“Happy New Year” by Shelly Morris Mumma

Happy New Year!!

Sounds weird to hear that when most people consider this the middle of summer, doesn’t it?  However, this phrase fits best for me right now…not January 1st.  This is the time of year when everything begins again.  I have a new group of First Year Experience mentors, new student employees and a whole new group of first-year students coming to campus.  I also have a birthday soon and for one glorious moment I feel like I’m ahead of the curve at work.  When I was still taking classes (whether undergrad or doctoral), it was when all my textbooks and notebooks were brand new and just asking to be read or written upon.  And, there’s something exciting about a brand new book that hasn’t been opened (I know – I’m a nerd).

I’ve already spent time reflecting on last year while I was completing my annual report.  I know what I’d like to improve and what I should keep doing the same way…at least for one more year.  And, as I lived through the past year, I already criticized myself for anything that I thought went wrong.

This is the time of year when I decide what I want to accomplish for the year, both personally and professionally.  And, if I want to make change, I’m much more likely to stick with it now than in January.  My habits for the academic year are set shortly after Labor Day and I have a hard time switching it up midstream.

So, it seemed the perfect time of year to share some resolutions.

  1. My first goal is to continue to get more involved with NASPA.  I’ve volunteered with ACPA and NACA, now I’d like to do some work with/for NASPA and I’ve taken a step in that direction by formally working with the Women in Student Affairs (WISA) Knowledge Community.  I look forward to spending time putting information out on the resource website and communicating that to others.  You should visit the site at: www.delicious.com/WISA_KC. (I couldn’t resist putting a plug in here.)
  2. My second goal is a personal goal.  My daughter is beginning her senior year in high school this fall.  While it may seem that she needs me less, I want to make sure that I’m there for her as much as possible as she begins to make the transition to becoming a college student….in a non-helicopter parent kind of way.  I can’t wait to see what this transition is like from a new perspective, because I know it will also give me new professional insights as well.
  3. My third goal is to do the best I can at work everyday that I’m there.  I want to be a role model to students and staff about how to keep trying when things are busy or difficult, how to make time for professional development, how to communicate positively with others, and how to be aware that it’s just time to go home for the day.  Sometimes knowing when to go home is really the way to continue to do your best at work because it helps you stay energized and excited to be at work.  It has always been my goal for work to not feel like work…most of the time.

That’s all.  It’s a short list, but those goals are anything but small.  In my mind, those three goals are about creating my lifestyle for the year.  They’re about being at work as long as I’m needed, but also remembering to focus on my needs and the needs of my family in a way that won’t make me feel guilty at the end of the day.

Of course, I could have a ton of other resolutions.  I wish I was one of those people who could have a clean desk at the end of everyday before I leave the office.  I wish that I wasn’t an email hoarder (my inbox currently has 7,137 messages in it, and that’s not including the folders where I have intentionally saved other emails).  And, I wish that there weren’t so many days that I leave my office with more work in my bag intending to accomplish it at home (although, sometimes the bag comes back to work without anything having been done).

The resolutions that I’ve picked out for the year might help to get at some of these desires, but the other side of this is that I’ve been in this profession for almost 20 years now.  I know myself. I know how I work best.  And, I have long since forgiven myself for a number of imperfections and realize that perfectionism can be my enemy.  When I believe something has to be absolutely perfect, it makes me freeze.  I can’t make decisions.  I can’t act.  And, ultimately, I’ve learned that my colleagues, my students and my family are okay with my imperfections, because at the end of the day they know they matter more than the stack of papers on my desk and the number of emails in my inbox.  And, those relationships are really the areas where I believe it’s important to excel.

What are your New Year Resolutions?

Connect with Shelly on Twitter:@ShellyMMumma

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2 Comments

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2 responses to ““Happy New Year” by Shelly Morris Mumma

  1. Chaya Sandler

    Shelly,

    I really appreciate the reminder that late August/early September can be treated as a new beginning for most Student Affairs areas. As a practicing Jew I celebrate the Jewish New Year (Rosh Hashana) in the fall, and the holiday has led me to be more reflective around this time of year in general. I have always loved using both Rosh Hashana and January 1 to reevaluate any resolutions- personal or professional- I have made through the year.
    This post is also really relevant to me at the moment, as I have recently started a position at a quarter institution where there is no real end of the year for students since they can graduate after any quarter. Thank you for the reminder to take this time to reflect and create resolutions during even if fall resolutions are weird to others!

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