How did I earn my B.A?

I graduated from college in 2012 with a Bachelors degree in English. I am now close to completing a second degree in Mass Communication with an emphasis on New Media Communication. Even though I am loving my classes, I am still plagued by comma problems. I do not know how I earned a B.A. writing so inefficiently as I do.  Is it possible to write but not know how to proofread your own work? I feel like that is where I am now. I’m in a PR writing class and for example, one of my assignments, a feature story on a real life client, was returned with an awful grade and bleeding with red pen. I have tried not to beat myself up over it but it hurts. Not being able to proof effectively or watch out for comma stumbling blocks is truly embarrassing. I can only imagine how grammatically incorrect the posts here are, but it is my blog and I make the rules; however, in the real word grammar errors are not cute. Grammar errors look awful on resumes, cover letters, reports and so on.

So what is the big deal. What is my problem?

Back to School

The first week of school is finished, professors have handed out their syllabi, and all the text books have arrived. Taking fifteen hours isn’t tricky, and I am in love with all my classes. This time around I am determined to get involved. When I graduated with my BA in English two years ago, I lamented the fact I wasn’t involved as much as I probably should have or could have been. No doubt being active in organizations, etc etc looks fantastic on a resume or it should, right?! Hindsight is always 20/20 so this time around, I’m righting a wrong and looking forward to it!

Of all my classes I am enamored with, Visual Communications Applications VCOMM 2950 takes the cake. Learning about layouts, designs and using Adobe In Design, Illustrator and Photoshop I could not be more excited. Now I am very rusty on my Photoshop skills. I remember begging my father for Photoshop when I was in high school. I thought that being able to airbrush out all my acne would boost my self-confidence (not that it did, but I enjoyed manipulating my pictures).

Learning the pen tool in an exercise for class
Learning the pen tool in an exercise for class

Learning CS2 was quite an adventure, now ten years and several software updates later, I’m going to be learning my way around the Creative Suite again – YAY!

Another challenge that I face with tackling another Bachelors is trying to figure out what I truly want to do as a career. I feel pulled in so many directions, “Ooh, that sounds interesting” or “Ooo, I would be great at that” which is why I am getting involved in things on campus. This is also a test to see if I am ready to tackle a Masters in media and what type of program I might want to do. But in all honesty, I am so happy to be back in school and so deeply grateful for the support of my family that are 100% behind me furthering my education.

Can We Talk?!

Joan Rivers 1933-2014

The passing of Joan Rivers is sending waves throughout the entertainment community, the outpouring of tributes and memorials has been quite touching to both read and watch. I remember seeing Joan Rivers (with Miss Piggy) for the first time in The Muppets Take Manhattan, that film will always have a special place in my heart. There was a news piece in particular that caught my eye. David Muir, having taken up his position on ABC News’ World News Tonight, highlighted a profile piece he did with Joan Rivers a number of years ago. She said something struck quite a chord with me.. “If you don’t do what you want to do, you’re a fool.” I couldn’t sleep last night and that quote made me certainly think about what I have been doing being back in school and all. Joan is right through, if you don’t do what you want to do you are a fool. How many of us get stuck in a rut, going ’round and ’round like a hamster in a wheel, just going about our daily lives not doing what we truly want to?! As controversial as Joan Rivers was, she lived her life the way she wanted to, doing what she loved — speaking her mind and making people laugh! We should all do what we want to, however long it takes us to reach our goals. I find that Joan’s quote will follow me and be a constant reminder for me not to lose sight for my main goal and exactly I want to do with my life! Thank You, Joan for making people laugh and being unmistakably yourself! Read a delightful piece from Mashable has a great tribute piece about her here.

Blogging

I’ve been rather slow in my blogging even after I vowed that I would post something every Friday. Now, I have a good reason to start blogging as I planned! Blogging is part of my class work for a course I’m taking this semester, killing two birds with one stone!

I enjoy reading articles on Mashable and since I am taking a class regarding “New Media” I have a new found interest in all the tech magazines that I follow on twitter and Flipboard (I love reading articles on Flipboard!) There is one article that I have found to be very enlightening and thought provoking, you can read it here.  Mashable Business Reporter, Seth Fiegerman, writes about something that most of us are aware of but mostly likely ignore: mobile addiction. Even in my Survey of Media Class, I find that I cannot help but take out my phone and see what’s current on twitter or what updates have posted to my Flipboard (obsessed, much?!)  But I think it’s striking what is said in this article. For example, Fiegerman writes:

I topped the 100-minute mark without fail and once neared the three-hour mark. It sounded like an awful lot of time to spend staring at a four-inch screen, but what was there to compare it to? There is no standard metric for how much mobile time is too much. There is no standard metric for how much mobile time is too much.

He even opens his article with something that I think we all can admit we do — upon waking up in the morning, we check our cell phones for updates. I do it all the time.

Am I interested in tracking how much time I spend on my phone?! Not so much. I looked up Moment in the App Store, it has ONE star and the reviews themselves are quite entertaining to read. I guess the only real way to curb how much time you spend on your phone is discipline and sheer will power. In relation to my new media class, I think the article speaks volumes on how media convergence is moving us toward staring at our iPhones, iPads or Androids more and more.

Feeling overwhelmed

School started on Monday morning and now, even less than a week in, I’m feeling overwhelmed. Sure I have been away from the collegiate setting for almost two years; however, I didn’t expect my senses to be overloaded with thirteen page syllabi and people who would rather you not take notes on a computer, even if you’re in a communication class. The preference of the note taking does not bother me all that much. I guess when a person in authority (especially over a grade) rubs you the wrong way you just find everything to complain about. To be honest I really shouldn’t start my first semester back with such ill feelings. Truth be told I am very happy to be back at school. I love learning and hope to gain new perspectives and new information that I can use later in the real world. Since I completed my BA in English two years ago, I decided to tackle a BS in Mass Communication specifically with an emphasis in Video/Film Production. I should project change the title of my blog from “Musings of an English Major” to something more appropriate, right?! 

Of the twelve hours under my belt the only one I’m seriously freaked out over is Video Production. What does one do when you’re a complete novice behind the camera, and being asked to film a 3-5 minute documentary that *MUST* be polished and presentable in time for final grades at the end of the semester.  Now I am not a complete fool, I have seen video cameras and I have played around with my grandfather’s old SONY Camcorder. You know, the ones that were huge and recorded on Hi8 (8mm) video tape? Well this course is much more than that. Monday afternoon, I was introduced to of all things a shotgun mic, lavalier or “lav” mic, and a SONY HDR-FX1E HDV Handycam Camcorder (I think that’s what it was anyway). My brain feels like mush, but this is what I want to do – I want to produce film and video. Even as I child when I saw fantastic presentations on PBS, I wanted to be a part of the action never knowing what was involved. Now, ready or not, I’m getting my first taste of what goes into “production” even if at the beginner level. … not sure how I feel about all of this? It’s been a dream of mine since I was a really, really small. But are even the biggest dreams too big?! I don’t know, but I will give it my best “shot” no pun intended. 

 

Going back…to school!

On August 25, 2014 I will be going back to school! I am so thrilled, seriously I cannot contain my excitement. After two years of dreaming, scheming, and putting things off, I have finally decided to go after another bachelor’s degree – this time a B.S. in Mass Communication with an emphasis in Electronic Media Production. The Mass Comm department at Middle Tennessee State is a very active one, and the Electronic Media Communication classes always fill up very fast. I had originally intended to double major in English and either Journalism or EMC back in 2012; however, time and money were tight and I could not exactly do what I wanted. True, I do have two degrees – an Honors Associates and a Bachelors, but neither of them have assisted me in finding a foothold into a promising job. So it’s back to school, back to buying school supplies, back to buying college textbooks, and back to the structure of higher education. I have always wanted to use my knowledge and love of English/Cultural Studies and my love of media in some form, thus my returning to school. Ultimately I want to intern at PBS and produce shows and the like for public television. I have so many ideas and dreams that I want to make reality. I think my grandmother had the best advice when I discussed school with her:

“Now, keep a GOOD attitude as you venture forth into this new area of study. Bear in mind that each and everyone you meet along the way in life is a potential link to bigger and better things. Taken as individuals, they may not impress you much; but taken as a whole, they may well be the spark that gives you what you need to give your life purpose. Always come across to even the lowliest of people as a nice person with a good attitude ready to help in whatever situation you are in. It may pay great dividends that you least expect. Make the most of your education.” Great words of wisdom.

Also, I have committed myself to blogging on a regular basis. I was reading a very interesting article on Facebook via mindbodygreen.com about “How to Become a Successful Blogger” and there were several points that I found very valid, especially one that stated “Commit to a Schedule and Make it Public” which is brilliant. I’ve always said to myself, “I will blog more and regularly, too.” However, I always fail at committing to doing it — pure laziness, I will admit. This time though I have decided to make blog entries every FRIDAY! From August 15th 2014 until the end of the current semester I have committed to blogging every week! Thankfully, I have a great Calendar app on my Mac and iPhone called Sunrise, it keeps me up to date and on my toes; I even put my school schedule in it so I know when I’m supposed to be on campus. I remember signing up with WordPress six years ago with the intent to become a serious blogger, grammar mistakes and all. It is high time I actually do something about that, right?!

More later…

 

 

Stress and Food

I got on the scale this morning and was stunned by the number that I saw. 214.2 – two hundred and fourteen pounds. I’ve not been this heavy since I was probably in my early twenties.

Admittedly, the last few weeks and months have been stressful. Sadly, not sleeping well, and having little or no energy, has made exercising almost impossible. It dawned on me what I was doing only after, after, I had a loaded baked potato at 1:00 this morning. Stress has taken my life hostage, and the trouble with finding a full-time job has made matters worse.

I eat when I’m bored, I eat when I can’t sleep. I constantly crave sweets or a combination of salty and sweet. My go-to snack has been those trail mix bars with the chocolate in them. I feel so guilty. I’m frustrated and angry, I vowed I would never return to the 200s.

It’s been said the first step in any recovery is admitting you have a problem. “Hello, my name is Chris – I am a stress eater.” I suppose that is nearly the same as being an overeater, which, I guess, would make me a perfect candidate for Overeaters Anonymous.

Ironically, my boyfriend and I poke fun at each other about our individual weight issues. We will squeal like pigs and make ‘oink’ sounds whenever we eat something unhealthy. The joke is on us. Here lately I find all of it, the jokes and other garbage, stupid and particularly hurtful. I guess it’s only fitting since the scale confirmed my worst fear – weight gain.

I can’t stand the way I feel anymore, sluggish, lethargic, sad, depressed, stressed, worried.

I need help…

Nervous, happy, scared, excited

I’ve never been one to think outside the box. Unfortunately, I don’t believe I think things through thoroughly enough sometimes. Yet, at this juncture in my life, I’m finding myself at a weird point:  I’ve gone through school, years of school; however, I don’t exactly know what to do. I know I’ve written about the uncertainties of my life before, this time though things are starting to become more and more murky. It’s like I’m wading into a deep, dark pond. What lurks within the hidden depths?

I’ve applied to be a local writer for Examiner. I remember attempting to start at Examiner years ago but I gave it up as a bad job. This time around, I look at it as an opportunity to spread my wings. It may not be a newspaper, or a trendy magazine, but it is a start…somewhere. Thankfully, I have some articles I published in 2010 and 2011 as proof that I’ve actually had writing posted other than here and on my wordpress.

Things look bleak for college grads, people in their 20s, and those unemployed..

My generation is unfortunately one that got royally screwed on two fronts: jobs and student loans. Granted, I know so many others (who have degrees and more work history than I do) have been out of work longer, young people my age are facing the uphill battle of trying to find a job in a very weak economy. Sure, employers are adding jobs left and right; however, the numbers aren’t enough to truly budge the unemployment rate which is sitting at 7% nationally.

Student loans are another nightmare turned reality. With the government refusing to act on easing loan interest rates, college grads and people thinking of going back to college (like myself) are facing high interest rates on loans. Too many young people exiting college have to stare at huge bills of $10k or more – that number is more like $100k if you’re a medical student.

However, I digress…back to the matter at hand – my future.

My grandfather, who is an MD/PhD, advised me that if I truly want to go back to school (which I do) I totally need to stop wasting my time and study hard for the GRE. Admittedly, I’ve been out of school for some six months and I’m afraid of losing the information I’ve obtained. Like the old adage goes, “if you don’t use it, you lose it.” He also admitted to me, rather candidly, that he didn’t foresee me being able to go all the way to a Ph.D. I can understand his reasoning. I have severe problems in two core academic subjects. I’m terribly weak in math and science. Both subjects are, of course, on the GRE which I have to pass in order to even think about a Masters program (let alone a PhD). To be honest, Math is my kryptonite. However, I’m not going to let that stop me. What I truly need to do is focus on what I want to do with my life. My grandfather also suggested that I write out what I want to do, “make a list” he said. “Write things out in several columns with the pros and cons,” he added in earnest. What jobs do I really want to do, what jobs do I not want to do.

I’ve come up with a short list (ranked from first to last):

  • Producer/Program Developer/Archiver for PBS
  • Writer and Theatre Reviewer for NYT and Variety Magazine
  • Producer and Show Host on BBC Radio (like Elaine Paige)
  • College professor (of English)
  • Professional Technical Consultant
  • Freelance writer
  • Academic counselor (I’d be very good at that – I’ve made MANY mistakes along the way)
  • Document creation (powerpoint, etc etc)

I can very easily see myself doing one, or even all of these jobs. I love the arts and am a great advocate for arts education and the proliferation of culture. Even a former professor of mine told me, “you’d be great in the arts as well, you have such a passion for it.” Does passion equate job success and satisfaction? For some, I’m sure it does.

People have accused me of lacking drive and ambition. To them I say the proof is in the obtaining of my education, which I fought very hard to achieve. I made two goals for myself: graduate from both a community college and a four year university. I made both of those and then some. Now I have to make new, more challenging, goals for myself. I have three principal goals: get a full time job that utilizes the skills I have and builds on them, obtain a Masters Degree, and finally, find a career doing one of the above listed. What’s the point of having a career if you’re not doing something you love?

I truly want to thank my grandfather for his frank appraisal of my prospects. I’ve always been something of a stubborn ass – when someone tells me I can’t do something, I do it anyway. Who says I can’t achieve my dreams? No one. I’m sure there are those who never dreamed I’d have even two degrees, let alone one.

I feel, to quote Fanny Brice in Funny Girl, “Nervous, happy, scared, excited.” Whatever emotions are running around in my brain, one thing is certain: I’m ready to prove people wrong again. I CAN achieve my dreams and goals.

And I will.