Year-End Review: Senior Year

sammisays.com

Well, that’s a wrap, folks. I’ve officially completed four years of college and am a college graduate. For a look back in time, check out Year-End Review: Freshmen EditionYear-End Review: Sophomore Edition and Year-End Review: Junior Edition. This year was a wonderful year, full of making last-minute memories, adapting to new changes and preparing for a new chapter in my life.

IMG_7501

August: If you’ve read my blog in the past 9 months, then you know that my senior year started off with a bang. From traveling 4,000+ miles to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to attending the 2016 Summer Olympics and spending three weeks in a different country with great friends, by far my favorite memory from this month was the travel and new opportunities and adventures afforded to me. To top it off, I begun the adventure of senior year and celebrated my 22nd birthday.

 

IMG_9461September: September was all about celebrating and spending time with my sorority sisters in Sigma Kappa. From beginning my second semester as chapter president to participating in my fourth formal recruitment, I enjoyed every second spent with the closest friends I made while at Ball State. Not to mention, I was able to watch one of my closest friends, Rachel, excel at VP of Membership and met a wonderful friend, our chapter Leadership Consultant, Becca Armstrong.

IMG_9649October: One of my favorite memories of senior year was spending a night in Broad Ripple with a few of my best friends and visiting one of my favorite bars, Brick House, for the first time. Also in October, my friends and I participated in my fourth Walk to End Alzheimer’s in downtown Indianapolis and spent an afternoon at Tuttle Orchards. There, we enjoyed apple cider slushies, pumpkin picking and some of the freshest apples I’ve ever tasted.

IMG_0377November: Every year, one of my favorite parts of November is the memories I make with my family. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday (though many people ask me why that is) for the fact that it’s all about spending time with family and friends without expecting anything in return. This year, the best part of Thanksgiving may have been nearly drinking an entire punch bowl of whisky with my cousin, Sabrina, and drinking one-too-many fireball shots the day after at Four Day Ray Brewing in Fishers.

IMG_0429December: Moving into my favorite month of the year, December was filled with a lot of sweet memories, too. From participating in my first Dittoe PR Christmas bar crawl to Christmas celebrations with my family to New Year’s Eve festivities with my best friend, Megan, I was ready to welcome in 2017. Like every NYE, it’s always saddening to see such a wonderful year go, I knew that this new year would definitely be one of the best yet (and it hasn’t proven itself wrong yet, either).
January: Processed with VSCO with c1 presetJanuary, like it is every year, proved itself to be a somewhat boring month. Despite beginning my last semester at Ball State, nothing out of the ordinary happened this month. I was able to spend more quality time with my friends and even got to enjoy some warm weather (which reaffirmed my belief in global warming, to my dismay). Coming off the high that was Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s (collectively my favorite time of the year), I would still say all-in-all it was a great month. I also spent some time curled up on my couch in my new blanket watching some of my favorite TV shows and movies on Netflix.

IMG_0072February: Unlike the month before, this month was somewhat more exciting. For one, I spent Valentine’s Day with two of my best friends, where we made a special dinner of baked spaghetti, wine and dessert. I had the opportunity to travel to Sigma Kappa National Headquarters and meet 20+ sisters from across the nation. Finally, and most importantly, I received the greatest honor of my collegiate career: I was awarded the Greek Life Chapter President of the Year award at our annual “grand chapter” awards ceremony. It was such a honor to be recognized for my hard work in 2016 and to represent Sigma Kappa in front of BSU.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetMarch: March brought a much-needed month of relaxation and surprises. Kicking off the month, I went on a five-day cruise with one of my best friends, Rachel. Not only was it my first cruise, but it was also my first time in the Bahamas and Key West. Additionally, I was extended a full-time job offer as an Account Coordinator with Dittoe Public Relations, where I had been interning for the past year.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 presetApril: I began the last full month as a college student with a bang. From my final sorority formal to fun nights out with friends to a trip to Washington, D.C., this month was by far one of my favorite of senior year. I also spent a fun day with my family at a winery and out to lunch at the Fashion Mall. By the time May rolled around, I was definitely sad to see this month go but grateful for such a wonderful year!

 

 

Advertisements

Gowns, Paychecks and Other Changes

Gowns, paychecks &

Senior year of high school (2012) to senior year of college (2016)

Well, it’s official: I’ve been terrible keeping up with blog posts this semester.

In my defense, I’ve been soaking up and enjoying the last four months of my collegiate career (and my youth, depending on who you ask). I’ve always been a person who appreciates each day (or at least I feel that way) so I can’t be too upset about enjoying my days and the little things rather than getting wrapped up in writing blog posts. Though, I do have several drafts that never quite made it published so, hey, at least I tried? I promise I’ll get better now that I’m an almost-boring-adult.

Nevertheless, I have a lot of exciting changes happening in the next 30 days.

Processed with VSCO with hb2 preset

My decorated cap for my upcoming graduation.

For one, I’ll be graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Public Relations on May 6. After four long, grueling but amazing years, I will finally have a diploma to prove all of my hard work. It’s hard to believe how fast four years flew by (check out ‘Changes’ a blog post I wrote almost 4 years ago exactly that is eerily similar to this one) and how difficult it is going to be to say goodbye to the best school, friends and memories I could have ever asked for. However, I know that my sadness is no more than a testament to how great my time has been.

10629590_10204829625076521_8143461794598855108_n

Mom and Dad during their Ball State years. Ever since I could remember, I knew I wanted to attend BSU.

 

The craziest part about graduating to me is that it is finally happening. It’s one of those things I never spent a lot of time thinking about (as everyone says college is the best time of your life, so why would I think about leaving?) so it’s weird to know that in just a few weeks, it WILL be real. I’ll finally get to join my parents in saying I’m an alumna of Ball State University, almost 30 years exactly after they did.

I’ll also be starting a full-time job at Dittoe Public Relations mid-May as an Account Coordinator. By far, this is the most exciting part about the newest chapter in my life. I’m excited to take the first step in my professional career and join a company that I love so much.

Another change for me will be moving back home with my mom and dad, or as I now affectionally call them, my roommates. I’m also guessing this new change in particular will warrant a blog post or two. Regardless, I’m thankful that I have a place and people who will let me move back in (temporarily) to save up some money until I can land on my own two feet.

Most importantly, I’m thankful for all of the opportunities and experiences I’ve been afforded throughout the years. The great and fond memories I have only make me more excited for all of the amazing things that I know lie ahead of me. So, here’s to the future and taking my first “big” leap. I’ll leave with my all-time favorite quote:

“There are far better things ahead than any we leave behind” – C.S. Lewis

Cheers!

Sammi

8 Things Being a Sorority President Taught Me

06Last time I wrote, I was still in Brazil experiencing the Olympics and acting like a semi-important person (after all, that’s how people made me feel when they found out where I was!) These days, my life isn’t quite as adventurous. However, I’m busy as ever. Between classes, my internship and student organizations, I sometimes wonder if I have time to breathe, though my Netflix account begs to differ (it says I have too much free time).

One aspect of my life that has kept me the busiest is my position as chapter president of my sorority, Sigma Kappa. For the past year, I have been serving as the 2016 president of the Gamma Eta chapter of Sigma Kappa Sorority. Just a few short days ago, I passed down the gavel and installed my successor into her new role as 2017 chapter president. Though I am eternally sad to see this position come to an end, I can’t help but be so incredibly thankful for this opportunity my sisters gave me to become their fearless leader this year.

So, as my time as president comes to an end, I thought I’d share with you all the 14 things I learned this year:

1 – The ability to problem solve is one of the best skills that you can have

Whether you believe you are a good problem-solver or not, this is undoubtedly one of the best skills we can possess as humans, regardless of our intended future careers or family lives. We come into problems and conflicts on almost a daily basis. Learning how to make decisions (and sometimes very quickly) as well as finding solutions to problems is one of the best things my presidency has given me. I know this will be a skill I will carry into my future, regardless of what I choose to do.

2 – If being a leader was easy, then everyone would do it

Though I’m not sure who said this quote, it is something that has really resonated with me. It is also something that I’ve said to myself (almost daily) since taking over the presidency last January. I’ve faced difficult decisions, animosity and sometimes backlash. However, whenever I hear this quote I am instantly put at ease. Being a leader isn’t easy, but it is well-worth it. You can’t make everyone like you or your decisions, but if you lead in an ethical and determined manner, then you can make changes that many will appreciate.

3 – Making the “right” choices is rarely easy 

Building off my last point, doing the right thing is hardly ever “easy”. This is a skill that I believe also sets leaders apart from others. It’s never easy, nor is it fun, to make that difficult decision and become the “bad guy”. However, I’ve learned how to be able to make these choices even when they seem impossible to make.

4 – Learning to delegate is one of the best things you can do for yourself 

This is something that has always been hard for me, whether that be in a job, student organization or even a group project. I like to have control over the situation and always take things upon myself, knowing full well that I can get the job done and get it done right. However, this isn’t always healthy, nor is it fair to other people you may be working with. This year has pushed me outside of my comfort zone to learn how to delegate and trust others to handle the situation.

5 – Confidence is key 

My involvement as president has also pushed me to become a more confident individual. I think that whenever you are in a position of leadership you are forced to inherently become more confident. After all, if you aren’t confident in yourself, your abilities and your actions, why would anyone else be?

6 – Never settle for complacency 

I think one of the greatest things a leader and a person can do is to always strive to become better. When I think back on my year, pushing forward and always finding ways to improve is something that I definitely think I have excelled in as president. However, it’s something that’s been a long time in coming. This experience has taught me that I should never settle for “good enough”, whether that be professionally or personally.

7 – Most things come to an end, so help to build strong successors and leaders

Unfortunately, most things in life come to an end. Rarely does one person ever hold the same position/title forever. So, it is extremely important that, as individuals, we find ways to cultivate leaders and build up those who will one day take over for us. I think this is a very difficult concept to grasp for many, as sometimes, we’re more focused on control and power than the good of the future. Nevertheless, I believe in this past year, I’ve learned how important it is to instill confidence and necessary skills in those who will one day take over the future. While being a mentee is wonderful, serving as a mentor is an undeniably important skill to possess.

8 – Work hard, celebrate your accomplishments and never give up! 

Lastly, one of the most important things we can do as leaders and individuals, I believe, is to work hard and never give up, and at the end, take time to celebrate our accomplishments. There is nothing wrong with taking pride in the work that we do. After all, accomplishments are what make hard work well worth it.

How I see my future: As told by an almost 22-year-old college senior

13435506_10206325423590549_679934371818157843_n

As I realized my final summer break was coming to a close, I began thinking about everything that I’ve accomplished this summer and past year- but also, everything I have to look forward to in the future. In such a short amount of time, I think I’ve had an epiphany of sorts (but we’ll get to that later).

When 2016 started, I was not a happy camper. I wasn’t excited about entering the year that I turn 22 (still not excited) and I was in the midst of what I called my “mid-life crisis”. With graduation only a year out, I wasn’t really sure where I saw myself post-graduation and if I was even ready to enter a new chapter in my life. After all, I was comfortable in the one that I was in.

However, a few things happened that changed my outlook on the future.

First, a professor encouraged me to consider working at an agency post-graduation. After spending time in her class, she told me she thought I would be cut out for that type of work. I can’t thank her enough for the encouragement. You see, at this point in the year I was feeling conflicted about what I wanted to do career-wise. I hadn’t been seeking her advice on careers, I had actually been there to talk about a group project I was feeling dissatisfied with. That’s when she took time out to get to know me and offered those words of advice.

So, the advice of my professor led me to apply to a few PR agencies for the summer. After interviewing and praying that something would work out so that I wouldn’t have to do something I hated all summer long, I was offered a full-time summer internship with Dittoe Public Relations.

If you’ve spoken with me in the past few months, you probably know that I loved my internship. In my three months there, I learned more than I had ever learned in a classroom. I was getting real-world experience and working with real clients, under some great mentors. It was by far the greatest experience I could have asked for and then so much more.

Now, as I leave my internship to finish my senior year of college, I feel like I’m ready to see a chapter in my life close and a new one start. Although the future is filled with so many uncertainties, I feel certain that I picked the right career choice for me, which is a very rewarding feeling. I’m one of the few lucky college students who never once changed majors. I came in as a public relations major, and out I will go.

Nonetheless, I am excited to get back to school and spend my final year in school with my friends and enjoying one last year of “freedom”. I am also excited to get back to school and be reunited with my sorority. I will also be finishing out my second term as chapter president, and I can’t wait to participate in recruitment, knowing that the sisters we recruit will be the ones who will one day be in the same shoes as I am.

Lastly, my summer isn’t quite over yet – I am about to embark on a very exciting journey. On Tuesday, I will be heading out (on a very long flight) to Rio de Janiero, Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics. This will be my first time out of the country and I couldn’t be more excited for this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

So, future I’m ready for you and not quite as scared as I used to be.

So, you wanna be on TV? And 5 other questions I get about PR

IMG_1851

If someone were to ask me, “did you pick the right major?” I would immediately respond, “yes!” I guess I am fortunate being one of the few lucky college students who didn’t change their major once in four years. I came in as a Public Relations major, and out I will go as a PR grad.

One of the most difficult parts of being a PR major, however, is dealing with the constant confusion that surrounds it. Here are some of the most common questions I get when I tell people that I am in public relations.

So you want to be on TV, huh? 

I get this question more than you would think. No, I gently tell them, I don’t want to be on television. If I did, I would have most likely majored in telecommunications or journalism, something of that nature. When it comes to public relations, my job is to get my client on TV, not myself. Not to mention, becoming a TV anchor is definitely not in my top 10 career choices.

What do you want to do with that? 

Also a very common question I receive when I tell people that I am a public relations major. When someone asks what I want to do with PR, I want to snidely respond with, “Well, public relations”. Yes, as shocking as it is, I want to do public relations with my public relations degree. To be fair, I think people ask me this question because they don’t actually know what PR is and they are hoping that I explain it to them. Of course, there are a few different avenues you can take with this, but still, I don’t think my response is too harsh.

Oh, like Samantha from Sex and the City?

Granted, Sex and the City is one of my all-time favorite TV shows and my name is Samantha. However, this isn’t exactly correct. While what Samantha does is technically public relations, like all TV shows, it does not portray the profession realistically. Besides, Samantha does PR mostly for individuals–and those who are famous. The PR that I want to do (and what I think is most common) is PR for organizations and businesses and is all about getting media coverage to enhance the organization’s exposure and brand awareness/knowledge. Samantha is awesome, but don’t think of her as the greatest example of PR that’s out there.

So you like to talk a lot then?

While this is extremely applicable to myself, I wouldn’t say that this is true of all Public Relations professionals. While communication is certainly a key aspect of PR, I don’t think that it is everything. I do firmly believe that someone quieter or more reserved could thrive in public relations–especially with technology and communication being the way that it is today. Like I’ve said before, people don’t fully understand public relations and what all it entails. People truly believe that all you do is “talk”. Which brings me to my next question…

So, basically you’ll get paid to just talk all day?

Not really sure why I’ve gotten this question as many times as I have. I honestly don’t think there is any job in the world where you simply “talk” all day–and I have no idea why people think this is what public relations is, because it is so much more than that. Not only is PR about building a reputation and increasing public awareness of an organization/company/individual, but there is a lot of research and critical thinking that goes into it as well. Public relations professionals spend countless hours researching journalists to pitch stories to just to be turned down. We incorporate design, writing, research and communication to create knowledge about a client, despite the fact that PR isn’t always as quantitative or measurable in ways that our similar-but-also-different cousins, marketing and advertising, are.

Oh, good for you

The response that I get most often because it is easier for people to pretend like they know what PR is than to ask me any of the above questions.