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Archive for January, 2009

january-calendarHere we are at the end of January.  Some of us have already made and given up on resolutions.  I haven’t made any yet.  (Maybe I should make one to stop procrastinating!)  The end of January seems like a good time to reassess what we want to do with our new year!

I was looking through my Delicious bookmarks this week and found this blog post by Chris Brogan.  Chris writes about a new way to set goals for yourself.  His ideas of being able to strive for broader concepts that apply to more than one area of life appeals to me.  I loved the idea of this post when I read it the first time and I had every intention of writing my own post about it. (Procrastination again!)  So I decided it was better late than never.

My goals for 2009 are Posture, Openness, Positivity

Posture: I want to use posture in 2 ways:  to help me be mindful of my physical posture (which is horrible) and to  also to adjust the ‘posture’  or attitude I use when I approach other people  and new situations.  I want to maintain a posture and attitude of respect for others and myself. I want to make sure my ‘posture’ represents my true self and my beliefs.

Openness:  This has been an unofficial goal of mine since this time last year.  Joining Americorps*VISTA and moving to Nebraska (see my post here) were the product of keeping an open mind.  Being more open to possibilities and suggestions has made VISTA an amazing experience for me.  I hope to extend the same openness to other areas of my life.  I can be a very closed off person at times and I hope to become more open and accepting of some of the people who I truly disagree with.

Positivity:  My personality is strange in that sometimes I am Ms. Optimistic but other times I drive others crazy with my negativity and unfounded worrying.  I want to stop being so negative and focus on the good in my own life and in others.  Going along with Openness, sometimes my worrying prevents me from taking chances and trying new things.  Thinking positively and worrying less, I hope to just let life happen instead of worrying about things I can’t change.

After looking at my goals, I realized I was going to make 2009 POP!  Yes, it actually was unintentional but I couldn’t let it pass after I realized it.  So what will you do with 2009?

If you need any inspiration check out the comments from Chris’ post and see what others have said!

Photo credit to Rosa Say

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That’s the choice I was presented with a year ago.  I accepted the challenge.  I’m an AmeriCorps*VISTA member.  VISTA stands for Volunteers In Service To America. VISTA’s mission is to eradicate poverty by helping nonprofits and educational institutions establish sustainability.  Being a VISTA entails signing a one year contract to serve.  We have the option of receiving a modest cash benefit or a more substantial education award at the end of our term of service.  We live at poverty level to help us better understand the daily struggles of those we are trying to serve.

VISTA’s can fill many roles in the community but never direct service.  For instance, a VISTA member might help a community organization set up an after school tutoring program for kids but would not be the ones doing the actual tutoring.  I have worked in 2 educational institutions helping them to establish and sustain service-learning programs.  Our students go out and fill needs in the community as a part of their coursework. For example, a student in a mental health class might go work at a long-term care facility for people with mental illnesses.  The residents benefit from increased social interactions and the students benefit by getting the chance to more fully understand what they are learning in class by getting to experience mental illness in real life.

VISTA can really be anything you make of it.  For me, VISTA has taken me out of my comfort zone and given me countless learning opportunities.  I’ve met fascinating people and had the chance to grow as a person outside of the familiar influences of friends and family.  While it’s not without its challenges, I have truly enjoyed my term of service thus far.  I have a few months left and I hope I can make the most of it!

I hope that if you (or anyone in your life) are considering national service, you give it some serious thought.  It’s a unique opportunity to learn and gain experience in any field you choose!VISTAs

Photo by Jon Person on flikr.com

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twitter-birdI joined twitter on September 24th, 2008.  Like many, at first I didn’t get the point.  Having been on twitter these past few months I am now addicted.   The connections I have made have been invaluable! Click

I work in higher education and the resources people tweet about are just phenomenal.  People on twitter are so knowledgeable and so willing to share. Their generosity has allowed me to bring new life to the service-learning programs we have for our students.  Professionally the resources are amazing but the personal connections astound me even more.

People are so friendly!  If you post bad news you receive messages of support and encouragement. Good news yields congratulations and well wishes.  I’m a transplant to the Midwest from the East Coast and the opportunity to connect with people from closer to home has been so nice.  Yesterday I connected with @PaddyShaughn.  We talked about Syracuse where I went to school and where he now lives.  It helps to stave off the homesickness I sometimes feel here. These personal connections often lead to help with other problems too. I often tweet a question before I google it, especially if it’s a tech question.  @PaddyShaughn was able to help me with some blogging questions I had. Thanks @PaddyShaughn!

Networking opportunities abound as well.  I’ve connected with 3 Physician Assistants, 2 of whom are from the AAPA.  I am not sure how they found me but I am so glad they did.  The ability to network and even just chat with people in my future profession is amazing! I’ve been supported and given advice by people who barely know me, yet they willingly share whatever they have.

Once again I come back to the collaboration and openness that is so inherent in the web2.0 environment.  I am drawn by this atmosphere and am so glad someone talked me into signing up for twitter.  I would love to connect with you!  If you are on twitter, why did you decide to join?  (Please don’t forget to leave your twitter name!)  If you aren’t on twitter, why not?

Picture courtesy of http://wefunction.com/2008/07/function-free-icon-set and http://snurl.com/9u28c

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