Launching into a Week of Work Craziness

The bad: This week is my craziest week of work for the entire year.

The good: After my big event, my stress-load will be almost non-existent.

I oversee our college’s big donor events and this one, The Mentored Student Research Conference, is one of the largest on campus and established as part of the Mary Lou Fulton Chair. Her husband, Ira, was an Arizona developer who made millions of dollars and has donated much of his fortune to universities and charitable causes. The conference I’m in charge of is a poster conference where hundreds of students have submitted posters of research they have done in collaboration with their mentor-professors. Following the poster conference on Thursday morning, we’ll host a luncheon for 500 where the cash prizes will be announced. It has been a big bear-of-a-project to organize, mostly because 90% of the students waited until the last 12 hours before the deadline to submit their posters…and some of them ran into web problems with their submissions.

And guess who was driving to San Diego right as that poster deadline hit? This girl. Fielding problems was a super fun start to our vacation!

My first 2.5 months of my job have been so crazy busy: I have been juggling our two biggest events, as well as wrapping the editorial for our alumni magazine. I’m really excited for the new direction I have taken it.  The challenge with our college is it’s the largest on campus and our departments are VERY different–from psychology to history to neuroscience to anthropology. When I first started, I had major anxiety about the magazine because my predecessor is my polar-opposite. She’s very research-oriented and bookish so the alumni magazine was very scholarly with some loooong reads and extensive footnotes. That is not a knock on her but it’s just not my style; I don’t know how to write or edit that way, nor do I want to.

I’m relieved my boss has been open to letting me revamp the magazine and I’m thrilled how it’s coming together with some interesting feature stories, lots of inspiration and a few fun sections, too. My students are doing most of the writing but between all of our back-and-forth with edits, my hands have been on every single page. I’m even more relieved to send it to another editor at university publications before we meet with the designer to brainstorm ideas and layout. It’s funny because the area I dreaded the most with my job is turning out to be my favorite. I need to infuse more creativity into this position (so much of it is checklists for event planning) so this is my first step in the right direction.

BYU’s graduation is in a few short weeks and then my workload will drop off drastically until fall. In fact, I’m kinda worried about how to keep my student employees busy all summer. My position is three-quarter time but I’ve been working way more than that but the good news is legally, I can’t work more than three-quarter time over the course of the calendar year so that means I’ll have a lot more flexibility to take time off this summer to balance out my total hours.

A few weeks ago, I was asked to be the promotional support for a student-giving campaign where we granted rare access to the rooftop of the tallest building on campus (the Spencer W. Kimball Tower) for “Selfies on the SWKT.” Imagine my delight to discover the day before the event that the student in charge (not one of MY students), gave us the wrong date for all the promotions so it was a frenzied few hours reprinting and republishing everything. But my crash course in student leadership worked out just swell and we had a great turnout. 

(With my students Alisa, Madelyn and Grace)

A few memorable quotes up there:

  • “I saved three lives today.”
  • “You’re making dreams come true.”
  • “Is this where we’re meeting for target practice? #Lookoutbelow”
  • “Can you get a picture of me looking at Y mountain? Gotta get the hipster shot.”
  • “We’re actually adults who want to do kid things.”
  • Student trying to shmooze Buildings Exteriors Manager Kerry Wilson for off-hours rooftop access: “So, I’ve been dating this girl for a while and I need to do something really good to impress her. What can you do for me?”
  • “Don’t shut down the elevators yet. We need to give stragglers their ‘Sleepless in Seattle’ moment.” (mine)
  • “Wait. There’s a backpack left behind. Is it Noah’s?” (mine)

Here’s to surviving my craziest week of the semester. The positive: at least I no longer have to take finals.

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