Waiting for 2010

cc license, J. Griffin Stewart

New Year resolutions are the worst. Seriously, I sometimes feel like you have a better chance of accomplishing goals if you call them anything EXCEPT “New Year Resolutions.” Most of mine usually involve promises to work out more and eat healthier, sleep more, work harder, etc. I like the idea of starting off fresh but maybe I’m taking the wrong approach trying to start January 1st.

This year I’m not going to make any specific resolutions or promise myself anything for 2010. A wise Otterbein professor taught me not to wait for tomorrow. We shouldn’t count on the future because nothing is guaranteed. A scary thought but also wise and empowering in many ways. I want to be a better person and try harder everyday.

Having the mindset that I’m going to have to work harder every single day is not easy. It might even be tougher than setting goals for the year. It holds me more accountable. I’m not waiting or putting off my goals until tomorrow. I’m living for today and taking action now. I think this will make me happier than promising to go to the gym everyday.

Happy New Year friends!

Will you make any New Year resolution(s) for 2010? Do you find them effective?

Living in a Material World

My love/hate relationship with commercialization in society…

cc license, newwavegurly

Christmas shopping is overdone and over commercialized in this country, but unfortunately it doesn’t stop with the holiday season. America is extremely materialistic and commercial year-round. This is something I had always known but didn’t start to understand until my first study abroad experience. I spend a semester in Australia last fall and one time on a trip to the grocery store I couldn’t find those little baby carrots. Definitely not a necessity and definitely not important item, but I still remember being slightly annoyed. I couldn’t have exactly what I wanted on my shopping list and that was a frustrating feeling for this spoiled American. I called my mom later to tell her about it and I’m pretty sure she laughed at me.

The point of this story is not that Australian grocery stores don’t stock baby carrots (in fact I’m pretty sure many do). My point is that after living abroad for four months I now have conflicted views on commercialization and convenience. I can’t deny that there are certain parts of American culture I adore. 24-hour Giant Eagle grocery stores would rank among the top of my list. I can’t help but favor certain brands. When I go shopping I like to have several choices. I know that if a shoe store doesn’t have my size they will often place and order with free shipping.

Unfortunately these same conveniences seem quite disgusting and shallow at times. I don’t like seeing two Starbucks across the street from each other, especially in place of a local café. While Australia was not completely free of this, it certainly wasn’t at the same level. It was common to see local restaurants and shops. Advertising wasn’t nearly as bad either. Some days it just felt like you had a little more room to breathe.

I’m considering moving abroad when I graduate making this topic even more relevant to my life now. I wonder if I would spend time enjoying a more laid back lifestyle or if I would miss certain conveniences back home. I would like to think I could live without excess on a daily basis, but I wonder how long it would take my mindset to change.

Do you ever feel like a material girl (or boy) living in a material world?

Christmas Wish List

My friend Rachel Esterline wrote a post 20 Gifts A Young PR Professional Can Ask For This Christmas a couple weeks ago on her blog. It inspired me to write up my wish list for this year. I certainly don’t expect to get everything on my list (I haven’t been THAT good this year). Please consider it more of a dream list.

In no particular order:

1. Flip digital camcorder: I can record short videos on my camera but the quality and sound isn’t great. I’d like to start making more mini movies of my family and friends to share. I’d also like to use the Flip for my Digital Essay class next quarter.

2. Business suit: This one also made Rachel’s list. The suit I have now is getting old and perhaps a little too small. Graduation and job interviews will be sneaking up soon and I know I need to start shopping soon.

3. Trip to SxSW (interactive festival): This Austin festival has a rather expensive price tag on it with the combined costs of registration, flight and accommodations. I’ve been debating making this a gift to myself for senior year because I think I’ll regret not going.

4. Noise blocking headphones: I used to think those bulky headphones were too big to wear comfortably, but now I’m reconsidering. I don’t like the ear buds very much. I know that I would use them a lot with my laptop, especially when I go places or work from home.

5. Desk calendar: My calendar this year was 365 pictures of beautiful Australia. I loved it and it’s going to be hard to find a new one this year. I think Lonely Planet made it, but I haven’t seen versions with other countires in stores here yet. I might like either a different country or another travel inspired calendar.

6. Spring break Seattle Style: Last spring break my friend Nicole from Washington came and visited me for a week. This year I want to visit her. She lives about an hour outside of Seattle. I’ve never been there before but heard it’s gorgeous. I would love to go visit her and hang out on the west coast for a week.

7. The Annual 2010 album from Ministry of Sound (AUS): This is the Australian version/label and includes 3 CDs mixed by John Course, Aston Shuffle and Goodwill. It looks like a decent line-up and I can never get enough MoS in my life.

What is on your Christmas or holiday wish list?

Twitter is the New Telegraph

In my persuasion class this quarter we read a novel by Neil Postman called Amusing Ourselves to Death. It examines how television has shaped society and affected our outlook. The book was written in 1985. I won’t lie, when I realized this I was automatically uninterested in Postman’s message. I was annoyed that my class wasn’t focusing on up and coming trends or reading novels that explored the digital age of communication. Television felt like a topic of past.

It took me awhile to accept the fact I would be reading the book and writing a final report whether I wanted to or not. When I finally opened my mind to the ideas of Postman I was quite surprised. I was able to relate the book to my life and found some comparisons I had definitely not expected. Let me share one of my favorite passages from the book:

The telegraph is suited only to the flashing of messages, each to be quickly replaced by a more up-to-date message. Facts push other facts into and then out of consciousness at speeds that neither permit nor require evaluation.
The telegraph introduced a kind of public conversation whose form had starting characteristics: Its language was the language of headlines–sensational, fragmented, impersonal. News took the form of slogans, to be noted with excitement, to be forgotten with dispatch. Its language was also entirely discontinuous. One message had no connection to that which preceded or followed it. Each “headline” stood alone as its own context.

Wow…this was supposed to be a description of the telegraph? I could have sworn this was the bio written for everyone’s favorite micoblogging site, Twitter. My silly, little, undergrad mind was amazed. It feels like the modes of communication and technology change every day, but perhaps certain ideas change less than I think.

I’m in the middle of reading Chris Brogan’s book Trust Agents, and was able to pull some of his thoughts into my report. Two novels with connecting ideas and 25 years between them, I love that. I like making those connections, realizing the value of my education in my classes and seeing how I can apply it.

If you haven’t read Amusing Oursevles to Death, I recommend it. If you have read it, what did you think?

Columbus Gives Back

I love the concept behind Columbus Gives Back, and try to give them shout outs when possible. If you are a young professional in Columbus who wants to get involved with community service but don’t have a lot of time of time to commit – here is your answer.

The group plans one time volunteer events in various interest areas of community service. After the project the group usually goes out for food or drinks to socialize. It is free to become a member. Join their email list and RSVP online for events you are interested in attending. You can show up to an event anywhere from once a week to once a year, no restrictions or minimum requirements.

Juliana Pernik started the group in March 2009 to use volunteerism to make friends. She refers to it as “volunteering with a social twist.” Juliana works during the day and goes to school at night so I’m not really sure when she finds time for this constantly growing group (another reason I love to help her spread the world and get others involved).

Preparing a meal at the Unverferth House

I’m also a fan of young people using community service to take visible action. Service and philanthropy are themes I want to carry throughout my life, regardless of my career path. I find volunteering empowering (and fun) so sharing that feeling with others is important.

So take the next step. I encourage you to check out the website and consider joining the mailing list (remember no commitment) or become a fan on Facebook. You can also follow them on twitter @cbusgivesback which is how I found out about the group and got involved. The leadership team is always looking for event leaders. This is a great way to work with a cause you are particularly passionate about. Columbus Gives Back is a great opportunity to serve, meet new people while having fun in Columbus. Hopefully I’ll see you at a future event.

Losing My Elevator Pitch

alykat - elevator
cc license, alykat

When meeting someone for the first time you should be able to give them a quick summary of who you are and what you do. Your ‘elevator pitch’ is an approximately thirty second story to tell during a brief elevator ride to a hypothetical top floor. I like to think that I used to have a decent pitch ready to give. It went something like this, “I’m a public relations student who wants to work in the non-profit sector when I graduate. I love meeting people, volunteering, playing tennis, etc.” While all of those things are still true I find that my pitch has been changing lately, or in come cases disappearing.

I’m starting to ask myself where I want to go next. I would still love to work in the non-profit sector one day but I’m starting to see other possibilities. Too many possibilities – that’s my issue. There are a lot of things I could do, careers I could pursue, dreams I could bring to life. How do I explain to others where I am going if I have no idea myself?

Now when I meet new people it feels like I’m rambling off a million different thoughts and ideas. This isn’t exactly an awful problem to have. I’m excited for new possibilities. It’s great to question yourself and reevaluate your goals. I know that I’ll find my pitch again soon. Until then, let’s hope we don’t meet in an elevator.

What’s in a Name?

openinggntdoorsOn twitter I am @openinggtndoors – (It stands for Opening Giant Doors FYI). I have mixed feelings on my handle choice. Many would advise when signing up for Twitter, to pick your name or something close to it (if yours is taken). When I created my account I didn’t think twice about it. Basically, I have been ‘openinggntdoors’ for as long as I’ve been online. It was my first email account when we got the internet at my house. It was also my first instant messenger (AIM) username and I still use it today. It’s part of my online personality.

I’ve been told a few times that I should reconsider using my name instead. I do understand the power of my name in building my personal brand but I also wonder if it’s the best choice for me.

Some reasons I like being @openinggntdoors:

  • My name is not that easy to spell and it’s long. If you have a short easy to spell first and last name then yes, it would be smart to turn that into your handle. I don’t know if it would be an advantage to switch it. I would only be saving two characters by switching.
  • If someone really wants to find me my Twitter handle shouldn’t matter. I have my name on my profile with a bio and website link. You can find my profile by Google or via Twitter search. Plus, there are no other Hannah DeMiltas around to compete with.
  • Can’t I make any name famous one day? If followers are invested in who I am and the content I produce my choice of Twitter handle should be unimportant. There are definitely people who I would consider successful who don’t use their real name.
  • It’s unique to me. I want to stand out and have a different style. I recently met Andrea (@aslesinski) for the first time in person. When I introduced myself she said “Oh my God, opening doors! I feel like I know you!” I like being opening doors and getting that type of reaction.

I don’t like being @openinggntdoors because it is too long and makes it harder for people to re-tweet me. I also think it appears unprofessional to some people. I mean, I did come up with it in middle school. A lot of people just don’t understand it or wonder what it means.

What is your opinion on this topic, do you agree or disagree? Leave a comment. If you make a good enough argument and maybe I’ll be @hannahdemilta by the end of the week.

UPDATE: Well that was short lived. I lasted about 1.5 hrs. Give me a follow @HannahDeMilta

The Student Label

StudentI’m learning that senior year is a tough transition time. You are stuck between what feels like your quickly fading college years and a terrifying “real” world approaching quickly. I often wonder what label(s) I should give myself when meeting people for the first time both online and off. I want to be seen as a young professional but at the same time I’m still learning.

Some students try to separate themselves from being labeled a student or undergrad. They want to be viewed as pros so they feel pressured to strictly present themselves as pros. This has advantages if done well. In certain situations you may be taken more seriously. The downside is that it can come off as potentially arrogant. I’ve also been turned off by big talkers without the back-up and true knowledge (or experience).

I’ve found that being labeled a student doesn’t necessarily give you less credibility. If you are humble and willing to learn from others, some will be more willing to help you in return. You don’t have to act less professional or lower yourself to a different level to achieve this. I think it’s important to be transparent about who you are. You don’t have to label yourself a student, but you also don’t have to hide it. We as young pros have knowledge to share too – so don’t sell yourself short or have the attitude “well I’m only a student.”

What labels do you give yourself?

Otterbein Nerds: Halloween Review

Let me start by saying I love Otterbein. I really do and my last four years have been great. At the same time I wonder how choosing a small, liberal arts college in the suburbs, with a dry campus created a very different experience for me compared to others.

CIMG3018This past weekend my friends and I won tickets to the Ohio State vs. New Mexico football game. It was my first time going to an OSU game and being in the horseshoe. It was a lot of fun and most of the time I couldn’t believe I was watching college football. While students do attend Otterbein games, we definitely don’t have anything like the ‘Buckeye Bounce’ before kickoffs or a t-shirt cannon. The sporting events are free for students. You just show someone at the gate your ID card.

After the game we got our costumes ready for Short North’s Highball Halloween. Our plan was to park at my friend’s brother’s house and head a few blocks down from south campus. We thought we might come back to the CIMG3045house afterwards too since they were having people over. When we got back from highball the house was packed. You couldn’t walk across the room and people were lined up outside trying to get in. Everyone who actually lived there was outside watching who entered.

It took me and my friends about two minutes to look around and decide to peace out. We packed up and went back to Westerville. We made a few jokes on the ride home about not being hardcore enough to party at OSU but felt no regret. I still wonder what my life would have been like at a big school, but for now I’m still happy to consider myself an Otterbein nerd.