• Wednesday, July 03, 2024 10:44 AM | Anonymous

    by Dr. Delton Gordon, Arkansas Tech University

    Lately, I have pondered the distinguishable moments in my lifetime, both personally and professionally. While there have been memorable moments, like marrying the love of my life, being present for the birth of my son, graduating with my PhD., or getting my first Senior Housing Officer role, my life can easily be divided into Delton before turkeys and Delton after turkeys. 

    We started our flock of chickens shortly after moving to Arkansas. My wife, Sarah, had always dreamed of having chickens so she could name them after Disney Princesses. I quickly went about researching and building a chicken coop as well as adding a run so the newest members of our family could get about safely. Sarah took online classes to understand chickens and the care. It became a passion to understand these simple, but fascinating animals. It was important to get breeds that laid beautifully colored eggs or the birds themselves had unique traits. If you are aware of chicken math, you’ll understand, but quickly eight birds turned into fifteen. After the first year passed and we had fallen in love with the descendants of dinosaurs, we decided to “order” a few birds from an online breeder. This was a whole new level of obsession, allowing us to choose one or two of each breed, a plethora of procurement options were now available to us.

    Farming and ranching were quite prominent in my genealogy research, with my fifth great grandfather and his brothers settling the lands of Effingham County, Illinois with their hogs. They are noted in the History of Effingham County Illinois (1883, Perrin, W.H.). They were quite the nuisance as they herded their swine through other settlers’ property. I suppose that is why fences became popular. Thus, the desire to raise and care for animals runs strong though my heritage.

    However, while chickens were certainly the starting point, I ultimately fell in love with raising turkeys. On a whim, I decided to order one turkey to surprise the family. It was a heritage breed, Bourbon Red Turkey. Most larger breed chickens are easily distinguishable at birth what sex they are, however Turkeys are much more difficult. So, it would be months before we knew if it was a jake (male) or a jenny (female).  Thus, making naming of our turkey a little challenging. After a few months go along, we realized our turkey was a hen, and thus Thursday was christened. I’m here to tell you, that’s when I knew my life would change.

    Turkeys are inquisitive, curious, and quite social. Thursday is no exception; she absolutely loves people…maybe more than her fellow turkeys (definitely more than ducks)! There are lots of moments in life where we can look back and say, my life was different before…this job, this person, this pet, this trip…but I am here to tell you, I can easily say, my life with turkeys (especially Thursday) is a clear dividing line. I challenge you to think about your life’s dividing line…what are things/people/places that you can distinguish a clear before and after?  

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2024 11:12 AM | Anonymous

    by Beth Eppinger, Texas Woman's University

  • Thursday, May 09, 2024 8:56 PM | Anonymous

    by Drew Jahr, Texas Tech University

    Change is a fact of life and dealing with it can be difficult for anyone.  For me, to truly deal with the change, I find that I need to do a lot of self-reflection to determine what is causing me the difficulty. Recently for me, change has come from a lot of different directions. Being the President of SWACUHO came with a lot of responsibilities and follow up. Now that role has concluded, and thus I have experienced a lot of change within my priorities and how I organize my time. It has left me a little confused on how to re-focus my energies. 

    Another major change I have been addressing has been changes within my department. Last year, we went through a major re-organization, and I needed to spend significant time setting the vision for my department and supporting my team through the associated changes. I also found myself re-focusing the value I place on my work. My work is what I do, it is not who I am. This was a realization that recently hit home for me. It has been a struggle but rewarding as I have continued to work on myself. We all struggle from time to time, but it is how one bounces back that truly matters. Do you allow the changes to overcome your life or do you take the changes as potential successful opportunities to learn and continue growing as a professional.

    Recently, I decided to make a commitment to re-evaluate my view on life and work. It was truly something I had needed to do for many years, but I never took the time to do it. I made excuses such as not having the time, or something else was more important.  Ultimately, I never did it. Several years ago, I had a colleague tell me “No one ever put on their tomb stone 'I wish I could have worked more!'  Another colleague asked me “Do you want to work to live or live to work?” These comments did not mean much at the time they were shared, but now they have progressed to being front and center on my mind.

    For those that don’t know, last year I went on a river cruise to celebrate the 50-year wedding anniversary of my parents. During that time, I was able to do some self-reflection and not be disturbed by work. I realized I want to work to live, but I am currently practicing live to work. I find that it seems like all I do is work. Even when I am not at work, I work. While I do get enjoyment out of the work I do, I know it is not a healthy way to live one's life.

    Now comes the challenge that I need to address.   What does one do about it? The work still needs to get done and the philosophy of working to live should not be an excuse for not getting things completed and being seen as dependable in the workplace. While I am early in this journey, I hope that I can find that balance in my life. Time will tell. If anyone else is going through a similar journey, I wish you well.  Should you want to connect and share your journey and tips that you have found successful, please reach out.

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

624 W. University Drive
PMB 418
Denton, TX 76201


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