Friday, February 24, 2012

My First University Visit

I must begin this blog post with a thank you to everyone on Twitter and Facebook who sent me good vibes yesterday. Those vibes helped settle my nerves and morph that energy into excitement.

Yesterday's event at West Chester University was a tremendous honor from start to finish. From the planning stages straight through to the actual event, I was treated so special.

The first part of the event was a private reception for educators and I had the privilege of meeting many accomplished and esteemed education professionals.



Dr. Ken Witmer, the Dean of the College of Education. He was lovely and welcoming. A BIG thank you to him for co-sponsoring the event!
The incredible food spread for the private reception!
I met many fascinating people and got to catch up with old friends as well. Plus, my mom and husband came to support me, so I even had some family there!!

Me and my mom. And normally, my mom has big brown eyes ; )
 Then the event moved downstairs into the theater - which is where I gave my presentation. On stage! In front of people! That's when everyone's good vibes really kicked in : )

I focused my talk on bullying in school, and what can be done to combat it. The audience was composed of educators, WCU students of education, professors of education and even some random people from the area attended. I was thrilled by the attendance!!

Me up there doing my thing.

The signing after my presentation. It was incredible to meet the people in the audience.






The incredible display at the campus book store.
The signing table.
It was definitely a significant moment for me - one that will remain a treasured experience for the rest of my life. To look out into the audience and see the head nods and listen to the laughter when I made a joke, and to have people tell me my book made them cry, or feel hope, or they couldn't put it down, or how much they loved Victor and Bull was magical.

Speaking in front of people (once I get going) is one of my favorite things to do. Not because I love people staring at me, but because I love, love, love trying to make people think.

HUGE thanks to Janet Heinis, Brian Quinn from the WCU Foundation, Dr. Mary Buckelew from the Pennsylvania Writing and Literature Project and Dr. Kenneth Witmer, the Dean of the College of Education. All of your hard work coordinating that event was evident from start to finish. 

Oh, and then after the event ended, I needed gas. I pulled into the gas station, with my eyes scanning for which pump I was going to use, and I did this:

Uh-huh.

I had to get get it towed away, with my bumper hanging off and my muffler completely dislodged. I was humiliated, and I hurt my neck. However, despite all of that, I still had the memory of the WCU event to make me smile.

I never did get the gas.