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

Advertisements

Caipirinhas, Portuguese Phrases and 4 Other Things I’ve Learned in Brazil

 

summer-style-guide

 

 

Seven short days ago, I had never seen land outside of the United States. I often joked with others that the closest I had come to leaving the country was wading in the waters of southern Florida.

Nevertheless, today I can proudly say that I’ve (finally) left my home country and begun to experience life and culture outside of my comfort zone. I’ve tasted the caipirinhas, the Brazilian national drink – which, by the way, is nothing but pure sugar, limes and alcohol – learned a few phrases in Portuguese and been abandoned by my Uber a time or two already.

There are so many things that I could say about my trip so far – despite the fact that it’s only been a mere five days since I boarded my flight for Brazil, but still, I feel as if I’ve already learned and experienced so much. So, to give you a glimpse of my life here as a pseudo-Brazilian, here are a few things that I’ve learned while in Brazil:

1. The media tends to hype up the negative and downplay the positive

IMG_7051

The picture I took from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain in Rio near sunset. We rode cable cars up to the top of the mountain. This shot really embodies how beautiful the city is – a mix of both mountains, city and ocean. Christ the Redeemer can also be seen in the background.

I won’t lie to you, prior to leaving for Brazil, I was scared out of my mind. For months leading up to my trip, all I heard about were all of the negative aspects of the 2016 Rio Olympics. Each time I informed someone I would be visiting Rio, I opened an unwanted can of worms, listening to them ramble on and on about a city they had never traveled to, and things they probably didn’t know about. I was even frequently told, “Rio should have never hosted the Olympics.” Way to encourage my trip, I would think…

However, despite harsh criticism, I made my way to Rio de Janiero, Brazil, and (not) to my surprise, it’s been great so far. A few day into the Olympics, and I’m hoping that the media is starting to refocus their energy on yet another great Olympics.

2. People outside of the United States tend to be a whole lot nicer than us

IMG_7226

My friend, Allison, and myself with a Canadian man we met trading pins with at the Olympic Park in Rio. He had been to countless Olympics throughout the years and told us he likes to take pictures with the people he trades pins with so that he can remember them.

I could go on an endless rant about this topic. When non-citizens visit the United States, people often scoff and ridicule visitors who visit our country who cannot speak our language. Yet, as Americans, we visit other countries and get upset when they can’t speak the same language as us (even though we’re in their country).

However, what I’ve seen in Brazil is that any person who speaks English is eager to help translate. On several instances, Brazilians have seen me struggling to communicate with a person and came up to translate. A few days ago, I was at Christ the Redeemer and ordering a drink from the bartender. We were having a lot of difficulty communicating due to our language barrier, and a woman came up and stayed until I had pay just to make sure I was able to communicate with the bartender. That was something I thought was so incredible and kind that I do not think would happen necessarily in the United States.

3. Opportunity is everywhere

IMG_7245

At the Coca Cola center in the Olympic Park, I had the opportunity to hold one of the official Olympic torches. It’s not every day that this happens.

Walking around Rio, I have learned that opportunity really is everywhere. From all of the people I have randomly met at the Olympic venues – even learning that one person I coincidentally met taught at the school district only 20 minutes away from me – to holding an Olympic torch to attending the International Paralympic Committee press conference, I have already been given so many opportunities while here in Rio – both professionally and personally.

I believe that life is simply a series of choices and, sometimes, we have to create our own opportunity. However, you don’t always have to travel 5,000 miles away from home like I did. Sometimes, the best opportunities are right on your doorstep.

4. Traveling teaches us that the world is much smaller than we think

IMG_7277

My fellow students and I with a middle school teacher we met from Westfield, Ind. We just happened upon her at the Olympic Park while watching the Men’s Gymnastics Event on Saturday, August 6, 2016.

Whenever I think about the physical size of the world, I am mesmerized. I am even more mesmerized when I realize how many people are in this world. But what is truly even more amazing is the fact that no matter where you are in the world, there is a great chance that you’ll meet someone you have a connection to.

Already while in Brazil, I have met countless people from the United States – which should be of no surprise considering I am currently at the Olympics, the largest athletic event in the world. However, when I met Kelly Day, a middle school teacher from just the town over from me, I was so astonished that I so coincidentally happened upon someone who lives so close to me. Not only is it a reminder that the world really is smaller than we all think it is, but it is also a good reminder of home – no matter how far away I am.

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.