As you may remember, last October I spent multiple days trapped on my island (Long Island, that is) due to Hurricane Sandy. I was trapped until I managed to escape just in time for NASA Social. This was not my first experience with natural disaster. In fact, as a child I lived in cities where natural disasters were frequent. I hid in the hallway of our family ranch home in Miami during Hurricane Andrew. I was even in the Bay Area (in the womb) for the Loma Prieta Earthquake (otherwise known as the World Series Earthquake).
I once took a class called Natural Hazards & Disasters, where we spent our time learning that we would never really be safe. Earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, tornadoes, landslides… these can happen at any time. Some can be predicted; some cannot. If Yellowstone goes up (and it will at some point in the next 60,000 years) no amount of preparing will save us. Even if you’re out of the immediate danger zone (Montana, Idaho, and Wyoming would likely be completely inhabitable), there’s still the danger of ash flowing throughout the country. We’re talking major climate change and millions of people dying.
I’m not saying panic. Seriously. There’s only a 0.00014% yearly chance it will happen.
I recently stumbled upon a widget that displays earthquakes and volcanic activity worldwide. There’s some serious volcanic activity going on, and I doubt you’ll read about it in the paper. It’s not really “news” unless there is catastrophic destruction and death.
What fascinates me most is not the actual volcanoes, but the data collection. Scientists have located these volcanos and are constantly monitoring the activity. Not only that, but they’re readily sharing some of that data with the public. At any time, you can take a look at the widget and see what your local volcano is up to.
Volcanologists are expected to make predictions with this data. These predictions can lead to life or death for people living within an eruption zone. Some major cities in Italy (ahem, Pompeii anyone?) are formed in the fertile valleys nearby volcanos. If activity is detected, there’s a very short window in which evacuation can be recommended and achieved.
But are there any less serious spaces for this data to be used? How can it be harnessed?
How about something that linked up with a real estate map? For example: Walk Score maps neighborhoods based on how safe they are to walk around and what the neighborhood offers. I’d like to see my Natural Disaster score: how likely is it that my city will be hit by a natural disaster and how much damage will it cause.
Yes, some disasters are unpredictable. Every city has tradeoffs. There may not be hurricanes in the Midwest, but there are tornadoes. Tornadoes may be rare in Oregon, but there is the possibility of coastal tsunamis. You can’t escape it. But isn’t it good to be informed?
I’ve been very fortunate to spend a lot of time visiting different places. To say I have wanderlust would be a mild understatement. Almost every day I’m checking flight prices, trying to figure out what new and exotic location I will go next. All of my spare change goes to adventures (on the upcoming shortlist is Turkey and Russia). I’ll stay in hostels, eat cheap food, travel with my handy-dandy Osprey Porter backpack full of only the clothes I need to get by.
Last December, I decided it was time for another adventure. Yes, I had just been to Poland over Thanksgiving. But one can never start planning too soon for the next trip. Read the rest of this entry »
I recently read an article on Inc titled “11 Reasons a 23-Year-Old Shouldn’t Run Your Social Media.” Let me start off by saying that yes, I did read the generalization pardon. Yes, people shouldn’t be hired just because they are “really good at Facebook” (that’s how my parents describe what I do, because they’re not social media saavy). No one should ever be hired “just because.”
Yes, that’s two #msupw folks – Mike McLeod, faculty, and Alexandra White, alum – with a space shuttle. This happened because we were both selected to attend the NASA Social Atlantis – Celebrate the Journey event to see the Space Shuttle Atlantis be permanently retired from service and share that experience on social media. We attended this event first as unabashed space nerds, but we managed our nerdery well enough to strategize our writing to document the experience for ourselves and for our audiences. Here we’ll reflect on the rhetoric of the event, our social writing strategies, and shamelessly geek out over space. Read the rest of this entry »
First off, my apologies for the lack of photographs. WordPress on the iPad is not so conducive to multimedia posts. I will populate the blog with images as soon as I have a chance back in the States. In the meantime, you can catch some live-action tweets and photos on my Twitter feed. I’ll try to keep updating as much as possible.
It’s been quite a real first day in Krakow. We started off bright and early with breakfast at the Hilton Garden Inn. There was a large spread of cheeses, meats, eggs, yogurt, and pastries. It felt very Polish but with a hint of the American attitude towards food. Neither my brother or I could complain. It was good we had a big breakfast, with several hours of walking ahead of us. Read the rest of this entry »
Two and a half months after finding out that I had won the Life’s Ultimate To-Do List contest with Hilton Garden Inn, I finally made it to Krakow. I get to spend Thanksgiving 2012 with my brother in the country that could have been our home, had World War II never happened. I feel pretty lucky to have this opportunity and to share it with him.
On Wednesday, I met my brother at JFK (he flew in from Detroit) to take our overnight flight to Frankfurt. We were the first passengers to board, going first class. Once you fly internationally on a first class flight, you will never want to fly economy. This is my third trip abroad, first being Israel in January 2011 and second being my Europe trip in December 2011/January 2012. Flights in both directions were long and without sleep due to little room to move and people sitting in front of me who decided to lean their seats all the way back. In first class, this problem does not exist. The person in front of you does not affect your journey in the least, and your seat can flatten almost entirely with 60 inches of extra room in front. It’s still not easy to sleep with jet engines loudly spinning outside, but it’s significantly more comfortable.
7 and a half hours of Delta bliss. We enjoyed four course meals and wine for dinner. It truly felt like we were flying in the 1950s instead of 2012 (minus the ability to smoke, thank goodness). Philip and I both sat at window seats, watching the sun rise over the United Kingdom and Brussels. It was truly a wonderful journey.
We had a six hour layover in Frankfurt before our flight to Krakow. I made plans for us to go for lunch in the city, and take a bit of a walking tour. If only we had time to really see the sites, but what can one really do in a three hour time period.
I will say, carrying a forty pound backpack on a walking tour probably wasn’t the best idea. In the end, it was worth it. Frankfurt is a beautiful city, and we stumbled upon a large market where we ate lunch. My stop in Berlin last year most definitely helped my navigation skills as well as understanding of menu items.
Lack of sleep and heavy bags caused us to head back to the airport a bit earlier than planned. Our flight to Krakow was significantly smaller and far less luxiurious. A taxi driver picked us up (our interaction limited by his lack of English skills and our lack of Polish) and took us to the Hilton Garden Inn.
The front desk staff was so welcoming. There was a letter from the front office manager, who I had corresponded with via email, welcoming us to Krakow. They gave us a junior suite, at the corner of the hotel with a “view.” The view is mostly of the highway, but in the distance (beneath the fog), you can almost see Wawel Castle. Almost.
All we could think about was the warm beds awaiting us. 24 hours of travel really does a number on you.
It was another bright and early day for NASA Social, with our arrival at the rocket gardens at 9AM. The theme of the day was saying goodbye, having the last few moments to explore Kennedy Space Center and then spend some serious time with the shuttle. This time, however, we were joined by several thousand more people.
I could droll on and on about the logistics, but really it was a day spent with the shuttle. One great moment before we got to Exploration Park (where we could see the shuttle being moved) was a special appearance by NASA Administrator Charlie Bolden. He came aboard the NASA Social bus to say “Hello!” and answer a few questions. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s hard to come back at the end of the day and remember all of the awesomeness that was NASA Social. Even harder will be breaking it down to a blog post that not only makes sense, but has some value to you, the reader.
Warning: This WILL be full of geeking out and general nerdery.
At the start of the day, we introduced ourselves via Twitter handles, names, and an interesting fact. As last in the circle, my two stories had been told (the journey to Atlantis and the last shuttle launch). I declared that I am probably one of the luckiest people, and that I was so happy to be a part of a group of people as geeked about space, shuttles, and social media as I am. We quickly moved in towards the rocket garden for a group photo before we saw Kennedy Space Center, learned about NASA’s old and new programs, and had general nerd out sessions.
I was going to write a blog post about the epic adventure that was yesterday’s Journey to Atlantis. But I decided, why not use the bits of data and writing that have already been created through social media.
To say this weekend has been a doozy would definitely be an understatement. With Hurricane Sandy, I held little hope of being able to get out of NYC and to Orlando for my first NASA Social. My flight out of Laguardia was officially cancelled yesterday by 4:30PM, when they decided not to reopen it due to massive flooding. JetBlue eased the pain by writing a blog about the situation and sharing a few photos.
That looks like a place that no airplane wants to be. That being said, what’s a girl to do? No flights out of LGA, limited (and completely booked) flights out of JFK, and no busses out of the city to get to other airports in Philadelphia, Hartford, Boston, or Baltimore. Read the rest of this entry »
Last New Years Eve, I met a wonderful girl named Alexia Attwood. We were both staying in the same hostel in London, without friends, and decided we would venture out together. She told me she was a journalism student in Australia, on a pit stop before headed to the Carribean for an internship. I told her I was a recent graduate from Michigan State, on my last hurrah before moving to the Big Apple. We had a wonderful night, watching fireworks over the London Eye while standing on the Millenium Bridge.
My first reaction thought was, “Wait. I’m pretty sure real people do not win these competitions. Companies just want to gain information to market to you.” My next thought was, “Oh my god, I’m going to Poland. I’M GOING TO POLAND.” I may have started crying and spinning around in my chair at work from excitement. This was two months ago. Read the rest of this entry »
Early in August, I saw a retweet from Erie (head of Tech LadyMafia) of CNN Money Producer Erica Fink. Erica was looking for people who had used Airbnb to interview in the NYC area. I happened to have used Airbnb in June 2012 with my friend, Melissa, to stay in a lovely coast-side apartment in Connecticut. I decided to tweet her back.
This led to emailing back and forth and setting up a time to be filmed in my apartment. Her assistant producer, Spencer, ended up coming in to film after Erica was called away to film a Facebook story (how cool is that?).
After about 30 minutes of filming, including an interview and a lot of b-roll, I only ended up in the final cut for about 5 minutes. However, the overwhelming awesomeness of being on CNN’s website more than makes up for time usage.
It is a shame that they use a flash video player. Come on CNN, HTML5 video. It’s the way of the future.
On Saturday, I participated in my second hackathon: Hack’n Jill. Hack’n Jill was created due to a gender imbalance often present at hackathons, inviting 50 men and 50 women developers and designers to join together and develop apps with the theme of Hack Your Summer.
My team was fortunate enough to have three developers and three designers. We designed Why Don’t We, a fully functioning iPhone app designed to highlight events nearby to cure summer boredom. Every member of the team was essential to creating and promoting a fully functioning product. It was an absolute pleasure to meet them and hopefully we will be able to collaborate in the future. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s Social Media Week in New York City, and I am quite excited to celebrate it with a ton of great events. Due to work, I haven’t been able to attend most of the daytime events. However, I have been able to go to a few of the evening events. A recap so far:
I entered to win VIP tickets to COMMON Pitch NYC in Brooklyn, with the notion of “who actually wins these things!?” Well this time, I won. Myself and 15 others were transported on a party bus from the Big Fuel Headquarters (at 23rd and 6th) to the Brooklyn Bowl on Wednesday evening. That’s not to say the ride was our entire prize. Oh no. It was so much more.
The trip began with a stop in Big Fuel, where several blogging and media stations were set up, an abundance of Heineken, popcorn, and Popchips were available, and some of the greatest people were working. I met Amelia of The Next Web and waited for the other winners to arrive. I was introduced two several of the sponsors, CEOs of various companies, and other fantastic individuals. Ming and Pino, the two Nokia sponsors, were introduced and on the bus ride as well. I met Ben Scheim, Director of Social Media Week and VP at Crowdcentric, who was our personal escort. Read the rest of this entry »
In just 15 minutes, I’ll be hopping in the car to head to the airport for the adventure of a lifetime. I’m heading to Europe for 25 days, traveling by myself through Paris, London, Vienna, Prague, and Berlin.
I’ve dreamed of this trip since I was a child. I may be the most excited just to walk along the Seine and sit at a cafe with a cup of coffee. I hope to find a little more about myself and what I can handle. It’s time to push the limits and try new things.
Follow along my European adventure on my travel blog. I’ll be sure to post photos of the cities and the stories of people I meet.
I’ve finally uploaded all of my photos. Phew! You can check them out on Google+ or on Facebook (Paris, London & Oxford, Vienna & Prague). Sadly, my camera died early in Prague and I didn’t have the chance to capture many photos there or any in Berlin. Alas, the memories will have to do it justice along with the blog.
This is a difficult question to answer. There are so many facets to explore, all coming back to the choices made by the author for their audience.
This piece was created with non-expert, digital natives in mind. I used a program called Spicy Nodes, which allows me to create granular pieces that are all a part of digital rhetoric. Take yourself on a self-guided journey through the ideas of digital rhetoric. Navigate to any node to learn more about a specific part of my definition. Each node will lead you to smaller sub-sections, all adding to an overall understanding. Read the rest of this entry »
According to Michael Lazerow, founder & CEO of Buddy Media, those of us involved in social media are all manufacturers of verbs.
Remember back in the early days of Facebook, before brands were involved or even those outside of school, all status updates involved the verb “to be.” A status update was formatted as “Alexandra is…” and it was up to us to fill in the blank. Now, status updates (soon to be known as Timeline updates) are in first person using whatever action you feel like. It’s not always a statement of feeling or action; it can be announcements, pontifications, or other utterances. Our updates have evolved. Read the rest of this entry »
Yesterday, I started my series about “owning” creative works. Today will be a much shorter complimentary entry that will help explain your rights when it comes to copyright as well as some basic best practices.
Rights & Responsibilities
In the US we’re given certain affordances. For example, when we create works of art expressly for ourselves, on our own time… we own the copyright. This is essential in the digital age, when many artists are posting their material online without going to register their copyright at the U.S. Copyright office. If we want to use others’ copyrighted materials, we are responsible for asking the artist for permission. The only way to navigate against asking for permission is when a work is used under the guidelines of Fair Use.
Ok, so what is fair use?
Ah yes, the age old question. Fair use is the use of copyrighted materialwithout express permission from the copyright owner for a limited/”transformative” purpose. Standford University breaks down fair use of copyrighted materials into two categories: 1) Commentary/Criticism or 2) parody. Why are these two items allowed? Read the rest of this entry »
Let me start off by saying: intellectual property is indeed something that needs to be protected. I understand and am thankful as an artist for Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the US Constitution. Without such a law, there would be several consequences, including the difficulty of being able to profit from your own work and an inability to claim something definitively as “yours” for future use. Furthermore, it would eliminate a sense of ownership and pride in creation, while creating a possible fear of sharing work. I am thankful that I can call my work my own and benefit from it.
Although there are a variety of types of intellectual property, this series will focus strictly on copyright. Copyright protects tangible works of individuals/groups/companies such as books, music, video games, software, and movies. The copyright allows the author(s) to distribute and profit from their work. Read the rest of this entry »
It’s booked. I’m officially going to Europe (for 25 days) as a graduation present to myself.
Ever since I was little, I’ve dreamed of walking along the Seine, standing in the middle of The Globe, and being fully enveloped into European culture. Granted, I’ve never been to Europe. My vision is a compilation of movies, tv shows, photos, and books. However, I’ve always known that it would somehow make me a happier person. In addition, I’m a complete history geek. Nothing sounds better than being in places where people have traveled for hundreds of years.
Question: How are you financing your trip abroad?
I’ve been working an hourly, non-babysitting position since I was 15 years old. I’ve been relatively responsible with that moneyin order to help pay off my soon-to-come college debt. I made it my goal to graduate with a certain dollar value in the bank to be my cushion if I am without a job for any period of time. With my internship this past summer, I’ve been able to exceed that amount, by almost 150%. In addition, it will be my last time when I’m really not tied down to anything. I’ve decided to take this opportunity to do what I’ve always dreamed of doing. Read the rest of this entry »
It would be impossible and quite frankly irresponsible of me not to talk about the death of Apple’s co-founder (and until recently, CEO), Steve Jobs. I found out about this at exactly 7:40PM tonight, Wednesday, October 5, 2011 via TIME Magazine’s twitter.
This blog entry will be divided into two parts: the devastating information received and the way it was received.
The Death of Steve Jobs
The History: Steve Jobs has had a long battle with his health. In 2004, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Although this tumor was subsequently removed, he continued to become thin and frail, even without a reccurence of the cancer. In April 2009, he had a liver transplant, causing him to take a medical leave of absence. He returned in the end of 2009, but he left again on medical leave in January of 2011. He maintained his position as CEO with Tim Cook running day-to-day operations. His final resignation came on August 24, 2011, as he could “no longer meet [his] duties and expectations as Apple’s CEO”. Read the rest of this entry »
I’ve been building this portfolio since January 2011, but I’ve been thinking about it for a very long time. As soon as I entered professional writing, I was told of the requirements. We all must graduate with a web site that will say who we are and make us marketable for jobs. I knew I wanted to build something on my own, not to use someone else’s template. I know that this was limiting at first, having little experience with HTML prior to sophomore year of college. Through web authoring courses and my own personal time dedication, I’ve really come to make this my own.
In the end, it wasn’t saying what I needed it to say. As “cool” as I thought it was to have a splash page, there was no sense of my interests or what I do. I had to take it off the main site.
I couldn’t bare to remove it completely, after all of the work I had put into it. Feel free to check it out here in the most recently updated format.
In just 67 days, I’ll be walking across the stage at the Breslin Center and receive my diploma from Michigan State University. Woah. The end is near, and I can’t believe it. With that, I want to make sure I take advantage of everything I can prior to leaving East Lansing. I may return as an alumni, but it will never be the same as when I was actively participating in classes and student life. I’ve decided to make a bucket list in order to achieve my goals before graduation.
Paint the rock
Visit the 4H Garden and dance on the chimes
Walk through the Botanical Gardens
Visit Holden’s Cafeteria (completing my tour of the dining halls)
See a show at the Williamston Theater
Revisit my freshman dorm
Go to all of the events offered by UAB
Try an obscure dairy store flavor
Get something from the student organic farm
See a(nother) concert/play at the Wharton Center
… and more
Do you have more ideas for me? Tweet me with items to add to my bucket list.
For the past two weeks, my website has had a severe design malfunction. The navigation on the front page was awkwardly off center. I spent days trying to fix it, adjusting the names of the divs and re-styling them in order to try and make it cooperate. I knew it would be something simple that I just couldn’t see to fix. Upon one more look this afternoon, I figured out it was because I was missing a letter. The width was set as “width=1000x” and upon first glace, you may not see anything wrong. It should say: “width=1000px”
That silly mistake caused a lot of mental strain, if only because of my frustration in not being able to fix it.
Lesson learned: always, always, always double check even the littlest details. A missing semi-colon or letter can completely alter the work that you’ve put into your creation. Now, I won’t feel embarrassed sending my portfolio off to potential employers across the world. Furthermore, I can continue to focus on cultivating my portfolio pieces and worry less about the site design. The stress level may be high, but at least that piece is fixed.
I’ve been in a bit of radio silence since Residence Life training started and with the start of my (final) semester. I have just 93 days until graduation, and I can hardly believe it. I still have a lot of things I need to accomplish before graduation, including passing my classes (and staying on the track of graduating with honors), applying to jobs, going to the Botanical Gardens, and hitting all of the essential East Lansing places.
Life is hectic and crazy with seven jobs. Yes, that’s right. Seven. Technically seven are “jobs” and two are e-board positions, but it all adds up. Basically, I’m ridiculously busy. Here’s a screenshot of a week from Google Calender for some perspective.
When you live on campus, you have a variety of services that offered to you for help and fun. Many of these services are free! (Or, as my father would say, “included in tuition”)
Feeling sick? Olin Health Center is located on the most northern part of campus, right on East Circle Drive. You can take the 33, 31, or the 1 bus in order to get there. In addition, if you’re extremely ill, they do have courtesy shuttles that take students back and forth. You get 6 free visits a year, and they have a pharmacy right inside to take care of any prescriptions. Honestly, it gets a bad rep. People tell you to steer clear. The one experience I’ve had, I had been losing feeling in my left hand. Turns out I had carpal tunnel syndrome. From setting up my appointment through the pharmacy, it was a highly professional environment. In addition, Olin has a satellite in Hubbard Hall and the Brody Complex.
Feeling blue? The Counseling Center is another fantastic resource. With 8 free visits a semester (and a small fee for extended counseling) and a versatile staff, there is a counselor for anyone. They do take walk-ins, and you can also schedule appointments in advance. This is a resource that I’ve taken advantage of as well. At the end of my sophomore year, I was feeling anxious. It felt difficult to reach out to friends, and I started having panic attacks. Read the rest of this entry »
For the past few weeks, I had been going through a life crisis revolving around graduation:
When should I graduate? How will I get a job? What if I DON’T get a job? Can I afford to move back home (mentally)? Can I afford to stay in East Lansing (financially)? I’ve never been to Europe, and it seems like I’ll never have the time again, would it be irresponsible just to go? I’ve been crazy this summer working a billion jobs, can I keep that going?
All of those questions and more had been swirling in my mind for weeks, when I decided: I need to see my adviser(s).
I’m lucky. In my department, I not only have a top notch adviser, Danielle DeVoss (who, anyone will tell you, they leave their office with “stars in [their] eyes”), but I also consider her my friend. Furthermore, I also have a great relationship with the head of PW, Laura Julier. I know that if I need life advice, they’re both more than willing to help.
The total of three hours I spent in their respective offices last week (2 and a half of which, were after 5PM) were the most enlightening and helpful hours I’ve had. I had my feelings justified and left with to-do lists of how I was going to accomplish all of my goals. Although I had spoken of my life-fears to friends, they could only do so much to help me.
Finding a good adviser is not only essential to your college career, but can completely change the decisions you make. When I was a theater major, I never quite developed a rapport with my advisers. Perhaps it was because my focus changed from acting to theater, and then I decided to get a BA not a BFA, which puts you at an adviser disadvantage. Because of all of that, I was off-track and un-happy. Read the rest of this entry »
In October of 2010, I was charged to write a paper about my literacy for Writing Center Theory. I thought back to the first books I could remember reading, and my memories distinctly went to the book, “Who Needs Third Grade” by Candice Ransom. My first copy was falling apart from the amount of times I read it, bringing it to the dinner table and to the playground. I was completely set on becoming just like the main character’s archnemesis, Delight.
I know what you’re thinking. Archnemesis? What little girl wants that? I don’t want to ruin the surprise, but they end up best friends in the end.
I did a little internet investigating to see if I could find a way to contact her. I was pleasantly surprised to see she had a pretty active (and relatively well designed) website, including an email address to send fan letters. How could I resist?
I didn’t know if she would ever get it, or even if she did, if she’d ever respond. Imagine my surprise when I checked my email the next day, and a reply with my subject line was sitting in my inbox. Read the rest of this entry »
So far, you’ve gotten to read about shopping, music, free entertainment, and more. What’s left? I a series of 9 blog posts, there is no possible way I could cover all Lansing has to offer. However, before I move on to another series of posts (including a countdown to move in), I figured I’d wrap it up with some final words of wisdom.
If you have a car (or a friend with a car) take a trip down the road to Uncle John’s Cider Mill. There are a variety of activities for all ages, including hay rides in the fall, a corn maze, delicious apple cider and donuts, and even a winery. It’s a great place to buy local produce and sweet treats, as well as spend a fall afternoon just exploring.
Stop by the Michigan Historical Museum for a lesson about the development of Michigan, from prehistoric times to the 21st century. It’s located right in downtown Lansing, on Kalamazoo St.
The Grand Fish offers a variety of boat rentals, offering residents the chance to Kayak down the famous Red Cedar. They also provide music in Old Town Lansing, with local artists without amplifiers.
Speaking of which, Old Town is possibly the most exciting and eclectic area in all of Lansing. It’s home to Golden Harvest (remember? Make breakfast plans), art galleries, dining, several festivals, and so much more. There are historical walking tours offered to take advantage of. In a couple of weeks, the Renegade Theatre Festival will be taking place, with free theater with a variety of performances. Learn about the rich history of Lansing, and take in the beautiful architecture.
Lansing is also home to several non-profits. Get involved, make a difference, and have a ton of fun. In March, there is an event called Lansing Give Camp where over 100 volunteers come together to help bring 10-15 non-profits to the digital age. I attended last year and helped re-vamp the Mid-Michigan Environmental Action Council website, along with their social media. It was the most fun weekend I had in the Spring, making a difference by doing something I loved. No matter what your passion is, there is a way to fulfill it in outreach in the community.
I was scared of Lansing when I moved here in 2008. Now, I’ll leave knowing only part of the wonderful opportunities offered. Venture out into the community and make the most of your experience at MSU. Take advantage of all of the opportunities you’re offered here. Trust me, you’ll regret it if you don’t.
Feel free to tweet me at@DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
Today, I read an article on GOOD about a company who is giving back with the help of the interwebs. This project is called the Build a Beard Workshop.
What do bearded pictures have to do with charity? If you select one of their many options, add it to your face (via a photo editor, or a printed version) and submit it, then they will donate $1 to Kiva, a non-profit designed to help people in developing countries with micro-loans. There are even beards of well-known celebrities to choose from (Bob Ross, anyone?).
It’s really that easy. So what are you waiting for? Beard up!
My past seven entries have mostly featured things to do for some form of a fee. However, we can’t always afford to go out and do things that cost even a bus ride. Sometimes it’s nice to know that you won’t spend a penny to have fun.
Campus Center Cinemas feature movies every weekend, Thursday through Sunday. They generally run 3 or 4 films, all of which were released in the last 6 months (you can expect HPDH pt 2 in late November). All you need is a student ID for access, and it’s free for students who live on campus. Other students can come as well for the ticket price of $2. They also provide free popcorn at their main center in Wells Hall (which wasn’t open last year, but should be available this year). It’s a great way to catch up on those movies you meant to see on a big screen. Posters are put up at the beginning of each week that list all of the movie times, as well as other events going on that week.
Or, if you fancy a movie without leaving your room, rent one from the RHA movie offices. There is one in each neighborhood and they have everything from the Lord of the Rings trilogy to Amelie to The Sound of Music. All you need is your student ID.
The Botanical Gardens are located behind the library, and are a beautiful place to take a walk. Explore various fauna and flora, some of which is endangered. You can visit it right behind the library (take a study break!)
Get active. You can play volleyball at a sand court located by almost every dorm. Play ultimate frisbee in one of the fields. Go running on a track in one of the IM buildings, or take a run around campus. There are also outdoor soccer fields and basketball courts that you are free to use.
There is free bowling and pool once a week at the Union. For the 2010-2011 school year, this was featured on Thursday nights. Be sure to get there early, because everyone wants in on the fun!
If you want to help plan many of the events offered on campus, head to a University Activities Board meeting. They’re the ones who bring you free movies and free bowling. They also help plan several concerts that happen through the year and Sparty’s Spring Party.
Several dorms and locations have media lounges with big screen TVs and game systems (Sparty’s in Holmes or the Pillar Room in SnyPhy). Friends can lounge on the couches and play video games or watch TV. There is a rumor that they’ll be building a lounge in Linton Hall for College of Arts & Letters students, so be sure to listen up to any upcoming news.
Every semester, MSU takes part in Humans v Zombies, a two week long event where students fight for survival. Hundreds of students participate (as noted by their bandanas and nerf guns) and it’s completely free to sign up. Think of it as a giant game of moderated tag. A Facebook event is created closer to the date, but in the meanwhile, check out the main website. Several of my friends have played and love it.
Later this week, I’ll have my final series post about Lansing entertainment. Feel free to tweet me at@DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
Two posts ago, I spoke of things to do in Downtown East Lansing, in which I featured several shopping option. Well, those aren’t your only options. There are lots of places in the greater Lansing area for all of your needs.
If you’re into malls, there are two I recommend checking out: The Meridian Mall is located at the end of Bus 1’s route towards Okemos. This mall is open 10-9 Monday through Saturday, and 12-6 on Sunday. Store sales are featured on their website, and they boast several department stores: Macy’s & JC Penny’s are your standard national chain, as well as as smaller midwest chain, Younker’s. Meridian Mall is also across the street from Target, Marshalls, and the makeup store Ulta. Finally, their is an AMC theater behind it for all of your movie desires. Read the rest of this entry »
There are so many options for food in and around campus, it’s overwhelming. I couldn’t possibly mention all of them here (and look for a better restaurant review in a future blog post). However, I can note some of the local highlights:
Woody’s Oasis Bar & Grill: There are several Woody’s around campus (one in the International Center, one off of Trowbridge, and one on Grand River). The one on Grand River is by far the best, with an extensive menu and a good amount of seating. They have a good balance of Middle Eastern cuisine and Western food, for the internationally timid diners. It’s not exactly what you’d get if you were to go to a Middle Eastern country, but it’s pretty delicious regardless.
If you’re a fan of Sushi, there are probably 8 or 9 options. Do NOT go to Sushi Go. Trust me. Also, NEVER EVER EVER order delivery sushi. I know you were considering it. It’s ALWAYS a bad idea. If you’re looking for delicious sushi, check out Sushi Ya. It’s located next to Espresso Royale on Grand River (and they have some pretty awesome tempura rolls). At the end of your meal, your table is served tempura fried bananas that are to die for. If you have a little more money to spend, try Sansu in Hannah Plaza. It’s a little higher class with a larger selection and a slightly larger bill at the end, but it’s worth it. Take your parents. You can also head there on Tuesday with your Student ID for a discount.
If you’re a fan of Indian cuisine, check out Sindhu’s in Hannah Plaza. They have a lunch buffet with a large amount of options, or they also have a large menu of choices. It’s hard to be disappointed at their authentic cuisine.
A lesser known restaurant is What Up Dawg?, a hot dog spot on M.A.C. They have beer for $2 and a variety of dogs and toppings. If you’re a Chicago hot dog fan, definitely check it out (and get the poppy seed bun. Mmm mm). They serve chilli and fries, too!
My favorite restaurant of all time happens to be located in Old Town, Lansing. The magical, the mythical: Golden Harvest. The food is so good, it’s almost impossible to go without a line of people waiting outside (whatever the weather looks like). They have new specials every day, open from 7am to 2pm. It’s the best breakfast you’ll ever have. Furthermore, the atmosphere is so fun. It’s a very small restaurant with tattooed cooks and loud blasting rock music. The wait (which may be 30 minutes or more) is 100% worth it. Technically, it’s not East Lansing. But it’s too wonderful not to mention now!
Are you looking to get some work done and enjoy a variety of tea options? Check out Wanderer’s Teahouse on Grand River. With several options for tea, unlimited refills of hot water or iced tea, and a selection of homemade crepes, sandwiches, and salads, it’s hard not to love this place. It gets pretty packed during the school year with students studying, but there’s always room for more. They also are often hosts to open mic nights for a fun evening activity!
Other places to put up your feet and enjoy delicious caffinated beverages include the original Biggby on Grand River (open 24 hours) or the Biggby in the Union, Espresso Royale, and Starbucks. Whatever coffee floats your boat, we have it. We also have several Sparty’s cafes around campus, which boast Combo X-Change (your future best friend).
For the 21+ crowd, there are numerous bars located in East Lansing. There are so many, I could hardly amass an appropriate list, so check out this website instead. Woody’s always has great drink specials and the Peanut Barrel is famous for their cheap & delicious Long Islands. They do, however, cap you off after two. Harper’s offers a selection of homemade beers, stouts and ales. Crunchy’s is known to have great pizza and karaoke on weekend nights; July is also Michigan Beer Month, where they’re featuring local craft brews.
Ok, so that’s great. But sometimes, we want to stay in and not worry about going out. Good news! Get delivery from some of your favorite restaurants, straight to your dorm or apartment! Check out Campusfood.com and register to collect points (which lead to coupons) every time you order.
Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
Not everything you do has to require a bus ride, heading to Lansing or one of the surrounding cities. There is plenty to do right in our own little downtown. Check out our the City of East Lansing’s website for more information.
We do have the American chains American Apparel, Plato’s Closet, and Urban Outfitters on Grand River, but I encourage you to head to other East Lansing shop for better deals and a more unique experience. On the lower cost end, there’s ReThreads, a new used clothing shop. Get vintage threads and gently used clothing at a lower price. Pitaya is a cute store for dresses.
Exlusively in EL: Jeaniologie features higher end designer clothing, and is very new to the scene. Mad Eagle is also slightly higher end, with real silver jewelry and a variety of clothing options. They feature the clothing of lines such as Free People. If you’re interested in vintage clothing, check out Scavenger Hunt. They have recently limited their hours (the website is completely off base). Be sure to check out the sign posted on their door for updates. Read the rest of this entry »
Funfact: I spent my first year and a half at Michigan State University as a Theater major. I had come in thinking that I either wanted to be a performer or work in costume design for the rest of my life. This changed when I discovered Professional Writing (and met Professor Danielle DeVoss), but more about that later. In my time in Theater, I learned a lot about what we have to offer at MSU as far as live entertainment.
Every semester, the Theater Department puts on at least three major plays. In my time here, they’ve had The Wizard of Oz, the Rocky Horror Show (for which I was the Costume Crew Head), Hedda Gabbler, Tommy: The Rock Opera, Love’s Labours Lost (for those Shakespeare fans), and other plays and musicals you may or may not have heard of. In addition, there are also smaller shows put on entirely by students; in January of 2010, we put on Reefer Madness, with the help of grants and a completely student run production. These tickets cost anywhere from free to $16, but you often get to see shows that have wonderful quality. They are presented in the Auditorium or at the Wharton Center, depending on what the department rents out for the show.
The Wharton Center is another entertainment venue on campus. They actually own not only the center itself, but the Auditorium and the Fairchild theater. Several Broadway tours come through every year; this year, Jersey Boys, Les Miserables, West Side Story, Seussical, and Wicked will be coming to the Wharton. In addition, many major concerts and other events are held in their theaters. Check out their website in order to see show dates, and buy tickets online.
For less expensive options, try your hand at community theater! Riverwalk Theater is located in downtown Lansing, about a fifteen minute drive from campus. It’s also possible to hop the CATA 1 bus to Lansing and walk. They are a local community theater who puts on several shows every season. In addition, they often have student actors from MSU take part in their productions. Check out their website for more information about the 2011-2012 season.
Williamston Theater is a little more difficult to get to, but has a wonderful season lined up. They are also a local community theater that often uses actors from MSU. They just announced their next season, featuring The Understudy by Theresa Rebeck and directed by MSU Professor Rob Roznowski. They have a wonderful tie with MSU and Director Tony Caselli has come to direct several shows at MSU, including Hedda Gabbler in the spring of 2009. Their smaller stage creates an intimate view of the actors and audience, so much so that you feel you are actually a part of the show. Check out their website for more.
A lesser known theater group is the Peppermint Creek Theatre Company which performs at the Creole Gallery in Old Town Lansing. They have put on stellar performances, with very few actors in a limited space. I’ve had the pleasure to see just one performance, but I look forward to seeing more in the future. Read about their season on their site or buy tickets!
Finally, the Stormfield Theater is located in the Frandor Shopping Center, a short ride from the MSU campus on the CATA 1 bus. I have never actually been to this theater, but if they’re anything like other Lansing community theaters… they’re going to have some serious talent. Check out their siteand read about their upcoming shows.
In addition, Lansing’s City Pulse has an annual Pulsar Awards show where they nominate performers of all ages and give awards to the best shows in the area. Last season’s awards have been given out, but who knows who will be up for grabs next year!
My next blog will talk about Downtown East Lansing, and what you can do in walking distance of campus.
Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation.
Now you know some great places to check out music on an average weekday. That’s wonderful, and much more practical. However, that’s not all the Lansing area has to offer as far as music. There are a ton of great events and music festivals coming up in the next year.
Right now (yes, right now!) one of the biggest festivals in the area is happening. Common Ground features many artists, including some really big names. This year, some of the featured artists include The Verve Pipe, Lynard Skynard, LL Cool J, and Melissa Etheridge. It’s happening every day this week, starting at 5:30PM in Adado Riverfront Park, right on Grand River.
Middle of the Mitten happens at the end of January, and is the anniversary show for The Record Lounge. Typically around 20-25 local bands are featured, with an acoustic stage and a larger stage to accompany various types of entertainment. Last year, bands such as Elliot Street Lunatic, Your Best Friend, Life Size Ghost, and Joe Hertler & the Rainbow Seekers all came out to play at the Loft in downtown Lansing. In addition, it happened to be my 21st birthday, and Life Size Ghost sang “Happy Birthday” at midnight (can I say this is my favorite show?).
In August, the annual Great Lakes Folk Festival takes place, featuring local music and artists from around the world. This event is also completely free and in downtown East Lansing! Get your folk on.
Also in August is the Lansing Jazz Festival. This is another completely free event, also featuring vendors from local restaurants to get yourself dinner or a snack. For the 21+, there is free admission to the drinks tent during happy hour (4PM-6PM) on both days.
None of these events have an minimum age! No excuses. Get out there and enjoy the music. In addition, this is just a sampling of some of the events that Lansing has to offer. Check out a list on Lansing’s very own festival website.
Next week, I’ll stick with entertainment: local theater, Broadway, and other performances.
Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
This is a fascinating infographic. It’s so interactive, it’s overwhelming. One person couldn’t possibly take in all of the information. However, doesn’t that speak to who we are in the 21st century? We are constantly hit with millions of pies of information a minute on the internet. In the United States, there is some censorship, but it’s nothing like the status of North Korea (where you may not even know how to use the internet).
Last week, I wrote a blog entry about finding things to do in the Lansing Metro area, including one of the Lansing hot spots, Impression 5. This week, I’ll be posting about where to find local music. This post is about venues, and the next post will be about specific concerts, festivals, and events.
When I think of music, to be perfectly honest, the first locations I think of are Los Angeles and New York City. Those are music capitols not only of the United States but of the entire world. Great artists from all over flock to these cities to make it big and record their music.
However, this does not mean other towns are without talent. There are a lot of local bands and artists playing music in Michigan, particularly in Lansing. Some of these bands record out in LA in a studio, but often they come home and play in Michigan. I have a few personal favorite local bands including Joe Hertler, Life Size Ghost, The Blue Effect, and Liz McDaniel. I often refer to one of our local record shops, The Record Lounge, for new artists in the area (who, all summer, has free concerts every two weeks featuring four or more artists a night).
There are a lot of ways to find local music and listen. Often, musicians will start playing at Espresso Royale right on Grand River. There are also several venues (easily accessible using CATA for bus transportation) that have live music. Some are 21+ and some are 18+.
The Loft is located on Michigan Avenue in downtown Lansing. Concerts vary from 18+ and 21+, so it is suggested you check out their website to see when bands are playing and who can attend.
Mac’s Bar is located on Michigan Avenue, directly after Frandor. It is always 18+, and they have special nights for electronic music (Neon Tuesdays). Check out their website to see the calender.
Gone Wired is a cafe in Lansing on Michigan Avenue, which often doesn’t have an age restriction on any of their events. Their website is currently down, but you can check them out on Facebook. It’s also a great place to go and get studying done with a nice cup of coffee.
The Green Door is a 21+ bar after 8PM on Michigan Avenue, featuring local music in a variety of genres (from the 80s to blues). They have a website that lists all of their concerts and drink specials.
In addition, you can also catch concerts of local and national artists at The Wharton Center, the Auditorium, the Union, and the Breslin Center on campus! The Wharton Center also features Broadway touring shows (next year including Jersey Boys and Wicked). The tickets are more expensive, but if it’s an artist you’re dying to see, it’s worth it.
Keep in mind, almost all of these venues have a cover charge. The charge is often notated on the website, but it never hurts to call and confirm. Always be prepared with more than you need, just in case.
Look for more later this week about different concerts and events all over Lansing!
If you’re looking to buy music, check out The Record Lounge or Flat, Black, & Circular (FBC) on Grand River. Both offer collections of records and CDs from local musicians. FBC also has a collection of tapes (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
I’m currently watching Mark Zuckerberg’s live announcement about Facebook’s unveiling of a merger with Skype, allowing Facebook users to video chat with their friends. They revealed group chat as well, although if you were a group user on Facebook you’ve had this functionality for at least 6 months. Now, you don’t have to have created a group prior to attempting to chat.
Recently, I noticed that chat has been integrated with Facebook messages. That way, you can access people who are not online in your “buddy list” of friends and still send them a chat message. This can be good and bad. Many people will notice the green circle indicating that a user is “online,” but what about those users who are unaware of this update? How long will it take before your friends get used to this?
I’m really excited about this merger. It doesn’t mean I’m going to stop using Skype. I have my network on Skype, and I can be signed in without revealing myself on Facebook. To be perfectly honest, Facebook chat has often failed me. My friends and I will start a chat on Facebook and move to Skype in frustration. I’m wondering if Facebook chat will be as difficult when it comes to working with video. Also, will I be able to video chat with say, my father, who does not have a video camera? Skype offers this functionality, where the user that is camera-less can type responses while viewing the video of another user. How will that work on the Facebook interface.
Video calls have launched. I’m ready to try it out.
I’m going to begin a series of blog posts about things to do in the East Lansing and Lansing area. It’s something I was truly unaware of as a freshman, and I wish I had more of an opportunity to take advantage of the wonderful local events.
I won’t lie to you. My first experience in downtown Lansing was terrifying. I hated it and vowed never to return. I had ridden the 1 bus (which is a straight shot from the Capitol to the Meridian Mall, down Michigan Ave and Grand River) all the way to the main bus station in Lansing to meet a friend who was getting off a Greyhound bus. It was dark and gloomy outside, and I had no knowledge of the area. I’m pretty sure I saw some shady business go down in the bus station. The city looked cold and uninviting. I did go back briefly a few times, in the year that followed, but only to deal with taking the Greyhound home to Metro-Detroit. Never to actually go to Lansing.
I decided to attend Silver Bells, Lansing’s annual Christmas tree lighting and parade, with a friend in December. We took a shuttle school bus with MSU students, and arrived outside of the CATA station. Along with our hoard of people, we walked downtown. I was amazed at what I saw.
That gloomy city seemed like it had never existed. The streets were brightly lit, packed with people of all ages watching the parade. Local vendors set up stands for hot cocoa and popcorn. At ten, we all gathered in the public square, and watched the Govenor light the tree. After the tree lighting, the sky was lit with fireworks. It was incredible. From then on, I vowed to give Lansing a chance.
At first, it seems as if there is nothing to do for the under 21 crowd. Don’t be fooled! There are things for you to do, and you can even get there using our public transportation system!
You’re first impression is right. It is definitely geared toward children. That doesn’t make it any less enjoyable and exciting! It costs just $5 for students to get in and start to explore. Many of their exhibits are interactive, allowing you to actively participate in science. It’s a cheap and fun thing to do on the weekdays or weekends; just take the 1 bus right past Larch Street, and take a walk down Museum Drive.
If you love the things you see, Impression 5 also has several internships available, including graphic design. It’s great to experience the museum like a patron before going to work for them. Let your inner child out, and go have fun at Impression 5.
Next week, I’ll talk about music venues in Lansing, as well as some of the great places to go hear local musicians.
Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
After asking my Twitter network for the most useful tip for new students at MSU, the unanimous advice given was this: Know where your classes are before the first day of class.
MSU is the largest land grant university, with the largest capacity for on-campus living in the US and the largest campus. Here are some statistics: Today, MSU’s contiguous campus consists of 5,200 acres, 2,000 acres (8.1 km2) of which are developed. There are 556 buildings: 100 for academics, 131 for agriculture, 166 for housing and food service, and 42 for athletics. Overall, the university has 22,763,025 square feet (2,114,754.2 m2) of total indoor space. Connecting it all is 26 miles (42 km) of roads and 100 miles (160 km) of sidewalks. MSU also owns 44 non-campus properties, totaling 22,000 acres (89 km2) in 28 different counties.
That’s pretty big.
When signing up for classes at AOP, you’re not always aware of the layout of the campus, where you’ll live in relation to where your classes are. Once you’ve signed up, it’s possible to change your courses on WebEnroll, which can allow you to craft your schedule to make your classes closer to each other (or at a more suitable wake up time). In the meanwhile, figure out where your classes are to begin with.
MSU has an interactive map of campus. Look for your buildings, and mark there locations on a physical map. In your few days before classes start, try to find your class rooms on campus. That way, when it comes time to actually getting to class, you’ll be sure to be on time. You can also use CATA, the bus transportation service, to map out your transportation to classes if you don’t plan on walking/biking.
In addition, don’t be afraid of asking people where your classes are. People are always willing to help, although not everyone is aware of all building locations. Don’t feel embarrassed. We’ve all been there.
It may be scary at first, but you’ll get the hang of it. It took me about a month to really get settled in and be able to know how to get to where I needed to be. When I had a class in a different building this year, I still had to map it out before classes started. My understanding of the streets helped me navigate without having to look for landmarks.
Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
Now that you’re in college, it’s time to start thinking about your online identity. I think about this topic a lot, and I have done a lot of research on the subject.
As kids, we really don’t think about the consequences of our online adventures. How many of you signed up for accounts on gaming sites or other sites that you subsequently forgot about? I did an experiment, where I looked up usernames I had created when I was younger, and found over 60 various online accounts. At least 30 had not been used in several years.
I was a candidate for research at the Berkman Center for Internet and Society at Harvard University, and was asked to create a presentation about youth and the world wide web. View the Prezi presentation here. I discussed a possibility for an online solution, as well as what the common problems were as seen by Berkman and Internet researchers. Although the solution is geared towards children, pre-teens, and teenagers, we are still susceptible to the same problems. We have the opportunity to make better decisions about our presence online.
When you apply for jobs, human resources will look at your online history. Those pictures from your 21st birthday party on Facebook could be found. That post with un-friendly social commentary on Twitter can be tracked. Even if you have privacy settings, it’s possible for other people to share your information publicly. Basically, nothing is ever truly private on the internet. Once it’s out there, who knows what can happen.
We’re adults now. It’s time to start taking responsibility for our presence online. Mashable (my favorite source for news about social media) wrote a great article in 2009 about centralizing your identity. Read it here.
Feel free to leave a comment or tweet me at @DesignLightning with any follow up questions or conversation!
In eight days, I’ll be heading to Orlando, FL for the last shuttle launch… ever.
Ok, I probably am speaking too soon. Who knows what will happen in ten, fifteen, or a hundred years. Maybe another president will reinvigorate the shuttle program with NASA. For now, however, this shuttle is set to be the last. I get to watch from the Kennedy Space Center as it launches. Incredible. (Read about the launch plans here)
When I was a little girl, there was something called Space Camp. Perhaps you remember those commercials from the 90′s. A trip to Space Camp was always the prize on those Nickelodeon challenge shows, and I dreamed of winning. What kid didn’t want the chance to experience zero gravity?!
A shuttle launch definitely doesn’t afford me those opportunities. However, I do get to be a part of history. I get to watch Space Shuttle Atlantis, who already has over 25 years of history, go to space for the last time. I will be there alongside professors from my department, and we can “geek out” together. It may be the last launch, but hopefully it will allow a friendship to form.
Most importantly, I suppose, I will be tweeting from the event. Follow me on Twitter to get the feed on July 8th. You can look forward to pictures of the space center and of the launch.
If you reside on campus, there is one primary rule that resides overall in your housing contract: The right to sleep and study.
What does this mean? You are afforded a lot of rights by living in University Housing. You share a space with up to four people; an unlimited meal plan (excluding Van Hoosen & University Village); access to your dorm 24 hours a day; the right to bring guests over; etc. You can play music in your room; watch TV; attend events planned by your mentors; and so much more. But above all, you have the right to sleep and study in peace.
As a mentor, it is my job to make sure that this is being upheld. That doesn’t mean I am constantly policing the floor for noise. That also doesn’t mean that you have to worry about watching a movie at any time of the day. What it does mean is, if someone asks you to quiet down in order to protect those rights: you have to agree. Or face the consequences.
We want there to be a positive atmosphere, where residents can talk with each other and have fun. However, it shouldn’t be at the cost of someone else’s rights. If you have a roommate, respect their rights. Perhaps that means going accross the hall to a friend’s to watch TV while they study, or turning off the lights at 11pm so they can go to sleep.
Mutual respect is the only way to go.
In addition, some halls have “quiet floors.” This means there is a “quiet” rule enforced 24 hours a day. Some people request to live in those situations, and others are placed there because of housing needs. That doesn’t mean you can’t play music on the floor; it just means that you have to be aware of the volume level (particularly of the bass). There are people around you. Even if it’s 5PM on a Saturday, everyone has the right to take a nap or study.
You may be thinking, “Seven jobs? No way that’s possible.” Well, ladies and gentlemen, you are looking at the one and only ridiculous person to have and maintain seven different jobs at once. Granted, two of the jobs are on hold for the summer, but will pick up once the fall begins.
What are these jobs, you ask?
Resident Mentor in McDonel Hall (to be continued in the fall)
Peer Writing Consultant & Social Media Coordinator at the Writing Center (to be continued in the fall)
This has taught me a lot about myself. I am someone who hates being bored. Sitting all day and doing nothing does not appeal to me. At the same time, all of my jobs are things that I have found a deep passion and interest in. Everything will help me towards whatever my future career is. Furthermore, I’m not being paid for every job; the unpaid jobs will just further help me develop my skills.
Another really important skill this is teaching me: Time Management. That is something I have always struggled with, and I have a pretty horrible memory. Although I tried to use the planner we are all given Freshman year, or the mentor planner I am given at the beginning of the year, I realize that just writing it down in one place is not useful. I am now an avid user of Google Calender. Having my calender in a digital form means that I can take it everywhere: it’s on my laptop, my smartphone, and my tablet. I can check it on any device with access to the internet.
I’m not saying that is the right choice for everyone. Some people are better physically writing down their schedule. I also don’t advise taking on seven jobs without being fully aware of what you’re committing to and what you’re sacrificing. It means that I don’t necessarily get to have that extra hour of sleep. In addition, I didn’t work my first year at school. However, I did participate in three theater productions each semester. I’ve always kept myself busy.
I love every minute.
The most important thing to get out of this: do what you love to do. Don’t be afraid to take on a few extra responsibilities, because it’s possible to learn how to juggle it. On the same note, don’t overwhelm yourself with jobs that won’t make you happy. I have the habit of wanting to help people whenever I can, and therefore I take on too many responsibilities. It’s good to know when to say, “No.”
It’s summer time in East Lansing, and all I can think about is how excited I am for the fall semester to start. Since arriving at Michigan State University, my life has changed (for the better) and I’ve really come into my own identity. This didn’t happen without some bumps along the way. As this is my first blog entry, I suppose I should introduce myself.
Hi. My name is Alexandra White, but my friends and colleagues call me Ali (like McBeal, not Muhammad). I will be a senior in the 2011-2012 year, getting a BA in Professional Writing, a minor in Theater, and a specialization in Digital Humanities. In addition, I am currently the Social Media intern forTechSmith; a Resident Mentor in McDonel Hall (for the 3rd year); the Social Media Manager & a Peer Writing Consultant and MSU The Writing Center; Graphic Designer for Middle of the Mitten; PR Coordinator for Spartan Web Authorers; and the Social Media Coordinator for Writers’ Bloc.
If you’re going to be new to Michigan State this year, I have five tips:
Keep your door open. I can’t stress enough how many opportunities you find on your floor and in your hall, just by having your door open. Even if you’re coming to MSU with friends, the people who you live with are great to go get dinner with and helpful for close by study buddies.
Don’t be embarrassed on your map. You need it. I know people in their second, third, and even fourth year who still couldn’t tell you where buildings are on campus.
Speaking of which, MAC stands for Michigan Agricultural College. It is not pronounced “Mac” like Apple products, but each letter is pronounced: “M” “A” “C”. I made that mistake in my first week and was corrected by an upperclassman. You will never have that embarrassment.
Take advantage of the roommate contract. If your roommate is your best friend or a new friend, it’s easy to let things slide at first that may bother you. If you set the ground rules early (bed times, trash duty, suite responsibilities), it is much easier to stick to than rules introduced after there is a problem.
The cafeteria is your best friend and worst enemy. It’s really exciting at first to have unlimited ice cream, french fries, and pizza. But over indulgence leads to bigger problems. Don’t completely restrict yourself, but remember the healthier options. Eat at State also provides nutritional facts for most of the meals that we’re offered.
As I said earlier, I didn’t get this knowledge without some bumps. When I was a freshman living in Emmons Hall, I never kept my door open. The girls were very welcoming; I just never gave them a chance to get to know me. By the time I realized my mistake, the year was almost over.
I’ll be living in McDonel Hall for the third year in a row as a mentor, and can say it is truly a unique experience. We are residence hall that is home to a large population of international and transfer students. We also have the living-learning community La Casa, a Spanish speaking floor with special opportunities. The age of residents ranges from freshman to seniors, and the programs we provide match those needs. It’s relatively quiet and low traffic, meaning residents put higher priority in our rights as residents: sleep & study. I love McDonel, and I can’t imagine living anywhere else.
My success at MSU came from finding out what I loved to do (with amazing people and opportunities). I realized I wasn’t happy as a Theater major, and Professional Writing (PW) sort of fell into my lap. I took Intro to Digital Humanities (AL285) with Dr. Danielle DeVoss, and realized that I wanted to do everything in that class for the rest of my life. Once I found the right major, I had the motivation to participate in our student groups. I got an internship in New York City with Swagger New York my first summer out of PW. I have made amazing friends, who have not only supported my work but also will be great contacts for later job hunting.
I’ve been here for three years, with just 11 months before graduation. It’s hard to pinpoint one moment as “the best,” as each have impacted me in different ways. Recently, the biggest smile was put on my face in the last week of school. My advisor, professor, and friend, Danielle DeVoss, asked me to join a brainstorm group for creating a video about the 50th anniversary of the College of Arts and Letters. Upon leaving the meeting, she said, “We need you. We need your ideas and your creativity.” Nothing means more than feeling you have made a powerful impact on your program. The connections and friendships you make will change your life.
I look forward to future blogs. Feel free to send me a message, comment on this blog, and/or follow me on Twitter. Go Green!
I have been selected as a First Tier Spartan Connect Engager. What does this mean? I’ll work a couple hours a week as a blogger for Spartan Connect, Michigan State’s answer to social media, as well as being available for chat with students. For my first blog, I was asked to answer the following questions:
1. What general advice would you give an incoming student
2. What you wished you had known prior to arriving on campus
3. What you would do differently if you could do it all again
4. What one or two things contributed to your success at MSU
5. What has been your fondest memory thus far
Now you may be thinking… Another job, Ali? Really?
Oh yes. That puts the grand total at 5 jobs currently being held. In my defense, only three are active right now. Four will be active in the fall, but we’ll worry about it when it’s time to worry. I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if I wasn’t constantly busy.
When my first blog post goes up on Monday, June 6th, I’ll be sure to post a link to it.
I decided to re-vamp the entire web design for Tom & Joanne The Wedding website. I experimented with different CMS’s (WordPress and Staceyapp), as well as the idea of a static web page. I wasn’t happy with the work that I had created. You know what they say, if you’re not happy, then fix it. I wanted it to be more dynamic and exciting.
That’s where jQuery came to the rescue. I have had little experience with jQuery in the past, but I made it my goal to learn how to use a couple different features before the end of the summer. I used two different jQuery attatchments: one to move between the navigation, and one to create a slideshow of the wedding party.
So here it is. Presenting Tom & Joanne The Wedding (website). Enjoy!