Week 1: “Please be my friend”

After arriving on campus a week ago, I finally started to meet other new HDs on Wednesday. Thank goodness, because I was getting to the point where I really couldn’t occupy myself any longer without a TV or being able to unpack my stuff. I was getting a little bit starved for human interaction (to the point where I described myself as “feeling like Rapunzel” in an email about carpooling to my fellow new HDs).

Alas, we all finally convened on Wednesday night for a BBQ. At which point I now had to make friends for the first time in 6 years. Now, I did have to make friends last summer at my internship, but they lived with me and we did everything together, so it was pretty easy. Not so, this time.  Since my #1 friend-making strategy is food, I brought a very yummy salad with strawberries, blue cheese, walnuts, and homemade blueberry balsamic vinaigrette (pictured to the right). For any colleagues reading, yes, I will continue to cook for you in exchange for friendship. At that point, my crazy fears about whether people would be friendly, if I would have things to do, etc, started to dissipate.

That’s right. I’m a “Proffessional”.

The next night several of us went for a delightful trip to the UConn Dairy Bar and got what is probably now my favorite ice cream (Toasted Almond Amaretto), though I neglected to take a picture of it. And the next day was the real deal: Job Day #1.

We went through lots of HR stuff, which was rather informative, though I still have to fill out benefits paperwork. We had a delicious lunch from Sara’s Pockets, a local restaurant, I got my HuskyOne ID (which is great except that they misspelled “Professional” and I don’t have access to anything yet), and I got into my office (which I decorated this weekend and you can see lovely pictures of below).

The best part of Day 1, however, is that 5 of us decided, on our first day of work in Connecticut ever, that we would head down to a NASPA CT Social in Hartford after work. Things were going just great, we got to Hartford, we found the restaurant, we realized we didn’t have to pay for parking, and then we went inside. Noticing a large group of people at the bar, we thought “This must be it”. After standing verrrrry awkwardly for 15 minutes, contemplating why these people did not have a sign or name tags and were not being very student-affairsy (ie. noticing that we had come to their social), one of my co-workers took the plunge and asked a group if they were there for the NASPA Social. SHUT DOWN. After panicking for another moment, we finally turned around and saw the other bar, which had signs noting “NASPA CT SOCIAL THIS WAY”. Whew.

When we actually got to the right place, we were relieved and warmly welcomed. There were a few people we knew, we got to meet colleagues from UConn, there was free food, and we had a generally great time. We went from being ready to give up to having an awesome time and meeting new people. The solution just happened to be right around the corner, and we definitely bonded over how horribly awkward, stupid, and embarrassed we all felt!

I’ve kept busy all weekend with an Olympic opening ceremony viewing party on Friday night, Thai dinner & a movie last night, and putting my office in order so I’m ready to hit the ground running. I’m very grateful so far for the hospitality extended by the returning HDs and for the openness and friendliness of my HD cohort!

Earlier in the week, one of the Assistant Directors asked me if I was ready for Friday, and I replied that “I’ve been ready for Friday since April”. Now with Day 1 under my belt and lots of great interactions with my coworkers, I feel ready to tackle the rest of the days this year as well.

Although I still can’t move into my apartment until there is furniture in it, at least I can decorate my office to be calm & inviting.

The Big Move!

Okay, the move wasn’t really that big because I only moved an hour and a half away. I am also in a temporary apartment until mine is ready, so I unpacked probably 10% of my stuff. Easiest move-in ever. It really was quite easy, thanks to several of my new colleagues, who came to carry my stuff inside (note to anyone on-boarding new employees, having a move-in crew is basically the best welcome ever). I was also welcomed by this wonderful sign and a basket of goodies and essentials!

My first day of work is on Friday, which leaves me plenty of time to explore the campus and the area, get lost until I figure out where I’m going, and take care of some initial stuff. I successfully made my first trip to Super Wal-Mart yesterday, where a very nice associate mistook me for the traffic reporter on the local Fox news before showing me where the Brita pitchers are. I’ll take it as a compliment.

Today I procured my new employee parking pass, activated my NetID (so I can use the internet for important things like blogging), and got my UConn email address. I’ve also got my tax forms all ready to fill out. This should leave me plenty of extra time at New Employee Orientation on Friday to figure out my insurance and retirement plans.

I also took a nice long walk around campus last night, checking out some landmarks like Gampel Pavilion, the Jonathan the Husky Statue, and Mirror Lake, as well as checking out the more historic areas of campus (which I’m a total geek for) and creeping around my buildings (since I’m not living over there yet). Yesterday was a beautiful day and I have to say that I’m completely enamored with this campus. It’s beautiful and I’m looking forward to discovering more of it!

Eddy Hall, my soon-to-be new home
Jonathan the Husky, looking regal