Monday, January 28, 2013

Juggling Multiple Responsibilities and Goals: Marketing/PR vs. Journalism

"College is easy," said no one ever.

Now, try combining classes, clubs and sports. College is anything, but easy.

In case you haven't heard, here are the things I am involved with on campus:

  1. Varsity Alpine Ski Team
  2. The Defender (Campus Newspaper)
  3. Her Campus SMCVT
  4. SMC Blogs/ Tour Guide
  5. Acabellas
My Tour Guide Bio
You can see that these various activities have different goals. As a member of the SMC Blogs team, the goal is to help prospective students and families to learn about life at St. Mike's. The same goes for my position as a tour guide. As a member of the Defender staff, I am dedicated to covering campus news, events, and sports. I am also dedicated to doing it in a way that seeks the truth behind a story and doesn't give a public relations spin. However, above all else, I identify as a student-athlete.

My Athlete Bio
One of the toughest jobs I have is balancing these goals. I'm currently pursuing a story that displays an athletic team in a less-then-flattering light. It's a prime example of the juggling act I am currently performing. I have found that despite my love of marketing and public relations, I am more interested in writing a truthful and interesting story for the paper that is going to create conversation. I also think that it is commendable to tell people the best available version of the truth. That is what the news is, according to several of my professors. It is also our job to tell the stories that will not be in the press releases put out by the school. I also struggle with my position as a writer and my commitment to being a student-athlete. I have loved being a student-athlete and would never want anyone there to think I am attacking them while I pursue a story and request interviews. 

Like I've said, I'm juggling a lot of rolls and commitments. I write this blog post not to discourage from getting involved with as many clubs and activities as possible, but to prepare you for the fact that you may also walk the line. 

My SMC Blogs Bio
Note that the criss-crossing of commitments can also lead to advantages. Without my position as a student-athlete, there are a lot of interviews that wouldn't have been granted and maybe even answers I wouldn't have received. The programs I'm involved in have helped me build relationships.

The bottom line is: The challenges of college don't always just involve time management, home sickness, and studying. Sometimes college challenges the way you think, act and think about yourself and those can be the hardest of them all.

Have questions? Ask me here: (You can ask anonymously if you'd like!)
You can also shoot me an email if you want to talk:


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Skiing Update: Time to Remember How to Race

Photo by: Gabbi Hall
Hello world,

You're probably abundantly aware that it is ski season. If you're from New England, I hope you aren't frozen solid today. For my non-New Englanders, it's been "Feels like -20" all day, so we're just trying to stay warm.

The first two carnivals on the EISA circuit were hosted by UVM and SLU. Overall, I haven't been thrilled with my results. I got 20th in the giant slalom last Friday, which was my best result so far this season.  Last season my best result was 11th, so I need to get myself together to get back to that level.
Photo by: Gabbi Hall

On the other hand, I am also happy to say that I am really enjoying my senior year of racing. It is my last season of competition and so I am striving to enjoy every run and race. The goal is always to race well and do well for the team, but I've made it a personal goal to make sure that I enjoy myself and don't take anything to seriously.

Photo by: Gabbi Hall
One of things I like to do while I'm at races is take photos. It started as a hobby during my photojournalism class and now I just think its great. It relaxes me between runs and then I end up with some cool photos. The photos in this post are of two St. Mike's male skiers and a UVM male skier. The problem with racing is that I rarely can take photos of the ladies because I am competing. 90% of my photos are of the men. I will say that the men's races are easier to photograph.

Tomorrow, I head to Sugarloaf, ME with the team for the Colby College carnival. Please keep your fingers crossed for me! I love this hill and could use a solid finish in both events.

Talk to you all soon!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Principles of Business Communications

Because I had open space in my schedule, the only thing I had to worry about was if I'd be able to ski. I've never taken a business course before, so I decided that now was a good time. I signed up for Principles of Business Communication with Erik Kaarla. As a communications major and someone who has worked in a business (and we all will at some point), I thought that it couldn't hurt to have a little experience with the basics of formal business communication practices.

The course covers a variety of topics including public speaking, which I am most excited about. I've done a lot of public speaking in my life and, to be honest, I rather like it. I think having a class that focuses on that is extraordinarily important in any major. There will be points in everyone's career where they need to speak publicly. I think they need to make it an LSC class in my personal opinion.

I have my first presentation tomorrow. Kaarla divided the class into groups of 4 to 5 people on day one. The groups were selected at random and each team picked a chapter of the book to cover. Our initial instinct was to grab one at the end. However, knowing the state I am going to be in in March and April (sleep-deprived and crazy), I suggested we take one of the first presentations. There are several reasons I like to go first, but my favorite is that you can set the standard. I like to set the bar high as you are probably already aware.

In order to be true to my personal presentation style, I used Prezi to make our presentation. We broke the chapter into 5 sections: one for each member, plus a section for class participation at the end. (Feel free to watch the Prezi below.)

The participation section includes each student formulating business-appropriate responses to one of the given scenarios. Students will be selected at random and will be asked to read their response aloud to the class. We will then open the floor to discussion about what the good and bad are of the response they wrote. (Keep your fingers crossed that the whole presentation runs smoothly.)

I have a love-hate relationship with group projects. They divide up the work, which is nice, but often times members are at different levels of public speaking abilities and levels of caring about the project. I don't care that this class isn't for my major and that I took it just for the credits. I care deeply about the impression I put forward and grade I receive at the end of the semester.

I promise to keep you updated on the class and let you know about any interesting projects we do this semester. I hope you are all having a good 2013 so far.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Social Media Practice and Theory - A New #SMCVT Class (#mjd219)

As you are probably aware, classes at St. Michael's College started on Monday. If you are a regular reader, you know that this is my last semester at the college. The light at the end of the tunnel is getting my diploma in May. In order to get there, I need to take a few more classes.

Lucky for me, the Media Studies, Journalism and Digital Arts department hired Michelle Jeffery, the coordinator of marketing and communications at Vermont Public Radio, to teach Social Media Practice and Theory. It is brand new course, which has never been offered before. I am thrilled to see the department providing a class in a media topic, which is clearly infiltrating our lives.

The course description states that we will explored Twitter and Facebook primarily with projects involving exploring many of the other social networks like Instagram. LinkedIn, Google+ and Foursquare. Let's just say that I should probably change my middle to name to "social media." We filled out a social media diet survey for the class and I had tried all of the social networks plus a few. I'm the girl that uses Twitter as a texting system and runs an aggressive amount of Facebook brand pages. I'm ALMOST embarrassed about my small obsession.... ALMOST.

The good news is I'm familiar with all the platforms, so I'm not coming into the class blind. If I was coming in blind, that'd be embarrassing considering I'm the Online Media and Communications coordinator at the school.

Assignments for the class will include participating in class discussions using #mjd219 on Twitter or in our Facebook group, shadowing a local journalist who uses social media and writing a story using social media sources and crowd sourcing.

The cover of our book proposal.
Perhaps the thing I like most so far is the fact is the mix of people in the class. I recognize many of them, but I've never had class with most of them, which will make for new and interesting conversation.  The second best part is that it will be a great course in relation to the book Liz and I are writing on media events in the 21st century with emphasis on social media and the way we engage with the television.

Now, I have to go because class starts soon. Let me know if you have any questions: .


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The First EISA Carnival of 2013

Hi Everyone!

I took a two week vacation from blogging for a few reasons, but the greatest was that I was back on campus skiing for two weeks with the team and was regularly exhausted. Plus, we all need a break from the norm, don't we? You'll be glad to know that now I am back for my final semester at St. Mike's. (Cue the ominous music.)

Before I jump into blog posts about my academic life as a senior, I want to share with you a little bit about the first EISA (Eastern Intercollegiate Ski Association) Carnival of the season.

For those of you who aren't skiers, a "carnival" is just the name for a college race. While vastly entertaining like the original definition, there are no masks, public street parties, or parades.

Photo from the SMC Alpine Ski Team
Taken from the bottom of the Stowe GS
The University of Vermont hosted the first race at Stowe Mountain Resort, which is like a home hill for us. We train their twice a week along with our time at Smuggler's Notch. While I have had a countless number of runs on the race hill, this season I had had a minimal number of days in gates compared to many of the people competing or even compared to some of my team mates.

I didn't ski terribly this past weekend, but it certainly wasn't my best performance. I was solid, but did not have my regular, awesome self. (Please excuse the self-flattery.)

As for the other skiers on the team, the men had stand-out performances in slalom on Saturday. Fredrik Sandell grabbed a podium spot, coming in third. Carl Oscar Bredengen came in 19th and Brad Farrell came in 22nd. This places the men's team in 3rd for the day.

Following the alpine race, the team sits in 9th place. The nordic part of the race isn't for three weeks, so we won't know final results for a while.

In case you don't know, the nordic and alpine ski teams train separately, but in terms of EISA team rankings, our results are combined. 
My friend, Kelly from SLU, and I at Stowe

At the end of the day, the UVM Carnival was a fairly uneventful race. The obvious highlight for the team was Fredrik's podium. I was personally excited to see all of my friends who are from other schools like St. Lawrence, Dartmouth, and Middlebury.

The team heads to Lake Placid this weekend for the St. Lawrence University Carnival. If you are interested, check out Live-Timing and "watch" the races. Keep your fingers crossed for us!


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