I’m Back

It’s been a while! The long story (made infinitely shorter by my generally positive regard, combined with the futility of frustration), is that after some inactivity, I lost track of the condition of brianfleduc.com and all it’s related contents faded into the deep-web oblivion.

For a while, it felt like a good thing- more bandwidth to focus on other areas of my life, less pressure and distraction focused on content development and site maintenance, and the cheery reality that I “could always start up another site/blog up again another time.”  But not long after, that shine wore off, and I was left wondering what I would do with this digital echo chamber if I had it back- I brainstormed topics of interest and areas of focus; building, demolishing, redesigning, and rebuilding.  I romanticized posts that were lost, and the “good old days” of ideas set adrift into the interwebs met with support, contention, and thoughtful commentary.

And in that romanticizing, I found myself tragically overwhelmed by the notion that those dozens of ideas, hundreds of posts, years of editorializing and chronicling my experiences and development were gone.

What do you do when all of your musings (seemingly, read: foreshadowing) disappear from the Internet?   It’s an odd question to navigate, and a existential crisis that only exists in an age where your digital life is a mirror and reference point across your experiences- personal reflections, written snapshots, pinned ideas, digital representations of connections with people who we once stood with face to face, and perhaps some we haven’t.

So I decided to do something else, for myself, at least at first.  I filled page after page in Evernote, to keep my writing skills sharp, eventually tiring of the medium (although you’re likely to hear more about this later).  Then I decided to try my hand at chronicling in a Moleskine, which left me with a sore hand and frustration around its disconnection from the world outside.  Months passed, and it collected dust, as did the writer in me.

Needless to say, with a new year came a renewed focus to start fresh (or at least find that damn content I had invested to much time in creating).  So I scoured the internet for cached pages, remnants, or debris from the old brianfleduc.com, and thanks to the Internet Archive Wayback Machine, I managed to find an impressive amount (given my previous results, and low expectations); finding that content inspired a larger fresh start– the one you’re looking at (let’s call it brianfleduc.com v2.0).

I’m excited about it– seven years, six states, and thousands of words since my first words posted online at this domain.  With that excitement, comes a disclaimer: after all of that aforementioned reflection on focus and scope on what I would do if I “came back,” I decided to throw it all out and let this one grow organically. Without a doubt, I’ll bring back some of the greatest hits from v1.0, but beyond that, it’ll be a work in progress.
So– if you haven’t met me before, let me introduce myself.  If you’re an old friend, enjoy a few timelessly salient throwbacks (time-stamped with their original post dates for good measure) and take a look around.
It’s good to be back- do you mind sharing and telling your friends?

Leading in Uncertain Times

If someone had asked me weeks ago what I thought I would be doing at 5 pm on a Sunday in mid September, I might have answered “reading case law or student development,” or at best, watching some football and preparing for the week ahead.  One thing is for sure, I would never have guessed I would be sitting down to the first meeting with a my new RA staff processing the recent departure of a staff member and affirming my support and focus on providing stability over the coming weeks.

At best, the group has been flying through turbulence over the last few weeks.  With often supplementary support by the department, the recent announcement of medical leave by their full-time staff member meant it was time for contingency plans to be brought to action.

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Professional Development on a Graduate School Budget

Between Ed Cabellon‘s clarion call for #sagrow students to describe their professional development needs and aspirations and a conversation I had earlier this week with some of the first year Graduate Hall Directors at A&M about “getting tapped into Student Affairs ‘hot topics’,” I thought it might be helpful to centralize a post with some suggestions about professional development with little to no budget. Read more

Getting students “in”volved: A view from outside the circle

Over the last few weeks I have been part of several conversations about the constant evaluation and evolutionary process of the leadership programs at my internship.  Not only are we continuing to develop program and learning outcomes, but also evaluating the structure and format of the programs themselves, and the resources that are allocated to them.

While the benefits of getting students involved are well-documented (often correlated to higher retention, GPAs, stronger engagement, and opportunities to build all kinds of beneficial skill sets and through their experiences), what continually sticks out to me, is that many of the programs and initiatives coming out of our offices of student involvement and activities are year long, or multi-year programs.  These allow us to not only build connections to student over time to see (and document) their growth, but also develop strong connections between students as well.  Everyone wins, right? Read more

Statement of Purpose: Beyond ‘About Me’

After getting an email from a friend at RWU interested in Student Affairs and working on developing Grad School applications, I realized that I while I’ve spoken a lot about the ‘process of graduate applications’ in Student Affairs: Farm League, I’ve never actually explained what my ‘Statement of Purpose’ was when I was entering Graduate School.  With the start of my experience only 4 weeks away, and a forum like this one to actually post it, I thought it would serve as a great reminder to me of how I got here.  I think every now and then I’ll need it, and posting I here means it’s easy for me to get at, and (hopefully) an interesting read for my audience, (whoever that may be) along with some insight on who I am and how I got here; beyond an ‘About Me’ tab. Thanks for reading!

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