Innovation University

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Dr. Matthew Cecil, Director of the Elliott School of Communication at Wichita State University reveals a new and exciting opportunity for communication students eager to enter the world of sports broadcasting. Listen below.

My Personal #FakeMemory

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As I take my daily dose of NPR, I stumbled upon this article in the Photography category.

A #FakeMemory You Have To See To Believe : The Picture Show : NPR.

NPR had it’s Instagram followers post old photographs — with some incredible family stories. The individuals posting shared anecdotal childhood memories with the photo, and seemed to not remember everything given they were so young. The article went on to talk about how photographs (obviously) trigger childhood memories, but we tend to distort reality given the young age in which the stills were taken. If you think about, it makes perfect sense. I, for one, never put much thought about it until now.


 

I decided to post my own #FakeMemory photo, complete with a sweet story.

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I would say this picture was taken when I was about three or four years of age. Growing up, I was always a daddy’s girl and the fact remains today. No matter what dire circumstance or consequence I was in, I found myself always running straight to my dad. He is the one who has taught me everything I know. He is the smartest man I know. He is the only parent I truly know. The still itself captures the essence of mine and my father’s relationship. It’s a bond that can never be pulled apart. There is a phrase said by Frenchy from the movie Grease that has stuck with me from my lunchbox days. “The only man a girl can depend on is her daddy.”

Ain’t that the truth.

A girl and a never-ending train

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Dear friends, please read this post. I have not blogged in a good six months. Writing is obviously a passion of mine. It is a way for me to fully express myself. I write this very candidly in hopes of releasing a part of me that I finally need to let go.

This past year has been a doozy — not at all a roller coaster ride that hoists you up, only to bring you back down. Instead, it was like riding a steady train that never seemed to stop. There were no ups and downs. No winding loop through loop. This was a very long, dull, monotonous train ride taking me nowhere. It was as if this train caged me in and took me for a ride passing by people and places I so longed to be apart of, but I could never find the courage to jump out onto the platform. It felt like I was staring out of this huge window with my hands and forehead pressed against that glass. As I let out a deep sigh, the window fogs, clouding the sights before me. I long to feel a mere sensation of these places I would pass. Wishing to venture out. Just wishing to belong.

How did I get here? How did I board this train?

Exactly a year ago, I made the difficult decision to transfer my academics to another school. It was one of the hardest decisions I ever made. I loved my old school: my team (in moderation), my activities, the community, my teachers. I knew my major wasn’t going to get me to where I needed to go, that’s when I decided to leave. The thought initially excited me, but as I started classes in the fall, I realized I had to make a new niche for myself.

That summer before, I moved back home to Colorado with my boyfriend at the time. It was awful. We thought it would strengthen our relationship, but it seemed to only diminish what we had going for the past three years. I had no friends there, just him and my family that lived 45 minutes South of us. I worked, read, went to the gym, ate and slept everyday. That was my routine. I barely saw my boyfriend because he worked so much. I was truly lonely. Several time I found myself scanning through my friends’ Twitter and Instagram feeds, becoming jealous of the seemingly fun times they were having. I wanted to return to school more than anything else. As August drew closer, I was excited to get back to school and start anew. Unfortunately, my boyfriend and I had so many problems as it was, it came as no surprise when we broke up as soon as I got back.

Transitioning from a small private institution to a larger public university is definitely a process. I knew no one, and felt really lonely at school — and the students weren’t as talkative as I am. Which surprised me, because as a communication student, I never shut up. It was odd that most students didn’t share the same trait. I missed my old friends, my old teammates… essentially my old home. The only place I found comfort was the couch in my studio apartment with a pile of food and Netflix. I did not enjoy going to class and I had begun to dislike going out in general. I gave up going to the gym. I ate like crap. As my grades plummeted, I actually found myself skipping class just to go to work. I tried to work as much as possible to keep myself from binge eating while watching… and re-watching… episodes of How I Met Your Mother. I did nothing exciting for Thanksgiving or Christmas break other than work.

The next semester, I dreaded the very idea of school. I knew where to get involved, but had no motivation to do so. I always made friends easily, but why had it been so hard since coming to this new school? I was in this funk that made me.. not myself. I wasn’t enjoying life. I was bitter, angry, and solemn.

How did I allow myself to get this way? Why was I having this never-ending pity party?


 

While working one day, my manager, who knew of the hard time I was having, pushed me to join a sorority on campus. To this I said, “Hmm..not for me.” I always envisioned sorority girls much like everyone else: pretty, preppy rich girls who scream when they’re excited. I researched some chapters on campus and decided to give it a try — at this point I was desperate for friends. I visited with a sorority, Alpha Phi and felt extremely welcomed by all of the girls. It didn’t feel like a stereotypical sorority house. It felt warm and cozy. It felt like it could it be a new home. Finally.

After spending a few weeks with some of the girls, they offered my a bid to join. At the end of March, I was being initiated. I finally found something to be apart of and I started to enjoy school again. Although I joined this new group of poised, classy women, there was still something missing. I didn’t have anyone to really be myself with. I realized at that point, that was what I was missing all along…

A companion. I didn’t have my boyfriend any longer. I barely saw my best friend at my old school who got engaged and with whom I told EVERYTHING. The two people I confided in most were gone. I was so used to being around people and all I wanted was a person to have as a best friend. I stopped going to my church and lost my sense of community. I suppose along the way, I also lost my faith.

One day, something in me stirred. I wanted off this train. I wanted off now! I didn’t want to spend my days being miserable and pitying myself for no good reason. I wanted to be good at something. I wanted to do something that gave me joy. I wanted to do something that would better my future. I am an expert at putting up a front, but you can’t put that on a resume. The last month of the spring semester, I applied for five different internships. The one I wanted most was working at the local NBC television station in my city, but I did not expect to get it. But I got it. I got it. It was the highlight of my day, my semester… my year. I decided to take the NBC internship and another that I was offered. It was at this moment, that I jumped. No. I leaped! I left the window I was plastered to and f-ing leaped. I leaped so far onto the platform and sprinted as hard and as fast as my thunder thighs could take me. School was over, summer was beginning and new Me was blooming.

A year ago, I had everything planned out. I knew exactly what I wanted and where I was going to go. If this past year has taught me anything, it is this:

Do not plan your life out on a piece of paper because this little thing (rather big thing) called Life will get in the way. You will find yourself crossing out and rewriting your plan over an over to the point of insanity. It occurred to me that planning out my life will only take away the unexpected joys of life itself — much like Bilbo Baggins, an unexpected journey.

I can see that train passing by. Passing by to nowhere. I can see the finger marks left on a window by a girl who lost her way. A girl who lost a sense of hope and ambition. That girl doesn’t exist anymore. Never again will I allow that girl to board that train. I have faith that I will find people in my life to fill that void of companionship. Until then, my journey begins.

 

New Years Resolutions: the good, the awful and the cliché

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Seasons Greetings! 2013 is over and, like every year, we pull out our notebooks and jot down a list of resolutions we never seem to conquer. I find myself doing this very thing at the end of every year: I make a long list of things I plan to achieve — but fall short when the next year rolls around.

For 2013, those things were: achieve my dream body, call family more often, pray more, reconnect with people more, save money, market myself for internships, eat healthy all the time and read more.

I conquered this list pretty well for the first five months. I was working out my body constantly and lost about 15 lbs., read A LOT, I marketed myself and landed a internship and ate healthy (the good). However, I was not saving money, I put praying on the back burner, I rarely called home and decided to quit my internship. 2013 was okay until the summer came and I decided to fall off the face of the planet. I became an introvert and spent entire days reading poolside. I did not keep in touch with family or friends from college — sorry guys! That soon spiraled into a depression that kept me indoors even when I got back to school. Although 2013 was a decent year, it did not live up to the hype I intended with my list (the awful).

So. What is the point of resolutions when they are doomed from the beginning? The most overused resolutions are to lose weight, eat healthy, save money, get clean/organized, and give up (fill in the blank). Oddly enough, these resolutions are by no means farfetched. So why do we never prevail? Well, we quit cold turkey or come up with resolutions that unrealistic. It’s common sense; if we are used to doing something on a daily basis and we completely stop we are more inclined to relapse (the cliché). Instead of throwing yourself into a resolution you aren’t used to, take baby steps. Taking baby steps will ease you out of old (even bad) habits and into new ones — thus creating a new lifestyle.

So here is my list for 2014. No clichés. Completely personal. Completely realistic.

  1. plan and blog twice a week
  2. try reading a new type of genre
  3. attain at least a 3.3 GPA
  4. volunteer more
  5. spend more free time with friends
  6. travel somewhere new just once this year
  7. save 10% of earnings
  8. get an internship
  9. keep a positive mind in any situation
  10. run a few 5k’s.

So what are your 2014 resolutions?

The Value of Team Sports

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— I wrote this as an opinion piece for my school’s newspaper. Reading about this incident has rendered a new emotion inside me about the value of team sports. Others have different opinions. This is mine.

Jonathan Martin left the Miami Dolphins this past month due to bullying allegations against his teammate, offensive lineman Richie Incognito. Incognito allegedly sent racist and callous messages to Martin, and as a result, the NFL Players Union called on the league for an investigation to ensure a safe workplace for players.

The incident stirred a never-ending debate about bullying in the workplace and on organized team sports. After the story broke, my eyes soared through mass amounts of sports articles, finding a reasonable explanation as to what I was comprehending.

One such article by Jeff Pearlman entitled Why I Don’t Want My Kids to Play Team Sports says, “My children don’t need the hostilities of organized youth athletics to make them whole.” He goes on to rant about how his older brother David experienced a ruthless coach in youth soccer — how it not only destroyed David, but he as well. The article focuses on (complains rather) organized team sports and how they negatively affect our youth.

It had me reliving my experience as a competitive volleyball player through my youth and half my college career. In high school, I was the youngest member on the Varsity volleyball team and was chastised as a result. I let harsh words diminish my confidence and effect my playing. I came in as a starting setter and was demoted to a 4th string by post-season play. I spent a lot of nights after that season crying in the arms of my consoling mother who did nothing but baby me to death. My father, on the other hand, looked me straight in the eye one day and said, “Danielle, are you going to let a bunch of sassy, conceited girls and a pitiless coach define you as a player?”

It was at this moment that I realized my skill was worth being noticed. I toughened up, worked hard, proved those who doubted me wrong and received a collegiate volleyball scholarship out of high school. In no way was I going to let others destroy my talent and passion for the sport I love. Being apart of an organized team made me the resilient person I am today. If Pearlman is going to say that one coach destroyed his brother’s youth, than he, as well as his brother, have some bigger issues to face.

The takeaway is this: whether on or off the playing grounds, we shouldn’t just be teaching younger generations how to respect one another. We need to teach them how to grow thicker skin. If you have a passion for something, don’t let others take that away; stand up for yourself and confront those who demean you. Running to mother and crying will not get you any where.

Pearlman makes a few valid points in that we put an unhealthy emphasis on winning, but he doesn’t realize being apart of a team builds character and a sense of camaraderie. It teaches you how to win, how to lose and how to showcase your talents. Some are athletes, some are musical prodigies, some are writers and some are scientists. Competition doesn’t just live in sports. Most people want to be good, if not the best, at something.

What Richie Incognito did was indeed wrong, but Jonathan Martin should have stood up for himself — and maybe walking away from the team was the feat. But, he is a man; a man that plays professional football. Next to hockey, I don’t know what constitutes as a manlier sport. If an incident like that makes you walk away from a team, he probably wasn’t passionate enough to play football in the NFL.

Random Thoughts, 21st Birthday, Happy Hump Day..

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Being a communications student, you do a lot writing and right now I am struggling to find the right words to craft, not to mention finding something interesting to post. 

My cursor is blinking and taunting me as I try to find a topic worthy of a blog post, so this line will suffice.

This Friday is my 21st birthday and I am going home to Denver for the long weekend. I plan to take loads of (sober) photos from my time and adventures to share this coming weekend — most will be on Instagram. Alex and I are traveling to Black Hawk-Central City on Monday to play around at the casinos! Every time we go to one, I have to wander around outside aimlessly  because I have never been old enough. I can finally participate in ignorant gambling activity!

Please forgive my rampant thoughts I deem worthy to publish.

Happy Hump Day! Yeeeeaahhh.

 

 

The Context of the ‘N-Word’

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The sole intent of this post is to stir discussion among my generation, seeing as though we are next in line to run the free nation.

Flipping channels one evening and finding my escape on CNN to catch up on the latest political drama (what can I say, I’m a journalism student) my screen fades to an ominous red and black and an entitlement appears: The N-Word: A CNN Special Report, Next. My jaw dropped with the initial thought  — really? Is this needed?

Willingly, I started watching it.

If you missed it, the special, hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon, aired earlier this week and discussed the context of the N-word. An entire panel of African American journalists, activists, filmmakers and musicians gave testimonial insight and commentary on the matter.

They discussed how one simple, yet complex word (with it’s harrowing origin) can take one individual and make them cringe, while making another feel like family. How Bizarre.

One would assume we have come a long way in regards to racial equality with the avail of the civil rights movement, a black president, and about 70 percent of professional athletics taken up by African Americans. According to this special, it seems we have not.

I haven’t decided what my particular stance is on the matter, So I want to ask my fellow readers..

Dreams and Tea

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Greetings fellow chaps! I had such a relaxing Sunday, and now I am just dreading an early 6 a.m. practice tomorrow. I value sleep way too much, as does any athlete.

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Week one of my 52 day challenge went well, though I did not accomplish much. Having a full schedule is hectic, I benefit from my relaxing Sundays, boy I am in need of some tea.

After my tropical spice candle was lit and my steeping mug of cinnamon rooibos tea was warm enough to touch, I set it down next to my bed side and I proceeded to open up my bible. I was to flip through some verses until one really jumped out at me, and thus, sitting before my fluttering eyes was Ecclesiastes 5:2.

Do not be rash with your mouth, and let not your heart utter anything hastily before God. For God is in heaven and you on earth;

Therefore let your words be few. For a dream comes through much activity, and a fool’s voice is known by his many words

Being the overly ambitious person I am, I think the mere mention of dreams caught my eye.

Incidentally, this week I plan to create my dream board! I have a bare wall next to my bed, which to me, is an eye sore, and I am going to hang a cork board full of pictures depicting a specific dream I hope to fulfill in the near or sought-off future. I am thinking of doing a time lapse of the progress I make with it..I think I need another cup of tea.

stay tuned.

(: