Breaks Are Necessary

I started off the day this week by continuing to work on product photo editing jerseys, but I was told I would finally be assigned an actual assignment, so I prepped myself for that. My assignment ended up being turning motivational quotes into graphics for their social media pages. Although this is what I had prepared myself for as a Graphic Design Intern, my brain and creativity were just turned off on this day for some reason. I sat there for a majority of the morning just simply brainstorming and after staring at a computer screen for several hours, I felt like I had failed and disappointed in myself. I ended up only creating about three drafts for one motivational quote.

For the second half of the day though, I helped the department re-organize their filing cabinets and although they apologized it was mundane work, I actually felt relieved. After what seemed like such a long morning of me starting at a computer screen and not being productive, I felt like this break away was much needed. I realized during this time that creativity is not something that is constantly ‘on’. There are days and times when creating and thinking of ideas is just not meant to happen. I initially felt defeated when I could not come up with graphics but then I just told myself that this is a natural thing to happen and sometimes (a lot of the time), a break away from your task is necessary. You cannot force ideas and staring at a blank computer screen is not going to help anything either. So a reminder to myself is: take a break to restart, you cannot expect every day to be the greatest.

Well! What a Frightening Surprise!

Well, let me just start this blog off by saying I wasn’t expecting that!!! The past two weeks I’ve been trying to set up good times to interview two professors for Stetson’s 60th Anniversary of the SPREE and Honor’s program. As usual everyone is busy, and I’ve learned to adjust as needed. To be honest the rush and anticipation of this event has made me so excited. I’ve researched both programs, and prepared questions, but nothing makes an experience than physical engagement.

This past Monday Stetson hosted an Open House for the Honors Program. Prospective students and parents were taken on a tour of the school and engaged with the faculty. Well, being that marketing is covering a story on the Honors program I followed them around to capture B roll.  Due to my work schedule I was not able to participate that morning, but the latter part of the day yielded some frightful excitement. Casually going about the tour, shaking hands, introducing myself, and capturing others interacting, I heard someone say, “is that a snake in the pillow case in his back pocket?” I paused, looked around, and quietly said “what?” See I can do animals, but I am terrified of snakes. It is a struggle for me to watch them on television let alone be in same surroundings as them. Anyway, after I heard that I paid close attention to the Professors back pocket.  Before then I walked closely to him, capturing footage as he talked about a few science courses at Stetson. I honestly would’ve been ok if no one had mentioned the creepy crawler in the first place. Nevertheless, I kept my distance until we walked outside, and from there I knew what was getting ready to happen. I calmly freaked out but, shockingly I got close enough to capture footage on the snake. I kept telling myself “Phaedra you got this!” “You need this moment on camera, GET IT!” And I did just that! I wasn’t expecting to face my fears this week, I was just there to capture b-roll. We all had the opportunity to hold it, but I wasn’t ready for that yet, so I got what I needed and stepped back.

You know as I stated before, I wasn’t expecting to face a fear this week, but I’m glad I did. This brought back excitement to my internship. It’s so easy to show up for things because you have too, but when it becomes an experience that helps you cross a personal milestone, you that it’s worth it. I went home that day proud that I didn’t allow my fear to hold me back from an amazing opportunity. Sometimes we fail because we don’t try, so I just wanted to do something I wouldn’t have done before. To see passion and pride in the faculty’s eyes as they explained programs brought me joy.  I know they sacrifice a lot of time so that students can experience community. The fact that professors know your name matters, and I hope all who choose to attend Stetson sees that.

Overall, the tour was amazing, and it was exciting to see prospective students, parents, and faculty engage and rave about Stetson University.

This week is one I will never forget, and I hope the remainder of the semester brings on more excitement! (but I’m good on the snakes for now!)

 

Trial Errors

Chances are that when you try something for the first time, you will learn from mistakes how to adjust your approach for the second try. After all, it’s practice (not first attempts) that makes perfect. When trying out a new approach for the profile features on the CREA website, I had to learn this lesson again.

The profiles have been very helpful due to their simplicity: a few basic questions set up in a Q&A structure. They can be e-mailed out with little fuss so the common issue of lining up two schedules does not become a problem, and viola! Add a photo and there’s a quick, on-deck post waiting to be published.  It’s almost too easy.

There was one pitfall. People tended to be brief in e-mails, and thus less content was present than would be garnered through an in-person interview. So I took the cue from my supervisor and conducted the most recent profile face-to-face. Asking the same questions, I received much lengthier answers just as we’d wanted.

However, I ran into a new problem. When speaking out loud, an individual can’t revise their words as one would with a written document like an e-mail. My most recent interviewee contacted me almost immediately after his profile went up, concerned that some of the word choice he’d made when speaking didn’t read as he’d meant it. Lesson learned: send a draft to the interviewer before publishing. This is a practice Dr. Wolek said was practiced by journalists. I suppose I had to learn from my first shot, but now I have the right approach for my next try.

Hard Works Pays Off

During our morning meeting, I was surprisingly told that the work I’ve been doing has finally paid off and that the images I’ve been editing have been making their way onto the Rox Volleyball website. This was wonderful news for me to hear because it was a reassurance that the work I’m doing in this internship is truly contributing to the company and this is the first time I am able to see my work displayed to a public audience. I find it neat now that if someone sees these images on Rox Volleyball’s website or even if I show someone the website, I can say that I personally edited and finalized them.

Besides that news, I continued to work on editing more photos but I also was taught how to do product photo editing for items such as jerseys. This is more advanced and requires more attention to detail but my supervisors thought I was ready for it and could benefit from the challenge. They told me that typically the color-changing process takes weeks for typical interns to get the hang of, but that I had accomplished it within about two weeks and gotten quite well at it. So this week not only did I find out that my work is actually paying off, but that my skills are being noticed and appreciated. It was a humbling day at my internship and I can’t wait to continue advancing my skills and I hope to see even more of my work on their website in the future.

 

Busy times at Stetson University

Hopefully, it was clear that my title is playing off of Fast Times at Ridgemont High. But if not, it certainly is now.

It is the fifth week of the semester, which means the time for ‘beginning’ has passed. Deadlines in nearly all of my classes are fast approaching, whether it be for a research project or essay. Interacting with those around me, it’s clear that my schedule is not the only one in a tumultuous state. Both professors and students are facing a demanding part of the semester.

So what do I do when much of my internships requires the time of these busy people? Go where they are. It certainly saves me time to send out a few e-mails and find content for my next post in my inbox, but I’ve had to spend more time recently meeting with people in person, catching them in their spare moments.

In-person interviews naturally take up more of my time, but I’m learning that adapting to different circumstances is what makes a good employee (or student, or intern). If I ignore the need to take that extra step, my tasks simply won’t be accomplished. The responsibility is on my side, to make the extra effort. This is a lesson I hope to carry to work I do in the future, at law school and beyond.

It is always easier to blame the outside factor: he didn’t respond to my e-mail or she wasn’t available during her office hours. I always want to be an individual who goes above and beyond, even when it might mean sacrificing some extra time on these busy days.

Collaboration is Key

This week at my internship, I actually had an agenda and a list of work that needed to be done, which was helpful for me since I usually am goal-oriented. I met my other supervisor, Victoria, and instead of feeling anxious walking into the building like last week, I actually felt comfortable and ready to tackle on whatever was needed of me this particular day.

Instead of color changing jackets, I ended up color correcting/editing swimwear bottoms on Photoshop for just about the entire day. I have surprisingly gotten really skillful at color correcting even though I only just learned it a week ago and Photoshop is not the program I typically use. I also did a little bit more ‘weaving’ and overall, it was another generally relaxed and calm day.

Something I noticed though was the amount of collaboration that circulated throughout the entire company. Everyone within the creative team was constantly asking each other for opinions and communication was a great deal amongst them. Not only that but even though they produce the creative side of things, they also work equally with the other parts of the company as well. Group projects are emphasized to a certain point at Stetson but I was really able to see more of this while at Rox Volleyball this week. Collaboration is more than just working on a project together; it can be anything from getting others opinions, to clarifying on what is needed/wanted, to even just asking how someone does a particular thing. Their collaboration is what makes their entire team so successful and it helped me realize that group projects/collaborating is not as dreadful as it has always seemed.

My First Lesson in Programming

At a recent internship meeting, during that pre-business chat that occurs when you first sit down in the morning, Laura Glander mentioned how her father writes his books in Microsoft Word instead of the programs preferred by publishing companies. As an English major, this subject fell more into my field of knowledge than ceramics or stage lighting, right? Not quite.
I find the publishing world extremely interesting, and if I weren’t heading to law school after graduation, I would likely have aimed for a job in the industry. Despite that interest, I know little of the technical side. My knowledge lies more in the formatting and editing expertise.

The morning conversation at our internship meeting turned into a lesson on different softwares and the computer programming that’s in play behind the scenes. This was news to me as both a computer user and a writer. It helped me understand the issues that can be present in the more common and “user-friendly” software programs like Microsoft Word. I had encountered such issues myself, like having random percentage signs and backslashes appear when I copy and pasted a text. I had not understood the error behind the problem before.

I will never be a computer programmer, but I am grateful that through this internship I can learn about some of the behind-the-scenes systems at play in the world around me. And who knows! If I’m drawn back to publishing some day, there could be much more learning to come.

Back In The Saddle

Well winter break is over and I’m officially back in the swing of things. I’m so excited to continue my videography internship with Stetson Marketing. Last semester came with many opportunities that challenged me to become better in several areas of Digital Arts. A novice at capturing and editing footage I was so grateful for the patience of the Marketing staff, professor, and students I interviewed.  I admit I wasn’t pleased with a lot of things, but since I’m back I have time to improve.

 

I’m looking to further my skills in Adobe Premier, Audition, and After Effects while keeping the footage creative and simple as possible. I believe I spent too many hours on certain things last semester because I was learning how to operate it. Now that I’m familiar with it I can work at steady pace.

 

Focusing on ideas of my own last semester, I’m excited to say that this semester I’ll be working alone side with Michael as we capture stories such as Stetson’s SPREE and Honor’s programs. I’ll still have the opportunity to capture things I love, but the structure and deadlines will help me to focus and know exactly what to produce. It will also introduce me to events happening around campus.

 

For example, over the break I had the opportunity to edit footage for Stetson’s Farming Tour. It was great to learn how Stetson is and has partnered with Sustainable Synergy to supply healthy food options to students. Editing this video made me aware of local farms around Volusia county and ways to contribute to healthier lifestyles.

 

Overall, I believe this semester will expose me to things I rarely experience and allow me to network with some amazing people. I’m up for the journey and looking to deliver great work.

A New Environment + New Knowledge

Today, I started my internship at Rox Volleyball in St. Augustine. I went into it having a vague idea of what the environment might be like, which was relaxed but also full of busy and strenuous work. This idea was quickly corrected though once I walked through the door.

I was instantly approached by an upbeat and energetic man who thankfully helped me around the building (after I had gotten lost twice already) and introduced me to my supervisor, Matt. I then proceeded to meet everyone apart of the team and got an official tour around the offices/warehouse. (I also got to experience how they start off their days there, which involves playing hacky sack and talking about their goals for the day). Since I’m only able to go in-office on Fridays, the days are generally pretty relaxed and everyone is already mentally prepared for the weekend.

For my first day, I learned how to color change some of the Rox Volleyball jackets in Photoshop and I also learned other information that I did not quite utilize that day, but I will in the future. I was taught about solvent printing and how to ‘weave’ out a design/logo so it then can be placed onto an article of clothing. The day was exceptionally quiet and it mainly involved me getting settled into the new environment but nonetheless, I did learn an exceptional amount of new knowledge on my first day and I am excited to see what the future holds as well.

Common Threads in Unexpected Places

Last week, I meet with artist Jessica Rath so I could write a feature on her exhibition, A Better Nectar, currently being displayed at the Hand Art Center. Interviews are always interesting as I have the opportunity to ask someone about their work. I had been looking forward to this one for the same reason, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that Rath and I had more to discuss than my pre-typed questions.

A Better Nectar is inspired by the idea of seeing the world through a bee’s eyes. Rath spent time studying bees and their environments while working on the exhibition, and she believes strongly in taking individual responsibility to care for other species. She has even altered her plans for the future so that she can spend three months out of the year restoring her family’s farm.

While discussing this, I mentioned my own family’s farming experience. My grandfather inherited an orange grove that has been run by my relatives for roughly sixty years. It is now the last orange grove in the Floridian town I am from, where citrus used to be a thriving business. The dwindling number of farmers is greatly connected to the introduction of citrus greening, a disease transferred by small insects that prevents fruit from fully ripening. The oranges are left watery, soft, and bitter-tasting from the disease.

Rath then discussed permaculture with me, explaining how she researched the flora that bees were attracted to. There is a small wasp that eats the insects spreading citrus greening, and she advised me that planting the types of greenery that attracted the wasps could be beneficial.

I did not expect such an interview to go past friendly conversation. Now I’ve learned not to limit my interactions to the expectations I may have beforehand.