5 over 152
Plug in the four banger, set the board on the chairs, plug in the dx cable, look up at the monitor and see it spiraling out control. “You have three minutes left” - says a name somewhere off in the room. My heart was pounding. My teammates look at me as I become whitewashed with stress. Yes, this is NSAC and this is our A/V rehearsal.
No the lights weren’t working. Who was in charge of setting them up? Oh yeah, me. When we were allowed a mere 15 minutes of A/V rehearsal the lights didn’t work. We went back to the hotel room, set everything up and they worked there. But, why not in the actual room?!
West Texas A&M University’s advertising team Buffalo Advertising was lucky enough to be selected as the wildcard team and make it to nationals with our awe inspiring light showcasing, soccer ball hitting, presentation and I was going to be responsible for making it fail.
We had traveled to Austin as excited as ever, meeting teams and being awestruck as we ran into #buffstahce (The University of Alabama) in the elevator - they were the team we ended up bonding the most with. Our competition was UCLA, College Station, Penn State, Syracuse, and other notable schools - so not exactly for the feint of heart. The first time a team from WT had mad it’s way to the national level for NSAC. We were a quarter horse among thoroughbreds.
I think the big thing for me about this convention and competition was how lucky and honored we felt to even be there. The networking opportunities were amazing. Naturally our competitive nature emerged and we began to wonder “what if.” What if the small wildcard team placed? What if we got first? What if?
When we walked into the presentation room and began our actual set up - the lights worked. Not only did they work, but there was a chandelier right above us that we pointed one at to reflect it tenfold, couldn’t have planned that any better. Our lines were slow for once. I hit my mark for once. We were great.
Our Q/A with the judges was mostly a compliment section with one question that was answered with great response. Holy Moly - those ‘what ifs’ became ‘when will we knows’. When the 1-4th place teams were announced and WT was not on that list (congrats to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln for first and our friends at Alabama for second) I literally turned and said “oh that just means we got fifth.”
Little did I know.
West Texas A&M Univ. received 5th in the nation. 5th out of 152 other teams that competed this year. What an incredible feeling that was. We all felt like we had just gotten first. We beat not only one, but BOTH teams that we lost to on the district level. We were proud. We were honored.
I can now leave WT and my last experience as a ‘student’ happy. Happy that NSAC has taught me more than I could ever imagine. More than I thought I would ever know. It stood out on my resume. It helped me get to where I am in my career. So thanks to my team, my coaches, my advisors, and everyone else that was involved because without the support and encouragement we wouldn’t be where we are today.
And as always, “Go Buffs!”
Welcome to RPA
As I was waiting in line at Dollar General with my milk and laundry bag (classy, I know) my phone rang with a 310 area code - Santa Monica. I picked up the phone, crawled to the back of the store and was informed that I’ve been offered a social media internship position with Rubin Postaer & Associates (RPA) - whose clients include Honda, Lay-Z-Boy, Farmer’s Insurance and many more.
I was so excited! Of course I’m going.
This has been an intense process to say the least. I heard about RPA from my research with NSAC and then from there to Twitter. When I say the posting for summer internships I applied and made it through to the second round after submitting a resume. Second round had several options, I chose to tweet twelve things that reflected myself and my interests. I would take screenshots and use the hashtag “#rpasummerinternship” further limiting my creativity.
Regardless, I made it to the third round which was a phone screen call. I was very nervous for this one, but forged ahead and came out successful. The final round was a Skype interview in which I chatted with the social media team and was asked just about everything under the sun, from my experience to my own thoughts on social media and where it’s going.
I’m honored to have been selected as a social media and summer intern for RPA. I now look at Honda cars on the road or see Farmer’s Insurance commercials on TV and think - “Man, really soon I’ll be working for that.”
It is very bittersweet. My family and friends don’t want to see me move across the country and are worried for my well being. I will be sad as well to leave them. I don’t think it still has all fully hit me, but when it does I will be very torn. Looking forward and a change like this is a hard thing to do, but nonetheless I’m still excited to have a great opportunity and advance using my degree.
Lining a hallway, finding my place in line, breathing and smiling as I walked into the room. Sitting down. Facing the stage. Reality began to set in.
It’s official I’m an alum of West Texas A&M University. A Buffalo (Bison) by heart, but no longer in academic practice. It hasn’t hit me yet. The feeling of the finale. Much like watching the season of some great TV show end, I don’t feel like it’s over until the next season starts. Problem is, I don’t know what channel my show will premiere on.
Those feelings of goodbye, leaving my best friends, and the memories I have while becoming the adult I am today are all still fresh. It’s not over I keep telling myself - when in reality it is.
I have a job offer lined up that I could potentially take. I’m waiting to hear back on an internship in California. All the while my lease on my apartment ends on May 31st. The clock is ticking.
I’ve never been one without a plan, but what happens when life throws you into this ‘limbo’ stage? I can’t make any set plans. I don’t know what I’m doing. I can’t know what I’m doing because all the cards aren’t on the table. The table hasn’t even been set. I’m in limbo.
This is not sitting well with my gold self. I often need to remind myself that patience is a virtue - welcome to that adulthood that I just mentioned. I will always value the lessons learned at West Texas A&M University. The people I’ve met and have come close with will still be in my heart. The reality of it all will set in at one point and I can imagine it will flood in like the hoover damn.
Until then, I wait. Wait for the National Student Advertising Competition Nationals (I forgot to mention we were selected as the wild card team!). Wait for a word back on jobs. Wait to form my plan.
Now that I’m no longer sworn to secrecy, protecting our campaign against the online spies and dragons of the student advertising world, I can breathe and now talk about probably the hardest project that I have worked on.
Yes, the National Student Advertising Competition or NSAC has pushed my limits like they’ve never been pushed before. I know so much about Nissan, the auto industry, and multicultural millennials - probably going to be filled with random stats in my cranium for awhile now. The late hours, the early mornings all lead up to 20 minutes of a presentation and 10 minutes of Q/A this past week.
Buffalo Advertising presented the best we have ever done. Our timing was spot on. The lights we set up in the room went on que. Lines were delivered clearly and confidently. After we presented I felt very emotional. I was proud of what we had done and felt relieved it had gone so well. I lived in the moment of presenting our ideas to AAF looked around the room smiling at my team.
We would find out that we would win second place at the AAF District 10 Competition. Yeah, we strove to get first place. We wanted it so badly but the judges spoke and we received second place.
After processing what happened, I can fully say that I am proud of the work that Buffalo Advertising has done and how it will impact not only my future but the rest of my team’s. I know what a fully developed advertising campaign looks like. What work goes into a presentation and the smiles and memories that are shared at the end of the day.
Hard at work today
NSAC VS NewsOne
Many of my fellow “Mass Commers” can attest to the difficulty of the two classes I’m about to break down for you. Late nights freaking out about what Dr. Browning will say when she sees your news package that you made. Laying out on the Mac lab floor wondering what Lori Westermann will throw at you next when you present your “Big Idea.”
Yeah, I’m talking about the National Student Advertising (NSAC) and News One classes. There are some of us that are fortunate enough, and by fortunate I mean we’ve lost years off of our life, to take both of these classes - some have even done them at the same time (you are crazy). I thought about it the other day and was wondering would I say that NSAC or News One is a more difficult class.
Let’s start with News One:
- rotating position every week - you have to be on your A game for this
- managing class and getting those interviews are no piece of cake
- carrying around all that equipment - you become sore in places you didn’t know existed
- live show - you might run through this one about eight, nine, twelve, twenty times
- postmortem - a place where you can either receive the highest of highs or where you will cry on the inside
- have a client, a challenge, and a budget - ready go
- high level of thinking - there aren’t really any guidelines
- working with a team to create detailed, research based plans book pages
- late nights in a mac lab - didn’t even know the building stayed open this late
- small group working together - dark secrets come out
- critique from lori - she’ll either hate it or love it; hold your breathe
Both are challenging in different aspects. If you can manage to take one, you can handle the other. I personally would argue that NSAC is a rough and tough class compared to News One. What do you think?
I don’t know what to write about
Have you ever sat down and wanted to make a post and had nothing to write about? That’s how I feel right now. A lot has happened since I last posted, but is it anything worth writing home about?
My internship with the Amarillo Bulls has been going great - well except the times that I’ve had to miss lately, but overall nothing is new there.
Let’s see…I’m going to be on the National Student Advertising Competition in the Spring - and am only going to take 10 hours my final semester. That’s something exciting, but as far as writing about it goes…well I literally just typed all I could about it.
Wait, that’s it -something personal. That should keep your attention right?
Grandma Sweeney, as I called her, lived to be 96 years old. 96, that’s quite a life. Now, I was much closer to her when I was younger, but when I was growing up and making the many accomplishments that occur in a young man’s life - Prom, etc. She was always around making sweets and giving the hug when we visited. I will remember her as a feisty women who never gave up. Even in her later years when she had a stroke, she would complain in the hospital bed about how she wanted to get up and do something. That’s in my blood too.
She loved her family and we loved her. There were tough moments this past weekend, seeing my family cry and not being able to push the pain away. I know though that she was with us. That her smile and laugh will continue on and live through us. That her never give up, always-do-something attitude will carry on. She left a legacy behind with her Sweeney family.
In the end she is worth writing for. She is worth the numerous thoughts running through my head. Not the school projects. Not the accomplishments. Not the work. But family - her.
In honor of Helen “Grandma” Sweeney.