Baking Cupcakes

 Being in Student Affairs, we all have those days. You know the days I’m talking about. The days that we may just stare at our computer, not quite sure where to start. Or the days that we are running from meeting to meeting to meeting… to meeting… to realize that it is already 5 pm and we haven’t even started the stack of “To Do” stuff we had set aside yesterday. Those days that you wonder how every problem can happen in your residence hall in one beautiful Wednesday.

Tuesdays are usually those days for me. Starting at 7 am (usually…hopefully) I start the day by getting a run or work out in. Something about finding that work/life balance as a new professional I keep hearing about. I then dive into the day with meeting after meeting. Then a lunch (meeting), with more meetings in the afternoon. Hopefully some time to write an agenda or two for my evening Hall Council and CA meetings, and before I know it, it’s 10 pm. Time to go home. Usually.

Now I know this isn’t the most upbeat attitude to have for this blog, but I’m sure everyone who reads this and is in Student Affairs can completely understand. And don’t get me wrong- I absolutely love meetings. I don’t know what it is- either the social interaction, or organization and bulleted agendas, or just the feeling of being productive. I just love meetings. They are wonderful, but can sometimes take a lot out of you.

The highlight of my 15-hour days is usually my staff meeting on Tuesday nights. It’s a time for my six CAs to all meet, discuss not only what’s going on in the hall or in our department, but also to catch up and spend time together. I also love these meetings because it gives me an excuse to bake. It started as an experiment one week Fall 2011 semester, after I saw a recipe on the beloved Pinterest. Now each week I bake a treat for my staff. Usually experiments from Pinterest, that (most of the time) turn out to be pretty successful. I started baking because I was stressed in graduate school, and it has carried from there. Fellow blogger Joshua Wilson was actually one of my first test tasters back in the day!

Anyway, I’ve realized how much baking has helped me unwind and take a few minutes to myself during a busy day. I try to bake right before staff meeting in the hour I may get free, but sometimes I bake the night before in preparation for Tuesdays. It is because of this mix of the ultimate crazy day and providing my staff with treats and goodies at the end of a long day that makes me thankful for the job I have. Not only am I able to build a relationship with my staff as a supervisor, but we have become a family. When I reflect on this, it makes me very thankful and grateful for the experiences I have had this past year as a first year professional.

Whether it’s baking five dozen cupcakes, running a half marathon, or taking photobooth pictures with your cat, (I’ve done two of the three. You can guess which ones those may be) what helps you rewind from the crazy days we have? And how do others help you with that?

Katie Ericson

Student Affairs - the First Years

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