A New Leaf

Recently I have been faced once again with the thought that I can do whatever I want with my life. The world is my oyster. I can be whatever I want to be.

It’s terrifying.

A few months after graduation I found myself in a rhythm. Wake up, get ready for work, go to work, get home, shower, eat dinner, watch tv, go to bed. Lather, rinse, repeat. I was working with a talented group of entrepreneurs so I learned and grew a lot. I also had a lot of fun.

What I didn’t do was work on any of my side projects. My story was left untouched, I never went to the gym. I didn’t do much outside of work because I was so tired every day after work. I just didn’t have the energy or the motivation.

Then I realized how silly that sounds.

I have this bad habit of not always following through with my plans. I talk about doing something but never do. I put it off and wait until things are just right. I need to figure out this, I need to learn that, I need to get better at these things. One excuse leads to another and I never really do anything.

No more. I’m done with that.

I realized that the only thing standing between me and what I want to do with my life is myself. So I decided it is time to get out of my own way. It is time to take charge and start living my life. To start chasing those dreams.

And so I am. I’m starting a YouTube and a Twitch channel. I’m spending more time working on my website and my blog. I am going to start writing more flash fiction to share on Instagram. I wrote a text-based narrative Star Wars game. I have even started turning some of my own ideas into narrative games.

I have my whole life ahead of me.

It is time to take the leap and start living.

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The End of an Era

I stand here on the precipice of the rest of my life and I cannot help but wonder.

When I first set foot on this path, I had no way of knowing where it would end. I certainly did not expect some of the twists and turns my journey took.

I have met some truly wonderful people and made some friendships that are more precious to me than I ever expected them to me. With them I made memories that I will treasure for the rest of my life.

I have also grown as a person. I learned what I like to do and gained a better understanding of how I function in the work place. I have learned how to manage my anxiety and how to handle when it feels like life is trying to drown me.

Who I am and how I see the world has changed drastically during these past four and a half years. I am stronger, smarter, and much better of than I was when I started college.

Reaching this milestone has made me incredibly nostalgic, even as I look out on my future. While I have no way of knowing where the road I am on may lead, so long as I can see the steps that lie in front of me I will be just fine.  I have an army of friends and people that I trust, who I know will support me every single step of the way.

Sometimes I wonder what might have happened, had my life turned out differently. If some small thing had gone differently, how would things have played out.

In the end, though, I wouldn’t have things any other way. I am proud of who I am today, after everything it took to get me here.  Even though some of my decisions did not work out as planned, I have still gained much in experience and in friends.

My life may be chaotic, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

The Final Findings

As I mentioned earlier, my classmates and I have spent the past few weeks examining Joel Osteen’s image repair tactics. He received a lot of criticism after neglecting to open his church to people fleeing the destruction of Hurricane Harvey. As the pastor of one of the largest churches in the United States, many people were angered by his apparent reluctance to offer help while many smaller churches were opening their doors.  Much of the backlash he received was on social media, and I have included some examples below. (Whether you agree with him or not, these images are rather humorous)

We studied the repair tactics used by other preachers who found themselves in crisis situations where their images were tarnished, and most of their attempts were not successful. From what we were able to find, Osteen’s attempts were moderately successful, at least for the short term.

One of the findings we found the most interesting is the fact that Osteen never once acknowledged any wrongdoing.  Instead he shifted the blame to those attacking him, claiming that they were attacking the church. He compared himself to David and Jesus and constantly emphasized that his decision was the responsible one. The two most common tactics used by Osteen fall into the category of reduction of offensiveness. Attacking the accuser was the first, which he did vehemently, using scripture to ‘bash’ them. The second most common was transcendence, where he claimed that his beliefs back his actions and that he acted to ensure the safety of the public.

Now that the storm is over and the flood waters have receded, the people of Houston have focused on rebuilding. This has granted Osteen a reprieve from all of the commentary related to his closing of the church. While we cannot say for sure what the long-term impact this will have on Osteen’s image, for now it seems he has weathered the storm.

The After-Crisis Crisis

Hey guys! I don’t know about y’all but I have had a pretty interesting week so far. It all started on Tuesday when my roommate stood outside of my door asking if I was awake. When I said that yes, I was, she promptly informed me that our kitchen was flooded. Fast forward about fifteen minutes, I have put in a maintenance request and the water is slowly starting to take over our living room.

We were informed eventually that a pipe had backed up and flooded most of the row of apartments. There was a lot of frantic working to make sure that nothing important was damaged. Our floor is mostly dry, but now we have to deal with a giant fan blowing nonstop for the next couple of days to ensure that the carpet gets dry. The apartment is still chaotic but we have everything to a place where we can get to it.

What we experience was only a fraction of a taste of what happened to many of the victims of Hurricane Harvey. Thankfully none of my friends and family experienced flood damage, but I know that countless people did. This brings to the real focus of this blog post.

Joel Osteen.

My second group project for the semester is an image repair research paper. My group decided to tackle the backlash Joel Osteen received related to not immediately opening his church to the flood victims.

Image result for joel osteen harvey

Joel Osteen Defends Decision to Close Megachurch in First Sunday Service Since Deadly Storm

Even if Joel Osteen did the right thing, he lost a chance to teach Christianity

What we are not doing is we are NOT commenting on whether his actions were right or wrong. What we are doing is taking the image repair tactics we learned in class and using them to assess how Mr. Osteen handled this particular crisis. There was a lot of backlash to this situation, especially on social media. We are going to look at the media coverage as well as his response to the media. I think this is going to be one of the most interesting papers I have written in a long time.

Now, as much as I would love to stay and chat more, I have a test to study for and a novel to write.

Until next time!

Halfway There

I cannot believe that I am at the halfway point of my last semester. It feels almost surreal to think that in a few short months I will have my degree. I will finally be able to take on the world without having to worry about classes and homework. While there will definitely be things I miss about college, I am ready to graduate.
One thing I did not expect from this semester is how impatient I am.  I am so ready to be done with school and to move on to the next chapter in my life. I am itching to dive headfirst into the world of video game public relations. It thrills me to no end, the thought of being able to work remotely and the freedom that comes with that. I can live wherever I want to.
In fact, I have been so eager and anxious that I have excited myself into a tizzy the past few weeks. My impatience has worked me into a stressed out ball of anxiety and I recently figured out why I am feeling the way that I have been. It forced me to take a step back and more than a few deep breaths. It left me feeling drained.
What all this has taught me is to be patient, to live in the moment.  No matter how much you wish time will speed up, it simply is not going to happen. I guess the moral of the story is that you need to take life one step at a time.
I still have quite a few things that I need to take care of before I graduate. I have homework and projects and tests. I bought my cap and gown. I am starting to design my invitations and am looking into getting my senior pictures done. Instead of longing for the semester to be over, I am going to enjoy what time I have left.
On that note, it is time for me to return to the checklist of things I need to get done on top of my homework.
Wish me luck!

Project Goals

Hey guys. I mentioned last week that I am working with a group to help the Midway ISD Education Foundation.  Today I want to tell you a little bit more about what we are doing and how it will help.

The problem they presented us with is pretty straightforward. They want to encourage more of the parents in the district to make donations. Most of the donors make large donations, which can lead some people to believe that only large donations are needed. What the foundation wants to spread is the fact that a lot of small donations can make just as much of an impact.  I have always held a personal belief that even the little things can make a difference.

Our main tool is going to be social media, since it is the most efficient way to reach a large amount of people at the same time. Social media has always been one of my strong suits. I have spent a fair amount of time learning all of the tips and tricks related to the algorithms and analytics.  I know the power that a properly worded, properly timed post can have. There is also an element of interactivity with social media that can be used to help update and adjust the plan as you are implementing it.

The next few weeks are going to be full of us refining our plan and working out all of the details. One of the things I have been researching is social media techniques related to crowdfunding.  The possibilities presented by websites like Kickstarter, GoFundMe or in this case EdBacker, are endless. It is more efficient when it comes to time and costs, and with it being on the Internet, these campaigns can reach a much larger audience. Couple this with the intentional use of social media, there is no end to what can be accomplished.

I am planning a more personal update coming up soon, but if you are curious to learn more about this project stay tuned.

Until next time!

Time to Meet the Client

Hey guys! I am about a month into my last semester at Baylor and I am loving it.  One of the classes I am taking (my favorite of the two) is Public Relations Media Programming. Not only am I excited because I have taken classes with the same professor before, but I also have the great opportunity to work with a local nonprofit.

My classmates Maddy and Sarah Warner and I have partnered with the Midway ISD Education Foundation. A big part of what the foundation does is funding projects to help better the educational experience of all the children in their district. The money they raise is put towards things that will improve the students learning experience. As someone who grew up in a small town, I can appreciate what they are doing. Since they were founded in 2001, they have raised over $1 million.  In their 2016 annual fundraising campaign they raised $300,000.

One of the services they have helped provide to Midway ISD is something called United Streaming. In a way it is like Netflix for teachers, except it allows teachers to preview videos before they show them in class. This allows them to decide ahead of time which parts of which videos they want to show to their class. They also do Rookie Assistance Awards, which is where they give a $100 reimbursement to first year teachers to use to purchase classroom supplies. This is a great help to the new teachers, because it allows them to add some of their own personality and style to the classroom.

There are many other things that the education foundation does to help teachers. They have various grant programs that help teachers either continue their own education or create great, innovative learning programs that they come up with.

My group is working to develop a plan that the Midway ISD Education Foundation can implement that will help them reach more of the parents in their district. There are around 8,000 students, but only 300 donors for the foundation. Our goal is to help them reach more of those parents and encourage them to make donations. Two of their biggest problems are their inability to physically reach all of the parents and the belief that many people have that small donations do not make a difference.  Through the use of social media, we are going to show them how to teach the parents otherwise.

This is going to be a fun, fulfilling semester. It is time for me to get to work.

One Last Lap

It is hard to believe that in two weeks I will be starting my last semester in college. It feels like just yesterday I moved to Texas, just yesterday that I started college. The whole thing has me being rather nostalgic. My life has changed drastically these past four years. Not only have I learned a lot, but I’ve grown a lot as well.

It has not been the easiest of times, though. Moving halfway across the country, halfway through high school was tough. I lost contact with a lot of my friends and then, about a year after we moved, I actually lost a friend. Two weeks before the start of my senior year I got the news that Tommy Sanders, my best friend for five years and first boyfriend(I had broken up with him six months prior and had not spoken with him since), had been hit by a car.  We had already been planning on visiting Tennessee and we were in Manchester, visiting my aunt, when I got the word that Tommy had passed. I was three hours away. That was definitely the hardest week of my life.

The following year I struggled with depression and often times found myself having to learn how to grieve and process that grief.  Even now, five years later, it still hits me like a ton of bricks. While the pain is not as bad as it used to be, I do not think it will ever truly go away. Things like that change you.

Since then and throughout my time in college, I have grown and I have healed. I am more confident. I am stronger. I got counseling to help me learn how to deal with my depression and process my problems. I still have a ways to go, but I have made progress.

I also know what I want to do with my life. I want to write. I want to tell stories and help others tell stories. Ultimately, I want to do video game public relations. I want to rescue a dog (once I am settled down and have the space for one, of course). There are a lot of things I want from my life.  And I have one semester left before I can dive right in to the rest of my life.

Its going to be great.

Summer Shenannigans

Hey guys, sorry I have been so quiet recently. I finished the last semester with flying colors and then took some vacation time. My parents and I spent a week in Tennessee and it was wonderful. It was a full week of enjoying the mountains and spending time reconnecting with family and friends. It was wonderful.

A few days after returning from our trip, I found myself returning to Waco. This summer has been a series of trips from Waco to McKinney and back again.  On Mondays and Tuesdays I have been working as an intern at Shiroma Southwest.  So far I have really enjoyed being able to experience what it is like to work at a public relations firm, even if for only two days a week. The rest of the time I have my work-study at the computer lab in Waco.  While I am there I work on personal projects, such as figuring out my future and building a website. More on that later. I’m still deciding on a theme. Another job I am doing is with One More Story Games. They are an indie game company based in Barrie, Ontario and I have been helping them with social media.

I’m still working on chasing down job opportunities I can find for once I graduate college in the fall. I have a list of public relations firms that work with video game companies that I have been looking into. Several of them focus on working with indie companies, which is something I appreciate. I still have five months before graduation to find a job, but it is never too early to start. There is always something I can be doing better and this summer I have accomplished a lot, and I am working on more.

I have the rest of my life ahead of me and it is time to start taking over the world.

Wait, did I say that last part out loud?

Counting down the days

Hey guys, how is everyone doing?  I don’t know about you but I have been pretty swamped for the past few weeks. Well, the past semester really.

A month from today I will be finishing up my last final and heading home, hopefully for the summer. I still do not know for sure where I will be working/interning this summer but I should be hearing back from one of the places I interviewed soon. Still looking into all of my options.

Yesterday morning at 6am I registered for all my classes for the fall. I am only taking two, PR media programming and a lab science. I got into the spots I wanted with the professors I wanted, which is always nice. I even double checked my degree audit to confirm that after those two classes I am done.

At the start of my freshman year, I had no idea where life would take me. I certainly never expected to be graduating a semester late, but I have gotten to be okay with it. If there is one thing life has taught me it is that things do not always work out as planned. Depending on what internship I end up with, I will likely be able to continue in my internship through the fall. That would be wonderful.

There are still a lot of unknowns that I am working on and a lot of things depend on those unknowns. I am constantly working to unravel these unknowns as well as managing my multiple to-do lists. Of course I always make a point to set some time aside to just relax and do something fun. This is a big part of the reason that I am still sane.

Whenever one of my many probabilities becomes a possibility, I promise to let y’all know.

Until then!