The end of an era

I’m entering my last week as a student at Ball State. It feels surreal. I’ve had the identity of a student for 17 years and in a week I’ll be a “graduate.” Entering the next phase of adulthood is nerve-wracking, but so exciting.

As I reflect on the last four years, two things really stick out to me that have defined my experience here. The first is the living-learning community that I signed up for before I came to Ball State. In a living-learning community, you are grouped by majors and usually attend similar classes with the people who you live with. Little did I know that checking the “Communication Living-Learning Community” would dramatically shape my four years here. The people who I met freshman year continue to be my closest friends. And, three years later, we have a lot of funny memories to reminisce about from our days in the Brayton and Clevenger Halls within the LaFollette Complex.

 

Natalie, Randa and I all lived in Brayton our freshman year. It was a great experience!

The second thing that has shaped my time here is my involvement in student media. I’ve blogged about it in the past, but I want to stress how important it is to be involved with organizations in your major. It’s a great way to meet new people, strengthen friendships and gain real-word, immersive experiences that will help you attain the ultimate goal: a job! And, being involved in student media also provides greater interaction with professors. Building relationships with professors here at Ball State is so important. They have a wealth of knowledge to share. You just have to seek it out.

 

Terry is one of my professors, but also my boss at Indiana Public Radio. I’ve learned so much from him!

As for my plans after graduation, I’m headed down to Evansville to work as a TV reporter. I’m so excited to apply everything I’ve learned here to my new job. The education I’ve received and the experiences I’ve had have been critical in gaining employment and I am so thankful for all of it!

 

The value of student media

Spring is “awards season” in journalism. National and statewide awards are announced. The past two weeks, I’ve attended the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters awards ceremony and the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists awards ceremony. It’s a great way to network with journalists throughout the state and connect with Ball State alumni in the industry. Plus, the meals are pretty good!

I am very honored to have received the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Best Student Reporter award and to be named Student Journalist of the Year by the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists. The honors wouldn’t have been possible without all of the opportunities I’ve had in classes, through student media, internships and fellowships. The professors in the College of Communication, Information and Media are so supportive, and I believe that’s a large part of the reason why I’ve been so fortunate the past four years.

I’m very honored to have been named Student Journalist of the Year by the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists!

Other students received awards, too! NewsLink Indiana, Ball State’s television station, won first place in the Best Student Newscast category from the Society of Professional Journalists. And, WCRD, the campus radio station, placed second place in collegiate election night coverage from SPJ. Both are great accomplishments for the organizations!

Student media organizations received several honors at the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists awards ceremony.

The Ball State Network

If you read my blog regularly, you know that I am a telecommunications and journalism student who is currently searching for a TV reporting job. The first thing I did when I began the job search was reach out to Ball State alumni who I’d met here or through conferences, events or internships. Doing this been a huge help. For example, one alumnus passed my work onto her boss, and because of that, I had an interview at that television station this week. It was a really great experience. The newsroom was full of former cardinals who have a strong allegiance to the university. Plus, being surrounded by all of the alumni made me feel really comfortable during the interview.

And, on Saturday night, I met even more alums at the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters awards ceremony in Indianapolis!

In addition to meeting awesome alums at the ceremony, I was also lucky enough to receive the Indiana Associated Press Best Student Reporter award!

Being from Ball State, you’ll always have a common bond with people who went here. It’s fun to reminisce about what campus was like when they attended and let them know how programs are going now, and talk about the exciting plans for the future of the College of the Communication, Information and Media.

I can’t speak for other colleges, but I really think that Ball State has an exceptionally strong alumni base. I look forward to returning the favor one day and helping out fellow cardinals!

Can’t beat this view! The awards ceremony was held in downtown Indianapolis.

 

 

The end of an era

This week marked the end of an era in student media at Ball State. Right now, construction is underway for a new, unified newsroom for different student media groups. Right now, the groups are dispersed throughout the Arts and Journalism and Ball Communications Building. But soon, student groups will be closer together working in a larger, converged newsroom. As exciting as it is, it means saying goodbye to the places that are familiar to us. For example, the NewsLink Indiana (Ball State’s television station) newsroom is being renovated. It’s been around for years and a lot of memories were made there. It’s strange to think that when I visit Ball State in the future, the newsroom won’t be there, but it’s for the best. The College of Communication, Information, and Media and Ball State are always striving to improve. Just in the four years that I’ve been here, there have been new dorms and a recreation center built, other buildings remodeled and countless other beautification projects on-campus. I can’t even imagine what Ball State will look like in the future!

 

This was our last night using the old NewsLink Indiana set! It was a bittersweet experience.

 

What changes have you seen on-campus? Or what changes do you hope to see? Comment and let me know!

Staying close to your family (even when you’re far away)

Easter weekend is tough to be away from your family, especially if your family is like mine and has a big celebration. It stinks to miss the fun. I’ve only been able to go home for Easter once. My freshman year was my first year missing the holiday. It seemed like practically everyone had left for the weekend and it felt like I was the last person in Lafollette (which wasn’t true, but it sure felt that way!).

Since then, I’ve found a way to celebrate Easter here in Muncie, and still feel close to home and my family. As I mentioned in an earlier blog post, going to church makes me feel closer to my family, so I make sure to go to Easter mass. After that, for the past two years, I’ve been celebrating Easter with a friend who I met freshman year and his family who live in the area. Being around a family, even if they aren’t yours, makes the holiday feel special. We had ate great food and laughed for a few hours. It was a nice break from the usual weekend homework grind. I’m so thankful that they have welcomed me into their home. It really makes the day special!

 

My friend, Michael, has been kind enough to invite me to celebrate Easter with his family for the past two years.

How do you celebrate holidays when you’re away from your family?

Getting Your Money’s Worth

When you come to Ball State, it’s important to take advantage of every opportunity there is for students. From free tutoring at The Learning Center, to free or reduced tickets to shows at Emens Auditorium, take advantage of all the resources available, because, after all, you’re paying for it. There are three things on-campus that I especially feel like I got my money’s worth from Ball State. Here they are:

  1. The Student Recreation and Wellness Center. When I came to Ball State, the rec center was under construction. All the exercise equipment was in a huge room. Well, it was worth the wait. The rec center is stunning. I love working out there. I try to go about five times per week. It’s a great way to de stress.
  2. The interlibrary loan. Bracken Library has tons of books, but if you can’t find the particular one you want, you can use the interlibrary loan. I love it because when I hear about a new book I’d like to read (and don’t have the money to buy it new!), I order it through the interlibrary loan. It only takes a few weeks to arrive, depending on where it comes from. A book I recently ordered came from Texas, but it was definitely worth the wait.
  3. The Teleplex. As a TCOM major, I am allowed access to cameras, lights, audio equipment and much more through the Teleplex in the Ball Communications Building. It’s awesome because the university provides equipment to practice your craft.

Almost all of the equipment you see in this photo was rented from the Teleplex.

What have you utilized best on campus? Or what do you hope to get the most out of? Comment and let me know!

The value of networking

Last week, the Department of Journalism and the Department of Telecommunications hosted several news professionals. They talked about industry-related issues and gave tips on how to snag your first job. As you know from my last blog post, any job-hunting advice is very important to me!

March 10-16 is called “Sunshine Week.” It celebrates the freedom to access public records. On Wednesday, Bob Segall, a senior investigative reporter at WTHR-TV, and John Russell, an investigative reporter at the Indianapolis Star, shared their experiences with accessing public records. They showed examples of stories that have resulted from those records.

Bob Segall, a senior investigative reporter at WTHR-TV, and John Russell, an investigative reporter at the Indianapolis Star, spoke to a packed lecture hall on Wednesday evening. (Photo courtesy of John Strauss)

Thursday’s presentation was all about landing your first job. Rick Gevers, president of the Indianapolis-based talent agency Rick Gevers and Associates, and Scott Hums, a 2004 Ball State telecommunications alumnus and digital director at WISH-TV, spoke about the value of networking with people in the media industry. They also reminded us to be conscientious of what is said on social media, and encouraged everyone to take advantage of student media opportunities here at Ball State.

Rick Gevers, president of the Indianapolis-based talent agency Rick Gevers and Associates, and Scott Hums, a 2004 BSU TCOM alumnus and digital director at WISH-TV, visited on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of John Strauss)

Attending events like this are really important, especially when the speakers are in the field that you want to get into. It’s a great opportunity to learn more and network.

Having interesting speakers visit is one of the best parts of being a part of the journalism and telecommunications program here at Ball State. Take advantage of every opportunity like this that you can!

The beginning of the end

It’s hard to believe that we’re past spring break and into the final stretch of the semester.

Over spring break, I visited an island, but not a tropical one. I stayed with some friends in Manhattan. I had a great time visiting museums that I hadn’t been to before and catching up with friends I’ve met through journalism opportunities throughout college.

I really enjoyed the arms and armor collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Now, I am beginning the job hunt for an entry level reporting position at a television station. It’s a little daunting, but it’s exciting. I have no idea where I’ll end up in a few months. I haven’t officially started applying anywhere, but I’ve been sending out emails to contacts I’ve made throughout college. Some are people I’ve met through internships; others are from conferences and other journalism opportunities.

I’m sure you’ve heard it a million times, but keeping up with people you meet in your field of choice is very important. When I meet someone, I like to send them an email letting them know that I enjoyed meeting them and usually ask them to critique my work. I try to shoot them a message every few months to say hi and send updated work.

And, don’t forget how valuable the Ball State alumni base is. After I got back from New York City, I visited an alumnus who has become a mentor to me. She’s been a great source of wisdom and support.

Check out this profile that I did about her for the College of Communication, Information and Media.

 

Expenses in college (and how to pay for them)

Going away to college is a big adjustment in many ways, but one of the most important things to learn is money management. I’m still in the process of learning this, but lately I’ve been keeping a budget and have a close eye on my bank account to see how much money I spend each month. Aside from tuition, books and the cost of living, there are a few things that crop up that you’ll want to budget for:

1. Laundry. I was spoiled growing up because my mom completely took care my laundry, but in college you have to pay for it. And it adds up. All of the dorms have washers and dryers, but they only take quarters, so save them whenever you can. If you don’t have any, you can exchange cash for quarters at the front desks of the resident halls. (Tip: Try to get change for laundry before Saturday and Sunday mornings. Sometimes they run out because everyone wants to do laundry then.)

2. “Fun money.” Eating out, concerts, plays, or an unexpected trip to the mall, and the gas to get there, can add up. Try to set aside a certain amount of money each month for entertainment, and try not to go over it, even if it means picking a cheaper item on the menu or taking public transportation.

3. The unexpected. Unexpected accidents happen. For example, in September my computer charger broke. That cut out $80 from my budget for the month. Ouch! But, if you spend less than what you budget for, it’ll come in handy to pay for unexpected expenses.

This was my surprise expense in November!

If you need some extra cash, on-campus jobs are the way to go. These jobs offer more flexibility than off-campus jobs. I’ve held several on-campus jobs. Right now I work as a reporter for Indiana Public Radio and produce videos for the College of Communication, Information, and Media.

If you’re interested in getting an on-campus job, check out Cardinal Career Link.

How to get a great internship

It’s that time of year again when students start thinking about where they’ll spend their summer. A few of my peers have asked me for tips on how to snag an awesome internship. Here are three suggestions:

  1. Aim high. Is there a company that you’ve always dreamed of interning or working for? If so, go for it. Research if any of your peers or Ball State alumni have worked or interned there. Reach out to them if they have.  I contacted an alumnus who interned at CBS News before I applied for its internship program. She told me about her experience and put in a good word for me to the internship coordinator. Also remember that you don’t have to stay in Indiana to do an internship. There might be scholarships available specifically for relocating to a different city for an internship.
  2. Preparation is key. Once you’ve applied and been selected for an interview, do even more extensive research about the company and department that you are interviewing for. I like to print out all the information I have about a company so I can go through and highlight it. I also like to type out questions I think will be asked and then bullet point my answers.
  3. Relax and be yourself. Sometimes this can be the hardest part, especially when you are very nervous. Just take a deep breath and be confident in yourself and your research.

This is how I prepared for a recent phone interview!

Need some inspiration for internships? Check out this video!

And if you’re wondering where students move to pursue internships, check out this neat CCIM info graphic.

 

Where is your dream internship? Or have you already had it? Comment and let me know.