they send it to?  What would it say?  The image, text, and who they would sent the postcard to each promote a different level/perspective of “checking in” with your students.  This is a fun way to encourage your students to create a ‘snapshot’ of how they are doing and share those experiences with you and each other.

I hope this list is helpful.  I would love to learn about your favorite ways to connect and check-in with students — please share by dropping your comments below.  Also, if you’re looking to add some positivity into your work routine, I recommend exploring Sinclair’s blog: The SA Pro Next Door.

xo vm

monthly moment: december 2015

Monthly Moment is a community where you are encouraged to share a single photo – few words – capturing a moment from the previous month.  A simple, special moment that you want to pause, savor, and reflect on. The December linkup will be open until January 31st!
 
One-Year Anniversary
If you follow me on Instagram then you probably recognize my #DecemberMoment.  This is a photo from the day Adam and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary.  Adam is especially busy during the holidays so we didn’t have anything grand or extravagant planned in case he got called into work.  At first I was a little annoyed we couldn’t commit to a plan (I’m a huge planner, as you know by now) but in the end I was so thankful to spend time with him that it didn’t matter what we were doing.  I know, I know…this probably sounds incredibly cliche and lovey-dovey but it really was an important realization for us to come to together.
If you’re interested, click here to read the original post.

  1. Post your Monthly Moment on your own blog.  Posts from FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are also welcome to be linked up below.
  2. Link back to this site so others can see your photo.  You can use the button and the linkup (below) to connect with other bloggers. (Please note entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.)
  3. Link up your posts on any day of the month.
  4. Share your posts on social media with #MonthlyMomentLinkup and #DecemberMoment
  5. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE!! Visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them an encouraging/motivating comment.  This is such an important part of the linkup!  The purpose is to encourage each other and build a community.

click link below

 Loading InLinkz ...
Milagros Moments

reflecting on 2015: year of grace

original image from http://www.maiedae.com/

original image from http://www.maiedae.com/

A few years ago I explained why I don’t like making new year resolutions.  As a result I’ve been focusing on changing/creating habits that help me reach my “simple goals.”  Since I started reframing my approach to resolutions, I’ve noticed I’ve been able to  describe each year with a one-word theme:

2014: Fulfillment

Many exciting changes took place in 2014.  I earned a graduate degree in Student Affairs, married my high school sweetheart, moved back to Atlanta, and ran my first (and quite possibly my last) half-marathon.  All these changes taught me to seek personal and professional fulfillment, which sustained me throughout these major milestones.

2015: Grace

Throughout undergrad and grad school I was striving for perfection until I learned achieving perfection is impossible.  In 2015 I learned to accept and be proud of my imperfections.  I learned to hold myself and others around me to a standard of grace, which has made me a MUCH happier person.

2016: ???

This year I want to overcome my struggles with impostor syndrome and work on believing in my own inner strength.  Although I don’t yet know what the theme for 2016 will be, I know I want to have a greater focus on self-confidence and resilience.  As a result, one of the simple goals I want to establish is incorporating reflections into my daily schedule by reading The Book of Awakenings by Mark Nepo and journaling in The 52 Lists Project by Moorea Seal (a lovely gift from my brother- and sister-in-law).

Daily Reflections

And in case you’re wondering….

Top 5 Blog Posts of 2015

  1. #SAwellness Interview with ACPA President
  2. Guest Post: Dirty Shoes
  3. Monthly Moment: October 2015
  4. Reflecting on Leadership Development
  5. 10 Tips for Work/Life Balance

Top 9 Instagram Posts of 2015

Top 9

This year has been filled with laughs, goofs, and LOTS of random dance parties.  Thanks for continuing to support my blogging journey!  What are your simple goals for 2016?

vm

guest post: dirty shoes

A few weeks ago my colleague and friend, Natalie Raymond, shared a beautiful post on freeing yourself from your own expectations of perfection.  The post resonated with so many individuals I felt inspired to share it here, with her permission.  It is a great reminder  to hold ourselves to a standard of grace.

I got these shoes in January 2015. My first pair of converse. I was in love with them and determined to keep them white, as white as they came in the box. These shoes went with me everywhere. Bars, comedy shows, breweries, work – wherever I could fit them in. They’ve walked through Delaware fields at music festivals, university sidewalks, parades, Georgia backwoods, reunions, the Gulf Coast beaches.

After months of protecting them, one day it changed. I found my beloveds ankle-deep in a mud hole in St. Louis. I was devastated. Ruined. I had ruined them. It didn’t matter anymore what I did to them because they were no longer white. They were brown. And they could no longer be perfect. I actually had a breakdown that night. I was upset. I had been so careful so why did this have to happen? The mud came out after a few washes. But it didn’t matter. The damage had already been done. These shoes wouldn’t be the same.

Right. These shoes wouldn’t be the same. They’ve been too many places and seen too much. Of course they’re not the same. These shoes have stories to tell. That mud didn’t ruin anything. It freed everything. They’re grass-stained, lined with mud, dotted with a pen. Now anything else that happens to them won’t be so bad. Hardly noticeable. And even if so, it’s another story to tell.

Sometimes I regret getting them dirty though. Sometimes I regret ruining them. Maybe if I hadn’t, I’d have fresh sneaks to wear with my outfit. But then I wouldn’t have my stories. And I wouldn’t truly be living. ‪#freeyourself

For more insights from this wonderful being, follow Natalie on Instagram and Twitter.

monthly moment: october 2015

Monthly Moment is a community where you are encouraged to share a single photo – few words – capturing a moment from the month.  A simple, special moment that you want to pause and savor. October linkup will be open until November 31st!

monthly moment: october 2015
This was our campsite at Anza Borrego State Park, outside of San Diego.  There’s really nothing quite like completely unplugging yourself and spending a night under the stars with friends, old and new.  I also enjoy most situations where it is socially acceptable to avoid showering.  This photo was taken before we headed out to explore Slot Canyon.  Let me know if you have hiking/camping recommendations in or near Georgia!

  1. Post your Monthly Moment on your own blog.  Posts from FB, Instagram, Twitter, etc. are welcome.
  2. Link back to this site so others can see your photo.  You can use the button and the linkup (below) to connect with other bloggers. (Please note entries completely unrelated to the theme or linked to your homepage will be deleted.)
  3. Link up your posts on any day of the month.
  4. Share your posts on social media with #MonthlyMomentLinkup
  5. THE MOST IMPORTANT RULE >> Visit the person’s blog who linked up directly before you and leave them an encouraging/motivating comment.  This is such an important part of the linkup!  The purpose is to encourage each other and build a community.

click link below

 Loading InLinkz ...

xo vm

Milagros Moments

learning to be selfish: takeaways from discussing wellness and self-care with college students

Fall Retreat 4

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of facilitating a wellness session for our Fall Retreat, an annual, weekend-long program for students, faculty, and staff members sponsored by our Office of Religious and Spiritual Life for the past 30+ years.  This year’s theme was “Be SELFish” and focused on self-care and wellness.  Our college chaplain oversaw the opening and closing programs while the Director of the Center for Healthful Living, Amanda Yu, and I coordinated the workshops of the retreat.

Session 1: Wellness Dimensions Assessment
The objectives of this session were to define wellness, introduce the wellness dimensions, take the wellness assessment, and unpack the assessment results.  We started with this session because we wanted to provide students with a common language for discussing wellness.  Overall, the self-assessment was a great prompt for students to reflect on the specific dimensions of wellness.

Session 2: Arranging Your Weekly Schedule
This session, lead by Amanda, focused on identifying personal priorities and learning how to manage time in a way that reflects those priorities.  Amanda prompted the students to  fill out their calendar for the week (classes, meals, sleep, etc.).  Then they were asked to look at the free time and determine how to best utilize those free blocks to meet the priorities previously identified, including those identified in the first session.

Interestingly, this was the first time many of our students allowed themselves the opportunity to reflect on wellness in their own lives.  Although they had occasionally considered the concepts of “wellness” and “self-care,” it seems they rarely/inconsistently allowed themselves the time and space to reflect on how those concepts are lived (or not lived) on a daily basis.  These sessions turned out to be great conversation-starters because they provided students with a common language to maintain these conversations both internally and with their peers.  As a result, as the day continued, the students seemed more comfortable openly reflecting and engaging in conversations about their own wellness and self-care.

One of the biggest takeaways from both of these sessions was that many of our students do not think they have control over their own schedules.  Students reflected that their class schedules are determined by what is available and their co-curricular involvements are determined by their peers’ availabilities to meet.  While they might have free time to prioritize self-care, they don’t realize they have that free time until they make an intentional effort to fit self-care into their schedules.   There is a disconnect, a lack of intentionality, that is preventing them from taking full ownership of their daily routines.

Even when students were able to identify free time for self-care in their schedules, Amanda and I noticed there was still some push-back.  Since one of their most salient identities at this time is “student,” they feel that prioritizing anything that  deviates from that identity is not in-line with their perceived expectations.  

Where are these perceived expectations coming from?  What does this say about the messages we (student affairs professionals) are promoting to our students?

Fall Retreat 1

Fall Retreat 2

Overall it was a wonderful weekend for recharging, re-centering, and reconnecting.  I’m thankful I had the opportunity to engage in these conversations with my students.

xo vm

Photo credit: Tony Nguyen