A Semester in Review

Well, it’s that time of year again. The brutally bipolar spring season of the Midwest is drawing to a close, and summer is looming on the horizon. Yet, academic freedom is still very much out-of-reach. With project deadlines and finals week quickly approaching, these next three weeks are sure to be hectic. However, in retrospective the sleeplessness and stress that is about to ensue over the remaining sliver of the school year seems relatively insignificant compared to what I have done this past semester. At the beginning of the semester, I outlined some specific goals to tackle. I believed by accomplishing these I would be able to greatly improve my résumé, and hopefully land an internship for the summer. Fortunately enough, I was able to do just that.

My primary objective for this semester was to build my advertising and graphic design portfolio. With an empty portfolio and a relatively blank résumé, scoring an internship (or even an interview for that matter) at the time was simply unrealistic. Thus, I was extremely excited to begin creating advertising campaigns under the guidance of my advisor, Dr. Jeff Maciejewski, in JRM 347. Throughout the semester, I created print and billboard ads for Husqvarna, Badlands National Park, and the Crescent Moon Ale House located on 36th and Farnam. The process in fact turned out to be far more complex than I expected – it included extensive research, concise creative briefs, and straightforward in-class critiques. At this point in the course, we are now in the revision stage. After fine-tuning my copy and visuals, I am confident I will have a solid collection of ads to begin my portfolio.

HQ_alternateAside from school and my part-time job, I also served as the Creighton men’s basketball graphic design assistant. This role allowed me to produce game-day infographics for the team’s Twitter and Instagram accounts, which actually turned out to be far more rewarding than I expected. As a diehard college basketball fan, I thoroughly enjoyed producing promotional work for a thriving team headed by the man himself, Doug McDermott. More importantly, this position allowed me to compile over a dozen graphic design examples for my portfolio. Although I have been swamped with class projects lately, I plan on redesigning some recruitment materials this summer. I hope that I can keep this position for the remainder of my time here at Creighton. That being said, I am very pleased that I took advantage of this opportunity, and I look forward to the doors it may open down the road.

Marquette

Yet above all, I learned the most from my JRM 327 Social Media course taught by Dr. Zuegner (I promise I’m not just brownnosing). To be honest, I was not excited to take this class. It’s required for my track of study, and I decided to just get it over with this semester. Personally, I think the course name is misleading – maybe tack the word “marketing”, “journalism”, or “communications” on the end to make it sound more official. But that’s not the point. Much to my surprise, I actually learned way, way, way more than I expected. My perception of social media and its variety of purposes was significantly altered. I knew social media was on the rise; but I had no idea the amount of possibilities it brought to the business world. In class we discussed networking, personal branding, content marketing, SEO, social media policies and plans, effective strategies, ethics, tons of platforms I had never heard of, and much more – all of which I found intriguing and unique. I watched my online presence grow as I became active on several other platforms, especially Linkedin. The weekly blog assignments provided a structured writing schedule that helped me put together a collection of relevant samples I could share with prospective employers. Ultimately, it was my understanding of the information from this course and my blog that led me to be offered by both B2 Interactive and Nuvem Consulting to be each respective company’s content marketing intern. While my advertising and design portfolio received positive feedback, it definitely was overpowered by my understanding of social media, content marketing, and blogging.

All in all, this semester has been a true success. My once nonexistent portfolio is now stacked with samples of work; I landed not one, but two awesome internship offers because of a class I initially didn’t want to take; and I am also about to finish building my personal website for my web design class. Unfortunately, I still need to bottle my excitement a bit longer while I grind out the remaining projects and final exams that will surely control the last few weeks of my sophomore year.

In One Sentence – Me

In my mind, accurately summarizing the person I am is challenging. But in one sentence? Now that’s just nonsense, plain and simple. How am I supposed to jam 19 years of existence into one measly thought? I almost convinced myself that this was a meaningless activity, especially considering I’m still quite unsure of whom I truly am. Additionally, I have a tendency to be long-winded and wordy when I write because my jumbled thoughts have a way of spilling out of my fingertips. Once I start cruising through a sentence, it is often tough for me to decide when to hit the brakes. Making matters worse, I am extremely indecisive (if only you could witness the struggle I must combat in the Taco Bell drive-thru). Thus, I was slightly concerned that devising a meaningful, yet concise personal sentence would fall somewhere between the categories of rocket science and Guitar Hero on level expert. Much to my surprise, this was not the case.

After giving it some more thought, I realized there was one personal trait of mine that helps garner my success despite some of my aforementioned shortcomings. Since I was in diapers, I have always paid great attention to detail. When I was three years old, I had a collection of matchbox cars. For some reason, I found great joy in lining them up around the edge of the coffee table to form a perfect square. My grandpa noticed I always made sure they were as even and straight as possible, so he began shifting the cars slightly when I wasn’t looking to see if I would notice. Time and time again, I did. Every single time. From that point on it was readily apparent to my family that they had a perfectionist on their hands.

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Now there are numerous other examples of my perfectionist tendencies, some of which might come off as surefire acts of OCD; but in the words of Kevin Hart, “ain’t nobody got time for that.” That being said, my personal sentence must somehow correlate with my quest for perfection in just about everything I do. Although this personality trait can be restricting at times, I have come to realize it is a great asset to possess. In the world of journalism where the power of credible information triumphs all, it is essential that technology and social media be utilized as accurately and effectively as possible. As simple as these budding practices may seem, sloppy and unfiltered information that is presented for all of humanity to digest can lead to serious trouble. We see this occur time and time again, with everyone from celebrities to sixth-graders.

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Luckily, the importance of accuracy will always remain the same in my field of study: advertising and graphic design. As a visual communications major, information must be clear and concise so the audience can receive the intended message. Thus, I am confident I will be able to succeed in this line of work because my work ethic simply will not allow me to settle for “good enough”. Rather, I will never stop working to reach perfection – that is, my personal vision of perfection, although I’m well aware this will someday undoubtedly become ‘my boss’s vision of perfection’. Nevertheless, I have come to understand that there is nothing wrong with being a perfectionist as long as I identify in advance what constitutes perfect so I can set my eyes on the prize. With no further ado, my personal sentence goes like this:

I am constantly in search of achieving my own vision of perfection in everything I do. 

For my fellow perfectionists, this is worth a glance. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/11/06/why-perfectionism-is-ruin_n_4212069.html

And here’s something you can certainly shake your head at – the biggest social media blunders in the business world at 2013. http://www.businessinsider.com/10-worst-social-media-marketing-fails-of-2013-2013-11?op=1