Two months have passed since my last blog post and I know you all have been wondering where did AdmissionsDaniel go? Don't worry, I'm still here and I am finally making my triumphant return to blogging. I was actually going to write a few days earlier but thought that it would be more momentous to return exactly two months to the date of my last post.
So here I am in Fayetteville, N.C., sitting on an uncomfortable Days Inn bed, with an inconsistent wireless connection, listening to my dog Soze snore like crazy on the other bed, tired from a 10-hour drive today, missing my TiVo so I could watch one of the many shows I have missed lately, concerned a bit with how strong the rain sounds outside, and avoiding watching my horrific N.Y. Mets play against the Nationals. With all that going on, I thought what else to do but blog.
I find myself in this interesting scenario as my second summer vacation has come to an end and I head back to Baltimore from Viera, Florida. (More on that to come below.) I am looking forward to finishing the six-hour drive back to Charm City tomorrow morning, as there is a lot I need to get done both work-related and personal-related (none more important than catching up on Rescue Me, So You Think You Can Dance, Entourage, and Big Brother).
So why the absence?
I wish I had a great reason for taking two months off from blogging, but alas there is no great story. Chalk it up to a bit of blogging fatigue, numerous days off during the summer, and the typical admissions cycle turn-over -- finishing off with the Class of 2013 and starting to focus on the next recruitment/application cycle. With the summer being more than half over, it is time to kick things back into gear. I have to focus on a ton of work projects to complete in the coming weeks, hope to still get the chance to enjoy one more summer vacation, and you all will be happy to hear that I have a notebook worth of blog topic ideas to keep me busy through the fall. But before looking ahead, this entry is about looking back ... what's been up with Admissions Daniel over the last two months???
Farewell to the JHU Class of 2009 & Prepping the Class of 2013
As I detailed in the last post before my hiatus, saying farewell to the Class of 2009 was quite difficult for me. The Commencement ceremonies got me quite emotional as I said goodbye to a class full of students who I had truly connected with. Thankfully, I have and will continue to keep in touch with them as they pursue a myriad of unique post-graduate experiences. (And I know they all will be submitting alumni blogs this coming fall.)
A lot of my time since Commencement has been focused on making sure the incoming Class of 2013 is prepared for move-in and orientation at the end of August. Since last summer a handful of University colleagues and I have been part of a New Student Portal committee, preparing a paper-less system for incoming freshmen to process online all the important documents that converts a an enrolling student to new freshman. This project of maintaining the New Student Portal "To Do List" for incoming freshmen as well as being a mainstay on the Class of 2013 Facebook Group has been a primary focus of mine and I hope the system has worked well to prep the 1350+ freshmen arriving in about six weeks. Over the coming weeks with a special Summer Blogging Contest and the application cycle for the Student Admissions Advisory Board, I look forward to getting to know the freshmen class even more.
Getting to Know My New Nephew & Watching My Niece Grow Up
As anyone who has followed this blog for a while knows, my family means the world to me. Over the last few years I have numerous times shared stories and pictures of my lovely niece Lilly. Well in April my family grew by one with the arrival of my nephew Cooper. I know I alluded to his birth in my previous posts, but it was not until the end of May did I actually get to meet the little guy. And guess what ... he is more awesome than I thought he would be. Just check out this slide-show of the dynamic duo of my niece and nephew ... Lilly Brooke and Cooper Daniel:
And yes, moving forward there will be many tales of both Lilly and Cooper as they grow up and get ready for their college application process (too soon???).
Teaching My Dog Soze To Dive
As much as Lilly, and now Cooper, are mainstays of my blog entries, my dog Soze is also a constant topic. As he turns 7 1/2 he continues to do well and remain my eternal best friend. For both of us the months of January through May were a bit of struggle as my hectic work schedule prevented us from having much social time. Additionally, with the fact that my family moved last year from southern New Jersey (a two-hour drive away) to central Florida (a 16-hour drive away), Soze and I were no longer able to take long weekends to connect with the family and relax. So at the end of May we packed up my Trailblazer and headed down south to spend two long weeks of relaxing, swimming, and re-connecting with the family. The first vacation was so great that Soze and I headed back down to Florida again in mid-July ... this time it was much harder to leave.
Our two summer vacations to the Space Coast in Florida was primarily spent relaxing. I played numerous rounds of golf with my Dad, prepared an amazing present for my parents' 40th anniversary with my sister, played uncle as I talked about above, and became a huge fan of the Space Program like my Mom (read on for more detail). However, the main goal of this time in Florida was to get Soze more used to swimming and specifically teaching him how to dive. It took some time, but after the purchase of a plastic purple turtle, Soze took to swimming and diving like all labradors do ... to the point that I had to force him out of the pool. Slide show proof:
Became a Super Fan of the Space Program
During my childhood I didn't really get all involved with the Space Shuttle and space exploration. I do remember the day of the Challenger Explosion, the first real tragedy I remember in my life, and I was a huge fan of Star Wars (the movies not the strategic defense system), but I wouldn't say I was a space junkie. Well that has all changed now as over the last two months I have witnessed two of the most amazing things in my life. First I had the chance to watch as the Space Shuttle returned to Kennedy Space Center on the back of a 747 and then just last week my own eyes witnessed the launch of the Space Shuttle Endeavor. Both times my heart-pounded, my eyes filled with tears, and was overwhelmed with such positive emotions. I am hooked now, and will be keeping up with NASA regularly now.
I would be remiss if I didn't note the significance of my writing this blog on the 40th anniversary of the moon landing in 1969. I can not wait until that momentous day in the future when man walks on Mars ... I have all the faith it will occur in my lifetime.
So there it is -- a wrap-up of what I have been up to the last two months. Not a ton of work-related news, but the summer isn't really about working, is it? Well it will be for me when I return to the office on Wednesday.
I did reserve one story from the past two months, but it was such a unique event I feel it deserves an entry on its own. So check back later this week for my next entry ... which will be entitled "A Reminder Why I Love What I Do."
And since so much of this entry was about my family, I had to share these pictures too: