Sunny, with a Chance of Employment

Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about the weather.  Last week, parts of New Hampshire acquired about two feet of snow.  Temperatures hovered around eight degrees.

My mom was pulling out battery operated lamps and preparing food for a power outage.  My dad was bundled in several layers of clothing with his “Nook of the North” hat nestled safely over his ears, pushing a 200-pound snow blower back and forth.  img_9984While my parents desperately tried to alleviate Mother Nature’s damage, I was hiking across a soft bed of pine needles with my foster dog, Raina, panting at the end of her leash.  Clad in only a tank top and shorts, I was enjoying the 78-degree day here in North Carolina.  The contrast of distance and weather felt like a direct correlation to the contrast of time and opportunity.  Although I joked with my parents about our vastly different agendas, it sparked a few realizations, some even deeper than the fluffy snowdrifts back home.

Last year, I was trudging through the inevitable end of my undergraduate career; I felt weighted by the pressure to succeed in the coming months.  I was scared that I had not yet reached my full potential as a student; I was terrified of being buried in debt and being left too far under to ever accomplish my dreams.

Although the thought of stuffing all of my belongings into my 16-year-old minivan was intimidating, the challenge to finish my education was one I thought was worth it, and one I was willing to accept.  Now, I recognize the stark difference that just a year can make.  When I made the move from New Hampshire to North Carolina, I not only left behind the unfriendly weather, I left behind uncertainty.  Now, my horizon is bright with more than just sun; it is bright with possibility.

Elon’s iMedia program has provided opportunities beyond belief.  I have discovered that I am stronger than I ever knew; my breaking point is now nearly impossible to reach (with a coffee in hand, of course).  img_9947
Through a few months of intense study of theory, user experience, content management, videography, web coding, graphic design, and photography, I have absorbed more knowledge than I did in four years.  I developed a passion for photography, and I met many like-minded individuals, developing friendships that I will continue to cherish many years from now.  I had the incredible opportunity to travel abroad to Reykjavík, Iceland, assisting Frumbjörg, a social innovation center, with the production of their first 24-Hour Innovation Day.  Two weeks later, I was able to help present the final project at Elon.

This semester, I will finish my journey by learning more about digital branding, multimedia storytelling, and media economics.  My capstone project provides me with the ability to unite my passion for canine rescue with the strengths I have developed in this program.  3w9a9920When I walk up to receive my diploma in May, I will have completed an entirely self-driven project that reflects both my technical skill and my ethical concerns.  I have grown beyond comparison, and I am still amazed that in just seven months, iMedia has provided me with such a powerful desire to immerse myself in this world.  I’m not quite sure what the future holds for me, but I think that it’s safe to say it is sunny, with a chance of employment.

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A Personal Profession

I have lived in three different states in the last six months.  Although the process of packing and moving halfway across the country was daunting, I am so thankful that I’m here today.

3w9a9787Last year, I was teaching horseback riding lessons, writing papers, and organizing philanthropy events. I felt that I had a realm of expertise in each of those spaces.  Although the familiar is what I used to enjoy, stepping outside of that comfort zone has caused me to grow as an individual.  The program was intimidating; I was told that I would eat, sleep, and drink iMedia.  The 10-month immersion promised a whole new journey away from my space of comfort, a journey into new and exciting (sometimes scary) experiences.  The intensity of iMedia certainly lives up to its reputation, but I have also discovered a crucial hidden bonus that was neither disclosed nor advertised.  This bonus is not learned in the classroom, and it isn’t something that we can necessarily place on our resumes; this bonus is camaraderie.

Camaraderie didn’t start immediately. We were a medley of personalities and strengths awkwardly plopped into Powell room 210, but we slowly became united throughout our journey in the program.  Camaraderie began in an edible form, specifically, in the form of coffee and breakfast—the perfect duo.  Slowly but surely, we acquired three different coffeepots in the lounge, assorted K-cups, and a steady rotation of muffins, cookies, and doughnuts.  These little pick-me-ups were weekly highlights amid the stress of Dr. Lackaff’s class, and each peace offering provided subtle appreciation for our fellow classmates and our mutual struggles.  In addition to caffeine and sweets, we started a GroupMe to keep in contact with one another and clarify assignments.  Soon, though, we began to utilize one another for more than just academic sanity—we became a family.

GroupMe quickly merged into a platform for non-school related activities in our limited spare time.  The first movement was a “Game Night,” hosted by Darrien, and since, it has become somewhat of a tradition.  Each Friday, a classmate hosts Game Night as a detox from the week, and we play Trivia, Uno, and Battle of the Sexes.  14855925_10211408030585920_5000333281743206314_oRecently, these Fridays have turned into potlucks, too (we’re clearly food-driven people).
Last week, Ashley arranged a festive party where we gathered to watch skits, sing karaoke, and paint pumpkins.  On Halloween, many of us coordinated wearing onesies for the day.  We have begun to rely on one another not just for the answers inside the classroom, but for the relaxation outside of the classroom.

Our camaraderie will grow even further throughout the year, and eventually, we might be relying on one another for more than just another cup of coffee or another round of Uno.  Instead, we might be relying on one another for a recommendation at the company of our dreams.  My 25 classmates have individual and admirable skills, and I’m proud to call them not just classmates, but also friends and future professionals.  Back in August, I took each of my classmates for granted.  I figured that I would develop some friendships, but I never really thought about the depth and importance of these connections.  I never considered the future implications, and I never considered the impact that each individual would have on my experience in the program as well as my career after the program comes to a close.  Networking and moving toward the next step might seem intimidating at first, but it’s just another journey, and this time I have 25 people to help guide me along the way.

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