Building You Up

Yesterday, I had the privilege of heading back to my alma mater to present to some of the SAGrads about social media and personal/professional branding.

Now, I don’t really consider myself an “expert” in social media or even a leader in the #SAField. I’m still relatively new and just coming into my own as a #SAPro, chilling over here in Spartan territory doing my thing. And I tend to just dive in and see what works and what doesn’t for me but if I can provide some insights or resources from my experiences to help another learn then awesome :)

I suppose you could equate me to wholeheartedly embracing Erik Qualman’s Rule of “Fail Fast, Fail Forward, Fail Better”.

Now, it was awesome to share and present to the group. As it was really my first non-conference presentation/workshop, I learned a lot about my presentation style and what I need to work on, and hopefully they learned a lot about social media and establishing a purposeful digital footprint.

But prepping for the presentation was also exciting, because while I was doing so, I was reading through blogs, articles and books galore. It was great having an excuse to HAVE to find time to re-read some of my favorites. As I read through the plethora of material, it was interesting to see that most of the literature and information was specifically targeted for and about our students. Now, absolutely, all the information is translatable to impart to staff. But it seems that there’s an assumption that, as #SAPros/#SAGrads, etc. we know how to establish purposeful footprints and how to mange ourselves, our brands, etc. on social media platforms, etc.

However, let me refer you back to NASPA 2015 and YikYak-Gate. ‘Nuff said.

So, it was great to put together something that could help our future colleagues really understand, how to not only establish ones digital presence, but how to make your presence authentically you and set them on a path of what I guess could be best described as “digital self-authorship” as professionals (of course I had to throw in a little Baxter-Magolda self-authorship).

Now, this is just from my own experience, understandings and interpretations of resources out in the world and how I’ve approached my self-authorship as an individual/professional and my digital stamp. But, check it out, let me know what you think! :)

Build You Up

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Posted in Higher Education/Student Affairs, Technology/Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The End or Get To Work?

So I’m been working my way through the films nominated for the Academy Awards’ Best Picture. The other night I saw The Martian with Matt Damon. Now, I was skeptical at first, but it turned out to be a great film. But one of the very last lines of the film really resonated with me and how I try to approach my work and life.

“At some point, everything’s gonna go south on you and you’re going to say, this is it. This is how I end. Now you can either accept that, or you can get to work. That’s all it is. You just begin. You do the math. You solve one problem and you solve the next one, and then the next. And If you solve enough problems, you get to come home.”

~Matt Damon, as Mark Watney in The Martian

Over time, life happens. You might hit a brick wall, or the steel ceiling. You might have a huge misunderstanding or communication break down and “shit hits the fan”. You might have hit that moment in class when you just want to withdraw and leave it behind. Perhaps its a work issue and the political game has influenced your area too much and it’s no longer functional. Perhaps its an event and the venue floods or the caterer spills all of the vegetarian spring rolls. It might even be forgetting your office keys and you have to radio all day to have people let your into rooms.

And as I’ve traveled my journey I’d like to think that I practice “getting to work”. Taking problems one at a time, and solve it then move forward to the next. But I think that until I actually heard/saw the words of the practice, I never really codified it. But how applicable is it to what we do on a daily basis as Student Affairs practitioners, and really what we do in life.

We get overrun by problems and issues all the time and it can seem as though life and work is impossible. But we can’t get mired down in the number of problems or confused by only talking about them or pulled into a wicked circle of standing by. We just have to start working with one problem, solve it, and then move to the next. Now this is of course the simplest form of this, but the concept is something that many struggle with. But if we can teach ourselves and each other how to take a step back and identify one problem, address it, then move to the next, we’ll get the work done.

the-martian-movie-quoteAnd while we all know and understand this simple life lesson sometimes it’s nice to just have a reminder. So be like the Martian and just step up and start working on one problem and then move to the next and eventually “you’ll get to come home”.

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Posted in Higher Education/Student Affairs, Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Turning and Churning Over Accountability

If you follow me and were on Twitter last night, you know that I was watching the Michigan State of the State Address by our sitting Governor, Rick Snyder. Being a lover of politics I can get a bit wrapped up in debates, hot topics, panels and addresses and last night was no different.

One of the things I was looking for was accountability from the Governor. In particular, in regards to Flint and the #FlintWaterCrisis. Having called Flint home for over 10 years during my formative best years, it has a pull on me. I was scathing in my Tweets and expectations as were many others and rightly so. The leader of the state should take responsibility for what goes on in their state and “under their watch”.

After the #MISOTS16 was over and I got over the #SMH moment of seeing Sarah Palin endorse Donald Trump, I started thinking about accountability and me.

I began to wonder if I were/am/would be able to hold myself to the level of accountability as a leader as I expected of the Governor. To me, I shouldn’t expect more from my leaders than what I would expect from myself.


I thought about a few other situations going on around me where accountability (or lack thereof) is a factor and found myself asking questions.

What do I define as accountability? Where should accountability be applied to and to whom and when?  What should trigger the responsibility of accountability? Is there a difference between accountability and “falling on the sword”? How far should accountability go? And of course, I’m reflecting on how do I example and develop accountability with my students and fraternity brothers I work with?

I have none of these answers. But looking to my future, as a (hopefully) leader in my field, at whichever institution I work at, my fraternity, etc, I’ve realized that I should understand my definition and practice of accountability. I can’t expect others to be accountable when I am not accountable. A leader leads by example. Accountability absolutely requires humility, practice, willingness to put yourself out there and understanding of one’s self, but its is a requirement of all leaders. A person cannot lead without accountability. That is the one thing I have come to a conclusion to within the whirlwind of questions.

So while the #MISOTS16 may have made me want to thrown my computer at my television at points in time, in the long run it was a great #MISOTS16 to help me develop and think about my own leadership and accountability comprehension and practices and get my wheels turning and churning.

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Posted in Higher Education/Student Affairs, Life | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

What the #SOTU Told Me

So the State of the Union was the other day and of course I watched it. Among the gaggle of friends I have chatted with about it, there was very little in between of what we thought about the #SOTU. There were some great one liners, and if you love Obama you loved the speech. If you’re not a fan of Obama you hated it.

I think for me it was a unifying partisan speech and a national spanking. During the whole thing I just felt that Obama had taken American politics and the people across his lap and spanked us for the childishness that we have allowed to transpire thus far in the nation’s Presidential race and other trivial situations which have overshadowed the real issues in our nation.

However, while his words were echoing around the chamber and television and computer screens across the globe, I think the most telling and poignant parts of the #SOTU were the images that flashed across the screens:

The empty chair next to First Lady Michelle Obama


The faces of the presidential candidates

The glimpse of Kim Davis

The divisive support of the President

The facial expressions of Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan

The Ruth Bader Ginsburg hug with President Obama

The the images of the the Little Sisters of the Poor

And of course aging of President Obama, himself, since his first non-State of the Union in 2009 immediately following his taking of office.

Among these images, it told me a story. It told me a story of a divided nation. It told me a story of a people with great potential but mired down in selfish and stubborn attitudes. It told me a story where complacency and ignorance has entered and has encouraged racism, sexism and more. It told me a story of the disconnect with our legislators and the people. It told me a story of the unrealistic and inhumane views of leaders in our nation. It told me a story that being more right is more important than solving a problem.

But it also told me that:

“…whatever you may believe, whether you prefer one party or no party, our collective

future depends on your willingness to uphold your obligations as a citizen. To vote. To speak out. To stand up for others, especially the weak, especially the vulnerable, knowing that each of us is only here because somebody, somewhere, stood up for us.”

~President Obama State of the Union Address, January 12, 2016

Until next time,

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


The new year always means a new perspective. It means lists of resolutions and promises to do better. Gym memberships rise, financial planning skyrockets and optimism abounds.

For me I always have a list of resolutions and this year is no different. I’ve also joined others in the #OneWord initiative. For me, in my inaugural #OneWord Resolution, I’ve decided  my word will be “Enrich”. To enrich my relationships, my understanding of my profession, my ability to develop myself and others, and the list goes on.

But as I was thinking about New Year’s Resolutions and my #OneWord, I was working on some things for my fraternity when I came across a list of words I had created when asked to make a list of five words for where I saw a chapter at, in five years.

It dawned on me that, in the frenzy of resolutions and looking to 2016, I always get tunnel visioned into the new year, as if it were an isolated frame of time rather than part of my journey.

So, I’m keeping my 2016 resolutions, but I’ve decided to have a Five-in-Five List to aspire to and use as a basis for future resolutions and they are:


So we’ll see how this helps guide and keep me focused into being the type of person I aspire to be.

So what would your 5-in-5 List be?

Until next time

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Posted in Life | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Review and Resolve

As we close 2015, I have to say it’s been a crazy awesome year. But the challenges and heartaches have been worth it. I’ve learned a lot about not only myself but my profession and of those I love. So for my last post of 2015 I’m going to Review and Resolve :) #MultaskingMaster.

2015: Top 10 Review:

10-Got to work with some fantastic Kappa Sigma undergraduate Brothers

9-Worked with the Silence Shoot

8-Helped some friends launch their blogs

7-Had the honor of being included in the “Men of SA” SAC book

6-Formed the Kappa Sigma Michigan Alumni Chapter

5-Survived my first year at Michigan State University

4-Was invited to my first AND second podcast conversations

3-Celebrated my 3rd Anniversary with Michael

2-Presented at my first regional and national conferences

1-Helped my great students really embrace their development

2016: 10 Resolutions:

10-See more of my friends

9-Present at another 2 conferences

8-Really embrace my YouTube Channel

7-Visit family more often

6-Balance and manage my calendar better

5-Support others in blogging more consistently

4-Continue helping my students embrace their development

3-Relax and live in the moment more often

2-Exercise and live actively

1-Become financially more stable

Thanks to everyone in my life and who has followed my blog and other social media platforms this year! You’re awesome and it’s such an honor teaching and learning from each other whether professionally or personally.

Love to each of you and I appreciate what each of you bring to my life be it love, purpose, sarcasm, a listening ear or whatever else!

Until next year!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Posted in Life | Leave a comment

Reframing History

Currently one of my many projects is creating a presentation about social media professionalism to present to some graduate students in a few months.

Among the many books I am referencing, is Erik Qualman’s What Happens on Campus Stays on YouTube, and while reading one of the Rules, I thought about a conversation I had with some of my students a few months ago that has been occurring more recently.

Some of my students had found some extra time on their hands and decided to read through some of my history on my Facebook. Now, you can read through it if you’d like, but I’ll be up front and give you the short and sweet version: I was pure DRAAAAAAAAAAAMA. With a borderline drinking problem, self-confidence and depression issues, just beginning to identify as gay and beginning to date men and being faced with some harsh realities of identifying as gay, I laid it all out on Facebook. It was my outlet.

Now to let you know, I know that all that is out there. During grad school I spent 3 months going over my social profiles and removing some of the photos and items I was tagged in that did not represent me or were not part of my life journey. But I consciously have left everything else because I can stand by each post and photo etc.  I can explain how it is part of who I am and how it was part of my life journey. I felt and still feel that I couldn’t and shouldn’t erase my history. It is part of who I am and examples the journey I have been walking. And I shouldn’t be ashamed of what I’ve gone through to get to where I am today. It was a risk to do so, and some may not be able to do that, but had that ability and I felt I needed to be honest with myself and with others about the good the bad and the ugly that has been my life thus far.

And recently it has given me the ability to have insightful conversations with students. Sharing my life and experiences gave them some insights and perspectives to journeys taken by others. It also opened the door to a conversation about learning from life lessons and how the bad is just as important as the good and that both result in how we reach different points in our life.

Now I’ve been contemplating all this for a few weeks now. And as you know there are arguments for separate profiles on each platform for work and personal stuff, or only having one for work or personal use, or hiding personal profiles from students, etc all to help avoid situations such as students looking at your histories online and the life experiences you’ve learned from.  But I’ve come to the conclusion that we shouldn’t be so duplicitous in who we are and what our journeys have been. That the problem is not that we share the bad and what has happened in our lives, but how we share it and frame it on our social media platforms. 

Profanity does not have to be used. Revealing photos or demeaning comments do not have to be used. Being truthful and real about life and work does not have to take on childish attributes.

What is required is honesty, humility, accountability and reflection.

So perhaps it is reframing how we share our lives and our histories on social media rather than hiding or deleting them from our timelines.

For me, perfection is over rated and honestly I appreciate when I see real histories and journeys and can find a confidant and ally in a life journey that we have in common and can understand one another through.

QuoteJust food for thought I’ve been munching on :)

Until next time!

Peace, Love and Pandas!

Posted in Life, Technology/Social Media | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment