When Robots Attack

#SATechBOS is an experience.
Literally, its an experience… a free-flowing, fly by the edge of your pants experience where if you’re not thinking fast enough, you’ll be left to fend off robots. Yes, Robots.

Let’s backtrack.
For those not familiar, #SATechBOS is a two-day unconference I was lucky enough to attend last week. Topics are vetted by participants and by the end of two days, teams of participants create a working tech-focused project.  If you don’t move fast enough, cylons invade.

So, after a few un-sessions, topics started to emerge… and soon, a tech-focused project was conceived. Our small group talked about it for no more than 30 minutes. We had an idea and liked it… and suddenly, our facilitator (and visionary behind #SATechBOS) Ed Cabellon buys us a domain.

Wait. What? WE’RE NOT READY. 
“Robots,” Ed said. 

We weren’t ready. It wasn’t perfect. But Ed moved fast to avoid the cyber-fishers that would snatch up our domain. You see, we searched for the domain on google… and that’s where robots hide, plotting their evil doings and stealing our medicine (thanks, Hunter).

Many of us were uneasy. I was certainly leery… but there was a beauty to the speed.

If Ed hasn’t forced us to move on it, we probably wouldn’t have moved on it. It would have been another one of those ideas that never came to fruition. We had a unique thought worth sharing… a unique product worth developing. By moving fast, Ed pushed us to create. He believed that each group had a vision worth sharing with the world. There was no turning back.

If nothing else, here’s my takeaway – too many times we don’t move on beautiful ideas because they’re not completely fleshed out. Force yourself to move even if you’re not ready. Don’t let robots stop your ideas from taking root and turning into something amazing.

In the upcoming days, I’ll be sharing some of the ideas created at #SATechBOS, including our own. I hope you follow along, and if you see one worth getting involved in, I hope you find a way to contribute.

Just be careful of the robots.

When Robots Attack

Slowing down

I’ve been pretty quiet for the better part of two weeks. Call it what you will: processing, grieving, coping, healing.

I’ve responded to dozens of emails, texts and tweets in the last few weeks and I give the same response – “We’re all physically okay.” But in reality, many of us (myself included) are still healing.

I’m certain I went through all of the stage of grief – I ate my feelings; I drank my pain away; I stress-vomited nightly; I threw myself into work; I went on a mini-vacation with #MyEric; I did it all.

But what I couldn’t figure out was how to get my groove back. How do I get back to me? How do I get back to life on April 14?

And it hit me yesterday. Slow down.

As part of Orientation training, I conducted a One Word Workshop with the student leaders. For some reason yesterday, my one word came back to me… and it was exactly what I needed.

My one word is #Slow. A reminder to enjoy where I am and what I’m doing; a reminder to appreciate the work I’ve done to get here and the work I will be doing in the future; a reminder I’ve accomplished a lot and I’m lucky to be in a place I want to be. 

You’ll find me later today, slowly walking through the Public Garden, viewing storefronts along Charles Street and appreciating where I am.  #BostonStrong

Slowing down

On the return to normalcy

Monday, August 29, 2005 changed my life. As Katrina hit New Orleans, I knew my job at LSU would never be the same but had no idea of the impact it would have on my life.

In the weeks that followed, we volunteered, we changed our work patterns, we helped where we could.  What I wasn’t ready for was how we get back to normal.

Two weeks and several cancelled back to school events later, my supervisor and I were in a heated argument about programming and when it was okay to return to normalcy. It wasn’t an easy conversation and I’m thankful to Steven for the challenging time. It may not have been pleasant at the time, but it has since framed my outlook on student affairs.

That said, today I find myself in a similar situation.



At 2:50pm yesterday, I found myself a block away from the second detonation site during the Boston Marathon attack. As I heard the first explosion, my fingers furiously typed text messages to my boyfriend and my family, letting them know I was okay (at the time, no one knew anything… my poor parents were so confused). Seconds later, the second explosion left us all in a momentary stunned silence. As the crowd ran in different directions, I slowly moved through the streets, looking for my students running the marathon who I knew were only minutes away on the road. Herded in different directions, we did the best we could, listening to the police (and later the National Guard) as they tried to maintain order in the worst of situations. My ability to text ended soon after, leaving Facebook and Twitter my only means of communication.

I never found my team of runners who I was trying to cheer on, but I knew they were away from the blast. What I didn’t know was who was impacted by the explosions… and which of my students were there. Thank god, all seven injured are physically going to be okay.

But now what? How do you proceed with care and compassion to those who are afraid for their safety? To those who are mourning a loss of innocence? To those who may be triggered by a word and experience post-traumatic stress?

Do you cancel events? How do you modify?

How do we go back to normal?

Today, it remains clear to me – People come first.
Programs and events will alter and evolve but people need to be cared for, people need to know they’re loved.

My brain goes back to the book/movie Contact –

“See, in all our searching, the only thing we’ve found that makes the emptiness bearable, is each other.”

-Carl Sagan

Go hug someone today for no reason. Because all we have is each other.

On the return to normalcy