Sexual Assault Awareness Month: Programming Style!

I just finished up the last of my two programs for Sexual Assault Awareness Month–this one on men and gendered violence. It was exciting, as these things go, because we had a guest speaker and people I didn’t tell to show up also came. Educational programming will cause you to lower your standards real quick-like.

The first program involved our director of RES Life and focused on the Oxford College implementation of the Emory University assault policy. It was mostly attended by women, which was expected but always a little frustrating–women are most likely to be pressing charges under conduct, but men need to know what the policy covers in case their conduct is questionable or in case they are assaulted.

That being said, I was glad people came, and I do think it focused on something that more schools our size need to focus on–making sure students know the details of the policy and the process for going forward under school conduct board should the survivor choose to do so. Of course, as the speaker (my boss’s boss, for full disclosure) is a school employee who runs the process, she was more cheerful than I think the situation at our school deserves; sometimes it felt like valid student concerns (like the lack of minimum sentences for conduct violations, or concerns about the massive underreporting at Oxford) were being ignored, but small, significant changes are being made and that is at least something better than what we started with. Continue reading

How I Wound Up Freelancing

At my building staff meeting tonight, the question of the week (our little closing ritual) was where we saw ourselves in five years. It being Emory, half the group answered “med school.” I said that I was planning to be working in the Smithsonian by then, but on second thought (after much debate among the med school kids about whether residencies are in a lottery that, I must confess, I did not pay attention to) I said that I might want to run social media outreach for an interesting company. One of my co-workers said that she could see me doing that, and another pointed out that I have job skills that are not like normal college kid job skills.

Though I don’t think I’m unusually skilled, I do realize that my sources of income outside of school–primarily freelance writing gigs–are weird. So, I thought I’d talk a little bit about how I stumbled into getting paid for writing.

I didn’t do paid writing until this year. As a high school student, I spent three years as an editor on the school paper, the last two as the Editor-in-Chief, and that gave me some experience writing on a deadline and a lot more experience with badly-applied AP Style, group writing, and how to manage an illegal install of InDesign and hook up a network the school didn’t want–plus how to deal with our printers in rural Georgia and fiddle with a WordPress supplement that my teacher didn’t want. All of these–particularly group dynamics and learning to work around silly restrictions–were tremendously useful skills, but when I graduated I quit using most of them.

This summer, while working at school, I saw that Kelly put out a call for new writers on HackCollege. I’ve been reading the site since I was in high school (yes, I’m that kid) so I applied. I was accepted, and after a truly geeky happy dance, started writing for the site regularly. I don’t get paid for the site*, but having someone force me to write regularly in a non-academic context made me more confident in my writing abilities and gave me a body of work that other people read.

Continue reading

Vaseline on the Lens of Your Memories

The Dalai Lama wears a sun visor to block stage lights. He is delightful. Image courtesy of Flickr user Ferne Millen. Licensed under CC 2.0.

[photo source]

It has been a busy week, what with it only being Tuesday. First off, today I saw the Dalai Lama speak at Emory, which was pretty sweet. (He had a tiny sun visor!) Plus, tonight my residents managed to fill a UNICEF box in literally five minutes. They are the bomb! Plus, my OpenStudy blog post went up and I registered the Riot Campus domain and life is good.

While at Emory after the Dalai Lama talk, my cohorts and I ran into literally every frickin’ junior at the school that we knew. It was kind of insane. The non-Oxfordians were wondering who the hell the screaming people in the sweatpants blocking the aisles were, I’m sure.

There was an uncomfortable run-in with a member of our group and her Atlanta campus ex. She came to our table, somewhat irritated: “I wish I could quit feeling! I just want an off switch!” I do not know this girl that well, so I didn’t say much, but I wanted so badly to say that I felt her pain. I have been there! It took me six-ish months and a lot of my life becoming awesome to not be there! And even now, with the knowledge that it was a bad relationship and I am better off single and holy shit how awesome is my life right now, even with that, when I saw my ex’s best friend sitting in the chairs behind me today I started to feel physically ill. I don’t think it ever goes away entirely. Continue reading

Busy busy busy!


I learned at my first hall program that syrup comes in cans.

I started off the weekend with my first successful hall program, Banana Splits and Study Tips, so that was heartening. My residents were everything one could hope for–they showed up and ate and asked questions and were generally lovely.

On Sunday, I had an interview for an internship position at OpenStudy, a company that allow students to arrange for study groups with students from all over the world. I was pumped to even be considered for the paid internship position, so imagine my excitement when instead I was offered a job as their copy writer. So, starting sometime in the next few weeks, I’ll be blogging and writing company emails and things for the company.

Continue reading

We’ll See You On Weekends…

This month's bulletin board.

My bulletin board for September. Theme: iStudy.

Today at the all-staff meeting, we learned that our Assistant Director of Res Life is leaving for a position in the Office of Multicultural Affairs at our central campus. This means that as of now, we have literally no professional staff member (aside from the administrative assistant, who I’m fairly certain actually runs everything) that has been here longer than any of the RAs. The news did not go over well. One of the staff members was close to tears. Another asked, plaintively, “How long have you known?” That was taken up with gusto by the rest of the staff–we wanted to know how long we had been held out on.

He reassured us that he’d only known since last Friday, that telling us was painful. “I’ll still see you on weekends!” he said, like that would make us any less upset. It was like we’d just been informed that our parents were splitting up.

Continue reading

You were named for your Yankee grandmother.

Today was almost unimaginably lovely. After a Very Long Night (I had RA duty, and a drunk person jumped out of a window to avoid capture), I woke up to the most perfect early-autumn-in-Georgia weather. The sun was shining and there was a breeze and it was maybe 80 degrees outside. It’s not late enough in the year that I’m stressed out about homework. It was good.

I even managed to be appropriately collegiate and go on over to the Student Center for pizza and drinks with classmates for college football season kickoff. (It was for the free pizza, I admit, but still. I went!) I took the shuttle into Atlanta with a friend and went with her and my family to the Decatur book festival. In addition to the perfect festival weather, it was my friend’s first time going to an event like that and it is always so much fun to see people get really excited about these things. And it was fruitful! I got the Oh Brother, Where Art Thou? tabs for banjo, and an issue of McSweeney’s (number 33–it’s a several-hundred-page newspaper). We even got to go to a recording of The Moth, which was fabulous. The theme was Southern Gothic, and Hollis Gillespie told a story, as did the founder of The Moth. He’s from Saint Simon’s, and his story was fabulous. Continue reading

On Mattering

An abandoned bus.

Buses: bane of my existence. Image courtesy of Flickr user Trey Ratcliff. Licensed under CC 2.0.

Today I had my first big-deal, use-your-people-voice, on-the-job Situation. One of my freshmen residents, on a trip to the Atlanta campus, got lost finding her way to the shuttle station and was scared that she had missed the last shuttle of the night back to Oxford, some 36 miles away. She doesn’t know anyone at the Atlanta campus, and was lost, and was scared. She called her roommate for help.

I was on my way back from an RA scheduling meeting, and happened to bump into the gaggle of my normally cheerful-looking freshmen residents in a group, with a phone on speaker, looking worried–they were talking to my lost resident. They saw me, their eyes lit up, and they handed me the phone. They wanted me to fix things.

Continue reading