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The 40 People You Meet at Higher Education Conferences, Part III

[View Part I]

[View Part II]

Woohoo, time for our final edition!

The Dating App User: The term ‘dating’ is relative, but not always sexy time so I’ll separate it from the type mentioned above. Grindr is always poppin’, and lesser known dating apps get a boost during conference season too. Now with Tindr, so many phones are gonna be buzzing. Let the excitement of seeing your colleagues’ naked torso photos begin!

htgawm - dating app

The Intense Networker: They’re at every session, every social, and doing private coffee dates with people. They have their small talk down to a science, with the hopes of scoring yet another business card.

Small talk networking

The Self-Esteem Queen: This person (regardless of gender) thinks very highly of themselves and has never really been criticized before. Going to their sessions means a droning lecture and very little dialogue, because don’t you realize how fortunate you are to learn from them? Daring to critique them never ends well…

everyone ele think im wonderful

The Volun-Told: They don’t want to be here, but they’re being forced to attend. Perhaps they have to recruit for new staff, their institution is a sponsor, or they’re mandated to present on work-related matters.

30 rock - stay up what fresh hell tomo

Sleazy Older Married Man Director Who Pays Extra Attention to Young Female Grad Students: Enough said.

creep

The Presenter Tries Way Too Hard to Incorporate the Already Lame Conference Theme: Maybe one day we’ll just let go of the idea that conferences need snazzy themes. Let’s just settle on “Learning things, talking to people, and drinking” in the future.

trying too hard

The Hugger: They are just really excited to see you again, and have all the feels (x10 when drinking)!!!!!!!!!

spn - sam

The Person Who Can’t Get Lunch Alone: By the end of the night, their throats hurt from talking all day.

SPN - Lucifer - pay attention to me im bored

The Eager Beaver: It’s their first conference and THEY ARE SO EXCITED.

luna lovegood and dad dancing

Drama Kings: Gossip all day err’day! They enjoy stirring the pot and getting folks riled up.

Jane the Virgin - Dramatic

The Person with 9 Roommates: Times are tough (+people want to pocket work travel reimbursements), so better believe their hotel room is packed with people.

budget

The Jaded Professional: They work in higher education, but they kinda hate it and pretty much everyone else working in it.

office - patience

The Professional Session Critic: Prepare to weep softly if they attend your presentation, because they will shred you with their cutting questions

judging and drinking

Social Justice Warrior: This isn’t a bad thing – we need people making our conferences more inclusive! But face it, it is one type of person you’ll find at any higher ed conference (myself, included).

JUSTICE

Contributors:

The following individuals contributed a name, description, or otherwise idea/inspiration for the different types of people you meet at conferences. A few people gave ideas for multiple ones and a few people inspired various types with their comments to me; overall definitely more than half this list. Thank you, friends! ❤

  1. Kristen Abell
  2. Chad Ahren
  3. Eric Crumrine
  4. Ashley Dorris
  5. Mika Karikari
  6. Annabel Feider
  7. Alberto Gonzalez
  8. Michael Goodman
  9. Amanda Khampa
  10. Kathryn Magura
  11. Kristen Marshall
  12. Vanessa Pacheco
  13.  Kaitlyn Owens Yoder
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The 40 People You Meet at Higher Education Conferences, Part II

[View Part I]

And now, the second part of our edition!

The Name-Dropper: One minute they’re telling you how they were on a bowling team with ‘”Marcia, or Baxter Mags as I call her”, the next they’re talking about how Vasti Torres made them cry in their grad school interview but now they’re total research besties.

mean girls - father is inventor of toaster strudel

The Knowledge Nerd: They’ve got the sessions plotted out on their calendar and are taking notes the entire time.

Modern Family - cant wait to learn

The Twitter BFF: Surprise, just because you follow each other on Twitter doesn’t mean you’re BFFs now.

let me love you

The Fashionista: So much color coordination and cuteness, you spend more time checking out their outfit than listening to the presenter.

fashionThe Sexually Frustrated: All they want from a conference is some sexy time. What else are hotel rooms paid for by their university for?

30 rock - sex person

The Avoider: Student Affairs is a small and often incestuous world. For some folks, conferences equate to avoiding ex-lovers, people they hated in grad school, people they hated at their last work place, etc.

adventure time- hide

The Drunk: Open bars are a devilish temptation…not to mention one of the most popular ways to bond/network in higher education is by drinking.

drinking bridesmaids

The Swag Hag: This person is all about that free swag, whether it’s hotel pens, stickers, free food at conference socials, or the sponsers’ hall.

swag hag

The Desperate Job Seeker: You said “hello” to them in the lobby and next week they email you asking for intel at a job in your department or a LinkedIn reference.

mariah - obsessed

The Blogger: How do you know if someone has a blog? Don’t worry – they’ll tell you.

Blog

The Vacation-er: You’ll find them by the pool, by the beach, heading to nearby amusement parks, or engaging in other adventures. If they’re smart, they’ll follow along on the conference’s Twitter backchannel (i.e., hashtag) to see what folks are saying about sessions so they can pretend they went.

vacation

The Desperate Job Seeking Grad Student: Yes, they’re similar to the trope of the “Desperate Job Seeker” except they’re worse because they’ve been brainwashed to believe they must have a job by May graduation or else they’re an SA failure. So expect lots of “OH GOD SOMEBODY PLEASE HIRE ME HERE’S MY UNSOLICITED RESUME” from them.

New Girl - ResumeThe Person Constantly Calling/Texting Their Significant Other/Family: They are constantly on the phone going “Hey bae, I miss you” and giving all the updates. The antithesis of ‘The Sexually Frustrated’

pizza

[View Part III]

Contributors:

The following individuals contributed a name, description, or otherwise idea/inspiration for the different types of people you meet at conferences. A few people gave ideas for multiple ones and a few people inspired various types with their comments to me; overall definitely more than half this list. Thank you, friends! ❤

  1. Kristen Abell
  2. Chad Ahren
  3. Eric Crumrine
  4. Ashley Dorris
  5. Mika Karikari
  6. Annabel Feider
  7. Alberto Gonzalez
  8. Michael Goodman
  9. Amanda Khampa
  10. Kathryn Magura
  11. Kristen Marshall
  12. Vanessa Pacheco
  13.  Kaitlyn Owens Yoder

The 40 People You Meet at Higher Education Conferences, Part I

I’ve had the good fortune to attend three national student affairs/higher education conferences as well as small regional conferences. After a while I picked up on a pattern of different ‘types’ of folks who attended conferences. Between my experiences and the contributions of my hilarious and observant SA friends, we put together this list. The categorized types in this list are not to bash or shame, because I even embody a couple of them (well, there is some side-eye at least for a few of these…), but it’s just for laughs.

 The 40 People You Meet at Higher Education Conferences (Part I of III):

The Live Tweeter: The people who are so connected they can become unconnected to folks in the physical vicinity. They’re walking around with 3 portable cell phone battery chargers because every minute is spent with fingers tapping away on their screen. And hashtags, ALL THE HASHTAGS. #butreallytho #thisisme #soexcitedtousemy2batterychargersatACPA

parks and rec - donna - live tweet this bitch

The Self-Important Ribbon Collector: Not everyone falls into this mindset, but for some each ribbon on their nametag makes them feel so fancy and important.

Conference Ribbons Futurama - yay pay att to me

Incorporates Personal Agenda, Regardless of Relevance: No matter where they are , this person talks or tweets out their own personal goals or professional achievements, while only barely linking it to the original subject matter. They just really love sharing/bragging.

buffy - spike - bragg

The Over-Your-Shoulder Looker: They’re nodding their head, inserting some energetic “yeah, totally” while you talk, but all the while they’re looking for someone more important that they can connect with.

shadiest

The Student Affairs Celebrity: Palms get sweaty in their presence. Like the sun, people seem to gravitate towards them. Whether they are Research Gods or Twitter Royalty, people know them.

Interview with the vampire

The Published Braggart: The Ron Burgandy of higher education – don’t you know that having their name in print makes them totes important?

Anchorman  Kind of a big deal

The Pretentious Grad Student: They drop student affairs theories and theorist names like it’s some kind of SA drinking game. Meanwhile professional staff/academics are silently thinking “Yeah, bro, learned this when I was in grad school too…”

30 ROck - grad student are the worst

The Conference Clique: Love em’, hate ’em, or be ambivalent about them – every conference/association has a clique of hyper-involved folks that can bar access (intentionally or not) to others.

mean girls - cant sit-bw

The Awkward Networker: They really really really just want to be your new best friend and literally tell you all the things.

SPN - Cas - let me tell you my story

Student Affairs All-Stars Bingo: The person looking to complete their Bingo card of all the SA celebrities they’ve met in real life. Don’t be surprised if they take a few selfies with the All Star conveniently in the background and frame it for their office desk.

Bingo

The Hungover: This group of individuals will never be found at a conference session before 11am.

Turnt Up-miley

The Introvert Desperately Seeking Alone Time: No matter where that takes them…

mean girls - introvert

 

That Person Who Has No Idea What Your Name Is: It’s all “Hey…you!” and insertions of words like “buddy”, “pal”, “dude”, “lady” etc in place of your actual name until they have a chance to glance down and read your nametag. Curses to people who forget to wear their nametags and increase the awkwardness!

looking downwards

To continue, click onwards!

[Part II]

 Contributors:

The following individuals contributed a name, description, or otherwise idea/inspiration for the different types of people you meet at conferences. A few people gave ideas for multiple ones and a few people inspired various types with their comments to me; overall definitely more than half this list. Thank you, friends! ❤

  1. Kristen Abell
  2. Chad Ahren
  3. Eric Crumrine
  4. Ashley Dorris
  5. Mika Karikari
  6. Annabel Feider
  7. Alberto Gonzalez
  8. Michael Goodman
  9. Amanda Khampa
  10. Kathryn Magura
  11. Kristen Marshall
  12. Vanessa Pacheco
  13.  Kaitlyn Owens Yoder

25 Ways You Know You Are Dating a Student Affairs Professional*

*This includes graduate students as well. Don’t get it twisted – your assistantship is 20 hours a week and you’re doing student affairs work with real, live students; hence you are a professional in my opinion.

Have you ever been on a date and realized you’ve done one of the following? Or perhaps you’ve been on a date with someone in Student Affairs and always thought something seemed off about them. Well here’s a list of the top ways you know you’re on a date with someone in SA (with special notations about #ResLife only issues)

1)    Your first date involves: Name games, free pizza, and an evaluation of what could be improved for the next time.

pizza dreams true

2)    They give you career counseling.
One minute you’re discussing your job and musing about your expectations/interests in your career, and the next they are asking you probing questions about what makes you happy, where do you see yourself in ten years, and then they proceed to advise you navigating your career.

3)    They ask what organizations you were involved with in college.
Not everyone was involved in a college student organization (or even went to college). In fact, most people were not – but try telling them this! And if you were in a student organization (student government, College Republicans, Greek, etc) as soon as you mention it a look enters their eye, they go “hmm, interesting” and you immediately know they just judged your entire personality.

loki judge

4)    They ask questions using counseling techniques like ‘probing’ and ‘reflection’.
You realized you’re doing most of the talking during the date. They skillfully navigate the conversation with relationship building skills and use counseling techniques to learn more about you, until finally you cry about some buried memory or receive an epiphany about your true purpose in life.

feelings-communiy

5)    When you answer questions about life experiences, share something insightful, and they nod sagely saying “Oh that makes total sense, and explain their understanding using various theories and catch phrases like ‘external formulas’.

6)    When you say something sexist/racist/ableist/homophobic, etc, they call you out
True story: Once I went on a date with a man who referenced his ex-girlfriend and called her a “bitch”. And I proceeded to challenge him with a “You realize you’re out with a feminist, yeah?” and ignored his mansplaining as I explained why that reference was sexist (and not okay).

new girl - fem rant

7)    They ask what your MBTI is, and if you say you don’t know they’re like “Oh, I bet you’re totally like a ___!” and proceed to conduct a personality test.

8)    When you make dinner plans they immediately write off all pizza and Subway.
When the only food your date gets is free pizza and sandwiches, then it is a terrible idea to not introduce more interesting items into their diet.
>>>#ResLife Option: On the plus side, they pay for all dinner plans. On the negative side, dinner is always at a dining hall.

treat yo2

9)    If you make the date during a break (summer, spring, winter) they are super excited to go to the bars that have emptied of college students.

10)    They have a disturbingly large supply of condoms and are more knowledgeable than most on the science of safe sex.

condoms

11)    They measure time in semesters, not years.
“So when did you visit Las Vegas?” “Oh, spring 2013 at the ACPA Convention”.

12)    They provide adequate trigger warnings and uses words like “heteronormative” and “cisgender”

13)    Good luck trying to spend time with them around the beginning or end of the school year, or any other major event.

busy potc

14)    They’re always check their phone to make sure residents didn’t burn down the building or student organizations/athletes aren’t hazing.

15)    At the end of each date they ask you to do “highs and lows” or “roses and thorns” to evaluate the experience.

16)   You can’t understand half the things they say because they speak in acronyms.

english

17)    When you spend the night, they have 52 free shirts that you can choose from as pajamas.

18)    Movie dates result with analyzing the film from a social justice perspective.

19)    They’re always asking odd hypothetical questions like “So, if you’re trapped in a basement after an earthquake, and have these 12 items, what would you use first?”

20)    The first time you say “I love you,” they ask you to operationalize what you mean by the word “love”.

what do you mean

21)    Your significant other’s RAs/colleagues consider you to be an honorary member of the staff.

22)    You know you should be flattered when they call you “self-authored’ but you’re unsure why.

23) They always say that you both should assess the relationship, yet never make any time to do so.

rupaul no time

24) They ask you “What does diversity mean to you?”

25) Sleepovers come with a caveat for being woken up at 3a.m. on duty nights. #ResLife

slumber

Many thanks to my lovely contributors on Facebook! They either helped inspired the list item or created it completely on their own.

1, 19-20: Eric Crumrine
8, 15, 22: Kaitlyn Yoder
10: Jason Mellen
11: Brian Dixon
12: Kelly Grab
13: Rachel Golden, James Thomas
14: Anna Dickherber
18 & 25: Lindsay Luzania
21: Jenn Paul
24: Naomi Valdez

 

What other suggestions would you provide? Comment or tweet me @NikiMessmore!