Click here to read my most recently published article, where I had the opportunity to chat with IUPUI’s 2017 commencement speaker, Amber. It was an enlightening interview for me as an ambitious young professional and future graduate!
In the past few weeks, I have been fortunate enough to speak with some members of IUPUI’s class of 2016. One of those interviews formed the basis for my article Catching Up with a Recent IUPUI Grad, and was particularly inspirational for me. As you’ll know if you peruse the article all the way to the end, the graduate has met her goals and, I know from speaking with her, she is very happy about where her life is at one year after graduating college.
Why is this important?
Graduating college feels like I’m about to be tipped unceremoniously out of wheelbarrow from the top of a cliff with a very small landing pad at the bottom and I’m expected to make it on my own after years of people guiding me.
We, as students, all have our doubts about what’s going to happen when we get that magic piece of paper that cost us years of time and thousands of dollars to obtain. My fears will likely not have truly set in until next fall, when I will be starting my senior year at IUPUI (woohoo!?!), but they do creep up on me sometimes and that dropping-from-a-cliff feeling seems very real.
Graduating high school was not nearly as unnerving; I had a path laid out before me, in the form of a college acceptance letter and some scholarships, so it was not difficult to figure where to go and what to do. Also, I’ve always been pretty good at and enjoyed school, so I was not very concerned about the academic aspect of it. The post-graduation path for me this time is little more than a thin line, and though I’ve never been drunk, I feel that it’d be very easy to misstep and lose my balance.
Which is why, as a future graduate, it means a lot to me to speak with alumni from my university, and I’m so grateful that I had the chance to do so and to put the happiness of said students into words to be published, so that other students may feel the same temporary relief as I have upon reading Grace Perkowitz’s words. So keep being brave and adulting, alumni, and please don’t be shy about sharing your stories with current students (even the bad parts!). We all could use a little bit of reassurance, so if you’ve got the time, go ahead and let us know what you’ve been through, because we’re all just shaking in our young adult boots.
I am now over a month into my internship with the Indiana State Museum, and every day that I am here I find new ways to appreciate the museum and further confidence in having chose public relations as part of my career path.
Though I have come across some challenges, particularly trying to rack my brain to generate social media content, I look forward to most of the tasks I’m given. I’ve probably now roamed the museums exhibitions ten times all the way through, either as a nice stroll on my lunch break or searching for some new angle to take a nice photo. It’s truly a unique experience to have the privilege to do so.
People continuously ask me how it’s going, and they never seem satisfied with my solid “good” reply. Everyone wants details, but at the end of a 9-5 day it’s honestly hard for me to go back and pick out details quickly. I always need a moment to decompress, because a lot goes on, but not all of it is as interesting to others as it is to me.
As for the social media content I mentioned before, several posts I have drafted have now been published online on all three main platforms for the museum: Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. I’m very pleased with the work I’ve been able to do and the feedback I’ve been given so far.
This weekend I will be attending my first actual Street Team event by going with my coworkers to the Fishers Freedom Festival. Though I know absolutely nothing about what the festival entails or what is to be expected of a museum running a booth there, I’m doing my best to look forward to it and be confident rather than nervous. I’ll let you know how it goes!
Update: Though spending the majority of my Saturday sitting at a table in Fishers, IN was never at the top of the list for cool weekend plans, it went considerably well. It was interesting to observe the people of Fishers at an annual event for the community, and the food I had on break (a gyro) was delicious. The weather was pleasantly cool and breezy, which posed a problem for some vendors with large signs that wanted to blow over, but we had no such issues. It had been a while since I’d really had to use my sales pitch voice, and I think I did well! I am glad, however, that I will not be spending another Saturday away from home.
As promised, here is an update on the work I’ve been doing with the Indiana State Museum:
In the past few weeks, I have updated the media contact lists for all eleven state historic sites in an effort to ensure that all press releases are sent to relevant media outlets, reporters and news directors. This means I have spent time sweeping the internet for information on radio stations, television stations and newspapers. While it’s mentally draining to sit and stare at a Word document full of names for hours at a time, it’s a necessary evil that I’m happy to do.
Having updated the lists, this past week I accomplished two different tasks which were a bit more fun and creative: writing a media pitch and drafting every museum tweet for the upcoming MuseumWeek. Not only would some of my words be sent to every media contact for the state historic sites (it’s a lot of people, trust me) but also potentially be seen by the museum’s 19,800 Twitter followers (@indianamuseum). To a PR geek like me, that’s a big deal!
See the media pitch content here. Updates on the tweets will come once they are officially posted later in June.
As always, I’m so grateful to have this opportunity to work somewhere that’s letting me hone my skills and also teaching me what a positive work environment can look like and do for its employees. I will do my best to continue to keep my blog updated, but be forewarned that this summer is flying by fast and it’s hard for me to keep track of it!
A message to the doubts in my mind and the knots in my stomach.
Less than a week prior to beginning my internship at the Indiana State Museum, the nerves have started to kick in. It’s routine at this point, for me to get nervous days before any big event in my life, despite the fact that nothing particularly traumatic has ever come from a similar event; things almost always turn out 100% better than my doubt-filled mind has decided they’ll go.
This internship opportunity has multi-layered reasons to cause anxiety for me, which I will not delve into for the sake of positivity (WordPress is telling me that ‘positivity’ is not a word, but I double-checked, and it is). On some level, my brain is well aware that I can handle whatever the museum and my new supervisors might throw at me, but that hasn’t stopped me from noticing the doubts rolling around in the back of my mind over the past few days.
So, I sat down to write this blog entry as a reminder to myself that I can, in fact, handle this and that those doubts are welcome to leave any time now because they have no grounds for their argument:
At twenty years old, I have worked hard enough to secure multiple scholarship opportunities which are covering the cost of my schooling, I have a steady job with a supervisor who genuinely values my work and well-being, I have support system in my relationship, my family, and my university, and I’m well-known for having a great work ethic and abundant self-discipline. I can do this, and more than that, I can be one of the best interns the Indiana State Museum has ever had.
When I made the move from Small Town, Indiana to Indianapolis in the summer of 2015, I had a lot of adjustments to make, but I was excited to see what changes living in a city would bring for me. I’ll admit, I have not been the most adventurous resident, but two years later I know pretty well how to navigate Indy and have spent quite a lot of time exploring its various communities.
Though I was eager to life in a more urban setting, it’s something that many people where I am from do not understand. A type of question I commonly get to this day is – “do you still like living there?” or “how do you like living in Indy?”
These queries almost always come from people who care about my well-being and are genuinely just checking in. While I do find it strange and a little bit funny that they’ve continued to ask this time and again, I appreciate the concern. Certain people, however, have been known to ask this question with a hopeful glint in their eye and a sheepish tone which implies they want me to answer negatively.
Nope, I hate it there. Worst decision I ever made, you were right when you warned me about it!
I’ll admit, all too often, I give into this. I’ve caught myself brushing off the question or searching my brain for something cynical to say, in order to not disappoint someone I care about (Marissa, you’ve gotta stop doing that). The reality of it is though, that I love living in Indianapolis.
Sure, it has its flaws (and crimes), but I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be here, living. There are cool events to go to, amazing restaurants to try, and wonderful people to meet.
I’ve been here two years and I know I am just getting started on taking advantage of everything this city has to offer. I’m definitely going to be here at least two more years, and I’m so excited to see what else this city has that I haven’t been brave enough to discover yet!
So, the answer to your question, no matter how much I might hesitate when you ask me (I am going to work on not giving into that pressure) is YES. I love this city, and I could never ever go back to living in Middle of Nowhere, Indiana.
Today I finished the last class of my sophomore year of college, marking the halfway point in my journey to a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism. I am looking forward to spending the next four months (approximately) away from coursework and curriculum, but I will not be taking the summer off – not completely. Many of the people in my life have shared a sigh of relief with me when I have announced the end of my semester, usually nodding and replying something like “well, I bet you’re happy to have some time off and just relax.”
I am happy to have a break.
This past semester was particularly mentally draining for me, as I did not enjoy a lot of courses and could often be found in a state of distress over it. However, as I have mentioned before on this blog, I will still be holding three positions over the summer which will amount to roughly thirty hours of work per week. This schedule will hopefully still allow me plenty of time to spend summer relaxing and doing some of the things I’ve had it in my head to do (road trip, anyone?) It also serves an important purpose – to give me structure. When informed of the tasks ahead of me, the people who were nodding and happy for me replace their smiles with looks of pity, “wow, you can’t catch a break, can you?”
In previous years, summer breaks have often meant that my mental health has taken a dive. It wasn’t until last year that I started to realize why this pattern had developed: a lack of mental stimulation during the summer months. Prior to this self-reflection, summer days were often spent sitting alone, unsure of what to do to pass the time, and a vicious cycle reared its head.
The more I did not do anything, the more I felt like doing nothing at all.
My brain and body just function better whenever I have a daily routine to follow. Due to this realization, I believe that I’m better at managing this issue and will be able to use it to my advantage, keeping active and getting work done over the summer.
So, not only am I getting some amazing professional experience and allowing time for some personal days, I’m taking care of myself.
As a child, I liked to play with my grandmother’s perfumes. During lulls in playtime, I would pad into the bathroom and climb up onto the toilet seat to reach for the shimmering bottles in the upper cabinet, taking turns holding the containers to my nose and considering their scents. Grandma would warn me against using the more expensive smells, the amber liquids sloshing around in glass bottles as I handled them carefully. I would run my fingers over the smooth glass and place them gently back on the shelf, instead reaching for the plastic spray bottles of body sprays and the tiny free samples she’d collected over time.
Brushing the dust off the nozzles and carefully lining the bottles up on the beige counter top, I would mix these inexpensive fragrances, tipping arbitrary amounts into their bottles as if I was a scientist in a lab who had perfected the art of perfumery. After achieving what was to my youthful mind, a perfectly ladylike scent, I would spritz my wrists with the dark liquid like I had seen my grandma do so many times before we left for church. In the end, I would always emerge from the guest bathroom smelling not unlike a reject bin at a Bath & Body Works store.
I would parade around the house on my bare feet, a toothy smile stretched across my face and pushing my freckles around, feeling like the epitome of a proper lady in my fancy new perfume.
On April 24, 2017, as Sexual Assault Awareness Month was coming to a close, IUPUI students were notified that campus police had received two separate reports of sexual assault. The first, which was reported as rape, occurred on April 21, and the second instance, reported as fondling, occurred on April 24.
Two days later, it has been reported by multiple Indianapolis news outlets that a third report of sexual assault was made on Monday, and that police believe the same person is responsible for all three assaults. The description of that suspect was included in the initial email from IUPUI, and is as follows:
“[Victims described] the male suspect as having a dark complexion (possibly Latino), approximately 5’6″ tall and weighing approximately 150lbs. On 04/24/17 the suspect was reported to be wearing a black backpack, black Nike basketball shorts, white Nike shoes and a maroon hooded sweatshirt. The suspected was also reported to have dark brown hair.”
The story, which has now been reported on by outlets such as The Indy Star, Fox 59, WRTV, and WISH-TV, is definitely alarming to me as a student of the university. Lesser so than the threat of sexual assault, but still unnerving, is the fact that as the investigation has continued, students have not heard any further information from their university.
As a female student who often traverses campus alone, I deserve to know that campus police have interviewed a person of interest in the case (as was reported by the outlets named above), and I shouldn’t have to get on Google and search out developments on cases which have directly impacted my fellow Jaguars.
I love and appreciate this university, but there have been several occasions when I have been more than dissatisfied with the way they oversee the security of its students. The Crime Notification emails do well by alerting students of the crimes, but often days later, a delay that I assume is the cause of processing the report. While I am sympathetic to the fact that the university does not want to alarm students by sending notifications prior to some investigation, I feel that being notified of an instance rape three days after the fact is unacceptable.
This delay leaves students like myself feeling unsafe, and at this key point in the semester, finals already have many of us severely distressed. The one email notification has also left me with more questions than answers – How did this happen? How did this keep happening, to the point that there are now three reports with the same suspect? What, exactly, are university police doing as part of this investigation? Who did they interview, and why were they the suspect?
Those are all questions that I believe the university owes its students. However, given the administration’s prior behavior, I’ll probably have to find the answers to those questions somewhere else.
Typing up a quick check-in as the the spring semester of my sophomore year comes to an end:
I am so excited for this summer, not only to get a chance to relax and do fun things (like road-tripping to Tennessee for one) but also because of the professional opportunities I have ahead of me. I will be continuing my work as a content strategist for the IUPUI Division of Undergraduate Education, a position which has so far really helped me gained confidence in my writing abilities. Additionally, I will be interning for the nonprofit organization Indiana Futsal and for the Indiana State Museum!
Having only been at IUPUI for two years, I’m ahead of most others pursuing a journalism/PR degree thanks to taking dual credit classes in high school. Not a day goes by when I don’t think about how grateful I am to have had the opportunity to do that.
I’m excited for these upcoming positions not only because they’re going to look fantastic on a resume but because the supervisors for each of them value and support me as a young professional. Though I haven’t began the position with the museum yet, it’s already clear to me that my boss is a kind and flexible person who is understanding and values those who work for her. Additionally, I’ve already been working with the director of Indiana Futsal and he has made it clear that he values my insight. I say these things not to brag (okay, yeah, a little bit to brag but I deserve it) but to point out the value of working for people you like. Between my job and my internships, I’m excited to complete the work that’s expected out of me – which is definitely not something that every professional can say.
I’m so incredibly thankful and I plan on doing my best to keep this blog updated so stay tuned to see what these opportunities have in store for me!