New Year’s Resolutions

Revisiting my 2012 Resolutions

I know a lot of people hate New Year’s Resolutions. They can be really cliche and short-lived. I have always really liked the feeling of a fresh start – a feeling where anything is possible. I also really enjoy setting goals. I thrive when I have challenges to overcome and am always trying to grow and develop. Unfortunately, I didn’t do too great with my resolutions this year, but I’m willing to own up to that.

So, here is what I wanted to accomplish in 2012 -

1) Vote – CHECK!

I think you all know where my vote went. Needless to say – I was a happy camper on election night!

2) Do one “touristy” thing a month, and blog about it – FAIL 

I did this for the first couple months – made it to the aquarium and a Celtics game. There’s always next year, right?

3) Learn Final Cut Pro – FAIL

The whole full time grad school situation put a damper on this. However, I do have access to this program at work (I think). Still truckin’ on iMovie.

4) Read one book a month – FAIL (sort of)

Did a hell of a lot of reading, but not the fun kind. I did read the Steve Jobs autobiography, A Visit from the Goon Squad, the 50 Shades trilogy (don’t judge), and a few others.

5) Produce a podcast – FAIL

I still do want to accomplish this and now that I spent the last year listening to a bunch of different podcasts religiously, I think I know what kind of content works. I still need to figure out a niche – I’m thinking something with beer and/or sandwiches.

6) Repair relationships that need fixing and let go of ones I don’t need – CHECK! (for the most part)

The main focus of this resolution was my brother. We haven’t gotten along for the past couple years and it was something that was really negative for me. I can happily say that this past Christmas we didn’t argue once – which is a huge accomplishment. There is still work to do there, but I’m happier with where things are. I say for the most part because I also found myself entangled in a few relationships that I didn’t need to have and need to distance myself from. It’s a work in progress.

7) Play soccer – CHECK!

I played on a co-ed indoor team in the winter and guest played on a couple other teams. Didn’t play as much as I would have liked, but it was a major step forward compared to the last few years.

8) Focus on my personal brand – CHECK!

I did a much better job of maintaining my blog this year, much of it thanks to a class I took at Emerson last semester. The election also helped with my social media engagement. I have also started a Three Things Thursday series where I discuss top news in social media/digital marketing – I’ve enjoyed that very much.

Later this week I will post my 2013 resolutions… stay tuned!

Life Update — Again

I knew it had been awhile since I have posted, but when I got on and saw that it had almost been a month, I wanted to cry! (Well, not really, but I was pretty bummed).

I haven’t been ignoring this blog because I don’t want to update… I’ve just been hella busy. Mostly all good stuff though. Thought I’d update you on some upcoming things I’m working on that I’m pretty excited about:

Work

The things I’m having to do at work are all fairly far out, but they take a lot of planning and preparation, so they’re definitely on my brain.

National Leadership Summit: Haven’t really been doing too, too much with this yet because a lot of the work I need to do is contingent on other things happening first. However, I will be in Washington, D.C. May 14-16 for the event and I’m super excited that I will finally get to hear Arne Duncan speak live in person. Just need to figure out the web/social strategy for all of this (which I love doing because I’m a nerd).

Summer Academy: This isn’t happening until mid-July, but boy is there a lot to be done. This year I am excited because I have the opportunity to be on the Summer Academy team, which will give me the chance to get an inside experience on how Summer Academy happens. I am also rolling out the social media policy I spent months writing and am charged with designing and presenting training on that and some other stuff TBD.

City Year Boston Engagement: I was recently asked to meet with a group of corps members to train them on personal branding and how they can be better brand ambassadors for City Year. I always really love having the opportunity to meet with corps members and share my knowledge (recently participated in City Year Boston’s 18 Minute Networking Event which was a real pleasure for me). I’m meeting with this team in a few weeks, so I’m excited to develop the training and have great conversations around social media and how it can impact their futures in a positive way.

School

Persuasion Analysis: For my final paper for my Persuasion course, I am doing a persuasive analysis on Voices for National Service and its efforts to raise awareness of national service programs and to also protect (and grow) funding for CNCS. This is something I have become really passionate about since I started working at City Year HQ, and is something I am really lucky to have been able to explore on a deeper level in my graduate studies.

Communication Research: Right now I’m working on developing a survey for City Year that will be sent out to all of the Recruitment staff across the country with the hopes that it will guide our content creation and delivery for Summer Academy. This is the first time a pre-survey like this has gone out, and I’m excited to see the impact it could have. I also need to write a pre-proposal for what I want to do my capstone on. I still need to do some thinking around this, but as mentioned in my previous blog post, social media and its impact on activism is something I am really, really intrigued with. It’s definitely on the table.

Life

Soccer: Per one of my New Year’s resolutions, I have signed up to play on a co-ed indoor soccer team and it has really been an awesome experience. I really like all of the people on my team and we only have one loss (a forfeit) so winning has also been great! We have the playoffs at the end of the month and I’m excited to see how that goes!

Visit Home: Next weekend I am going home to Rochester for the 10 Year Anniversary of the Cardinal Courier, the college newspaper that I was a part of. As part of this trip home, I’m meeting with the Career Services and Service Learning Directors to discuss how Fisher and City Year could potentially partner to recruit students to serve. I am also sitting on a career panel to talk about my career path and how the skills I gained at Fisher (specifically on the Courier) have helped to get me where I am today. Another integral part of that weekend is that I am thrilled to be able to see Doc Seward, one of my favorite professors, be inducted into the Jack Palvino Hall of Fame. He is such a great guy and I was bummed when I had to miss his Last Lecture Series, so I’m thankful I get to support him in this.

Memphis: In a few weeks I am going to go visit my cousin Dominique and the rest of the family in Memphis. Last time I went down it was pretty much a nightmare (she had gotten into a terrible accident) so this time I’m excited to actually get to hang out and have a good time. Plus, it’s the Beale Street Music Fest that weekend so I’m hoping to hit that up a bit. Would love to see Grace Potter again!

Alright, sorry that got a little longwinded, but there you have it. Apologies if I don’t do much posting over the next couple months, but as you can see… there’s some good reasons for that.

February Book Review: a visit from the goon squad

If you’re looking for a book that is easy to follow and happens in a clear order, then this is not the book for you. Jennifer Egan becomes the Tarantino of authors in this fascinating book that analyzes the lives of a group of teenagers who are a bunch of punk rock kids in San Francisco and follows them through their adulthood.

At first, I had a really hard time with the book. I couldn’t remember who was who and couldn’t keep up with where in time each story took place. Once I let go of trying to follow it as one overall story and simply enjoyed each chapter as an individual vignette, I grew to really appreciate Egan’s keen storytelling abilities.

One of the coolest sections of the book is where you are guided through the childhood experiences by one of the characters through a Power Point presentation. I didn’t think it was possible to tell a deeply emotional story through Power Point slides, but I was delightfully proven wrong. It was one of the most unique storytelling techniques I had ever experienced in a novel.

So, if you love books with really strong character development and don’t mind being taken on what seems to be a random ride through time, this is the book for you.

I was really excited to read this book. It was recommended to me by a coworker at our very first office book swap, which I’m pumped to be a part of. Our next one is in a week or so and I’m excited to see what everyone has to offer!

Next up: Getting to Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In by Roger Fisher,  William Ury, & Bruce Patton

 

January Book Review: Steve Jobs

As part of my New Year’s resolutions, I decided I wanted to read one book a month outside of my required readings for graduate school. Since my parents bought me Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson for Christmas, that seemed like a natural book to kick off 2012 with.

The first thing you’ll probably notice about the book is holy shit, that’s a long freaking book. And it is. It took me almost exactly a month to get through it, and I’m typically a very fast reader. Due to the time investment, I would only recommend this book to people who are staunch Apple users and who are really fascinated about learning about the Apple products that they own and love.

The book is divided up by product and takes a deep look at how each one was conceptualized. To make things more interesting, they also intertwine the product development cycles with tidbits of Jobs’ oftentimes tumultuous personal and professional life. After reading this book, I’ve realized that Apple really could have failed years ago and the products I depend on everyday might not have ever come to existence. It’s such a strange thought.

Highlights of the book for me included:

  • Learning about what Jobs was like as a youth and what life events helped build his philosophies on life, products and business
  • Learning about Jobs’ strange habits such as going on ridiculously strict diets and being so picky about design that his home went unfurnished for months
  • Getting an inside look at what it would have been like to work for Jobs, who was a really big prick to the people who didn’t perform in the way he thought they should
  • Seeing just how many connections Jobs had… which shouldn’t have surprised me, but I didn’t realize Al Gore was on the board of Apple
  • Hearing from Bill Gates about what it was like to compete with Apple and learning more about their complicated relationship

All in all, I’m glad this was the book I chose for my first month. It was truly fascinating and I felt like it was pretty fair and balanced.

Next up: A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan

January Tourist Spot: New England Aquarium

As I mentioned in my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012 post, each month I plan on hitting up a different tourist attraction in Boston. This month I opted for the New England Aquarium, which is something I have wanted to go to for a long time.

It was a great place to choose for my first tourist attraction. While it was a little bit annoying to have to wait in a fairly long line (outside) to get tickets and it was pretty packed, I can definitely see why so many people go there.

Some of the things I loved about it were:

  • Shark & Ray Touch Tank
  • Jellyfish Exhibit
  • Penguin Habitat (Three different tanks!)
  • The 200,000 gallon Giant Ocean Tank

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It is a little bit pricy ($23.95 for adults) but they have a student discount that they don’t advertise. It only saves you $2, but its still nice to get the discount. If you are a library card holder in Boston, you can get discounted tickets (my friend Dan tried to do that the night before, but there weren’t anymore available).

Either way, it is a really great place to take a little kid, go on a date, or check out with friends. I highly recommend checking it out!

Click here to see the rest of my photos from the day.

Thanks to Dan Blahnik for going with me!