What a semester this has been! It seems like yesterday when I did my first blog- and now it's my last one. I've really enjoyed this internship. I can't say that enough. I just hope that everyone was pleased with all the work that I put in. Although I'm glad to be graduating, I'm going to miss the people as well as working on the assignments for the newsletter.
I believe that I've improved on every aspect of my writing since I've been attending ODU. I don't make the same grammatical mistakes, my organization and transitions are better, and now I understand many of the English rules. In the past, I would write and I'd rely on what I thought sounded right. Now, I know what is right (in many situations) and understand why. It's like what I had a teacher tell the class in my English grammar course. She related understanding the rules of English language and writing to driving a car. Many people that drive cars don't understand what goes on under the hood and how that car works. The same is true for many people that write and speak English. They can write and speak it fairly well, but they might not understand the different parts of speech and how they should fit together to make a sentence.
After giving it some thought, I don't know if I can definitively say that one type of writing (academic and internship) is better than the other. I've benefited from both types. Had I not learned the basics in sentence structure in the classroom, I wouldn't have been able to do a good job on the internship. If not for the internship, I would not have gained valuable "real-life" experience. In my interview with the NRHA representative, she told me that in her three internships, her supervisors made sure she completed "real world" projects. By doing this, she would be prepared for life after college and would have experience. The CMC did the same for me. I'm grateful to my English professors and the CMC, because both academic and internship writing have prepared me for the next step in my journey- a writing/English-related career.
December 07, 2006
Skills I Can Use Again
Whoa! Like I wrote last time, this week has been very busy. I'm glad that I don't have a final exam for this course. I think I'd go crazy!
Well, one more day and this internship will officially be over. This entire semester has went by really fast. It seems like yesterday when I first had to talk to my supervisors and learned of all the work that I'd be doing. I can't complain about anything dealing with this internship (maybe except for not being able to contact certain interviewees) because I've had a great time.
I also feel like this internship has given me some skills that I can use when I get a new job- and that's one of the things that it was supposed to do! Working under tight deadlines, interacting with different people and their busy schedules, and multi-tasking are all skills that I know I'll have to use again- hopefully soon.
December 06, 2006
It's Almost Over
Well, this week is almost over. That means that this internship is almost over. I've been busy this week though. Monday, I had to turn in my portfolio, along with the work report. It was kind of time-consuming to put the portfolio together. I had everything on a flash drive, but finding it then printing took more time than I thought it would.
I've still been working on the NRHA Employer Spotlight. I have until Friday to turn it in. I'm kind of glad that I have until this Friday because I have a huge assignment to complete in another class. I'm no stranger to hard work and I don't mind working hard toward a goal- but I'm so ready for this semester to be over so that I can finally GRADUATE!!!!
As I said before, this is my last week. I'll save my last blog as one for reflection.
December 01, 2006
Busy Weekend Ahead
Well, this week is over, but the work isn't. I still have a great deal of work to do over the weekend. I got a pretty good review on the assignments that I turned in today. In my weekly phone call meeting today, one of my CMC advisors told me that she really liked Major of the Month quote and the Tip of the Month. She also liked the Employer Spotlight piece. I'm glad since it was so difficult to write and incorporate everything, all while keeping it at a decent length. She also told me how much she has appreciated my work this semester. It makes me feel good that everyone thinks that I've done a good job this semester. I know I've tried hard to do my best on everything.
I have to put together the portfolio over the weekend and write the analytic work report. Both of those assignments are due on Monday. I also will turn in the NRHA Employer Spotlight piece on Monday. So like I said before, I've got a great deal of work to do over the weekend.
November 30, 2006
Wow! This week has been hectic! I finally heard back from the NRHA representative. She emailed me her answers and I hope that I can turn in that article on tomorrow. If not, I was told that the article could be turned in on Monday. She gave me a few very informative answers that I hope I can use to make an interesting article. As I've said before, NRHA seems to do really helpful things around the Norfolk community. It's great that they provide affordable housing to those that might not be able to afford it otherwise.
I turned in the other Employer Spotlight article on Wednesday. I hope that turned out well. It was a little difficult this time because I had trouble getting everything to sound how I wanted. I'd write a sentence, then a paragraph, then I'd delete it all because it just didn't sound right. The Apex Systems representative gave me so much great information that I had a hard time determining what to put in the article and what not to use. Then to add to that, I knew that the article was a bit long and that it would have to be cut before it got published in the newsletter. During those times, that's when the writing process gets very frustrating. I can't speak for anyone else but I take my writing seriously and I don't like submitting bad work. That's not to say that everything that I write will be flawless, but I try hard to always put my best foot forward.
I've got some other assignments due tomorrow too- the quote for the Major of the Month and the Tip of the Month. The quote has to be about History. As for the tip, I've been thinking about using something that deals with networking.
November 27, 2006
The Home Stretch Nears
Well, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving. I know I did. I might need to fast for a week! In addition to indulging in great foods over the weekend, I was also busy working on different assignments for this internship. I had the Career Search Career Tool due on today along with the second Employer Spotlight piece. I've also got my student evaluation for the internship due on Wednesday. Friday, I have to turn in the other Employer Spotlight piece, the quote for the Major of the Month, and the Tip of the Month. Now that's a busy week. But it's fine; the home stretch is near.
I still never heard back from the NRHA representative, but fortunately, the Apex Systems representative has been very helpful. We've communicated via email and I've called her for a follow-up interview. Since the NRHA representative hasn't contacted me, the Apex Systems Employer Spotlight is now due on Wednesday. If I hear from the NRHA representative before Wednesday, I'll turn in that article on Friday. If I don't hear back from the representative, then I'll have to turn in an alternate assignment. It will probably have something to do with the entire CMC internship experience. That should be easy and fun to write. Whenever I get to write from my heart, give my opinion about an issue, or just express my feelings- I enjoy it. That's why like writing these blogs.
November 22, 2006
I received some great news today! The Apex Systems representative emailed her answers to the interview questions to me. She provided in-depth answers and was very enthusiastic. Even though I had asked her if she enjoyed her job, I already knew the answer. I could tell by the way she answered my emails that she really enjoys her job. Like I've written before, I'd choose happiness in my job over more money every time.
I've emailed the NRHA representative again and I hope that she can get me the interview answers by the end of the Thanksgiving break. Since that article is due on December 1st, I'd like the answers sooner, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen. Trying to meet deadlines while working around someone else's schedule can be difficult and frustrating.
Well, I know it will officially be the Thanksgiving holiday weekend tomorrow, but I plan to use the time to work on the Employer Spotlight article. I also have another Career Tool due on Monday, which will be on Career Search. It looks I'll have a few things to keep me busy.
November 21, 2006
Highs and Lows
This weekend has been one with highs and lows. First, I got an extension for the next Employer Spotlight piece and will turn it in on November 27th instead of November 20th. However, it may not be the Employer Spotlight that is supposed to be turned in. The problem is that I haven't heard back from the NRHA representative. I've emailed her a couple of times and I've even spoken with her. I told her that I needed the answers to the interview questions by last Friday, and no later than this past Monday. I completely understand that people have busy schedules, but this has been very frustrating on my end.
But there is a bright side to this situation. Fortunately, the CMC gave me the contact information for another Employer Spotlight piece. That company is Apex Systems. I've contacted that representative and she is very enthusiastic about the CMC doing an article on her and her company. I emailed her the questions and she assured me that she would definitely get me the answers no later than tomorrow. Her enthusiasm even got me excited! I guess I needed it since I was frustrated about the other Employer Spotlight piece.
As I wrote earlier, the NRHA article was re-scheduled to be due on Monday, November 27th with the Apex Systems article having a December 1st due date. Unless I hear from the NRHA representative tomorrow, I'll have to switch those two dates. I'm sure that it will, but I hope that everyone will be okay with the new arrangement.
November 17, 2006
Thinking About the Future
I still haven't heard back from the NRHA representative, but the day isn't over yet. I told her that I wanted to have her answers to the interview questions by today, so I'm hoping that I'll still receive them in time. Nevertheless, I've still been productive by researching the NRHA website.
I've also started some minor researching on another company that the CMC might decide to do an Employer Spotlight piece on next- Apex Systems. The CMC emailed me the information for that company a few days ago. I haven't revised the questions to fit that company yet, but I intend to.
I'm still excited about graduating and constantly looking ahead to my future career plans. It's great to know the CMC offers it services to not only current students, but also alumni who are searching for a new job, career, or just general tips and information. I definitely plan to continue using its services after graduation and have encouraged my fellow classmates to do the same.
November 16, 2006
Almost Ready to Write
I'm waiting for the responses to the interview questions from the NRHA representative. I told her that I'd like them back no later than Friday. This will give me the chance to work on the articles over the weekend. I don't want what happened last time to happen again. It was frustrating to wait to get responses back and play "phone tag" in order to get a follow-up telephone interview. It was no fault of his or mine, it was just this method of interviewing.
After researching the website, it seems that NRHA does some really nice things in Norfolk. They have youth, homeownership, senior citizen, and loan and grant programs that educate and assist people in securing homes to live in. It seems like this company may actually be doing some meaningful things in the community.
I recently received the two CMC newsletters by email. Both the articles and Career Tool that I had written appeared in them. I'm happy about that - more writing that I can add to my portfolio! I hope everyone liked them.
November 15, 2006
I had to call the NRHA representative since I didn't hear back from her. I wonder if it was because somehow she found out I thought she was a he all this time. That's what I get for assuming gender based off someone's name. I was supposed to learn not to do that from numerous psychology courses I've taken. But it'll be okay; mistakes happen.
Her and I have decided to do the initial interview via email. This method works out well for both of us since she is busy while at work and it will give me the opportunity to work on other things. If I need a follow-up interview, I'll have to call her to get the answers.
I've still been searching information to find a job after graduation. I used one of the CMC's Career Tools for the first time on Friday. I found the Career Search Career Tool is very helpful! I don't think I've scratched the surface on all the great things the CMC does to help student and alumni. I received some great tips on how to improve my resume and suggestions of which types of jobs might be good for me based on my preferences. I'm very grateful to all the people at the CMC who have helped me. I don't believe that I can say that enough.
November 10, 2006
I'm still waiting to get a reply from the NRHA representative. I'll call him maybe later today or early on Monday if I don't hear back from him soon. I think the article is due a week from Monday, so I want to get the bulk of it done by next Friday. I plan to continue to work hard on this assignment and to learn from the mistakes I made on the first Employer Spotlight piece in order to make this one much better.
I've definitely learned some things from the first Employer Spotlight piece. One thing that I want to do this time is be more proactive instead of reactive. Last time, I think I was a little too passive when I didn't hear from the Tidewater Skanska representative. I should have followed-up with him more assertively. I was trying not to be rude. I guess I didn't fully realize that I could still be assertive and respectful. Another thing that I want to try to do is make sure I get a phone interview first. On the first piece, I was stuck with a few one-sentence answers. By talking with him first, I could have prevented that. The communication flows more smoothly and in its natural context during an interview/conversation as opposed to through emails alone.
November 09, 2006
I'm still working on the next Employer Spotlight piece. I've revised the questions and added a few new ones to make them specific for this employer. I'm also waiting to hear back from the NRHA representative to find out how and when can we do the interview. Learning from the interview process with the previous Employer Spotlight piece, I hope to get in touch with him early via telephone. I'd also prefer to conduct the interview over the telephone first as opposed to emailing the questions and answers to each other.
I've written before about how much I love English, writing, and the whole process of creating. But the other day as I was searching different companies for job openings, I saw a position for an information systems technician (or something like that). The position only required a Bachelor's degree (preferably Computer Science) and would start the employee off with a six-figure salary. My heart dropped! I thought, "Boy, I must be in the wrong major!" But as quickly as I thought that, I thought, "But I don't love Computer Science." As much as I would love to start out with a six-figure salary, I'd rather take a job that I would love over a high-paying one that I wouldn't enjoy doing any day. Like I've written before, for me, happiness is worth more than money.
To some people that might sound crazy. If you have a high-paying job that you don't enjoy, the money may make you happy for a little while. As the job continues, it will seem more like drudgery. But I believe that if you love your job, it won't feel like work.
November 08, 2006
The First R
I'm working on the first R in the writing process. I have been researching Norfolk Redevelopment and Housing Authority (NRHA), which is next company that the CMC newsletter will do an Employer Spotlight on. It looks to be a really helpful and important company in the Norfolk area. It seems to be a real people-oriented organization and looks like it puts the needs of the people first. In my opinion, that's commendable.
I've got some ideas about this article and I hope to make it better than the first Employer spotlight piece. I learned from the first piece and I also hope to make the interview process a much smoother one this time around.
I've been really searching eRecruiting for information about different jobs. I graduate this December and I plan to have a new job by March 1. eRecruiting is a really helpful tool and probably the most helpful one that I've encountered at ODU. I'm not sure if all distance students are aware that the job listings are not just for the Norfolk area. I hope that my blogs help to bring more attention to the CMC's benefits for all students, not only those on main campus.
November 02, 2006
The Past is Preparation for the Future
I only have about a month and a half until graduation. I'm excited! But like I mentioned last time, I'm really thinking about life after graduation. I desperately need another job. I think it's most people's dream to love their job. I don't want to be in a situation in which I only like my job because it pays well. I want to actually love the job that I'll be doing.
I plan to work for about a year or so before I begin graduate school. I haven't decided exactly where I want to go, but ODU is definitely a possibility. I've enjoyed the professors here and their helpfulness. One of my English professors at ODU told me that ODU may eventually begin offering a Master's or Ph.D in English via Teletechnet. I'm grateful to the Teletechnet program, but I when I do begin graduate school, I want to be on a campus where I can talk face-to-face with teachers and administrators. Since Danville is on the Virginia-North Carolina line, I've also thought about UNC- Chapel Hill, UNC- Greensboro, and NC State.
Our pasts experiences can prepare us for future events. This internship will undoubtedly prepare me for whatever job I take after graduation. Likewise, I expect that whatever type of writing job I get, it will help me in teaching that particular type of English course (and others) in college. I love English and I want to be able to help others learn in that discipline.
November 01, 2006
I've been thinking more about what types of jobs I should apply for after graduation. I hate to sound indecisive, but sometimes I feel like it doesn't matter what type of job I get, just as long as I get to leave my current job. I used to tolerate it more than I do now. Now, it's not fullfilling, enjoyable, or lucrative. It's meaningful work to the company but nobody seems to care that I do my job well; but as many might guess, if something goes wrong I'll definitely hear about it.
I really like working with the newsletter at the CMC. I noticed a job over the summer that was at the local community college (which is also my site's campus). The job was for a Public Relations specialist. One of the main duties involved writing articles for the the school's newsletter. The last time I checked, the position had been removed from the website. Usually that means the position has been filled. I inquired about it over the summer but one of the core requirements was a Bachelor's degree. If by some chance the position re-opens in the spring, I plan to apply for it. I think with the experience I'm geting with this internship, I'd be qualified for it. I also want to talk to someone at the CMC to see if I can figure out some career options after graduation.
October 31, 2006
I'm waiting to hear feedback from two assignments that I turned in on Friday and on Monday. Friday's assignment was the final draft of the Employer Spotlight piece and Monday was the revised version of the Internships USA Career Tool. I just hope I did well on them.
I have a light week this week. I need to get in touch with the representative of the assigned company for the next Employer Spotlight piece. Also, Friday I have to turn in the English quote that's going to be used for the Major of the Month. I also have to think of a "Tip of the Month." It's something new the CMC will be doing on the Arts and Letters page along with the Major of the Month. I think the tip they are going to use for November will be, "Internships can be paid or unpaid." It's basically a tip that will give students some great information and redirect them to different parts of the website that may help them.
Since the CMC website is sort of like my textbook, I browse the site as often as I can to learn the different services that are offered. I'm still amazed at all the many things that the CMC does. I try to spread the word to people I come in contact with at my site of all the great things that the CMC is involved with.
October 28, 2006
"The male ego is the most fragile of all things." - my High School English teacher
Let me explain why my high school teacher said that. During class time, we were having a discussion about dating among young men and women at our school. One guy mentioned that a girl had dumped a friend of his. Now that friend was having a tough time trying to get over it. I've determined that what my teacher meant was that whenever a man thinks he's doing well or is unaware of a problem, then gets a "reality check" or some type of criticism, it can be detrimental to his ego. But this quote doesn't only describe men. Women can just as easily have their egos damaged.
This memory along with getting feedback from the rough draft of the Employer Spotlight piece got me thinking again about being able to take constructive criticism. When I opened the work that I had submitted and saw all of the suggestions, deletions, and additions, it kind of hurts my feelings. Maybe it was because "seeing red" on returned work has a sort of negative attachment to it. I understand the suggestions made, and they helped me in the revision process. They were things that I should have noticed in the first draft. But it did bruise the ego a bit. Although, I want to make it clear that I don't have an enormous ego by any means.
No matter how careful someone gives constructive criticism, sometimes it can feel like a personal attack by the person being criticized. That's how writing is. Writing is a bit different from other disciplines. For example, scoring poorly on a math or history exam may not hurt as bad as someone telling you that your writing is weak. For the most part, what you write is your thoughts, mixed with your style, and presented in your own words. In many ways, it's your written presentation of yourself. Writing is personal; therefore the criticism of it can seem personal.
October 26, 2006
A Little Challenge is Good
I've been working on the Employer Spotlight piece which is due tomorrow. It's been a little difficult trying to figure out how I should write it, what information to include, and how long it should be. I don't know why, but it's been tougher than I thought it would be. It started with not being able to connect with the Tidewater Skanska representative, then trying to figure out the appropriate style to write it for both newsletters. This is unlike the Major of the Month piece, which was just different. I don't know why but I can't seem to get my hands around this assignment like I want to. Maybe I'm over-thinking or being too critical of myself. This assignment has been challenging, but in a good way.
I've found some excellent quotes for the next Major of the Month, which is English. I have to turn those in on tomorrow also. I wish that I could be on campus to be able to actually design the page how I see it. But no matter who actually designs it, I can't wait to see how it looks!
I finally got the chance to get in here tonight. Something was wrong earlier and there was a problem connecting to this page. Well, I got some positive feedback on the Internships-USA Career Tools piece that I turned in on Friday, especially on the one for the student newsletter. However, I need to make a few more adjustments on the one for the alumni newsletter.
That assignment got me thinking again about how important it is to recognize your audience when writing. I think it's important for a writer to develop his or her own style, but it's equally important to be able to adjust the style depending on who will be reading the work. For the most part, I think I'm learning how to write for the newsletter. It's a certain style that it's written in.
I'm still working on the Employer Spotlight piece. The final draft is due on Friday and I really want it to be better than the rough draft. Once again, I'm trying to get a handle on how (stylistically) it should be written for the newsletter. It's an important part of writing, but it can also get difficult.
October 21, 2006
This Week is Over
Well, this tough week is almost over. I turned in the Employer Spotlight article and the Internships-USA Career Tool. I never reached the Tidewater Skanska representative, but I was able to turn in the article anyway. I'm going to try to reach him on Monday (if I can) to get answers to follow-up questions. Then I'll re-write it again.
Although this wasn't a group work assignment in the traditional sense, it kind of felt like one. I had to rely on his responses in order to compose the article. I know some students prefer not to work in groups. Many complain that usually one student doesn't do his or her fair share of work. I've had some really good experiences with group and some really terrible ones. Writing this article really made me think of group work because even though I'm prepared, I had to wait for someone else before I can finish.
Between group work and individual work, I can't say which one I prefer. I guess it would depend on the assignment and who would be in the group with me.
October 19, 2006
I've been still tinkering with the Employer Spotlight piece but I haven't reached the representative for follow-up questions. I'm going to try to reach him in the morning. However if I'm not able to, I think that I have enough to still turn in a good article on tomorrow.
Sometimes things run smoothly but other times there are setbacks after setbacks. I mentioned in another blog on how important it is to plan for setbacks. I hope I have done that for this assignment. It's difficult sometimes to contact people via emails and even telephone. I've still tried to work on other things. I'm trying not to sound like a broken record, but it's very different being at a distance sometimes. I just hope I don't disappoint anybody at the CMC.
Between tests, reading chapters, writing papers, and composing interview articles- this has been an extremely busy week for all my classes. I'm just glad the week is almost over!
October 18, 2006
Well I tried to get in here yesterday but time would not permit. I finally heard back from the Tidewater Skanska representative over the weekend. I've been working on the Employer Spotlight piece and I've thought of some follow-up questions to ask the representative. Now the only thing I have to do is get in touch with him. This assignment has been nice so far. I'm still trying to think of a creative way to write the article though.
I've chosen the Internship Career Tool to write next for the newsletter. That, along with the Employer Spotlight piece, is due on Friday. So from now until then, I should be very busy trying to complete both pieces. As I like to tell myself when I have a lot of work to do by a deadline: "It's crunch time!" I've also been thinking of ways to re-write that and it's been somewhat challenging. I'm trying to figure out a way to write it with an alumni spin to it. That's kind of hard to do since most alumni won't be interning.
I hope everyone understood my ideas for the Major of the Month piece. I received some very positive feedback on it already but I wonder how everyone else likes it. I've also thought of a few other things that we could do to make the website more attractive to Arts and Letters students.
October 13, 2006
A Little Worried
Okay, now I'm getting a little worried. I emailed the Tidewater Skanska representative on Monday with the set of the revised questions for him to answer. Unfortunately, I have yet to hear back from him. I'm sure he's probably busy doing his job but I'm not quite sure how to handle a situation like this. If I email him, I may seem rude or inconsiderate about his work schedule. If I don't email him, he could possibly be taking his time and planning to take even more time (not out of spite, but just because he may have forgotten when I need the answers back).
This situation got me thinking about how it's always good to plan ahead and to always plan for any setbacks. Many times on assignments, on jobs, or in life, things don't go according to plan and that can be frustrating or even cause one to worry. But it's good to still be productive during the time of the setback. What I mean is that I've thought of some answers that he may say and I'm thinking of potential follow-ups questions to those answers. I've also still been researching ideas on other college websites and working on other assignments.
Part of the reason I'm worried about this assignment is because I always like to do well- no matter what it is. The other reason is that I don't want people to think I'm a slacker or that I'm not capable of doing the assignments. But I'm sure it will be fine since the people at the CMC have already been so helpful with everything.
The Benefits of Blogging
October 12, 2006
Many past English professors have suggested that students should keep a writing journal and a personal journal. Sometimes, I would jot things down scratch paper as they came to me- like a plot to a book or something that I may like a character to say. However, I've never kept a journal because I've always had confidence in my memory to keep track of most of the things that I may want to write about in the future. But, since I've started doing these blogs, I'm realizing the benefits of actually getting my thoughts down on paper (or typing them in this case). One benefit is that my mind (and nobody's for that matter) is exactly like a computer. None of us can recall every good idea that we think of. Writing down your ideas and feelings gives you the opportunity to go back later to reflect on it more and to change it.
Another benefit of doing these blogs is that I'm getting more into the habit of writing on a regular basis. I know that may sound strange from some whose major is in professional writing but it takes discipline and commitment to write everyday or every other day. For me, it seems that I'm always writing but it's not always something that I want to write. Sometimes it could be a paper in class that I don't like well or it could be some other tedious assignment. Although I'm not as disciplined as I want to be, I'm much more disciplined than I used to be.
Everyone has heard the saying, "practice makes perfect." Also, many people say that if you do something long enough, it will become a habit. That's what I want this blog to lead to. I want it to become a habit and a type of practice for me to write in a journal on a regular basis. I see writing as my craft. Since it is my craft, I must make an effort and commitment to refine it.
October 11, 2006
Well, my vacation from my job unfortunately ended yesterday. I'm back to having a busier schedule and being more tired. Maybe it's just me, but it always seems that vacations don't last as long as you want or need them to.
I turned in the Major of the Month piece on Monday. I'm excited to get some feedback on it. I'm still looking for quotes to use for it to make it better. I liked the assignment, but it was different than anything that I've had to do before. Re-designing the website was an experience that I think can be used again at some point in my future career plans. I'm looking forward to using all the experience and skills that I've picked up on this internship.
Sometimes, however, it's difficult to explain what you mean without actually showing it to someone. That's how I felt about parts of this assignment. I have a sketch on paper and in my mind how I'd re-design the Arts and Letters page of the CMC website, but I can't "show" it to any of them there since I live 6 hours away. That's one of the few disadavantages that Teletechnet and this internship has. I'm not able to "see" the people that I have to communicate with. I don't want anyone reading this to think I'm complaining, but it's just a little frustrating at times.
I'm still waiting to hear back from the Tidewater Skanska representative. I'm hoping he'll answer my questions by tomorrow so that I can contact him on Friday via telephone for the follow-up interview.
October 07, 2006
Well, this has been another busy week. On Monday I have to turn in the Major of the Month piece. I have plenty of creative ideas on how to design the Arts and Letters page for the CMC website. But I must say that that assignment has been the most difficult so far. I'm going to use the rest of the weekend to brainstorm about more ideas. I've already got a few ideas from researching on other college's career websites. I've got a few communications quotes that I think we'll be able to use on the page too.
I'm waiting to hear back from the Tidewater Skanska representative. He's going to answer my questions via email, then I'll do a follow-up interview over the telephone. I'll make sure to be clear about all other questions I have for him next time to avoid any confusion!
October 05, 2006
The Four Basics
I contacted the Tidewater Skanska representative on yesterday. In the email, I only told him that I was contacting him about when we could do "the interview." He emailed me back, confused, and asked why couldn't I just meet him at the upcoming job fair and to send him a resume. Then I was confused! I'm wondering, "what is this guy talking about?" Then I realized that in the body of the first email I sent to him, I didn't clarify that I was supposed to interview him and that is was for the "Employer Spotlight" piece. He thought I was contacting him about a job with Tidewater Skanska and that I couldn't physically come to the interview. He thought I wanted to be interviewed for a position over the telephone or via emial. I apologized for the confusion and he said that he had forgotten that someone from the CMC would contact him about the article for the newsletters. I plan to send him an email with a set of questions and to follow-up any questions with a telephone interview.
My advanced composition professor at ODU taught me that the four basics to writing are: grammar, organization, conciseness, and clarity. During each writing assignment, I try to adhere to these basics. However since my initial email lacked clarity, the Tidewater Skanska representative and I had a miscommunication. Whenever in written communication we don't follow the four basics of writing, miscommunication is bound to develop. This is why writing and even verbal communication should follow these basics.
October 03, 2006
This week has been productive so far. I've turned in one of the Career Tool assignments and I'm waiting to hear back from the Tidewater Skanska representative. So, I'm waiting to hear back on how the CMC liked the assignment and from the representative. I found out that he is an ODU alumni, which may benefit the article.
I'm a little aprehensive about doing the interview. Since I can't talk to him face-to-face and it may not turn out well recorded over the telephone, the interview may be difficult to conduct. One one hand, I could do a phone interview but I don't think I write fast enough. I'd hate to have to keep asking him to repeat himself or to talk slower. One the other hand, sending him the questions and having him respond may have too long of a turnaround time and won't allow for follow-up questions. But, every situation has its own set of obstacles. It'll just take a little more creativity from me to think of the best possible way. Maybe I could send him the questions via email and talk to him over the phone for follow-up questions.
I'm still thinking of creative ways to design the Arts and Letters page of the CMC website. I've got a few ideas but I need to give them more thought. I'll be sure to write them here soon.
September 29, 2006
Next week is crunch time. I have about three different assignments I'll be working on. I'll be working on two things for the newsletter that will be released later this semester and one thing for the Arts and Letters page on the CMC website. I'm ready for it though. I don't have any complaints.
If you are reading this, then you realize that technology is changing our society and culture. It's funny how 20 years ago it might have been unheard of that students or employees would take classes or go to work via satellite. Also from what I understand, it was only around 10 years ago that ODU's Teletechnet was really just getting started. I'm not one to be left behind in this technology advanced age, but by being a distance student I wish sometimes I could talk to classmates and professors face-to-face. Even with this internship, sometimes I'd like to communicate with everyone at the CMC in person. Email is great but sometimes I miss personally talking with someone. I'm not complaining at all, but it can get frustrating at times.
Maybe I'm from the old school but I wonder if my children (whenever I have them) will value face-to-face conversation as I do?
Happiness over Money
I mentioned last time that next week I'm on vacation from my job. I'm not going anywhere, but it's just good not to have to go to work sometimes. I'll use my free time to get some much needed work done for other classes and to continue to work on things for this class. Next week I won't feel so rushed and restricted in getting things done.
I've been thinking lately about what type of jobs to start applying for after graduation. I've been with my current employer for the last six years. It's an easy job but it's not fulfilling. I love writing and that's why I chose professional writing as a major. But sometimes I wonder if the enjoyment I get from writing will change since, then, it'll be my job. I don't want writing to ever feel like work. I want to always enjoy it. For writing to feel like work would certainly take the fun out of it, no matter how much money was made. I just pray that that never happens.
September 28, 2006
The 3 R's
I can't believe how busy I've been lately. Yet, it still seems that I haven't gotten much done. I've got to do better I guess. I'm on vacation from my job next week so that should give me the feeling that I'm back on track.
I can remember as I child, my mother used to talk about how she learned about the three R's as a child. Of course most people know about it. They stand for Reading, wRiting, and aRithmetic. Well, I think I've come up with the three R's of the writing process, with my apologies to anyone who has already thought of this. I give you: Research, wRite, and Revise.
Most of the time during the writing process, a writer may neglect at least one of these. Sometimes the writer may only concentrate on the middle R and not care about the other two at all. Many times, this is due to procrastination or even apathy. In my earlier years, I've been guilty of this type of neglect. It can be easy to do- receive an assignment, write it, and hand it in. I can't imagine doing that now. But sometimes, I don't think I put equal attention on all three R's. For example, I may write something and after submitting it, I think it would have been better had I researched a little more. Or, I missed a simple mistake because I didn't leave enough time for proper revision.
Basically the most important thing I learned about writing is that it is a process. It involves more than just putting the words on paper or computer screen. It begins well before and ends after the middle R is done. Futhermore, if we want good writing, we must not procrastinate and devote the necessary time to all three R's, not just the middle one.
"Procrastination makes easy things hard, hard things harder." -Mason Cooley, U.S. aphorist
September 22, 2006
Today, I got my syllabus. It's good to be able to know what's ahead and to be able to plan around it. I've got some pretty big assignments coming up- the Employer Spotlight and the Major of the Month are two of them. I've got a few small ones here and there coming up as well. I still marvel at how seemingly small things I've learned in some classes are coming into play now. For example, simply paying attention in one of my communications classes on how to prepare interview questions might save some time when I have to interview the employer for the first Employer Spotlight piece. I know sometimes it's easy to not pay attention when we think that certain information won't ever benefit us. But, as I see now, you just never know.
The people at the CMC have still been wonderful. I heard that my name got passed along to a site director who wanted to know of some CMC distance student success stories. That site director may even contact me to ask some questions. Also, the people of the CMC has been helpful. They remind me that if any of my assignments seem too much or out of the scope of what I may want to do for a career, then to just let them know.
The upcoming assignments will be challenging, but I'm ready for them!
Backspace, Delete, and an Eraser
It feels so refreshing to be doing this internship. It's new and it involves something that I love doing. I just hope I don't disappoint- the people at the CMC or myself. It seems that I'm one of the first to do a distance internship with them. I wouldn't want to ruin it for someone who may come after me and may be worthy of the opportunity.
Last time I wrote about struggling with some writing assignments. It may just be me, but it's a bad feeling to know that I "must" write but I "can't" write. When I speak of "can't", I mean not knowing what to write. Sometimes, I've sat in front of the computer or with paper and pencil in hand and I couldn't come up with anything. I don't where to begin. I can't find the right words. I can't even count how many times I use backspace/delete or my pencil's eraser on any given assignment. Mix that uncertainty with me wanting everything to be "perfect" and that becomes very frustrating. Even as I write this, I can't even remember how many times I added one thing, deleted another, or just completely changed the wording.
I once heard or read that Ernest Hemingway rewrote the ending to "A Farewell to Arms" about 39 times. So maybe it's good that I try so hard. After all, Hemingway was a great writer. As far as my own writing, I still know that I have a lot to work on. But like I said last time, good writing is good revising and rewriting.
September 20, 2006
This week has been busy- researching on other websites,studying for tests in one class and getting caught up on some reading for two other classes. It's okay though; I can handle it. Graduation is in sight and I'm ready to get a better job!
It took me a while though to determine what I wanted to do, as far as a career. From the time I was fifteen until around 2000, I wanted to be a psychologist. I saw the movie Copycat and wanted to study the minds of serial killers and know what made them abnormal. But in high school, I had an English teacher who noticed "my creativity." She suggested I join the literary-art magazine at my school. As a high school senior, I had a short story and a poem in the magazine. After I graduated though, I still wanted to be a psychologist even though I enjoyed writing.
I stopped going to community college after a year and a half because I wanted to make better money. Also, I was having doubts of would I be satisfied being a pyschologist. During that time, I still had a passion for writing and literature. Even though I wasn't enrolled in classes at the local community college, I would still read books about improving writing and getting published. Then when I found out that ODU offered Professional Writing at DCC, I had to enroll.
I love writing but sometimes the process has been somewhat stressful. Sometimes I've made a simple assignment difficult just because I want it to be flawless the first time. I've had to learn from each of my English professors that good writing comes from revision after revision. Most people don't write a perfect paper or article the first time. They have to constantly revise. I've learned that but sometimes it's still hard.
September 15, 2006
I got to see the articles I wrote for the newsletter today. I thought that they looked pretty good. It was cool to see my name as the writing intern. I hadn't seen my name in any published material since high school when I had a short story and a few poems printed in the literary-art magazine. I got some very helpful feedback from the CMC that will help me when the next newsletter is due. Having this one under my belt, I think I'll be fine for the next one.
I got my next few assignments that I need to start working on. I'm looking forward to them. It will give me the chance to be creative and do some brainstorming and research. Some of you may be wondering, "Who looks forward to researching?" I can't say that I do all of the time, but this assignment seems like it'll be creative. That won't be so bad.
I think I mentioned last time (or I meant to) that I can see how my past experiences have prepared me to do this internship. I also think it's funny how some of those experiences have been in the classroom, while others have been elsewhere. It goes to show us that we can learn from all experiences- no matter what it is or where it occurs.
I can't express enough on how excited I am in doing this internship. I've told my family, friends, and fellow students about it. Today, one of my classmates, who is also an IDS- Professional Writing major, asked me for the information on how to get connected with doing an internship. She now plans to look into doing an internship in the spring.
Being a distance student, I didn't think that an internship of this kind would be possible. To be honest, I had never given much thought into doing an internship until one of my English professors suggested it. I need to thank him for doing that. Learning in the classroom is great, but I'm not sure that it prepares students as well as getting hands-on experience. As the old saying goes: "Experience is the best teacher." I believe that the experience I get here will help me in the future.
I'm looking forward to tomorrow. That's when I get my syllabus from the CMC. This way I'll be able to keep track of all the upcoming assignments. I'll also be able to plan better since I'll know which assignment I'll have to work on next and its due date.
September 13, 2006
The First Week
Wow, my first blog! I guess I should introduce myself first. My name is Mario and I am 26 years old. I'm a senior here at ODU. I'm also a Teletechnet student who lives in Danville, VA. My major is Interdisciplinary Studies with a Professional Writing Concentration. After I graduate (in December of this year!), I hope to find a job that I can write and be creative while I go to graduate school. I'd like to eventually teach English in college, preferably some writing courses or some that may be specific to the skills that I've acquired on the job. My long-term goal, however, is to write books, both fiction and nonfiction.
My first week at the Career Management Center has been wonderful! My first assignment was to write an article for both the student and alumni newsletters. I'll admit- I was nervous at first. You know the feeling you get after you turn in your first written assignment in class and you don't know how the teacher grades. Then, you're left wondering will he or she like it. Well, that's kind of how I felt. I always want to do well. I didn't want the people at the CMC to think- "Where did they get that guy from?" But they told me that I did a nice job. I'm glad.
Before I began this internship, I had heard of the CMC and I was somewhat familiar with what it does. When I began to research on the website, I realized that it does a lot of great things for the students of ODU. Being at a distance site, I don't think you get the full effect of what's being done. I told a few of my fellow students at my site that I was doing this internship and they seemed not to know much about the CMC. I hope that since I'm a distance student interning with them, I can help bring awareness that even though students aren't on main campus, the CMC can still help with any career questions/concerns that they have. The CMC provides various services that are still beneficial to distance students.
Overall, I'm just excited about this entire experience. I also thought it was good to see how past experiences can prepare you for future experiences. I've written a few articles like the ones I wrote for the newsletter. Now, I'm waiting to see how the experience I get here will help me after I graduate.