Monthly Archives: September 2014
September 25, 2014
I was born in a small town west of Wichita with approximately 6,000 residents. I grew up knowing everyone and everything about them — good and bad. When I was a senior in high school, it was time to decide where to apply for college. I could have taken the safe route and stayed home, earned my associate degree and then went on to a four-year university. Instead, I realized I needed a change. I decided to attend the University of Kansas in the fall (a daring choice because the majority of my classmates committed to attend Kansas State University).
My first week at KU was rough. I only knew five people out of the 24,000 students attending. My friends and family from home encouraged me to break out of my shy personality and engage in conversations with anyone and everyone. (After all, they are in a new environment too!) Eventually I knew the majority of people in my dorm, classes and sorority. These connections helped lead me to a new passion, journalism. I took an interest in what my friends were studying and changed my major because of it.
That passion has led me to where I am now. Dallas felt close to home but far enough for me to feel independent. I packed my belongings and made the leap from Kansas to Dallas in May, and I couldn’t be happier with my decision. After I put a deposit on an apartment, I received a call from MWW offering me a position as an Associate. Everything felt right and worked together. The city atmosphere was overwhelming at first, but since I’ve moved I made new friends, tried different foods and learned about cultures other than the one I grew up in.
I moved from a small town, to a large university, and now I live in a city with 1.2 million other people. It’s not always easy to leave your hometown, but if you take a chance you never know where you’ll end up.
September 18, 2014
Spring Break 2012 was probably the most eye opening experience of my life. I was chosen to travel to the Middle East to serve as an ambassador for my university at our campus in Doha, Qatar. After the initial feelings of surprise and excitement, the fear started to settle in. I had never traveled outside of the country, much less overseas. I’ve never even been to Canada and I’m from Michigan! While it has always been my dream to go to France or Greece, Qatar had never crossed my mind.
When I thought of the Middle East, I immediately pictured the images that circulated CNN and ABC regularly. But what I came to see, was a country that seemed to be doing much better than the one I had traveled from.
I had absolutely no idea the beauty I would see in the Middle East.
My group and I traveled all around the country, which is so much more than just sand and dust – although a huge dust storm had just passed a few days before we landed.
We traveled to “the giant pearl” which is basically a huge fountain that looks like a clam and has the most beautiful faux-pearl inside. Apparently, Qatar is famous for fresh water and salt water pearls. I actually got to purchase some for much cheaper than they are in the states.
I was also able to travel to a market that had a seafood shop with a fish smell so strong that I still smelled it an hour after we left. I even got to meet students at Education City, where universities like VCU and Carnegie Melon have campuses.
By far, my best experience in Qatar had to be with the food. We went to a restaurant where we thought the first course was the whole meal because it was so huge. These are just a few examples of the images of Qatar that I would have never gotten a chance to see living in the states.
I say all this to say that sometimes it takes digging your feet into the sand on the Persian Gulf to realize that everything isn’t as it seems. We all owe it to ourselves to take a look with our own eyes, whether it’s atop a Camel, thousands of miles away, or in our own backyards.
September 15, 2014
Growing up, I could eat whatever I wanted without a second thought (as does most of the population); a few years ago that changed. I began noticing that often when eating, my mouth would get super itchy and red. These reactions continued for a few months – I knew something was up. My cousin has been allergic to nuts since we were young, so I know the symptoms and the possible severity of the situation. I saw a food allergist and was told that I was allergic to tree nuts, peanuts, fruits and shellfish (basically anything and everything delicious). Since then, I have become so sensitive that it is impossible to consume anything with a seed – even ketchup bothers me!
Needless to say, the results from the doctor came as a complete shock to me. I never had to think before I ate (unless I wanted to), read every label, or find out every ingredient. Now living with serious food allergies for years, I’ve noticed just how much people take little things for granted, like simply going to a restaurant. For me, ordering a meal is such an ordeal! It is always the same routine: listing my plethora of allergies to wait staff and making sure they double (really, triple) check with the chef to ensure it safe to eat. Even after I am told and told and told that I will be fine, it’s up to me whether or not trust them.
Eating is one of the greatest joys of life. While I have to calculate every bite of food that goes into my mouth, I’ve come up with my own assessment framework. It’s all in the details. My relationship with food is colored entirely by my allergies. ‘May contain…’ is a sure way of getting me wound up and I make a point of choosing these brands over others.
In public relations, it is crucial to be able to measure the effectiveness of a campaign. It also requires the ability to recognize and prepare for both positive and negative outcomes. Therefore, being able to generate a risk assessment framework, usually on demand, holds immense value as skill and service. Who would have thought that being allergic to the world would help me master risk assessment and management?
September 4, 2014
An internship is an important part in your development as a successful professional in my opinion. It allows you to learn, grow and experience the field. In college, I sought out influential people in the PR industry to shadow. Sometimes those efforts were just meetings to pick peoples brains, and others actually turned into internships. So I’ve complied some of the tips I used to land great internships, hopefully they’ll do the same for you!
So here’s my first tip: don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seek direction from people you admire and respect in the industry; they are where you want to be. When I did land those internships I worked really hard to land a job because that’s the goal right? I think so. Sometimes those efforts panned out and sometimes they didn’t, but that’s life. Everything doesn’t always go your way.
Which leads to my second tip: Work hard for you, not because someone owes you something, but because you owe it to yourself to be great. When those job efforts didn’t pan out, I tried and tried again. And one day, pretty recently, maybe even now as I’m writing this, I realized that everything happens for a reason. I feel every opportunity that I have been privy to has been an influential learning experience.
The PR industry is a hard one, and it takes preparation to be successful in. This leads to my last and final tip, tip number 3: stay present and appreciate every experience, even the bad ones. In the long run they’ll prepare you for something great.