Taking this experience [from the food bank] to the bank

As I happily reflect,  know that I am still in disbelief that it is already time to wrap my internship with FACES food pantry. Through out my time with FACES, I was given challenges, projects, advice and an irreplaceable experience. My struggles aren’t complaints. In fact, they may be what I am most grateful for. I have a great love for FACES food pantry. I guarantee its impact on me and the community will long outlast my residency in Farmville. With all that being said, below you’ll find my not so sugarcoated reflection of my experience.

Easy as Pie?

Whoever said making pie was easily obviously hasn’t made pie crust from scratch. I’m going to be presumptuous and say that whoever that was bought the already made dough and filling. PIE IS NOT EASY. Pie dough is actually super finicky and you have to work worth it a lot until you get it right. So, contrary to popular comparison, I would say this internship was as challenging as a homemade pie crust with no rolling pin, while you are almost out of flour. To put it simply, it was tough.  Maybe this is going to make me seem like the young and inexperienced twenty-one year old that I am, but it was more work than I anticipated. Behind the chaos that any volunteer can see, there are about six or seven main individuals behind the curtain making a majority of the calls. Prior to my internship I had this idea that ,because they were all working for the same cause, they would be a harmonious and agreeable group of leaders. That was a bit unrealistic of me, I must admit. I thought that everyone would be on the same page. However, sometimes people weren’t on the same page. Sometimes it was because they didn’t want to be and other times because they were caught unaware. When it comes down to it, tough decisions have to be made and in many cases strong opinions have to conceit to move forward.  At times it was hard to watch because the tension seemed unresolved. This was tough to get used to and sometimes hard to work with. The most challenging part of my internship for me personally, was finding who to take orders from. It seemed easiest to just follow my supervisor, however, while she is influential she doesn’t make all the calls and listening to her over another could disrupt the system. I struggled to feel comfortable while making decisions in the heat of the moment. It was difficult learning to find and test my limits. I wanted to be challenged with the projects I took on, but I also didn’t want to overestimate my abilities. I wanted to be ambitious and rational which to too often presented me with an internal struggle that I didn’t know how to fight. Begrudgingly, I confess that some days I put too much pressure on myself and became emotionally drained. Some days it was hard to submit to my alarm’s demands. It was hard to ask people for help. All in all this was very hard, but more than anything it was worth it.

Not quite my Niche

I would like to pursue an organization that has the mission that FACES does, however, I do not feel like a food pantry is necessarily where I’ll find my niche. FACES has both reaffirmed and challenged what I thought I wanted to do. It is an organization centered around the idea of “neighbors helping neighbors”. I love that. It doesn’t make volunteers out to be hero that above those they serve. It implies a relationship that comes with responsibility to take care of one another rather than a self-righteous obligation. Whether it be a non-profit or another organization with a mission, I’d like to establish relationships with other groups of people for a greater cause. I want to pursue a career that allows me to help to create a culture that considers community to be more than people within a proximity. In my job search I will undoubtedly need to find an organization with a mission I am passionate about, but I will not necessarily limit that to a non-profit. This experience has given me an idea of what to look for.

I’ve still got Goals to reach and work to do 

I’m happy with how I’ve evolved thus far, but I am fully aware that I’ve still got a lot of growing to do.
I’ve learned how to work under pressure, serve along side others, manage people, and use my time wisely. As my roles changed from week to week, I’ve also learned to be a part of a team, follow directions, and to take initiative. I’m still working on it, but I learned to be respectful yet assertive while devising tasks. All of which I learned during distribution. I’ve gotten less apologetic and more bold in my request. I’m still learning, but have gotten better at being more clear and confident while asking for help. I’ve have a better idea of how to reach out, create, and promote with other organizations and businesses. Creating awareness is an exciting challenge that takes some trail and error. This has reinforced the importance of creating and maintaining genuine relationships with others.

I achieved my goals though listening to my supervisor and doing what was asked of me. Each week I met with my supervisor and she gave me the promotional tasks such as the press release and list of events she had me attend. My supervisor, Linda, has always been honest with me. She also let me know what I needed to work on and let me know when she was impressed. She gave me tips for each fundraiser and event. She helped me learn how to approach people and to not be afraid to use my personality. She let me know how tough it can be working with a non-profit organization but also encouraged me to stick with it. The Live Music Food drive was an event at Uptown cafe. It gave us the opportunity to collect monetary and canned donations. I created the flyer and went to the event to represent FACES.

This is a flyer I made and distributed from a donation drive held at, a local coffee shop, Uptown Cafe.

 

10/10 would intern again 

I would suggest this internship to anyone who wants to be challenged an help. It may not be super organized, professional, or convenient but it is influential. It gives you great real life experience through its press releases, advertising, fundraising, and interpersonal skills. I cannot imagine that anyone could come out of this internship with the same perspective you walked in with.

Distribution 

The picture below shows a few sisters of Sigma Alpha Omega volunteering for distribution.  Distribution is our predominate way of giving out the food we have to those who need it. Being crew chief is where I learned what I mentioned earlier such as devising task in a clear and respectful way. On Saturday mornings you could find me either in the back doing paperwork or in the front handing bags out to clients.

I cannot stress enough that all the early mornings, sacrificed Saturdays, hard work, and necessary chaos are worth it in the end. As much as I wanted to help my neighbors, my neighbors helped me.

Volunteers from Longwood the morning of distribution.

Happy volunteers from Longwood 

 

I’m somewhere between a wannabe Sherlock Holmes and a Food bank Advocate

This whole process of founding an organization has sent me on a wild goose chase. I’m not complaining though, it might be challenging but it kind of makes me feel like a detective. It seems as though as soon as I make a connection or point of contact that person sends me to another person who then gives me the number of someone else. I must then call them to get the email of the director of some sorts who will give me the emails of more volunteers. This requires endurance. However, I get bits of information from everyone I meet. I definitely feel that while progress is slow, it’s steady. There isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t talk to someone or update them on our progress or make a connection. This week has been so different from the rest. I volunteered less and researched more, sent more emails, and attended more meetings.

This week I met Gary Honickel. He has been very helpful. Rebecca and I met with him explained our intentions and got a few next step instructions. Right now we are in a waiting period. We are waiting on SGA to get back to us. In the meantime, we found an organization called SELF who also focuses on community outreach however their mission is mostly pertains to children. We plan to potentially partner with them and they seem very excited to do so. I am currently trying to get in contact with Jordan Bynum. Word has it that she has contact with student volunteers which would be very helpful. She also would probably have great wisdom to bestow. Linda wants me to write a piece for the Farmville Harold. I’m eager to do so but I also want to make sure that I do a good job. I’ve been looking into the newspaper’s mission and background and I plan to read some articles. I need to find my point of contact and get in touch with them this week. Linda has given a long list of things she wants me to do without clarifying a prospective date or details. I plan to come back to her with a list of perspective dates and possible details by the beginning of next week.

I think that one of the hardest aspects in all of this is not actually doing the work it’s gathering the contacts and maintaining endurance to make the vision happen. I’ve learned that I have to advocate and build credibility to be heard. We have a mission and in order for all that to come in to play we need quite a few listening ears. We need commitment and all hands on deck. I have to be prepared and focused as to what we are aiming for and what is being done. So far we’ve been really blessed to have a lot of support and people jump on board to help our organization. Recruiting, delegating tasks, and taking actions have become a challenging yet rewarding balancing act.

I imagine the hoops I’ve been jumping through are child’s play compared to the process of founding an actually organization.  I understand that being in the PR field I will sometimes be sent along a trail of contacts until I reach the person that I am trying to reach.  I know I’ll have to do a lot of research. Perhaps the person I thought I was trying to reach doesn’t have all the answers. That’s okay too. It is important to take every misguided turn as a part of the learning experience. One lesson I have learned about interpersonal relationships of any kind is that it is imperative to be able to know where to compromise and where to adapt.

I Envy the Cart pushers

I’m going to sound like a brat, but I envy the cart pushers. When I do paper work on Saturdays, I watch the cart pushers circulate. I see them interacting with clients and they just seem so much more productive than the work that I am doing. While sitting at the desk, I feel like I’m a sitting duck. I’ve grown to love sweating and the chaos that comes with the distribution line. I guess I had gotten comfortable with that aspect of serving. I am getting used to this side of things though. Something I have learned is that paper work provides order and we couldn’t function without it.  Enforcing rules is tough, but it is necessary. We have a lot of expectations to maintain between the government, the volunteers, the FDA, and the clients. A lot of the times not everyone is pleased. In fact that is hardly ever the case. Something that has challenged me a lot personally is the concept of a judgement call. Some people are trying to take advantage of the system and take more than they need. Some people lack education or have special needs that act as a barrier for communications. This makes it very hard to do paperwork. Sometimes it is hard to tell when it is okay to excuse someone and when it is not. I’ve also noticed while we make due it is hard to accommodate for children and for elders. The FDA doesn’t allow for children to have certain foods due to the national facts. We are told to avoid Ramen and Capri suns which leaves them with less. The elders cannot have a certain amount of sugars in their bags which leaves us with the same challenge. Once again this is a judgement call that I presume comes with experience. These are helping me with my future career because I am getting a more realistic perspective of what it means to serve an organization in full. I am exposed to problem solving and rolling with the punches. I used to think that being willing and available was the only thing you needed to be a good volunteer. I am quickly learning that while the role of a volunteer does involve taking orders but also making judgment calls. Judgement calls aren’t something that you always prepare or plan for. The cart pushers might sweat, but those making judgement calls are expected to take the heat for their judgement calls. So everyone is sweating about something.

In other news, Linda is giving my first promotional project this Monday! I get to be intentional and use all the public relations tools I’ve learned or that I’m learning. I couldn’t be more eager to give my backbone a rest and refine my public relations skills!

Non-profits aren’t all Sunshine & Unicorns

As Linda started explaining the more challenging aspects of working with the nonprofit her message was clear; Non-profit organizations are not all sunshine and unicorns.  This could be a standard warning that she gives to everyone. However, I couldn’t help but to suspect that perhaps my grotesque optimism preceded my work ethic yet again. She went on to say that her position within the food bank has often caused her to be portrayed as the “bad guy”. I’ve witnessed Linda in action. More often than not she comes off as very intimidating and a little grumpy. Now more than ever I realize that comes with the territory. She elaborated on her position by telling me that she has to find the flaws and errors in the paper work and enforce policies. I know that at times doing what is asked of me might be tough. However, everything we do has a purpose. Whether it is to make to distribution go more smoothly or following the regulations of the FDA. With each task I remind myself that our work at the food bank isn’t in vain.

My responsibilities will change each week. The third Saturday of every other month I will be crew chief. I will be responsible for assigning volunteers to particular jobs during distribution. Other Saturdays and Thursdays I serve by entering data and information for clients. I could also pack and push carts. I plan to create an organization, along with a friend, through Longwood in order to organize the students that volunteers that attend each week. The number of volunteers from week to week can be unpredictable. This can make distribution very difficult. There are sometimes an excess of people while other times we are in desperate need of more volunteers and people must double up on jobs. Our job would be to seek and recruit groups and organizations on campus and assign them a day or weekend to serve. This would create a means of sustainability for FACES while creating a positive relationship and representation of Longwood. The organization will also host fundraisers and work with organizations to collect necessary items. I will complete a total of 150 hours through serving during packing, distribution, meetings, fundraising events, and creating and managing the FACES organization. I would spend anywhere from 3-7 hours volunteering a week. The remaining hours would vary between attending meetings, sorting paperwork, creating power points, creating the organization, spreading awareness,  recruiting volunteers, and potentially fundraisers.

I am unsure about what I want to do in my field but I undoubtedly want to be this passionate about the mission of whatever company I work for. I also know that I want to be in a fast paced work environment and not behind a desk. The interpersonal skills I will learn through serving will help to prepare me for many different types of public relations careers. I will have to learn how to work under pressure, serve along side others, manage people, and use my time wisely. As my roles change from week to week I will also have to learn to be a part of a team, follow directions, and to take initiative and learn when to let someone else take initiative. All of these skills are important while working with others toward a common goal.

High energy, willingness to engage, and drive are all necessary qualities that will prepare me for this internship.  However, I hope to challenge myself to be respectful yet assertive while devising tasks. I tend to be more often apologetic rather than bold in my request. I will have to learn how to address my peers with clarity and confidence. It is important that I do this respectfully so the job gets done efficiently and effectively while maintaining a positive relationship with those I will be working alongside of. I will also need to become more personable so that I can reach out, create, and promote  a relationship with the Longwood community and FACES. I take the best interest of FACES and Longwood to heart. Creating awareness is an exciting challenge that I look forward to. This opportunity will help refine my networking skills. It will reinforce the importance of creating and maintaining genuine relationships with others. I hope to gain more endurance as I become more involved. As much as I can see this internship being beneficial, I know I cannot adequately understand the wisdom that I will gain from this experience.

Portfolio: Embracing “Mandi the Intern”

I took a selfie while editing the weekend show.

I took a selfie while editing the weekend show. I spent a lot of days editing in this studio. 

The Full Intern Experience
While working at Fredericksburg’s local radio station, B101.5, I faced many challenges like picking up on terminology and new programs. It has affected my career search by reassuring me that I love working with people and being creative. I also learned that I would not be very content working behind a desk. While paperwork is necessary I have a lot of energy that could be put to use by getting to know those the company promoted to and creating relationships with partners. I achieved my goals. However, I had room for improvement which varies with each goal. I will clarify and elaborate on my experience in each section below. Overall, I was thrown into world of radio and got a lot of real world experience. I would suggest this internship more for a mass media major however, I took a lot of great concepts from my internship. Each section below offers a different take and skill that I was able to learn or improve on. 

Promotional Assistant
While being a promotional assistant, I had the opportunity to exercise my interpersonal skills while engaging with listeners. As a promotional assistant there are multiple responsibilities that have to be carried out to have a successful event. The first is gathering the set up equipment such as our tent, table, prizes, and handouts. We have to be very punctual and arrive an hour before the event time. This gives us time to set up our equipment. Equipment varies with each event. I got the most experience while being a promotional assistant at our weekly event, “Picnic in the Park”. At this event we join in with other local businesses in the community to create a fun environment for families. We did not have to play music at this event however; we did set up crafts and handout stickers. This event effectively promotes us and acts as a means of getting involved. We invite everyone to, “come hangout with our crew”. We have built a strong brand and continue to reinforce that through handing out stickers, coloring pages, pens, chip clips and through our mascot. All of these things have our logo on them. This has brought to life the rewards of proper and effective branding.

Editing the Weekend Show
Top 40 flashback is the weekend show that B101.5 plays on the weekend. The station gets sent songs and commercials which are uploaded to a shared to a drive. It was my responsibility to separate the commercials from the songs. I then had to save them as separate files and convert them in to wavs. This required me to learn not only the editing program but also the conversion process. There are many steps and parameters that must be done in order for this to be done properly. Doing this improperly could lead to the computer or equipment breaking and or cause the system to freeze up. Being in the Public Relations field is going to require that I pick up on new technology and systems which will mean that I need know what questions to ask and the precautions I must take.

Snapchat
I made a snapchat for the radio station after my boss requested that I make one. At first I was very optimistic and saw it as a chance to better connect with followers. I anticipated that having a snapchat would be entraining for an audience such as ours especially because listeners feel as though they have a personal relationship with the disk jockeys. Our facebook and texting apps are very popular and get a lot of use. This was not the case. It was hard to get followers even though we put pictures from events and new prizes. I found that the coworkers around the station did not want to be in the snapchat story. They did not want to learn how to use a new type of social media. While it was not as successful as I had hoped, I learned a lot. In order to have a successful social media account it needs to meet the needs of your audience. These cannot contain the same material that you would post on others forms of media.   I found that it takes times and the proper promotion and participation to create and maintain a successful account.

Paperwork
Over my time at the station I learned different aspects of many different jobs. Whether it was with the program director, secretary, or a disk jockey I noticed a consistent theme. Traveling from paper work and responsibility showed me that we broke down the process and divided and conquered work however, each person’s work affected another’s. For example if one person did not turn in their edited commercials the next person could not turn in or submit their paper work. This means that if someone is out sick unexpectedly then they must have someone do their work for that day for them. This showed me how important it was to know how to do more than just your job. It also showed me that if you cannot meet a deadline or make a mistake then you must speak up or it could negatively affect everyone else. It is vital that everyone pays attention to numbers, dates, and errors so that they may be corrected.

Helping with the Morning Show
I was pleasantly surprised while helping with the morning show. It was very early but I learned a lot by watching how listeners reacted to the morning disk jockey. I heard the show many times but I did not realize what the intentions were behind creating games and questions as she routinely did. In short, it is to engage with the audience. I always wondered why the morning show got so much feedback and listeners compared to the other time slots. I found out that it was because the morning audience was easiest to predict. The morning listeners have routines and are usually in a fast paced or stressed state of mind. They like to listen to something happy but also that distracts them from traffic or entertains them while they drive the kids to school. That means that we must get creative and allow them to feel included. I was able to create the game for the morning show. This allowed me get creative and find out how get listeners to be involved without asking too much of them. This means getting them engaged and interested without the hassle. Our compromise was having them call in and then having a coworker play the game but using their name as a team name. If the coworker won then the caller won the prize. The response was very positive. This allowed me to see the benefits of knowing your audience and tailoring to their needs.

Intern picture 2Listeners came to see us under our tent at our “Stars and Stripes”event.

Stranger (nonverbal) Danger

 

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Stranger Encounters

“You are so sharp knifes should take advice from you.” Ah, nothing really  boosts your confidence like the inspirational quotes from  strangers across Walmart. This particular man and I encountered one another three more times after his original quote. Let me tell you he had more than one of those up his sleeve. It isn’t just Walmart though. Another incidence occurred down by the river with a homeless man. I was actually on a date but to be honest I talked more the river man than the guy who bought me ice-cream. What on earth do all these strange encounters have in common? They all left me wondering why these random encounters seem to happen more often to me than not?

Friends that experience these encounters with me seem to think it is because I am a women that is decently attractive, smiles, and doesn’t look “closed off”. My mom always told me that I was an “easy” target. What makes me such an easy target though? After years, I think I have the answer…or answers. I may not say to people, “Hey if you wanna be weird and come up to me…go for it!” I don’t actually have to announce such a thing because I can communicate it without verbally saying it. Perhaps my friends and mom are correct in their assumptions (probably momma she is always right). Still, I had to the urge to investigate. There has to be more to these encounters.

What do you mean?
Whether you  have random strangers coming to you or you seem “closed off” to even people you  need to know what kind of message you are sending. Non-verbals can be expressed through styles associated with gender . So if you are on the other side of things and are trying to read someone else then grasping these concepts would also be beneficial. Through examining our use of space, touch,  facial and body movement, voice pitch, and physical appearance we can analyze and understand one another better. This can be further explained in Gender Lives and specifically apply based upon gender. To be relevant we are going to focus on femininity. To be extra specific and relevant, smiling is among those associated with females and femininity.

All Smiles
I looked up “what is smiling?” just to be super technical and to make sure I wasn’t led a stray all these years. Smiling is defined as, “form[ing] one’s features into a pleased, kind, or amused expression, typically with the corners of the mouth turned up and the front teeth exposed.” according Google.  You’ll never guess the sentence used as an example of smiling. The example was simply, “she was smiling”. I am sensing a pattern here…

Smiling is much more associated and simply expected with women. The tilting of the head and smile sends the message that the individual is happy and comes off as approachable. This is just one example of kinesics defined in Gender Lives.  The concept of kinesics expresses that facial and body motion that play a role in communicating. According to Otta 2015, the ways in which you smile convey a different meaning. In some way it thought to signify degree of happiness. I have a broad smile. This type of smile is more associated with extroversion and makes someone that is already approachable seem even more welcoming.

Our society reinforces the facial motion of smiling by creating dolls and adds of girls laughing. There are quotes like “happiest girls are the prettiest.” Aside from adds, we also reinforce the concept throughout Instagram and other social media. If you are attracted to women you have more likely then not have tried to understand what exactly a women is saying when she smiles. It is important to not just assume but to also take into consideration that no one rule applies. There are a million reasons for everyone to smile. Not just women and you might want to further investigate  your own assumptions. You never really know to you ask because our perceptions are skewed.

 

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Laryngitis stole my voice but helped me to see

blog post 1 pictureWhen you can’t speak

This week has presented me with
the challenge of expressing myself  though I am barely audible, squeaky, and sound as though I am pubescent male. I find that my struggle has not been in vain. Being the grotesque optimist that I am, I have found this to be an opportunity for me to be more grateful for when I do regain my voice. More importantly, it has also introduced me to everyday struggles that occur when you do not have a voice. I am referring a context far bigger than my own. As much as I considered myself to be empathetic, it turns out that I was lacking some empathy. I am not necessarily talking about racial minorities but those who are transgender, transsexual, or any other individuals that society considers to break norms.  I did not consider the conflicts that they encounter in communicating and expressing themselves .

Not your Problem?

My intent is that you become privy of a deeper understanding without having to undergo a week of laryngitis. This might not seem like your problem. It might not be the first thing on your mind but it in one way or another it affects you. For whatever reason we tend to mask how affected we are be the well being of one another. In Tom Shadyac’s film I am  he studies how truly affected we are by our relations and harmony with one another. There is science that proves that when someone is stressed EVERY living thing is either directly or indirectly affected in someway. I could go on, but in the meantime I am going to focus on the disharmony communication barriers and unresolved conflicts cause. It is vital that we understand that they occur because we are either actively or passively participating in them.

We are the Problem 

I say this in the most constructive way possible, but we are the problem. Wilmont and Hocke’s Interpersonal Conflict, identifies the struggles and negative affects we face by engaging or avoiding conflicts. We often do not know how to effectively handle conflict. In expressing ourselves we sometimes loose the ability to feel for others. This isn’t a new phenomenon. The Washington Post expressed that we are capable of achieving harmony and can do so through “assertive empathy”. They explain how to ingrain this concept early on. This article was intended to encourage active and intentional consideration for other’s feelings . Simply put, we aren’t nearly as considerate or all-knowing as we’d like to think. Therefore we contribute to a larger problem without even knowing. Don’t disservice yourself by assuming that you’ve reached your maximum capacity of empathy or understanding. I challenge you to consider more factors and open your mind to the role in which you play.

What does ego have to do with it?

This notion pertains to the concept associated with ego boundaries. As soon as I hear the word ego I become nervous that I am about to be told I am conceited. I am at times, but that is not the premise of this idea. As Gendered Lives would describe it involves how you view yourself. It is how you view yourself in contrast to how you view the rest of the world. It is a means of differentiating yourself from others. There is a spectrum of ego boundaries ranging from thin and permeable to thick and ridged. Those with permeable egos feel for others. They have a high sensitivity to empathy and deeply feel for others. Ridged egos on the other hand, have an understanding that they are separate individuals and that others burdens and feelings are theirs to bare.

Test your ego

I am about to disclose the results from an ego boundaries questionnaire that I took. I encourage you to take it as well. As most of those who consider themselves as being feminine, I have a very thin and permeable ego. This didn’t surprise me. It hurts me to watch others hurt. However, I found that I wasn’t as permeable as I thought when it comes to those society deem as queer or “abnormal”.

Let’s get thin

As ridiculous as it might sound, while I was hindered by a temporary physical impairment my eyes and mind were opened to a chronic communication  impairment that others face due to society’s sometimes ridged ego. It broke my heart to think that someone is scrutinized for expressing themselves. However, I failed to consider the daily challenges they face in expressing themselves. We are not that different. When part of society is being highly criticized and rejected the rest of us feel it however thick or thin our egos might be. Conflict between us exists between us because we view our goals as incompatible. At the end of the day we are all looking to be ourselves and live in  harmony. In order to achieve this we must be more considerate of others and not just ourselves.

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Men and Makeup

http://mic.com/articles/124484/these-gorgeous-photos-prove-makeup-isn-t-just-for-women#.DJrTsZ59x

I found this to be extremely relevant to the social learning theory regarding the social construction of femininity and masculinity. The men in this article are challenging gender biases associated with makeup. They promote  makeup as being gender-less. This is not considered culturally acceptable however has been both highly criticized across social media. They have a lot of support and many followers. Overall, they are considered to be queer due to their somewhat fluid identities.

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Salutations, friends!

Mandi with an "I"

Wouldn’t you agree that Mandi with an “I” suits me?

I usually introduce myself as Mandi with an“I”. Which may seem irrelevant but I feel like it suits me. Now that we are somewhat acquainted, I am going to go ahead and go out on a ledge and say that I am probably one of the most grotesquely optimistic individuals you will ever meet. I’ll let you decide for yourself though. I am a Virginia native and have always had the privilege of calling Fredericksburg home. Admittedly, I haven’t spent as much time there because the past three years I’ve been studying at Longwood University.

The interest for meeting and getting know different people has always been there however, it was not until I entered my college career that I learned just how intentional I need to be to effectively communicate. Communication involves so much more than just holding a conversation. It involves engaging with someone and taking into consideration their background and past experience as unique. I’ve learned how to interact and communicate with others in a way that makes them comfortable. This skill has come naturally. Another other necessary skill involves respectfully speaking out even if that means differing opinions. Such instances can be more challenging because they are not always comfortable. It is all apart of the learning experience. In the past I was very apprehensive when working in groups or devising tasks. Over time I have learned that effective communication is the key in accomplishing a vision.

This concept was brought to life when I founded an organization alongside seven other girls on campus. We had to learn to communicate our ideas and accommodate and adjust to one another as we accomplished tasks. I learned how to address conflict and communicate in a constructive way. Founding this organization has taught me my weaknesses and simultaneously helped me refine my strengths. I am goal oriented and I pursue genuine relationships with peers and faculty. I have learned to maintain positive relations and to ask someone with more experience and wisdom when I am at a disadvantage. Above all else, I have learned to be adaptable to others and all situations.

Through communication theories, classes in sociology and psychology I have gained a deeper understanding of society and individuals in general. Our means of communicating, etiquette, and perspectives are in a constant state of reform. The ever-changing nature of communications cannot be ignored. It’s exciting to be able to embrace the challenges that come with adapting to a field that is as diverse as the individuals it serves. I am fervently seeking to learn more and I look forward to opportunities to do so.

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