Peace, Love, & NIRSA : Reflection & Purpose

“We do not see things as they are, we see things as we are.”  – Anais Nin

First an apology for not posting last week.  We were both attending our annual conference, learning, growing, and networking.  Time with computer access was limited but we are back at it this week.

There are/have been many instances throughout my life and career thus far where I remember saying “I just don’t understand why…” “How can they do…”  “Why don’t they see it this way?” “Why would anyone thing …. Is ok?” The answer?  Perspective!  My perspective on life is open, I embrace the diversity of the country we live in.  I support the rights of others to follow their path in the way that makes sense to them, and I believe that everyone is entitled to their opinion.  However, once that opinion turns to hatred, it is a bit harder to understand.  My perspective shifts when the question is that of human decency.  And I find myself again wondering “why.”  That being said, we work in a profession where differences are embraced and celebrated.  A profession where leaders stand up for what they believe in and support those who need a little extra support.  A profession that regularly tries to be the bigger person, and stays away from confrontation.  And for that, I am proud.

The annual conference gives me time to reconnect with colleagues who have become more like family.  It gives me a chance to re-energize (can I coin the term Rec-Re-Energize?).  I get to network and grow my network.  I get to learn and grow and find new ways to step up and serve my organization.  And most of all, I come back to my office refreshed and ready to take on the remaining few months of the academic year.  Ready to change things, ready to restructure things, and ready to act on my new ideas.  Although the vibe at the conference this year was different due to a political conference with incredibly different “perspectives” sharing the conference center, the content of the conference was better than I remember experiencing at any I have attended in the past.  We had bigger picture sessions, more content applicable to multiple program areas, less siloed topics, and more opportunities to teach our young professionals and students a bit more about what to expect as they move forward along their career path.  Our opening session set the tone with Ben Nemtin from MTV’s The Buried Life, author of “What do you want to do before you die?”  (watch his Ted Talk here) speaking about the importance of verbalizing your big goals and sharing his story of success – and may have been the main highlight of the conference for me.  So much so that I actually used the title of Nemtin’s book as my question of the day at my last leadership meeting – best response “Sword fight a Narwhal.”  The remainder of the sessions focused on Leadership, Career progress, Mental health, Generation Z, Member retention, Staff Training, Team dynamics, Risk Management, fitness and wellness, collaborations, goal setting, Civil Discourse, and Diversity.  Topics that can be advantageous in any area of our field to members at any level of experience.

That word pops into my head again. PERSPECTIVE.  The fact is, we go into the conference often with an open mind and an open heart.  The speakers, sessions, and social interactions and make or break the conference experience for anyone – but isn’t it all about perspective?

By: Caitlin

“Nothing can stop me, I’m all the way up”- Fat Joe

NIRSA times are the best of times. I always come back from the NIRSA Annual Conference jacked up and ready to continue making a difference in my student’s lives and those around me. This conference is a time to be exposed to new ideas, programs, and people. This year was no different and we were pushed even further to self-reflect and stand firm in our core beliefs by an interesting pairing in the same convention center.  While working at a university it is quite easy to fall into a pattern and not think outside the walls of your rec center.

img_0142During the opening session of our conference, we were asked: “What is one thing you are going to do before you die?”. Given a brief moment of reflection, my answer was to become the president of NIRSA by 2040. This has been something I have been throwing around since 2012. #Harvey4NIRSAprez2014

The mic opened up and a few of us ventured up to share our goals. I took a deep breath and stated, “I will be NIRSA President by 2040.” I never really believed that I was going to do any extraordinary until I fell into Campus Recreation. The association has done so much for me personally and professionally; I want to be that person that inspires others to follow their dreams. I want to be able to know that I did as much as I could throughout my life to really reach as many students as possible and help in any way I can. Every year the NIRSA professionals I meet and continue to foster relationships with inspiring me. I want to be that person that has a positive impact on just one person.

How will I become NIRSA president by 2040 you ask? I am following these six steps from The Buried Life.

6 Steps to Making Dreams Happen (The Buried Life)

  • Figure Out What is Important
  • Write It Down
  • Talk About Your List
  • Be Persistent
  • Be Audacious
  • Help Others

Keep a look out for our work and personal bucket lists! Let us know what is on your bucket list!

Peace, Love, and NIRSA,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s