Monday, July 18, 2011

Two Thank-Yous, An Apology, and a Lesson

Even the proudest experience can turn humbling.

Back in May I started this blog, just a week after undergoing the nostalgic and celebratory craziness that is college graduation. I've been meaning to write about my experiences from that weekend. Actually, one experience in particular that really left a mark on me...
Yup, that's broken glass.

And I wasn't sure what lesson to take from it. And more importantly, I didn't know how to put a humorous spin on it and create a good blog post about it. Special thanks to my good friend Chelsey for helping me talk my way into learning something.

There were a lot of things that helped define my college career. A great UB education, surrounded by awesome people in my major that pushed me to do well in our classes together, and a great circle of friends. But one of the most significant aspects of my time at UB was my leadership: Helping to lead the Residence Hall Association, interacting with other leaders there and with Mortar Board Honor Society, leading jazz band rhythm sections and more. And yes, maybe I worked too hard on leadership things, to the point where it detracted from my academics. Maybe I could have gotten better grades if I had devoted more brainpower to my studies, but looking back...I don't think I would have changed anything. I learned a lot, both in books and out of them, and I had amazing times with my friends. But I digress. A lot.

Anyway, in early March I was chillin' in the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement (which I was doing a lot during the year), when the director asked me if I'd received a letter from UB's most beloved "silver fox" (named by female friends of mine), the VP of Student Affairs Dennis Black. I replied that I had not, to which she responded "Okay, let me know when you do." And then she walked away. Leaving me very confused.

Eventually I was told that I was going to be recognized at the College of Arts & Sciences graduation ceremony with the VP Student Award for Senior Leadership. I felt honored. Dennis said some nice things about me, people cheered, and it was an amazing experience.
So I would like to thank the Department of Student Affairs for giving me that award. It was beautiful.

And I'm really, really sorry I dropped it. And shattered it. In the last ten minutes of the graduation ceremony.
It slipped!

And thank you again, Student Affairs, both for worrying that I would cut myself and taking away most of the shattered pieces, and for giving me a new award. One that is twice as thick as its predecessor.

So far this post has basically been an exercise in expressing arrogance, and for that I apologize. But I did learn something that I hope everyone bears in mind - a humorous lesson, but a lesson nonetheless. No matter how much we succeed, and no matter how amazing a leader can become...he/she can still do stupid things, have silly moments, and in general, make a fool of him-/herself. Those are the experiences that bring us back down to earth. We need those moments to keep us humble, and thereby keep us human.

That's why I keep those two pieces of glass - the only parts of the original award I have left. They remind me that I will always make mistakes, so while I can be proud of my accomplishments, I shouldn't let my successes go to my head. Gotta stay on my toes.

So what are your pieces of glass?

Friday, July 8, 2011

We've Got the Hashtag Fever...Do the Hashtag Dance...Hashtag This...

Most people that know me know that I text like a fiend. And most of those people know that I have recently and heavily embraced Twitter and all its Twitter-ness. I am twitterpated with Twitter, basically, complete with lame hashtags and useless updates that hopefully are funny every once in a while.

The other day I had a conversation (again over text message) with one of the three musical acts with whom I have been playing this summer, the vertically challenged but immensely talented Sara Elizabeth (see her Facebook page and check out a sample of us at this YouTube video). Sara also greatly enjoys texting and Tweeting, and this conversation (among others) helped us realize that we may be too attached to our social technologies (WARNING: What follows is pathetically funny. Or just pathetic...hopefully the former).

Joe: Where's Saturday's gig?

Sara: Goodrich Coffe & Tea.

Joe: Ah, right. Cool beans.

Joe: Or hot beans, depending on how you like your coffee. #badpun

Sara: Iced beanz #totesmostdef

Joe: Hellz yeah! #Godwearelame Fwd: From Sara Genco Iced beanz #totesmostdef (I did this in order to use the texting equivalent of a Retweet)

Sara: #unstoppablepowerofnerdywhitegirlandindianboy #ilovecoffee

Joe: Booyah! #unstoppablepowerofnerdywhitegirlandindianboy #ilovecoffee (Subsequent thought: "Did I just use 'booyah'? The '90s called, they want their word back so they can bury it for good.")

Sara: bahahaha are you tweeting these texts too?

Joe: No, but I may have to, haha.

Joe: That's why I called us lame...

Sara: Hahahaha #werenotlame #doesn'teveryoneusehashtagsinnormalconversation #duhz

Joe: #mybad #realizationfail #Twitterislife

Sara: #ithappenz #canwealwaystalklikethis #imightsavethisconvoforevz

Joe: #thingsweneedtodo #kindofourthing #imightsavethisconvoforevz

Sara: #thisistoomuch #alltextslocked#unstoppablepowerofnerdywhitegirlandindianboy #thatissolong

...(About twelve hours later, discussing subsequent weekends and possible gigs - my schedule is a little up in the air)

Joe: I'd like to play...Not sure what else life will require of me that weekend, though. :)

Sara: Haha alright we can play it by ear! One weekend at a time ha

Joe: Indeed, that's how I've been living the entire summer!

Sara: We live life playing by ear #bahaha #morebadpuns

Joe: #groan ;)

It's a good thing we're semi-professional musicians, 'cause the automatic coolness that comes from that is the only thing that could possibly validate us.

Anyway, for a much less pathetic display of our interaction with each other, come see us play at Goodrich Coffee & Tea this Saturday (tomorrow, July 9th 7:30-9:30 PM) - you won't be disappointed, I promise! :) And stay tuned to our Facebook pages for upcoming gigs, we've both got a bunch of them coming up this summer, both separate and together. See you there, hopefully, and keep an eye out for our soon-to-be-trademarked hashtag: