Monday, October 03, 2005

A Story That Made Me A Believer

MESSAGE TO UPPERCLASSMEN: START A FACEBOOK GROUP AT YOUR NEW UNIVERSITY- CALL IT “Tulane @ ______” For example “ TULANE @ BU”. Create the facebook group in the TULANE facebook. Do it in the Tulane facebook because I want all Tulane students to be able to search for it and join it. Make sure you search for the group before you create it so there aren’t two group about the same school! We are going to use these groups to connect with Tulane students at our new schools and hopefully talk about issues such as returning to Tulane. Hopefully you can focus on finding a bunch of freshmen and meet up with them. Organize a party or a dinner, get together and tell them why they should be coming back to Tulane in the spring. If you want my help organizing anything, please feel free to invite me to the group and I will try to facilitate things. The least we can do is reach out to freshmen at our new universities. And to the freshmen, you gotta join the group so we know who you are!

Now for today’s post:

The great debate is about the future of the student body. Some people ask how big the freshman class with be, others ask whether there will be one at all. Clearly, a lot of freshmen have seen this site, so let me clear some things up for them. I speak to a ton of people, every single day. I get heartfelt emails from students who were helped by my site. I get confused emails from students who were perplexed by my site. And I get angry emails from students who think I’m merely a cheerleader for Tulane. Listen, I’m not concerned with what you think the intentions are for this site, but here are the facts about why I think you all will come back:

When I first put together this blog, a girl named Alli contacted me via email. She noticed that we were from the same hometown, so she sought a bit of advice about what she should do. Alli was a freshman at Tulane who was on campus for maybe 4 hours. She, along with almost 2,000 other freshmen, was told to go home before they even made a new home at Tulane. Alli and I became friends, and I spoke to her on many occasions about my experiences at Tulane. I told her everything that I’ve said on this site: about the Tulane family and the about uniqueness of the city and its culture. I told her that it may not be the same, but that that didn’t matter because the community will be even better. You see, she wasn’t deciding whether to transfer, she was deciding what she was going to do until she could go back. She didn’t know whether she’d stay home and go to school or go to a college further away. However, she was sure about one thing. She was sure she was going back to Tulane. The thing Alli didn’t know was that I was learning from her too. This remarkable girl was showing dedication to a university that she hadn’t yet attended. She was showing loyalty to the commitment she had made. She was able to sense the Tulane Family that I speak of... It seemed that she had made this decision to return without even reading the site, but I don’t know that for sure. I dont think she knew about the Tulane family that I describe here, but I think she was actually able to sense that something was in fact different about us. So, she spent a couple of weeks deciding what she should do. She flew around the country visiting schools, some academically superior to Tulane. In the end, she came to me with sentiments that nothing compared to Tulane, and she would absolutely be ready to return in the Spring. Remember: she hadn’t been at Tulane even one night! I think this has to do with her ability to sense the family and the love that the students had for Tulane.

I tell this story because it is a perfect example of what Tulane is all about. I only hope that Tulane recruited people like Alli for this year’s freshmen class. I don’t expect every freshman to be as confidant as she is in Tulane, but I do believe that many are. It’s perfectly normal to have questions, concerns and doubts; but in the end, your hearts will guide you. I like analyzing her situation, because it shows remarkable resilience and resolve in someone who had developed virtually no connection with Tulane. She was able to overcome severe emotions in a complicated situation. For that, I congratulate her; that's quite a feat.

I couldn’t imagine in being in the shoes of any freshman. We expect everyone to come back, but the freshmen haven’t been able to experience Tulane or New Orleans. Now they are going to get comfortable in their new universities and many may be doubtful of whether they want to go through the process of coming back. But that statement was recently proved wrong. I learned that a lot of freshmen already decided that they are coming back. Thanks to this site, I’ve been able to communicate with hundreds of freshmen, some confused and others certain about their future. Wouldn’t you know it- turns out we have a lot more Alli’s than I thought. In fact, I would say about 90% of the people I talked to said they were certain they were coming back. Now, don’t feel weird if you are one of those people who aren’t sure about what to do. I’m sure there are a good number of you too. I know it is a tough decision, but I ask you to read my letter to the class of 2010, I think it applies to you too. If you really think you aren’t going to come back, I ask that you try to come back to New Orleans in Nov/Dec and see the place. I bet if we all came back together, we’d be able to show you what I've been describing. And finally, I ask that you find a Tulane student who is at your new university and meet up or talk to him or her. Start or look for a facebook group called “Tulane @ ____” and fill in the name of your university (make sure you search first to see if one exists already). I think many Tulane students will be more than happy to meet up and chat with you about the school and the importance of YOU ALL coming back. What an idea!

Let’s expand on that November or December visiting idea, because I really like it too. If Tulane becomes back up in November or December, they should have a back to school weekend. They should invite everyone back to see the university, the city, and the community. The freshmen can come back and see the place as it is, and they could meet each other. Upperclassmen can come back and do some work on their houses, and of course, act as ambassadors of the university. The whole city might not be back yet, but I’m sure there it will help sooth the fears of parents and students alike.

And speaking of our wonderful parents, I have a small appeal to you- since I know there are a ton of you reading this site. Please consider encouraging your kids to come back, or at least make up their own minds. I have heard of a lot of parents who are influencing their son or daughter not to come back, without giving him or her a chance to make this decision. This decision will affect the rest of their respective lives, and I think it was orignally made with good reason. I know you are worried and I can’t empathize with your feelings (since I have no children). But I can tell you that there won’t be anything to worry about in January. I think there is a reason this site has been around and gotten wonderful support. I also know that there really is a major difference in going to school in New Orleans and at Tulane, especially since I have been attending another university this semester. I promise you that we have the most wonderful collection of people at the school who will definitely be there when you get back. You have to believe in the spirit of New Orleans and the family of Tulane. And if you can’t; well, just know that we, the students, are all living proof.


Blogger nancy s said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

6:01 AM  
Blogger ncgwmom said...

Nancy, you always make me smile (even in truth).

But supporting our son's enthusiasm for returning to Tulane is easy. How many of you read the freshman reading book last summer? Maybe its choice was providential for those who think third world conditions might prevail in NOLA. I don't think so, but if they do, my son's ready to go!

7:21 AM  
Blogger jessi said...

i'm also a member of the class of 2009 at tulane and i cannot put into words how excited i was to find that the campus was definitely reopening for the spring semester. i fought tooth and nail to convince my parents to let me go and one setback, albeit a pretty major setback, isn't going to undo all the work i did to get there in the first place. there is no way i'm not returning and my parents are behind me one hundred percent. i even have a countdown going on my cellphone for the day i leave. i honestly cannot wait.

1:22 PM  
Blogger Kevin Dong said...

you have my support! Tulane @ UH group is up at the university of houston. great job on the site! roll wave!

5:29 PM  
Blogger Freshman Mom said...

For some more Tulane Student Spirit, you can check out this week's Sports Illustrated (pg 28 of Oct. 3 issue), USA Today (this past weekend's edition) and other articles where a freshman and sophomore photo has been picked-up by AP as a sign of commitment and the future hopes for Tulane!

The freshmen are pumped-up and ready to return...even those who were only there for a few hours or days. There was a reason they selected Tulane over all the other options they had! THAT hasn't changed. It wasn't JUST about NOLA as a fun city to live/party in. It was the TULANE reception that students and parents alike felt at Honors Orientation weekend, receptions for accepted students, etc. in March/April...the phone calls that were/are returned from caring faculty/administrators. All of THAT STUFF which helps make the Tulane experience will still be there.

The opportunities our kids will have are INCREDIBLE life experiences.

YES...we're worried about some issues...even some of the stuff RC and P'd discuss in other sites.

So much has already been accomplished in less than a month (if you count down-time for Rita). 3+ months will go a long way!!!

Brett- You've done a great job here.
Parents/Students- we DO appreciate all concerns and we all need to consider the issues as they affect students individually.

I have faith that the Freshmen will return and that the Upperclassmen will embrace them and show them what Tulane spirit and the Tulane Experience is all about!

NCGWMOM---great reminder about Freshman Reading from this summer. Incredible irony!

9:56 PM  
Blogger A Tulane Student said...

Hey Brett, this article on WWL TV (the address is below) says that out of 13,000 Tulane students, only 100 have withdrawn.

Perhaps those who threatened to withdraw did so, with the result that we'll have a much more enjoyable student body.

11:29 AM  
Blogger tuvadad said...

First, RC is not a believer. He has taken what is obvious -- that Tulane will operate in a bubble for a while, within a compromised city -- and set up unrealistic expectations that no instituition could possibly live up to. His daughter's withdrawl is a fait accompli.

His daughter's infatuation with Tulane and NOLA is typical. Of more than 100 displaced students I've talked to, I can recall but two who, if it is their decision alone, would not return. That includes a handful of MBA and Law students who have it pretty good elsewhere. My own will be back (regardless of the concerns that dad may have).

I do think it is time for stark reality, and giddy exuberance, to meet. It does no good to raise unattainable expectations. The housing situation surrounding Tulane is not great. Individually, the repairs are doable, even where remediation is required. But collectively, there is so much to be done, and resources are strained throughout the city. Add in bureaucratic red tape (aka, FEMA and the insurance cos.), and you are years away from normal. Expect to see a lot of boarded up, abandoned buildings in the mid-term (1-2 years).

Basics like potable water and electricity are missing. The basic infrastructure of the city -- such as the health care system -- is a shambles. Transportation, too. For a year, perhaps longer, the basic necessities of urban life will be on "life support" -- fragile, overburdened.

So, I think that is important and vital for students to return, but also realize that when they do so, life as normal will not be so normal. They will have to double up, in many cases, on space, do without many of life's comforts, spend more money for less, and that includes their educational experience.

Twenty, ten, maybe even 5 years from now, things will be looking pretty good. But January? It'll take some getting used to.

5:32 PM  
Blogger nytulanemom said...

I think the visit is a great idea!! Personally I need to revisit Tulane and New Orleans b4 my family can make an informed decision about returning. My son has just settled into a school that was in the running with Tulane when he made his decision last spring. It took a few weeks for him to feel a part of the school. Unfortunately he never had that opportunity at Tulane because of the evacuation on move-in day. A visit might spark up those feeling again or help to determine to stay put. Either way, it would be beneficial.

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Blogger fish said...

Visualization is a tool that has been used for thousands of years by initiates of all the metaphysical schools. Today, it is incorporated into top athlete's daily routines and is used in business affairs frequently. It's use is wide-spread among highly successful people, either consciously or unconsciously, aware of its create power. So if it has stood the test of time and is still being used by high achievers we must come to the conclusion that it works! But has it ever worked for you?

If you answered 'yes' to the above question then you know how powerful this technique can be. If, on the other hand, you gave the more likely answer 'no' then take heart for I am about to reveal to you a sure fire way of reaching your objectives through this mostly misunderstood art.

The trouble with visualization is simple - its in its name!

When studying and contemplating the art of visualization most people have the impression that they must create visual images and make them real or life-like. Many people, in fact the majority, find this almost impossible to do. Even if they can formulate a solid picture of their objective they find it extremely difficult to sustain the image for any length of time. Either the image fades, changes or other intruding thoughts intervene.

This type of visualization is almost impossible to sustain and luckily it is not at all necessary. Why? Because it is in the subconscious mind that your visualization needs to be placed and there is good news. The subconscious mind does not know the difference between an imaginary event and a real one. Your visual image only needs to be a strong visually as any other imagined event. However, that is only half the story.

If all you had to do was just imagine stuff and your world automatically changed to reflect your imaginings this world would be full of chaos (not to mention all those creepy crawly bug-eyed monsters!). Therefore, there are a few more steps to complete before the visualization is passed to the subconscious for manifestation.

Let's try a little experiment. Remember a scene from your past that has a lot of good feelings around it. Any good memory will do, like the first time you heard the words "I love you" from your partner, an amazingly spectacular sunset, a great holiday event or your last birthday. Pick one and remember it. How clear is the image? Can you remember any sounds? What way did you feel? Is there any sense of touch, taste or smell? Identify how your memory works. Is it mostly visual, auditory, kinaesthetic or of a feeling nature?

Now we are going to create an imagined event in our lives that has the same strength and potency as that image. So relax and let's go.

Imagine something that you do everyday, something that you did yesterday, today and will do tomorrow. Let us take the example of waking up tomorrow morning. Don't try to add or take anything away, just think about it and analyse the scene. Is it dark or light? Are you lying next to someone in bed? Do you still feel tired? Has the alarm clock sounded? Are you irritable that you have to get up or full of joy at the dawn of a new day?

You will find that the imagined event is very similar to the memory with probably one key difference - your point of perspective. Is the memory behind you and the future event in front of you? Is one to the left and one to the right? Maybe they are both in front of you or the future seems to move in a clockwise direction. Whatever the perspective the thing to notice is that they are very similar in appearance.

Now imagine doing your future event a week from now, then a month from now, then six months from now. Where are those images placed? Are they moving further away, going clockwise, from left to right? This is your time-line and using it is important in visualization as you will see later.

Ok, let's imagine something that is very unlikely to happen and see where it differs from the last image.

Imagine you are sitting somewhere familiar which is extremely comfortable and relaxing to you. Now imagine that a person you know well comes up to where you are and says "hello". Imagine them telling you that they want to show you a new trick. All of a sudden they have three juggling balls. They throw them in the air and begin to juggle with ease. Then they begin to whistle one of your favourite tunes. You suddenly realize that there is a strong smell of flowers in the room and notice a vase of them just behind the juggler. Imagine laughing loudly at the scene and feeling joyful at the experience. Then the person juggling leans forward stands on leg and puts the other leg outstretched behind them. All the while still juggling and whistling. Then they begin to hop on their leg as a small bird flies over to perch on their head. Once you have the imagined event and stayed with it a few moments just let it fade.

Ok open your eyes. What was the difference between the two images? Can you spot any? Did you use more, less or roughly the same senses in your fantasy event as you did in the future one? Did you see them from different angles? Was the picture bigger in one than the other? Was the sound clearer, the feelings more acute or the smell stronger? Take some time and go back to each scene in your mind. How does the future event differ from the fantasy one? Are you looking at both from a different vantage point? Do you see yourself in the image of one but not the other? Analyse the scenes and see where they differ.

Have you identified how the future event differs from the fantasy one? If you have then its time to make visualization work for you! Take a goal that you have been working on or would like to achieve. Nothing too far-fetched at this point please! Pick something that is possible but at the moment seems a little impractical. Once you have it form a mental image of what it would be like to have, be or do that thing or be in that experience. Remember to form it the same way you do a memory. Give it the same strength visually, in sound, feeling, taste and touch - use your mind in its natural state. All you have to do is imagine the scene.

Ok how does it differ from the scene of waking in the morning? Can you identify the differences in perspective, sound, taste, touch, feelings and what you hear?

Now there will be one other key thing that differs in the images- it is very simple but often overlooked. You know that the future event is going to happen! This is reflected in the way we experience the image. So what we are going to do is fool your subconscious mind into thinking your goal is definitely going to happen by manipulating your goal image!

Once you know what the differences are in each image begin to change the goal image so that it is seen the same way as the future event in your imagination. Place the visualized scene in exactly the same position with the same perspective as your future event.

Place it in the correct position on your time-line. You may already begin to feel that the goal is more possible. Visualise in this way everyday and you will condition your subconscious mind to manifest the experiences necessary to make your goal attainment certain.

One more thing to remember: During the day think about your goal often. This reinforces the visualization and will begin to dispel doubt from your mind. personal development

11:15 AM  

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