27 April 2008

Murder Mystery & MVP

On Friday evening, the NAU Coordinators staff for Residence Life put on a "murder mystery" night for all who wished to attend, sort of like those boxed dinner party ones, except invented completely by the staff. The script was written by the staff, the parts were played by RAs, RHDs, and other faculty, and everyone was invited to attend. I went, the theme being "Class of 1998 High School Reunion" and carefully listened, watched, and asked the characters who had killed off our former classmate and Vice-Principal. When all was said and done, I got the correct answer, and won the first prize ($50 in MCE money)! I really had fun that night - more so than if I'd gone to Casino Night or out to the bars, and I got to hang out with other RAs for pretty much a final time. I definitely give props to Summer Burke for her amazing portrayal of Uber-hyper glitzy movie star and Jeremy Cobb for his protrayal of the A/V nerd guy who now creates video games! Great job! Also, tonight was the Northern Arizona University Residence Life Awards Banquet where RAs from our campus were recognized in a variety of categories, including best comedians, best community developer, best educator, Most Valuable Player, and Lifetime Achievement. I was recognized for two things, being a graduating senior this year and as one of ten nominees for the Most Valuable Player award. Even though I didn't actually win, it's really special to know that all my hard work this year was apreciated by not only my staff, but the rest of the 300+ Residence Life staff (RAs, RHDs, coordinators, etc) as well. I really will miss this place when I'm gone. On a different note, I finally got an email back from one prospective job. They do not at this time have a desire to expand and hire me at this time, though they'll be in contact in the future if they do decide to hire someone else.

26 April 2008

A Challenging Exam

Well, I have but a few things left to accomplish in the next two weeks, one of which is taking the JLS130 challenge exam with the NAU Counseling and Testing Center on Tuesday. The exam cost me $90 to take for three credits worth of JLS130, the final three credits I have yet to get. If I get a 60/100 on the exam, I get three credits; less, and I will be taking one more class at NAU and waiting a semester to get my diploma. Apparently, three people have taken this particular challenge exam, two of whom passed it. It was definitely "reassuring" to note, though, that the description of the challenge exam in the CTC booklet noted that "if you don't know what a preposition is... don't bother taking this test." Nice. I can't believe I have just 14 days to go until I am an NAU alumnus. Also, for those of you curious, I have no new news from the job hunt front. Still waiting to hear back from a couple places.

24 April 2008

RIP Tom Campbell

On Tuesday morning, my grandfather, Tom Campbell passed away from natural causes. I didn't really know him well, and I haven't seen him in over a decade. But still, it touched my family because, well, he was my mom's father. So my parents are flying out to Michigan today to go to his funeral. I will be staying in Flagstaff finishing school up and staying relatively close to home in case of an emergency here with my siblings or my great-grandfather, who was hospitalized last weekend with severe pneumonia. Apparently, he was intubated and placed on a ventilator for a while, and is now off it, but may not make it through much more than a couple weeks, if that. So that sucks. In the meantime, I am trying to finish up my last 16 days of school before graduation, which includes 5 tests/quizzes, 3 papers, and a Challenge Exam for JLS 130 which I have yet to schedule. If I survive these next 16 days, I am pretty sure I can do anything!

21 April 2008

8,174 Days Down....

.... 19 days to go until I graduate college with a Bachelor's degree in American Political Studies focusing on Public Administration, with a background in communications. In the next 19 days, I have a lot of work to complete, for school and as an RA, but I am looking forward to it! I have: 2 papers, 4 final exams/quizzes, and one CLEP test to finish school-wise. I also have to help close down Mountain View as an RA, which entails getting all my residents ready to check out of their rooms and then checking all of them out during finals week. Then I have to finally say goodbye to four years worth of friendships, memories, and events. I will miss the poker nights from AfterHours, the late nights doing puzzles at the front desk with Doug and Ryan, the coffee trips to The Place and Denny's, days playing Bocce with David and Kristen, chess with Marcos, going out to the bars with Amber, the political conversations with everyone, and of course, the three years of work with the College Republicans. Thanks to everyone who helped me make this possible, including my parents, my friends Isaac Camargo (who got me the internship with Rick Renzi), Blake Rebling, Chelsea Lett, Michelle Marini, Max Lidster, Cody Newport, and Tim Krueger for being great friends and help within the CRs, Troy Hyde for allowing me to be a part of his successful AZCR campaign and team, Summer Burke, Ryan McFadden, Marcos Nattress, William Blackmore, Amber Sharp, Douglas Riggins and the rest of the Mountain View Hall staff for being amazing friends and co-workers this year, Greg Derr for putting me in touch with some people for job hunting and for writing me a letter of recommendation, the Arizona Republican Party for helping me to be successful as the Northern Arizona field rep during the 2006 elections, my professors Dr. Buckley, Joe Gardner, and Dr. Gretchen Gee for being great teachers, Chris Anderson, Greg Grahlmann, Desiree Bloom, Kaylynn Hanson, Jon Shoop, Jose Porter and Scott Sampson for always just being great friends, and my friend Christopher Esseltine for believing in me in high school as I planned to become active in politics and a successful person in life. I look forward to a storied future, and I hope to be able to be as successful as all of you have become during the time I've been privileged to know you. Thanks for everything!!!

12 April 2008

This is one picture from the DBacks-Rockies game on Saturday I went to while I was down in Phoenix. It was a great game where they were celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and I got a sweet giveaway 10th anniversary hat. I went with my buddy Scott and had a great time!

10 April 2008

Friends Don't Let Friends Talk Politics

I've decided that it's actually really hard to talk politics with people who are both your friends and a different political persuasion than one's self. I don't have any idea how it got started, but my boss and one of my residents decided to come up and start talking to me this evening at my desk shift about how the United States has no business in Iraq and asking me about my perspective on the issue. Well, obviously, I think the United States needs to continue to fight terrorism wherever it exists, and getting rid of it in Iraq by maintaining our military presence there is a good thing, not a bad thing. So I said so. Bad idea. It sparked a 90-minute debate on humanitarian-versus-Mongolesque necessities in American foreign policy, and we finally had to break off the debate because it was getting to the point where they were getting ticked at me for being a heartless person, and I was getting frustrated with them because they didn't know about anything that's been going on in our intervention in Iraq. They seriously thought we were just going over there and killing random Iraqi citizens for satisfying our lust for oil. Aargh! From now on, I'm screening all of my friends who try to debate me on Iraq for two things: knowledge of the topic (as opposed to just blithely following whatever they've heard on the CNN 30-second rampage against America), and the skillful ability TO debate, rather than using the age-old standby of "but why do we have to kill other people?"

08 April 2008

Home Is Where the Heat Is....

So, I'm going home this weekend. And I'm only halfheartedly excited about it for a few reasons. The first of these is that the reason I'm going home is to babysit my younger brother and sister while my parents fly out to Michigan to celebrate my grandfather's 80th birthday. I haven't seen him in about 3 years, because my parents typically entice me (monitarily) into staying home to house-sit while they take the rest of the family to Michigan on vacations in the summer to Michigan to see the relatives. Not that I'm complaining at all - it's wonderful having a house all to myself, have a few friends over for a party, including BBQ and swimming, all paid for by the 'rents!

The second reason is that I recently found out that this weekend is the big "new staff" dinner and celebration for the RAs who will be taking the spots next year of those of us that are graduating this year. Back one year ago, this was a very special thing that the old staff at Mountain View did for me and my staff, and I am disappointed I'll have to miss it. One of the biggest things we did was that the "old" staff passed along a few words of wisdom to the "new" staff, so I think I'll write up something for all of them. Still not the same, though.

However, I did get two tickets to Saturday's Rockies-Diamondbacks game at Chase Field - Sec. 328, Row 19 - off the third base line on the third level - which I'll be using to take my best friend from high school, Scott, to a game so we can catch up and have some fun with the weekend. That should be a good time! I'll be looking for the D-Backs to soundly beat up on the Rox again like our big-league SWEEP of the Rockies in their home opening series this past weekend!

I leave Thursday morning early. EARLY. Like, 7am early. I'm not a fan of the morning stuff, but c'est la vie, and I'll get back into Flag around 9pm Monday. So, I won't be posting during that time, but I will write more once I get back. I just have to work on a one-page paper and an online quiz before I leave, and I'll be good to go!

06 April 2008

Big Mothaf#($*!@^ Rock!

Last night certainly was eventful, what with having to deal with some people in the building who decided it would be a good idea to break things. Among the issues: a broken window from a rock someone threw, a broken exit sign someone tore from the ceiling, a broken door and door handle, and one of our fraternities' letters were broken by someone. Three issues involved NAUPD, and I was up (along with my partner on call and our ARHD) until 5am writing reports and taking care of business. All-in-all, the most eventful night I've had all semester. The good news is, I only have 2 more nights on call for the remainder of the semester: one Thursday night in a couple weeks, and one Sunday night at the end of April. Then it should be all downhill from there! Oh, and my Diamondbacks SWEPT the Colorado Rockies with a final score today of 5-2 coming on a ninth-inning 2-run home run by Mark Reynolds and a tenth-inning solo homer by Stephen Drew. Prior to both of those, the DBacks only had three hits, zero runs in the game! I LOVE late-inning heroics!

04 April 2008

Lock It Up!

Time to do it: lock it up like a Flagstaff bicycle, bear down like a starting pitcher, concentrate like a can of OJ, focus like the Hubble Space Telescope, get ready like Jimmy Kimmel before he goes Live!, prepare for victory like.... aw, you get my drift. There are now, as of today, 35 days left until my last final and my graduation ceremony. I have plenty to do now, and I really need to get back into concentrating mode to get it finished, because frankly Senioritis has set in BIG TIME, and I actually could be in danger of not passing one class if I don't bear down. As it stands, here are the numbers: 6 = papers left to write, 5 = on-call RA shifts left to do, 4 = tests left to take, 3 = credits left to pass (via the CLEP test), 2 = number of things to buy for graduation (cap & gown set and announcements), 1 = number of group projects left to complete, and 0 = number of job offers I've received for after graduation.... I'm frankly both supremely excited and scared out of my wits. On the one hand, I'm finally graduating from college, getting ready to move into the "real world" - something I've never fully done yet, and will be starting on the rest of my life with a background in something I love (politics and communications). On the other hand, I have to find a job, an apartment, a source of income to pay for deposits, a car or other transportation, finish school, take my final CLEP test, pack all my stuff up for yet another move, survive the Phoenix heat for another summer, and then make the decision about where I will go from here. I won't lie and say I've had an easy time dealing with it. The anxiety I felt on Thursday was almost overwhelming, and I basically shut myself up in my room for about 6 hours after I took a class quiz and tried to calm down about my future. It's a very difficult thing not knowing what is supposed to come next. Do I focus solely on school right now, or do I look for a job, an apartment? What AM I going to do in 36 days? What if I can't find employment right away? Will I have to go back to Mesa and live with my folks for a while? Yesterday, I got a little help from one of my professors. I went in to see him to talk turkey about my grade in his course, and I told him that I was feeling really overwhelmed with the courseload from my final four classes. He gave me some really solid advice, and I think he was feeling the same way, because he's in his own last semester about to retire: he told me that I needed to focus on just paying attention in class and focusing on completing the final paper. Same goes for all my classes: focus on completing the papers, and let the final chips fall where they may. A little anxiety can be a good thing if you can direct the emotion to finishing strong rather than worrying the time away. So that's what I'm going to attempt to do: finish strong, and let the chips for after I get my diploma fall where they may fall.

Mr. Greek

So yesterday was Mountain View Hall's big event for the spring semester - the Mr. Greek competition. This is basically a male beauty pageant for members of NAU's fraternities judged by members of the sororities and a few select "special guest judges." The point was to raise money for both the charity of choice for the winner and the charity of the Mountain View Hall staff, NACASA (the Northern Arizona sexual assault assistance center). The staff of our hall planned, prepped for, and executed the event. I myself was the "Finance Chairman" (even though I was alone in my committee), which only meant I got to collect and count the money raised from the ticket sales at the event. Fun job, I know, but we did raise $1700 for the two charities, divided up as $1,000 for the winner's charity and $700 for NACASA. As for the event itself, well, I can only speak to the second half, because throughout the first half I was staffing the door and counting money and tickets. But once I did get in, cash box full of money tightly under my arm, the second half was entertaining. The event was set up to have four rounds: a "chapter pride" round, formalwear round, intermission and first cut of contestants, talent round, and question round. I saw only the intermission and cut and the talent and question rounds. We certainly have a lot of talented people here - singers, dancers, mimes... yeah, I said mimes. Overall, the event was a stunning success, with the victory going to Kappa Alpha Order member Stephen Mark Land, Jr. and his charity, the Muscular Dystrophy Association. Runners up were Danish Ishaq of Kappa Sigma, Matt Bond of Theta Chi (one of my guys), and Ryan Guss of Delta Tau Delta. Oh, and the "Mr. Congeniality" award going to Phi Delta Theta member Axel Sapwell. Despite this thing stressing the entire staff out for the past two weeks, if not longer, it went well, though I have to admit, I am thoroughly glad it's done with!

01 April 2008

Baseball Season Is Here!

Yesterday marked Opening Day of baseball for the 2008 season for most of the teams in the majors except for the Red Sox, Athletics, Braves, and Nationals, which had played earlier in true MLB openers. But for my Diamondbacks, we brought the noise to kick-start a great season with a 4-2 win over the Cincinnati Reds, thanks in part to some absolutely spotless defense from 3B Mark Reynolds and 2B Orlando Hudson and three homers from CF Chris Young, PH Jeff Salazar, and LF Eric Byrnes. I mean, that's over half the team participating in the win right there. P Brandon Webb turned in 6.0 spotless innings of work allowing just 3 hits and 2 earned runs, striking out 6, but walking 4. It was the first of what I hope will be many, many victories this season! And of course, I got to score the game for my scorebook, even though I missed my class to watch all of the game. Tomorrow is game #2!