Now that J.K. Rowling has broken her silence about the final installment in the Harry Potter Series, I thought it a good time for me to also return from seclusion. See summertime in Admission can be described as a state of relaxation, reflection, and preparation. Continuing with the "tion" theme, I'd also add vacation and procrastination to the mix, the main reasons why I did not update the blog the last few weeks (sorry). During this time, we Admissions people catch up on our reading (some read books other gossip/entertainment websites); we actually take our lunch breaks (often more than just one hour); we enjoy deep philosophical conversations (about admissions practices or the World Cup); and all in all, we slow down and relax just a bit.
See the ride is a thrilling one, but after all the climbs and falls, curves and loops, twists and turns, we need to get off the ride and collectively catch our breathes. (((Hope you like the roller coaster metaphor, I thought it appropriate for summertime and plus I am huge roller coaster aficionado. If you are too you must visit Cedar Point Park in Sandusky, Ohio.))) From September until May, Admissions is not a full-time, 9 to 5, 40 hour/week job but rather it becomes a lifestyle. It consumes you, especially the passionate ones like myself, and in the end you are left physically and mentally drained. But see there is that light at the end of the tunnel that is the summer months. A perfect span of time that is just long enough to help re-charge those batteries and get ready for another whirlwind admissions cycle.
OK, enough with the excuses for why I didn't post. Let's get to the important stuff, what have I been up to. Besides vacation which I have been enjoying a lot of, I have been spending my working hours organizing, planning, and brainstorming. I have cleaned my desk, organized my files, arranged my email folders and hard drive files, and created a new filing system. For most that is a couple of days work; for an extremely anal retentive person like myself those projects took about a month and I am still fine-tooling my new organization system. My label maker (a joke Christmas gift my sister gave me about six years ago) and I have been very active.
More related to my assigned responsibilities, I have been working on my fall travel schedule which will include a couple of trips to New England in September and October, as well as a jaunt through Pittsburgh for our National Conference. I am looking forward to this travel as one of the weeks in New England will be a series of group travel programs, and while at the conference I will actually be presenting with colleagues from a couple of other well known institutions about the growing trend of Admissions blog.
In addition to travel planning, I have also been very active brainstorming new and improved ideas for Hopkins Interactive (H.I.). The members of my Student Admissions Advisory Board (SAAB), who you know as the various bloggers and message board responders, have passed along some fantastic ideas about how to upgrade H.I. as well as some really innovative recruitment ideas that I hope we will be able to move forth with this coming year. Much more to follow on those initiatives later in the summer.
For one of my numerous summer projects, I need your assistance. As a way to continue to promote the H.I. blogs, Esther suggested back in the winter an idea for a "Best of the Blogs" book that could be displayed in the Admissions lobby. The idea is to put together a collection of the best blog entries from the past year, bind them together in a pseudo-book form, and put a few copies on display for visitors to flip through while waiting in the Admissions lobby. Currently we provide various Johns Hopkins brochures and also a selection of magazines to keep our visitors entertained before a tour departs or information session begins. But wouldn't it be more enjoyable to read about real experiences from real JHU students while waiting. We all think so!
So how can you be of assistance you ask? Well, we need suggestions for which entries of the past year should be included in a Best of the Blogs book. Listed below are links to our 8 student blogs and our Guest Blog. (I've also provided links to the student profiles if you want to learn a bit about the blogger before reading through their entries). The H.I. blogs began in October 2005, and each has been updated quite recently.
Your task is to read through the entries and pick your favorites. Nominate your favorites by adding a comment to this blog or emailing me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. To nominate a blog, please include the blog's main title or its author, the title of the specific entry you are nominating, and the date it was published. Remember you are nominating specific entries, not selecting your favorite overall blog -- so don't forget to use the Archive menu along the right side of each blog.
We are all quite excited about this Best of the Blogs project, and are really curious to receive your nominations and read your comments. And for the prospective students out there, this mission will not only be fun but quite informative as you learn about what life is really like as a Hopkins undergraduate. Happy searching!!!
Best of the Blogs
Hopkins Guest Blog -- Blog link
P.S. Just a note on the pictures from the last two entries. See, I got a new camera. My first digital camera, an Olympus Stylus 710 (is that any good?) and I have gradually been learning how to use it. This picture is the wall adjacent to my desk, which contains many wonderful distractions for me - from pictures of Soze and my family, to some of my favorite cards of all time, and my talking Yoda who answers hard questions for me (such as whether I should admit students - j/k). Sorry it is blurry, I am still learning. What this does mean is future blogs will have more fun photos, I hope.