I literally was just having a conversation with a friend about things going on lately and I remembered Cambodia again. A lesson I learned there, that I seemed to have forgotten until this past weekend.
At Buff Branding this weekend the Peer Leaders choose two students from their team color and award them with a WT brand for being the best brander. Towards the end of the social orientation we have a motivational speaker followed by a pep rally where they announce who the best branders were. The speaker this year was Rick Rigsby who has an amazing story of overcoming obstacles and making the best out of every opportunity you face - which is a life lesson in and of itself. At one point in his story, Rick mentions that he lost his beloved wife from breast cancer. He asks the audience if any of the students have walked up to the casket of their parents and known what that feeling is life.
Naturally, I looked around the room. I saw that one of the branders we had selected to be one the best branders for the black team raised their hand, and my heart sunk. No, this isn’t to call anyone out (hence why I left their name out) but it is to bring up a point. My heart went out to this brander. I, having both of my parents in my life, don’t know what that is life. I can only imagine the horror and angst that someone that young must feel when something like that happens.
I knew however that they had been chosen as a best brander. That we had selected them because of their WT spirit. That they had overcome their obstacles and moved on and become a better person. It made me happy knowing that I had in a way allowed this student a little more happiness in their life, even if it’s nothing compared to what they had faced earlier in their life.
Back to what Cambodia had taught me. There are problems in this world that are much bigger than what I face on a daily basis. I’ve never lost a parent. I’m not fighting world hunger. I’m complaining about friendships, relationships, or how cold my apartment is when at the end of the day life is much bigger.
Buff Branding 2011 is over. Or as Stayce and I called it all weekend Buff Branting. I’m pretty sure that I enjoyed this year’s social orientation much more than last years. Even though the Black Team was hated again…simply because I was on it. We without a doubt had a blast with the incoming Freshmen class and made lasting memories.
I remember coming to Buff Branding as a freshmen. Making memories and meeting friends that I still have to this day. So I know that this First Year Experience Program really means something to this class. I can say though that Buff Branding is so much better from this side - the peer leader side.
I have enjoyed making the chants, the flags, and creating the atmosphere of the WT family. I want to thank all of my fellow peer leaders and Buff Branding staff for making this past weekend an amazing one. As I sit here, the night before my last first day of school, I think back and reflect on my time here at WT. It has been full of ups and downs, but I’m ready for this year. I’m ready to start again and make more traditions and celebrate what God has given me - the opportunity to attend a place of higher education, and have fun while doing it.
Yesterday I turned 21. For two of my friends it was the anniversary of our friendship. Next week is the beginning of my final college year. Summer is ending. It’s a time to reflect for me and I came across this the other day - my final journal in my IDS class my freshmen year. It still remains true on many accounts, and yet has changed some.
Driving the ten hours away from home was something that I was not looking forward to. The thing I was looking forward to was college - the freedom that all teenagers desire. When I pulled into the parking lot and checked into my dorm, my first thoughts about college were naive and stupid. I thought college would be the party of my life, and I would not have to deal with that nagging mother of mine back home. I was wrong.
College has taught me so much about who I am as a person and what it is I want to do with my life. Not only have I discovered the buff in me at WT but I have discovered what it exactly means to be Tyler Sweeney. Aside from learning that I cannot handle the cold or late night trips to Waffle House with a group of friends just before my seven am class is not a good idea, I have learned what it is that I actually value in life: honesty, compassion, and just living in the little moments that life throws at us. Through my new found friends and family here at WT and in Canyon, I have come to notice the importance of honesty. Whether it is in relationships or school assignments I find that honesty still serves as the best policy. Compassion from others is something else that I have found to be rare in life. When I see a kid fall down and their papers fly everywhere I try and help them out. Whenever I see someone enter a door after me, I hold it open for them. It is acts such as those that I find so rare today and that I value in another person. Living in the moment is another thing that should not be taken for granted. Those times when my friends get together and just watch TV together on a bed are those that I look around at the group and feel most at home. I think these are the people who are my family; these are the people that I want to be around.
When I started college, I thought the world was in one set way and that’s how we have to life. I thought I knew who I was and where I wanted to go in life. I was wrong. College has opened my eyes, in the sense that that I am now more open minded, and respectful to those around me. I now find myself not judging those that enter into the building as I had before. I not longer hold those pre cognitive ideas about the person sitting next to me in class. If there is any opinions or beliefs that I would like to change about myself it would be that I think too little of myself. When I came to college I lacked the confidence in myself to succeed in whatever I do. Today, I still feel this way somewhat. I am this nerdy, lanky kid at heart and I feel that I am inadequate to compete with the best of the best. As time has gone on I have realized that I can compete with the best and excel in whatever it is that I do. My career goals have stayed the same in that I want to be a news anchor. My academic goals, however, have changed. I am no longer willing to settle for the least amount that I can do and am currently pushing myself like I have never done so before. I am currently getting more involved in school and my friendships than I have ever before in my life. Those ten hours that I drove to start a new life in college and in Canyon have become the best decision that I have made so far in my life. I am moving forward to a better place and like the direction that I am heading in. I hope to continue to grow as a person and discover exactly who it is I am.
This past Tuesday I finished my first internship ever with Nobox Creative. It was a very bittersweet feeling to leave there knowing that I wasn’t going to be walking into the finely decorated office with my own desk and working with social media for the clients they have. I know I’ve mentioned the importance of interning and the cool projects I have done with Nobox, but it’s been way more than that.
I’ve made real world contacts in a field that I want to head into - media. I’ve learned so much about social media and the impacts it can have on a company, it really can make or break a brand. I’ve found out how an office place works and what all goes into every aspect of an ad agency.
My time spent at Nobox will be greatly missed, but the information I’ve learned, not only about myself, but about the advertising and media world altogether will be taken with me. I’ve discovered that I have a witty writing style and that I can harness that when it comes to copy writing.
It is always sad to say goodbye, but I also know that I will be rooting for Nobox whenever I see their ads or the team out and about. It has always been stressed to us, whether that be at conventions or by our elders, to intern intern intern. I never fully understood why or what exactly that meant until I did so. So thanks to the Nobox team and all that they have done.
Those are things that you don’t really expect to see side by side, much less the title of a blog you are about to read. But nonetheless you are still reading this as I sit here and type away.
Last week myself, three other students, and three faculty traveled to Las Vegas to do market research for Terry Fator (hence the puppets). We were there to launch two different surveys at two different times of the day. One was during the afternoon (the sweat) and one was post Terry Fator’s show, all using an Ipad. The purpose of the first survey is mostly to see who has heard of Terry Fator and what they think of ventriloquism. We offered a free bottle of water (this is key in the Vegas heat) for every person that completed our 60 second survey. I spoke with ALL walks of life. From British people to those that wore “Cougar Patrol” t-shirts our survey really hit a wide variety of people. It was discouraging at times to get the people who completely turn you away or get the ones that say they don’t speak English when clearly four feet earlier they were jabbering about those annoying people handing out water and I heard every word of it. Then we would get those that were nice, and kind – it made those hours pass by quickly.
The post survey was another monster in of itself. Having anxious Terry Fator fans (fatorites) wait in line for an autographed photo, and all the while talking about how much they love Terry…would be a blog in and of itself. All in all I can say that I learned a lot. What questions work and what ones still need improvement. What power a survey can have to the marketing of entire show.
We will be going back again in October to do the same thing and compare the results from the summer Vegas crowd to the crowd in the fall. It will be interesting. I’m excited to learn about market research and see what results we and the Terry Fator team walk away with.
These past two days have been bittersweet to say the least. It’s over - well partially. 14 New Student Orientations later and all I have left is the one day orientation…and well that’s not much really.
My freshmen year, I knew I wanted to be a Peer Leader. I knew that I wanted to lead orientations, be looked up to, and help out the incoming freshmen - because for me it was a big change coming into college. I applied and didn’t get it my first year.
I wasn’t ready. I wasn’t mature. I was no where near the person I needed to be or the type of person I should be when it comes to being a mentor and someone that others look up to.
My junior year I got the job of being a Peer Leader and was stoked. I looked forward to the orientations, to helping others make that transition. To wear the cool uniform and the nametag. During out training sessions that year, we decided that I would take over the telling of the stories at what we call “traditions.”
Basically we tell our students to meet at the buffalo fountain at night, go over some chants, and then tell the story of Old Maine burning down. In the story there is a key phrase that starts a huge pillow fight with the freshmen. It’s been such a blast every orientation telling the stories and passing down the tradition.
I honestly will miss it. I will miss seeing student’s faces as they make a connection with one another on campus for the first time. As they are chant and holler to the fight song. And as they are registered and begin their own journey into higher education.
Now my role as a Peer Leader doesn’t end with orientations. We still have Buff Branding, being a Teacher’s Assistant in a Freshmen Seminar class, and other little things. The big part of being a Peer Leader has come to pass. It’s my time to let others continue the tradition and join the family.
I will always look back at this part of my job and college experience as something amazing. Giving back is a integral part of life. I’m just glad I was able to do it through a university I love.
But seriously, I can’t smell the pages. There aren’t any pages to smell. Whenever I read a book, I smell the book’s pages. I don’t care what the book is. Whether it’s a textbook, fiction, non-fiction, even a newspaper, whatever the type of paper I smell it.
I know this might sound a little weird, but I’ve come to my own conclusion that it’s because I’m a kinesthetic learner. I think that by moving, smelling, or feeling the pages I learn and absorb the information much better than I would, by simple sitting there and reading.
Well, I recently purchased a Nook Color and the problem is that their aren’t any pages. I made the transition into the digital world and that of e-reading. My birthday came early with this gift and I was at first a little hesitant about having a digital library. I’m very old fashioned when it comes to books.
After troubleshooting some technical difficulties, my book I purchased would never download and the Nook Friends app is still giving me problems, I dove into my first digital book: The Hunger Games.
I was impressed, not only with the book, but with the quality my Nook Color had. It’s very clear, crisp and I immediately forget I’m reading something in digital form. It’s weird because the first few pages, that’s really all I was focusing on - it’s digital and not on paper.
I finally made the adjustment, and 176 pages, and 2 hours of me reading (if this seems slow to you…well get over it) later I enjoy my Nook. It’s overall a nice experience. And I won’t have to wonder what to do with the book after I’m done reading. It’s all right there - digitally. Call me old fashioned with my books, but I’m making the effort to embrace the digital paper age - one sniff at a time.