Campus Web Solutions

Yesterday I finished my student position as a technical writer with the Campus Web Solutions team at Auburn University. It was a bittersweet day for many reasons, but mainly because I’ve spent a whole year getting to know the guys, and some days—crazy as it seems—they were the only reason I was still sane. I miss the guys already, but they will be totally fine without me, and I’m sure they will do so well in all their work in the future.

Being the writer that I am, I felt the need to highlight some of my most memorable experiences at the AU OIT.

“Hi!”…

Somehow I made friends with people from all over the OIT building. Several of them being the receptionists I saw when I first walked into the OIT building. I also met several people at the other end of the floor where I worked, and I saw these people quite frequently. The funny part is that we just kind of became friends without ever really introducing ourselves to each other. So I’m always thrilled to see them… and I don’t even know half of their names!

Initiation

There’s something about picking on the new guys that never gets old. I’m not really sure if this stuff ever happened to me or if I was just that oblivious, but pranking and nicknaming are part of becoming a team member at CWS.

Each working term this year, we had a cookout or fun partyish event. At the summer cookout, one of the new guys went to get a second helping and snatched up the last hamburger. Another guy passed by him on the way to get a hamburger and was very disappointed that there were none left. So the new guy was bestowed with the name “Hamburglar,” and for a while we actually kind of forgot his real name. He even busted out of his clothes on Halloween wearing the hamburglar costume! …and a random horsehead mask and circus mask for additional awkward attention…

Halloween costumes

Nothing builds camaraderie at work like (tasteful) nicknames. :)

Worker’s Comp

CWS is all about some games. Even just throwing stuff around the office keeps everybody entertained and ready for a challenge. Foam objects are the usual toys that get tossed around, but somewhere along the way a frizbee appeared, which looked more like a toy helicopter blade…and kind of felt like one when I got hit in the face with it. “Hamburglar” accidentally aimed the wrong way when he threw it across the room and nearly gouged my eye out with it. Poor guy. I think he needed more consoling than I did. Of course the other guys fabricated a violent scenario to make him feel better (and worse). For a while we replaced the word “hit” with “Hannah.”

Imagination Appreciation

Being associated with the arts myself, I have a broad appreciation for various art forms, especially ones that happen spontaneously and right in front of my face. Like this spectacular live, pixilated version of Mario:

Near the desk where I normally sat.

Near the desk where I normally sat.

and more...

more of the artwork…and Tyler

The guys had some theatrical inclinations as well. A couple of the guys went through a larping phase. In primitive warrior fashion, the guys battled it out on the OIT lawn with foam battle ax and foam swords in hand, wearing armor engineered entirely from scratch, while our supervisor captured the event on video for all to see…

 

 

Quotes

Aside from business quotes, CWS takes pride in recording only the best statements that pour out of people’s mouths, which they don’t hesitate to write on the most visible whiteboard. Here are a few of them:

“XML is sexy cool, but SQL is better.”- Michael (the boss)

“I just thought it was magic.”- Alex T.

“My projects don’t break.” – Michael

“My roommate’s mom is in town to clean our apartment.”- HB (Ham Burglar)

“It’s fast…on a cosmic scale.”- Jake

“Let’s consistify the interface.”- Clay

And, of course, Perez…

"I can't imagine the client would want anything else."

“I can’t imagine the client would want anything else.”

Dork Fest

One day I listened as the whole team gathered around in a conversation about Star Wars. The webmaster, who was working quietly (that day) in his cubicle across the hall, got up from his desk, walked into our cubicle, and said,

“I just want y’all to know that… y’all are a bunch of dorks.”

Then he turned around, went right back to his desk, and continued to work quietly.

Atmosphere

You can expect nothing less than the best with CWS, but always be prepared for some eccentricity.  I was introducing the place and the people to the student who will be taking my place next semester while one of the guys was walking around wearing a Russian fur hat and holding a desk lamp up to the ceiling after a light had gone dim. Behaviors like this help keep CWS a powerful asset to Auburn University.

“And it’s real fur, so it’s like having a coyote on your head.”- Brian

Falling Short

One great thing about the OIT’s building is that it is semi-brand new, so it’s designed to be out-of-this-world cool. So even the bathrooms are all chic and progressive-looking with their metallic…everything. So, about two weeks ago, I was leaving the bathroom on our floor, and as I turned around to leave the sink, the little metal trash can beside me came out of the wall…okay, let’s pause right there…it came OUT OF THE WALL.

I don’t think I even knew it was in the wall in the first place, or removable. When it smashed down on my knee, I found out that it doesn’t feel like such a little trash can at all.

After limping all the way across the floor to the kitchen for some ice, I found the plastic bags on—not the bottom shelf, or even the middle shelf—the top shelf. I can’t believe I even saw them from that from distance, but… I have little people superpowers, which will remain unidentified. So, I managed to get some ice for my knee and kept it taken care of for about half an hour, but even at this moment, my knee is STILL sore!

You really gotta watch out for those trash cans, guys.

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Short of Fun, Isn’t It?

So I have this issue where I’m really petite—not just short or skinny—but really a miniature adult. Yes, for those of you who know me, I just called myself an adult. Note: That’s because I am one.

Surprise! Happy birthday to me. This year I turned 21. :) Yay

I would say something like, “Okay, so back to my issue”… but that is my issue—people do not perceive me as an adult.

I will say that some of the blame can be attributed to my personality and the way I present myself. I mean, I guess I can’t really blame people for talking to me as if I were a kid when I’m clearly interested in fun kid kinds of things—like smiling and giggling, playing silly games, eating candy…

About a year ago, I was walking down the candy aisle at Target with my mom and stumbled upon some Cadbury eggs… that were extremely on sale. Bubbling over with joy, I exclaimed to my mom that we just HAD to get them. As I reached to grab some from the shelf, a lady passing by interrupted me with, “Don’t get those—they’ll stunt your growth!”

My thoughts in that moment:

Ummm, yeah. TOO LATE!

You would think I’d be used to people speaking down to me by now. I mean, it happens all the time. Well, unfortunately, I am not. This is because some people actually do regard me as an adult.

I know the freedom of adulthood and feel restricted (and therefore offended) when people perceive and talk to me as if I were still a child.

It’s equally complicated to figure out how to respond to people when they do such a thing. Though I usually just laugh it off, there are times that it really hurts my feelings. My primary reaction is to avoid these situations altogether. So how do I go about this?… Well,

Things that I think make me look my age:

  • Wearing makeup…The more, the older, right?
  • Wearing heels.
  • Wearing classy/expensive clothes.
  • Carrying classy/expensive accessories.
  • Carrying myself well: having confidence and good posture
  • Being assertive, outgoing, and conversational.
  • Doing all of the above at the same time.

To my despair, the most hurtful comments that have ever been made toward me were said as I was doing each of those.

You might think it complimentary for people to say things like, “Well, you look like a kid!” or, “You look like you could be 13 or 14 years old,” or, “Shouldn’t you have a parental figure with you or something? You look a little young to be walking around here by yourself.”

Sure, maybe for a day of your life you could get an ego boost out of appearing a bit more youthful. But think about what it would be like to experience, or at least expect, this type of interaction with people every day of your life.

It might be fun to be perceived as a child while you feel like a child and are carelessly doing childish things. But it is not fun to be perceived as a child while you are trying to be taken seriously. Let’s be more specific.

It does not feel good to be thought of as a child when you are:

  • a 21-year-old woman
  • a single 21-year-old woman interested in dating (single) 21-year-old-ish men
  • a 21-year-old woman communicating with potential employers and trying to land a “real” job
  • anyone working your life away trying to make something out of yourself from scratch

Imagine, or remember, being at this point in your life, worrying about your future, and maybe even shedding a few tears with your close friends and relatives, when someone carefully bends down to look you in the eye and say, “Now tell me: What does Auburn University offer to little girls?”

This is called a blow to the ego.

A person’s intentions are not relevant because saying such things is simply inappropriate and unnecessary. However, people will continue to speak very condescendingly, usually without realizing it. And, regardless of whether I know they are trying to be friendly or offensive, it will continue to hurt my feelings. It is what it is; and that is, in one word, insulting.

Dear stupid boys parading through my life:

I am breaking up with you. Yep. It’s over.

No more meaningless flattery, flakery, or fakery.

No more mind controlling.

No more forgetting to mention that you’re in a relationship…

like marriage…parenthood…you know, minor things.

No more using me to make your family proud,

or to reassure them that you’re not gay.

No more impressing me, then trashing me.

No more hiding behind screens when speaking to me.

No more being emotionally detached and unavailable.

No more unnecessary moodiness,

or impulsive decisions made purely to get a rise out of me.

No more thinking that I’m even going to be remotely attracted to that.

Seeing that I will be continuing to have a real life consisting entirely of honest words, actions, and people, it appears that I won’t have much time to fit you into my busy schedule. I sincerely thank you for the educational experiences you have bestowed upon my life thus far. However, I must move on with my intoxicatingly sweet life without you.

Don’t worry. If I ever need an extra dose of drama in my life, I’ll let you know. I’m sure you’d take me back in a heartbeat to do everything all over again because you’re so easy like that. Unfortunately, however, I cannot satisfy all of your needs, fix all of your problems for you, or be responsible for your happiness. That is your job. So just know that if you come back to me, you’re getting exactly what you have given…….. nothing. You’ll also probably be too dumb to realize that and will still think you’re a magical charm to womankind. You just keep on letting yourself feel that way, brah. Meanwhile, my heart’s true interest will reside in men of reputable character.

Peace.