Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Heidi's Blog Update #15

Good afternoon WC avid blog followers! :)

I hope you all are watching the Olympics more than you're reading this blog though; crazy amazing the talent those athletes have!  Missy Franklin is only 17 and has already won her first, individual gold medal at the Olympics!  What a feat!  I can't imagine ever being able to swim that fast.  And the girls' gymnastics is so competitive and rigorous.  Our US girls look like robots of steal with those game-face expressions.  I have to be honest, I am insanely jealous of their athletic talent...and probably more specifically the insane amount of muscle they have...yikes!  I remember doing gymnastics when I was little, but that career didn't last long because as soon as my older sister quit, I did too.  I was in that "monkey-see, monkey-do" stage and refused to continue in gymnastics if I didn't have my best friend with me.

Haha...while I'm on this distracted road of lost thought...I remember one time when my sister and I were younger, we decided to take a karate class for some reason.  We went to the first lesson and were just dying laughing at all the noises they told us to make.  Any time we moved, we were supposed to shout, "Hi-yah!" or something of that sort.  We couldn't contain our laughter, were barely invested in the exercises themselves, and did not return for any other sessions.

Now that I'm older though, I regret not giving dance more thought when I was little and when my friends were so involved in it.  Watching the show "So You Think You Can Dance," makes me kill for that kind of training and I wish I had found a passion for dance sooner.  The same goes for my gymnastics experience, and probably a few other activities, sports, etc. that I should have given more attention and devotion at a younger age.  When you get into college, everyone tells you to explore your options, stay open-minded, and not to be afraid to try new things...why didn't someone tell me that when I was three! ;)  And how could I have forced myself to believe them of the importance of trying new things!

Anyways, that's my little tangent...I'm sure we all have opportunities we regret not taking and secret passions that we may not have the competitive talent for but bring us happiness and joy.  I suppose it's my lesson to myself to continually grow and try new things, regardless of age, talent, how intimidated I may feel, etc.

But back to today's work and WC news...I walked on over to the Registrar Office this morning to finish up the files I began yesterday.  I think I only had about five or so left, so that didn't take too much time and then I migrated to the WC to finish adding the pictures to our WC website.  Everyone looks lovely and I got those all posted.  The information on the site is mainly up-to-date, but some things need to be rearranged and given a little more flavor.  Hopefully Manderson and I will be able to get some work in on that front and in implementing the changes Dr. Bob approved of a bit earlier in the summer.

Well, time for a quick workout, shower, some laundry and packing with the Olympics on, and then the big move from Murray to the new apartment tomorrow!


- Heidi Heaton

Monday, July 30, 2012

Heidi's Blog Update #14

Today was a day packed full of Writing Center business.  I began my WC day in the Registrar at 8am this morning to look through profiles necessary for picking students eligible for an extra Writing course.

It seems like my Writing Center job has had many "offices" lately...either my papasan in my room, laptop in place, the Olympics playing :) or the Heritage Office with Kelly Allen, the random day spent in the Public Relations office behind the front desk, and now the back room of the Registrar's Office looking through loads of files. :)  It actually keeps things interesting, moving around that much.  Oh!...and of course, can't forget the dear old WC itself. :)

As much history as I've mentioned this job uncovers little by little for me of our campus and its past life (alongside my Heritage Office work), it also opens up my eyes to all of the nooks and crannies on campus, the side conversations between staff, their lives and what they value.

After I worked until 4:30pm in the Registrar Office (when it closes), I headed over to the WC to work on our website for a bit.  Over the weekend I worked on updating our WC consultants page so that we now have our incoming staff accounted for as well as updated information on our current staff.  I'm also incorporating the photos used in this summer's newsletter to the page so not only do we all have our name, year, major(s), and hometown listed, but there's a face to accompany those facts. :)  

Tomorrow what my day holds in store is another trip to the Registrar which should allow me to finish-up most of the files I have left, and then I'll head back to the WC to touch up the website again and put in some more photos of our staff.  That should keep me occupied for most of the day, then I'll check back in for alls y'all ;) and then I have to move eeeevvvverything from Murray to my new room in Schlarbaum (all day Wednesday that is). :)  Just moved furniture there today...with some help from Manderson (much thanks to him), and now it should be all set for me to throw my stuff into it...very excited!!

Well that should cover business for tonight...plants were watered today too by the way, so hopefully they won't die on my watch. ;)

'Til Tomorrow,

- Heidi Heaton

Friday, July 27, 2012

Where has all the writing gone?

Instead of an update on WC work, I thought I'd just share a few thoughts...

When I'm asking, "Where has all the writing gone?" I suppose I'm also pondering how much communication has changed and continues to change year after year.

Remember when we didn't even have cellphones?  I know...just barely!  My mom always talks about how her and my dad would have to call someone's home phone if they wanted to ask someone out on a date and work their way through siblings or parents first before they had a chance to speak with the person they were actually intending to call.  Now we have cellphones that allow us to direct contact to whomever we wish to speak.  But then with cellphones came texting...and conversations that look something like this:

what up?
nm. hbu?
hw nd more hw, lol
u should just copy, jk, lol
haha, i wish, ttyl

There's barely a complete word or thought anywhere in there!  When I was working with Upward Bound a few weeks ago, several of the students were talking and someone didn't know what "nd" meant in a text until another student clarified that it stood for "and."  "Why can't you just spell-out 'and'; it's only one more letter," I asked, and they immediately responded that it was "cooler" to be able to text and still have your message understood using the least amount of letters possible.

Don't get me wrong, texting is an insanely easy way to get a quick message out and I use it all the time to get in touch with people, but boy is it changing how we communicate with one another.  Sometimes I don't think people are even savvy to the skill of sending a professional email anymore.  Where's the introductory line?  The closing?  Why on earth is the subject "hello"?  How am I supposed to understand the significance of the email from that?

I'm certainly guilty of communication barriers too.  I've just become more attuned to this change in communication recently because of my brother's induction to the U.S. Naval Academy.  My brother has a "plebe summer" before he starts his academic year, but during the plebe summer he is not allowed a phone or personal computer, so the only way to stay in contact with him is through letters.  Writing that first letter to him felt strange because I could not remember the last time I had sent a letter in the mail.  Granted, my letters to him have to be slightly different in content than your normal correspondence because he never has time to send a reply, so they are mainly supposed to keep him thinking positively and supplying up-to-date information and chit-chat about what's going on in my life to allow him a welcome distraction every so often from the rigors of becoming part of the Navy.

Writing these letters, however, made me think more about how much an effect words can have on people, the importance of communication, and how sometimes we lose the essence of a genuine, heartfelt statement in all the jumble of letters we allow to signify words in our text messages.  Texting my brother "luv u" doesn't give off quite the same feel as receiving a letter in the mail that reads, "I love you very much!"

Over the course of the summer I've also received the occasional letter in the mail from a friend or postcard and even these quick notes seem to have more impact than a text.  Sending a postcard isn't just a quick thought, but a message that took time to write, stamp, mail and is patient enough not to require an immediate response that texting usually demands.

Am I going to be elated once my brother gets his phone back in Annapolis from the Navy?  Absolutely!  But I'm appreciative for the opportunity, although somewhat originally forced upon me, to re-experience the treasure of writing a letter.  And most of my joy that he will have his own phone comes from the knowledge that I can actually call him and hear his voice, rather than consistently sending him impersonal texts.

I do realize that I am writing this post with less experience than others in our tech savvy world.  I don't have a Facebook or Twitter, and I certainly recognize how valuable these sites can be in sharing pictures and staying in contact with friends and family who may be hard to visit on a regular basis; but boy do I miss the days when you were forced to talk to someone face-to-face, when relationships grew through multiple dates and outings and began and ended through human-to-human contact rather than via a change of "relationship status" online.  Technology is great, changes lives positively, and ensures progress, but every now and then I like to be old-fashioned...sometimes forced into it, sometimes voluntarily...and send a letter, leave a voicemail message, or who knows, maybe go really crazy and talk to someone in person!

Anyways, just thoughts, maybe write a letter to someone who's important to you and give a try to a different mode of communication...I guarantee it will be well received. :)

- Heidi Heaton

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Heidi's Blog Update #13

Hey all, it's me again!  Can you believe it's going to be August in less than a week!  I feel like the summer started off at a slow crawl but is now speeding by.  Still very few people on campus, just the usual faces of student workers and the random visitor now and then...we all love each other, but miss the hustle and bustle of students the school year brings.

Heritage Office work this week has consisted of more revisions on articles for the Alumni Newsletter and today I spent a good amount of time looking through photos dating back to 1939 in the Public Relations Office.  That was super entertaining to say the least.  Plenty of old photos of faculty members and several current photos from this past years dances and such.  Every time I complete another task for the Heritage Office I become more aware of all the history that's a part of a college campus.  It's crazy to think about how many students came before me, lived in these dorm halls, went to Flunk Day on the same quad, but also how the campus has changed and grown in even the smallest ways over the years.

I recognized several photos as having the famous, "walk of shame" sidewalk on the library quad, but not as our typical desktop background (for some strange reason...why don't we have an up-to-date photo Coe), but as an actual part of campus with students roaming around and on their way to class.  There were also photos of College Drive when it wasn't as furnished and paved for use, parks that were only dirt and tractors at the time, but always a constant was the smiling faces and perfect harmony between the students and their professors.

But I wasn't just perusing through photos for funsies; many of the photos I found will be used for a scrolling backdrop to our donor page for the heritage office website.  Many of the faces, for me, were all a blur because I did not recognize any of our older alums, but as Kelly Allen paged through the photos I had chosen, she couldn't help but stop and smile at alums she has been in contact with and built-up relationships with for years, sharing stories with me as she perused the old photographs.  I can't wait to meet these alums in person at several dinners the Heritage Office will be holding in the near future.

Also in the near future I'll have to do some more perusing but this time through some profiles for work in the Writing Center, as well as some updates to our WC website.  Today I edited bits and pieces of the site, changing minor things that weren't up-to-date, like our new location in Lower Gage, and also making minor grammatical and spelling edits.  Most of the work I'm hoping to save until next week when Manderson and I get together to discuss the changes we'll be making because some editing might not even be necessary if we change certain parts in any drastic way.  I enjoyed watching the videos we have on our site though.  It was nice hearing past WC consultants talk about our Writing Center and also how little the atmosphere has changed over the years, which I think is a testament to both the quality of our consultants and our director, Dr. Bob.  The Writing Center has always been a place of great comfort to its consultants, visiting peer writers, and the occasional faculty member seeking some freshly brewed caffeine. :)

Well I believe that may be all the updates I have for now, but don't worry, there will most definitely be more to come!


- Heidi Heaton

Monday, July 23, 2012

Heidi's Blog Update #12

So our Upward Bound program has finally come to an end.  This summer ended up being our last summer program here at Coe due to several disappointing circumstances and this upcoming year of tutoring will be the last year for tutoring for the kids on campus.  It was hard to see the teary faces Friday evening when we got back from Omaha and kids began packing up their rooms to leave.  This program means so much to them and their families, builds a foundation for them to construct an academic future on, and gives them hope, confidence, and pride in their own potential as students and individuals.  I was so blessed to have had the opportunity to be a part of the program for even just one year, and will not forget the difference these kids made in my life.

In other news, Manderson and I have been consulting over the WC website and conversing about how best to approach the new changes we will be making this summer.  We had a phone conference the other day with him being in Wyoming (suuuuper jealous, cause that state is my home away from home) and me finishing up work with Upward Bound.  We decided to devote almost every waking our of our lives to the WC this upcoming week from the 30th to the 3rd to solely collaborate on the website.

I've also had time to discuss more with Dr. Bob the goings-on of our summer writing exercise.  As the students send in their submissions, I reformat them all to have 12pt font, Times New Roman, 1'' margins, and single-spaced paragraphs.  Dr. Bob and I also discussed some files I will need to go through in the near future and assume this will occupy a lot of the hours of work I still need to accumulate for the Writing Center this summer.

My work with Kelly Allen and the Heritage Office is still going very well and I will be meeting with her tomorrow to discuss some revisions we have to make to the two articles I have written, as well as the third interview and article I will need to begin shortly about our last feature alumni.  If you want to learn anything about the writing process, I suggest going through the process of interviewing people and writing and rewriting articles produced from these interviews.  I have great respect for news-reporters because of all the time, dedication, and revision that goes into those articles.  It is such a skill to write articles that can both touch your readers but yet keep the writer independent from the piece.  I usually find I have an easier time writing when I can incorporate some of my own experience or nuances into the writing, but when you're writing an article featuring someone specifically, you still need to be captivating and capture the essence of that featured someone, but yet keep yourself out completely from the actual tones of the piece...very tricky business.

Also in regards to my other job on campus, I just received a list of the first-years who will be in my FYS this fall--my caplets--who I am super excited for and I can't wait to begin writing my second letter to them, as well as brainstorming themes for door decs with my co-CAP leader, Josie Visser.

So although Upward Bound has come to a close for now until I begin our last year of tutoring in the fall, I am still staying incredibly busy with the WC, Heritage Office, CAP responsibilities, and trying to incorporate some downtime into my packed summer schedule. :)

Hope your summer is all fun and sunny skies!

Your WC Correspondent,

 - Heidi Heaton

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Heidi's Blog Update #11

Hey there first-years, current WC staff, and dear alums. :)  Can you believe it's already the middle of July?!  This summer seems to be FLYING by with the next school year around the corner before we know it!

I only have one more week for Upward Bound and cannot believe I will be saying goodbye to the kids in only six more days.  I realize I mentioned UB in previous postings but did not specify what the program actually involves.  Students ranging from freshmen to seniors in high school from the Cedar Rapids area participate in the summer program which allows them to take courses throughout the week which serves to prepare them for their next high school course, responsibilities and assignments they will be challenged with in college, and allows them to accumulate high school credit as well for many of these courses.  My week starts with a 6pm staff meeting on Sunday and ends when the kids leave Friday around 3pm.  Then during the week we also have Core Group Activities for our approximately, ten kids, which can range from sand volleyball games, to DQ trips, to picking up trash.  We also had our UB Olympics with various sporting and academic events at Upper Iowa University with two other UB programs, and on Thursdays and Fridays we have fun activities such as bowling, going to baseball games, skating, doing service, and college visits.  This coming week is our last week, so when finals conclude classes on Tuesday, we will then prepare and pack for our Major City Trip to Omaha, Nebraska from the 18th through the 20th.  I'm incredibly excited for the trip!  It should be a blast and a great way to end the program. :)

Our day of service yesterday was a great opportunity for the students to get involved in the community and to see how easy and fulfilling it can be to give back.  The group of students I accompanied went to the Habitat for Humanity office off of 6th Street where we helped sort, move, clean, and repaint furniture, as well as construct shelving units.  After several hours of volunteer work and before we left for Coe and lunch, I spoke with Joe who is in charge of many of the activities at the Habitat office.  He was incredibly appreciative of our help there and spoke of the amazing amount of opportunities available to serve and volunteer there.  Joe mentioned needing people involved in writing to interview people, take photos and write articles for the Habitat office.  He also said the students in any of the high schools nearby, as well as students at Coe, could volunteer there anytime and that they would be happy to have the extra hands.

When I mentioned I work in Coe's Writing Center, Joe was thrilled, gave me his card, and was very interested in any help we might provide to Habitat for Humanity.  I was involved in our Volunteer Committee my freshman year, not this past year, but saw this as a great opportunity for our consultants, and more specifically our Volunteer Committee to get involved, particularly where it involves those interested in journalism and photography.

I have also been busy with work for the Heritage Office.  I have interviewed one of Coe's Physics professors, Steve Feller, as well as two of Coe's older alums now living in Florida.  I am currently working on the articles for these two interviews.  Through this job I've discovered what a careful process it can be to interview others, how important it is to ask the right questions, like when we're consulting other students and need to draw-out the right thoughts that will lead to a better paper.  Writing the article itself also involves lots of writing, rewriting, revising, editing...and then repeat that process.  It's really interesting though to conduct the interviews and to be involved on campus in ways I  haven't in the past.  There's so much history behind both the campus and the people who keep it functioning.

Also just a side note for you first-years, the next timeframe to submit your summer writing exercise is approaching, July 16th-19th, so happy writing!  Remember...all three responses to the prompts should be submitted in one document.  Please and thank you! :)

- Heidi Heaton

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Heidi's Blog Update #10

Wow, I'm incredibly jealous of that 60 degree weather in Norway Miss Anna!  Everyone here at Coe is currently sweltering in 100 degree weather, high 80's or 90's at our low, haha.  Lucky for me I have been mostly indoors on dorm duty for Upward Bound or taking the kids to movies, Planet X and other activities that provide air-conditioning. ;)

This blog update's coming at you from the WC directly as I work on converting the first-year summer writing exercises to like formats.  I just finished the first chunk of submissions from our June time frame and all our first-years have kept my job relatively pain-free by mostly choosing 12 point font, Times New Roman, 1 inch margins, and single-spacing.  I would like to include a quick reminder to any of you new Kohawks out there that you should include three responses, one for each prompt, in your submission.  All should be completed and sent together...please and thank you! :)

I am not inhabiting the WC alone though.  Today Tim Salis, a soon-to-be consultant of two years this coming fall, has joined me in the WC.  He's been spending his time reading the first-year book selection, A Primate's Memoir for his Writing Fellow class-to-be.  Not a bad book at all we both agreed.  The author is incredibly entertaining.  My personal favorite section was when he described his privacy being invaded by elephants in the middle of the night when trying to use the restroom...much to look forward to if you haven't quite hit that spot yet! :)

Ah well, time for some lunch...Tim and I decided to walk to Wendy's or something to procrastinate our work a bit and fill our stomaches!

More to come later. :)

  - Heidi Heaton

Sunday, July 1, 2012

The CWC Abroad

Hello from Norway!

It looks like Heidi's taking good care of the blog, but I wanted to sign in and say hi from sunny Bergen, Norway - the land of the midnight sun. I'm here exclusively for family (today marked the end of a fabulous family reunion weekend) but I still think about the good old Writing Center. The multitude of cousins, uncles, and aunts who I'm meeting for the first time keep asking "what do you study at university in the states?" I answer honestly, saying english literature, and the immediate response has been "oh, so you write a lot?" I haven't really explained the writing center yet, since there's a bit of a language gap, but I am reminded of it every time I'm asked about writing.

While everyone at Coe seems to be boiling hot, I'm wearing a fleece vest, sweatshirt, and coat most days. Bergen has been unseasonably sunny this summer, according to the locals. Most years it rains a lot, in short but strong bursts. None of the showers seem to last more than a few minutes, but everyone's said to keep an umbrella with us at all times. However it's only rained once so far! The weather's stayed around 60 degrees and pleasantly sunny the whole time - sorry, Coe people.

While we're talking about the Writing Center abroad, check out our Coe Links and Study Abroad sections in the sidebar on the right: we've listed a few of our former consultants' study abroad blogs (which are still fun to read) and have a couple current consultants' blogs in there too! It's fun to see what everyone's up to. It's a shameless plug, but our staffers are a pretty cool bunch. Check it out.

Short update, but oh well. Since I'm not at my own computer I can't add any pictures to this post, however when I get back, I'll add a shot of myself here in Norway (it's absolutely beautiful). Enjoy!

  - Anna H.