Exactly twice in my life I have prefaced commentary by explaining which author’s material I am reading. First there was Anthony DeMello, and now John Taylor Gatto. When I have turned to these and other authors to expand my awareness, my perspective winds up challenged. For some time I have wanted to study the hidden curriculum, but a want is not enough. Now I find myself asking how a greater understanding of the hidden curriculum benefits college students.
In June, I started a clothing line for allies with a percentage of the proceeds to fund scholarships for transfer students. (The Shop link above takes you to my Bonfire page.) Experience tells me that what I wear could help me connect better with students. At Zoom University where students can't see my Safe Zone or Recovery Ally stickers, do I assume they know I am their ally or even understand what an ally does exactly? If the warmth of my voice and energy tells half the story, why can’t my shirt name it, too?
A peek into my drafts folder revealed how the wee hours of Thursday, February 27th began. "This second go at buying a home is proving far more anxiety provoking than the first. Questions travel only so far to meet delayed answers. I find no sleep sitting at this desk surrounded by emptying boxes of tissues, and feel only the chilling weight of being benched until Monday because of flu." Exactly two weeks later, everything fell. Campuses hurried online, businesses shuttered. From a basement-level apartment, I watched neighbor after neighbor fill their cars and move out at all hours of the day and night. The confusion, disappointment, and growing fear amidst a global pandemic became palpable.
"Ours is not to reason why, ours is but to do and...(die)", so sayeth The Beast to calm an ever-agitated Wolverine before their mission to save astronauts from an exploding space station and the damn Shi'ar in the 90s animated X-Men television show. A few things my students know about me are: 1) That I care, and 2) Marvel over DC. This scene is from an episode beginning Phoenix's saga, whom few know as my favorite character in the Marvel Universe. All ways that Phoenix/Dark Phoenix plays into the Jean Grey/Rachel Summers storyline brilliantly represent the triple-moon goddess in her best and more terrifyingly powerful of seasons. Although I can't give Beast all the credit. They (did Beast use They pronouns?) were actually giving a nod to Alfred Lord Tennyson's Charge of the Light Brigade. This poem is not of curiosity to me as much as the futility of asking students "Why?" during helping sessions.
If you have been here recently, you might notice a post missing. “Being fat in higher ed”, originally written November 29, was removed following the temporary unpublishing of this blogsite. Also on the topic of missing things, I heard Jean Twenge, PhD author of iGen talk last week and what she had to say moved me closer to narrowing down what I want to study next.
As a debate rages on in my mind over doctoral programs, I find comfort in advice I got recently before graduation. Although a bit generic, it was sound advice. Essentially, the break I was taking is over. 2020 is the next blip on my radar, and I want it to count.
When grad school ended I took a beat before moving (again) then teaching. I never set out to be a classroom instructor, but the experience of teaching has become an important aspect of the service I provide. Now I fundamentally accept academic advising as teaching whereas before, I understood the connection but did not fully buy-in to the concept. As with advising, there are times I have to unlearn what I thought I understood about the classroom environment. The student and professor who show up for each class are brave because learning can be an uneasy, vulnerable thing.
Ideas are part of the value I bring with me to a campus, and I constantly think of where creativity and inspiration breathe three-dimensionality into the practice of academic advising. It is not just the advisor and student who live, it is the energy of their collaborative session. I hope for things to grow from that session for the student, and for myself as the teacher. When I reread The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz a couple of months ago, I could not help but reflect on how these four wisdom practices can show up in my work with students.
Last week I was asked where I saw myself in five years. I would like to report that I gave the perfect answer, but I did not. I gave an honest answer, and that is not the same thing.
I am taking a much needed break from paper writing to share something from my day. The institution I advise for holds Preview Days for admitted students, during which they can tour facilities and speak to faculty, staff, and current students to get a fuller sense of the degree programs and opportunities awaiting them. Two new students came up to our advisor's booth today with their parents, and I overheard one student say that they would be in their academic advisor's office All. The. Time.
Nearing the turn before graduation, I find myself thinking back to last July when I lived in Virginia. A new life awaited me in Georgia. Movers were loading up everything I owned into a Budget rental van while I furiously typed the final paper for my Career Advising course. The irony of hammering out a paper on delivering improv activities at a new student convocation during a whirlwind weekend move 10+ hours away was not lost on me. Reflecting on this time, I think about promise, sacrifice, and the improvisational catchphrase "Yes, and..."
Tomorrow is March, how did that happen?! Time has really flown by, and in the blink of an eye I will finish graduate school. In the meantime, I have some work to do. Part of that work has entailed getting very clear on my intentions about how to proceed in the advising profession. Building a platform as a writer takes time, and I suspect that getting a root canal may be an easier enterprise so I'm taking this on one piece at a time. The first of which is my article electronically published in the current issue of Academic Advising Today, released this morning by NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. Comments and feedback welcome.
Academic Advising Today, one of the electronic publications of NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising, will publish an article I wrote on shame recovery and image rebuilding through academic advising in March. For readers who are not members of their organization, I will inquire about publishing a link to the article here. Thanks for your support!
The start of my first fall semester advising students arrived, and like a tornado, left stress in its wake. My hair was a mess of untamed frizz for nearly two weeks! From what I understand about myself, I handle stress best in two ways: running and writing. Both have to happen if I want to release the physical and emotional tension stress creates. I was at my limit before finally asking for help, which is not a healthy practice, but something we all have to overcome.
In her book Rising Strong, Brené Brown writes about a significant part of the creative process that does not get much love. It is the part when (as she puts it in another of her books) you are in the ring daring greatly, but definitely getting your ass kicked for trying. Are you in the middle of a project, facing uncertainty and feeling incredibly vulnerable? Are you uncomfortable and ready to bail? Brown calls this Day Two after a training experience where no one could make the second day easier, but everyone said it was necessary (Brown, 2015).
For my College Student Development course last semester, we had to develop a case for teaching and learning. This case would serve as a teaching tool for at least one theory we were learning. When writing this paper, I had a few theories in mind, but mostly I was inspired by a co-worker who has Myasthenia Gravis (MG) to create a fictional student case featuring a student who suffers from an auto-immune disease. Who, despite her own health challenges and emotional upheaval, is committed to her dream of helping care for others.
Thankfully, there were a couple of opportunities this past semester to bring a creative approach to my work. In my College Student Development class, I demonstrated my understanding of Ruthellen Josselson's Theory of Women's Development by illustrating her identity formation stages in characters from Shakespearean plays. Monologues were used from Romeo & Juliet, A Midsummer's Night Dream, The Taming of the Shrew, and As You Like It. To sweeten the deal, I uploaded my interpretation of each monologue to SoundCloud so readers can hear these women dance through search and commitment into realizing their own identity.
Advisors are expected to know how they can aid the struggling student in achieving better results academically, and it makes me wonder how to best handle a multicultural student's concern when their struggle is not learning-based. I believe there is a connection between the struggle of students and that of actors, and when rooted in Shame Resilience Theory, advisors can learn powerful ways to encourage engagement, performance, and persistence. If there is any merit to this parallel, then advisors aren't only challenging and supporting the academic progress of multicultural students. Advisors are also helping students seek out resources needed to manage their vulnerabilities.
If you were a visitor to Wilds of Learning prior to Friday, it may look a little new around here. That is because we are celebrating the end of a challenging semester, and the almost half-way point of my graduate school career. Yipee! I promise to give you more details about the challenging semester part, but for now, please enjoy the updates to the site while I tackle a few more items on my to-do list before the summer semester starts in one week.
(Originally posted January 14, 2018)
I was working in a graduate admissions office when I decided to return to school to get a graduate degree. Life certainly has a way of showing you what you want before you realize you want it.
(Originally posted December 31, 2017)
Earlier this year, I took a leap into the barely known and wrote what became an initial draft of my personal academic advising philosophy for a NACADA eTutorial. Afterwards, I tucked away a printed copy safely in a notebook on my desk. Whenever I opened the notebook, it would stare me down. This went on for eight months.
(Originally posted November 24, 2017)
As the fall semester draws to a close, I consider all that I have learned thus far in my first two graduate classes. One thing that comes to mind is this idea that research papers, essays, and reflections can be considered more as discussions than words on paper. A jumping off point for further research down the road.
(Originally posted November 24, 2017)
In a previous Learning Principles module on Peak Performance, I reflected on a particular essay by Op-Ed columnist and author David Brooks adapted from his book The Road to Character. Brooks has this fascination with individuals who have found a way to share their inner light with the world. He decided to have this experience as well, and so began his discovery into the concept of character.
(Originally posted November 6, 2017)
A recent assignment for my Foundations class required introduction of two or more advising approaches and their delivery to three student cohorts. We were also invited to incorporate organizational structure, and identify which advising strategies work best for each of our selected cohorts. Ultimately, we were tasked with creating advising programs for three cohorts. I found writing this paper to be a significant challenge for me, given my limited advising experience. However, I felt this paper was an improvement over a previous one I submitted.
(Originally posted October 29, 2017)
I like to run. A lot of people do. Though as an adult, I never ran before this year. I used to be that person sitting in the back of a room shaking their head. "Not me," I'd say, "I wouldn't run unless someone was chasing me." Then one day I woke up and all I wanted to do was run.
Creative reflections on academic advising and learning
Cultivating dual resilience: Teaching shame recovery and image rebuilding through academic advising.
Unless noted otherwise, all content copyright 2017-2020 by Tanya Wineland.