Category Archives: College

Our Obsession with the Good Old Days

“Maybe these are the moments. Maybe I’ve been missing what it’s about. Been scared of the future, thinking about the past while missing out on now” – Macklemore 

If you type ‘Good Old Days’ into Spotify, you’ll get over a dozen results. Why? Artists have picked up on our obsession with the idea of the “good old days.”

As someone who’s spent the last eight years trying to embrace adulthood, I get it. There are moments when it feels overwhelming. As an adult, there is literally always something…appointments to make, schedules to coordinate, the list continues. And this is without a significant other and kids. OY!

Yes, I’ve longed for my college nights out when I could sleep all day afterwards. I’ve wished my days away, wanting these moments to be something else. Then I’m jolted back to reality when I hear about people my age losing the rest of their days.

I could waste time and energy living in the past or planning for the future. But as Macklemore says in his Good Old Days song, then you’re missing out on now. Maybe it’s about redefining what good old days means in this life phase and each one after. I’d imagine for a new mom snuggling her newborn, that feels just as good (if not better) then celebrating the end of college. Live your life creating those memories that will make you smile when you remember them, not ones that will make you pine for the past.

How you spend your Friday nights might change. Your relationships will certainly evolve. The good news is you get to choose. You decide how to spend these moments. Bring the fearlessness you had at five and the fun you had at 17 to each next step. Don’t change yourself or think you’re too old. Age is a mindset, not a number. You define your moments and create your good old days.

Despite disagreeing with our obsession over the “good old days,” I do like Macklemore and Kesha’s take on it. It’s true, you don’t know the best moments of your life as they’re happening. You won’t ever get another day like it. Perhaps the idea of “good old days” is our reminder to stay in the present and soak it all in. I’d love to hear if this resonates with you!

Cruising is a Girl’s Best Friend

I spent last week cruising the Caribbean with one of my best friends. I’m not sure what I was more excited about: my unlimited drink package or being able to lay in the sunlight for hours at end. I just couldn’t wait to get away and unwind.

Grand Cayman

Grand Cayman

One thing we didn’t plan for on the cruise was spring break. Being a bit removed from the college life, we completely forgot that the March is when most colleges have their spring break. Lucky us! Our ship was filled with college seniors letting loose and partying one more time before graduation. Most would be annoyed by this rowdy bunch but I was intrigued. I never went away on spring break during college. I wondered if I was ever as carefree as the group of girls we made friends with. Maybe..?

One thing about being on a cruise: If you’re remotely friendly or social, you will have an entourage following you by the end of the vacation. We literally had all sorts of people hanging out with us throughout the cruise. What can I say; we’re a good time!

At one point during the trip, I believe our new friends referred to me as Oprah. What an honor! I was talking to them about life after graduation. There’s advice people beat into your head, mostly around finding a job, being financially responsible and not burning bridges. What they don’t tell you is that the hardest part about graduating college and becoming adults is transitioning your friendships. In college, everyone has the same goal: to make it out alive (aka to graduate). After college, those goals and priorities shift and look different for each person. You’re going to have friends who get married right after college, choose to go to graduate school and some who might be a little lost. I said this to my new friends from UGA and the reaction I

Some of our friends from dinner

Some of our friends from dinner

got was priceless. No one had ever said that to them. Admittedly, they are worried about their friendships, people moving away and life changing. As I talked to them with one of my college best friends next to me, I was honest: it’s hard, you’ll argue, breakdown, freak out and cry..a lot. But just remember, not everyone grows up at the same time. No one’s dreams should look the same. Understanding and respecting that is the key to holding on to those friendships post college.

I love vacations because it gives me a chance to reflect about life. If I didn’t meet these girls, I don’t know if I would have thought about how graduating impacted my friendships. I might not have realized how blessed I am to have friends who respect each other’s decisions and understand one another’s journeys. It wasn’t a vacation of a lifetime, but I got to push pause on reality, let my thoughts unravel, dance until the sun rose and unplug from technology.

Tell me about your most recent vacation! Any big revelations or did you make any new friends?

My favorite picture of Haiti

My favorite picture of Haiti

A Knowledge-Filled Saturday

As a young professional, I am always looking for ways to expand my knowledge and grow my industry expertise. This is occasionally challenging because I do not work within public relations. While I love my current job, I still want to maintain a breath of public relations knowledge and keep up-to-date on industry trends.

The schedule for the day!

The schedule for the day!

Luckily for me, I was invited back to Temple University this past weekend for the TU Invitational hosted by Temple PRSSA, one of my former student organizations. While the event was for students, I am so glad I attended. There were four speakers, each with a different PR specialty. Below are the “quick tips” I learned from each.

  • Cassandra Bailey from Slice Communications was the keynote speaker. You couldn’t have picked anyone better to kick-off an event! Cass was energetic, passionate and real. My biggest takeaway from her presentation was to break the process and be different. You shouldn’t change yourself to fit within a role or company. People want someone authentic, interesting and who challenges the norm. I adored her ideas and hearing that being different is a positive when hiring people.
  • I then went to Jessica Lawlor’s breakout session about personal branding and blogging. I read Jess’ blog religiously and worked with her during our PRSSA days at Temple, so I was really pumped for her session. Jess managed to pack so much info into her session without overwhelming us. She walked through various social media sites, outlining what essentials we should focus on to help build our personal brand. I was also beyond thrilled to hear the you don’t need to have a niche blog to be successful. I like to write about a lot of topics and according to Jess, that’s a good thing, as long as you are providing useful, fresh content. Overall, it was an awesome session and now I have a ton of ideas for my social media profiles and my blog!
  • After lunch, Steve Cameron from Air Products spoke to the group about a variety of topics. Steve has been in his role for several years so it was interesting to hear his perspective on how the industry has changed. Obviously, social media is the biggest advancement for PR professionals. Steve presented a social media decision tree for both personal and business use. This visual was so helpful in articulating the questions that need to be asked when figuring out how a company can utilize social media. The personal portion of the tree provided insights on the company’s social media policy; much easier to read than several convoluted paragraphs!
  • Our final speaker was Scott Tattar from LevLane, a PR agency in Philadelphia. Scott spoke about corporate social responsibility (CSR) and how it is now an essential for companies. CSR is the bottom line and should serve as a marketing tool. I found it interesting and refreshing to hear his insights because not all companies think like that. A good CSR program is focused, so even if you are a large corporation, you shouldn’t support a million charities. It also empowers the customer (or employee) to do something rather than to just write a check. Lastly, it should be in line with the company’s mission. For example, Coca Cola should not back a cause like childhood obesity since their product is soda. Scott’s session was my favorite of the day because it was a topic not addressed frequently.
All of the PRSSA alum with the chapter president.

All of the PRSSA alum with the chapter president.

We all went and celebrated a successful event after it was over. I was so proud of my former student organization for putting on a great event where I learned so much. My day reinforced the importance of continuing to learn even as a professional. Hopefully, I’ll get to go back to next year’s TU Invitational!

Keep Calm & Cherry On

Last night in a brutally cold, downtown Manhattan, I attend “The Temple Idea – The Making of a Movement” that discussed Temple University’s Temple Made and Cherry On marketing campaigns. The panel discussion featured Director of Marketing Angela Polec as well as my former Strategic Communication (StratComm) professor Gregg Feistman and the PRowl Public Relations firm director Kaitlyn Sutton. As both a StratComm and PRowl alumnus, I was very excited to hear about these viral marketing campaigns.

In the fall of 2012, the Temple Made campaign was launched with a kick-off event at the university. The

Just the basic details were given for the Temple Made launch event

Just the basic details were given for the Temple Made launch event

only details given were the date and time of the event. From there, Temple Made commercials had spots during the Temple versus Notre Dame football game and billboards were displayed through the region. This was Temple’s first centralized marketing campaign that gave a voice to the pride that already existed with current students and alumni. When anyone saw a Temple Made commercial, they immediately saw what the Temple type is. Temple Made is a mindset, a different breed of people who hustle harder and are self-made. Through this campaign, it became easier for anyone to see that the Temple Made type was different.

cherry onThe next step was to create a marketing campaign that was like special handshake for Temple insiders. The Cherry On campaign was born through the collaboration between PRowl Public Relations and the office of Strategic Marketing and Communication. It started by telling Temple students to wear their cherry every Friday. The phrase “Cherry On” developed from those Fridays when athletic prep rallies were held to support different teams. The campaign was organic, for the students, from the students. PRowl worked with Temple Student Government to create the Cherry On video that recently launched. My favorite part of the video: “This is not a fashion statement, it is family.” That one phrase created such an emotional connection to Temple for me. The Cherry On hashtag trended on Twitter during several athletic events, admissions has seen a rise in applicants and website traffic has increased.

So now what? After two successful marketing campaigns that reached prospective students, current students and alumni, how is Temple going to continue this momentum? The panelists explained that a lot of research needs to be conducted including benchmarking success, engaging other audiences, focus groups and surveys.  As a PRowl alumnus, I wish I would have heard about Cherry On from them rather than at a football game this past Homecoming. There is an entire alumni network out there, who can help spread this campaign. While I understand Cherry On was targeted at students, it’s now time to engage alumni and other audiences.

Last night’s event was the first step in engaging alumni to continue this Cherry On momentum. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing how the campaigns started, grew and what the plan is for the future. The campaigns were brilliant and exploded on social media. Both the Temple Made and Cherry On hashtags are seen everywhere including fliers, billboards and online. More than anything, it created a community and mindset that resonates with all of us who are Temple Made. Since we are Temple Made, we can Cherry On through any situation. It is a connection, an experience, a bond we have for life.

Are you Temple Made? Did you know about these marketing campaigns? Check out the video below then share your thoughts with me!

Reflections: 365 Days Later

gradHappy 100th blog post to me! I can’t believe this is my 100th post OR that I graduated college a little over a year ago. As I walked through Manhattan yesterday, I saw crowds of new alumni, taking pictures and waving their tassels in the air. I was instantly taken back to my graduation only one short year ago. Two of my friends and fellow bloggers already revisited their graduations through detailed and touching blog posts. Lauren gave a recap of her last year that did in fact bring me to tears while Jess provided solid advice for recent graduates. Their posts have inspired me to reflect on my last 365 days instead of crying about them.

Within the last year, I’ve divided my life into four major areas, listed below, in order of their current importance. While I strive for balance, I recognize that life will never be perfectly balanced; there will always be competing priorities. Here is my synopsis of the last year and the lessons I’ve learned within each of the following areas:

  • Career: Perhaps the most important part of your postgraduate life, my career still doesn’t seem steve martinreal most days. I am not in the industry I studied in school nor do I get to write as often as I expected. However, I am learning more each day while enjoying new projects, like building social media sites, something I never thought I could do. I also work with amazing people who challenge me, respect me and help me better myself. In reality, there is no such thing as the perfect job. You must be passionate about what you do but it’s ok to admit if your passions have changed. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.
  • Personal: This is probably the hardest area of my life and where the most change has occurred. My family faced some challenges in the last year, battles that weren’t mine to fight. I’ve seen a new side to family members I thought I knew best. My family doesn’t feel as close as it once was and that’s hard for me to accept. BUT, I also have the extended family known as my friends, who have been the best support system. My friends are always there if I need them, but physically seeing each other and coordinating schedules can be, at times, a nightmare. I am SO proud of my friends, their own accomplishments and our ability to make it work. Truth be told though, I miss the close proximity a lot. I’ve also learned to let go of relationships that aren’t healthy anymore. People should add value to your life not continuously stress you out.
  • Self: The last year has been a journey of self-discovery and soul-searching. I know that sounds like a giant cliché but it’s true. I’ve figured out a lot about myself: my interests, my dislikes, how to manage my emotions as well as my relationships. The biggest lesson? I can change my path if I want to (or need to) as long as I am constantly bettering myself. I’m also trying to push myself outside of my comfort zone more. Example #1: Running a 5K in July.

be-in-love-with-your-life-every-minute-of-it

  • Community: In college, there were so many opportunities to give back to the community. In the last year, I haven’t volunteered or mentored as much as I would like to. I’ve always enjoyed mentoring younger people and would love to find a program close by to do that. My goal for the next year is to volunteer at least once a month.

Overall, I’d say it’s been a great first year in the real world. There were (and will always be) moments of uncertainty, doubt, fear and resentment. You can’t prevent these types of moments, though I’ve tried. I can’t go back to college no matter how many times I cry about it. Embracing this monumental change still challenges me.

For the first time in a while, I am extremely proud of myself for taking chances, being honest with myself and others and living my life for me. It’s been a year of change and adjustment but it’s also been the most trilling ride of my life.

Calling All College Seniors!

Colleges around the country officially ended their semesters this week. My alma mater, Temple University, finished classes for the spring 2013 semester on Monday. Most students are now locked in the library preparing for finals. For college seniors, this is both an exciting and terrifying time.

temple graduationIt feels like yesterday that I graduated from Temple University. It will be officially a year on Friday and don’t worry, there will be a reflections blog post all about that. This post is dedicated to college seniors who have graduation quickly creeping up on them. The week(s) before graduation were the best and most stressful time of my life. I wish someone would have given me a few pointers beforehand. So college seniors, here’s my advice for your final days as a student.

DON’T: 

1. Slack Off:  You will absolutely regret not studying for that last final. If you worked hard in the class all year, blowing the final will cause all that hard work to go to waste. Finish strong so you’re proud of all of your accomplishments, including the last semester.

2. Burn Bridges: While you might not like all your professors, some will be very helpful during college and beyond. Foster those relationships with professors, colleagues and other professionals during college and continue them after you graduate. Talk with these people and get their contact information so you can keep in touch. I’ve done this with multiple people from college. They have proven to be good sounding boards and helped me land my first job.

DO: 

1. Plan Ahead: You should probably start applying for jobs over spring break. If you didn’t, that’s not a problem but you should get on that. Attend professional networking events and hold informational interviews during your final semester. It is okay to graduate without a job (most of us do!) but be as proactive as possible during your senior year.

2. Enjoy it: The month and week before I graduated was the best time of my life. My friends and I

One of our awesome Rockstar caps. Photo credit my friend Lauren

My two best friends and I made Rockstar caps for graduation. Note the “L.A.N.” at the bottom! Photo credit to Lauren.

worked hard but also remembered to enjoy our final days as undergraduates. Go to all the senior events on campus, celebrate every milestone and make your graduation about you. It’s true there are people who helped you: your parents, relatives, friends and professors. But, at the end of the day, it is about YOU and your college career. Embrace it and enjoy every single moment!

I hope these tips will guide all college seniors through their final days. It is scary but don’t forget to see the big picture. Congratulations! You made it through all four years! Now your life really begins!

To The Moon & Back

Today’s post has two purposes: celebrate my very first college friend’s birthday and continue on with the 30 Days of Truth Challenge. Let me first take you back five years ago to August 2008. I happened to get lucky and land the single room at the end of the 4th floor short side hallway in Peabody Residence Hall. The single was nice but the hall itself wasn’t. Yet, I created the absolute best memories there and made a lifelong friend in the process.

trishbdPoor Trish was the girl who lived next to me freshman year. I honestly think we became friends because I was so loud and she heard all of my conversations through the super thin Peabody walls. Thank God for those walls. She was my first real friend at Temple and five years later, she is one of my best friends and the most level-headed person I know. I often wonder how someone who is so calm and laid back could be a friend with someone as high-strung and insane as me. But she is and for that, I am very grateful. This leads me to the next Truth Challenge prompts:

Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Part one: While Trish and I have pretty much been friends for our entire college careers, there was a time when our relationship wasn’t as strong as it is today. This was due to a lot of things that have subsequently changed for a variety of reasons. That being said, I don’t ever want our friendship to go back to that place. I know I couldn’t live without Trish, her perspective on life that helps to keep me calm and grounded. In broader terms, I know I couldn’t live without my friends – maybe not the exact same people but an inner circle that I rely on for support and advice. My friends keep me going; without them, I don’t make sense.

Part two: There’s a laundry list of things (even people) I could live without. However, one thing I know I could live without is drama. That is one of the many things my friendship with Trish has taught me. The drama is just not worth it. Life is simply too short, as cliché as that sounds. Trish has the patience of a saint and is happy just being with people. She’s not high maintenance and reminds me that friendships (or any relationship really) shouldn’t be. There’s no need for drama; talk it and hug it out and things will be just fine.

moonMy life has changed more than ever since I started college. The one constant has been my friendship with Trish. She has consistently and happily shown up during the last five years. There’s no way I could ever express how grateful I am for that. I know I say that about all my friends but in reality, she has been the only there, on the ground with me at Temple for the entire time. The memories we have are priceless and hysterical. I know the future only holds more great things for us. Happy Birthday Trish!

It Started With An Email

“The most memorable people in your life will be the friends who loved you

when you weren’t very lovable”

bd3About two years ago in April, I sent an email that would change the course of my life more than I ever could have imagined. This live-changing email was accepting an executive board position with the Public Relations Student Society of America (PRSSA). I knew it would be a great resume booster and would be a position that challenged me. Little did I know what the next year and a half had in store for me.

I had been an active member of PRSSA for two years so I knew the members and the executive board. When I accepted the position as well as one with PRowl Public Relations, 95 percent of the rising EBOARD as well as the graduating seniors thought I was insane. They were probably right but one person knew I could handle it. And within the last year and a half, that person has become my person.

If you asked me to describe my friendship with Lauren, I honestly don’t think I could. We talk all day everyday, send the same message at the same time to each other at least once a week and have managed to see each other monthly despite working and living in two different cities. I guess it’s hard to put it into words because it just works. It started one day at Templefest and the rest is history. We’re on the same wavelength, we can anticipate each other’s reactions and value each other’s opinion no matter how honest they may be.

Ask anyone who knows us and they’ll tell you there’s no one quite like us. We’ve been known to call andIMG_0157 sing into the phone at all hours of the night, bicker over where to eat dinner and drop pretty much anything to watch Scandal. One day, Lauren will become Olivia Pope, I’m sure of it. More than anything, we keep it real. There’s no lying, no hiding emotions, no pretending everything is okay when it’s not. In the last year, this girl has seen me at my absolute worst and watched me take complete nervous breakdowns (ones that mostly weren’t necessary). Despite all of that, she still manages to be my friend and love me unconditionally. Same goes for her obviously, though her freakouts are fall less frequent.

It still amazes me to think one decision changed my life so dramatically. I often wonder what life would be like if I didn’t take that position and didn’t become such good friends with Lauren. Life would be a lot less entertaining, that is for sure. A part of me wishes this friendship was formed sooner. But I guess everything happens for a reason…maybe we just weren’t ready to leave our comfort zones yet. Whatever the reason, I am beyond grateful for this friendship and can’t wait to watch the rest unfold.

Sometimes the smallest decisions impact us in the biggest ways. 

In honor of Lauren’s birthday, allow me to introduce you to our theme song.

Getting “It” Right

panelYesterday, I was fortunate enough to be invited back to Temple University for the Public Relations Student Society of America’s (PRSSA) alumni panel. I was an active member of PRSSA for three years and served on their executive board during my senior year of college. So when their president reached out inviting me to attend, I knew I had to go.

I was 1 out of 5 young alumni who sat on the panel yesterday. We introduced ourselves, spoke about our time at Temple and then answered students’ questions. While the purpose of the panel was to share our knowledge and experiences with students, I know I learned a few things yesterday too.

Temple MadeWhen you first graduate, you are very much against being called an alumnus. It’s the denial phase: I did not graduate, I will be back here in the fall, etc. For probably the first time in nine months, I realized the importance of my alumni status. Not only are my opinions valued, but I have a huge network of other Temple alumni who are willing to help. The lightbulb absolutely went off in my head yesterday. Being an alumnus isn’t a bad thing, instead it’s something I’ve very proud of.

More than anything, yesterday was reassuring and gave me a much-needed boost in confidence. I finally feel like I am getting “it” aka adulthood right. I had students telling me how awesome I was, how well I speak in front of an audience and asking me all sorts of engaging questions. I was reminded that I am successful, that I have a job utilizing the skills I worked so hard to cultivate in college and that it is all coming together. Sometimes it’s nice to hear it from someone else.

Lastly, yesterday was a great example of how paying it forward is really important. I had mentors and help from PRSSA during college. So it was only natural for me to mentor younger members and speak at the panel. Never underestimate the impact you make on people’s lives and make sure to give back what you have received.

Thank you Temple PRSSA for inviting me back yesterday! It was truly a blast!

 

From Friendemies to Bridesmaids

Niki & I at Honors Convocation this past spring

I am probably one of the few people who isn’t directly writing about the election today. I have a more important story to tell. Though, the message I am sharing with you might actually have some relevance in regards to the election.

Four years ago, two overly ambitious freshmen sat in one of their first lectures at Temple University. Both girls were eager to succeed, leave their mark on Temple’s campus. Both did well in the class, participated often and indirectly marked the other as competition. Little did they know what the future had in store for them.

Four years ago, Niki and I were the definition of friendemies. We would say hi to one another, like Facebook statuses and even offer advice on specific classes to take. But we both saw each other as competition. For the first two years of college, this is how we operated. I will be the first to admit I was threatened by Niki; I saw how talented and passionate she was and knew immediately she was going to be one of the top students in our program. It’s also safe to say our personalities in the classroom were a bit different. To this day, Niki openly admits she hated how I was a bit of a suck-up in our Intro to PR class. Sorry Niki!

In the spring of junior year, I joined PRowl Public Relations, mostly thanks to Niki and another mutual friend. Niki promised it would be worth it and that she’d look out for me. We worked together a lot during my first few months with PRowl. I slowly began to realize that us working together would be more powerful and productive than competing with each other. With Niki’s guidance, I became an Account Executive for PRowl and throughout our senior year, our once friendemie relationship turned into a mostly healthy professional one.

During our senior year, Niki and I spent countless days and nights together working, but also developing a friendship. Along with our other friend Lauren, we became an unstoppable trio, accomplishing every goal we set and having other students, professors and professionals admire our work ethic. Niki was there to fight for me, cheer me on and be a shoulder to lean on whenever I needed it. For that, there’s no way I could ever thank her enough.

As young college students, we both wanted to be the best and would have done anything to get there. Four years later, after many disagreements, sleepless nights and vent sessions, we realize we are the best when we unite forces. Of course, we have our arguments and often see things differently. But that’s the beauty of it, we both offer different perspectives and get to share our insights with one another. It makes for a much richer picture of the world.

I hope the story of my friendship with Niki shows you that your competition can become your ally or even your friend. People with different opinions can work together to achieve a common goal. Hopefully, that’s what we will see from President Obama and the members of Congress during the next four years. Two brains are always better than one!

“I’ve heard it said that people come into our lives for a reason, bringing something we must learn. And we are lead to those who help us most to grow, if we let them and we help them in return. Well, I don’t know if I believe that’s true. But I know I’m who I am today because I knew you. Because I knew you, I have been changed for good” – Wicked

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