Tuesday, October 30, 2007

One Down, Two to Go

One question down in the quest for a Master's. Two more tomorrow. My brain is already mush, seeing as how I couldn't remember the name of the theory I've gotten intimate with over the past two weeks. Can't wait to see how it goes tomorrow :) Actually, shouldn't be too bad. Today was my toughest question, in my mind. And even if tomorrow bombs, that's what oral defense is for, right?

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It's Finally Here - Bring on the Graduate Exams

It's finally here. After two-and-a-half years, the culmination of all my learning comes down to 12 hours. On Monday I begin taking my comprehensive exams for school. I'm sitting at the office right now going over CMC theories (that's Computer Mediated Communication for you non-speaks) visualizing in my head what I imagine my question will be and how I'm going to tie everything together. I spent this afternoon at the library going over Persuasive theories and imagining how I'm going to tie that into advertising, and tie in a little CMC into that as well.

Dr. Jang and I went over the flow of my exams yesterday and here it is:
-Monday, 1 p.m. - begin my exam. I've decided to take my research question first. I think this is going to be my hardest question of the three and it's the only question I'm answering that day. I get 3 - 4 hours to answer that question. Essentially Dr. Christie has created a scenario for me, and I'm going to have to define my hypothesis (es) and research questions, then describe how I would answer those questions. Dr. J. says I need to pick one or two theories as well and talk about that as well. So that's Monday.

-Tuesday, 1 p.m. - part two of the exam. I answer my other 2 questions on Tuesday. One is going to be focused on advertising/marketing, with the highlight on persuasive communication and how persuasion plays into advertising. In theory it shouldn't be that difficult since I work in advertising and my entire job as a PR practitioner is to be persuasive, but knowing theories isn't what I practice every day.
My other question is a general overview question that Dr. Jang wrote that focuses on communication over distance (aka CMC.) CMC is my favorite communication-focus anyway, so this should be a good day. I just need to review my theories (which is what I'm taking a break from right now to write this) and know them inside and out for my oral defense.

So wish me luck! I'm hoping that everything will be fine, but there's always the possibility that I will tank!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Boston Trip- Part 2

I just got back from my trip to visit Boston in Boston. Overall the trip was VERY successful! I didn't have time to do anything I had originally planned for because I was interviewing the entire time. I had 5 interviews while I was there and really LOVED two of the agencies. My very first interview there was with RacePoint Group and they were amazing! I felt like I was sitting with my friends talking about our day at work; that's a good sign of a great interview. As a company, they are so far ahead of the game, that I know this would be a place that would take me to the next level in my career. And they have fun. The culture is very similar to where I'm at now. Anyway, I followed up with them when I returned to Dallas and they apparently really liked me too. Hopefully this is a good sign and things will happen soon.

My other successful interview was with Lois Paul & Partners. Their culture is very relaxed as well, and they are doing great things in the technology industry. They are looking to hire right away and I'm at a disadvantage because I can't move to Boston before early January. My family would be devastated if I bypassed my annual trip home at Christmas to move across the country. So I'm in a holding pattern right now.

In my free time, Boston took me out to meet more of his friends that I didn't get to meet the first time I was there, but I've heard about. We all went out to this nice pub in Cambridge to watch the Sox game and drink beer. I love the beer on the East Coast because we don't get that in Texas (much the same way they don't get our varietals down here.) I got to indulge in my favorite Sea Dogs Blueberry Ale and got to try the Sam Adams Cherry Wheat. I think that Shiner Bock should start brewing fruit beers like that as well! I alone could help support their sales!

My friend Shannon was also visiting Boston at the same time, so we met her and her friends in the North End for dinner at this amazing Italian restaurant. The events leading up to it were awful and frustrating and I won't go into details except to say it was raining, the trains weren't running properly and we were 90 minutes late for our reservations. However, when we got there, we bought some bottles of wine and the rest of the evening was great.

Boston and I spent Sunday afternoon driving through New Hampshire to look at the fall colors and he took me to the ocean at sunset. Apparently the beach is now "our thing" and there are no complaints from this girl! It was very romantic, very chilly and very perfect. It's funny to think I spent my entire life never having seen the ocean, and it becoming this question of "when will she finally see the ocean?" and in the short 7 months that we've been together, Boston's taken me twice! It's sweet that he knows what I consider important and then indulges me.

Naturally I cried when we had to say goodbye, and cried the entire flight home. It drives me crazy to be so far away from him, and I pray every day that things work out so that my plans can become definite and I can get up there to start our life together. He's talking about it more too, so I know he's getting excited. It's very exciting for the both of us.

I will keep you posted on the hunt and the upcoming move to the East. Next up is my trip to Michigan to meet Boston's friends. I can't wait for that trip!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Conservatard and Technotard

I went to a half-day PR training session today and heard the greatest word today: "conservatard." I've been giggling about this word all day long. I mean, really, who says that? Well, apparently people who use words like "ridonkulous" or "Iked"... Iked, haha, that one is too funny! Moving on...

So the guy giving the lecture, aka conservatard, is actually a technologist who was talking about social media, and how he uses it. What makes this lecture so interesting is that I've been recently learning about all this stuff he talked about. Boston has been introducing me to his tech-know, which means that I've been reading Slashdot on a daily basis, and our conversations lately have more to do with parallel universes and l33t speak than our days at work. Not that I'm complaining; I'm really excited that he's incorporating me into things that are important to him. It means that we're "growing." But I digress. This lecture today made so much sense because I've been reading this stuff. The web sites he referenced are sites that, up until two weeks ago, I'd never heard of; but today, I did know of them. I'm actually feeling a little smarter thanks to him. And our conversations are sweet. I love debating about parallel universes, or talking in code using gamer speak. It's fun!

On another note, I met a girl at the training today from Texas who did her Master's program in Boston. We're going to have dinner on Sunday night to talk all things Boston, like where I should venture to when I visit in a few days. I'm also excited because she's proof that Texans can survive in the freezing cold weather! In fact, she said it was colder in Chicago than Boston! Imagine! Speaking of the Boston cold, my new peacoat arrived in the mail yesterday, and the weather in Boston has just turned cold, so I'll actually get to wear it! I have never been more excited for cold weather!

Also, I take my comprehensive exams in 2 weeks! That's it!! I'm getting really nervous, but after studying I've realized that I remember more than I thought. Hopefully it won't be too bad.

So that's it. I probably won't post again until I'm in Boston or after I get back. But just think about how much I will have to talk about then! :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

A Sad Day

I learned today that a former colleague and sometime acquaintance of mine passed away yesterday. He was sick and went to take a nap only to not wake up. I found out today that he had been sick with AIDS. It's such a strange thing. I've known this guy since I got to Dallas and he was so full of life. I can't believe that he'll never get to share that passion with anyone else again.

This guy is the first person I've known to pass away from AIDS. I suspect he won't be the last either. I've realized for about 2 years now that life as I've always known it will never be the same. I'm meeting more people who are divorced, more people who have diseases, more people who have been addicted to drugs. I wonder if my parents or grandparents ever had these issues when they were my age. Maybe it wasn't the same situations, but I wonder if they realized as they were getting older that life as they knew it would never be the same, and that they were going to meet more people who had been afflicted with some tragedy in their life.

I guess that it makes me realize that we can't take life for granted. All the stresses, complaints, fears that we have shouldn't matter. We need to be thankful for every day that God gives us, for every challenge that we have to endure because it means that we were lucky enough to have another day to face our challenges, and another day to love the people in our lives.

On that note, I say a prayer for my friend who will never get to experience the joy of life again, and I pray for my friends and family who are going through hard times right now, that they may realize how lucky they are to live another day. I love you all.