Why I Do What I Do: PR and Advertising

I was prepping for potential future interviews earlier this week, cup of coffee in hand, coming up with questions that hypothetical future employers may ask me, and planning accordingly (nerd life).

What are your strengths? Check. What are you weaknesses? Check. Do you work well with others? Check. Why do you do public relations? Uncheck.

I’m glad you asked that question (yes, I’m now talking to myself).

Why do I do what I do?

Why do I practice public relations and advertising? Why do I spend my time caring so much about what people think, read and do? Why do I devote hours creating and implementing perfectly crafted images, brands and strategies for companies just so other people can buy, care or think about them?

I didn’t know.

A few weeks prior, after a long day at multiple jobs and internships, I was talking to a family member about what I want to do with my career. I told them I didn’t know if I wanted to do PR anymore at all. Why? I didn’t know if I wanted to spend the rest of my life crafting things to make people see my clients and me a certain way. It’s sometimes shallow, unauthentic.

Wrong.

Let me backtrack. I was always someone a bit confused about my life and what I wanted to do. I took different classes, developed my own set of values that I live by (or make an attempt to) everyday and learned about different industries.

The only thing that really excited me was listening to others speak about their passions, their aspirations.

I believe that passion is the root of all greatness. Passionate people drive programs, companies, advocacies and businesses that are changing the lives of others, changing communities and changing the world.

Brilliant people are doing brilliant things daily, good people are doing good things constantly and difference is being made everywhere you look. So, what if no one sees? Or what if people see, but it is isn’t communicated effectively and accurately? Well then it won’t be shared, if needed it won’t be helped, it won’t be donated to, it won’t be enjoyed-it ultimately won’t reach it’s full potential. In some cases, it won’t matter. And that, is a tragedy.

Oh, that’s why I do what I do.

Enabling others to live out their passions and succeed in their field is what drives my passion for creative public relations and advertising. I get to help people succeed in what they love and show the world how great they are everyday. I get to work with clients and help them build an image to create something that is perfect for them, for me, for their audience and for their success.

Authenticity should not be compromised. PR allows for a genuine portrayal of a person, idea or company to the public. It is not shallow, and it is certainly not unauthentic. It simply allows for real people and companies to put their best foot forward, to reach their potential and to be the best they can possibly be.

I don’t care what other people think. I don’t need to force anyone to like me or anyone else. That’s not what it’s about. It’s about showing others that what people do matters. Why what people are passionate about is relevant. Why real things, real causes and real people matter in a fast-paced world that does on occasion care more about how many “likes” their selfie got on Instagram than about the few other things in the world that are a little more important than that.

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Be Your Own Inspiration

Lately I’ve been getting quite a bit of feedback from peers and friends saying that they look up to me in some way. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy it- who wouldn’t? But it’s causing me to step back and really look at why.

The past several months, I have made numerous changes in my life, from my eating habits, to my study habits, to my goals and to my social settings. These changes have (mostly) been beneficial and good for me. I have made strides in my life, becoming more of who I really am and figuring out what I really want. I think it’s called “growing up,” but I still like to read Harry Potter and eat Cheetos sometimes, so I’m still trying to figure that one out.

For me, I have made these changes because I want to, that simple. I have found what I want and I have figured out who I want to be, at least for now (I tend to change my mind like I change outfits, which is often) and I know what I need to do in order to attain it.

The fact that my life is inspiring some people around me is the biggest compliment I have ever received. I haven’t started any awesome programs, traveled anywhere particularly profound or won any awards, but I am making goals and following through on them. If that allows me to inspire even just one person, that will be enough.

Inspiration comes from many different places. I get inspiration from articles, books, art, beautiful places, music, conversations with others, Pinterest (had to throw that one in there) and many other outlets. But what I have found to be the most “inspirational inspiration,” is myself.

I encourage you to be inspired by different people and ideas, by different paintings and different songs, but at the end of the day, you are all you have.

You want to get a 3.0? Work on getting a 3.0. You want to start waking up at 6 a.m. every day to go to the gym? Start waking up at 6 a.m. every day and going to the gym.

Be your own inspiration.  Make a change for even just one month, if only for the reason that at the end of those four or so weeks you can look back at what you’ve done and say “I’m actually really proud of myself.” Because once you realize that you can make any change you want and do anything you want, once you realize how capable you truly are, then you will be unstoppable.

That being said, don’t set yourself up for failure either. Make sure your goals are attainable and your to do lists aren’t too insane (this might just be a personal problem). However, there are quite a few hours in a day and what you choose to do with those hours is entirely up to you. Next time you look at your schedule and goals with doubt, just think, “I got this.” Chances are, you do.

The Cool Thing About Creation

Or how this piece of writing came to be.

Assignment: Create something.

Uh, okay.

Most of us have been given tasks at different times in our lives that were so simple, they were hard. We think things like “this has to be a trick,” or “I have to do something exceptional, something genius. You know, read between the lines.”

But maybe there isn’t anything between the lines.

Assignment: Create something.

Uh, okay.

Step one: Make a list of things you can create.

Step two: Attempt to draw picture of flowers because that’s what you looked at on Pinterest for an hour prior and that’s creative, right?

Step three: Try to write a poem about your inner misunderstood soul and realize that you really aren’t that misunderstood at all.

Step four: Freak out because you have no idea what you’re going to create and don’t want to look inadequate in front of the class.

Step five: Start writing with no direction because that’s what you do when you’re stressed.

Step six: Pause, there it is.

The beautiful thing about creation is that it comes in many forms. You are creating something when you speak. You are creating something when you doodle. You are creating something when you paint a masterpiece and you are creating something when you spend extra time decorating your workspace.

Different people create different things, but we all create somehow. One way isn’t better than another and being stuck in one form of creation simply isn’t possible.

When people say they aren’t creative, they aren’t giving themselves enough credit.

There are tasks given to us sometimes that may seem vast and unreachable, but if we just take the time to look at where we go when we’re trying to figure out the answer, it’s usually right there. In my case right at this moment, the answer is writing; in another’s the answer might be in a song. That’s what’s so cool about creation, it’s everywhere. We can create whatever we want and work together with whomever we want to create more.

So, next time you think the assignment is too difficult, it might not be at all. It might be you, second-guessing what is already inside you wanting to come out. Easy? No, but doable? Yes.

Finding that Love (And Growing Up in the Process)

Some people are obsessed with finding someone that they love, someone that loves them back.

Personally, I’m obsessed with finding something that I love, something that loves me back.

And I’ve found it.

My hope is that everyone finds it at some point. It doesn’t mean that you have to know exactly what job title and responsibilities you want, not in the slightest. But it does mean that you know the direction you’re headed, and you know it with your whole heart.

Once you’ve found what you love, what gets your passion going, it will love you right back. Why? Because you spend hours upon hours working toward it and bettering yourself for it. There are no limits. You are the only one that can hold yourself back from being what and who you want.

Opportunities are endless.

I’m not sure where people get the idea that they are not capable of doing something. It’s good to be realistic, sure (I will never get into Harvard-mostly because I had a little too much fun my first couple years of college, no rAgrets). However I could get into another east coast graduate school down the road-and by the way, I will. Don’t doubt yourself, because if you do, so will everyone else.

I have many goals. These goals drive me every day to get up and work hard. Each day is a chance to put yourself one day closer to your ultimate goals, and that’s a gift in itself.

Will I necessarily attain my exact dream life? Probably not. But will I attain my goals and be happy wherever I end up? Yes, because I’m working hard to ensure that I do something worthwhile and end up doing something that I love. I refuse to go to a job I hate. But with that refusal comes a lot of hard work and even more sacrifices.

Some people may think that you’ve changed. But once you’ve found what you love, all of the sacrifices don’t seem like sacrifices at all. You should feel blessed that you have to go to bed a bit earlier because you have an awesome job to go to in the morning. You should want to read for class because it’s putting you that much closer to getting into grad school.

If you were anything like me back in the day, change is good. If I was still the same person I was my freshman year of college, I’d be concerned about where I was going in life. Fun and harmless sure, but for life? I don’t think so. Duh we change. Duh we prioritize. Duh we get a little “boring.”

You can’t be a kid forever, but you can be happy (and should be) forever. Don’t be scared to grow up, embrace it and be your best self, but make sure to stay young at heart, always.

A Fifth Year Senior & Greek Life Alum, Amidst the Excitement that is Recruitment

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Bid Day, University of Nevada. Circa 2010.
Due to Instagram and other social media platforms, it’s almost impossible to not realize that sorority recruitment at the University of Nevada ended today, with the “best day of the year” (as some captions claimed), Bid Day.

I graduated from my chapter last spring, although I am continuing on in my fifth (and final) year at the University of Nevada this fall, and I remain a decently involved student on campus.

Starting out, I never wanted to join a sorority, really I didn’t want to be at Nevada at all (hard to believe now considering I use #PackPride in my speech almost as much as I do on my social media channels-but that’s a whole different story).

The first week of my freshman year, much to my dismay, I went through recruitment and had to miss the first football game, thanks a lot mom.

I joined my chapter, gained sisters and friends, went through the new member process and so on and so forth. Fast forward four years to last spring when I said goodbye to my active member life.

My pledge class and I made it through a lot. The number of our class dwindled as we went along, but our core always remained in tact. How many times I thought about leaving I can’t count, but the key word there is “thought.” It was never an actual option. Was I extremely enthusiastic about getting involved? Not always. Was I around all the time taking advantage of events? Not really. Was I really into crafting and screaming “BIG” every chance I got? Um, not even close (although I do have the best Big ever-shoutout to you).

Sorority and Greek life never fully defined me. It was a part of my life, of course. But it was never my entire life.

I am not a crier. When my pledge class and I graduated, I think I was one of the few (pretty sure the only) person in the group that didn’t cry. It wasn’t because I wasn’t sad, because I was. But I had it easier, I was still a student so I knew I would be around. I was also ready to move on and I could feel that it was time- c’est la vie.

Reflecting back as I see faces, new and old, embracing each other and celebrating another recruitment season, another group of new women to be welcomed into the Greek community, I can’t help but think about my time in my chapter and where I am now.

It’s easy to “roll with it” and not understand the impact of different experiences. Whether you’re involved with an organization, going to school, wrapped up in a job or living somewhere for a good amount of time, it’s easy to take it for granted. It’s easy to see the annoying stuff and it’s easy to complain about an obligation. It takes reflection and thought to see the opportunities, to realize that every smile is a blessing and to see the beauty around you.

Looking at my experience now, I remember some stuff.

I remember the women that wanted me to represent them as a Homecoming candidate when I had no idea anyone took me seriously at all. I remember the women who believed that I could be Vice President of Programming for Panhellenic Council when I didn’t think I could speak in front of two people let alone the entire Greek community. I remember the women who told me they valued my opinion during recruitment when I thought they assumed I was simply a partier and nothing more. I remember the women that taught me not to care what people think, to be confident and to follow my dreams, simply because I could. I remember the women that believed in me when I didn’t. I remember the women that looked up to me while I was an active, and I remember the women who look up to me now and continue to inspire me to be better and do better every day.

So, when you look back, you won’t remember the parties, the rules or the mandatory meetings. But you will remember the friends, the role models and the women that looked up to you and believed in you even when you didn’t yourself.

I actually haven’t really realized this until today. I never gave my chapter and the women in it enough credit. Now, when I look back and think about my experience I’ll remember all those things, and know that I can do whatever is ahead of me and you can bet “KAO alum” is now in my Twitter and Instagram bios (PR nerd at heart).

You can also bet that I encourage all members-new and current, to be as involved as possible and scream “BIG” at the top of your lungs as much as you want-it is Theta for a lifetime, but I can’t get away with dressing up like a Ninja Turtle for a fraternity social anymore.

An Ode to the Basics

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This is my ode to the basics. By ode, I mean a form of writing that I am completely using wrong (it’s technically a lyrical poem) but am choosing to ignore because I like the title of this blog post. By basic, I mean anyone that falls under the category of the trending “basic girl” or anyone that can relate.Ready… okay:

First of all, I can’t even figure out where to begin.

Literally though, I can’t.

The mythical persona known as the “basic girl” is something that appears in “10 things…” and “5 ways…” articles often, mainly geared toward millennials that enjoy humor, self-help and procrastination. (Personally, I love these types of articles. Duh, I have a blog).

I am basic.

I’m obsessed with scented candles. I really do love pumpkin spice lattes. Pictures of trees are pretty, and Instagram filters only enhance. Uggs are warm. I own 22 scarves (I counted).

Sometimes, I really “just can’t.”

I used to take it personal if someone called me basic. I am an intellectual and hipster person I swear. I’m down to earth, chill and different, the last thing from basic.

The fact that I let it bother me is comical, not to mention just so basic.

Trends are trends. People like similar things because those things are usually legitimate things to like. Why call yourself basic for enjoying a simple pleasure in life such as the joys of fall? Why feel bad about yourself because you got your first pumpkin spice latte of the season and you Instagrammed it because you’re excited?

This is my ode to the basics, for not caring that they’re basic. This is my ode to the hipsters, for not caring that they’re hipsters (however I don’t think any hipsters will read this because they probably knew blogging was cool before it was cool so they’re on to something new at this point). This is my ode to the people that love their style and rock it every day. This is my ode to the people that enjoy a certain band and listen to it whenever they want. This is my ode to the people that allow themselves to indulge and enjoy the little things in life, regardless of any stereotype or different opinion.

This is my ode to the basics. Really though, this is my ode to what “basic” represents. This is my ode to anyone that does whatever they want because they don’t care what anyone thinks about it (something I definitely need work on- I’ll put it on my list).

This was probably pretty basic of me to write, but oh well.

*If you got the Bring It On reference in there, you are probably guilty of being “basic.” You are also probably really cool. Just in case you needed help with figuring out your identity.

Passion Is The Root of All Greatness

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Every once in awhile you are lucky enough to participate in or be exposed to something phenomenal, something beautifully eye-opening.

Yesterday, I was blessed enough to do just that.

International project Dear World was brought to my institution (by none other than my college, my work and the location in which I work-yeah I am bragging). I won’t get into the “about” of Dear World, but ultimately the project aims to tell people’s personal stories, because everyone has one.

I had known for awhile that I was going to be one of the few to participate in a private photo shoot early in the day, releasing my photo to create hype about the project on campus. My thoughts-I get to write something inspirational on myself, get my photo taken and I HAVE to post it? Um, I can definitely do that.

As you can imagine, as someone in the PR world, with a focus on digital marketing, I was a bit excited about this for quite some time (but really, I spent time thinking about what I was going to wear, what face I was going to make and what pose I was going to do).

But that didn’t matter. The point of this experience is to tell the world what you want to tell it. To let your message be seen, read and heard. So what was I going to write?

I’m a lover of inspirational quotes, let’s be honest who doesn’t like a good “quote” board on Pinterest? So I looked, but I didn’t find what I wanted.

I believe that passionate people do amazing things. Why? Because they care. They start life-changing projects (see Dear World), they create beautiful art, they write beautiful things, they solve near-impossible equations, they save lives and they cure disease. Passionate people change the world everyday, whether it’s searching for a cure for cancer or making just one person smile-I believe that passion is the root of all greatness.

I guess maybe this is why it has taken me a bit longer than some to find my way. I refuse to settle in my life. I refuse to live without passion, work without passion, create without passion or love without passion.

I find conversing with people that are passionate about something, whether it’s their work, their love life, their friends, their hobby or a cause, one of the most stimulating things there is. That is one of the reasons I am an “aspiring PR professional,” I want to help others to live out their passions and be successful in what they do.

I believe that passion is the root of all greatness. I also believe that only you can enable yourself to live your passion. Entrenchment is not an option-find out what you are passionate about, follow your heart and never give up, because if you follow your passions, something great will transpire.

I haven’t always followed this way of thinking, before I knew what I truly wanted in life (although that will always be a work in progress) I didn’t take the necessary steps to follow my passions. However I have recently realized the importance of hard work and attaining what you want, I don’t want “what if” to be anywhere near my vocabulary. My new found drive for life is fueled by these thoughts, I guess I’m kind of scared-scared to not live up to my potential and pursue my passions.  Therefore I will never again live a life less than I am capable of living.*

Yesterday not only reassured me about how I want to live my life, but it opened my eyes to those around me. Dear World allowed for me and others to connect with complete strangers, learn more about our friends and to realize that everyone is relevant, everyone has talent, everyone has a voice and everyone has a story worth telling.

*My favorite quote-“There is no passion to be found in settling for a life that is less than the one you are capable of living.” -Nelson Mandela