Friday, October 15, 2010

On the Road pt.1: Where I've Been

I have not been posting because I have been traveling so much. I am the Coordinator of Admissions and Marketing for Asbury University’s Master of Social Work program. What this means is that there is a period of time each Fall, and to a lesser extent each Spring, that is my “travel season”. All admissions persons have this, but I have made mine especially intense this year. When I signed on to do this job, the MSW program had only been around for a year and really was just beginning to get on its feet. I committed, if only to myself, to stay in the position until the program was absolutely full, so that we were turning people away. Obviously I want that to happen as soon as possible. I travel as much as I do simply to try and connect with as many people as possible, to grow the number of people who know about Asbury’s MSW program.

So enough prologue. My travel season started Sept 28. This is what I have been up to:

On Oct 28 I left Wilmore, KY and drove to Waynesburg, PA. At Waynesburg I met Chyrul, a middle age African American lady whose table was set up to mine. She happened to also be in social work and we made small talk about jobs, family, etc. It is always nice to have these types of encounters on the road. The fairs I recruit at can be long and tiresome and it is nice to have a kind person set up next to you who can help pass the time when the fair is slow. The next day I did West Liberty University and Bethany College. These schools are either in West Virginia or Ohio, I don’t remember which. There I met a guy who recruited for the Kaplan testing system. I think his name was Brian. We mainly chatted about marriage as Brian was 21 and getting married in 9 weeks. Again, nice to make a friend. Brian actually ended up charging my TomTom for me the next day.

Bethany College

Day 3 was Wheeling Jesuit University and Franciscan University of Steubenville. Franciscan was beautiful! We (recruiters) were placed in an art gallery and the art was awesome. While there I met a woman who has her Ph.D in library sciences and has a specialty in children’s libraries and literature. I asked her about how to get published (I have written a children’s book) and she gave me some wonderful advice. It is these chance encounters that really liven up the road experience.

A stone barn chapel at Wheeling.

So, if you are counting, that is 5 schools and 3 states in 3 days. I got to be at home for 3 nights and then headed out to Warren Wilson College in Asheville, NC. I love Asheville. I went to college and hour away from Asheville and just love the whole hippy vibe they have. The College served beef from cows they raised and vegetables from their own garden. When you put away your tray in the cafeteria there was a section for food waste they used for compost. I love it. Sadly I didn’t get to spend any time in the city and had to hurry home. The next day I did a Career Fair at Morehead State University in KY and that evening left with Joey Styron, the Asbury Seminary recruiter, for Malone University in Canton, OH. The fair at Malone was a total bust but I did see a professor friend there who had me come speak in his class, which made the trip worth it. When that ended Joey and I got in the van and drove to Chicago. Yep. From Ohio to Chicago. Over 6 hours. (In case you are wondering I have logged right around 56 hours driving in the last three weeks). Chicago was a neat experience. We got dinner at a great Italian restaurant (Maggiano's Little Italy: 516 N Clark St.) that gave you both your in house meal and a to-go meal for $12.95. Crazy right?

The next day we were at Moody Bible Institute. I didn’t know how this would go for me and I was extremely surprised. Many students were extremely interested. I met a professor there who is a social worker and pushes his students to get an MSW. A great connection for sure. I left Moody to go to a huge Chicago area fair. It had hundreds of recruiters, boasted 30 co-sponsor colleges, and had 1200 people come through. Surely I would make come good contacts here right? Nope. I only talked to 1 student and he was from a school I was planning to visit in a few weeks anyway. It is weird to think that out of a pool of 1200 I only got 1 but at Moody I got 8 or so from a pool of maybe 200.

I hit the road again Monday to go to Kentucky Christian University, about 2 hours from where I live. KCU is a great connection for us and two of our current students are from there. The next day I drove to Ashland, KY (2.5 hours away) to speak to a group of students. That night I had to leave for Murray, KY (4.5 hours away). That means that on Tuesday, Oct 12th, I was in the car for 9.5 hours. Ridiculous. Yesterday I went to Transylvania University in Lexington, KY which is a short drive away. Their Director of Career and Calling is this VERY energetic lady named Susie who hugs everyone and just loves everyone. Her assistant’s husband went to Asbury Seminary and thus was pretty excited about us being there. Another great connection.

So that is what I have been up to so far. Maybe a boring post but it gives you the gist of what my life has been like. Next post: Stories from the road (including a very strange picture, I promise).

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