ACS 313

My Self-Care Tips

Tim Gouw

As a busy student who has to find a successful balance between classes, homework, my PRSSA duties, my Quidditch team, friends and rest, it’s become incredibly important to me to make sure I set aside time for myself to unwind and be alone. To be able to do the rest of the other activities in my life well, I need to take care of myself! So, the following are my top tips and tricks for making sure my mental health is as good as it can be.

  1. Headphones. Sometimes, when I don’t want to be bothered, I put a pair of headphones in. Whether or not I’m listening to music or watching a video, headphones have become a universal symbol for “Please don’t talk right now.” This helps me create that feeling of being alone even when I can’t get away from my roommates for a while. As an introvert, this alone time is necessary for me to recharge.
  2. YouTube “Storytime” Videos. An obsession of mine as of late has been what YouTube content creators have dubbed “storytimes.” Simply put, these creators tell stories about their often strange or crazy life experiences and upload the videos to YouTube. Not only are many of them very funny, but they allow you to escape reality for a little while and immerse yourself in someone else’s life.
  3. Makeup. I always tell people I’d spend an hour doing my makeup every day if I could. However, I usually just don’t have the time for that. The act of doing my makeup is very calming for me because it’s something very present in my life that I can focus on. So, instead of stressing about everything going on in my life, I sometimes decide to take a step back and spend some time focusing on perfecting my makeup game. The concentration needed to complete a flawless application is honestly quite relaxing for me.

Perhaps, if you’re having a lot of stress in your life, some of these tips can help you out, or perhaps they’ll lead you to something else that works for you!

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PRSSA Plank Center Mentor Event

This past Thursday I with three other PRSSA members attended the PRSSA Plank Center Mentor Event hosted by the DePaul University PRSSA chapter. I was so excited about this event because it was a free event hosted in a city I am considering moving to after graduation. It ended up being a great experience!

I started my day at 4:15 in the morning, waking up that early to get ready for the day. We left for DePaul at 6 a.m. to arrive in time for the 11:30 a.m. check in.

The first event of the day was a tour at Weber Shandwick’s Chicago office. Their Chicago office has over 300 employees and is the second-largest in the country. We got to hear about the different concept teams their office has, and then about their internship program. As a student this was very appealing, because they often have on about 30 interns at a time.

The second event of the day was a panel by Plank Center mentors panel. They answered questions about how to select a mentor, networking, and the internship search. The panelists included six incredibly successful PR pros who seemed incredibly excited to share their knowledge with us.

The third and final event of the day included a pizza reception hosted by Zeno Group, a mid-sized PR firm in Chicago. We were able to get dinner and received a presentation about Zeno Group’s clients and their content teams. As a student, the environment at Zeno Group was really appealing because many of their employees seemed to be recently out of college. Overall, it was a great learning opportunity!

Finally, at 7 p.m. we got back to the car to make the 4.5 hour drive back home. All in all, it was a great event of PR education and networking! Thanks to DePaul for putting on this great event for all of us!

ACS 313

My Favorite Makeup

Manu Camargo

When I was 10 years old, I can remember getting acne for the first time. At that time, I just borrowed my mom’s concealer and barely bothered to blend out the little dots of product. After discovering the magic that is YouTube beauty tutorials at around 13, my love for makeup has grown into a bit of a pricey hobby. At this point in my life, although  21-year-old me thinks I look good with makeup and without, makeup has become an outlet for my own creative expression. I’ve watched hundreds of product reviews and tried out dozens of products, and I’ve found a few of what the online beauty community would call my holy grail products. I thought I’d share those with you today.

  1. Wet and Wild Photo Focus Foundation. This product has been my favorite foundation since the day I tried it. It’s full coverage, so I can start the rest of my face with a blank canvas. Also, it’s long lasting on my very oily skin, which is something most other foundations cannot claim. The best thing about this product is it’s price – I get mine from Walmart for $6 or less! I used to use the Kat Von D Lock-It Tattoo Foundation, which runs for $35 from Sephora, and that product doesn’t last nearly as long on me.
  2. Real Techniques Miracle Complexion Sponge. I use this sponge every day to apply my foundation. I like that it has a flat end, which the original Beauty Blender sponge lacks, but it’s still soft when dampened, and it blends out my foundation perfectly.
  3. Maybelline The Mega Plush Volum’Express Mascara. I’ve been using this mascara for five years now, and nothing else separates my lashes but still gives them volume and length like this product! It holds a curl and doesn’t  flake down to my under-eye during the day.
  4. Colourpop Ultra Matte Lip. These matte liquid lipsticks dry down to be totally transfer-proof and they come in dozens of unique colors. I only have three shades myself, but I love to have the option to get any shade I want in a formula that lasts all day long. They’re only $6 each, as well, so I don’t feel bad about ordering them if I need a certain color!

Perhaps this list will give you some recommendations of new products to try! I’d love to hear your favorite products, too!

ACS 313

TV I’ve watched and rewatched and rewatched

Image from Wokandapix via Pixabay

As a 21 year old college student, I am no stranger to spending half the day with my laptop and a bowl of popcorn, curled up on the couch binging Netflix. With the ease we have now of going back to our favorite shows and watching episodes on auto-play without commercial breaks, it’s so easy to get hooked. Over the past year or so, I’ve gotten into the habit of rewatching some of my old and new favorites so that I can remind myself why I loved them and get excited all over again. So, today I’m sharing with you my most rewatch-worthy TV shows.

  1. Jane the Virgin. Based on a telenovela, Jane the Virgin is a story about a 24-year-old woman who is accidentally artificially inseminated with her boss’s (and former crush’s) baby. The first season follows Jane as she adjusts to her pregnancy, tries to save her relationship with her current boyfriend, and connects with the her own father who she’d never met before. Not only did Gina Rodriguez win a Golden Globe for her titular role, but the show never fails to pull at your heartstrings and keep you on your toes with a drug lord murder mystery story line, as well. Its themes of family and romance keep it grounded and relatable to viewers everywhere. Seasons 1-3 are on Netflix, and Season 4 just premiered yesterday on the CW.
  2. Stranger Things. Considering its insane popularity, it’s no wonder that Stranger Things has a seat on my list. The show’s first season, in my opinion, deserves every bit of attention its received. From the memorable cast of characters to the story that gets darker every episode, I find something new to appreciate with every watch. Despite the fact that it’s only been out for about a year and four months, I think I’m on my fifth time watching the series. Just in time for the Season 2 premiere at the end of October! Look for Season 1 on Netflix.
  3. Project Runway. As a competition reality series about fashion design, the show is definitely full of drama, style and stress as you wait to see who will get sent home each week. Even though, on the rewatch, I remember the outcome of most episodes, this show fits my need for distraction, and I love rooting for my favorite designers every episode and expressing my frustration to my roommates when I disagree with the judges. Plus, fashion mentor Tim Gunn is always a treat, and I have to have something to keep me busy while I wait for the next season to come out! You can find past seasons on Hulu.

I have many more recommendations where these came from, as well! Even with this short list, I hope I may have inspired you to pick up a new TV show.

ACS 313

Lessons from Weber Shandwick St. Louis’ Bob Rybarczyk

Photo is my own.

At our PRSSA meeting on Oct. 4, we invited Bob Rybarczyk, a Vice President at Weber Shandwick’s St. Louis branch to talk to us about his work in sports PR, particularly in the area of sports sponsorships. Along with some very funny stories from his experiences with clients on the road, he shared with us some valuable advice about working in the sports PR field, applying for internships, and career development. So, with this experience, I want to share what I learned.

  1. Build relationships with the media. He highly stressed the importance of connecting with reporters, being sure to get to know their tendencies when they do interviews. One of his regular activities is overseeing celebrity branding campaigns, so it’s incredibly important that when a member of the media is interviewing one of their client’s influencers that the influencer is able to work that soundbite of branding in. If the reporter would rather focus on the latest scandal of the day or other relevant news rather than the ad message, that’s a sign that, for the sake of message exposure, the PR professional may want to look to a different member of the media on the next campaign.
  2. Know what type of atmosphere you prefer. Although Rybarczyk works in the agency life for Weber Shandwick now, he used to do in-house media relations and communications for Southeast Missouri State University as a graduate assistant. He emphasized that for in-house work, you really get to know your subject matter and client. However, if you like to have variance in your work, you may prefer agency work because the clients are always changing. Choosing what type of PR you may prefer all comes down to knowing how you work best.
  3. Seek out multiple internships. If you think you might be interested in working for an agency, Rybarczyk said that it’s so important to have agency work on your resume, especially for a company that’s as large as Weber Shandwick. But, if in-house communications may be more your style, seek out positions on your university’s athletic department by making contacts with their media team. However, the important thing about internships is being able to show that you know about the field you want to work in, and that you have the hard and soft skills to back yourself up.
  4. Work on yourself. Rybarczyk mentioned that one of his “pro-tips” was to work on your writing. I’ve seen this for myself when I was hired for my last internship, so it’s good to see that other pros think the same. Also, he recognizes the importance of staying updated on the latest in the PR industry by reading blogs and other news sources. He mentioned his favorites were PR Week, Ad Age and Sports Business Weekly.

All in all, it was great to learn from such an experienced professional, and I can’t wait for the rest of the semester to learn from even more people in the PR world.

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Lessons from My First Internship

Jesus Hilario H.

Rewind to Summer 2016. I was working two jobs to save up money for the next semester and was highly considering getting on an on-campus job to have a bit of extra spending money. After spending most of my first year at SIUE taking entry-level classes and given the fact that I still wasn’t sure exactly what I wanted to major in, applying for an internship, let alone an unpaid internship, was not even on my radar. However, the then-president of PRSSA suddenly sent me a text letting me know that the company he previously interned at was looking for someone for the next semester. He told me that if I applied, he would put in a good word for me with the owner. Before I knew it, overly ambitious me was fixing up my resume and sending it in!

After sending a few writing samples and going in for an interview, I received an email offering me the position. It was unpaid, but the chance to put a real internship on my resume and start to fill up my portfolio was too appealing to turn down at that point. After the first semester, to my excitement, she asked me to stay on for the spring semester as well. With an entire school year of an internship under my belt, I thought I’d share some of what I learned here today.

  1. Never say no. There were many times during my internship where my supervisor would ask, “Do you know how to use this program?” At first, I felt so underqualified because it felt like 9 out of 10 times the real answer was no. However, it was so important for me to at least try and ask for help later if I needed it. My favorite words from then on became, “I don’t know, but I’m willing to learn.” Not only did that show initiative to my supervisor, but I was able to start learning to use Excel, InDesign, and email services like MailChimp.
  2. Put time into your writing skills. When I was chatting with my supervisor one day, she told me that one of the main reasons she hired me is because I used to be a writing tutor in high school. That seemingly insignificant writing and editing experience edged me out over the other applicants. To me, that just speaks to the importance of proper grammar and controlled writing. So, read as much as you can and practice writing and rewriting whenever you have the opportunity.

Even though two isn’t much, I do hope these tips are helpful to anyone currently in an internship or to anyone who’s looking! It’s these first internship experiences that get you the experience to be considered for more challenging ones, too.

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My Favorite Reads

Photo is my own.

It’s undeniable that writing is one of the most — if not the most — important skill of a public relations professional. He or she must be able to convey a concise and grammatically correct message to the intended audience. One of the strongest foundations for excellent writing skills is, of course, reading. Well-written pieces give the reader examples of effective syntax and proper grammar.

For that reason, I want to just a few of my favorite reads with you (and even my favorite speaker, too). As an introvert, I’ve always found that there is much to be learned through careful and thoughtful observation.

  1. Howl’s Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones employs a simple, whimsical writing style that mirrors its story – a fictional tale of a woman who, cursed by a witch, becomes old and stumbles across the moving castle of a young wizard. Although the book’s intended audience is much younger, I still find it to be a great read in my 20s.
  2. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan employs an excellent use of syntax to reflect the emotional states of its two principal characters. The more “normal” character’s chapters feature proper grammar and capitalization, while the other, who suffers from more than normal teenage angst and depression, is portrayed with no capitalization and little punctuation to reflect his characterization.
  3. “Unbuttoning My Boy Shirt” by Joy Young is an excellent use of language in spoken word poetry. It makes use of fantastic metaphors and rhythm to create a truly exceptional piece of writing. You can listen to the poem here.

You might say that the professional writing used in public relations scenarios is completely different from fiction novels. However, fiction still provides an opportunity to show the power and nuances in language. For me, it’s a satisfying challenge to try to use both types of writing effectively. However, it all comes down to the purpose for the writing itself — am I trying to make someone laugh with a funny story, or am I writing social media content for my internship? The purpose of the writing should determine your style, but I still find that my love for fiction novels and the thousands of pages I read for my high school English classes has made me a better writer today all around. I think this quote by Ben Jonson puts it best, “For a man to write well, there are required three necessaries: to read the best authors, observe the best speakers, and much exercise of his own style.”