Give Thanks With a Grateful Heart

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Since I moved to the United States, I’ve had to adapt to holidays – meaning losing some Canadian ones and gaining new American ones. Over the years I’ve grown to understand and enjoy Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Independence Day, and Veteran’s Day, but one I have never gotten used to is Thanksgiving. Yes, we have Thanksgiving in Canada, but we celebrate it in the middle of October, which in my point is much smarter because you have time to work off all that food you ate before you feast again at Christmas. But with American Thanksgiving, you barely have three weeks and you’re stuffing your face with the same foods all over again. And by the time the last week in November arrives, it’s usually too cold to go outside and partake in traditional Thanksgiving activities, like a game of family tackle football. To me, American Thanksgiving is just odd. I mean, who is really going to go outside to watch the Macy’s Day parade when its 25 degrees outside?

Thanksgiving is a national holiday during which people celebrate what they are thankful for during the year. In Canada, my family would often finish harvesting a few days before Thanksgiving, so we always had something to be thankful for. It was perfect timing. We can also be thankful that our holiday is early enough during the year that we don’t have to freeze while enjoying our long weekend. In America, universities have Fall Break, which lands on the week of Thanksgiving. Who wants to have a week off when it’s so cold outside that you can’t even enjoy your time away from school? Don’t get me wrong, the holiday is wonderful, but I just think the Americans might have been a little confused when setting the timing of this holiday.

But anyway, enough of my rant. I should be thanking America because I get to celebrate Thanksgiving twice a year now. (And yes, I FaceTime my family back in Canada while eating my Canadian Thanksgiving dinner.) Like I said earlier, Thanksgiving is a time to realize the good things in life and be thankful for them. This year, more than ever, I’ve realized just how thankful I am.

  • I have an amazing family who has supported me throughout my entire life, no matter what I wanted to do. They may have thought I was crazy at first when I told them I was moving to Missouri, but they have been here for me through all the ups and downs. (Even when I’m so stressed out I think I might explode.)
  • I am part of an amazing educational experience that I will cherish for a lifetime. UCM has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only have I made some great friends, but my PR faculty has provided me with all the skills and knowledge I need to succeed and has been like a second family to me. I am so proud to be a Mule.
  • I’m healthy! Sure I may have just gotten over some sort of illness that I cannot name (I literally had everything except a fever), but my body is healthy and so is my brain. I might need to get into a little better shape, but that can be taken care of after I graduate!
  • I’m talented. (Now don’t take this as me bragging because we are all talented at something.) I can draw, play the piano, paint and write. Not only can I do these things, but I’m really quite good at them too!

And the list could go on and on.

Everyday, I am thankful for something. Be it having milk in the fridge to go with my Cheerios or having my mom to talk to and calm me down when I feel I’m on the edge of a breakdown. So this Thanksgiving, don’t just be thankful for the obvious things, find something/someone who you might take for granted and look at it/them in a different way. Because really, we should be thankful for everything in life.

A Picture Is Worth 1000 Words

So by now, you probably realize that I’m very passionate about writing and public relations. But what you may not know is that I’m absolutely in love with photography. So I’ve decided on creating a blog mini-series featuring a different photo I’ve taken on a bi-weekly basis. These posts will be very short, as I want my photos to speak for themselves.

So let’s begin with my first instalment. I took this photo this past weekend in Kansas City. It features the World War One memorial in the background.

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Graduating? It’s Time to Turn Your Skills Into a Job

Well look at that. It’s time for another post about graduating, job searching and everything in between!

This past weekend, I had the opportunity to attend my favorite public relations event of the year, #PRSSAKC Summit. Held at the UMB Field Club at Sporting Park, it was a full-day event that involved Q&A panels, media presentations, crisis communication overviews and my favorite (and most relevant to me at the moment), job search tips from a professional recruiter.

I’ve slowing been beginning my job search and after hearing her presentation, I realized that I was kind of approaching it the entirely wrong way. But, I mean, how was I supposed to know? The only job searches I’ve performed have been for summer jobs and internship gigs. So how did I know there was a right and wrong way to go about searching for jobs?!?! And I’m guessing that I’m not the only one who’s in this predicament. For that reason, I’m sharing the top five tips the recruiter pointed out about performing an entry-level job search – or any job search for that matter!

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October – A Month Full of Memories

Work, school, PRSSA, eat, sleep, REPEAT. I’ve been so busy lately that I’ve barely had time to blog. And when I have had a few minutes to write up a post, it’s been inspired by something PR related or my recent freaking out about graduating soon and having to find a job! So this post is dedicated to all of the fun things that have made me happy during the wonderful month of October.

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Got an Interview? Time to Kill It!

So you’re close to graduating. It’s the middle of October and you’re freaking out because you’re done school in less than two months and you still don’t have a job.

Welcome to my life. Although my predicament is slightly different because I’m looking for a specific job, rather than any job, I’m still freaking out. I’ve got all the tools to get a job – a great résumé, a bachelor’s degree and plenty of experience, but how am I supposed to make someone else realize that I’m going to be the right person to hire when the only professional experience I’ve had are unpaid internships? I’m not going to lie, I’m very confident with my résumé and cover letter writing skills and my ability to network when it counts, but that’s only the first step to getting a job. What about the interview, and the second interview, and sometimes even the third interview? Do I have the skills I need to continually impress my future boss and make them believe I’m the right person for the job?

Thank goodness I have amazing professors and PR pros willing to speak at my PRSSA events, otherwise I might have missed a few of these key tips for going into an interview:

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A Dream Come True at Kansas Speedway

This past weekend, I had the amazing opportunity to work as part of the public relations event staff during the October NASCAR race weekend at Kansas Speedway. I knew it was going to be a great experience, what I didn’t know was just how awesome it would be! From running press conferences and driver appearances, to working in the press box and meeting influential people in the media, it definitely solidified my decision to pursue a career in the industry after graduation.

Back in September when I job shadowed the director of public relations at Kansas Speedway, I was presented with this opportunity and let me tell you, I jumped on it! Kansas Speedway hosts two NASCAR race weekends a year and getting the opportunity to work the Chase race weekend especially was just incredible. I even created some business cards so that I was ready to make a good impression on the influential people in the business.

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#MulePride

Well, it’s finally here. My last semester of college. And for some reason, I thought it was going to be easier than the rest. But let’s be realistic, IT’S NOT. Although I may be just as busy with work, homework and planning events for my student organization as I have been in the past, I’ve found time to realize one thing I haven’t before – how great it is to be a Mule.

I transferred to UCM in Spring 2012 thinking I’d come here for three years, get my degree and go home. Boy was I wrong. I’ve taken every moment for granted at this wonderful place and now that I know my time is coming to an end, I’m doing everything in my power to cherish my last moments as a Mule. (I’ve even created a UCM bucket list, which I am actually making some progress on!)

From now until December, I am looking at my experience at UCM through a completely new lens. I never realized how much of a family I actually have here. My public relations faculty have been like a second family to me (my American family) and I honestly don’t even want to think about leaving them. This school and everyone in is completely wonderful and even though I’m ridiculously excited to graduate, I really don’t want to leave. But on a happier note, UCM has helped shape me into the person I am today and for that reason, I will proudly forever be a Mule.

UCM Bucket List

A Fall Spectacular

Every year, we are faced with the same decision – “What am I going to do this summer?” We make a list of the activities we want to do, the tasks we need to complete and the travel plans we hope to carry out over the course of three months. But, personally, I know that I don’t have any time during the summer, so I put more effort into my Fall Spectacular – the list I compile of things to do during my favorite season, Autumn. And in all honesty, the weather in Autumn permits for a lot more fun than the 100 degree days of July.

Autumn is the best season for fashion. Layering, sweaters, plaid, button-ups, scarves, boots, leggings and vests let you create fun, unique outfits, just by pairing them together. It’s also the best season for sports. Football (yes both CFL and NFL) are underway, NHL begins in early October, NASCAR is still going strong and you can attend an MLS game well into November. And need I talk about the holidays? Thanksgiving and Halloween – two holidays that revolve around food. I  mean how much better can it get?

So why not take this already amazing season and make it even better taking part in all the activities that are associated with it? Create your own Fall Spectacular list. And if you need some help with ideas, well you’re in luck because here are my favorite autumnal activities. (grouped together into 5 awesome categories!)

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That Door in Front of You… Go Ahead and Knock on It

Doors. We open and close them everyday. And I’m not talking about your front door, your car door, or any other physical door you encounter during the day. I’m talking about those intangible doors you are presented with everyday. The ones you can’t physically see or touch, but have the ability to seriously impact your life.

Whether you know it or not, you are completely in charge of these intangible doors. They are always open until you shut them. And most of the time, we don’t even know they’re open.

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