Journalism 450 take-aways

Going into journalism 450, I was nervous about the difficulty of the class. The first day our professor had a “coming to Jesus meeting” telling us that this class was our opportunity to start working like professionals. This is a scary thought when all of your other professors practically hold your hand throughout the course and tell you everything you will see throughout the semester on the first day.

Once I got into the class, I realized this was a grand opportunity to test my skills and abilities. The first positive thing that 450 presented me with was the opportunity to be creative and fail. Which I did. I tried hard on all of my assignments and put full effort into my writings. I had ups and downs. Some assignments I did well on and one I fully failed. Normally, I would be crying about the failing grade, but in this case, I am taking it as an opportunity to not make the same mistakes in an actual job.

The second positive outcome of 450 was the challenge the class presented. As the class progressed, we were given a serious of projects from basic PR writing to making brochures and newsletters. I have not been exposed to making things like brochures before this class and had no clue where to start. This was a great challenge because I had to learn to use new programs and softwares to complete the projects within a deadline. Now, I have more transferrable skills and am confident in my ability to independently learn new skills to complete tasks.

Finally, 450 made me faster and more confident in my basic PR writing. Although it was frustrating to get two wrong on my style quizzes and be forced to keep taking them every week, the quizzes made me better. I learned a lot about basic style format and the importance it has in public relations and related fields. Additionally, because we had to do timed, in-class writings weekly, I learned to get my thoughts out concisely and fast, which is something I struggled with prior.

I am thankful for this class because I feel confident in my abilities and will work to continue to grow in my skills. My internship this summer will be happy that I took this class because without it, I would be afraid to fail, not confident in my PR skills and a worse writer.

CMU, Leadership Development, Leadership Training, Professional Development

New perspectives on Grad Ball

This is my third year serving on the graduation ball LEAD team for the LAS scholarship program. Grad ball is a program that is near and dear to my heart because I have been a part of it for so long and this year I was named chair for the team.

It was really exciting that I got the position because I felt like I had a lot of really good ideas and could make the night really great for everyone. A few of the goals I had for the team were to keep everyone involved, keep the night stress-free and challenge myself with planning a big event.

It was tough to plan the night because I had absolutely no notes or anything to work off of. I pretty much looked to past nights and other parties and event that I had attended in the past to figure out what we needed. When meeting with my team for the first time, Kalie, the other chair, and myself talked to our team about what they expected from us and how we could make the night the best for everyone. We took careful notes and tried to consider all of their input as well as the Leadership Institute staff’s opinions while picking a venue. Eventually, we settled on the Comfort Inn because they had the most of our requests and requirements.

From there, the team picked our menu and voted on other aspects of the night in a relaxed way where everyone’s opinions could be heard. We are coming up on grad ball in a few weeks and we are now forming committees to make sure last minute details like the senior slide show, desserts, the photo booth and other things get done for the big night. I believe that the team will put on a beautiful, fun night for the seniors, LAS scholars and staff.
grad ball3

Leadership Development, Professional Development

Managing Pisanello’s

I started working at a local pizza place in downtown Mount Pleasant about a year ago. I quickly learned the ropes and had the opportunity to be promoted to manager after just a few short months of working at Pisanello’s Pizza.

I was really nervous to begin as a manager there because I am the second youngest person who works at the establishment, and it can be challenging to gain respect and authority among people who are older and have been there a lot longer. As a manager, the responsibilities include routing drivers, delegating tasks to workers, managing the money at the end of the night, handling customer complaints and more. You constantly have to be on task and watching to make sure everything is going correctly.

Being in this leadership position has taught me to be patient and trust myself. There are times when I have to calm down customers and keep my cool in the process. We have even had situations where I have had to do conflict management with other workers and solve disputes. I have utilized things that I learned in LDR 200 and in leadership communication class. I have grown as a leader a lot in this position because there are times when I just want to shut down and give up or think I can’t do something. I have learned that I need to take a deep breath, slow down the situation in my mind and start acting. I have been able to get through more situations than I thought and I feel confident in leading groups of diverse people of all different ages.


PRSSA part 2

I have been involved with PRSSA for about two years now. PRSSA was originally an organization that I wanted to be highly involved with, but as my time in it progresses, so have my intentions. I have shifted from using it as a way to get PR experience to more of an idea and learning tool. I go to the meetings and try to learn how to handle situations, gain ideas for future projects, and learn about aspects of PR.

I take the things I learn in PRSSA and use them in things like being the social media coordinator at Pisanello’s Pizza and the PR team at Grand Central Magazine. PRSSA is not something that I want to hold a leadership position in, but rather use it to learn from the professionals they bring in and those with more experience so that I can learn more.

Professional Development, Uncategorized

Grand Central Magazine PR team

This past fall I joined the online magazine Grand Central Magazine. I had a professor that is the adviser for the magazine and thought it sounded really interesting. GC mag puts out lighter, student-focused content meaning the magazine talks about things college students can relate to.

I joined the public relations team to gain more experience for the future because my major is public relations. Since being on the team, I have had to opportunity to help plan and run a promotional event for the magazine that showcased local artists in the area. I was worried that the event wouldn’t have a good turnout, but with the help of The Dreamer, where the event was held the event was packed with people and got GC mag’s name out more.

For the event, we handed out flyers around campus, promoted it with sneak peeks of the artists on social media and in our issue. We also collaborated with local artists and businesses to get special deals for the guests.

This semester, I am serving on the internal PR team. This has been a good experience, but the entire PR team is new so we have been experimenting a lot with ideas. We originally were putting out an internal newsletter with original content from each of the team members, but the reaction was not as excited as we intended. We quickly shifted gears and are now working with other sections of the magazine to create a promotional video for the magazine to use as a recruitment tool. I am excited to see where this team will take me next year.

CMU, Community, Leadership Development, Leadership Training

Safari 2017

For those of you who have looked through my blog before, you know that I have been heavily involved in Leadership Safari for three years now. This past fall, I was a safari guide for a second time. As a guide, I am responsible for introducing a group of 10-12 students to Central Michigan University. It’s kind of like orientation times 100.

This year was a new experience because as a returning guide you have to not only guide your participants, but also help your core guide mentor the new guides. My goal for Safari this year was to make sure that my participants, and other guides’, had the most meaningful experience they could have. Many of my participants wanted things like learning the campus better, learning how to be successful in classes, tips and tricks to surviving being away from home and learning more about themselves.

Safari has a solid curriculum for guides to follow during the week. I made sure to hit all of the points of our curriculum, but I also altered and strayed from certain things so that we could meet the goals of my participants. They were such a dynamic group of freshmen and I was so grateful to have them.


Three things CMU could benefit from changing

Central Michigan University (CMU) is a college that offers many great programs, registered student organizations (RSO) and overall opportunities to their students, but as a great man once said, there’s always room for improvement.

Here’s the deal: CMU has great programs and opportunities, but literally half of the students here don’t know about them. We have OrgSync, but again, hardly anyone knows it exists or how to operate it. Therefore, the first thing I would change is I would find a better program that easily shows students all of the RSOs, clubs and services here on campus. Students would be more likely to get involved and they would have a more fulfilled experience on campus.

Before I move on to my next change I need to introduce myself a little. I am a junior here at CMU and major in public relations, so I spend A LOT of time in Moore. Moore is fine, dandy, wonderful, even a little comforting to me, but it is too small and too outdated for how up-to-date all of the majors are in this building. Moore housing broadcasting and cinematic arts, journalism, public relations, communications and probably more that I don’t know about. These are professions where we NEED a lot of space, equipment and materials (like more computer labs and printers). COME ON CMU. We need an updated facility since a vast number of students come here for those majors and we are lacking.

The last thing I would change is one that anyone will probably agree with that commutes. Three words: parking is horrible. Why is it that we don’t have some sort of parking garage behind Moore or in Lot 22? If we built parking garages, the university could make more money on parking passes and then we could afford better facilities, more programs or simply just hire someone to clean the snow off of the sidewalks and parking lots in a timely manner for once.

Final note: I love CMU. It will always have a special place in my heart, and I think they do great things; there are just ways they could make this place a little bit better.

Leadership Development, Professional Development

Shaping up with LeaderShape

This past summer I was very blessed with the opportunity to attend CMU’s session of LeaderShape. For those of you who have never heard of LeaderShape, you can click on the link and search the page to find out more, but in the meantime, I’ll give you the quick elevator pitch. LeaderShape is a six-day-long, intensive leadership program unlike any you’ve ever done before. This program takes you out of your comfort zone and really challenges you dig deep within yourself to figure out what you’re passionate about in order to form a vision. LeaderShape gives you the ability to turn that passion or vision into a reality.

Ok, so that probably sounds a bit farfetched right? Well it did to Larry Page, the inventor of Google, too; he attended the LeaderShape Institute and attributes Google greatly to his time in the program.

Now that you have a rough idea of what LeaderShape is, I’m going to talk about why LeaderShape matters. When you hear about people’s experiences with LeaderShape, they’re always fairly vague and they talk about the “magic” of the program a lot.

DISCLAIMER: I am also going to be somewhat vague because you don’t want to ruin anyone’s LeaderShape experience by sharing every single in and out of the program.

When I got to Albion College, where our session was held, I was excited to finally figure out what the magic of LeaderShape was. I went into the program with an open mind and hoped to discover how to channel my passion into a way that I could better myself, others and the world. As the week progressed, I got to meet amazing people and hear about them and their experiences with life as well as what they care about and how they feel. I know that sounds pretty basic, but there is nothing more powerful than actually taking the time to hear someone else’s perspective and stories and truly connect with them.

At the conference you work in smaller groups of approximately 10 or so people, and this is called your “family cluster.” The breakout sessions with my cluster were the times that I felt myself growing as an individual the most. My cluster facilitator, Jeff, was amazing. I’ve never met an individual who had such a passion for people and their success. Jeff asked us what we wanted out of the week, and we asked Jeff to challenge us.

Now pause. You’ve heard that a million times, right? Well I have, too, but never has anyone ever actually challenged me like Jeff did that week. We talked about our personal gags (the things that we struggle with), and he made us dig deeper. Once we had our “in-your-face-brutily-honest” gags, the whole family held each other accountable to improving them throughout the week. My personal gag was to be better at accepting constructive criticism. It was extremely difficult for me to not make excuses for myself when others gave me advice; its always been something I’ve struggled with, but by the end of the week, I learned to take the advice and really listen to others. It took a long time to realize, but I’m a better person when I listen to what others say and evaluate myself honestly instead of just trying to make myself feel better about my mistakes and shortcomings. I learned accountability and responsibility as well as respect for diversity of opinions and thought. This was one of the most inspiring, challenging weeks of my life, and I couldn’t be happier for the opportunity. If you ever get the chance to attend LeaderShape, don’t hesitate. You’ll never find another program like it. You’ll be a better, more productive, more inspired, more caring version of yourself if you take a chance and have an open mind.

Oh and just so you know, that magic isn’t one specific thing. The magic of LeaderShape is different for each and every individually who goes through the program. But one thing you can be sure of, is that the magic of LeaderShape is real and it’s beautiful.


Leadership Development

Blessed with the Best

When you’re a freshman in LAS, your mentor is a big deal. They’re supposed to be the person to guide you through your freshman year. They help you to not make dumb freshman mistakes like wearing your lanyard with your keys on it around your neck, pronouncing Anspach (pronounced An-spa) wrong, or going to Wayside and thinking it’s not as gross as everyone says it is.

When I first met my mentee Jordyn, I knew we’d get along great! ( I mean, she greeted me with “you’re so pretty!” How could I not love her????) Jordyn has been such a blessing in my life. She is so low maintenance, keeps up with her work in school, and is a part of every extra-curricular that she possibly can be. I know I sound like a proud mom, but seriously I am. I have tried to be there for Jordyn for anything from boy issues to panicking about her future, and in turn she has been there for me for the exact same issues. Through the mentoring experience, I have found that it is more than me giving her a handbook to being successful at college. It is about being there for each other. It is about lending a helping hand selflessly whenever you can. It’s about stopping by with a coffee and candy when you know it’s been a hard week. But mostly, it’s about learning from each other. Jordyn has inspired me and taught me so much throughout the year. Because of the involvements that she is in and the passions that radiate through her every action, I am inspired daily to be the best mentor and person that I can be. I try to push her to do and be the best she can and to remember that it is okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them, and in turn, she pushes me right back. I am proud to say that through LAS I gained a beautiful, smart, caring, courageous mentee, but also an outstanding friend!

Leadership Development, Leadership Training, Professional Development

It’s a Ball with Grad Ball

This has been my second year serving on the Grad Ball Lead Team. My two years on the team have been two completely different experiences due to my own involvement and the change in lead team chairpersons. This year has been fun, exciting, and busy on the Grad Ball Lead Team.

For those of you who don’t know, I am in a Central Michigan University scholarship program called the Leader Advancement Scholarship. Part of our protocol for the scholarship is serving on a lead team. The Grad Ball Lead Team is in charge of planning, organizing, and executing the graduation ball honoring the senior class and those who completed the LAS protocol and are graduating. We also honor the staff,  students, and other successes the Leadership Institute has had over the past year. It is a night of mingling, pictures, eating, dancing, more pictures, fun, and oh did I mention pictures?! (This group of people LOVES pictures).

This year the Grad Ball chairs were much more inclusive in allowing the members to be more active in the planning part of Grad Ball. We began by talking about potential locations for the event, then moved on to other details like what we wanted at the event. We decided on a photo booth, no DJ (we would just do music on our own), a farewell cake, and books of information about and for the graduates.

As a member of the team, I went to the meetings, visited locations for the event, helped pick out the menu for the event, helped spread the word, and did the decorations for the ball. It was a great lead team for me to be a part of because it gave me event planning experience that will be greatly helpful to me in the future when I am a PR practitioner. It also allowed me the opportunity to work with new people who I didn’t think I would necessarily mesh with. As much as they tell you to not to have predispositions about working with people because you never know how it will end up, I still struggle with it, although I am proven wrong on thinking I won’t get along with people nine times out of 10. I am working hard to give everyone a fair chance and get to know them on a deeper level because everyone has something great to bring to the table and deserves a chance to shine.