Avenue Q

April 18, 2010

Last night, I went to a performance of Avenue Q at the Orpheum with several friends. It was my first genuine theater experience (as in first show I’ve seen that was not community theatre, dinner theatre or a college production) and it did not disappoint.

The show is fun, funny and irreverent. And, while the puppets may have potty mouths and it is not a show for kids or the easily offended, there are good lessons within, and I think everyone can identify with one or more of the characters. If you get a chance to go see the show–take it.


ACPA Boston 2010

March 28, 2010

This week, I had the opportunity to travel to Boston for my first ACPA national convention. It was a few days filled with new experiences, good professional development, and the opportunity to explore a new city. A recap of my trip, by day-


Had an afternoon flight, but left the house early in order to get lunch and a new cane tip. Ate at Potbelly, where I had never been. Quite good, I think they beat Erbert and Gerberts. Thankfully had time to come back to the house to grab an extra sweater just in case. Discovered, to my dismay, that Walgreens does not stock tips even though they sell canes–stupid–thankfully we found them at CVS and I made it to the airport with perfect timing. Uneventful flight.

Arrived in Boston to discover that my colleague and roommate’s luggage had not made it on to our plane–good job Delta. Dinner with him and another colleague at California Pizza Kitchen near our hotel–while we have CPK here in MN, I had also never eaten there.


We decided first that we’d go check in at the convention center, get our programs and etc. It was then I realized that I would be doing a lot of walking. To get there from our hotel, one had to walk through a long skyway and then through a shopping center–later estimated to be a quarter mile or more each way. We checked in, got our name badges and 130 page programs and then perused them before the walk back to the hotel.

It was a gorgeous day, about 70 and sunny, so we decided to explore the city by taking a trolley tour recommended to me by my program director. It was a nice way to see different parts of the city, which is beautiful, and so full of character, charm and history. Lots of neat old buildings.  Had brunch in Beacon Hill, one of the oldest neighborhoods.

After a short rest back at the hotel, I went to a reception and then met up with Andy (roomie) and a couple of other UMN folks and we went to dinner at a local restaurant. They followed it up with a trip to a local bar, but I was exhausted and called it a night.


Slept in late. Went to Cambridge with Andy and Jess to see the Harvard campus. We figured, being higher ed folk, that we ought to see America’s oldest university.  Opening keynote was in the evening–ABC’s John Quinones. Good speech and an inspiring story.


Full day of convention. Went to four program sessions, and did lunch in a restaurant atop the 52 story Prudential Center. While at MCPA’s Showcase table, ran into a young woman who participated in MASC’s summer conference with me in 2001–that’s nearly nine years ago and she still remembered me–Wow.


Another full day, three program slots plus the unification discussion. Lunch at a nice bar and grill in the shopping center. And what I had waited for all trip–a fabulous fresh seafood dinner at the Atlantic Fish Company. Yum!


Slept in and checked out of hotel. Went to closing session and then bummed around until it was time to head to the airport. Got there  plenty early thinking it would take time to navigate security, which was actually faster to get through than in Minneapolis. Was at the gate so early the flight before me had not even left yet, but that gave me the chance to have a chat with three folks from Wright State who were on that flight and waiting.

It was a great trip, and definitely a worthwhile experience. I look forward to more conferences like it in the future.

Now Tweeting

March 2, 2010

I really have not kept up with social media. I have a blog and Facebook, but that’s the extent of it. I’ve never really “gotten” Twitter–but realized the best way to get something is to try it out… if the students in the current iteration of Weblogs and Wikis  (the birthplace of me as a blogger) can figure it out, and my coworker in her 60s has figured out how to use it to promote her department, I think I am more than due to get on board.

Now Tweeting at http://www.twitter.com/Berne2002

So How is that School Thing Going?

February 25, 2010

It occurred to me as I started this blog up again that it may be a good idea to provide a bit of an update as to the thing they call graduate school that has consumed much of my time over the past six months. It has definitely been interesting to be bqack in student mode again. The world of textbooks, discussions, lectures, papers and projects is a much different one than I had been inhabiting the last couple of years.

I learned very quickly in the fall that grad school is indeed very different from undergrad. There are no exams, in my program at least, and everything is based on papers and projects. There is also far less lecture and much more discussion, which I generally do like. There is also A LOT of group work. This can be a double-edged sword. While I appreciate working in teams, I was managing four group or partnered projects at one point during the fall and it got to be a bit much to keep up with at times.

I find many rewards in the opportunity to learn about the things I have a passion for. It has been quite interesting to talk about various theories and concepts in student development (boy, it’s nice to know where some of the names and terminology come from that have surrounded me in professional circles), the histrory of higher education, and types of institutions. I’ve had a change to research cool topics and learn a lot–we’ve covered far more than I can ever remember inside out. Needless to say, these textbooks are not being sold, but rather will be resources on an office bookshelf for some time to come.

The biggest surprise? The amount of personal reflection during the first semester. I had a lot of writing assignments where I was the subject–whether it me reflecting on my own development as a student or my choice to enter the student affairs profession.  At times I almost got sick of myself as a topic–and reflection such as that brought forward some memories and experiences that were both positive and negative. In the end though, I see there was great value in considering exactly what makes me tick and leads me to do the work I do.

It’s hard to believe that following one semester and a January term, I have successfully completed one fourth of my studies. There are days I love it, and days I feel like the stress of work, school and life is a bit much. Thankfully, those days are fewer, and I have supportive people to help me stay motivated.

The work can be hard, the nights can get long (100 percent evening classes are another adjustment), but I would not have it any other way. It’s where I’m meant to be and what I’m meant to be doing at this point in my life.

Small World, The CSP Edition

February 25, 2010

One of my many duties as an intern is to do assessment things for my office, which typically are web surveys. Gotta love SurveyMonkey!

Yesterday, I sent an email to 1600 some students in our cohort programs. I received the following reply from a student:

“Is this the Berne Christiansen that I am familiar with from my time at BSU?”

I recognize the sender as someone who lived in the same residence hall for years. It’s a small world–may be a cliche statement but it is so true.

Same Berne, New Home, Fresh Start Blogging

February 21, 2010

When I started Berne’s World back in 2004, it was a class project. I continued to blog fairly faithfully through the rest of my college career, knowing that it was something I enjoyed and I had a number of followers including classmates and professors. After I graduated, it seemed my frequency of posting dropped, first because I felt I had little to write about and then because grad school, work and living life took precedence over writing about it. For the past year or more, I have averaged a post every couple of months.

I have thought often about why that was, and how it needed to change. Blogging has always been an outlet for me, and my belief in it as a valued pastime never has changed even though I haven’t been writing much. In the last few weeks, a close friend and I have chatted about how we each felt a need to start blogging again (his new blog can be found here), and since he got up and running again this week, it inspired me to do the same. Posts from my former home on Blogger are here as much for me as for anyone else, so that as I look back on occasion I can do so in one place. The move to a new home signifies a fresh start and is also something I’ve debated for some time.

In the post title I indicate that it’s the “Same Berne.” I mean that in the sense that it is the same Berne’s World blog anyone who may have been following me has come to expect: A glimpse into my life, my world and my thoughts about things unfolding around me. The fact is I am a very different person than the one who started blogging in 2004 or the one who finished college. I’ve been through good times and bad and a myriad of ups and downs. This is my renewed attempt and chronicling those changes.

Welcome to my world. Follow if you dare. 🙂

Happy Thanksgiving!

November 26, 2009

This year, I am thankful to be making it in graduate school, and for the support of family and wonderful friends.

To all who still read this now seldom-updated blog, enjoy your turkey dinner!