Life On The Other Side of the Diploma

People like me can’t be bored very long. We have to find something to do with our time…. otherwise, we find ourselves going crazy.

My college housemate Shea and I playing with Fruit Roll-Up tongue tattoos, spring 2011

It’s been a couple of months since my last post. During that time, I found myself constantly sitting down to write a blog entry, only to realize I had to run out the door for a meeting or work on an assignment. Like I said, I don’t get bored for very long. My busy mind always finds something to do. But I finished out the semester strong and after triumphing over the stress crunch, I came out on the other side extremely proud of the work I completed this semester.

A print-preview version of my capstone class final project (BRC 321 Broadcast Sales)

I graduated from SUNY Oswego just a short month and three days ago (but who’s counting) with Cum Laude distinction (above a 3.3 GPA) and walked out of my last final exam with a 3.81 GPA for the Fall 2011 semester. While job hunting has been my #1 priority since I put the pedal to the metal in October, I’d be lying if I didn’t say I’m actually somewhat enjoying my free time.

Posing next to the SUNY Oswego monument just outside the Campus Center

Last night, I was lying in bed and I couldn’t help but let my mind wander to job interviews at my dream company (still no clue as to which company that may be). Lots of companies want to know what recent graduates have been up to since declaring themselves as alumni. I smiled to myself and formulated the best answer I could at 3:30 am. “I’ve dedicated most (if not all) of my free time to searching for career opportunities since graduation. However, that’s not to say I haven’t taken advantage of this free time to bond with my family after being away from home for so long. My dad and I have become a lot closer over our love for hockey and turning brown-bagged homemade lunches into a Friday tradition. My mom and I have been getting along very well while doing a lot of de-cluttering and planning home improvement projects. We’ve even scheduled a day-trip to New York City to be a part of a live studio audience at the Nate Berkus Show, which is also going to be a great experience for me in the field of broadcasting. Overall, the time I’ve spent post-graduation has been very valuable to my overall quality of life and I am happy to say that I am enjoying these new experiences.”

Picking out new paint colors for my bedroom. It's time for a fresh start!

I’m assuming this will be my last blog post for SUNY Oswego, as it is time to move on and hear from some new voices around campus. If I can leave my readers with any words of advice before I “sign off”, it would be to never underestimate the power of a handwritten thank-you note. I thought that I would be sending out maybe 5 or 6 thank-yous towards the end of the semester…. I wound up sending over 25 notes to former professors, bosses, advisers, mentors and colleagues to thank them for contributing to my experience at SUNY Oswego. I encourage you to do the same. Pay it forward, and your thoughtfulness won’t go unnoticed.

In true broadcasting fashion, I will misquote the great Ron Burgundy: “You stay classy, Oswego.”

Happiness is Only 75 Minutes Away

Hah. I’m a Post-It note addict. Now I’ll never forget!….. or will I?! Muahahaha

Um anyway, today I wanted to blog about something that has evaded me for most, if not all of my college career. That’s right, people…. perfect overachieving me is FLAWED! Totally kidding. Since moving to Oswego for school, I just haven’t quite gotten the romance part of college figured out. Maybe I went on a date or two (dining hall lunches DO count if you refuse to go Dutch and guest pass for your commuter’s meal. Just sayin’) but I never got the hang of it. It seemed that college boys just weren’t ever interested in me.

I met Matt in April of my freshman year. I had gone out dancing with a few of my friends after much convincing (I was kind of a hermit for the first two years of college). He had come down to Oswego for the night with about a dozen other soldiers from Fort Drum. A tall, very broad guy with a cute smile approached me while I was dancing with my friends and like a cowboy displaced from a country song came this thick Southern accent, and the mystery man introduced himself as Matt. I immediately went starry-eyed. Southern accents get me every time. We talked and laughed with his Army buddies until my friends decided it was time to go home. We exchanged numbers, said goodbye, and I headed home already crafting the text message in my head.

To make a long story short, nearly two and a half years have gone by and I can safely say Matt is my best friend. Most people on the outside looking in see this relationship with Matt as new, blossoming, and in its infancy. Some may even say we’re moving too fast. I say…… it’s about time! On the surface things are new because we had not been together in person for two and a half years. The Army life isn’t very forgiving to couples. Through the years we have known each other, Matt has deployed to Iraq, been home on leave, and been stuck on base without the opportunity to go out…. and each day we did our best to still keep in touch via the Internet, texting, phone calls, and even care packages. For some reason, we just couldn’t coordinate a date to meet up until I returned to Oswego for my last semester. The drive to Fort Drum is a bit lengthy, but I don’t mind it. 75 minutes there and back is just a minor inconvenience to me, considering that I feel as though everything has finally come full-circle. I have found a wonderful person who spoils me rotten (he says I just haven’t been treated well and I’ll get used to it. hehe  :D), who laughs uncontrollably at a certain way I scrunch up my face, who eats my homecooked meals and cleans the entire kitchen afterwards, and who encourages me to be comfortable in my own skin.

Anyone can be taught a skill – this I have come to realize in my six elapsed semesters at Oswego. But sometimes, you don’t leave college with just a diploma. You leave with another person’s hand in yours.

I don’t know where this will go, but all I know is that I amFinally, so happy. :)

Internship Memories

Okay, so the summer got away from me. It happens. But let me just say, it was quite the ride.

I wrapped up my internship with WBLI and WBAB just before returning back to school. I wish I had actually kept up to date on my blogging so that I could have really given all of my readers an in-depth view of an internship radio industry, but I will do my best to play catch-up. Here’s an excerpt I wrote in my journal during the summer that I wanted to share here:

“Every Wednesday, I wake up at 4:15am on the dot and I’m out the door by 5:15am to get to the BLI studios just before 6am. During my studio shift of 6am-9am, I pull half hour sections of the morning show from the studio inventory as the morning progresses, and I created podcasts from segments that are featured on the show. For example, last week Dana and Jeffrey talked about a news story involving a peacock that broke into someone’s house and snuck into bed with the unsuspecting homeowner. Dana and Jeffrey are always hilarious and offer up some great commentary on these little segments. My job is to string together the segment, edit out the breaks, make it sound sharp and coherent, insert opening and closing station IDs, and publish to the website. Wednesdays are also the day that we air ‘To Catch A Cheater”, a segment focused on a caller’s predicament involving a significant other that is believed to be cheating. Dana and Jeffrey essentially get the “cheater” to ‘fess up through role-playing, and the audience and caller are in on the “sting”! I’ll create the podcast for that as well, and publish it to the website for listeners to download and replay at their own leisure.

My other obligations during studio time involve creating on-air promotional pieces for the Morning Show that air throughout the day. These consist of 5 second witty one-liners from a segment that morning, plus the opening and closing sound effects and station IDs.

We also have office shifts where we participate in what is considered the behind-the-scenes work to help the station run smoothly. Tasks range from updating listener contact information databases, to calling contest winners, to keeping promotional items stocked, and other odd jobs. This isn’t your stereotypical coffee-slave internship! Because of my phone skills, my site supervisor referred me to a friend in the sales department who put my skills to the test as an interview screener. This meant that I would conduct recorded phone interviews with sales interviewees of Cox Media Group Long Island. Basically, I was just a friendly voice on the other side of the phone, feeding screening questions to the prospective employee. It was pretty awesome being an intern and getting to interview people for real positions in the company!

The final piece of the internship puzzle is the wonderful world of promotional events. Have you ever been to a benefit walk or maybe a car dealership or festival where you’ve seen a radio station tent set up? I get to work at these kinds of events for internship credit! In my first two weeks, I have: driven the station’s van in a parade, interacted with fans at a minor league baseball game, provided music and prizes at a blood drive, and attended an in-store musical performance with 5 lucky fans and their guests. BUT, the possibilities are endless, and every week, there are new experiences to be a part of. As interns, we are encouraged to choose events that we are interested in and passionate about, and believe me, I am taking advantage of these experiences.” (Editor’s note: Some other events I did this summer included the Long Island Nassau County vs. Suffolk County Police Tug of War Benefit for the Wounded Warrior Project, Long Island Summer Marathon series, Tour de Cure Bicycle Race for Diabetes, 7-11 store events, Contractor Appreciation Party, Adventureland Family Theme Park, and lots more.)

So there ya have it. My summer in a nutshell. Wish you were all there!

Here’s a picture of the front page that I made for our e-mail list sign up binder. I was so proud of my work! Gotta love those Polaroids :)

Don’t Worry, It All Works Out

… those were the final last words from one Steve Granelli as I left Lanigan Hall in a frazzled, worried mess. Would I be able to continue on the fast track to a December graduation? In the name of all that is holy in internship land, how would I be able to stretch my internship to earn me the 6 credits I oh-so-desperately needed?

To bring you up to speed, I did land an internship for the summer, and I am BEYOND thrilled about what I’m doing. I’m a Long Island girl, born and raised (though I will contend that I am a displaced country girl at heart), and when I saw a posting on LakerLeads that looked perfect for me, I had to apply.

And now, I am a proud intern at not one, but TWO of Long Island’s biggest and most popular radio stations!

Okay, Long Islanders, you’ve probably listened to either one of these two stations in your lifetime. I grew up on both of them, listening to WBLI every morning as I got ready for school, and blasting WBAB in the car with my dad. I think that’s what I’m so excited to be a part of something that has been there for me for years upon years – I can identify with both stations since I am a listener myself. Just to give you an idea, I distinctly remember listening to WBLI after 9/11, and I was only 11 years old on that fateful day. Who knows how long I was listening to WBLI/WBAB before that?!

Anyway, I just wrapped up my second full day with WBLI. I work Wednesdays from 6am-9am, then again from 11am-2pm, and sometimes later than that, depending on whether or not I have an event to work later. I also work other promotional events throughout the week, depending on what we have planned and what events I have chosen to work.

More to come on the ins and outs of my internship in upcoming posts – I don’t wanna give away all the details just yet! For now, I will leave you with a picture of my two intern t-shirts I wear when I go on events. Yeah, I was kinda excited after orientation and took a picture. Teeheehee :)

Student Observations and my Inevitable Ranting

‘Is this guy kidding or what? Let’s get the show on the road, buddy!”

I ignore the voice next to me, but it’s followed by a loud thud on the desk, and an even louder sigh…. There’s no way the professor didn’t hear that obviously jovial exclamation. I take a look at my watch… we’ve only been in this 1 hour and 20 minute class for 35 minutes. Where is this kid going that he thinks our professor is going to end our 1hr20min class after 35 minutes of teaching?

Come on, you have to know what I’m talking about. What about those kids who start packing up their things with 15 minutes of class left? I can’t help but notice the professor is clearly flustered, knowing the wave of departure anticipation that has swept over the students is too strong to compete against.

Or how about that one person who looks like they’re running on 14 Red Bulls, downed an anticipatory Caramel Coolatta on the way to class, and chooses your very own 10:20am class to have an epic sugar crush and snuggle their jacket-pillow until there’s 10 minutes left of class?

These are just some of the things annoyances I’ve noticed in my last full year of college. I think maybe they’re more glaringly obvious since I’ve grown up quite a bit from my freshman days. Believe me, there are some days where I’m shaking my leg, tapping my foot, waiting for the professor to throw up that proverbial green light that signals the start of my weekend (psh today for sure)…. but I can happily say I’m not the antsy-pants sighing uncontrollably next to me.

My Calendar Shouldn’t Say April

Tomorrow I’ll be ripping out the March page from the calendar that hangs over my desk, and I’m sure you will be too. I’m not gonna lie, I STILL have a slight memory lapse when it comes to what time of year it is. I feel like I’ve been stuck in November and that Winter Break never happened (it blends into the fall semester since I took a WinterSession course and came up to Oswego 3 weeks early). Not to mention, that infamous Oswego weather never ceases to disappoint. 4o degrees and rain sounds like November weather to me. Sigh.

Anywho, my good friend Tim reminded me in class today that I haven’t updated in a while (thanks) so here I am. There’s been a Post-It note on my wall for about 3 weeks now that says “student blogging” and I’m glad I can finally rip it down. But in its place, a million different assignments are going on up on my wall this week. Myself and fellow blogger Kayle have utilized our Village bedroom walls as visual planners: we slap up a Post-It note of something that we need to do. When it’s complete, we get the rush of ripping it off the wall like tearing off a band-aid when the wound has healed. When will this madness end? Oh right…. May something-or-other? But then if I get one of the internships I applied for this summer (fingers still crossed…) things will be mostly non-stop from the beginning of June until August, and so begins my final semester at Oswego.

Oh sorry…. must have dozed off there. End dream sequence.

Back to the weather for a hot second. I’ve come to realize that the environment in Oswego needs a bit of help in the early spring when everything begins to thaw out. Trash is strewn about like a sick and twisted Easter egg hunt, finally reaching the ground after being fossilized in snow and ice. Everything seems to be dirty, no? All the sand, salt and displaced soil from plowing over the winter have taken an aesthetic toll on the beautiful Oswego I know and love in the warmer months. Thankfully, April showers bring May flowers…. and Mother Nature washing away what seems like caked-on makeup after a wild night of partying.

So bring it on, April. I’m not scared of  your so-called “showers”… my jacket has a hood. :D

Let Me See You Network It

Ever wonder what it’s like to go behind the scenes of an Oswego State Hockey game? I wish I could speak for those who get to really see what goes down behind locker room doors, but instead let me tell you about how I wound up getting paid to watch and help others enjoy the game of hockey :D

Since I was an energetic, Oswego-crazy freshman, I’ve worked for the Athletic Department at SUNY Oswego with their men’s and women’s hockey teams. A former Laker Leader and graduate of Oswego had introduced me to the ushering program and by my 6th week into the semester, I was donning a yellow fleece, khakis, and a smile as I greeted spectators arriving for the 7pm hockey game. Since then, I’ve been hooked. I get to watch hockey, chat with spectators, network with visiting teams and help make the game run smoothly… all while getting paid.

As I finish out my third year with the Athletic Department, I do so as an usher for 2 years who is now an Event Liaison. This means I arrive at the arena 2 1/2 hours prior to game time, hang around for a bit post-game, all in the name of behind-the-scenes game management. :)

First, I’ll unlock the bathrooms and referee locker room on the home side. Then I’ll head over to the visitor’s side and maybe have a chat with Jay, one of the Zamboni/ice maintenance guys (they’re all such cool guys to chat with!) and wait for the visiting team’s bus to arrive. Once they arrive, I introduce myself to the team and their coaches, lead them to their locker rooms and hand them their key. Then I’ll head back over to our side of the arena and wait for the officials to arrive, and do the same thing.

I hang with my ushers for a little while as we await the doors opening at 6pm, and then it’s all hands on deck as we handle the huge line of people looking to get into the arena. GAME TIME! I float around the arena with my cool Britney Spears headset and check in with my ushers to make sure everyone’s on their A-game. I also run errands for Malcolm, my boss and a really cool guy to chill with. By the end of the 2nd period, I head to the Box Office for the official spectator count and pass it along to Bill Foley, the PA Announcer for men’s hockey who announces it and deems our fans to be “FANNNNNN-TASTIC!” :) As the 3rd period winds down, I head to the official’s tunnel and finish out the game there. When the refs come off the ice I let them head into their locker room and grab their key so they can take their time to leave. I wait for the scoresheets to be completed and distribute them among the officials, our coaches, and Adele Burk in the Press Box for Sports Information. Lastly, I bring the visiting team their copy of the scoresheet, collect their key, and wish them well on their trip home. And that’s all she wrote. :)

Being involved with the hockey programs has also granted me other opportunities, which came about when the Assistant Athletic Director Cora Brumley approached me about PA Announcing for Laker Softball. I passed up the opportunity my freshman year because I was unsure of how busy I would be, but I decided to do it during my sophomore year and I am so glad I did. I played softball for almost 13 years and I also am a broadcasting major so by combining the two, I feel really lucky to have this opportunity.

So anyway, moral of the story: I’ve achieved all of this by networking. By knowing the people that I knew through the things I was interested in, I was able to land two awesome jobs in my college career that have enriched and improved my time here. Believe me, it’s who you know!

The Million Dollar Question

WHAT AM I GOING TO DO WITH MYSELF AFTER I GRADUATE?!

Figuring out what happens after I get off this crazy merry-go-round is becoming much more intense than usual. I mean, I’ve mapped out the road to graduation in Post-It Notes on my bedroom wall. That takes dedication (and a boring weekend). I have everything planned down to the very last credit hour. I don’t know what will happen exactly but if everything goes as planned, I could graduate a semester early, putting me at a December 2011 graduation date. I’m thrilled that I could potentially graduate a semester ahead of most of my peers (that means an extra semester’s worth of $$$ in my pocket) but it probably won’t do me any favors in job searching unless I land my dream internship this summer.

Oh Oswego…. if only I could make wishes on snowflakes. :)

Organization… What a Concept

This semester, I’m trying out something new. I’m toting my laptop to almost all of my classes. Some students (and teachers) frown upon their use in the classroom, but I’m all for it. I take my notes on my laptop and to be honest with you, I find it to be a lot more organized and clear.

Here’s an example of what my notes look like during a typical class, like BRC 320 (Programming, Programs and Effects):

I have Microsoft Word 2008 on my MacBook, which allows me to take notes on my Mac as if I were writing in a notebook. See that blue looseleaf paper in the bottom left hand corner of the screen cap? That’s the notebook layout, which changes a Word document into a…. you guessed it, notebook. You can add flags to points that are important, like I’ve done on mine to signify important points that will be on the test. You can also doodle, which comes in handy for classes with graphs like economics. You can even do a voice recording that coincides with your points! Overall, I’m loving this new transition I’m making towards using my laptop as an organization aid for my classes. But I must advise to double-check with your professors before bringing a laptop. Some may prohibit them from their classrooms to prevent you from….

(Source: transy.edu)


Do you have any tips to stay organized and focused through the year? Post them here!

My Absence is Inexcusable!

Man, last time I posted was September? I am SO off my blogging A-game. Well, let’s get ourselves up to speed. How about we go by month? :)

SEPTEMBER:

I wound up not having enough time to devote to the up-and-coming glee club on campus, which was something I wanted to jump into with much enthusiasm. But since hockey season (which means you can find me working every men’s and women’s home contest) starts in October in addition to physical therapy, weekly blood testing, classes and study time, I suddenly found myself in over my head. Hopefully the spring semester will afford me a bit more flexibility, though I continue my job with Sports Information as a second-year PA Announcer.

OCTOBER:

Laker hockey has begun! And I’m finally getting settled into a routine, which feels nice. I try to go to physical therapy around 8:30-9:30am on MWF to get it out of the way and give me enough time to come home and do some work before having lunch with Leah and getting ready for class. By having my Fridays off from classes, I try to get my errands done for the week and I report to work most nights at 4:30 or 5:30, depending on what my job is that night. Alpha Phi Omega is also in the bulk of their pledging process, and I’ve taken on another little “brother” this semester, furthering the Spotted Leopard family :)

NOVEMBER:

On the 5th, my sister married the love of her life, and I got to be the Maid of Honor! Months and months of work finally led up to the wedding, which was more than perfect. I had a blast! I’ve also stopped physical therapy, due to a discrepancy with my health insurance and how many visits they’ll cover me for, despite repeated attempts to prove that I was in need of physical therapy services. Instead, I took matters into my own hands and spoke with my orthopedic surgeon at home, who gave me permission to do whatever physical activity feels comfortable. I bought a membership at the new Planet Fitness in Oswego, and I’ve been trying to go as often as possible. It’s so tough getting back into the shape I was in back in 2005, but I’m keeping a positive attitude. Plus, I’m sure my fellow blogger Samantha can give me some pointers!

DECEMBER:

Well, here it is: the homestretch. I’ve spent a good amount of all-nighters, downed countless bottles of 5-Hour Energy (safely, of course!), all for the heaviest workload I’ve ever had in one semester. When did I think it was a good idea to take 3 of my Writing Plan courses in one semester?! The point is, I got through those classes with A’s and B’s, so I’m proud of the work I put in. Our house also witnessed a slight change in dynamic, with one of our housemates moving out. We’re sad to see her go, but we know it’s for the best and she will still remain a close friend! My time at home was nice and the holidays went well, but I get very bored very quickly in Smithtown, as I don’t have any friends from home or high school to meet up with. I needed to get back to Oswego ASAP!

PRESENT:

I’m sitting in my empty townhouse, typing away at my desk in a pair of sweats, a T-shirt, and one of those green goopy beauty masks that you always see in chick flicks. Why not, right? I’ve been the only one in my house since January 2nd, but that ends tomorrow when Kayle and Dave come back from their trip to Mt. Tremblant (which fellow blogger Steve DiMarzo spoke about in his most recent post). You’re probably wondering why am I up here so early. Since I work for Men’s and Women’s hockey, I came up to work at a couple of games and also picked up a Winter Session course to keep building up my credits. At this rate, I could maybe graduate early!

With this extra time, I’ve taken to starting up a free 1-month trial of Netflix (hehe, that will be put to great use), singing/playing guitar to an empty house which sounds amazing since the acoustics are gorgeous, and trying a few new recipes while I’ve got the kitchen to myself.

Oh yeah, and I’m also becoming a pro at cleaning snow off a Ford Escape in under 8 minutes flat. It’s an acquired skill. :)