Tag Archives: Growing up

A New Chapter

Well, now that all of my students have been told, it is time to announce it to the world. This Friday, September 19th, will be my last day as an Academic Advisor at the Georgia College Center for Student Success. I’ve spent the last week and a half madly fitting in as many advising appointments as possible.

The following Monday, I begin my new journey as the Training Specialist with the Georgia College Department of Human Resources. In this job, I will be conducting needs assessments and implement training and development programs for the university, manage initiative implementation, develop training manuals and course materials, and assist with New Employee Orientation.

My time with CSS has been life changing. My fellow advisors have become my family, both figuratively and literally. Leeann and I both started on the same day, shared an office, and had our friendship grow to the level where our coworkers referred to us as siblings.

Other friendships developed as well. After our move to Lanier Hall, I joined the “BA Corner”  with Rebecca Miles and Chris Lamphere. Eventually, Chris retired, and Nadirah Mayweather filled his slot.

Beyond that, I met my wife through the job. Nikki had been with the department for five weeks when I joined (she had previously been an advisor housed in the Department of Psychological Science for two years). We met that exciting day in August when I first walked into The Bone House. It took a while, but eventually a friendship, then relationship blossomed.

Beyond my colleagues, it has been a true honor to work with some of the students that have come across my path. Watching them learn, grow, and mature has been an immensely rewarding experience.

Likewise, I am grateful for my own growth and learning experiences over the last three years. The mentors I have had in the department have taught me valuable life lessons and experience. They were standing next to me and behind me on the rough days, and celebrating with me on the good.

Monday starts a new chapter in my life. But I will never forget the events of the chapter that is now drawing to a close. And for those events, lessons, and memories, I will always be grateful.

Thank a Mentor

Well, I just realized that Thank a Mentor Day was last week on January 17th. Since I can’t exactly go back and write a post on that date, I will just post it today.

4180_1099963553210_4331864_nMy mentor was known for striking terror into the hearts of both undergraduate and graduate students. His primary area was research methods, which is a challenge for most students anyway. Throw in the fact that you HAD to pass his class in order to graduate, and most people didn’t take the class until their last semester, a lot of students had to stay longer than they anticipated.

Not wanting that fate to befall me, I took the class the first semester of my senior year. For what ever reason, it clicked for me. I became one of six my entire time as an undergraduate who made an “A” in the course. This led to me receiving a graduate assistantship in the department to help tutor his students. And thus, I became the minion for the man feared by all political science, criminal justice, sociology, and public administration students and grad students at Georgia College.

Professor Jan Mabie, PhD, well below the sarcastic exterior, was as big of a cutup and as great of a mentor as could ever be found.  He taught me the way of The Force, er, research methodology using not the modern advances of Stata, SPSS, any other software package. Instead, we used an old DOS based program he wrote.

Most students felt tortured to take him once. I had him twice in undergrad, then at least once a semester in grad school covering everything from basic and advanced methods to personnel management. Most people, him included, questioned my sanity when I asked him to be my thesis chair. In retrospect, I don’t think he even read anything from my thesis except the methods section.

He retired last year, but without a doubt, I can see his influence today in my teaching and research today. I have been to a conference and have to constantly remind myself that not everyone was taught methods, and to not let the “poor idiot” have it for leaving something off the slide.

Every fall, when the “minions of morons” descend upon campus, I will be reminded of him. Every time I watch a science show, I mentally start reciting the “Assumptions of the Western Analytic Tradition.” Whenever I look at a cross-tab, I will still call it a contingency table in my head. And whenever I start nerding out over data and a scatter plot, I will be grateful I was trained by one of the best, and quite possibly the most old-school, in the business.

When he got this look going over your data, you were in trouble. (This was at another faculty member's retirement party.)

When he got this look going over your data, you were in trouble. (This was at another faculty member’s retirement party.)

This was the two of us at the first MPA Program Dinner my first year of grad school.

This was the two of us at the first MPA Program Dinner my first year of grad school.

Dr. Mabie has a group on Facebook dedicated to him, titled “Mabie You Can Make It.” Barron Webster (MPA 2008) wrote “The Legend of Jan Mabie” for the page. It may not mean as much to the people who had not been through the program and classes, but here it is.

The kind words of Dr. Jan Mabie reverberate in students’ minds for years after their Quantitative final is done and the last OurStat disc has been removed from those ancient laptops. He began his illustrious career at Georgia College in 1894 when our dear alma mater was known simply as the Georgia State College for Women. His notable students include Flannery O’Connor, Michael Digby, Amici Buffington, Galileo, and John Milledge.

In fact, an old legend in Milledgeville tells the tale of a young Flannery O’Connor who aspired to be a statistician. One day, she’d had her fair share of confusion over covariation and PRE measures of association. She lost her marbles finding T-scores and Z-scores and F Tests… and she took to writing as a way of releasing her anger and stress. Out of pure frustration was born one of the finest Southern Gothic authors ever to strike a typewriter.

As for the rest of us, we now have the tendency to correct our friends when they tell us “Don’t become a statistic!” Because you’re never a statistic- you’re a datum. If you need to know if there is a correlation between sex and salary with respect to education level, we’ll be there. Want to know how much of a correlation there is between education level and poverty in any county in Georgia? Give us a call. We’ll even construct the operational definition.

So the next time you’re confused about where to find the nearest “mature analytical community,” sit on the edge of the table. Scratch your chin with your eyes fixed upward and your head cocked like dear Dr. Mabie does. Close one eye and rub the top of your head too. And be grateful you’re being taught by one of the sharpest, most respectable, and illustrious minds Georgia’s Public Liberal Arts University has ever seen- but please don’t mess up the laptops.

Graduation, 2012 Edition

This past weekend, my institution sent its Class of 2012 across the stage. Since my department is housed in Enrollment Management, we were called upon to assist with the commencement. I love commencement, but then again, I enjoy ceremony. It was hot, but that’s beside the point. So, in honor of the occasion, I thought I would take a bit of a walk down memory lane. After that, I’m going to talk about some of my friends who graduated this year.  Continue reading

Govern Yourselves


Note: This is being cross posted for Georgia College freshmen, so it includes links to some GC information. My apologies to those who are at other campuses, though I am sure there are similar programs at most college campuses.

In Webster’s 1828 Dictionary, “Government” was defined first not as an entity, but as the ability to manage yourself. It is to show control or restraint. The example which is given is “Men are apt to neglect the government of their temper and passions.” This “self-government” is one of the big differences when transferring from one level of education to another. When you’re in high school, you are constantly reminded to turn in your assignments. You are given time in study hall to complete you homework. Your schedule is mapped out for you. When you begin college, it is up to you to manage your schedule, manage your time, and manage your academics.

Part of maturity, and part of growing up, is becoming responsible for your own life. Your parents will no longer make sure you are awake on time to go to class. Your professors will not constantly remind you of due dates. If an assignment is on the syllabus, many times that is the only reminder you will receive. With the increased independence of college life, comes increased responsibility.

To adapt to these new responsibilities, you have to have a plan. Create some sort of time management system. It can be your phone or online calendar, or a hard copy calendar. Just keep something so you know where you are supposed to be at what time. Keep a list of all your assignments for the quarter for every class. That way, you will be able to tell at a glance what is due in the next five days.

But, the biggest issue in time management is oftentimes prioritization of certain activities. When you are creating your plan, there are some things that MUST be included (attending class, sleep, eating) but many times, there are vital things which are overlooked. Most people are awake between 16-18 hours a day. Of that, about 3 hours is typically spent in the classroom and (nominally) 6 hours is spent studying. What should be done with the other 7 hours a day?

Well, quite frankly, that is where you get the education you don’t receive in the classroom. You may work a part time job, perform community service projects, be involved in student activities, or just hang out with friends. All of these things are vital to the college experience. You just have to govern how you approach them. My first two years of college, I was in no less six student organizations at any given time, plus worked several part time jobs. While that time period is an impressive block on my resume, I ended up leaving most of them off the document. Why? Because most of them really didn’t mean anything five years down the road (aka, when I graduate and started looking for my first professional job).

It is much better to be involved in one or two groups, perform your duties well, and be promoted through the ranks than it is to be in everything which remotely interests you and become spread too thin. Plus, excelling in a few things which demonstrate leadership ability will prove invaluable in your future job search.

To wrap things up, as you are planning and following your schedule, focus on academics. But, remember to include personal time and time for extracurricular activities. They are all important and none should be neglected. You just have to find the balance which is right for you.

Link Roundup:
A Crash Course in Student Time Management by Cal Newport
An older post, but it is a collection of links to different time management systems.
One of this week’s posts from Hack College. Provides good information for the start of an academic term (even though we are a few weeks ahead of schedule here at Georgia College).
Focused more towards upperclassmen and grad students, this Grad Hacker post sheds some light on the dreaded Lit Review (which I addressed here and here).

My new job

Well, it is the start of a new academic term and a new professional journey in my life. This blog started out as a hobby, and it was a really ironic choice of topics. Over the past few weeks, I have accepted employment, started a job, and began the process of slowly settling into a new environment.

What does that have to do with this project, you may ask? Well… Every great once in a while, there is an opportunity to merge your interest and hobbies AND get paid to do it. That is exactly what happened with this job. When I sat down after graduation and made my skills list, there were three jobs which really jumped out at me in higher education: Instructor of Political Science, Institutional Research Analyst, and Academic Advisor.

I applied for some jobs in each category. I am now pleased to say I am an Academic Advisor for the Center for Student Success of Georgia College in Milledgeville. In other words, I’m now working for my alma mater doing what I had been doing for my friends anyway. To top everything off, I also get to work with the freshmen students in political science, criminal justice, and sociology and teach a few seminar courses. It is an almost perfect mesh.
So, if you happen to be at Georgia College, come by and visit me in The Bone House. I’ve put my school webpage in the links list. It also has all my new contact information. Once I get settled in, you will be able to expect quite a few more posts, not only in the area of political science and public administration, but also in the field of student success.

Graduation and Memories

On the wall of my bedroom, I have a rather large frame. It holds a certificate stating that I had been inducted into the “Distinguished Order of the Servant-Leader” in October of 2005. I and a friend of mine, Wes Ransom, were among the first civilian college students to have received the award in anyone’s memory. Needless to say, I was quite proud of myself. But, there was one thing missing. My best friend wasn’t there. You see, Josh was embarking on a different journey. That hot, humid Sunday afternoon in the Georgia fall, Josh was leaving behind the safe confines of our hometown to embark on what is, for anyone, a life altering journey. He was on his way to a small island off the coast of South Carolina where they make Marines.

Josh with me and LTC Ed Shelor (USMC Ret) who is an
Assistant Professor of History at Georgia Military College

A few months later, I did get a visit from Josh on campus. After he finished his initial training, the Marine Corps sent him back to recruit. One of his stops was Georgia Military College. Never would have I expected then what was to take place in the coming years.

I graduated from GMC, then went on to Georgia College. Josh graduated School of Infantry, then joined the fleet with the 3rd Battalion 6th Marines in Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. He went on to complete two tours of duty in Iraq before completing his contract to the Corps and transferring to inactive reserves.

Josh surprised me when he did not reenlist, and instead he decided to go college. By this time, I was in grad school. He had decided he wanted to go into physical therapy and begin his studies at my alma mater, Georgia Military College along with his younger brother, Jake, who was studying history.

The Nation that makes a great distinction between its scholars and its warriors will have its thinking done by cowards and its fighting done by fools.
~ Thucydides ~

He had already more than proved himself on the battlefield. Soon, he excelled academically as well. I graduated from Georgia College, and took an instructors job at GMC. For the past year, it has amazed me how his fellow students flock to him and how they speak of him even when he is not around. Tonight, Josh (and Jake, who will be unable to attend due to military duty) will graduate from Georgia Military College. Not only will he walk across the stage with a 4.0 GPA, but he will receive an even higher award. He has been named the Distinguished Graduate for the institution. The nomination, written by LTC Shelor, reads as follows:

Joshua S. Rogers is a full-time commuter student who is without parallel among his graduating peers.  He is the quintessential scholar/leader who has maintained a 4.00 GPA while completing his studies at GMC in an Associate in Science in General Studies.  The habit of success is one of the cornerstones of Joshua’s way of life and he’s shown good academic and character traits from the first day he stepped on this campus.  He is a positive example and inspiration for his fellow students and even the faculty in his classes.   Mr. Rogers is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, the junior college honor society for academic success and servant leadership, and can be seen on any given day providing assistance to his fellow students all around the GMC campus.  Mr. Rogers exemplifies the three words to live by that GMC emphasizes by his consistent display of Duty, Honor, Country.  Joshua enlisted in the USMC in 2005 and eventually rose to the rank of Sergeant.  As a Corporal of Marines he served as a fire team leader in combat in Iraq from January – July 2007 and moved up to squad leader from March 2008 – October 2008.  It is a rare thing to have a student in our classes that has been through the crucible of combat , who has been truly tested in matters of life and death, yet he is one of the gentle scholars who brings such honor and humility to our campus.  Joshua now brings his maturity and critical thinking skills to every aspect of his association with GMC and is most deserving of the highest recognition GMC can bestow on it students.

He is a true scholar that adds intellectual rigor to the course of study for all his classmates.  His cultural literacy, higher order of thinking skills, and desire for knowledge mark him among the top ONE percent of students I have ever known in my academic career. In class he embodies all the characteristics of a standout leader and role model.  He also thinks beyond the material and brings his own intellectual and deeply spiritual perspective to discussions.

I will be there tonight. I will be in my robe, my hood, my stole, and my cords. Josh will be in his Dress Blues. I know his parents will be proud. But, I also know that the pride they have for Josh’s accomplishments will at best be equal to the pride I have for him, to know him, and the honor I have in calling him my friend.

Jake, me, and Josh at a friend’s wedding a few years ago. 

Updated:
Here is a picture from after the commencement ceremony.