One month from today, I’ll get on a plane and fly farther away than I have ever traveled to help families I’ve never met and explore a country where I know about three words. Although not much has happened in the way of preparation lately, the trip seems quite imminent this week. I chalk it up to work finally slowing down enough that I can breathe and think about anything other than the new semester starting, but suddenly, it feels like I’ll be leaving any day.
There is so much more to do to prepare, but as I reflect on where I am right now, a few things stick out.
Lesson 1: It takes a village.
While at the SHARE conference, I’ll be meeting one-on-one with parents who have questions or concerns about the college experience in the U.S., so this week I started a Google Doc with a bunch of resources, steps and considerations I suspect might come up in those conversations. While it was fun to explore different resources and find some things that I hadn’t known about before, it was even more fulfilling to connect with colleagues around campus and get their input for what I should share with these families.
While there’s a lot about going to college that I could easily spout off, there’s also a lot I don’t know. The admissions process is like a mysterious second cousin to my advising world. I know where students should go, but how does that process actually work, especially for students with potentially unique high school experiences? Go to the government website to fill out FAFSA… but what resources can I hand to students so that the process is more clear? There is too much knowledge to be stored in one head. It takes a lot of us to keep this boat afloat.
Lesson 2: We are not meant to do this alone.
I can, and prefer to, do a lot of things in my life alone. An extreme introvert, I crave my quiet time, and I need space for reflection and solitude.
But humans are not meant to do things in solitude. Community and the connections it brings are what keeps people moving forward, personally and collectively. That’s why this is a conference, a gathering from all reaches of the globe. That’s why we gather on the weekends to nurture our spiritual health. Community is why we gather.
Lesson 3: You are perfect for who you need to be today; you are completely inadequate for who you need to be a year from now.
The other night, I was talking with a dear friend, and this interview with Ed Mylett came to mind in so many ways in our conversation. Please, take the time to watch it. We are all perfect exactly how we are for who we need to be today. But we all need to find a better version of ourselves for who we need to be a year from now.
I’m perfect for who I need to be in this moment, but I’m completely inadequate for who I need to be a month from now when I get on that plane. There’s work to be done.
Lesson 4: Dressing professionally in cold weather is beyond my proximal development.
Sounds silly, but it’s so true. I’ve lived in temperate climates for my entire professional career. Even in Virginia, where snow was plentiful, it melted quickly and rarely stayed below freezing for a whole day. Now I’m facing more than a week of temperatures probably not above 32 degrees, and I have very little reference for what one should wear in such a climate. Pre-packing this weekend will show if the boots and pants I recently bought will provide enough options to make it through the trip.
If you’ve been to Hungary and have any advice, I’d love to hear it!
Ways Stay in Touch:
- Blogging here leading up to and during the conference.
- Instagram @meganunedited (beware the ridiculous number of dog photos I post)
- Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to help sponsor me and my sister’s trip.