My Time And Highlights At SMU: Senior Reflection

Where has the time gone? Looking back at the past four years and my time and highlights at SMU I could not have picked a better school. I can say with confidence that SMU is a very special place, and the friends I have made will last me a lifetime. It feels like yesterday when I was moving into Armstrong and setting into my new college home and the place I would come to love so much. I cannot believe it is almost already over. 

My Time and Highlights At SMU

Throughout my time and highlights at SMU I have been able to do some pretty cool things that have given me memories I will never forget.

Tri Delta

First off, I had the opportunity to join a sorority. My mom still talks about her college days as a Zeta. That was an opportunity I was hoping to gain out of my college experience. Through Tri Delt I was about to meet my best friends. These girls are my go-to people will without a doubt be in my wedding one day. They have been there through the good, bad, and amazing times that college has brought. Tri Delt also enriched me through community service and giving back. I was able to help sick kids at St. Jude and ensure that we are on the path to finding a cure for childhood cancer. I was also able to become a mentor for younger girls and help them navigate the challenges that college can bring. I will forever be grateful for what Tri Delt has given me. 

Study Abroad

Secondly, SMU gave me the opportunity to study abroad. This will forever be one of the best experiences of my life and in my time at SMU. I lived in Barcelona, right in the heart of the city, and I was able to travel almost every weekend. The people I met and the cultures I experienced will stay with me forever. After visiting 12 different countries I can confidently say that this world is one amazing place. I am so thankful that SMU gave me the chance to study abroad and for my parents for allowing me to have this opportunity. 

I am not ready. That is the best way I can put it. I am not ready to graduate, grow up, and have to move on from this amazing experience. I am so sad to leave SMU but the memories I have made will stay with me forever. 

How Learning At Home Changed My View on College

At first, the coronavirus seemed like a distant threat; an otherworldly problem for people who wanted to travel across the globe… until it wasn’t. Not once did it occur to me that coronavirus would leave me learning at home, ending my junior year months early. Never did I think I’d be stuck in my house, feeling excited for a much-anticipated trip to the grocery store. Under no circumstances did I think I’d ever go to the bank wearing a mask. Yet, here we are.

Initial Thoughts About Learning at Home

When I was first told about SMU’s extended spring break, tanning on a beach with my friends, I can’t say I was devastated. My opinion changed entirely when those two weeks became two months. Even still, I did my best to think positively. No more fighting for parking spots, having to look presentable for class, or waiting 20 minutes in line for a cup of coffee. Awkward encounters with ex-roommates would be a thing of the past. I thought, “What could be so bad about attending class from the comfort of my own home?” Well, as it turns out, a lot.

The Reality of Online Learning

Have you ever found yourself sitting in a lecture, feeling confused about the material? Imagine feeling that very same way, but with the knowledge that if you choose to ask a question, your face will fill the screens of dozens. Apparently, learning at home grants the same amount of nerve-wracking experiences as learning in classrooms. It seems online learning also leaves many professors believing their students have more leisure time. Leading to the appointment of more time consuming assignments, students are left with an overwhelming amount of work in an already frustrating period of time.

Two months of electronic classmates and cyber-professors is not how I wanted my junior year to end.

Remote Learning: A Lesson in Gratitude

I never imagined the second half of my junior year would be spent at home. When I thought of spring semester, I envisioned helpful class sessions, time with friends, and weekends to remember. Remote learning has been an adjustment for us all, but for me, it has been a lesson in gratitude.

Remote Learning Realizations

I am guilty, like most college students, of dreading an early morning class or a long meeting. Many days, I wanted to fast-forward and just “get to the end.” I was dragging at the start of spring semester. I wanted easier classes. I did not appreciate my walks to class, and I took days for granted.

Then, everything was pulled from underneath us.

Now I was lucky to get to see teachers and friends in tiny virtual boxes on zoom. Class time became lackluster. Consequently, my learning took a hit.

I missed grind sessions in the library. I missed the gratifying feeling after finishing night class. Longing for my wonderful teachers, I started to realize how good I had it.

A New Outlook

Since Coronavirus and the onset of remote learning, I have a new perspective. I know it is cliche to say that every day is a gift, but it is. I cannot wait to walk back on to SMU’s campus next year and savor every day. Savor conversations with teachers. Savor our beautiful surroundings. And yes, even savor taking tests.

remote learning lessons

I am grateful for the lessons remote learning has taught me. Not necessarily the ones having to do with coursework, but the life lessons. I want to make my last year count. Going forward, I cannot wait to appreciate every in-person class.

We do not know how good we have it until it’s gone. Let your Coronavirus experience be a reminder of what we are grateful for.

A Home on the Hilltop: My Experience at SMU

This is SMU.

I am a member of the graduating class of 2020. Some might call us, the class of COVID-19. As my experience at SMU comes to an end, I cherish my 3.5 years on campus and last half virtually. When my journey began, I was a California girl. My identity was made from beaches, flip flops and In and Out Burger. The thought of home meant a drive down Pacific Coast Highway with the radio blasting and the windows rolled down. When I moved to Texas, I questioned my decision and happiness. However, my unhappiness could have been provoked by the size of my dorm room. All I knew was that this California girl wasn’t ready to become a Southern Belle. Boy, was I wrong!

Finding My Voice

Growing up, I was known as Jim Irwin’s granddaughter. To Green Bay Packer fans, Jim Irwin was the voice screaming the play by play during Sunday night football. What I learned by sitting in the broadcast booth beside him is that passionate communication moves people. During my experience at SMU, I knew I wanted my voice to have the same effect. Luckily, I found it in my majors, Corporate Communication and Public Relations. Professors turned into mentors as they challenged me to take leadership roles. With each semester, my confidence grew as did my success. My voice has been strengthened and will continue to represent SMU CCPA with pride. And if you ever are lucky enough to cross paths with Steve and Gwen, cherish it!

Looking Ahead

Although graduation has been postponed and several last senior moments have been taken, I am choosing to move forward while honoring my experience at SMU. 4 years have shaped me into a prepared young woman and most importantly, a professional elated to join the real world. I have accepted a job in Dallas working as an Executive Associate in Communications. A classmate within CCPA has turned into a best friend and now future roommate as we both tackle our next chapters together. SMU has truly given me everything which is hard to put in words as I type my final assignment of my senior year. When I press submit, college will be over but the relationships I formed and confidence I gained won’t ever leave my side.

Forever a Mustang

When I reference home now, it’s on the hilltop. My identity has transformed and consists of BBQ, tex-mex and line dancing. My late night snack is a honey butter chicken biscuit. SMU converted another Southern Belle and for that, I am forever thankful. My experience at SMU has come to an end, but my time in Dallas is only just beginning. Pony Up forever!

Looking Back on My Time at SMU: Senior Reflections

Looking back on my time at SMU, I can vividly remember my first moments as a Mustang. On the first day of classes freshman year, I walked across campus knowing only one thing to be certain: I didn’t know anybody. I bravely entered SMU with one friend, my roommate who I had met on my admitted students tour in the spring. Who should I sit with in class? Should I eat peanut butter pretzels for lunch again? Do I wear Vans or Nikes? Who is Professor Sloan? What’s the difference between the Fondren Science and Dedman Life Sciences buildings anyway? These are the types of questions that ran through my head.

Experiencing Freshman Moments

Each person I met became a contender for my future best friend. As I marched past the Cox Business School, I was confident that I would one day be a Marketing major. I took my semester day by day. I was thriving off of the opportunity to make new friends, but secretly relished the moments I could spend escaping the Texas heat and decompressing in my air conditioned dorm room. My first semester was certainly unsettling and uncomfortable, but I just smiled and enjoyed the chaos of my college campus. “I’m a freshman at SMU,” I proudly told everyone I met.

Looking back on my time at SMU, this is a very important picture to me! This was taken after freshman convocation and represented the birth of a family tradition: taking pictures with Peruna at every single SMU event.

As it turns out, I have made meaningful friendships in my classes. I don’t like peanut butter pretzels very much. Nikes became my preferred shoes to wear to class. I ended up avoiding both Fondren Science and Dedman Life Sciences as much as possible. Professor Sloan, my DISC professor, is still one of my favorite professors and made me the confident writer that I am today. I ran away from the Marketing program in pursuit of my true passion: CCPA. I am two weeks away from completing three majors.

Achieving Comfort and Confidence

I can’t quite articulate the moment when it happened, but one day I stopped having to make an effort to find familiar faces as I walked to my classes. Older girls took me under their wings. I progressed through the UC curriculum and began to focus on my major. I participated in on-campus activities such as my dorm’s intramural soccer team. Finally, I started to collect a unique set of friends who each enriched my life in different ways.

As I look back on my time as an undergraduate at SMU, I laugh remembering the things that used to stress me out. I smile thinking about the big moments that people assume define a college experience. The first days of classes, game days, freshman year convocation, a formal, Bid Day, a fall break trip, themed fraternity parties, Homecoming weekend, an award ceremony, a final presentation, or move-in day are examples of those shiny moments of college. Although the big events hold a special place in my memory, they are not the defining moments of my SMU experience.

Looking Back on My Time at SMU

For me, the little moments carry even more weight. Ordering Chick-Fil-A milkshakes on a whim and the goofy moments my roommate and I shared in our dorm were highlights of my freshman and sophomore years. The meaningful connections I made with my CCPA professors have shaped my academic experience and life. Sitting on the Dallas Hall lawn with friends as a much-needed break from Fondren is an experience I will most definitely miss. Walking up the boulevard and petting every dog in sight defines many game days for me. The excitement I felt each August upon the start of a new school year is unparalleled. Overlapping with my sister for a year on campus made every day feel like family weekend.

As a senior, I stroll across the very same Dallas Hall lawn with the sense of ease and confidence I saw seniors exude throughout the years, but never thought I would achieve myself. Even though the campus itself has not changed, I have seen tremendous personal and intellectual growth during my time at SMU. SMU encourages its students to be world changers. I truly hope that I can make an impact on society one day. For now, I’m just proud of the lives and people I’ve influenced here on the hilltop. I will always say that I am an SMU alumna with the greatest amount of pride. The gusto with which I told people I was an SMU freshman will never fade. Thank you for everything, SMU.  

Ending Up At SMU

“So, how’d you end up at SMU?” In reflecting on my four years—well, about four years—in Dallas, I can’t help but think back to my first time stepping foot on campus. The Georgian architecture immediately made me think of my hometown in Columbus, Ohio. My parents glommed onto the tour as I begrudgingly tagged along. But, I was not sold on committing to what would turn into my home away from home.

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My Time at SMU

As my time at SMU comes to an end, I reflect on my college years and the enormous growth I have experienced. I started my journey at Texas A&M University in College Station in 2016. How fitting that I end it back in my hometown of Dallas. It hurts to say goodbye- but only for now.

Starting Out

My freshmen year at A&M was a confusing transition as I tried to navigate college and adjust to life in a small town. Realizing it was not the place for me, I took the first semester of my sophomore year off. In January, I went straight into SMU spring sorority recruitment.

My time at SMU began with my recruitment into Delta Delta Delta and a whirlwind of activities. I was so nervous about making friends and doing well in classes, but I didn’t need to be. Everything eventually fell into place (as things often do).

Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow

I remember two and a half years worth of laughs, long nights, and walks to class. In that time, we were all just figuring out who we were. My favorite classes were of course in my major’s department at Umphrey Lee, and I have had the best, most encouraging professors. I am going to miss so much.

I’ll miss seeing the dogs run around Dallas Hall Lawn (Bear included). I’ll miss complaining about the giant line at Starbucks. But most of all, from my time at SMU, I’ll miss the people I’ve met.

Reflecting: My Time at SMU

Not only have I made lifelong friends, but I know if I ever need anything, I have SMU to fall back on. I know that my professors only want success for myself and my classmates. What can I say at the end of my wonderful time at SMU? THANK YOU. Thank you to the friends I’ve made, the professors I’ve had, and the school that has shaped me into a person I am proud of.

my time at SMU
My friends and I during our time at SMU

Only Child to Only Adult: My Time at SMU

I grew up as an only child with involved parents, which was great. My parents gave me all of the tools I need to succeed and throughout my life, they always kept me accountable. Throughout my childhood and high school, I never had to think about what success really meant for me or how I could become successful because my parents laid that framework for me. I did not motivate myself or work for myself. My parents knew what they wanted for me and I did not question it. When I went off on my own, I realized my parents were not there to tell me how to succeed every step of the way.

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Social Media Marketing Videos

According to PR Daily, eight out of ten businesses are using video to engage consumers. Social media marketing through videos is becoming even more relevant. There are a lot of elements that go into a social media marketing videos: content, subtitles, length, sound, and more. Even the most minute details can affect the response you get from consumers. Here are the best tips and tricks for creating them:

social media marketing videos

Size Matters

Whether you are posting a video on Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook, you need to know specs, sizes, dimensions, and ratios for your videos. Making the best use out of these variables can lend itself to more engaging content. Therefore, you end up with a more positive response from consumers and a successful campaign.

Get Inspired

If you have been sticking with the same social media strategy for awhile, it’s time to get inspired! Search for some other successful marketing video campaigns to get your ideas flowing. Remember: fresh, timely content is usually the best route to take.

Add Extras in Social Media Marketing Videos

Most social media platforms allow for the adding in of cool effects on videos, such as filters and stickers. Using these effects can help your videos stand out. In addition, they can help consumers connect more meaningfully with your content. Be careful though, adding in too many effects can crowd your videos and your marketing message might get lost.

Storytime!

The “story” feature on social media platforms is also another great way to share video content with consumers, with a more casual approach. Stories are usually only up for 24 hours, so make sure to make it count. The “Live” feature on these platforms is also a good tool for connecting with your audience. However, a good social media marketing campaign through videos should be planned well in advance. Even though live feeds and stories seem casual and off-the-cuff, they must be planned ahead of time.

The World of Digital Media and Fake News

Continue reading to discover how digital media and fake news has introduced ideas of clickbait and propaganda.

The Rise of Clickbait and Propaganda in Digital Media and Fake News

A lot of what you read online, especially in your social media feeds, appears to be true while it actually is not. Digital media and fake news became prominent during the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Fake news encompasses news, stories or hoaxes that are created to deliberately misinform or deceive readers. Digital media has meant that real and fictional stories are now presented in ways make it difficult to tell the two apart.

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Four Years of College… A 2020 Grad’s Reflection on Her Time at SMU

Each day seemed to pass by slowly. The weeks sometimes drugged by even slower. But the months and the semesters and the years? Now, those flew by faster than expected. Now, I look back on the four years I spent at Southern Methodist University (well, 3.5 years on campus and .5 years in my parents’ house attending “Zoom” University). These four years of college have shaped me immensely. I never imagined some of the struggles I would face, the mountains I would have to climb. But, I also never imagined how many special moments I would experience, all of the people I would cross paths with, and how much my four years of my life would change me for the better.

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Digital Habits During Isolation

In today’s times of quarantines and lockdowns, our digital habits during isolation have changed. Without restaurants to go and eat at or movie theaters to spend our time in, Americans are spending way more time online.

While people want to keep themselves as entertained as they can, there has been a surprising decrease in phone and app usage. This could be due to all the time we are spending at home, close to our computers. Why use a smaller screen and keyboard when you have a bigger one right next to you? Popular websites that also have their own popular apps have experienced this decrease. Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube have all seen user numbers on their phone apps slow down or decrease, while their website usage has grown. This might be one of the largest changes in our digital habits since isolation.

Analysis of Digital Habits During Lockdown

As you can see, website traffic for all three has significantly increased recently, causing a large upward spike. In contrast, app usage for these three has been anything but predictable. App usage for Facebook, Netflix, and YouTube spiked toward the beginning of lockdowns and quarantines, but has taken a significant dip recently. This could be due to the initial lockdown, causing people to cling on to habits of constantly checking their phone. Recently, our digital habits during isolation have shifted to using popular apps rather than websites. Although we have a lot more free time for screens, people are preferring using their laptops rather than their phones. 

We have now become dependent on services that allow us to learn and work from home. Our schools and work areas have been moved to our bedrooms and living rooms. This has had another huge impact on our digital habits during isolation. For example, class time and meetings are happening on Zoom, Google Hangouts and Microsoft Teams. It will be incredibly interesting to see how our digital habits continue to change as we slowly begin to reintegrate into society.

Trusting Social Media?

When it comes to whether or not to trust social media, the first thing that comes to your mind is probably “fake news”. Fake news refers to a form of news that consists of deliberate disinformation spread via traditional news or social media. With the popularity of digital news in today’s times, fake news is more wildly rampant.

According to an article from The Hill, which interviewed Edelman CEO Richard Edelman, the distrust surrounding social media has become worse due to the coronavirus pandemic in the last few months. “Social media is deeply distrusted right now because there’s too much fake news,” Edelman told Hill.TV. “People trust those who have credentials. … Everybody wants to know specifics. They don’t just want to get facts through social media”.

So should we be trusting social media? Or not?

trusting social media

What to Do

While the answer to this question is not necessarily black and white, there are things you can do to ensure that the news you read from social media is credible. Firstly, a good rule of thumb is to not trust news from social media unless it comes from a credible source. Credible sources are educational or scientific. NEVER take coronavirus or health-related information from random websites or social media profiles. Ensure they are a reputable source before trusting social media news. Also, do not trust any medical advice or “cures for coronavirus” without checking the website for the CDC. The CDC website is full of credible information regarding the pandemic.

Rise in Agnotology Studies

In addition, novel coronavirus has become a popular subject for experts in “agnotology”. Agnotology is the study of the cultural production of misinformation. “Misinformation spreads rapidly, especially in a time of great fear,” says Robert N. Proctor, a professor of the history of science at Stanford and a pioneer in this field. “That’s always been true, from the burning of witches on up to hydroxychloroquine. When people are faced with a crisis, they become desperate.”

So, during this unprecedented time, when it comes to trusting social media, particularly news coming from it, make sure to do your homework on the source first. You health could depend on it!

Perfecting Your Social Profiles

The semester is ending, and with it, many seniors are graduating college and heading out into the real world. While we are living in an unprecedented time, recent grads are scrambling for job opportunities. One way to ensure you make a good impression on a potential employer is perfecting your social profiles.

Perfecting your social profiles

According to Monster.com, a study was done to determine the importance of social media profiles to employers. Employers in the communications and public relations field ranked social media as most highly, with 82% describing it as important. This further emphasizes the relevance of social media profiles while searching for jobs in the communications and public relations field and the importance of perfecting your social profiles.

The same Monster article also highlighted the importance of employers using social media to search for potential hires. This means that the first impression an employer gets of you could be one of your social profiles, which does not exclusively apply to LinkedIn. Organizations could look at your Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or even Tik Tok accounts! Here are some helpful tips for perfecting you social profiles:

Keep It Professional

Make sure that your profile, no matter the platform, gives an air of appropriateness and professionalism. Delete content that could possibly be considered inappropriate, a good rule of thumb is to ask the question for each post, “Would I want my mom to see this?”. Another good way to perfect your social profiles is to add a professional headshot photo as your profile picture.

Update, Update, Update!

Update your social profiles regularly to show enthusiasm and interest, especially if you are going into the communications or public relations fields. Commentary on interesting articles, promotion updates, and general posts of interest can not only increase your following, but also impress employers.

Include Contact Information

Something you may not have thought of when perfecting your social profiles is including your contact information. This does not have to be everything; a simple email address will suffice. As long as potential employers have a way to reach you, you’re in business!

New Updates on Social Media Platforms Amidst CO-VID 19

As internet usage multiplies thanks to stay at home orders, updates on social media become more and more common. In other words, companies have had to seriously enhance their operating systems as they compete for attention. While remaining consistent with original programs, the updates on social media platforms are limited, yet effectual. TikTok and Facebook have become the leaders of this movement, going the extra mile to expand audience interest. With TikTok now available on web browsers and Facebook’s video chat rooms continuously growing in size, it seems CO-VID 19 is far from done in altering our everyday lives.

Accessibility Updates on Social Media Platform Tik Tok Allow Users to View Content on Web Browsers

The ability to access videos on TikTok with almost any electronic device will likely broaden the app’s Generation Z demographic. Viewable on any traditional web browser, the platform is now available to anyone with or without a complex touchscreen. This factor will presumably continue increasing usage of TikTok already seen by the CO-VID 19 pandemic. Above all, the new update also supports already active consumers. Those who’ve updated to pro accounts can now see their key performance analytics on computer screens. Helping individuals and businesses thoroughly analyze their accounts, this is one of many groundbreaking updates on social media.

Facebook Releases New Video Tools to Help Users Make the Most of Social Distancing

Facebook has played a role in the competitive realm of video-calling for some time. Setting them apart from the rest, however, is their recent expansion of participant numbers for one video call. Facebook users can now engage in video calls of 4 to 8 people, doubling the capacity of calls on WhatsApp. Messenger video chat can now host up to 50 people in audio mode, as well. Considering the amount of “bombing” happening on video chat platform Zoom, it seems Facebook really does know how to steal someone’s thunder. Adding to a variety of other updates on social media, the company is even allowing users to invite potential dating matches to video chat. So long, catfish.

It’s very unlikely these updates will be the last we see of the CO-VID 19 pandemic. However, considering the glitching, lack of order, and generally irritating aspects of some social media sites, these new updates are more than welcome.

Build Your Personal Brand

It is now more important than ever to understand your personal brand. Starting with what a “personal brand” even is. According to Entrepreneur, personal branding is “the practice of individuals marketing themselves and their careers as brands to promote yourself.” It is imperative to have a strong personal brand to build as it will enhance your life, no matter what you do.

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