The Final Countdown

One day you may find yourself deciding which classes you can take “as extras,” “for fun,” or “because you’ve already paid for them, why not soak up as many more skills as possible.” For me, this was the most real sign that I was nearing graduation.

While graduation is and has always been inevitable, It hasn’t ever felt as real as it did during registration last week. I was registering for my final semester of undergraduate studies, and I had some “free” credits to play with. I only had two classes left that I needed to fulfill all of my requirements. I considered taking yoga and social dance and maybe an art class? But then I started feeling… sentimental, and old… and decided I should take classes that are relevant and that will be beneficial to me and my future. I signed up for BUS 333: Marketing (an upper level – out of my major – course) and a four credit independent study to focus on my thesis in hopes of getting it approved for honors.

This week I had my first interview with a potential graduate school opportunity. I am still unsure if I will be actively continuing my education immediately after Alma or if I will be heading off to work and beginning to pay back my student loans. Either way, I will be furthering my knowledge and skill sets, and pushing myself to learn new things every step of the way.

That being said, I have exactly five months until I participate in one of the most monumental ceremonies of my life, and I have a million things I want to do before then. I look around me – at this school, in this city, with these people – have I done everything I wanted to do in my time here? What else can I do to add to my collection of Alma College memories?

I am an adventurer and love to know what is around me. I’ve done lots of drives and walks through Alma, Ithaca, Ellwell and Breckenridge, and Gratiot and Isabella counties. I’ve eaten at lot of family restaurants and shopped in some tiny little mom & pop, family dime stores. I’ve made connections throughout the local community and taken part in several community events.

I’ve joined many organizations, participated in them actively and gave all I could give, and then tried new organizations. I’ve worked several different jobs throughout my time at Alma – for Admissions, Communication and Marketing, Yearbook, IT and also Quicken Loans remotely. But are there still organizations that I wish I would’ve joined? (Not like I would have had the time!) Of course there are. There aren’t enough hours in the day to do everything I would have liked to have done at Alma.

I’ve made friends. While my friend groups have changed from year to year, each and every one of them have meant the world to me and have helped me define who I am and who I want to be. I have surrounded myself with amazing women who are all driven, and passionate, and encouraged me in every endeavor I have found myself in. We’ve laughed, we’ve cried, and we’ve eaten far too much Pizza One in the last hours of the evening.

When I look back and reflect on all of this and my 3.5 years spent at Alma, it is hard to imagine that there could possibly be something I am missing, or something that I need to do before that day (you know, the one that starts with a G…) rolls around. But yet, I know once I leave here and move on to “big kid life” there are going to be so many things that I realize I wish I would have done.

Until then, I am making the most of every moment. I am letting myself hit snooze a second time, and letting myself spend another half hour with my friends instead of heading back to studying, and taking a break to go to that meeting that isn’t mandatory but will be fun. I will be pushing myself to do the little extra credits, and making close and personal connections with professors and classmates and building a stronger network to come back home to in Alma.

The Start of The End

It has been almost half a year since I last wrote on this blog. Not without surprise, I have been just as busy as ever, and now my senior year is well on its way. When I last wrote, I was laying out my next few months ahead as winter term was wrapping up.

Spring Term class meeting with Michigan Land Use Institute

Spring Term: My spring term class last year ended up being one of my favorite classes I have ever taken at Alma. As mentioned in my previous blog, I took a communication class that focused on Environmental Communication. We directly partnered with an organization called FLOW – For Love of Water – located in Traverse City, to create a strategic communication plan and analyze the communication processes they use externally.  It was great practice for hands-on work and practical application of some of the skills I have been learning throughout my time here at Alma.

Photo from my internship, touring the Detroit Lions home stadium, Ford Field.

Summer 2014: This summer, I returned to Detroit to do a second internship with dPOP! working with the social media team in the position of  “Senior Vice President of Social Butterflies.” To say that interning with them is fabulous would be far too much of an understatement. Everyday with dPOP! I am challenged to try new things, learn new skills, take risks, and just let loose and be myself. I met many new people and built closer bonds with others I had worked with last summer. Most importantly, I was able to define some of my professional goals and objectives and examine where I hope to be career-wise.

Back in Alma: I have officially been back in Alma for a month. I have been busy working three jobs – Editor in Chief of The Scot (our yearbook), interning with our Communications & Marketing office, and working for the Quicken Loans recruiting team as a Campus Ambassador.  Each of these positions are fairly time consuming and challenging in unique ways, and they all align very well with my development as a professional and with the jobs/career I see myself in. Just a few short months from now I will begin searching for jobs post graduation. I cannot believe that my story at Alma is now in it’s final chapter.

ACUB trip to Detroit Tigers game

Senior Year: Aside from the jobs I am working, I also have an action-packed class load to fill up my last year here. This semester I am taking three classes outside of my major to challenge myself to step outside of my comfort zone, learn new skill sets, and really grasp the value of a liberal arts education.  In a normal week, I can find myself out doing photography, writing a SWOT analysis, annotating articles in regards to communication issues in an organization, and doing the cha-cha slide.  Interesting mix of classes, don’t you think? I am also working on an independent study in which I will be analyzing the way the college connects with its alumni through all channels of communication.  I know I have a challenge coming my way with keeping myself afloat, but I am excited for what all of these projects/classes have in store.

All in all, I am trying to make the absolute most out of this year and be sure I accomplish everything I wanted to do before leaving Alma behind and taking on the title of “alumna.” That’s a scary thought, and it is only eight months away.

Farewell, Junior Year!

Well, the time is here. Once Honors Day is done, it seems like just moments later graduation is upon us. Though there is still another week and a half until graduation, the time will fly by. This week is one of the busiest for many students as they complete papers and projects they’ve been working on all semester. Next week is the ever-dreaded finals week.

Phi Sigma Sigma Spring Initiations

Phi Sigma Sigma Spring Initiations

Many students, however, enjoy finals week because there are no classes, the days are far less busy, and you may actually be able to sleep in a day or two! Personally, I love finals week. I will spend part of the day sleeping, part of the day working, and part of the day studying. I have four finals – one is a debate and the other three are in essay and multiple choice formats.

After finals are done and graduation is over, many students will head home for the summer and won’t look back until the end of August. However, other students will be returning to campus a week after graduation or getting on a plane and heading to an off-campus location for Spring Term. I will be back on campus, taking a Spring Term class in Environmental Communications. We will be focusing on messages and how we shape them for the audiences who will encounter them as well as how messages can set the public agenda. We’ll focus on the Great Lakes and the environmental issues related to water. We will be traveling to central and northwestern Michigan to work with groups that focus on the Great Lakes water and related issues. By the end of the class, our goal is to be able to structure a communications plan for an organization that is related to an environmental issue.

Myself along with other interns I worked with last summer in Detroit!

Myself along with other interns I worked with last summer in Detroit!

I am very much looking forward to this class along with a much more open schedule and some time to spend outside in the sun, enjoying the weather. Once spring term is over I will be heading back to the Detroit area and beginning my internship with Quicken Loans for a second summer!  As much as I absolutely love my job, I am looking forward to Spring Term because it will be a small break from the day-to-day craziness before I am back to being a full-time worker!

The crunch time is here, and we are all preparing for sleepless nights in the library and binge eating Pizza One to finish up our Munch Money. We’re digging out our summer clothes and getting exciting to spend time outdoors. I am nearing the end of my junior year, and I cannot wrap my head around where the time has gone. I look back on everything I have accomplished and look forward on everything yet to come and know that I am truly becoming the person I hoped to become while in college. I have grown in leaps and bounds, especially in a professional sense.

I know what I want to do after graduation, in a broad sense, and I know that all it takes it some determination, a passion and the right environment to help everything prosper. And I know that all my classes wrapping up now, my spring term, and my classes planned for next year are all going to be essential in getting me to where I want to be after graduation.

A Day To Be Honored

There is a special day that happens here at Alma once every year. It happens in the spring, as seniors are wrapping up their big research projects, senior thesis projects and final presentations. For some it is a day off, or an early start to a four-day weekend but to others it is one of the most intimidating and important days of the entire year. It is Honors Day.

This was the first year that I actually attended some of the Honors Day festivities. Freshman year I saw Honors Day as a 4-day weekend (as many freshman do) and I headed home for some quality family time and a break from the bubble and the imminent finals studying I was partaking in. Last year, as a sophomore, I was not at Alma during my winter semester and therefore missed Honors Day.

To kick off the festivities, a keynote speaker spoke for campus on Wednesday night.  Mr. Will Allen, once a professional basketball player, now a professional farmer, came to speak about urban gardening and the important of good food for everyone. He was such an impactful speaker and no person in the room could avoid concentrating on his presentation. He is the CEO of a company called Growing Power Inc. in Milwaukee, Wis.  His company promotes healthy eating and supports personal growing rather than corporate foods and mass production. They start from growing their own soil and composting all materials that are considered “leftovers” or “extras.” These materials come from an internal source but also get delivered from restaurants and stores after the vegetation has gone bad.

The entire process is incredible. In addition to growing fruits and vegetables, Mr. Allen’s company produces fish (lake perch and tilapia) is mass amounts through healthy breeding practices (free from contaminations). His company, Growing Power, has the majority of its projects in downtown Milwaukee, as it is focused on being located in urban areas where the need for fresh food is greater and where there is no real way to farm without building it all from the ground up. However, Growing Power will work with other cities to help them get started in the revolution.

In Gratiot County and the surrounding area there are several of these types of farms called CSA or Community Supported Agriculture. With a CSA farm there are two main parties involved – the farmer and “shareholders.” A farmer will own the land and care for the crop all season, while shareholders purchase “plots” or a piece of the land which helps the farmer afford the up-front costs of the farm in the early spring. In return for helping to support the farm, the shareholders will receive a portion of all of the produce throughout the growing season. According to the CSAfarms.org website, a CSA is described as “a growing social and agricultural movement that encourages small farm preservation and profitability by directly linking local growers with local community members.” Ever since hearing Will Allen discuss his company, CSAs and urban farming, I have been so wrapped up in the idea of fresh food, growing your own food and the revolution he hopes to see in the coming years.

Amy, myself and Ashley, the newest members of Lambda Pi Eta

Amy, myself and Ashley, the newest members of Lambda Pi Eta!

Aside from the keynote speaker, my honors day included lots more festivities as well.  I woke up (after getting to sleep in a little bit!) excited to have a day off classes. I spent the morning watching the New Media Studies presentations, including a great one by one of my best friends, Ashley Esselink ’15, on the chemical pollutants in the environment, also focused in the Gratiot County area. After those presentations I took some time to work on homework, some projects for work, and grab a short nap. In the evening I was inducted into Lambda Pi Eta – The National Communications Honorary. Acceptance into Lambda Pi Eta is based on the level of credits a communication/new media studies student has taken as well as his/her major grade point average and overall GPA. I was inducted alongside two other lovely ladies – Ashley Esselink ’15 and Amy Smith ’15!

After Lambda Pi Eta inductions were complete, I headed to a ceremony that is a part of Phi Sigma Sigma’s new member initiation. It is the time of year when all these exciting events are taking place, groups are wrapping up for the year, and we are all knee-deep in projects, papers and finals. It is a wonderful but stressful time of year. There are so many ceremonies and celebrations taking place, but also lots and lots of studying that needs to be done.

We only have one more full week of classes before finals week! I’m honestly not sure where this year went… up until Christmas I felt like the semester was moving so slowly, but since then it seems like it has only been a month or so and all of a sudden we are beginning to pull out our summer clothes and studying for finals! Stay strong, Scots! We’re almost there and we are going to finish strong, together.

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

One of the greatest things about college is the amount of opportunities that present themselves to you. As an incoming freshman, there will be hundreds of new things to get involved with, jobs to apply to, and fun activities you will want to attend. You will never run out of choices, and never get bored. However, sometimes all of these opportunities can swallow you up and before you know it you are at the end of your junior year and planning out your schedule for your last year of your undergraduate career, like I am.

My calendar for March!

My calendar for March!

This year I have learned several important things to keep in mind while flying through the four years of college and through the rest of our lives.

    • First: it is perfectly OK to let go of things that once mattered to you, but seem to have taken the back-burner in the present.
    • Second: It is OK to tell people “no”… especially if they are asking for help with something you don’t fully understand or genuinely don’t have time to help with.
    • Third: Do what matters to you, not what matters to anyone else. In the end, all we have is ourselves so we might as well be focused on ourselves from the beginning.

All of these can be really difficult to do, especially when working with peers and friends in class work, organizations and jobs. To me, it is almost like learning to ride a bike; you have to put in the practice. If someone asks you to help with a project you have no interest in or do not have time to commit to, be honest with them. Even if their response isn’t ideal, they will understand in the end that you needed to do what was best for yourself.

I have had some firsthand experience with this in the past month or two as I am looking forward to my final year of being an Alma Scot.

I have felt myself stretched very thin this year between working several jobs, being a part of many organizations (with leadership positions) and trying to do well in my academics (all 18 credits of them!). I have let myself down this year, as I have not been able to give 100% in all that I do, and have seen a slight slip in my grades as well. However, I have learned so much in terms of practical life skills through being so involved and putting myself into so many different types of positions. In the end, I realized that one of my major time commitments had to go before next year—so that I had time for myself, time to focus on my future and time to enjoy my senior year.

South Campus RA Staff Fall 2013

South Campus RA Staff Fall 2013

Making the decision as to what had to go was probably the hardest decision I have made in my entire college career. I decided not to return as an RA in the fall. It took weeks to come to the decision, and I don’t think it will fully sink in until I am back on campus in September, not having to do the routine things I did as an RA.

Will I miss it? Of course! It has been such a great experience and I have learned so much and met so many people. I will miss my staff and the true friendships I have made with many of them, but I know that we will still remain close. I will miss being a part of many of the things RAs get to take part in and will even miss coming back to campus two weeks early for RA training – well, kinda.

Two of my ΦΣΣ sisters and I at our formal last weekend.

Two of my ΦΣΣ sisters and I at our formal last weekend.

Looking forward to next year, I will be making one major change in the sense of my living arrangement. I will no longer have my own room (which will be greatly missed!) but will instead be sharing a room with two others, and a house with 10 people total. I am moving into the Phi Sigma Sigma house! I figured that there will never be a chance in my life for me to live in a house with 9 other girls, all of whom I enjoy spending time with and will be happy to share space with. I might as well take advantage of it while I can because after next year who knows where I will be living or where my career will take me.

While it is easy to become too involved and overwhelmed with all of the great things going on around you all the time, I also will encourage you to take every chance to seize moments.

When you look back on parts of your life, what do you want to remember? Are you making memories that will come back to you quickly or is your time here blending into a blur of homework and classes and a liberal arts contortion of subjects? What do you want to remember? Think of those things each and every day as you making choices about what to do and where to go with your life. And most importantly, have some fun!

 

March is National…

Aside from the celebration of St. Patrick’s Day and March being Reading Month, March is also deemed as another “special occasion month.” It is a month dedicated to something I have dedicated countless hours to as a college student (and member of a sorority!) and something that has given me a great outlet for stress relief over the past three years. March is National Craft Month!

Did you know, if you draw on a mug with sharpie and then bake it in the oven, the marker will stay on?

Did you know, if you draw on a mug with sharpie and then bake it in the oven, the marker will stay on?

What is National Craft Month, you ask? Well I’ve got the answer for you. It is exactly what it sounds like. National Craft Month is an observation of craftiness and DIY projects all over the country. It is a chance for craft stores to give deep discounts on their winter inventory and prepare to bring in all of the new craft supplies for the summer. It is also the best time to find coupons for craft retailers!

How did this begin and who decided we should have a “craft month”? National Craft Month was first observed in 1994, after the Craft and Hobby Organization (formerly known as Hobby Institute Association) decided it would be a good way to introduce new crafting techniques and receive some publicity for craft projects, as well as teach the public about the benefits of crafting. The CHA consists of thousands of member companies in the craft and hobby industry and is now an international, not-for-profit trade association. In the beginning only a few manufacturers and retailers celebrated National Craft Month, but since 1994 it has grown into an international celebration of creativity and innovation with millions of craft enthusiasts taking part in some activity related to craft month during March.

Getting ready to make Greek letters!

Getting ready to make Greek letters!

Well how can I celebrate National Craft Month? Personally, as a college student, I enjoy crafting in my spare time (the little that I have!) to relieve some stress and get some creative juices flowing. When I say “crafting”… that is a loose definition. Crafting can be knitting, sewing, painting, drawing, coloring, beading or basically any other project that makes you think creatively. Some of my favorite craft projects include making fleece blankets, working on DIY projects for my dorm and for at home, and making craft projects to give to others. I also really enjoy projects that involve glitter (to the dismay of my suitemates) that end up with it all over our bathroom! Many of the projects I’ve done relate to my sorority… making clothing with letters, hanging letters, photo frames, jewelry boxes, and everything and anything with letters on it!

If you’re new to crafting… here are three tips that are sure to help you get started!

A canvas I painted a dark, rainy day. You make me happy when skies are gray.

A canvas I painted a dark, rainy day. You make me happy when skies are gray.

1)     Start small and simple. Make a personal card for some special, or paint a canvas. Throw some glue and glitter on a piece of paper. Make your name out of random materials. Anything really… just to get some creative energy!

2)     Try something new that you’ve seen as inspiration. Create something you saw on Pinterest once, or maybe something you saw hanging as an example in a craft store. Do a simple Google search; find something that inspires you.

3)    Be proud of your work. Who cares if your lines don’t match up perfectly, or if you accidentally smeared a spot of paint? It’s your work, be proud of it! Hang it on your walls (or Mom’s fridge!) and tell everyone that you made it and it’s awesome, just like you.

A set of letters and a bow I made.

Crafting has lots of benefits. Aside from being a great way to boost creativity and being a good stress relief tool, crafting and DIY-ing can also bring confidence to the artist. When someone sees something you’ve made and compliments it, asks where you got it, or asks you to make one for them, it is the ultimate confidence boost. Also, if you get really good at crafting and really enjoy it, you can start crafting for profit! Many college students open Etsy shops or sell craft items via Facebook for a little extra spending money.

Whether you’re crafting for fun or crafting for profit, as long as you’re crafting in some capacity, you are celebrating March the correct way! Show us your March craft projects by Tweeting or Instagramming them, and be sure to tag #AlmaCollege and #CraftMonth to we see them!

Happy Crafting!

Mid-Michigan Explorations – Downtown Dime

As a college student living in what I consider to be a small town in the middle of the mitten there is one thing I miss: shopping. I personally am not a huge fan of “big box” stores that run the little guys out of business, and though we still have some small shops left in Alma, I know that many of them have been forced to lock up and close their stores because they just cannot compete with the existing Walmart and the Meijer that will be opening in June.

Map to Downtown Dime, located at 166 E Center Street in Ithaca, Mich.

Map to Downtown Dime, located at 166 E Center Street in Ithaca, Mich.

When I went out searching for a place to write a Mid-Michigan Exploration blog about for this week, I wasn’t exactly sure what I would find. I drove around in Alma for awhile, but realized that sometimes it is OK to venture a little farther to find something interesting or different than what is always around me. I remembered a small shop I had stopped at in Ithaca last fall as I was looking for a place to get a birthday card. When I stopped in the first time, the store was not actually open, (it was a Sunday – I’m not used to that either! In the Detroit area, everything is open 7 days a week!) but the owners were in, stocking the shelves. They saw me run up to the door to check the hours and one of them came to open to door for me saying “If we’re here, there’s no reason you can’t come in!” When was the last time someone at Walmart did that for you? Remembering that interaction, I wanted to revisit this store during their regular business hours and spend some time truly exploring the store. This store is called Downtown Dime and is located at 166 E Center St, Ithaca, Mich. (It’s just 9 miles from campus!)

When I arrived at Downtown Dime, I couldn’t believe how much of it I had missed before. Last time I stopped in I got what I needed and got right out to let the owners get back to work, but today the people working there were very friendly and chatted with me as I browsed through all the aisles. One of the things they have an abundance of is crafting supplies. Being that March is National Craft Month (more on that next week!) and being that crafting is one of my favorite pastimes, I loved browsing through the craft aisles and finding unique and different things than what Walmart or even JoAnn has for sale.  Downtown Dime has a diverse selection of fabrics (flannels, fleeces, and many many others!) and they differ from all of the ones you see used over and over again because Walmart has a relatively small stock. I even found hot glue gun sticks that were a foot long and they only cost me 14 cents each!

One of my favorite craft finds—a bowl of buttons!

One of my favorite craft finds—a bowl of buttons!

Aside from crafting items, Downtown Dime has a huge variety of other items as well. You can find party supplies, home and garden décor, spray paint, greeting cards and balloons, grocery items, baby supplies, and a huge candy bar as well! The staff was very helpful and friendly and was very knowledgeable about everything they had for sale.

In the future, I will make the 10-minute drive to get a different shopping experience than that which Walmart gives me. I know that it is not always logical or feasible to shop at a smaller store that is further away, but if you make the journey I can promise that it will be a nice change of pace from big-box stores and that you will find some treasure that you just can’t get from a mass-production store at Downtown Dime.

No Matter the Letters, We’re all Tied Together

I’ve written a few blogs about being Greek and what Greek Life is like here at Alma. I spend a lot of my time doing things related to Greek Life and I think it is a great part of campus life. However, over the past two months I’ve experienced Greek Life in a whole new light.

Panhellenic Executive Council 2014

Panhellenic Executive Council 2014

Back in December I was elected Special Events Chair on Panhellenic Council, which meant that as soon as I returned from Christmas break I would have to become neutral and disaffiliate from my sorority until winter recruitment was over. I was to be an unbiased person for all PNMS (potential new members) to come discuss their thoughts and ask questions about the sororities and Greek Life in general. I won’t lie; I went into this semester with apprehension about being away from my sisters, boxing away my favorite sweatshirts and being able to be neutral for these girls (and most importantly… not “outing” myself!).

Now that it is all done and over with I can truly say it was one of the best experiences I’ve had here at Alma. I loved getting to know all of the other ladies on Panhellenic Council and the Rho Gammas (representatives from each chapter – also neutral for the recruitment period) from all of the other chapters.  I loved meeting all of the girls going through recruitment, being there for them throughout the process, and watching them find their homes. Being neutral came much easier to me than I expected and when I was around the PNMS I found myself very comfortable saying positive things about all of the sororities, the girls in them, and their beliefs. It came easy to me and I would do it again a million times over (which is good because I’m already signed up to do it again in the fall!).

The newest members of Phi Sigma Sigma, with the Phi Sig neutrals

The newest members of Phi Sigma Sigma, with the Phi Sig neutrals

One of the most difficult decisions for me was telling a girl that she should choose another sorority over mine. She sat with me and discussed the pros and cons of each and what she did or didn’t like in each sorority. I could tell by the way she was talking that she was going to be happier at the other sorority and even though I really liked her and would’ve loved for her to be my sister, I had to sway her in the direction that made her the happiest. It was also difficult answering questions about my own sorority with the response of “they” instead of “we” and walking up to the door of my house during recruitment and not joining in on the songs they were singing. In that moment I wanted to be in the house so bad, ready to recruit these new women into our sisterhood.

Finally back in letters!

Finally back in letters!

Now that all of the PNMs have become new members and have begun their journeys into their own sisterhoods, I feel proud to see the things they are doing, knowing that I may have helped them make their choice or “sold” them on Greek Life.  My sisters have been a huge support in my time here at Alma thus far, and I hope each and every one of these new members finds the same love and support I did within their own chapters and in their new Greek families.

Serve Generously

A big part of life here at Alma is service. It is written right into our mission statement: Alma College’s mission is to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations.

We have several organizations that focus almost solely on service, as well as some that are multi-focused but include service. Service exists through so many organizations on campus in so many different ways, shapes and forms. Athletics teams participate in service and so do Greek organizations. Many students enjoy doing service as a part of a group, while others prefer to do it alone in their free time, or with a small group of friends.

I, personally, am a member of Alpha Phi Omega—a national service fraternity. Our current local chapter, Omicron Tau, has been on Alma’s campus since 2002. Through Alpha Phi Omega I have been involved in countless volunteer opportunities. Some of my favorites though are Kids Night Out, painting the Gratiot County senior center, and volunteering in classrooms in the Alma school district. I’ve also enjoyed making placemats for community café, creating door decorations for some of the residents of Masonic Pathways, and volunteering at the city of Alma Fall Festival each year.

Before coming to Alma, service was a part of my life. I have been volunteering in all aspects of my life since I was very young. I have spent time feeding the homeless and hungry on the streets of Detroit, doing volunteer babysitting jobs, and I was even a long-term volunteer with the Dearborn Animal Shelter, in my hometown.

I have always felt a strong urge to help. Upon coming to Alma, this need was only intensified. There were so many options to serve, and people here were taking part in incredible service opportunities —Alternative Breaks, P-Global trips (where they travel around the world doing service!) and the middle school mentorship program.

Being so involved with service has been an important part of my college experience thus far, and I know many other Scots will agree with me on that. Doing service is something that gives you such a good feeling—being able to know you are helping someone else with something they may not be able to do on their own or knowing you are taking some weight off someone’s shoulders—it is a feeling that is incomparable.

When I have a service event on my calendar, it is something I will forward to all week. Most recently I’ve been volunteering with a second-grade classroom at one of the local elementary schools. The connections I’ve made with these children in just a few short visits are incredible. They look forward to us coming, and tell us each and every time we arrive. They remember our names, even though we’re only there once or twice a month. We have been taking time to teach them what service is, with the hopes of getting them involved with service at a young age. We’ve had them help us create placemats for community café and many of these students were able to look for their artwork if they attended community café that particular week. They were able to see the direct impact and understand that they made something for someone else’s benefit.

The following month we made thank-you cards with the kids that they then gave to teachers in their school. We taught them the concept of giving thanks and giving back, and I firmly believe that at least a handful of them will carry this through their lives and give back at some point. Maybe they won’t remember the time with us, or the first times they did service, but maybe they will, and if they do, then I have served well by making a difference in a child’s life.

While I am at Alma, I am going to continue to take advantage of all the service opportunities presented to me. Though my time left in college is beginning to dwindle (Ok, kind of! One more full year left!), I know service will always be a part of my life in the future, thanks to the experiences I’ve had here at Alma.

 

Advertising and the Power of Social Media

As a student majoring in communication, I tend to be very alert and aware of all types of communication around me. I find myself focusing on marketing, advertising, public relations and social media. Yesterday I experienced some marketing via social media that I thought was very efficient and I wanted to take some time to share it.

It was around 4 pm yesterday afternoon and I was camped out in the computer lab working on lots of homework and completing some designs for my bulletin boards for February. I was casually hopping back and forth between the two, with a few minutes of breaks for my email and Facebook.

While scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a post from Treasures, an antique/resale shop in Alma, which was displaying some new items it had gotten in over the past few days. Of course, being the shopper that I am and the interest I have in interior design and decorating, I had to stop and take a look.

My new treasure

My new treasure

In their photos I found an artistic piece that is a board for hanging photos (a frame with chicken wire and clothespins) that matched my room perfectly. Knowing that it was something that would sell quickly—and also something I had to have—I commented on the post asking what the price was.

Treasures responded almost immediately, and it was within a reasonable budget I could handle, so I commented back asking what time the store closed. Again, within minutes, Treasures responded and told me that the store would be closing at 6 pm. By 5:30 I had found a ride there, done some browsing and was heading back to campus as a proud owner of this new piece for my room. (I also saved a few dollars thanks to the Treasures student discount!)

The interaction I had with Treasures yesterday was a great example of marketing through social media. The page admin was very prompt and efficient when answering me. She did so in a timely manner so that I was able to get the information I needed in time to purchase the piece.

In a small town like Alma, that type of interaction through social media is essential for family-owned businesses. Those types of interactions, and the interactions you have while in the store, are the types of things that make me want to go to the “little guy” stores before the super department store. I have found this type of interaction with several other small businesses in the Alma community as well. Throughout all of these pages you can view interactions and conversations of people who know the owners personally, or not so personally, all of whom are supportive and excited for the business and truly care about its success. The Alma community exists in so many places, and the virtual Alma community is equally strong.

Treasures in Alma

Treasures in Alma

Thank you to Treasures for its great customer service. This is a business in Alma that I will be sure to visit again. If you are interested in visiting Treasures, it is located at 111 W. Superior St. and is open from 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday and 11 am-4 pm on Sundays. Also, be sure to check out Treasures on Facebook.