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.  

Ode to FaceTime: The Benefits of Face-to-Face Interaction in Quarantine

The magic of FaceTime has always been apparent for students who leave home for college and can see their families with the click of a button. It has been a lifeline for people in long-distance relationships. It has helped people who get relocated for a job stay connected with old friends. On a smaller scale, it has aided people who need quick outfit advice from a friend. However, the benefits of face-to-face interaction have become evident during this global pandemic. In light of this, here is an “Ode to FaceTime” for keeping us sane, connected, and happy during a very scary and isolating time.

Emotional Benefits of Face-to-Face Interaction

Emma Watson using FaceTime to connect with her friends, family, and fans during quarantine!

Studies show that staying away from loved ones is a peril to mental health and happiness. The benefits of face-to-face interaction are endless. For example, a 2018 study shows that Facetime and video chatting reduces the risk of depression in people older than 60. Read more heartwarming stories about how FaceTime can unite us in times of crisis in an article from The Atlantic here.

Others say that FaceTime reminds them that there is life outside of their quarantine location. While walking and getting outside helps with this, talking to others about how they are spending their days offers some solace. Recognize that everyone is going through this together even when we feel alone. FaceTime, thank you for giving us this fresh perspective!

Not to mention, simply knowing that someone is thinking of you is important for mental health. It goes a long way knowing that someone is willing to spend even more time on their computer or phones to FaceTime and check in on you.

Creative Benefits of Face-to-Face Interaction

FaceTime has also given new opportunities for creativity. Celebrities are using FaceTime to continue producing art and works that bring so much joy to fans. For example, Demi Lovato spearheaded the rise of a “virtual photoshoot” through FaceTime. She explains that this helped her happiness levels as well, as she felt less pressure to be perfect. Read more about this trend and other ways celebrities use FaceTime to create content here. The benefits of face-to-face interaction include new ideas, work, and collaborations for many celebrities. In turn, we get to enjoy what is being produced during this time!

FaceTime, we owe this all to you. Thank you for giving us the benefits of face-to face interaction when it is unsafe to actually do so.

Creative in Quarantine: How to Stay Relevant and Connected

For many industries, stay-at-home orders are catastrophic for the health of businesses. While some companies will not be able to survive this pandemic, others have been able to pivot their operations to become more creative in quarantine. Keep reading to find some hope, whether you are a small business owner or simply wanting to see your favorite boutiques again when normal life returns. Here are some examples of how companies are staying relevant despite the odds.

Examples of Companies Staying Creative in Quarantine

  1. ESPN – While ESPN does not come to mind when thinking of struggling businesses, the lack of sports this spring, summer, and likely fall is detrimental to the network’s viewership. Not to mention, without live sports, ESPN loses all income from advertisements. ESPN is being creative in quarantine by utilizing it’s “There’s No Place Like Sports” campaign and launched a new commercial. The goal was to bring together the sports community and show fans that ESPN is experiencing the same emotions. Also, ESPN has been airing its host of sports documentaries. ESPN is also premiering its exclusive 10-part documentary on Michael Jordan this month.
  2. The Walt Disney Company – With the recent launch of Disney+, the company has been able to build momentum through this platform. They surprised Disney fans by releasing the beloved Frozen II onto Disney+ months earlier than planned. Another way Disney has been able to stay creative in quarantine is by bolstering its “Virtual Disney World” YouTube channel. This gives fans a virtual ride experience at home since all of the company’s theme parks are closed.
  3. Asian Mint – This local Dallas restaurant has launched “Chef Mint at Home,” an innovative cooking kit. The restaurant is providing customers with this option so they can create their favorite Asian Mint recipes at home. This is a great way for local restaurants to engage with the community and give families a fun activity.
Creative in Quarantine: Click here to see the trailer for ESPN’s Michael Jordan documentary series!

To see more inspiring examples of companies staying optimistic and creative in quarantine, click here to read AdWeeks’s article.

Building a Personal Brand: How to Capitalize on Your Time in Quarantine

Building a personal brand requires time and consistent effort. Even though we all are busy jumping on Zoom meetings and online classes or dialing into conference calls, the quarantine has given us back the time we spent commuting, running non-essential errands, and meeting up with friends for dinner. A productive way to spend this new source of time is to work on your personal brand! While the face-to-face component of building a personal brand will have to wait, there are many opportunities to bolster your brand online.

This is an excellent example of a home page for building a personal brand online. Daniel is a designer and the sketch-like image of himself tells this story.
This is an excellent example of a home page for building a personal brand online. Daniel is a designer and the sketch-like image of himself tells this story.

Building a Personal Brand: Tips and Tricks

  1. Building a personal brand starts with how you interact online. Ensure that your comments, images you like, and the accounts you follow are sharing a consistent message about who you are to your followers. Each of these components should share a story about you, so be thoughtful about all aspects of your online brand. Make sure that your profile showcases your values, passions, and personality.
  2. Create an online portfolio or website. It is important to compile your work in a space that is easy for future employers to see your brand and value. Create a clean personal website, then let your work speak for itself. As obvious as it sounds, be sure that the pieces you include on your website reflect the characteristics you want employers and others to see such as your attention to detail, passion for the subject matter, etc. Click here for a helpful resource for building a personal website.
  3. The quarantine also is a great time to create more content. Write a blog about a movie you watched or book you read, a screenplay, or some poetry. Make a collage, a new graphic design sketch, or paint a canvas. Launch a podcast or an Instagram Live series. Play around with new social media platforms like TikTok. In a world when we can’t socialize or venture too far from home, allow yourself to turn your focus inward. What really matters to you and how can you share your story with the world? Building a personal brand requires this self-reflection, and the quarantine has offered us a unique opportunity to do so.

Ultimately, use this time in quarantine to pursue your passions and reflect on how you want to present yourself to the world. Then, use social media and online platforms to highlight your accomplishments, work, and personality. Just remember to be consistent even in the midst of creativity! Click here for an insightful Forbes article about the golden rules of building a personal brand.

Working from Home: Tips for Staying Engaged in our Virtual World

Working from home is the new business reality in the midst of a global pandemic. While virtual teams have always had a role in major corporations, companies of all sizes are being forced to operate virtually. For companies, this means ensuring teams still communicate and operate effectively. For individual employees, this means maximizing spaces to make working from home a pleasant and effective experience. Keep reading for tips on working from home during quarantine and after.

Get dressed, make coffee, and set up a desk to maintain normalcy when working from home.
Get dressed, make coffee, and set up a desk to maintain normalcy when working from home.

Working from Home: Tips for Success

  1. Each morning, map out a schedule for the day. Allocate specific times for work items you want to accomplish, meals, exercise, and anything else you would like to get done. When working from home for days on end during the quarantine, giving structure to the time warp is imperative for staying sane and productive. Try to work within the normal range of time you would if you were still going to the office!
  2. Dress for success. Don’t sit around in pajamas all day. While you can certainly take on a more casual look, maintain your self-care and hygiene routines, put some clothes on, make the bed, and carve out time for breakfast before delving into your Zoom meetings for the day. Speaking of Zoom, click here for Stanford’s resources on how to lead and participate in inclusive and engaging Zoom meetings.
  3. Moving around the house provides some wanted changes in scenery, but establishing one spot as your at-home desk is helpful when working from home. This indicates to your brain and family members that it is time to focus.
  4. Move! In between meetings, set aside times to take breaks and get some fresh air. Eat lunch on your patio, take a quick walk around the block (with social distance, of course), or even open a window. When we are sitting all day, it’s important that we make efforts to move our bodies and get our hearts and blood pumping.
  5. Nourish your body. Yes, we all deserve treats during this tumultuous time. However, ensure you are getting the nutrients and healthy boost your body needs. Indulge in the homemade cakes and cookies your families are baking. Don’t forget about protein, fruits, and vegetables to keep your energy levels high.

Working from home has its perks, but definitely introduces a new set of challenges. For even more incredible tips for navigating this period of working from home, check out this guide at theSkimm. Stay home, stay healthy, stay safe, stay focused!

A Business Guide to Twitter: How to Be Concise and Effective

Twitter has evolved from a casual platform that teenagers used to share quick, funny updates with friends to a primary news outlet for millions of users. To keep with current trends and reach new audiences, an excellent Twitter presence is a requirement for successful companies. Keep reading for the tools and tricks in our Business Guide to Twitter. 

Your Business Guide to Twitter:

This is an excellent use of Twitter. Nike is highlighting an exciting new partnership with the Obama Foundation and provides an enticing graphic.
This is an excellent use of Twitter. Nike is highlighting an exciting new partnership with the Obama Foundation and provides an enticing graphic.
  1. Your Twitter account should reflect the personality of your company. If you are a company like Disney that has a visible mascot such as Mickey Mouse, consider tweeting from their point of view to bring your organization to life. If your company is very policy-oriented, keep your followers updated on changes, elections, and trends related to the topic. Playful companies like Budweiser or M&M can share engaging videos or graphics to play on the brand. The most important takeaway of this Business Guide to Twitter is to know your company’s personality and let it shine through. Always be consistent!
  2. As long as the content is consistent with your company’s personality and brand, be creative and innovative. Tease new products and partnerships, release videos that will get followers excited about upcoming events, and share news updates about the organization.
  3. Use hashtags to get your organization trending on Twitter. Hashtags will optimize the amounts of searches your tweets will appear in and help strengthen the impact of your words and content.
  4. Keep your Tweets short and to the point. There is no need to use all of the characters, especially since Twitter users scroll quickly.  
  5. Verify your account. While this seems like a small feature, it builds a large amount of trust with your consumers. The more official your company looks, the more credibility the organization will build.

While these are the most crucial points, Hootsuite has created a more extensive guide to using Twitter commercially. Click here to read it! For other tips and tricks to include in a business guide to Twitter, read this helpful article.

Millennial Mistakes on LinkedIn: How to Avoid the Most Common Errors

When facing the job search, LinkedIn is an overlooked tool among many Millennials. Keep reading to avoid the Millennial mistakes on LInkedIn. 

LinkedIn is your first impression when looking for a job or entering a new company. Unfortunately, there are many recurring mistakes on young LinkedIn profiles. Dubbed the “Millennial Mistakes on LinkedIn,” here is a helpful list to avoid looking unprofessional.

This is a great example of a clean, professional headshot. Also, using your university as a cover photo is a nice way to complete your profile.
This is a great example of a clean, professional headshot. Also, using your university as a cover photo is a nice way to complete your profile.

Millennial Mistakes on LinkedIn

  1. The picture. It is sad but true that your picture can make or break the professionalism of your LinkedIn profile. When recruiters are scrolling through thousands of people, a picture that is inappropriate or bad quality is a major red flag. Even worse, not having a photo will limit the number of searches in which you appear.
  2. Another millennial mistake on LinkedIn is leaving out the description for each experience. Your experiences are not relevant to employers unless they can understand how you contributed and what you learned in each role. Use numbers and specific language to showcase your skills!
  3. Having less than 500 connections is a millennial mistake on LinkedIn that is highly debated. Some people think that it’s better to only connect with people you know personally, but tapping into your friends of friends and larger network is a better tactic. 
  4. Do not leave out the summary. It can be concise but should reflect the opportunities you are seeking. 
  5. Many millennials do not engage on LinkedIn. In order to stand out, share articles, comment on friends’ updates, and actively seek out new connections! 

If you can avoid these five key errors on LinkedIn, you will have a head start before even submitting an application or interviewing for your dream job. To read more in-depth about these Linkedin mistakes, click here. Forbes also has a useful article to help maintain your spotless LinkedIn profile.

Business on Snapchat: Is There Business for Companies on Snapchat?

Snapchat, a social platform popular among Gen Z, is most commonly known for its quick and vanishing Snapchats via selfies or messages. The “Discover” pages of Snapchat, however, have given companies business on Snapchat with the opportunity to advertise to and interact with younger audiences. Keep reading to learn how to leverage your business on Snapchat.

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