Monday, June 13, 2011

My first photoshoot...

I love interning. Sure many could complain that it's simply free labor and you should be getting paid, but quite honestly it doesn't even matter anymore. I get more opportunities being a free intern than I would at any summer job I could have. I'm not sure if I have mentioned this yet but I am interning with the UNCW Marketing and Communications Department. So, I write press releases, attend meetings, observe meetings and speakers and most importantly....I get to attend photoshoots. Who knew setting up lighting, pluging in cables, carrying heavy cameras, in the end setting up everything for almost three hours just to shoot the new chancellor for a grand total of 12 minutes would be so exciting?!

I took a class this past semester called TV Asthetics, which was basically an introduction to TV production. It convered the ins and outs of television from behind the scenes working with the cameras, audio, various angles and lighting, to analyzing the final production. It was a class I could never fully decide if I really enjoyed or not, and yet for the photoshoot it sure did come in handy. I actually felt like I knew what was going a point.

I set out with Jamie Moncrief, the UNCW photographer, Tuesday morning and met up with two other students in front of Alderman Hall. One student, Bill, was another intern (but he was paid because he was a graduate, the other was a student photographer, Katherine, that had been working with Jamie for several years, and she ended up being the actual photographer for the day. She's fabulous. We learned how to set up the lighting, how to block certain lighting, and worked to create the perfect angles in order to shoot the portrait of the new chancellor. After about two hours of setting up, and many silly "stand in" pictures of me, a few "photo-bombed" by Jamie...

...the star of the show arrived for his big debut in front of the camera! I got the important job of holding the white screen angled towards him to get that perfect lighting on his face.

I hadn't met the new chancellor yet, but I had been eagerly awaiting his arrival on campus. For the 12 minutes we did get to spend together, I think i've decided that I like him! He was more reserved than I had expected but I'm sure he was just intimadated by the huge screens and fancy cameras everywhere. Plus I can imagine it would be uncomfortable to have everyone looking at you and watching every move you make. He's coming in a quite a tough time too. With the state-wide budget cuts, everyone is looking for a leader with all the answers, and as a man who has never been a chancellor before....I'm sure he's pretty freakin nervous to have to step up and be the man with the answers. But I like him! He was so humble and genuine and gave off such a confident first impression that I trust my university is in good hands.

Well after the glamorous photoshoot our team of four headed to lunch at this quiant, hole-in-the-wall chinese place right beside campus. Yum! It was delicious and so cheap! Afterwards Katherine and I ventured nearby to Sand Dollar, which is a dollar jewlery store and which is where I bought my new glasses...that I don't actually need to see anything.

It was a fabulous day :)

"Tell me and I'll forget, show me and I may remember, involve me and I'll understand." - Chinese Proverb.



Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Beginning of My Bat Desk

This summer I have been given the opportunity to work with the UNCW Marketing and Communications Department as an intern. I wasn't really sure what to expect or what I would really be doing since I only have time to work ten hours a week at the office. Let's just say I'm on my 17th hour in the office so far and no class or textbook could have taught me as much as I have just begun to learn.

For starters I have my own "bat desk". My desk consists of a desktop hidden in a wooden bureau, that opens up to a full desk placed in the main hall way on the "writers" side of the building. Impressive, I know. On day one I was sent an e-mail full of files and links to read and study from various news sources, writing guides on different styles used in the office, to simple tips to help me "Make the Most of My Internship". After reading and studying my materials I received my first assignment to write a press release and a magazine article about the five UNCW coaches that had received CAA Coach-of-the-Year honors. My first press release and my first magazine article! They were throwing me in right off the bat! I immediately refreshed myself on how to even write a press release and decided to tackle that assignment first. With the generous help and patience of Mr. Joe Browning, the associate athletics director, and Joy Davis, one of the Marketing and Communications specialists, I wrote my first press release. Now after many edits it will soon be published! I wish I could share the joy with you of my first published writing piece, but believe it or not I became a published author in the forth grade... I'm clearly going places.

Writing for UNCW publications is beyond exciting and a huge learning experience but my favorite thing so far was the interview I got to attend yesterday. Ms. Joy Davis asked me to sit accompany her to campus to observe an interview between Lumina News, a local newspaper, and Mr. Charles Maimone, the Vice Chancellor of Business Affairs. The interview was about the upcoming state-wide, higher education budget cuts. Mr. Maimone explained what the budget cuts expect to be, how it will effect the university and its' students, and how the university plans to respond and transition with the large upcoming cuts.

I left his office stunned. I had a slight idea of the intended budget cuts because of a petition SGA had been in the process of creating to take to the state, but I had no idea of the overwhelming effects it will have on the students. State-wide we are expecting roughly 15% of our state funded budget to be cut. As one of the lowest funded schools in the UNC system that mean our budget of 106 million dollars would now be cut to 90 million for the 2011-12 fiscal year. State funding makes up about a third of UNCW's overall budget but that money is allocated to specific departments of the institution. A 15% budget cut would mean: 148 jobs will be cut, our average class size will grow from 24.7 students to 36.9, 454 class sections will no longer be able to be taught, meaning there will be 13,600 fewer class seats, and faculty who on average teach four classes each semester will now be required to teach five.

These budget cuts will create huge changes for the students of UNCW. Students will have a harder time taking the classes they need to graduate on time because of the cut class sections. The university is expecting it to take at least an extra semester for students who would typically graduate on time. With this the state will in the end, have to support students longer because of their extended stay at the universities. These budget cuts are setting students up at a disadvantage from the start. At this day in age where it is expected for students to attend college, it is becoming more and more expensive for kids to be able to do so. Financial aid is being cut, tuition is increasing, acceptance rates are decreasing, student loans are harder to come by, community colleges are cutting programs completely and raising credit hours costs significantly all accross the state.

The worst part of this is most students are not even aware of the changes and set backs they are about to face. Honestly, the only reason I know is because of this internship. Who's job is it to educate the students of the changes with their own university? Who's job is it to make them care about things like budget cuts? Most students don't pay their tuition or have a significant financial contribution to their higher education and therefore don't feel effected. Are these changes something that could be prevented with more support from the students? Now that I am more educated, is it my job to spread the word and educate my peers as well?

I am interested to see what the final outcome will be of the propsed budget cuts as the govenor, house and senate meet in the next few weeks to finalize a budget for the upcoming year. I'm interested to see how it will effect me and my peers at UNCW. I'm interested to see how SGA and other student representative groups on campus will react and work to help with the upcoming transitions. But mostly, I am interested as to how our new chancellor will react.

"Education does not mean teaching people to know what they do not know, it means teaching them to behave as they do not behave." - John Ruskin.



Thursday, April 21, 2011

Because I'm lucky

It doesn’t get much better than this. Sitting on the back porch, eating breakfast, drinking coffee, Tucker (the pooch) curled up at my feet, slight breeze, and serenaded by the birds. Do I have to go back to school? I never realize how much I truly miss home until I come back, and boy did I miss it this time. It’s been a full four months since I’ve been back and it feels like nothing has changed, which I love. Sitting here on the back porch just makes me realize how lucky I am.

I’m lucky, truly, deeply, whole-heartedly lucky. Things are just falling into place for me right now and I couldn’t be happier about it. This past year I have worked so hard and sacrificed some of my relationships for school work or putting extra time into various organizations, and now it’s paying off. This is truly the best feeling I could ever ask for. And the best part is that I wasn’t expecting any of it.

I wasn’t expecting to get into my top choice school, Roehampton University in London, for my fall study abroad experience. I wasn’t expecting to get an ideal internship with the Marketing and Communications Department for UNCW as only a sophomore. I wasn’t expected to get nominated for the “Unsung Hero” student organization leadership awards for Student Ambassadors. I wasn’t expecting for my parents to buy me a car that I would be able to take back to school with me after this weekend. I just wasn’t expecting this, any of it. I’m lucky.

John Lennon once said, “Life is what happens to you when you’re busy making other plans.” I’ve always loved this quote because it has always been true. Well now, my life is happening because of the plans I’ve made and worked towards. But none of it ever really would mean anything if it wasn’t for the hard work put in, and the unwavering support of my friends and family. I haven’t been the best daughter, sister or friend because school and work have been so important to me. But I thank you; I thank all of you that have stood by me regardless. My life wouldn’t matter if it wasn’t for the amazing people in it. So while I’m sitting here reflecting on all the good, the parts I’m most proud of in my life are the relationships I’ve made rather than the accomplishments.

So to my friends and family, thank you; truly, deeply, whole-heartedly, thank you.

I love you.

"I would thank you from the bottom of my heart, but for you my heart has no bottom." - Unknown.



Friday, April 8, 2011

Linchpin: "something that holds the various elements of a complicated structure together"

So I'm reading this book for my Integrated Marketing Communication class and it's called, Linchpin by Seth Godin. Over the course of the semester we have been reading Godin's daily blogs but this book is far different. This book inspires, it plants a seed that only continues to grow page by page. The more I read the more I want to blog and respond to its contents. The more I think about them the more I keep saying to myself, "Yes, absolutely, yes!" It's one of those books.

I want to be a linchpin. I want to be that person people depend on and look to. I no longer will simply settle to fit the status quo but go beyond. From here on out, I strive to be indispensable.

"The linchpin is the individual who can walk into chaos and create order, someone who can invent, connect, create, and make things happen. Every worthwhile institution has indispensable people who make differences like these."

The world needs more linchpins, flat out; more people that don't seek for the "9-5" job with day by day instructions. People that don't ask what needs to be done but those who look around and find ways to make something more effective and do it; people that don't wait for instructions but take action. If you are a linchpin that means you are indispensable. You no longer are simply a body performing a task, but you bring something more to the table, you become valuable. Everyone is capable of becoming a linchpin, and if you realize if you'll soon realize that it is absolutely worth it.

The law of linchpin leverage: The more value you create in you job, the fewer clock minutes of labor you actually spend creating that value. In other words, more of the time, you're not being brilliant. Most of the time, you do stuff that ordinary people could do.

But don't worry, if this idea of a linchpin is too outlandish for you, not every organization needs one, so pick a different job. Maybe flipping burgers at McDonald's sounds appealing to you, because I guarantee you will have a specific task and a manager making sure that that task is the only thing you are performing and in a very particular pattern.

Being a linchpin isn't about being perfect or brilliant every minute of every day, we're still human. But it's about putting your best foot forward all the time. You don't want to be perfect, because perfection is boring and perfection creates fear. It creates a fear inside you that maybe something you do or say won't be perfect. Fear. Fear is your greatest enemy, because as soon as you feel the fear it will consume you. You will be afraid to step out of the box, afraid to offer any idea because maybe it's not perfect. The world doesn't want perfect, the world wants different. Because those that stepped out of the box and did something different because successful, became linchpins.

"Eating ice cream is easy. Making something that matters is hard." - Seth Godin



Thursday, March 10, 2011

I wish I was a writer

I wish I was a writer, like a real writer not a blogger. With words come power. I love reading something that makes me think, makes me feel. That's the power of words. I wish I had that.

I recently discover stumbleupon.come and have made "poems, blogs, and writer's sites", as a part of my "things I am interested in". I have quickly realized how uncreative and "unwritery" I am. My favorite site so far is You are given one word and in sixty seconds you have to write everything you think or feel about this one word. I love it. I get so excited and anxious about fitting everything I want to say into just sixty seconds. That's the beauty of it too. I think it makes me a writer, because it's at that moment when I am rushed for time that I'm not thinking about what I write but simply writing. Which is the beauty of being creative, it's not something you think about, but just do. I tend to think a lot which makes me a less creative person. Maybe creative isn't the right word, let's make it "artsy".

Artsy. Wow. If you ask anyone that has ever known me (especially my ex-boyfriend) they will laugh if you even put my name and "artsy" in the same sentence. I always like to pretend I'm artsy though. Like this one day two summers ago my ex-boyfriend and I had the whole day off (a rarity) and so we decided to paint with watercolors. By "we" I mean I saw them for 50 cents at AC Moore and knew they would come in handy sooner or later. It was a terrible idea, for two reasons. First of all this boy happened to be very arsty, like art classes, portfolios, self portraits, art competitions, galas, photography, awards, oil paintings, canvas and everything in between. And secondly, I was not. Not only was I not artsy, but I was very impatient with the fact that he was SO MUCH artsier than I was. That day he drew a beautiful waterfall, with various layers and different shades. I on the other hand think I drew a beach ball, maybe even a palm tree...yeah. I was done with that project in about four minutes...he was not. This was the last time I suggested an artsy project.

Well come October I started feeling artsty again. I should have known it would be a disaster. But it was one of my best friend's birthdays and I am a college student, so money is always tight. Well I decided that I would make her something (are you laughing already? because if not maybe you should be). Let's just say it is now well into March and she has yet to receive a birthday present from me. Sad, I know. Don't worry, she got lots of love on her day, but a physical present is still in the works.

I find myself going through these patters a lot. When i was little I used to hate yogurt. But somehow every time I went grocery shopping with Dad I was convinced that yogurt was the best thing and I just knew this time I would love it. Well I didn't. In fact this pattern when on for years, luckily I now actually like yogurt so maybe there's hope that one day I will be artsy too.

Maybe my creative/artsy side comes from elsewhere. Who knows where...just elsewhere.

"Every artist dips his brush in his own soul, and paints his own nature into his pictures." - Henry Ward Beecher.



Friday, March 4, 2011

A few important lessons:

Thank goodness for, I was at work and came accross these five lessons to live by:

1. First Important Lesson - "Know The Cleaning Lady"During my second month of college, our professor gave us a pop quiz. I was a conscientious student and had breezed through the questions, until I read the last one: "What is the first name of the woman who cleans the school?"

Surely this was some kind of joke. I had seen the cleaning woman several times. She was tall, dark-haired and in her 50s, but how would I know her name? I handed in my paper, leaving the last question blank. Just before class ended, one student asked if the last question would count toward our quiz grade.

"Absolutely," said the professor. "In your careers, you will meet many people. All are significant. They deserve your attention and care, even if all you do is smile and say "hello."

I've never forgotten that lesson. I also learned her name was Dorothy.

2. Second Important Lesson - "Pickup In The Rain"

One night, at 11:30 p.m., an older African American woman was standing on the side of an Alabama highway trying to endure a lashing rainstorm. Her car had broken down and she desperately needed a ride. Soaking wet, she decided to flag down the next car.

A young white man stopped to help her, generally unheard of in those conflict-filled 1960s. The man took her to safety, helped her get assistance and put her into a taxicab.

She seemed to be in a big hurry, but wrote down his address and thanked him. Seven days went by and a knock came on the man's door. To his surprise, a giant console color TV was delivered to his home.

A special note was attached. It read: "Thank you so much for assisting me on the highway the other night. The rain drenched not only my clothes, but also my spirits. Then you came along. Because of you, I was able to make it to my dying husband's bedside just before he passed away. God bless you for helping me and unselfishly serving others."

Sincerely, Mrs. Nat King Cole.

3. Third Important Lesson - "Remember Those Who Serve"

In the days when an ice cream sundae cost much less, a 10 year-old boy entered a hotel coffee shop and sat at a table. A waitress put a glass of water in front of him. "How much is an ice cream sundae?" he asked. "50¢," replied the waitress.

The little boy pulled his hand out of his pocket and studied the coins in it.

"Well, how much is a plain dish of ice cream?" he inquired. By now more people were waiting for a table and the waitress was growing impatient. "35¢!" she brusquely replied.

The little boy again counted his coins. "I'll have the plain ice cream," he said. The waitress brought the ice cream, put the bill on the table and walked away. The boy finished the ice cream, paid the cashier and left.

When the waitress came back, she began to cry as she wiped down the table. There, placed neatly beside the empty dish, were two nickels and five pennies. You see, he couldn't have the sundae, because he had to have enough left to leave her a tip.

4. Fourth Important Lesson - "The Obstacles In Our Path"

In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. Then he hid himself and watched to see if anyone would remove the huge rock. Some of the king's wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it. Many loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none did anything about getting the stone out of the way.

Then a peasant came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to move the stone to the side of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded. After the peasant picked up his load of vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King indicating that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway. The peasant learned what many of us never understand - "Every obstacle presents an opportunity to improve our condition."

5. Fifth Important Lesson - "Giving When It Counts"

Many years ago, when I worked as a volunteer at a hospital, I got to know a little girl named Liz who was suffering from a rare and serious disease. Her only chance of recovery appeared to be a blood transfusion from her 5-year-old brother, who had miraculously survived the same disease and had developed the antibodies needed to combat the illness. The doctor explained the situation to her little brother, and asked the little boy if he would be willing to give his blood to his sister. I saw him hesitate for only a moment before taking a deep breath and saying, "Yes, I'll do it if it will save her."

As the transfusion progressed, he lay in bed next to his sister and smiled, as we all did, seeing the color returning to her cheeks. Then his face grew pale and his smile faded. He looked up at the doctor and asked with a trembling voice, "Will I start to die right away?".

Being young, the little boy had misunderstood the doctor; he thought he was going to have to give his sister all of his blood in order to save her.

----   ----   ----

"Live everyday for today."



Wednesday, February 9, 2011

To travel is to partake in an adventure

I hate essays. I could write papers all day long, but as soon as you call it an essay, I feel stumped. A paper is reflected with a grade, an essay is usually reflected with an entrance invitation or a rejection letter. So why do I want to study abroad? How will it benefit me in particular? Why should I be given the opportunity over someone else? Why did I choose this particular program? What are the personal and academic goals I hope to achieve through this experience? What do I anticipate the most challenging part of the program or experience will be? Hm….good questions. Somehow the fact that I've never been off of this continent so this is a good opportunity to travel, my major requirements are small enough that I could be abroad for a year and still graduate on time, or the fact that it's an exchange program so the costs are comparable to tuition here just don't seem like good enough reasons anymore. The only problem is now I feel more lost than ever and I haven't even left for my trip yet, but why do I want to go?

The only answer I come up with is, "I don't know", which is clearly not good enough. But the more I think about it; maybe that's actually the perfect answer. I don't know. I don't know what's out there for me: what experiences I will have, what people I will meet, what the food tastes like, what the people act like, what struggles I'll have to overcome, what dangers I might be faced with, how will the experience change me as a person, what my life will be like once I come back, how will the experience change and effect the rest of my life. I just don't know.

So yes, I want to travel abroad for all of next year. Yes, I want to go to a country different than my own. Yes, I want to taste the food, meet the people, and breathe the culture I will surround myself in. I want to open my eyes to experiences far different than those of today. I want to throw myself into another culture and learn. Learn about the history, the traditions, the people, the food, my neighbors, my new friends and in the end myself. I want to learn to look beyond the comforts of my backyard and into the dangers and uncertainties of someone else's. I want to experience the world through someone else's eyes. I want to learn to adapt myself to the different people and situations I will put myself in and be put in. I want to learn from these experiences and have them shape myself to become a better citizen of the world.

So now my future goals; no matter what I do I have no doubt that this experience will be anything but beneficial. In my unknown career plans if I end up as a corporate event planner or something in TV production the experience of learning others' cultures and respecting that will be what I need to rely on. Whether I am working with international guests for the next TV episode that I'm producing, or the guest speaker at the next corporate dinner; I will have to learn to adapt to their individual cultures to better understand them and make them feel welcome in our culture.

Here's to step one of the rest of my life. Here's to the next big plans and many more to follow. Here's to experiencing more than what's in our backyard. And here's to growing spiritually, mentally and emotionally, today and every day.

"To travel is to partake in an adventure. Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky –forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Noting will ever again be black-and-white." – Mark Jenkins.