My Mid-Semester Resolutions

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Miramar Beach, Florida

As I’m writing this post, I’m looking out the window at a big patch of green grass, sunny skies, and a clock that’s waiting to tell me in an hour that I’ve earned some beach time. Spring break introduces a challenge to prioritization. On one hand, studies show that taking a vacation (or a break in general) is good for your health. It not only clears your mind to improve your focus when you get back to work, but it also improves your heart health. On the other hand, I made a to-do list of about a million things I should really get done over the break to prevent my workload from being overwhelming next week, and getting all of them done means there won’t be much of a break at all.

As someone who likes to plan ahead, it can be hard to tune out stressors. At this point in the program, there seems to be a lot of stress about finding a job, finishing our projects, and keeping it all together. I decided I would take this break to reflect on what I want my last two months (!!) in the program to look like, and come up with some resolutions to make that happen.

  1. I will embrace everything I have learned about myself and media production in the program. For our fly-in, I served as the Project Manager of the Costa Rica team. The task was very challenging, but I came out of the experience feeling more prepared for real-world experience than I did upon entering the program. It instilled confidence in me that I can handle any challenge that comes my way. In addition to that, I have improved my video editing skills and my knowledge of using DSLRs for videography. I can code a site that doesn’t look like it was made in 1995! I’m still learning every day.
  2. I will focus on my time left in iMedia – not wish it away in favor of getting a job. One of the biggest appeals of this program is how marketable we can become to employers. Elon University provides so many networking and career-building opportunities for us to find our dream jobs. A good portion of our class is made up of students who came straight from undergrad, and that means -for most of us, anyway- that we don’t know exactly what that dream job looks like. There is so much room for trial and error in our job search and in the jobs we take as we figure out what that dream job really entails. My biggest resolution is to focus on what I can still learn over the next few months. That includes editing a short comedy film for Advanced Video Production, mastering Cinema 4D, and learning the Bootstrap framework. I want to dedicate my time to those things- even if it means putting the job hunt aside for now.
  3. That being said, I will still utilize the services offered at Elon. Amber McCraw compiled a fabulous list of tasks to prep for our job search as iMedia students. I will commit to completing most of these tasks before I graduate… after I finish my homework!
  4. I will express gratitude to everyone who has helped me get through this whirlwind of a year. We could not have gotten this far without the support of the iMedia faculty, staff, and our friends and family. I am declaring on the internet in all its permanence that I will write some thank you notes and emails to the people who have supported me on this endeavor. It’s such an easy way to spread positivity and brighten someone’s day, including your own!
  5. I will take that break! For now that means walking on a white sandy beach, but for the next two months I will rest my eyes for a few minutes after editing for hours or walk to Moseley and back between classes. I only have a couple of months left to enjoy our beautiful campus and I can’t let that time pass me by!

What are your mid-semester resolutions?

 

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Final(s) Words of Encouragement

There are only 10 school days left of the semester, andspongebob-brain-fire the iMedia hallway looks a little something like this…

Okay, so that’s a little dramatic. But with looming fly-in prep plus projects, papers, and presentations ahead with so little time to complete everything, overall morale is much lower than usual. There’s no doubt in my mind that undergraduate students and professors are feeling the exact same way!

For my last post of the semester, I want to reach out to anyone experiencing the chaos and stress of finals week with some words of encouragement and tips on how to make it through.

  1. Pick a positivity mantra or motivational quote and make it your desktop and phone background. Every time you see it, take a second to breathe and internalize those words. My personal favorite is “Get up. Get coffee. Get on with it.” I need to give myself a little tough love to get crankin’!
  2. Make a master list. And then a mini list. Make a list of every single project and assignment that is due before the end of the semester. Then, make smaller to-do items under each that outline your plan for getting it done. Every item you check off will pack the motivational punch you’ll need to power through the rest of the semester!
  3. Know you’re not alone. As I said earlier, there are millions of students experiencing the stress and deadlines and pressure you’re experiencing. Reach out to a classmate or professor and grab coffee with them. Talk about your plans for Winter break or even your plans for the weekend. In other words, get school off your brain for a bit!
  4. Try to eat as healthily as possible. Avoid sugary drinks and too much junk food – you’ll zap your energy and feel too sluggish to focus. Snack on apples, oranges, or carrots with hummus for a crunchy, hydrating energy boost!
  5. Keep the big picture in mind. I know that in six short months I will have my Master’s degree and a year of intensive learning under my belt. I’ve met so many amazing people through this program and learned so many new skills. While the end of the semester can feel like the end of the world, there are so many positive memories to reflect on and even more to be had in the future.

Here’s to the next two weeks – we can do it!

pumped

 

Lessons in the struggle

I really thought iMedia would be easy. (I’ll wait a moment for the explosion of laughter to subside.)

Seriously, though, I entered the program thinking it would be a breeze compared to the work I’ve done before. I spent years working as a journalist at newspapers in Virginia, Mississippi, and most recently, North Carolina. There were days when I worked almost literally from sunrise to sunset or even later, not leaving the office until after midnight. I’ve turned around three or more news stories in one day. Some assignments involved not only writing, but also live tweeting and shooting short videos. What else could be more exhausting than that, right?

We all know the answer.

My automatic response to questions about my weekend plans is, “Homework.” I don’t think about what’s showing on TV during the week; chances are I won’t be home to watch it anyway. I’m routinely up early each morning to finish reading or other assignments. I routinely fall asleep while reading or working on my laptop. My life was completely different almost three months ago, but that’s a good thing. Yes, I’m usually exhausted and somewhat overwhelmed, but I generally feel good about what I’m learning and doing. The pain and frustration, generally, are worth it.

I joined iMedia hoping to broaden my career options. I also entered with what I thought was a clear plan of what I wanted to do next. A few days of boot camp made me realize that like Jon Snow, I knew nothing. But that’s a good thing as well. Here’s why: I’m already doing things that were completely foreign to me before I started this program. I’ve actually coded websites. I’m much more comfortable with Photoshop and Illustrator — programs I hadn’t really used before.

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We’ve also had a number of guest speakers, which is one of my favorite things about the program so far. Less than three months in, we’ve heard from a number of iMedia alumni. Other guest speakers include Scott Kelly of the Elon business school and Lee Rainie of the Pew Research Center (who is also author of a book we read in one class). We attended a session with internet pioneer Vint Cerf. I also attended a broader university event with legendary Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward.

Insight from those guests, as well as everything I’ve learned in class so far, led me to toss aside my post-graduation plans. I don’t know what I’ll do then or what I will be capable of doing. While that occasionally sends me into a panic, it also leaves me a little excited about the possibilities.

Adding to the blogroll

You may have noticed this week I posted many more links on the right-hand column of this blog.

These are all the blogs of students in Elon’s iMedia program. We each have our own theme and writing style. Some of us talk about whatever we’ve learned in class: some of us discuss whatever we’d like, all aiding in branding ourselves.

So please, browse through and take a look of what’s on our minds.