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Always Going To Be Running

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just-keep-running-eric

When I reach the third mile of a run, that’s when it happens. My body hits another gear. Thoughts are clearer and emotions are muted. Time clicks away with serenity. Running becomes something more than just exercise. It’s a space for reflection, dreams, and determination.

Three years ago, after I quit my job at Oregon State University, I decided to go for a run. I mapped out a 3 mile course, put on my sneakers, and trotted out the door. So many of my friends had told me about how much they loved to run. I figured, how hard can it be? The first mile was extremely difficult. My lungs were on fire and my legs were already fatigued. I ended up walking the remaining 2 miles back to my apartment. I was not a runner. But I am fairly stubborn. Determined to try running again, I went out to do the same 3 mile loop after giving my legs a couple of days rest. Again, it was so hard. My lungs rebelled and my legs were sore. But I made it a little bit further before I had to start walking. There was a glimmer of progress.

Growing up in Iowa and doing a lot of manual labor instilled a work ethic inside of me that still prevails to this day. Knowing that sometimes it takes a lot of hard work for incremental gain, I attempted to rationalize that running might be hell now, but it could be good if I kept working. A month went by and I was able to slowly run for 3 miles without stopping. It was a lot of work. There was a lot of heavy breathing and self-doubt. I wasn’t a runner yet, but I was trying.

When I moved to Boston in 2011, I got into a regular groove of running. From three miles to five and then finally I made it to eight miles per run. It was something that I never expected to be able to do. No one in my family ran for exercise. In fact, my mom always told me that running was akin to a four-letter swear word. We didn’t run. And then I found myself piling on the miles. Sharing stories with other runners and actually understanding why they, why we did it. Sure, it was about fitness and exercise, but it has always been about something else.

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Written by Eric Stoller

July 26th, 2013 at 9:43 am

Posted in Thoughts-Reflections

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Digital Identity, Social Media, Privacy, Balance, and Being Radical

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Digital Identity and Social Media

Part of the experience of being a keynote speaker at the Jon C. Dalton Institute on College Student Values is that you get to do an interview with the Character Clearinghouse at Florida State University. The questions from Pamela Crosby, the editor of the site (as well as the Journal of College and Character), were stellar. Here’s an excerpt:

Why should students care about their digital identity?
Students should care about their digital identity for a variety of reasons. As members of a campus community, it is important for students to know that their online actions can have impact. Student Conduct offices are no longer just concerned with what happens in the brick-and-mortar campus spaces. Additionally, most students are pursuing future careers, and higher education is their launch pad. Social media posts can show up in search engine queries. Companies are no longer just looking at your resume. They want to know what you are doing (and saying) online too. Now, that’s more of the punitive side of things. Digital identity is about much more than just worrying about its effects on future employment or conduct violations. Students with a fluent grasp of social media can accelerate their learning, develop meaningful connections with peers, and grow their professional network. What we do online can affect our face-to-face interactions…and vice versa.

Why should higher education be concerned about students’ digital identity?
I think that when the original work on “digital natives” and “digital immigrants” first became popular, it caused an educational disconnect. Administrators and staff at institutions seemingly (without a lot of critical discourse) bought the rhetoric that students were digitally savvy. In fact, students are no better at creating and cultivating their digital identity than anyone else. We’re all digital students in the sense that we are constantly learning how to use the social tools while they are constantly evolving. Schools need to be intentional about how they incorporate digital identity development into their educational constructs. Social media are not a trend or a fad that are going to someday evaporate. We need to be proactive with teaching our students how to build their digital identity versus being reactive whenever they post something that we wish hadn’t made it onto the web. Like anything in education, critical conversations about digital identity are essential. It’s like that movie, “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly,” we have to jump in, create our own digital identity, and educate our students too.

Read the rest of the interview at the Character Clearinghouse site.

Just keep running

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Yesterday, I ran the Cambridge 5K. It was the second 5K that I’ve done and it was the first time I had run an event that was officially timed. According to the web, the temperature for the run was 24 degrees. That’s right….it was super cold. Fortunately, I was very bundled up…unlike some of the race participants. Several runners had on some sweet costumes!

For me, running has been something that has challenged me throughout my life. When I ran track in junior high, I suffered from exercise-induced asthma. I dislocated my left knee during my first year of high school. My knees have always been cranky. However, running in my 30s has become something that I enjoy. And, my knees and lungs have not bothered me for the most part. I think I’m in better shape now than I was when I was in my 20s. Running allows for a lot of contemplative thinking, helps with stress reduction / sleep, and keeps me more physically fit then I would be if I wasn’t pounding the pavement.

Here’s the start of the Cambridge 5K race.

One of the neat aspects of the course was that it went around Harvard University:

My per mile pace for this race was just under 10 minutes at 9:57. I think I can do better. The cold weather for this run made my lungs feel pretty sore. Next time, I think I’ll be faster. Running really isn’t that complicated. The more you run, the better you feel. The better you feel, the easier it is to run. Just keep running.

Written by Eric Stoller

December 19th, 2011 at 10:46 am

Posted in Running,This and that

Tagged with ,