Year-End Review: Senior Year

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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.

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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!

 

 

Gowns, Paychecks and Other Changes

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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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.

 

Year-End Review: Junior Edition

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Cue the water works because I officially only have one year left as a college student. The past three years have been incredible and filled with so much love, happiness and success. I couldn’t be more appreciative of the university I chose to attend and all of the memories and experiences it has provided me with. It’s hard to believe that I’m now at a place where I am writing my third year-end review post (check out Year-End Review Freshman Year and Year-End Review: Sophomore Year). Still, I am thankful that I have roughly 365 days before the water works really begin and I have a quarter-life crises. I say it every year, but I can’t wait to see what the future holds for me this time around. Each year just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter. I truly know that “There are far better things ahead that any we leave behind” (my favorite C.S. Lewis quote).

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August: In August I celebrated (obviously) the single most important event of my junior year: my 21st birthday. Or, as I affectionately call it, the last of my exciting birthdays. My birthday happened to fall on the first day of classes of junior year, which was quite the experience, but I was so thankful that so many of my wonderful friends and sorority sisters came out on a Monday night to celebrate my birthday with me. Also in August, I worked again as a Welcome Week Leader, assisting freshman with their move-in and transition to Ball State. Although this month was not monumental in any way, shape or form other than my birthday, it was a great start to my junior year and set the foundation for everything that was going to happen this year.

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September:  My first memory of the month of September was spending all of Labor Day weekend watching my favorite trilogy: The Dark Knight. It was not a productive weekend to say the least, but it was obviously time well spent for me. Nonetheless, September was an interesting month. It was crazy busy (per usual) with recruitment, Bid Day, the Alzheimer’s Walk, and the camping Sisterhood Retreat. It wasn’t the month that I had envisioned in more ways than one , but I was incredibly thankful for the wonderful support of my friends. My proudest moment of this month was planning and implementing Bid Day 2015. After a long summer of preparation, crafting and several nightmares, it was a great experience and I was so incredibly happy to welcome 52 amazing new members into Sigma Kappa.

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October: In October, my parents took me to Las Vegas to celebrate my 21st birthday and my mom’s 50th over my Fall Break. This was hands down one of the best trips I have ever been on. Vegas was such a cool experience and something that I hope everyone can see at least once in their lifetime. From the strip and all of it’s bright lights to Hoover Dam, it was a fantastic trip. Also in October, I was honored at the CCIM (College of Communications, Information, and Media) Dean’s List Ceremony for the second time and celebrated Ball State Family Weekend tailgating with my parents. I also attended my sorority’s Sponto dance and dressed up as a really adorable Bubble Gum machine for Halloween (picking 1 picture for each month is proving more and more difficult for me). For as long as I can remember, October has always been my favorite month and it’s easy for me to see why.

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November: Hands down, the most exciting event of this month was being elected to President of the Gamma Eta Chapter of Sigma Kappa in November 2015. It was a position that I had been working towards since my freshman year and I was so thankful for all of my sisters for believing in me and voting me into this position. Also in November, I attended my sorority formal and as always, had a wonderful time with great friends. However, other than being elected President, my favorite part of this month had to have been Thanksgiving break. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday, and not just for the food. I love the simplicity of the holiday. It’s all about love and family, without expecting any presents in return (other than the food, of course) and naturally I overate and spent the remainder of the day wallowing over the pain in my stomach. I did enjoy watching “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles” with my family, the new Thanksgiving tradition we started in 2014. Although long and at times painful, I did enjoy an 8-hour car ride with my dad to pick up my sister from Chicago and bring her all of the way back home to Indianapolis.

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December: Ah, the month of Christmas. This is one of my favorites. I definitely enjoyed my much-needed break while I was off of school and work for the Christmas vacation. Although the weather was disappointingly warm this year, it didn’t stop me from getting into the Christmas spirit. Winter break was surprisingly exciting and time consuming for me, versus the usual laziness I ensue. I visited Christmas at the Zoo for the first time with a friend and it was incredible (I plan on going back), I tried chocolate martini’s with my parents and hated them (won’t be doing that again) and I was able to spend a lot of time with friends back home. For Christmas, I was most excited about my Crock Pot and Erin Condren planner so that’s when I knew I was becoming an adult.

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January: To start off the year right, I got dressed up and spend New Year’s Eve downtown with some of my girlfriends. Since it was my first NYE being of age, I was excited to do something fun–and it was definitely an experience. My favorite part would probably have to be making friends with all of the different Uber drivers we had throughout the night. Also in January, I tried ice skating for the first time in about seven years. Although I was terrified and could barely move on the ice at first, to my surprise, I wasn’t half bad and shocker–actually enjoyed it! January turned out to be a very busy yet rewarding month. Getting back to Ball State and to my friends was great after nearly a month a part. I also enjoyed a trip to Chicago with my fellow Sigma Kappa Executive Council members for the Regional Leadership Conference, despite the fact that there was no way our bus driver had a real driver’s license, as we nearly crashed multiple times. Thankful to have made it out of that one.

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February: It’s a miracle I spelled this month right, as it is hands down the hardest word in the English dictionary for me to spell. From here on out, I will probably just refer to it as “this month”. So, here are some highlights from “this month”: after countless months of eager waiting, I finally welcomed two of my best friends into the 21 club. Now, most of my close friends were able to go to the bars with me. I celebrated a few holidays including Valentine’s Day (with a huge blizzard at DQ for the occasion) and of course, Mardi Gras. Also the Superbowl, if you count that as a holiday (which is definitely is). We welcomed 9 new members into Sigma Kappa as our spring new member class.

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March: By the time March rolled around, it was finally time for Spring Break. Alongside 3 of my sorority sisters, we traveled to Orlando, Florida. My favorite moment of that trip was visiting Universal Studios. There was one roller coast in particular that I was terrified of riding, but it turned out to be one of the most fun things I have ever been on. The fun didn’t stop after we got back from Spring Break, though. For the first time in my collegiate experience, I celebrated St. Patrick’s Day. This turned out to be one of my favorite moments of junior year for several reasons. I think one of my favorite parts of this was walking to get Chinese food with my friend Erica, and then coming back to take a nap in her bed, despite the fact that it was not even 8 p.m. My best friend Megan made a trip down from Purdue one weekend and I loved being able to catch up with her. I welcomed my newest little into my Greek family, Rachel, and we quickly became close friends (I’m already so thankful for her friendship). Lastly, I celebrated Easter back home with my family and was surprised by my sister, Allie, surprising us with a trip home that weekend.

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April: Besides October, April is typically one of my favorite months. This month started out with my sorority raising $5,500 for Alzheimer’s at our annual philanthropy event, Battle of the Sexes. I’m always so proud to be apart of such an incredible organization with an event more incredible cause. I was honored with the opportunity to attend the recolonization of the Tau Chapter of Sigma Kappa at Indiana University this month as well. Seeing 170 women initiated is something that I will never forget. I attended both of my sorority’s social events and had a great time, as always, with great friends. Towards the end of the month, I was honored to be a recipient of the Oliver C. Bumb Cardinal Corps Scholarship. Cardinal Corps has provided me with several opportunities to get involved and meet new people on campus and this scholarship has made me even more excited for my senior year at Ball State. I was also inducted into the nation’s oldest journalism honorary, Kappa Tau Alpha. Without a doubt, it’s been an overwhelming and stressful semester, but it has also been filled with so much happiness and fond memories. I’m excited to begin my summer internship with Dittoe PR and to travel to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio De Janiero, Brazil. Here goes nothing!

 

DONE.

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Finally! My ever-dreaded finals week is done. After studying for tests I put off, prepping for class presentations, decorating a poster board, and tying all loose ends together, I have finally completed my fifth collegiate finals week. There were a few unexpected incidents to deal with, a complete lack of sleep, and maybe a tear or two, but I can now proudly say that my fifth semester as an undergraduate at Ball State University is done with. YIKES.

Without a doubt, this semester has been completely unexpected, yet at the same time, amazing. I will not say that it was the best yet because I say that every semester. What I will say is that because this semester was so fantastic, I know that there are even better things ahead of me. I feel as if I am officially in the home stretch, with only three semesters standing in between me and my diploma. Granted, that is still a year and a half away, but I am now closer to graduation than first semester freshman year.

Semester proud moment: My ability to multitask and juggle all of my responsibilities. Between my full-time student course load, Executive Council positions in Sigma Kappa and Fraternal Values Society, part-time job at the credit union, and involvement in Cardinal Corps, I am exhausted. Yet, I managed to accomplish everything I had hoped for and even more. There have been moments I really doubted myself and cried over trivial things (like the time I thought I lost my keys but ended up finding them in the front door) but all in all, I am truly proud of my accomplishments.

Semester learning point: I definitely learned that there are several aspects of life that are uncontrollable, point blank. You cannot control what happens to you, but you can control how you react to it. I think I read that in a quote somewhere. Nonetheless, it is absolutely accurate. I am going to approach 2016 with grace and a realization that I cannot, and do not, control every aspect of my life.

Looking ahead: If it is even possible at all, I think that 2016 is going to be even better than 2015. In January, I will begin my year-long term as President of the Gamma Eta Chapter of Sigma Kappa. I will be continuing my job with Thrive Credit Union as Marketing Assistant, as well as picking up a freelance position as a Copywriter with BC Digital Marketing in Muncie. I am going to continue my involvement with Fraternal Values Society as well as begin involvement in the Student Rights and Community Standards University Review Board on Campus. Yes, I know what you are thinking. I am crazy. When will I have time to breathe? But do not worry, I will find time. I think I am actually looking forward to it.

A Lesson on Adulting

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I’ve officially been settled into my first apartment for a few weeks now, and I’ve got to say, living in an apartment is a lot of fun! To me, there’s just something so adult and mature about living in an apartment (maybe it’s just because I’ve always lived in a house). While it’s only been a short while, and I’ve still got a lot left to learn, here’s a few lessons that have come my way.

Cleaning takes effort and a regular schedule

I guess one thing you could say I’ve learned about adulting so far is that cleaning takes time and a lot of effort. Since my apartment lacks a dishwasher, I’m required to hand wash my dishes practically daily. Quite the struggle, am I right? It’s really not all that bad, it’s just a change for me. I would say that best piece of advice I could give on this is wash your dishes after every meal. It makes it a lot easier to do the dishes in small loads then waiting until the sink piles up and doing it all at once. However, it’s understandable that there will be days when that’s just not possible. I’ll just have to get used to cleaning, though, because I’ve got A LOT of years of cleaning ahead of me! Goodbye, childhood and minimal responsibilities!

Having a glass of wine at the end of the days helps, too 

So, I’ve only been 21 for a day (almost 48 hours if we’re getting technical) so I suppose saying this doesn’t really carry a lot of weight yet since I’ve literally only done it once. However, it was a long day today with the start of classes and getting back into the swing of things. When I was finally able to sit down and eat dinner around 8, which is unbelievably late for me to be eating since I prefer a 5pm dinner, that glass of Yellow Tail moscato didn’t hurt. I’m guessing there will be more of this where it came from.

Your neighbors can hear everything

I can hear my neighbors talking, laughing, and even peeing (our bathrooms share a wall–gross). This is definitely a change from living in a house with my family. I’m not used to sharing my life with my neighbors! Even when I lived in Lafollette I couldn’t hear my neighbors all that well thanks to those wonderful cinder block walls. I guess I’ll just have to get used to the noise and maybe keep a fan or two on at all times to drown out the sound.

Independence can be fun

I’m not going to lie, there are many times when I miss being a carefree child. Nonetheless, I’ve also realized that being an adult can be really fun, too. Doing dishes really isn’t all that bad, at times it’s kind of relaxing. It’s also satisfying to know that I can take care of myself and even cook my own dinners, too. I’m finally at a point in my life where I have the ability to truly make my own choices and steer myself in the direction I desire for my future. It’s going to be another great year at BSU!

#CareerGoals

Now that I’m at the halfway mark in my college career, I have started to think about my actual career. People frequently ask me, “What do you want to do with a degree in Public Relations?” This partially makes me angry and confused all at once. Of course, I just want to scream. What do I want to do with a degree in Public Relations? Well, I want to do Public Relations. However, it also leaves me feeling confused, because I still don’t know what exactly I want to do with my post-grad life (luckily I still have some time to figure it out). Nevertheless, I’ve compiled this list of career goals I hope to accomplish and strive for in the years to come:

1. Love what I do 

Most importantly, I want to enjoy what I do. Maybe I won’t love all of my jobs and maybe I’ll have a job or two where I just go through the motions every day. However, I hope to one day be fortunate enough to have a job that I am passionate about. I want to enjoy getting up every day to go to work, and find both challenge and enthusiasm in work I do.

2. Work for a company whose values align with mine

Values are something that are very close to my heart. One goal I wish to strive for is to work for a company whose values align with my own. I want it to be a respectable company full of clear and good missions, and hopefully good people, too. I think it would be very difficult for me to do PR for a company whose values I disagree with.

3. Find my fit 

Although I say right now that I want to work for a large company, who knows where I will be ten years from now. Most importantly, I hope to find my fit somewhere out there in the professional world.

4. Strive to grow and to never stop learning 

I have always loved learning, so as an avid lover of education, I hope to never stop learning. I hope that at whatever company I end up at, I continue to grow and learn each and every day. I really don’t think there’s a limit to what you can know and there are definitely new things to learn every day. Especially in the 21st century, technology is constantly evolving, so there is no limit to what I can learn and then incorporate into my job.

5. Experience new things 

Finally, I hope to experience new things as often as possible in my future career. While I’m young, I hope to find a job that involves taking risks, traveling, and learning more about the world we live in. Still, I hope to continue to experience new things even as I grow older, whether that be through promotions, new technology, conferences, or through obtaining a higher degree. Whatever it may be, I hope that I never stop yearning to experience new things.

The Perks of Being an Orientation Leader

Almost exactly two years ago, I sat through Ball State Orientation as an incoming freshman. I was ecstatic to say the least, but I wasn’t sure what all the future would hold for me. Anytime you start a new chapter in your life like that, you have hopes and expectations of what that chapter will look like, but you can never be quite sure of what your future will be.

Fast forward six months ago. I was at the first round interviews for Orientation Leader. There were so many people, awesome and super qualified people, who were also going out for the same job. With a limited number of positions, I decided I was going to try my hardest to get the job, but I wouldn’t plan for it. As I kept getting further and further along in the process, my chances were getting greater. Still, I didn’t want to jinx it. I was so anxious to find out whether or not I got the job. I checked my mailbox everyday for a week in hopes that the letter would come early, I even had my roommates checking it for me. Finally, it came. I got the job.

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My acceptance letter for the position of Orientation Leader. The long wait was definitely worth it.

Now fast forward to May. During the two week break between classes ending and Orientation training beginning, I was so antsy and excited to get started. During our training we focused on team building, case studies, and learning pretty much everything there was to know about the university. Throughout training, I sometimes doubted myself. Compared to some of the other leaders, I was quieter and more reserved. I questioned whether or not I would be able to perform to the fullest. But with the encouragement of those around me, I reminded myself that I was hired for a reason. I couldn’t wait until June 1 when we got our first students.

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The Orientation leaders with President Ferguson and the First Lady during Orientation training.

Right from the start of Orientation, everything seemed to fall into its place naturally. I found that I had no reason to be nervous for the things I was nervous about. Without those fears, I could enjoy Orientation to the fullest. I quickly found that the job was unlike any other I had ever had, and that it truly was a once in a lifetime opportunity.

With one of my groups of students during the second week of Orientation. Interacting with the incoming freshmen is definitely one of the best parts of being an Orientation Leader.

With one of my groups of students during the second week of Orientation. Interacting with the incoming freshmen is definitely one of the best parts of being an Orientation Leader.

Of course, one of the perks of being an Orientation Leader is working with the incoming freshmen. I love being able to tell them about how great Ball State is and easing their fears about college. It’s the little interactions with the students that really make the job worthwhile. Whether that be a student coming up to me after closing ceremony and thanking me for everything over the past two days, or the joy a student has when they come up to me after scheduling and say they are taking a class I recommended. I even had a student come up to me after lunch on Day 1 earlier this week and tell me I was doing a really great job.

With my team and the family team before starting a new session one week.

With my team and the family team before starting a new session one week.

The amazing leaders I get to work with everyday are also another perk about this job. From the start of training, we all quickly bonded together. I love having the opportunity to work with some of the best leaders around campus and forming friendships I know will last long after Orientation ends. We all have so much fun together and without all of them, Orientation wouldn’t be the same.

As we close week three today, I am sad to see that we are halfway done with Orientation now. With only a few sessions left, it’s hard to believe that soon enough this amazing experience will be done for the summer. To all my friends and family outside of Orientation, I’m sorry it’s the only thing I’ve been able to talk about for the past month. And to all of my Twitter and Instagram followers, I’m sorry it’s the only thing I’ve posted or tweeted about. But in all reality, I’m not sorry because Orientation has been an incredible journey so far and I’m so thankful I got this opportunity.

Summer Lovin

The best parts of summer include bare feet, bonfires with lots of s’mores, and freedom from responsibilities. With over three months of the best vacation ever, many college students are bound to waste many of their talents away during this time. Summer jobs can be a great way to refine professional skills and learn a thing or two that you may not have already known. Additionally, with all of the time off, summer can (and should) be used to update and clean up social media accounts, volunteer, refine professional skills, or learn a new software or program. While summer should still be a time for fun and relaxation, it is still important to make it useful.

One way I am utilizing my summer is to clean up and update my social media accounts. For most college students, the school year is jammed packed with classes, student organizations, and part-time jobs. So there is not a whole lot of time for things like updating your LinkedIn and professional portfolio. That is exactly what I did once school let out in April. I spent time updating my LinkedIn, asking for recommendations, and finding new connections. I updated my professional portfolio. Furthermore, I made sure to revamp and update my resume and upload it to both my LinkedIn and portfolio. All of these things are important, but may fall by the wayside when things get busy. It is also important to clean up all social media accounts and ensure there is nothing out there you would not want others to see.

Volunteering is another great way to spend your summer. Again, the school year can get busy. If you are required to complete volunteer hours for organizations you are apart of, you can easily get them completed in the summertime so that you are free of the commitment during school. Typically, there are plenty of volunteer opportunities in your hometown for volunteerism.

Lastly, utilizing summer to refine professional skills or learn new software programs is another great way to spend your time. For me personally, I plan on purchasing the Adobe Suite Shop. While I already am very familiar with Photoshop and InDesign, I would like to learn some new programs like Premiere and Illustrator. A great way to learn these programs is through websites like Lynda.com. Many universities, including mine, offer memberships to this website, which provides video tutorials on many different software programs.

Whatever your major or passion may be, there is always room for improvement and advancement. And what better time to better yourself than the three months you are already have off?

 

Year-End Review: Sophomore Edition

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It’s hard to believe that a year ago I sat down to write my Year-End Review:Freshmen Year. Things were so different as I typed that post from my 8th story dorm room overlooking the building’s loading dock (how scenic). But what a year it has been! By far, it’s been one of the best, and I can’t wait to share with everyone what’s been going on with me in the past year. Two decades has never looked so good!

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August: By the time August rolled around last summer, I was bouncing off the walls excited to come back to Muncie. It had been a long summer, and I couldn’t wait to see what was in store for me during my second year on campus. I packed up my bags and moved into my sorority house on Riverside with two of my sorority sisters. I had the privilege of working as a Welcome Week Leader for the Orientation Office, where I made new friends and helped to welcome all of the incoming freshmen to campus. I started my marketing internship with Thrive Credit Union, and I celebrated my twentieth birthday. Over Labor Day weekend I even attended the Luke Bryan concert at Klipsch Music Center with some of my sorority sisters–by far the best concert I’ve ever been to!

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September: September was a crazy busy month for me–but hands down one of the best. Sorority recruitment turned out to be one of the most tiring, but rewarding, experiences I have ever had. I was able to welcome home 50 wonderful new sisters and share with them the joy I have found from Sigma Kappa. During family weekend, I was honored at my college’s Dean’s List ceremony, and got to tailgate with my parents and my dad’s college roommates. Having Ball State alumni parents makes campus outings a lot more fun, plus I always get to hear their hilarious college stories.

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October: While September was awesome, October was without a doubt one of the greatest months for me. From all of our homecoming festivities with Phi Delta Theta, to welcoming my little sis into my Greek family, to Fall Break in Southern Indiana and Halloween, I made some unforgettable memories in October. I was also able to participate in the Walk to End Alzheimer’s in downtown Indy for the second year in a row with Sigma Kappa, where we raised over $8,000. Alzheimer’s Disease is the philanthropy I am most passionate about, and one that hits very close to home for me. I am so thankful to be a part of an organization that raises money for such a great cause. I know I will keep working with the Alzheimer’s Association in the years to come!

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November: Although the semester was coming close to a close, I was just as busy as ever! In early November, we initiated our new sisters into Sigma Kappa. Although I’ve talked about it a lot, Sigma Kappa has been, and continues to be, one of the most rewarding aspects of college for me. I attended both Phi Delta Thetas’ formal, as well as my own, where I dressed up in 50’s attire for our “Music Through the Ages” theme. I was also initiated into Fraternal Values Society, an honorary Greek organization. I also enjoyed time spent with family at home over Thanksgiving Break. My semester was crazy hectic, and I didn’t have the opportunity to go home as many times as I would have liked. Nevertheless, the best part of November was when I was selected as the new VP of New Member Education for Sigma Kappa. I worked very hard for this position, and was honored to have been chosen.

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December: In December, I dressed up as a giant Christmas present with Katie. We rocked the tinsel and giant bows, affectionately calling ourselves the “Tinsel Twins”. I ended the semester with my highest GPA to date, and was ecstatic to go home for Christmas. I saw Straight No Chaser with my parents, an all-male A Capella group we had been looking forward to seeing for ages. Christmas truly is the happiest time of year, and I had some great memories with my family over break. In fact, I was enjoying my time at home so much that I wasn’t all too excited to go back to school when January rolled around. However, what I didn’t know then, was that I was in store for yet another great semester at Ball State!

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January: In January, I planned my first major event–spring bid day with my 6 new members! Although the planning process was extremely stressful, I could not be more proud of how it all turned out. My new members were amazing and made this process so much easier on me. I made other great memories with my friends, like attending Colts watching parties. Unfortunately, my family lost our first dog, Jack. It was a whirlwind of a month, especially with all of the crazy snow storms, but it was well worth it.

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February: In February, I attended a Pacers game with some of my sorority sisters. Although the weather was extremely poor, the Pacers won and we had a great night. I also drove my first semi-long trip (only 3 hours, but still). I traveled to Chicago for Sigma Kappa’s Regional Leadership Conference, which turned out to be a really great opportunity. I loved getting to know sisters from around the country and finding new ways to develop as a leader. I planned a surprise birthday dinner for my best friend, as well as made plans for my first spring break trip. Additionally, I was selected as summer Student Orientation Leader for Ball State. It was such an honor to have been chosen.  I also began work on my first major video project at my internship! While it was a lot of work, it was well worth it.

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March: In March, I traveled with 5 of my friends to Treasure Island, Florida. It was my first real Spring Break trip, and turned out to be one of the best vacations of my life! Although it was early March, the weather was phenomenal. I was also very busy with initiation for our new members, and at times ran around like a chicken with her head cut off. I also attended Phi Kappa Psi’s formal in Cincinnati, Ohio in late March. It was a spur of the moment trip, but turned out to be better than expected. In the midst of all the great fun that March brought, I unfortunately lost my grandfather to Alzheimer’s Disease. It had only been a year and half since my grandmother, his wife, passed away. It was hard to say goodbye, but I knew he was in a better place.

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April: Although I had the time of my life in the months preceding April, this was by far the best month for me. From philanthropies, to the spring carnival, to Easter, and to formal, I had the time of my life. I made great memories with even greater friends, and continued my 3 semester streak on Dean’s List. It was hard to say goodbye to such an amazing school year and all the wonderful people in my life, but I know that the next two years will bring even great opportunities and experiences–I can’t wait to figure out what they are! One of my favorite quotes by C.S. Lewis says it all: “There are far better things ahead that any we leave behind”.