Journal 4: Throwback to the Journey

During my 2.5 years as a Communication Studies major, I have taken many helpful and influential courses. From Public Speaking all the way up to Senior Seminar, I have learned so much about the Communications world and how to thrive in it. When looking back at which courses most heavily prepared me for this internship, though it is a hard to narrow down to just 3, I would have to say that Public Speaking, Social Media Marketing, and Public Relations Research have had the most impact.
I have always grown up somewhat shy. I do not speak much unless spoken to or if I am with someone that I am very comfortable with, like my friends and family. During Public Speaking, I was forced to stand up and speak in front of people that I did not know at all. Whether speaking about things that I knew a lot about, or topics that I did not fully understand, I had to stand in front of my peers and talk. This has come in handy so much in this internship because I am constantly being thrown in to helping whoever needs me in the office. I have used my public speaking skills to speak professionally and clearly, so that my coworkers, or anyone that I am trying to communicate with, understands me.
Social Media Marketing was one of my favorite courses that I have taken here at Longwood. Writing has always been a strong point of mine and I enjoyed writing and marketing a blog that I had created. My internship at the Institutional Advancement Office is all about marketing. Marketing The Day of Giving, a huge day where we try to get the most donations possible for the University and Departments, I had to use my marketing skills. Interns had to market and post about the day days before it arrived to get students and alumni involved. Using Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media sites were so important during this time because it was how we connected with our donors! We had to decide what content would attract people to donate, and which wouldn’t. I had to use my trial and errors that I experienced during my time in Social Media Marketing to help me determine what I think would work and what would not.
Lastly, Public Relations Research prepared me for prospectus research. A big part of the Advancement Office is finding potential donors, whether big or small. Going on Twitter and other social media sites to see who loves Longwood and talks about the school highly, is something that I have been tasked with as well. I look at is as an almost Content Analysis study. Examining what people are saying about the university and what role it had in their life. this information is so important because it is then passed off to gift officers, who then talk to the potential donors and build a relationship. This can potentially result in lifetime donors, scholarship donors, and connections with other donors that may love Longwood even more!
My time in the Communication Studies program has prepared me for not only my internship, but a future career as well. Sitting down and applying my knowledge has really given me perspective on what I want to do in my future career and how this knowledge will impact me in the future. I can’t wait to get started!

Journal 3: Tackling My First Event

Since my last journal, I have participated in the prep and execution hosting an event. It is no easy task, that is for sure! The Office of Institutional Advancement hosted the Scholarship Dinner, an event for both donors and student scholarship recipients to be recognized and meet. For preparation, I was in charge of creating name tags for all attending the event. This included name tags for students, faculty, staff and donors. I was in charge of creating the name tag template (since we changed our scholarship logo this year) and making sure there were name tags for everyone that included where they were sitting at the dinner. After creating the name tags, I was in charge of organizing the Place cards and making sure that those names were spelled correctly and in the correct order. The day of the event, I had to make a key and label place cards for those with special dietary requests for the caterers, such as vegetarians or food allergies. During the event, I golf carted donors from the parking garage to Blackwell Ballroom and then back to the parking garage at the end of the dinner.

Through hosting this event, I have learned many things. First, I have learned how hard it is to host an event. It requires so much planning and organization to make it successful. You have to think of the little things, such as making signs to point to the restroom or signs to remind guests to silence their cells phones. Second, I have learned that though you are not given the most glamorous job sometimes, it is still an important job to do and do well because it still makes an impact. And lastly, I have learned how much donors truly love and cherish Longwood, not only through their monetary donations, but their complete awe and interest in new changes and students that was demonstrated during a short ride through campus.

I was challenged this week by having to keep my cool, while everyone around me was stressed and frantic trying to get ready for the dinner. Even when I was feeling stressed, I tried to stay calm so that my work would not be affected and that others around me could also stay calm. I was also challenged when I was golf carting donors back to their cars because it was freezing cold, but I had to stay upbeat and cheery.

This experience has definitely given me a quick glimpse into the world of Event Planning. If that is the career path that I choose to explore, I now have some experience on what went right and what went wrong in order to host a successful event in the future.