Reminiscing 2020

I can’t believe that 2020 is finally coming to a close! This year has been the Takabisha Rollercoaster of years. Amongst the obvious reasons of COVID, the Presidential Election, and the continuing fight again racism, homophobia, etc. I went through a lot as well. 

In January, I was on boarding a new supervisor after I was not selected for that position. It threw me off my game and I struggled. It was then that I decided to overcome my fear of counseling and talk to someone. It was also the point in time where I figured out that I was worth more than what I and others thought for me. 

Mid-February was a pick me up month where I was able to reconnect with some of my closest Kappa Sigma Brothers at our annual Great Lakes Conclave in Chicago. It is not a perfect organization, but it’s one where I’ve found individuals who have had my back, supported me and it has made me a better individual. 

Almost immediately following that, in the beginning of March, I was in community with the ACPA family at our 2020 Convention in Nashville where it was fulfilling, affirming and I survived the Nashville Tornado

Then 2 weeks later, 17 March, yes St. Patrick’s Day, we were notified that staff would be going remote due to COVID19 and 18 March began Remote Work. The transition was a bit of a mess for me as I am not a remote type of person. But over the course of the following two months it was a wild ride of figuring out what student engagement was in a virtual world. It was also a challenge in establishing a new context for my relationship with the husband who was also working remotely.

Then I was placed on furlough in May. I went through a lot of mental gymnastics during the time I was furloughed. I read and wrote daily. But I also grew a lot during that time.

I did, however, pick up my TikTok game in a major way during furlough and it’s been one of my fun and creative outlets throughout this year.

Then in mid-June I was offered a new position on campus as the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming. It was the 2nd time I had attempted to interview for the position, so it was great to finally be selected for the position. 

During June, was also when the BLM Protests began to increase and my fraternity, for the first time took a big step in initiating a temporary task force to delve into the organization and review it through a diversity, equity and inclusion lens. For the 5 weeks of July, I was in space with 9 other Kappa Sigma Brothers reviewing, writing and talking about all things DEI and where our organization was with it. It gave me hope that we were taking the overdue steps to move our fraternity forward. The Brotherhood is Inclusive Recommendations Report wasn’t able to cover everything but is a catalyst for how to move forward. Shortly after the report was accepted by our International Officers, I was appointed to the newly created Commission on DEI. 

In late July I started my new position and from there it’s been a daily rollercoaster learning all that is RSOs at Michigan State. Its been a fascinating adventure to start a new role in this remote world and navigating learning a new division, new colleagues, and new atmospheres. 

Then in September the MSU Vice President that I was newly working under left for a new position and the Vice President from the division I had just left was overseeing us. I had a moment when this was announced and still have them at times. I loved my work with University Activities Board, but I had struggled with the divisional leadership style and approach to the work, which was ultimately the foundation of why I pursued other opportunities. It was that time, where I did some research and discovered the LMX Theory of Leadership which helped me to put things into perspective and understand why I wasn’t happy in that division. But being able to leave but then be brought back into that environment put me into some really weird space and it’s been a struggle to stay on top of my game at times.

It was about this same time I decided that I was ready to begin my PhD journey. And I started the application process. It took a lot to over come my imposter syndrome and fear of “fitting in” with the academics of higher education to take this step.

Over the course of the Fall there was major depression and anxiety going on for a plethora of reasons. I am not the type of person who can settle easily into the quarantine life. And Michael and I continued to reframe our relationship in this remote COVID world. 

Earlier this month I was awarded the Bronze Apple Award by the MSU Interfraternity Council for significant support to the Fraternity and Sorority Life at MSU, which was a great honor and huge surprise!

This week, I was able to move into my office on campus since no one would be in the building. We figured it would be a good time to free up my RAV4 and get things into my new office and not have to worry about distancing. That was fun and helped to start setting my head straight going into break for the new year when I would return to work.

Then last night I got word about the PhD program. Unfortunately I was not accepted and I’ve been thrown back into the imposter syndrome world of self doubt and uncertainty. But give me some time and I’ll be in a better space to write about it. 

But through it all, I’ve learned to become my truest champion. I’ve come to recognize my ability to truly self-author my journey through all the highs and lows. I’ve also begun to set boundaries; saying “no” and stepping back from some relationships has been huge. Saying what I need and being authentically me has been freeing. I’ve also come to know who my truest champions in life are who are in this journey with me through the good, bad and the ugly.

Needless to say, that while 2020 was basically;

It has been a great year of growth for me. I’m excited for 2021 and can’t wait for the adventure that it will hold for me!

Thanks for being with me on this written journey of my life this year!

Until next time

Peace, Love, and Pandas!

Published by Brian

I am currently the Assistant Director of Student Life for Registered Student Organizations and Late-Night Programming at Michigan State University. After earning my B.A. from the University of Michigan-Flint, I entered the Student Affairs profession. After a few years in the field, I returned to school and earned my M.A. in Educational Leadership-Higher Education Student Affairs from Eastern Michigan University. In my spare time I blog about my thoughts and musings on current issues in higher education, student affairs, digital worlds, identity development and general life inspirations and observations. I also volunteer a lot for my fraternity and multiple regional and national professional associations.

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