Reflection

It’s only just the beginning…

As my Digital Communications class quickly draws to an end, I am actually kind of sad. However, I’ve come to realize that it’s only the beginning. Skills I have learned in this class will follow me wherever I go for years to come.

A digital world // Photo Cred: V+O Communication

I read Glynda’s article, At Last: Youth Culture and Digital Media: New Literacies for New Times. She mentioned how in today’s world, it is important to be familiar with many different “communicative tools, modes, and media, plus an awareness of and a sensitivity to power and the importance of representation of self and others.” The world is ever-changing, and it is our responsibility to keep up.

What Do I Need To Know?

Throughout my Digital Communications class, we were taught tools and methods in order to be on track with this fast-paced world. However, some seem to be more important in this day and age than others.

Podcasts

One of my favorite things to do on long road trips is listen to podcasts. I never really thought of making one myself. Let me tell you, they are not that difficult and actually kind of fun to make. We took our voice recorder and went around to different people for interviews. If someone messed up, it was easy to edit the mistakes out. Audacity is a great program to use to put all of the pieces together, and is quite helpful when it comes to creating a podcast!

I loved making this podcast with my group. If I’m being honest, my team worked our butts off in order to produce this! We were incredibly dedicated to making a fun, exciting podcast that people wanted to listen to.

Videos

In this ever-growing world, it is important to know how to make a video. In this class, we were instructed to make a video in a group and a video by ourselves. Both taught me a lot about the video-making process. For the group video, it was fun to see what people’s strengths were and how they could contribute. For my individual video, I had to do it all on my own, so I definitely learned A LOT and now feel much more comfortable making videos!

Check out my individual video about studying abroad.

After reworking my individual video multiple times, this was the finished product. While I am proud of it and it has improved tremendously since the first cut, it still has a lot of work to do.

Check out my group video here!

As with my individual video, this final product has come a long way. Our rough cut was seriously, rough. I am very happy about the way this turned out, but it can always be improved more!

Personal Website

Have you ever noticed how competitive EVERYTHING is in today’s world? Well, if you haven’t, IT IS. People have incredible resumes with many activities, experiences, and skills. What I have recently discovered is that if you have a website, it can be very marketable. A website is a place in which you can market your work, resume, and anything else you want potential employers and co-workers to see. It is a creative way to set yourself apart from your competitors!

Check out my website here.

I love the way my website looks! It is fun, flirty, yet professional. Just the vibe I was going for. I look forward to working with it more in the future and changing it based on what I want.

Skills That Will Last A Lifetime

As I’ve mentioned before, these skills will follow me wherever I go. Obviously, if I am in the marketing/communications world, I will be using them frequently. However, if my path and career change, I will still be able to use these tools to help with almost anything I do. What I think is cool is that they will undoubtably help my work career, but can also help my personal life. It would be fun if I made a video of a family vacation or wedding, so that people could enjoy for years to come. But let me tell ya, I am excited to have learned these skills that will help me in the future.

Thank you, Digital Communications, and Dr. Kwami, for teaching me so much.

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Collaborative Work

Dining Hall Hacks

Sometimes, after weeks and weeks of eating food from the Dining Hall, it can get extremely boring. For my Digital Communications video assignment, my group decided it would be fun to explore how to spice up and make some of the food in the Dining Hall more exciting. Check out some of these cool tips and tricks!

Reflection

The Cell Phone

My parents always tell me how lucky I am that I didn’t have to sit in the kitchen on the home phone connected to the wall in order to chat with my friends. Seriously, I could not imagine not having the privacy that cell phones create. In an article I recently read titled, “The Cell Phone as an Agent of Social Change,” I was able to further understand the impact that cell phones have today in our lives and on a global scale.

The evolution of cell phones throughout the years // Photo Cred: Emaze

Does anyone else remember big and blocky cell phones that were practically indestructible? It is just fascinating to think about how cell phones have changed over the years. Today, most cell phones are able to do so many things, that’s why they are called smart phones. As the article said, “cell phones has transformed daily life of individuals to such an extent that it can be thought of as an agent of social change.” Cell phones are not only tools for communication, but also has a broad social impact on family relations, peer relations, and many other areas of life.

Texting

Easy, fast, and no hassle! // Photo Cred: Penn State

In all areas of the world, texting is a large part of the adolescent culture. I know for myself and many other teenagers, texting is the preferred mode of contact. Sometimes, talking on the phone is unnecessary and you just want to send a quick message that doesn’t need a full-fledged conversation. For example, my grandmother comes to our house for dinner once a week. I swear, she ALWAYS leaves her reading glasses on the counter. It’s not worth a phone call (that could turn into another hour long conversation), so I always shoot her a quick text to know that they are at our house. Texting is easy, fast, and very helpful!

Is it A Boy Thing or A Girl Thing?

Boys and girls use cell phones differently // Photo Cred: ClipartFest

We all know that most adolescents use cellular devices. The article points out that girls find cell phones more important than boys do. They also use them in different ways. Girls tend to use cell phones primarily as a tool of communication, because is an easy way to keep up with family and friends. Girls also tend to enjoy using cell phones for social aspects, like choosing the design, ring tone, and colors. I know that all of my friends, including myself, loved having the “coolest” ringtone back in the day. I know I had Beyoncé as my ringtone at one point…

However, boys use cell phones for different aspects. They often think of their cell phone as a toy. Nowadays with smart phones, there are thousands of games that can be downloaded onto it. They also prefer to use it solitarily and to explore its features. It is interesting to see how both genders use technology in different ways.

Cell Phones and Their Benefits

Although teens can be infatuated with their cell phones, they do have some benefits. They are vital in identity formation, they assist in keeping up with friends and friend groups, and they can take your mind off of the world for a little while. One thing that I particularly love about cell phones is their ability to help with “geographically distant locations.” When I was abroad for the semester in Italy, my cell phone helped me keep up with friends and family. I truly do believe that cell phones, if used correctly, are beneficial to society.

Cell phones are everywhere // Photo Cred: Living The Bump
Reflection

So Many Identities, So Little Time

Who are we really? When it comes to social media, there are many identities one may have. // Photo Cred: Leading Virtually

Who am I? What do I value? Questions like these are some that many people ponder. Throughout our lives, we tend to question ourselves. It takes a lot of time, experience, and patience, but in the end, we should be able to confidently know who we are individually. You have to ask yourself about the values and beliefs that hold the most importance to you. Then, you should be able to begin understanding more about yourself.

On social media, we have the opportunity to choose our identity. // Photo Cred: Boston Post

In Papacharissi’s “A Networked Self,” it is mentioned how the user is able to present themselves in whatever way they want. “Users create a ‘face’ for each interaction and develop ‘faces’ for a variety of situational contexts.” Each social networking site is different in its own way, so users are able to tweak the way they portray themselves to the public.

FACEBOOK

Facebook, Facebook, Facebook! // Photo Cred: Facebook

Oh, the wonders of Facebook! It is a wonderful place for people to connect, for friends and family to communicate, and to find groups of people who have similar interests as you. Facebook used to be extremely popular with teenagers and young adults, but adults have seemed to “invade” it. I, along with many others my age, have moved away from Facebook. I use it to post pictures, so I can look at them later and so my family is able to keep up with what I am doing. I also occasionally post status updates with positive things happening in my life, usually aimed at my family members and adult friends. Like many others, I try and keep my Facebook account polished and presentable. I do not want family members or other adults to see images of me that I do not want them to. This is the image and identity I try to keep on Facebook.

TWITTER

Tweet, tweet! // Photo Cred: Google Play

Twitter has got to be one of the best social networking sites in my opinion. I love how so many things can be said in less than 140 characters. Because less of my family members and adult friends are on Twitter, I feel comfortable to present myself in a different manner than I do on Facebook. I tweet about funny, awkward experiences that happened to me or something that would not be interesting for adults to see. I don’t think they care what I ate for lunch today, and I don’t expect them to. I also LOVE retweeting my favorite celebrities or just funny tweets. There is something about the community that is on Twitter that encourages me to be myself- my funny, weird self.

INSTAGRAM

Likes, comments, sharing, oh my! // Photo Cred: DPReview

Instagram is another great social networking site. Adults have started to move from Facebook to Instagram. (Can you hear teens sighing everywhere?) Instagram is a place where you can share photos, add captions, and like/comment on your friend’s photos. I tend to post pictures of myself doing exciting and cool things, pictures that I want my friends to see. You never see a picture of someone doing anything mediocre, it is always someone trying to portray their best self. No one is ever going to post about a bad day, they want to make others see how “cool” of a life they have. It is really interesting to see how people create their image on sites like Instagram.

I found this really interesting and wanted to share. // Photo Cred: Identity Woman

The internet provides many opportunities to portray ourselves in different ways. The fun part is that YOU get to create who YOU want to be.

Collaborative Work

Furman Bucket List

In my Digital Communications class this semester, we were put into groups and asked to create a podcast. It had to be three to five minutes and could be on any topic we wanted.

Caroline Tucker, Shuntaro Yoshida, and I decided to create a podcast called, “Furman Bucket List.” What do people want to do before they graduate from Furman? We thought it would be an interesting and entertaining topic to explore. We interviewed a freshman, a fifth year senior, a professor, and an admissions counselor, who each provided different views on their “Furman Bucket List.”

Check it out! We hope you like it.

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Andiamo!

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Andiamo, let’s go! // Photo Credit: 123rf

Ciao, amici! How is everyone doing? At this time in the semester, I am really wishing I could be back in Europe: eating, drinking, and adventuring. BUTTTTTT- since I can’t, I’m going to reminisce and recommend y’all some of my favorite places, so that you can decide for yourself to put them on your to-do list or not!

In Italian, andiamo means “let’s go!”

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I had to take a cliche picture in a phone booth in London! // Photo Credit: Emma Holthouser

London, England

I’ve been to London a few times now, and it continues to captivate me. There is something about it that just keeps drawing me back. Not to mention, there are so many sights to see– Big Ben, Westminster Abbey (where Prince William and Kate got married!!!), the Eye, and Buckingham Palace. One place that is definitely worth the visit (if you’re a closet history nerd like me) that isn’t as well-known as the other attractions is Winston Churchill’s War Rooms. SO. COOL. London as a city has so much history and culture that draws in people from all around the world. If I’m being honest, I would totally consider moving to London after graduation- that’s how much I love it.

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Overlooking Innsbruck, Austria // Photo Credit: Emma Holthouser

Innsbruck, Austria

It is not as well known as London is, but let me tell you, it NEEDS to be on your list of places to visit. It is a quaint, little city that is surrounded on all sides by mountains. There is so much to do- eat, shop, and not to mention, ski! How cool is to to say that I’ve skied in the Alps?! We took about a 45 bus ride from Innsbruck to Stubai Glacier, which has been home of the Winter Olympics several times. Skiing in the Alps was unbelievable, although I did fall on my butt more times than I will admit. It was one of the best experiences of my life and I will remember it for years to come.

Take a Chance!

My piece of advice is to go somewhere off the grid. Sometimes, places that you wouldn’t necessarily expect turn out to be the your favorite. Take a chance and go somewhere you normally wouldn’t!

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One of my favorite quotes // Photo Credit: Pinterest

I could talk all day about fantastic places to go in Europe, but that is partially up for you to decide! Do some research, talk with friends and family, or feel free to contact me. However, I did put together this video with some advice and tips for ya! Take a look.

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Am I Italian yet?

After spending the semester in Italy, I would like to think I immersed myself in the Italian culture to the best of my ability. And let me tell you, it is entirely different than life here in the States. One of the biggest differences between the two cultures is the conception of time.

Wait, what?! That is so random! Yep, that’s right, time means completely different things in Italy and the USA. Americans seem to schedule every single minute of their day, while Italians have more of a “go with the flow” mindset. They simply will get places when they get there, they are not worried about rushing anywhere.

In typical American fashion (read: impatient!!), one thing that I could not comprehend at all were the meals that lasted for hours upon hours. Every few weeks, our professors would take us to a gourmet Italian restaurant for a quality, five-course dinner. Oh wow, were those delicious, but they took FOREVER. The waiters would bring out one course, let you digest, bring out the next course, let you digest, for FIVE COURSES!!! I joked with my friends that these kinds of meals were a marathon, not a sprint.

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The wonderful city of Florence, where I learned to cook like an Italian // Photocred: Found the World

Ever since I was a little girl, my grandmother and I have talked about taking a cooking class together in Italy. She is one of the best women I know, and an even better cook. When I decided that I was in fact studying for a semester in Italy, she and my grandfather bounced on the opportunity to come visit.

My grandparents flew into Venice where my roommate and I met them. We spent a wonderful, tourist filled day there and took the train to Florence. Number one on our list? A cooking class, obviously!

The cooking class we decided on taking was AMAZING. The nicest, funniest two Italian men were the head chefs and walked us through the entire process. They had us making so much food, I was starving by the time we finished cooking!

The food we made and eventually got to eat was incredible. I had never tasted anything so good, and I was so proud that I had helped create it! My grandparents made the mistake of eating everything during the first couple of courses, so they got full very quickly. My roommate and I had to remind them, “it’s a marathon, not a sprint.” But nevertheless, it was absolutely delicious.

Check out the step-by-step process of our cooking class below:

However, by the end of the semester, I had learned how to slow down, relax and enjoy the amazing people, cities, and culture in Italy… Unfortunately, just in time for me to leave!!

Uh oh; gotta go! Time is of the essence here back in the States and I have to get to class, then my volunteer position, then workout, then do homework! Guess I better pick up the “tempo” (Ha! Ha! Get it?!)

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Planes, trains, and automobiles!

In my 87 days away from good ole North Carolina, I traveled 15,329 miles. Wowza! I definitely did not walk all 15,329 miles, although I would like to think I walked a good bit of it. Ha! Shoutout to the planes, trains, metros, boats, buses, taxis, cars, and of course, my feet, for getting me everywhere I needed. Seriously. Y’all rock.

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Some of my favorite modes of transportation: planes, metros, and boats! // Photo Credit: Emma Holthouser

Flying Doesn’t Have To Be Expensive

While GETTING to Europe is rather expensive, flying within it is not.. My advice would be to book flights months in advance if possible. Go on websites that compare prices between airlines; my personal favorite is Sky Scanner, it saved me quite a bit of money. One of my FAVORITE things about Europe is how cheap the flights are between countries. My roommate was looking at flights from Belfast to Barcelona, and found a £6 flight, equivalent to about $7.50. WHAT IN THE WORLD?! I have paid more for my food at Chick-Fil-A than how much that flight costs! But seriously, I recommend comparing websites and flight prices, some try to rip you off. I recommend flying if the distance and price are worth it.

Long train rides call for silly faces
Long train rides call for silly faces // Photo Credit: Mallory Ackerson

Trains Are A Way of Life

One mode of transportation I was not very familiar with was trains! They are SO popular in Europe, especially Italy! They are great, cheap option for people who work, travel, etc. The trains run pretty frequently, and most companies have a website. One that is near and dear to my heart, Trenitalia. They make it easy- all you have to do is put in your beginning and final destination, what date/time you prefer, and voilà! One thing I do have to say about trains is that sometimes there are strikes, which could delay or cancel the train, which is not great. On my way to Milan, my friends and I didn’t realize that Trenitalia was on strike, and that was why our train showed up an hour and a half late. Great (and stressful) times.

Short story: my brother licked a subway pole in NYC when he was little, so I had to poke fun at him
Being silly on the metro // Photo credit: Mallory Ackerson

Metros, Subways, The Tube!

Metros are great options for people trying to get a lot of sightseeing in. I am such a big fan of them, they get you right where you need to be. Most cities in Europe have great metro systems and easy to read maps, even if they aren’t in your language (trust me, I do NOT speak Portuguese, but I found my way around). Make sure to watch out for pick-pocketers and to keep your bags close. My roommate caught a lady about the age of my GRANDMOTHER with her hand in her bag and she smacked it away before she was able to take anything. Scary stuff, but it definitely is avoidable. Just keep your eyes open, you never know what could happen!

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Long plane rides call for silly selfies // Photo credit: Emma Holthouser

Traveling is fun, and it can be cheap, too! I hope this provided further insight into what options you might have when traveling around Europe. Ciao for now!

Reflection

Is a Picture Really Worth a Thousand Words?

I have already learned so much during my short- but already proving worthwhile- time in digital communications this semester. And guess what? It is all about telling a story. Yep, you heard me, it’s that simple. Everything you see- in print, online, anywhere- is trying to get a point across.

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What is so great about digital communications is that there are so many ways to tell a story. Obviously, words are a huge help in getting a point across. Because we are in this digital world with the internet and all it includes, we are able to tell stories with videos, links to other sources, sound clips, and images. I love how interactive the internet can be- it makes stories much more fun and interesting! Don’t you agree?
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If I’m being completely honest, if there are a lot of words on a page and not much else, I am less likely to read the entire thing. I, along with lots of others, enjoy visuals. PICTURES! I learn so much more when I am able to see what is being talked about.

As the saying goes, a picture is worth a thousand words. That is, if it is the RIGHT picture for the RIGHT occasion. A picture can speak so much if it fits the context. All pictures have a meaning, and meaning can be interpreted in two ways: by how viewers experience the image and by the context in which an image is seen.

All over the internet are advertisements, whether we like it or not. Advertisers conduct research to figure out how they want to get their product’s meaning across and then they look at how it actually came across to its viewers. It could work really well or….not so well.

Let’s play a little game. Which advertisement went over well with viewers, and which did not? Take a look for yourself.

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Well, what do you think? The Turkish Airlines advertisement did not go over so well with viewers, at all. In a post 9/11 world, there is constant fear about air travel and security. Seeing ads like this from Turkish Airlines makes me nervous and uncomfortable, even though I know that it was probably not their intention. One thing they could have done was flip the direction of the plane, to have it going upwards. This advertisement and image does not help the airline company out to the slightest.

On the other hand, the Starbucks ad is very refreshing. The aesthetics of the entire ad is pleasing and simple. Using this image, they are showing that they are committed to making the best coffee for their customers. It is implied that when you drink their coffee, you will become a better you. That could be in terms of productivity, mood, or overall self. Starbucks does a great job in picking an image and slogan that makes you want to buy and drink their coffee.

So yes, I believe pictures are worth a thousand words. I think that pictures can be more powerful than words could be, in many situations. They have the ability to generate meaning, depth, and content. So, when trying to tell a story, use images that accurately describe what point you are trying to get across. And do it well. Good luck, bloggers!

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Here, there, everywhere!

As some of you may know, I was blessed with the opportunity to spend my fall semester in Italy studying business and communications. I went with nine other Furman students on an affiliate program, CIMBA. And, man, did I have the time of my life. The program is designed to obviously teach you more about business and communications, but I think they do a better job at teaching you about yourself. I can honestly say I’ve never experienced something as incredible in my entire life.

Map of countries I visited this semester
Map of countries I visited this semester // Photo Credit: amCharts

In the short three months I was gone, I visited: France, United Kingdom, Belgium, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Austria, and Germany. EIGHT. COUNTRIES. How on Earth did I make it to eight countries in three months? By traveling every weekend, that is. The CIMBA program encourages traveling, as often as possible. So, that meant I traveled somewhere new, every single weekend. One word for my semester: exhilarating.

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A quote that accurately describes my semester. // Photo Credit: Pinterest

Most of what you hear about studying abroad from many, including myself, is positive, because it’s, well, AMAZING. But… there are a few drawbacks. For example, being homesick, culture shock, and oh yeah, it can get pretty expensive if you aren’t careful. I know money was one of the things I was most worried about in Europe, I didn’t want to spend too much and get in trouble with my parents.

While there are some drawbacks to studying abroad (trust me, they are minor), I want to focus on the positive! I can’t wait for y’all to join me as I recap my adventures abroad! Below I’ve included pictures from each country I visited. Enjoy!