A Letter to Me

Dear 18-year-old Tina,

How does it feel, Auburn girl? Can you believe that you’re finally here? It feels like just yesterday you were in high school filling out applications trying to figure out which university would be the perfect fit, and now the time is here. Brace yourself, because you’re about to start one of life’s greatest adventures: college.samford aereal.jpg

First things first – whatever it is – it’s not the end of the world. While that may sound simplified and stupid, it’s the truth. No matter what the situation is, you will get through it. Even if that test did not go as well as you hoped it would have, or that deadline for your project is approaching quicker than expected, it is all going to work out one way or another.  It may feel like the end of the world in the moment, but that moment will pass. What is most important is that you take it as a learning experience and move on.

Secondly, it’s crucial to learn how to allocate time to each class in an efficient manner. During the first week of classes, take the time to organize an agenda. By writing in the various assignments and exams that are presented on the class syllabus, it will be easier to manage your time down the road. Organizing an agenda at the beginning of the semester makes it easier to get through chaotic weeks. By already having an idea of what the schedule for the class is, planning when to complete assignments will be less stressful.classroom-.jpg

Lastly, try not to ever underestimate coursework. Even if you got A’s on the first three tests or heard from a friend that it was an easy course, it’s essential to keep this in mind. Underestimating tests or assignments typically leads to last minute scrambling, which usually doesn’t produce the best work. My advice is to always put forth the maximum effort when working on any type of assignment, no matter how big or small. It is always better to be over prepared than to fall short.

College is supposed to be the time of your life, and it should be. But it’s also important to learn how to balance a healthy social life with an excessive amount of schoolwork. It’s hard to miss out on the fun, but even harder to repeat a class. Learn when to turn down invitations and stay focused on your schoolwork. It may not always be easy to stay home and study when there is something big going on around town, but it’s a lot more beneficial in the long-run.Image result for auburn university

When all of your studies are in order, you feel better. The best nights out are the nights that you don’t have to worry about schoolwork – because you already got it done! By staying on top of your schoolwork, everything else will fall into place. Think about it like this: do well in school so you can celebrate your good grades!

Sincerely,

Yours Truly

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The Public Relations Path

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Do you like the idea of a studying marketing, but are terrified of math? Or do you think the concept is interesting, but want to do more than just work with products? Then you might want to consider a major in public relations.

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Although the practice of public relations dates back to the 20th century, the public relations career path is still unfamiliar to a large number of people. Sometimes public relations practitioners are portrayed as spin doctors or publicity spokespeople, while others believe that PR and marketing go hand in hand. But the fact of the matter is, public relations encompasses so much more.

The Public Relations Society of America defines public relations as, “a strategic communication process that builds mutually beneficial relationships between organizations and their publics.”

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With a degree in public relations, there are a variety of career paths available to pursue. If you want to do PR work for one specific company, this is typically referred to as “in house” public relations. This means that you are working solely for one company, and are constantly trying to find ways to help them build a better relationship with their publics.

Another career option as a public relations major is to work for a large PR firm, like Ketchum or Edelman. These firms have numerous clients and varying levels of positions. A PR boutique firm, or a public relations boutique, also gives you the option of working with multiple companies – without working for a large firm. Boutique firms are usually smaller, but still serve all types of businesses.

Truthfully, a major public relations provides an almost endless number of career choices. As a public relations major, you really are not limited to only working in PR. Since public relations is in the College of Liberal Arts, it is closely related to majors like journalism or media relations. This expands the career options even more. Some examples of career paths for PR majors that do not necessarily involve PR are the following: publicist, copywriter, journalist and spokesperson.

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In addition to a number of career choices, public relations is also a continuously growing field. Forbes recently published an article with various facts and statistics on the growth in the field of public relations. According to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics, public relations professionals filled about 240,000 jobs in 2014 – but that number was expected to increase 6% by 2024. To read more of the Forbes article with statistics on public relations, click here.

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Overall, there are various reasons to consider public relations as a major. From the abundance of career choices to the continuous growth documented by Labor Statistics, public relations is a promising field. Studying public relations at Auburn University as been more interesting and informative than I ever could have imagined. Now that my four years here are coming to an end, I feel more confident than ever that I have chosen the right career for me. I cannot wait to see where the public relations path takes me.

My Spring Break Plan

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It’s that time of the semester – spring break is here! Whether it’s your first spring break in college or your last, there are endless ways to ensure that your time off is enjoyed to the fullest. The best way to guarantee a good time is to plan. What are your goals? How will you reach them?

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In public relations, planning is everything. Whether tackling a problem or arranging a campaign, the planning process is the first step. The PR plan is fairly simple. There are numerous steps to assure that nothing is overlooked. First, decide on the main goal. From there, the plan highlights the plans objectives, strategies, tactics and the evaluation of the goal. All of these parts work together to provide a system that ensures all ends are tied.

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The main goal of my spring break is to have an enjoyable week with family and friends – all while embracing the warm weather. Even though our winter in Auburn wasn’t very harsh this year, I am definitely ready for Miami’s warmth. Spending time with my family and friends is important to me because I often go long lengths without seeing them since I am so far from home.

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Once the main goal has been established, the objectives should be set. My spring break has three objectives, and they are as follows:

To devote time to spend with each member of the family.

To organize outdoor activities throughout the break.

To execute plans with friends I have not yet seen.

These objectives are a crucial part in the implementation of my spring break plan. Objectives help move the main goal forward and work toward the formation of the bigger picture.

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In addition to setting objectives, strategies are another critical part of the public relations plan. Strategies focus on the actions aimed at achieving the previously designed goals and objectives.

In order to reach my goals for spring break, I determined three necessary strategies. My first strategy is to plan a family dinner. By planning a family dinner, I get to see all of my family at once. I get to spend quality time with them, and I also get the chance to make plans for later in the week. My second strategy is to stay on top of the weather. By continuously checking the weather, I can assure that I get to spend quality time outside. For example, if the weather says rain in the afternoon, I can plan a morning activity or vice versa. Lastly, but most important, I will create an agenda. By creating an agenda and tentative schedule before spring break, I will ensure that I make time for all of my plans.

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Tactics are the activities that carry out each strategy. Tactics are necessary to that the ultimate goal of the plan can be achieved. Although the tactics of my spring break plan are fairly simple, they are essential in the execution of the public relations plan. They are the following:

Start a family group chat to make plans for dinner on March 12.

Make sure to contact friends at least two days before tentative plans.

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There are many ways to measure the success of a public relations plan. In this particular case, I think the easiest way to measure the progress would be to determine my overall satisfaction with the week at the end of spring break. Maybe I could check my tan lines too!

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Spring break is a time for fun and sun – and my plan is to embrace it!

 

The Three-Step Process of Planning a Valentine’s Day Date

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Applying public relations to everyday life is actually much easier than it sounds. Since so much of PR is learning how to form a connection with an audience, it is easy to see how it can be used for an event like Valentine’s Day. Public relations has developed various methods and processes that assist in executing a campaign, and I believe that these are some concepts that can also be applied to daily activities. In this particular case, I think that the three-step process in public relations is ideal for planning a Valentine’s Day date or activity. The following graphic is a breakdown of the process:Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 4.42.47 PM.pngSo as Valentine’s Day rolls around this year, don’t be left scrambling for plans! Apply this simple three-step public relations process to your holiday planning in order to ensure an enjoyable experience for you and your Valentine.

Screen Shot 2017-02-09 at 3.49.16 PM.pngThe process begins with planning. In a typical PR campaign, this would be researching the problem and how to address it. But in the case of February fourteenth, this step will focus on your Valentine and how to plan a day that is best fit for the two of you. When deciding how to spend Valentine’s Day, it is important to think about the person that you’re spending it with and what your relationship together is like. This can help determine what type of activity to do, and what kind of gift to give.

Consider what your everyday relationship is like with this person. Do you guys always watch Netflix together? Try going to dinner and a movie instead on Valentine’s Day. Do you two usually spend an afternoon studying at the library together? Change up the scenery and head to a local coffee shop for the same peace and quiet with a charming twist. If you guys love to work out together, consider spending some time outdoors and go on a hike and picnic. Sometimes romance can be found in the most ordinary things. Of course on the other hand, if you think your Valentine would appreciate a grand romantic gesture instead, then go for it! Every relationship is different and every couple enjoys doing different things together.

The main point of the planning process is exactly that: planning. This is when you decide what you think your Valentine will love the most on this special day. Here is where you make the reservations, order the gifts online, and buy those movie tickets. As busy as Valentine’s Day is, it is important to plan early enough to get a head start on popular restaurants and movies that will eventually be fully booked.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-3-49-48-pmWhen applying the three-step process to Valentine’s Day, the implementation step is giving the gift you picked out or executing the plans you made. This is the best part!  Whether it’s the look on their face when they open their present, or the laughs you two shared together, Valentine’s Day is all about spending some quality time with that special someone.

screen-shot-2017-02-09-at-3-50-01-pmThe final part of the process is the evaluation. In a public relations campaign, this step involves measuring the overall effectiveness and response to the efforts made, as well as determining what the next step should be. When considering Valentine’s Day, we can think of it similarly. How did the date go overall? Did you both have a pleasant time together? If this was a first date, do you think there will be a second? If you’re in a long-term relationship, do you this day brought you closer?hearts1

Valentine’s Day is a day full of love that can sometimes take a lot of planning. If you ever find yourself wondering where to begin, just think back to this three-step process!

Five Things You Should About Brazil

Throughout this semester, I have had the pleasure of getting to know Nathaly – a student at Auburn University who is from Brazil. Talking to Nathaly was not only always a fun time, but was very informative as well. I had the opportunity to learn about her home country, and their culture and way of life. Needless to say, Sao Paulo is a little different from Auburn. What I learned about Brazil was so eye-opening, I’ve decided to create a list of five things you should know about Brazil and its culture.

1. If you’re hitting the town at 8 o’clock – you’re way too early!Screen Shot 2016-04-15 at 12.40.44 AM

Not only do they go out much later in Brazil, but meals are eaten at a later time as well. Nathaly recalled being shocked when her friends in Auburn told her to be at their house by 8 o’clock at night to go out, when in Brazil she’d start getting ready around that time! This is not too surprising, as Brazil is a polychronic culture, thus their conception of time is not as stressed as it is here in the United States. Coming from Miami, a city with a culture that has a heavy Latin influence, this was something I could relate to when I came to Auburn to as well!

2. If you aren’t eating well when you’re in Brazil, you’re just going to the wrong restaurants.

Of the many things Nathaly and I discussed, the most detailed conversations we had were about FOOD. Brazil boasts the most delectable cuisine: from their all-you-can-eat steak restaurants, to tasty desserts, to nutritious lunch buffets. Here’s a tip: skip the McDonald’s if you’re visiting Brazil and go for the authentic cuisine!

3. Setting schedules is a little different than in the United States.

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In Nathaly’s school, she was taught 15 subjects at once. This meant for longer school days, and schedules that were set on a weekly basis rather than daily. In addition to long school days, some of her classes would require extra hours for lab or other activities later in the day. Because of how time consuming grade school was, Nathaly says it is very uncommon for younger students to have part-time jobs. I believe this can be linked to the difference of the individualistic, self-focused culture of the United States versus the collectivist, relationship-driven culture that many Latin American cultures, like Brazil, often have.

4. Brazilians are cleaner than us.

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Not only am I pretty sure that most Brazilian’s have better hygiene than us, but their restaurants definitely get better health inspection grades. (I saw in this Buzzfeed video that Nathaly shared to her Facebook wall that Brazilian’s often shower multiple times a day). Nathaly also claims that one thing that she will never get over about restaurants in the United States is the use of carpets. Apparently, carpet flooring in restaurants in Brazil is virtually unheard of and is considered a sign of uncleanliness. This made me laugh because I had honestly never thought twice about restaurants with carpeting.

5. And if by any chance you run into my friend Nathaly, wish her congratulations!!

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Nathaly recently got some awesome news! She was chosen to work for NBC this summer for the Summer Olympics in Rio! How cool is that?! I am BEYOND excited for her!

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In the future, I plan to work in public relations and will definitely come across various cultures. If I happen to work with somebody from Brazil, I will keep in mind the things I learned from Nathaly. When communicating with people from polychronic cultures, I’ll remember the lack of emphasis on timeliness and how that could affect meetings as well as plans with friends. In addition, I’ll remember that Brazilians take their food seriously – but this is because it is deep rooted in their traditions and culture. Meals are a social time, and not rushed or on the run the way they tend to be in the United States. Learning about Brazil and getting to know Nathaly throughout this semester was an overall enlightening experience, and I am thankful that she was willing to give up some of her time to allow me to share parts of her culture and country!

Brazilian Cuisine > American Food

It’s no secret that food is one of the most important things in our lives – I mean we need it to live! Food plays a role not only in our survival, but our culture as well. Every culture around the world has distinct traditions, customs, meanings, or memories they associate with certain foods. Last time I spoke with Nathaly, she mentioned that one of the biggest changes she faced was in fact food. São Paulo’s cuisine is very different from the food she has experienced in the United States, to say the least.

One of the first things Nathaly mentioned was the use of ice in our drinks here. She explained that in São Paulo, they typically don’t use ice. Even when she’d specifically ask for no ice, Nathaly saidLemon-Ice-Water it was such a foreign concept to waiters that she’d end up with a soda full of ice regardless. This part of our conversation made me laugh because to be honest… I’m the total opposite! I’m the person that orders an extra cup of ice when my drink is running low. In fact, I struggled when I visited Spain because they never served my “Coca-Cola Light” with ice. Another American thing that Nathaly just does not understand is grits. I told her that I was on board with her on this, as I had never tried grits till I came to Auburn and am still not too crazy about them!

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Brazilian steakhouse

Brazil, more specifically São Paulo, is home to many delectable dishes and has some of the best dining in the world. According to Nathaly, “everybody that visits Brazil says they eat well.” Brazil boasts some of the world’s best steakhouses, serving a specialty meat called “rodízio.” These Brazilian steakhouses feature a unique “all-you-can-eat” serving method in which waiters come to the table with various meats on skewers throughout your meal, until you decide you’ve had enough. Nathaly says that around lunchtime in São Paulo, business people don’t rush to the nearest fast food joint. Instead, buffet style restaurants are popular and equally as efficient. Although quality of food probably trumps the need for a quick lunch, as Brazil’s culture is polychronic, thus there is usually not the same urgency we tend to feel in the United States. These self-service restaurants always have a wide variety to choose from, and are much better quality than your typical American buffet. (Golden Corral or Ryan’s comes to mind…yuck!)

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self-service restaurant

Holidays are often celebrated with special foods that become a family tradition over time. For Nathaly, birthdays are celebrated with a dessert called “brigadeiro.” Brigadeiro is a chocolate dessert that can be eaten with a spoon, dipped in fruit, or rolled into little bite-size balls. The best part about brigadeiro?

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Brigadeiro

It is SO simple to make, Nathaly says it takes all of ten minutes to prepare. When Nathaly showed me a picture of some brigadeiro treats, I thought it resembled Edible Arrangements when eaten with fruit; except I’m almost 100% positive that brigadeiro tastes much better. According to Nathaly, every American friend she has made brigadeiro for has absolutely loved it!

Discussing Brazilian cuisine with Nathaly was not only informing, but entertaining and interesting. Hearing about the food in São Paulo honestly made me want to book my ticket tomorrow… Brazil, here I come. And I’m ready to try some food!

Friend from a Foreign Land

I remember switching schools my sophomore year of high school; I transferred from a large public school to a much smaller private school. At the time I was 15 years old, and definitely felt a little anxious about making the switch. Compared to the huge move Nathaly made though, my three mile difference feels insignificant.

Nathaly was born in Sao Paulo, Brazil, and lived there throughout her childhood. When she was 15 years old, Nathaly travelled across a few countries and began to call Peachtree City, Screen Shot 2016-02-15 at 4.50.23 PMGeorgia home. (That’s over 4,500 miles away from Sao Paulo!) I first met Nathaly in a Spanish Literature class that I ended up dropping, so our interaction has been limited – although we do follow each other on various social media accounts. Upon first meeting Nathaly, one of the first things you notice is how relaxed and comfortable in her own skin she is. Other than a slight accent – which in no way interferes with the ability to understand her – it would be nearly impossible to tell that she was born in on a whole different continent. The way that Nathaly has taken the initiative to embrace American culture, especially Auburn’s, is astounding.

Nathaly is involved in various extracurricular activities around Auburn. On just about any given weekday, you can find her in the Eagle Eye TV office, as she is actively involved with that program. She also12049367_10206512248422340_6863313422351232591_n enjoys crossfit, and works for the Office of Communication and Marketing at Auburn University. When she first moved to Georgia, Nathaly was placed in tenth grade, even though by Brazil’s standards she technically should have been an eleventh grader. Looking back now, she says this was beneficial as she had a longer time to adjust before college and could focus primarily on learning English. In Peachtree City, Nathaly had Brazilian friends that helped her make the big move; but admits that when she came to Auburn she made an active effort to avoid Brazilians and speaking Portuguese in order to further her understanding of English.

While moving thousands of miles across the world transforms your life in numerous ways, Nathaly says the two biggest adjustments she faced when she moved to the United States were scheduling and food. I can’t say I was all that surprised, as Brazil is undoubtedly a polychronic culture, meaning promptness is not emphasized and schedules are likely to change. From making plans with friends to the times that restaurants close, Nathaly has had to make some lifestyle changes. In addition to having to work on her punctuality, Nathaly also had to start making compromises when it came to her

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Feijoada
diet. In Brazil, like many other Latin American cultures, lunch is often the largest meal of the day and dinner is usually a lighter meal eaten at a much later time compared to the United States. When I asked what her favorite meal was, Nathaly grinned and described a Brazilian chicken stroganoff that she loved, but also mentioned that one of Brazil’s most common signature dishes is called “feijaoda.” When it comes to food in America, Nathaly says what surprised her most were the sizes. “A small soda here in the United States is the size of a large in Brazil, it’s crazy,” she said in astonishment.

Conversing with Nathaly taught me about not only various Brazilian customs and traditions, but also about our culture here in the United States and how it is often perceived by others. I hope to continue to expand my knowledge of not only Brazil, but different cultures from all over the world as we progress in our studies of international public relations. From the looks of it – we have a lot to learn!

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Nathaly and me during our visit