The Freshman Project

FP

 

A couple of years ago I did a five post series called, College, Ready or Not?, that focused on finances, making friends, going Greek, stress management, and the importance of listening to your instincts in the collegiate environment. This was great foreshadowing for the opportunity I had to contribute to The Freshman Project: A Collection of Practical and Clever Advice About The College Experience. This book is for college students diving into their first-year of college AND for those people in their life who serve as their advocates, allies, mentors, friends, teachers, guidance counselors, mentors, and champions.

After serving as a Student Affairs staff member on the campuses of Duke University and Vanderbilt University for the past 9 years, I know that parents/guardians always want to know, “How do I prepare my student for college?” This book can help you answer that question with pages of expert knowledge that help you have the conversations that matter most with your student.

Gift this book to a student and they can spend some time preparing for their next incredible chapter.

Topics include:

  • Survive Failure
  • Build Healthy Love Relationships
  • Pick a Major
  • Be a Beginner
  • Navigate Depression and Anxiety
  • Discover Leadership Opportunities
  • Honor the Differences
  • Sleep Smart
  • Consider Fraternity/Sorority Life

All of these topics are critical for an incoming college student to discuss with a caring individual in their life AND there are still many more topics in the book. Providing them with this information will provide a strong foundation that will help support them as they navigate their first-year of college.

I’m honored to have a chapter in the book “Discover Leadership Opportunities”. Erin Fischer of The Leadership and Training Studio put together an all-star roster of expert contributors who give you top notch nuggets of wisdom.

If you’re a student or a supporter of a student and you want  deeper insight into the collegiate experience while adding some tools to your toolbox to help you both be successful, then this book is for you.

Want a copy? I’d love to send you some purchase information.

Want to develop a program around the first-year college experience?

Email me at krystalnclark@gmail.com so that I can send you purchase information and we can begin planning something positive for you community.

 

Want to read my series, College, Ready or Not?

Part 1

Come Back to Calm

Inconvenient Friends

Go With Your Gut

Money, Too Much and Never Enough

The Greek Thing

 

Thanks for reading.

Krystal

 

Why Are We Still Talking About This?

There are a few things that I’m really over reading about on social media. If I’m reading about it then that means people are ACTUALLY having these irrelevant and unnecessary conversations. I just feel like we should, as a society, be BEYOND these things. Perhaps, I expect too much of humans.

Disclaimer: I must admit that I have great privilege in that most of the time I ask for forgiveness (or not) instead of permission. I’m not expected to wear a uniform to work. I also work in education which really tries hard to NOT be a corporate environment BUT I mean, who are we kidding? A College/University is a business. My clients happen to be 18-22 year olds. Often really great 18-22 years olds who wish me Happy Birthday, make me laugh, and leave me donuts and honeybuns.

The topic that made me itch today was, “Are workout clothes appropriate for work?” REALLY?! The world of athleisure is a thing and people like Hannah Bronfman (major crush) are helping women understand how to step up their athletic wear to make it fashionable and appropriate enough for work. I laughed a great deal when a colleague shared with me a TODAY show segment about athleisure and how they advised women to whip on a strappy heel with their sweatpants. WHAT?!

I think at this point the term athleisure just makes me giggle BUT I take the meaning behind it seriously as a professional woman who floats through the world juggling a nice number of roles and wearing a few different and stylish hats. I’m also a person who does really great work in leggings, t-shirt, and sneakers because I’m not worried about my Spanx rolling, a run in my tights, and my left pinkie toe killing  me in heels as I hustle around a brick campus.

I work and live in one of the most obese states in the US. I’ve always been overweight. I come from a large people and I REALLY enjoy biscuits. Working out makes me feel happier, relieves me of stress, and infuses me with a great deal of energy. I’ve also been known to lose a few pounds. When I work out, it’s an act of prioritizing me over my work, which makes me not resent the amount of time that I devote to my professional life. By taking care of myself, I can provide a better version of Krystal to all of the other stakeholders in my life. I’m better for my bosses, my students, my staff, my friends, my colleagues, and my family. If I’m healthy, that leads to less time out for sick days or doctor’s appointments. I also work in an environment in which, rather I’d always like to or not, I serve as a model for my clients. Modeling the Way is a critical piece of working in Student Affairs and if I can make time to engage in fitness, then perhaps I can serve as encouragement for a overly involved student to do the same. We urge our students to practice self-care and make wellness a part of their life. For many of them this means incorporating physical activity into their day. There’s even a hashtag called #SAFit to encourage folks in my field to include fitness into their packed and often student directed schedules.

All of this sounds pretty great, right? A happy, healthy, motivated, confident, and engaged Krystal is the best Krystal to have on your team. Not the grumpy sloth I become after skipping days of Barre3 or whatever ClassPass adventure on my schedule.

Then why do we keep admonishing people for sporting workout gear to the office? This is actually improving my work and if I’m getting the job done then should we really be hung up on what I wear to the office? What we’ve defined as professional dress, for many reasons, needs to be updated. Many of the women that have adopted athleisure as their work style, talk about it as a way of being comfortable while they work. These clothes help them perform at their self-defined personal best.

Barre3

Here’s the thing, we preach balance and life prioritization, but don’t want to always deal with the reality of what this looks like in practice.

There are times when I could make it to a fitness class in time if I didn’t have to worry about changing clothes or I could make it back to the office in a more timely manner if I didn’t have to take the time to do my entire morning routine for a 2nd time post workout. This is balance/prioritization in practice. If this isn’t acceptable, then I might just forego a workout because I don’t have time to change in a phone booth like Superman.

Yes, I know there are all of these office friendly workouts that people integrate into their day and that’s fantastic.  I’ve done some Barre3 10 minute workouts in the middle of my office but sometimes, you need a good lifting session or some time on the TRX. Unless you have the best office  EVER (if you even have an office) , these things might be super difficult to make happen between your desk and your decorative fichus.

Instead of looking at someone in a dri-fit top and a pair of workout pants as messy, lazy, unprofessional, and disrespectful, what if we looked at this person as just trying to get it all done in the best way they can?  What if we looked at this person as someone who has their priorities in order? What if we looked at this person as working hard to be their best in order to do their best work for and with others? We put athletes up on pedestals and invest billions of dollars in high performance  clothes that we hope will make us look, play, throw, shoot, swing, run, jump, flip, catch, kick, row, box, ski, and swim like they do BUT don’t bring that mess to work! Work, the place where you’re expected to perform like an Olympian for at least 40 hours of your week.

Now, I must admit that when I do wear workout clothes to the office I tend to do the following:

  1. Wear an oversized top to cover my bum.
  2. Ensure that what I wear is so fresh and so clean.
  3. Choose items that are black. I don’t rock my most colorful leggings on these days.
  4. Make sure that I’m not too exposed.
  5. If I happen to workout and then go to work, I take grooming items with me to freshen up at my desk or in my car. Deodorant or Dove’s Dry Spray , BeautyCounter’s Rose Water Spray, wipes, and fragrance. The goal is not to show up as a sweaty and smelly mess.
  6. Make sure that I have a light load of meetings post workout.

I know that these 6 items are my own way of contributing to the problem but to be honest, they also just help with my comfort level. I know that some of my friends feel they could never just pop back into the office post workout because of the amount they sweat in the process. I get that and this kit has helped me not be as concerned about this issue. I also would never wear leggings or workout pants without covering the junk in my trunk. I just can’t! No shade to those who do. You have much more confidence in your behind than I do.

I just think we’ve got to effectively design the outcomes of our office culture and be open to the steps that need to be made in order to achieve those outcomes. The tech world has certainly figured this out as my friends who work at Google and Microsoft rock sneakers, t-shirts, and jeans,  but what about everyone else? Do we really need to discount a person’s entire skillset because they wore a pair of sneakers, workout leggings, and a t-shirt to the office?

Stop with all the policing and get back to work. Let people be great.

 

 

 

 

 

 

S.A.I.L Away With Me

“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning how to sail my ship.”

Louisa May Alcott, Little Women

SAIL Pic 2

My personal mission statement is to inspire and equip others to thrive. I have a great passion for doing so with women, especially young professional women. For a long time, I’ve had a dream of creating a women’s leadership development program and was able to be the driving force in creating and implementing PREVAIL Women’s Leadership Conference at Vanderbilt University for undergraduate and graduate students who identify as women. After the success of PREVAIL, my heart was even more motivated to create something special for women in Nashville. A place where women can connect, learn, be vulnerable, dream, create, love, and communicate what they hope for, need, pray for, and just want in this world for their personal and professional lives.

One of my Strengths is Input which means that I collect lots of resources and love sharing them with other people. I cringe when people haven’t been exposed to tools that could help lead them in a different and/or better direction. Besides just posting these items on social media, I want to be able to actually engage women as they dive into various frameworks, theories, and schools of thought. I’m a connector of people and a connector of people to resources.

This is  the origin story  of S.A.I.L:

Success

Authenticity

Innovation

Love

“All of us are learning how to SAIL our ship. We often don’t think about learning how to SAIL until we’re in a storm. Think about how much better we’d be at thriving during the storm if we spent more time learning how to SAIL before the storm. “

Deciding a name for this program took me a little time as I wanted something meaningful and different. A scroll through Pinterest produced the famous quote from Little Women and I scribbled  SAIL in my notebook. I then decided that SAIL needed to mean something and used it to plot out the curriculum course. S.A.I.L is a vessel to get to your desired destination and people go sailing to do the same. I took a break from the idea and visited The Beveled Edge for a shopping break. The first greeting card I saw in the pile was the one below:

Sail card

This is when I knew I’d found just what I was looking for in the name S.A.I.L. God is something else, ain’t he?

S.A.I.L includes:

  • 4 1.5/2 hour workshops
  • Opportunity to take StrengthsQuest
  • List of Relevant Resources
  • Relationship Building
  • Action Planning
  • Snacks/Wine/Champagne
  • Real Talk  about four key topics that continuously rear their head in the lives of women.
  • Oh, and it’s FREE!

Our first session is on Wednesday, February 3rd at Atmalogy in Nashville, TN.

19 women have already said YES! My goal was 15.

Can’t wait to keep you updated on this dream. This is just Leg 1 of the voyage. My hope is that S.A.I.L is able to leave its mark on the hearts, minds, and souls of the women in Nashville, TN and then one day, a city near you :).

If you’re in Nashville and interested in being a part of any or all S.A.I.L sessions, please send me an email at krystalnclark@gmail.com.

Invite Pic

 

 

 

Full.

Watch this video.

I live with the same gremlin as Oprah, “Who do you think you are?”

FULL is my 2016 Word. Read this Yellow + Co. post for more info. Resolutions are not my thing. Well composed goals that include a plan of action and accountability systems are a whole lot better. One word that keeps me pointed in the right direction creates a simple guidepost for my life. I don’t have to check a list to make sure I’m getting it all “right”. I just have to check the gauge on my heart and mind to see if I’m heading towards full.

“Now, I work at being full. I want to be so full that I’m overflowing. Overflowing with enough to share with everybody else…I’m going to own the fullness without ego and without arrogance, but an amazing sense of gratitude that I live at a time where I have the great pleasure and freedom to fill myself up.” –Oprah

FULL

Happy 2016, y’all. Here’s to a life of being full. Full of becoming more of who I already am, full of saying ‘yes’ and ‘no’ intentionally, full of belly laughing, full of love for myself and others, full of God and reminders of His grace, full of music, full of delicious food, full of movement, full of creativity, full of knowing that being single does not determine my worth, full of living my life in my lane, full of magic, full of friends, full of reflection, full of choosing joy, full of family, full of events, full of seeing failure as information, full of enjoying the small moments, full of fighting the good fight, full of getting stronger, full of less stuff and more experiences, full of honoring my needs, full of hope, full of savoring the season of my life, full of being a little bit better today than I was yesterday, and full of doing the best I can with what I have. This little tea cup is just waiting to overflow.

I think we have enough people who are living their lives empty of their truth. They are curating themselves into someone they aren’t. Being full of oneself isn’t a negative thing and I’d choose it any day over being empty of the me God made me to be.

Now, when I hear that little gremlin say, “Who do you think you are?” I will simply say, “I’m me.”

What’s your word of 2016? What’s that one focus that you’ll keep in mind as you move throughout the year. That internal check-in that will let you know if you’re experiencing your personally defined vision of success.

Krystal “Someone Get That Woman an Extra Cup” Clark

#FULL

May 21-June 21 Goals

Perhaps I should have posted these at the beginning of May but as I think Lara Casey would attest to there is really nothing special about the first of the month. It’s a day that we’ve socially constructed to mean the beginning or starting point but who says you can’t start on the 21st? Throw away nonessential rules!

Nashville Bucket List –My list of things to do in my favorite city this summer. I envy those people who say things like, ” I summer in The Hamptons.” You know folks got bank when seasons become verbs. I haven’t reached baller status so for now #isummerinNashville.

Fruit Name

Update my Retirement Plan–I’m 32 and it’s never too early to get this party started. I have great employer matching benefits and I want to make sure that I’m taking full advantage of every opportunity to save for retirement.

Restaurant Crawl– Dinner at Lockeland Table and I still have 2 reservations to secure for a dinner date and a group brunch. I’m also working on a visit to Biscuit Love.

Sunday Gratitude Time– I have a ton of Thank You Notes and Love Letters to write to special folks in my life. Time to get it started! –Fruitful Summer!

Mail God

Summer Reading List– Diving into Spinster by Kate Bolick and Do Over by Jon Acuff

The Nashville Zoo

The Peach Truck

Fitness Goals

Use my Fit Factory Nashville Groupon. I purchased a months worth of classes. Can’t let that $39.00 go down the drain. IP

Yoga on the Field!

Begin the Barre3 Anywhere Challenge on June 1. The first challenge was the best fitness experience ever for me and I’m looking forward to getting it done again.

– Pick 3 new recipes from Soul Food Love and Oh Gussie! to prepare.

Professional Goals

Present at the National Conference for College Women Student Leadership at my alma mater, University of Maryland, College Park.

Participate in Mid-Level Managers’ Institute taking place right here in Nashville. So thankful to have been selected for this PD experience.

-Hold action oriented meetings for PREVAIL and TEDxVanderbiltUniversity

– Transfer Student Recruitment for EVOLVE

Summer Leadership Challenge! First 3 challenges.

Peculiar Pearl Goals

3 Posts per week

Build instagram following over @peculiar_pearl

Get new business cards

Develop a Business Plan

Email Rachel about training with Liz

– Craft Key messages/services

Orientation at Nashville Entrepreneur Center

Faith Goals

Continue working through the Wholeheartedly Devotional

Attend the Belonging Co.

– Continue seeking and praying about a Bible Study/Small Group

I think that might be enough. I’m excited and tired –is there a word for that?

Krystal

Oh, hey 32.

It’s time for another fantastic voyage around the sun! 32 happened today.

It was grand. It’s Good Friday so there’s way more to be thankful for than my birthday BUT…I certainly celebrated my origin and am thankful others took the time to do so as well.

So, what happens now? Hmm…let’s see…my apartment and car are messy (as per usual), there was a tornado warning, dinner plans were cancelled (totally fine as my spa appointment was running long and I was quite unaware of the mess my hair would be after all of that TLC). I slept in, took a great Barre3 class, and spent from 12:45-almost 6:00 at ESCAPE Day Spa. Now, that was heavenly. Sigh! I also received a litany of the sweetest and most thoughtful messages from family and friends. All in all, it was a perfect day of rest, relaxation, and an increased awareness of all the love I have in my life.

In between spa services, I read Hannah Brencher’s “If You Find This Letter”. I’m not sure how I stumbled upon her but her writing is pure poetry. The depth of feeling is unfathomable which is probably why I began to cry as I read it during my pedicure. My emotions have been pouring out of me like crazy lately…I’m not sure how I feel about that but when you gotta cry, you gotta cry. I’m not sure if the woman working on my feet noticed my tears. If she did, she politely did not mention it and instead made my toes pretty with a polish called “Can’t Be Beet” and brought me a cup of delicious green tea. I think the tears came from a variety of things. Would you like to join me as I psychoanalyze myself?

1. I’m 32 and that’s awesome and scary. On my best day,  I feel 21. I don’t think I’m unique in thinking that I should be further ahead in life than I actually am. Whatever “further ahead” means.

2. It’s a total privilege and I’m overwhelmed by the blessings I have to be able to afford to spend an obnoxious amount of time at a day spa. It wasn’t cheap but was totally worth it. Treat yo’ self 2015!

3. I don’t think that I’ve rested like that in a really long time. I carry a lot around in my head and in my shoulders.  I tucked my phone into my locker and I just relaxed. No work, no family, no Nashville stuff, nothing. Just me, myself, all of these great smells, the sound of water, twinkling stars on the ceiling, fresh cucumber water, and these amazing cookies that look like tree bark but tasted like perfection. No to-do list or goals. Just Krystal and peace.  No striving to get to the next step, no feeling like I’m behind–just sitting, laying, breathing, napping, and praying (all while in a robe). I needed this respite real bad. I needed to not know there was a tornado outside.

cucumber water

4. Hannah’s book is a lot about LOVE. L-O-V-E. Romantic love is illusive in my life. I think I had it once but not since. Having a birthday reminds you of the many types of love that exist in this world and though I don’t have “the one”, I do have many. Many amazing human beings who have love for me in their heart. People who love me for who I am and love me unconditionally. I’m surrounded by love all the time. I can’t discount that love because I don’t have a boyfriend or husband. The love I get from the many is the love that’s kept me going strong for the past 32 years. It’s the love of many that gets me out of bed and is the love that pushes me to be a little bit better today than I was yesterday. It’s the love that makes my smile big and my laughter loud. It’s LOVE and it’s so good. My tears were a mixture of heartache and me simply recognizing again that my time hasn’t come yet for someone to love me in a romantic way and that doesn’t make me less of a person. I’m a whole person. There’s all this magic love around me on a regular basis that makes and keeps my heart full. As my birthday is on Good Friday, I must never forget the ultimate love of Jesus dying on the cross for little ‘ol me. Me not having a boo to take me to the Masquerade Ball can never cause me heartache without my permission because of His  love in my life. It’s hard to understand why I haven’t found the love of my life BUT I can’t let it break me and I can’t let it scar my entry into 32. God’s got a plan. I have a purpose. It’s going to work itself out someday. All of that is worth some tears, right?

So, all in all, it was a strong, beautiful, and cleansing day. My pedi, facial, eye refresher, and massage made it a solid first day of 32 and tomorrow I’m eating brunch and dinner with great folks, trying a new workout class and continuing the celebration into Easter with church, another great workout, and Sam’s Place at Ryman. Then back to the real world…

32 is going to be what I make it. I just want to choose happy and I want to thrive. I want to push fear off a cliff. I want to trust myself more. Ask for what I want and ask again if I don’t get it. I want to keep loving and serving Nashville while loving and serving God. I want to go to concerts and new cities. I want to educate. I want to work out and eat healthy.  I want to grow and I want to make it to 33. I want to make it to 33 with a whole new set of challenges and not the same old mess. I want to change if I need to and hold tight to what makes me the woman I am. I want to believe all of the amazing things others see in me.

All of that can’t possibly be too much to ask, right?

Hope you’ll keep reading as I take on another year of life.

Krystal

Bloom, I Say, Bloom.

I’m in Nashville. Excuse me, I’M IN NASHVILLE!

The thing about being planted is that like most flowers, you can always be uprooted and planted elsewhere. Just like a flower can move (with assistance, of course) into another pot, you can gather your belongings and move to another apartment, city, state, or country. Maybe one day, I can add planet to that list. Mars, anyone?

bloom

Like a flower, we should also bloom where we are planted. I would think that when a flower is plopped into fresh soil and provided with the right amount of water and sunlight, that it works really hard to bloom. It doesn’t just sit there waiting on the next pot. It leans into the sunlight, soaks up the water, cozies into the soil and it goes at it like a champ. Impressive. The goal is to thrive and not to wither and die. It does not have time to wait on another pot to be a beautiful. The time is NOW.

My thought is that we should do the same. Every year when I have to resign my lease, I have a moment on the couch in which I have to ponder whether I want to move. The continuum spans from moving to the other side of the couch to moving to another state. I spent 4 years in my last state and now that I’m coming up on 4 years in Nashville, I  started to check for the itch that’d alert me that it was time to hit the dusty trail. However, the itch wasn’t happening.

I thought about moving apartments and moving closer into the city BUT I don’t want to spend more money. I actually like where I live and I enjoy having extra money to pursue things that bring me joy. I’m in a great place with my community involvements and I’m feeling better and better about my professional situation. People are lovely, music is amazing, airport is close.

Running to another pot wouldn’t guarantee me anything except starting over, but nothing that irritates me about my current place in life will be solved by moving.

Every flower that blooms has to go through a whole lot of dirt to be beautiful.

So for the time being and for at least another year, I am planted in Nashville, TN, and I’ve done a pretty great job of blooming here if I say so myself. So, I’ll just keep up the good work. This is my now and I’m going to embrace it and continue blooming into the beautiful person that I know God has made me to be.

Wherever you are, own your present. Don’t let it pass you by while you wait on something or someone that isn’t guaranteed. When people say things like, “I mean, that sounds fun, but I don’t want to get too involved because I probably won’t be here that long.” OR “When I lose 15 lbs., I’ll totally go on that beach trip.” OR “I can’t wait to find the special one and then my life will be amazing.” These are missed opportunities to BLOOM. Get involved NOW. Go to the beach NOW. Recognize the current state of amazing in your life NOW. BLOOM where you are planted.

If you need me, I’ll just be out in the sunshine blooming and blossoming and being all beautiful and stuff. Join me.

Thanks for reading.