Flying Past Mountains… and other airplane thoughts

Today marks the end of my last college Thanksgiving break. I’m sure my dad is reading this and laughing outloud to himself, because my entire Senior year so far I’ve been saying everything is “the last first day of school,” “my last Fall in Boston,” “my last class registration” – basically just being overly-emotional and making a big deal out of everything… but, really, isn’t that what girls are supposed to do? If you’re a girl reading this, don’t try to tell me you didn’t do the same thing your senior year of high school and/or college…!

Anyway, I guess the real reason I’m putting such a big emphasis on the “last” of everything is that it’s pretty weird knowing I’m going to be graduating from college soon… in a few days less than 6 months, to be exact. And who knows where I’ll end up, what I’ll be doing (please hire me!). All I know is I’ve changed a lot since I first started college.  And one of the ways I’ve changed I just noticed today while I was at the airport.

When I first headed to college, I had only ever flown on a plane by myself once or twice before. I wasn’t very used to it. Walking around the airport, I felt like a little snowflake in the middle of a huge snowstorm (gotta love winter-themed similes!). I didn’t know my way around the airport, I took way too long taking my shoes off and my laptop out of my bag getting through security, and I definitely couldn’t entertain myself for 6 hours on the plane.

But not only have I learned to deal with airports and airplanes, I’ve grown to somewhat love traveling. Because I decided today (this morning, rather) that being a college student at the airport is actually very empowering!

Here’s why:

1. College students outnumber other people at the airport at many times during the year. I don’t have any actual statistics to prove this, but really, we all fly on the same days during the year, and there’s hundreds of thousands of us… college students, unite!

2. We fly a lot. And consistently. While many people only travel at random times during the year for vacation or business, college students generally (besides the occasional vacation or spur-of-the-moment trip) fly during the same times each year: August/September (going to school), Thanksgiving break, Christmas break, Spring break, then May/June (going home). Many of those are very busy times of the year, because of holidays. So we are pros at navigating our way through busy airports, we don’t get annoyed or fed up waiting in long security lines, and we know how to find the good food and places to sit in each terminal. So we can walk with a certain kind of swagger, knowing we’re airport pros, while we smile and nod at our fellow students throughout the airport… the real question is, will we still be airport pros after we graduate and become “real people”? Well, at least for that last flight home after graduation…!

3. As college students, we have many more ways to entertain ourselves on long flights than other travelers do. Because a.) we’re used to traveling (see #2), and b.) most of us (I guess I’m generalizing here, but at least this is true for me and most of my friends at Emerson) love technology, social media, the internet, etc… For example, right now I’m on a 6-hour flight to Boston. But instead of trying to force myself to sleep, I’m blogging! I’m also tweeting… and checking-in on Foursquare (yep, in the sky!)…

4. One of the main things that defines a college student is having homework – and what better place to do it than on the plane? I guess this really would fall under reason #3, but it’s not so much “entertaining” as it is just something to do… So while I personally am not doing my homework right now (blogging is much more fun, and I can do my homework later…!), I’m sure there’s many other students on my flight doing theirs!

5. As college students (or at least myself), we don’t exactly have much time to spend doing recreational reading. If we’re reading, it’s probably a textbook, or another book required for class. So for me, the airplane is one of the few chances I get to just simply sit down and read a book! Right now I’m reading the 4th Twilight book, Breaking Dawn (don’t judge!).

So all you college students out there, whether you fly home, train home, drive home, bus home, or walk home (does anyone really do that?), just know there’s tons of us out there! Like I said before, college students unite! I’ve seen at least 5 people from my high school class at the airport and on the plane so far today… it’s like a mini-reunion! So if I’m seeing college students I know, imagine how many there are that I don’t know! Just look for the young-ish looking people wearing sweatpants, sweatshirts, and leggings…!

And on that note, since it is my LAST THANKSGIVING BREAK EVER (!!!), I figured I should mention some of the things I’m thankful for. I’m sure I will forget at least a few of them (there’s so many!), but here’s 10 things I’m grateful for in my life, and specifically in this past year:

1. My family. Words cannot describe how much I love you all and how grateful I am for you guys (and how grateful I am that you actually read my blog posts…! That makes 3 people… haha)! You are THE most important people in my life.

2. My health (and my family’s health). I have a cold right now, but I’m not complaining… it could be much much worse.

3. My sorority sisters. You are always there for me, to support me, to laugh with me, to cry with me, or to just have fun with me!

4. The Olympics/Paralympics. And the people I worked with at both. This past February-March was probably the best 2 months of my life so far. Such an amazing experience! And to those of you I worked with (or worked for!), you are all amazing and I hope to work with you again in the future (London 2012, anyone?)! I brought my volunteer backpack on the plane with me…!

5. Technology. Ok, I know that sounds kind of superficial, but really… what would you do without the internet? Well, maybe you’d be just fine and dandy, but I don’t know what I would do without it! I mean, I’d be fine, but life would not be as fun or as productive! Thank you internet for Twitter, blogs, video blogs, and all the other fun things that I love (and hope to have a job related to someday)! And thank you for the free wifi I’m using right now on the plane…!

6. Emerson. Yes, I have my complaints (but so does any college student about their school!), but really, Emerson has been great to me in this last year. I got to take a semester off but still receive credit for a directed study about the Olympics (in which I blogged and video blogged about the Games), and now the school has let me skip prerequisites to get into a 300-level Marketing class (I wish I could just magically have a Marketing major…!), and skip prereqs to get into the capstone I wanted for my Broadcast Journalism major. So thank you, Emerson, for letting me bend the rules a bit to get everything I want out of my expensive education!

7. Airplanes. I had to say it. I definitely couldn’t go to Emerson if airplanes didn’t exist… or do a bunch of other amazing things!

8. Beautiful views. I have never appreciate how beautiful Seattle is until going to college, and especially this past year. Also, the beautiful views on the Boston Esplanade, and from the airplane!

thanks again, technology, for letting me take this picture on the plane!

9. Whistler. Thank you for the Olympics, Thanksgiving breaks, and too many days of snowboarding to count (especially the days with the fam!).

Pops, the (not-so) little bro, and me on the mountain yesterday! We missed ya, mom!

10. And last, but definitely not least, all the necessities in life. The ones most of us take for granted most of the time. Housing, clothes, food (my personal favorite), and everything else we need to get by in life. Take a moment today to remember and appreciate everything you have in your life, because there’s tons of others out there who don’t have those things!

I hope you all had a great (LAST or not last…) Thanksgiving break! Let me know some of the things you’re thankful for in the comments! Or just what you did over your break…!

– CQB

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the Good, the Bad, and the Strugly

Everyone always complains about Mondays. They come after Sunday (the best and most relaxing day of the week!), and it’s the day everyone has to go back to work (or school) and (hypothetically) stop having fun.

But this week, I had one of the best Mondays I’ve had in a while! Here’s why (in chronological order):

7:00AM – my LAST class registration… EVER! So crazy to think about, but kind of exciting (I can pretend I’m not freaking out about graduating… right?). Anyway, no major problems to speak of…

8:15AM – a FREE pastry at Starbucks! @BostonTweet tweeted out that all day, at the Starbucks in City Place (right by Emerson), if you showed your student ID, you could get a free pastry with a purchase of any drink! So I got my usual holiday Pumpkin Spice Latte, and got a free Blueberry Scone along with it! mmm! (thank you, Twitter!)

10AM – a Boston Duck Tour! Yes, it’s November, it was cold out (but I had my P.S. Latte!), and it was a school day… But my friend Nicole and I bought discounted duck tour tickets on BuyWithMe.com back in August (wow that was a long time ago…!) and they were going to expire next week, and I didn’t have class until noon. So what better way to start my week than that? The duck tour was amazing, and reminded me that Boston is actually a really great/cool city (I catch myself complaining about it a lot, because of the cold, the smokers, and the distance from Seattle), with a lot of meaning and history built into the things I see and take for granted every day. (I brought my FlipCam on the tour – of course! – so I’ll be posting a vlog in the next few days with the coolest things I learned on the tour! Keep checking back!)

Here’s a snapshot from the Duck Tour:

our awesome tour guide pointing out something awesome!

12PM – TV News Producing Class… meh… nothing too exciting to report here. Except my job for my class was Graphics, and the producer hadn’t decided what graphics I needed to make yet, so I just kept checking my e-mail, and refreshing the HerCampus.com homepage to see if they had posted the winner of the New Balance Campus Fitness Blogger challenge!

1:30PM – I won! I got a tweet from @aahschlee saying “Congratulations to @cassidyquinn for winning the @newbalance campus fitness blog challenge for @hercampus!!!!” I was so surprised! I had been refreshing the HerCampus site, and hadn’t seen it pop up, so I didn’t think they had decided on the winner yet! But then I checked the @HerCampus Twitter page, and, yep, there was a link to the New Balance fitness blog winners! So it was official, I won! Woo! I’m really honored and excited to have won! Besides getting a year’s worth of New Balance gear out of it, hearing the positive feedback from New Balance fitness expert Holly Perkins (who chose the winner) was amazing! Here’s what she said about me:

“I choose CASSIDY QUINN!!!!!  Cassidy was absolutely engaging, fun, insightful, and offered so much content.  She created the most content by far of all the gals and used a great deal of video to make it extra interesting.  She was gracious and gave many “shout outs” to New Balance and really appreciated her swag.  She was very clear that her goal was to apply the suggestions I gave her, and also offer some other insights of her own.  She obviously put a ton of time into the creation of her videos, which were fun, funny, creative and crafty.  She really addressed the challenge at hand and offered some additional content.  She also incorporated Twitter a great deal- I had been following her all along. Love her.”

Thank you, Holly!!

(also, congrats to Meagan Aguayo for winning the Readers’ Choice Award!)

4:15PM – I got into a class I really wanted to take… using Twitter! As I said before, I was fairly satisfied with my class schedule as of 7AM when I registered. But there was one class I really wanted to get into: Social Media Marketing (aka Emerson Social Media, or #ESM). This is a 300-level class for Marketing Majors, with 2 prerequisites. So I didn’t think my chances for getting in were great… So, as I usually do when I am in class and have feelings to express, I took to Twitter to discuss my desires to get into ESM:

Tweet #1: I REALLY want 2 take the @emersoncollege #ESM class 4 next semester, hoping it doesn’t fill up b4 they let me in!#iwishiwasamarketingmajor

Tweet #2: @ZachACole I know, #ESM sounds PERFECT for me! but I’m not a Marketing major & haven’t taken the prereqs… ugh!

I had been e-mailing back and forth with someone from the Marketing department at Emerson, trying to see what I could do to get into the class (which basically was “wait it out, if there’s still spots left in a couple of weeks maybe we’ll let you in”). But then all the sudden, a new e-mail popped up on my phone, saying that the person from the Marketing department had seen my tweets, and I would be allowed to register for the class right then! Yippee! So, for all you Twitter-haters out there, there is yet ANOTHER reason Twitter is helpful – #itoldyoutwitterisuseful (I used that hashtag when I found out I got into the class!)

5:45PM – I took a nap! Mmm… that is all.

6:30PM – Emerson Fights AIDS Date Auction! Emerson Fights AIDS (EFA) is a 10-year-old organization/week at Emerson, where a bunch of events are held to raise money for Broadway Cares/Equity Fights Aids. This year, I was asked to be an auction item in the EFA Date Auction, where students can bid on their classmates for a variety of different dates. I was really nervous that no one would bid on me, but I ended up being won for $80! And I get to go to an opera with the boy who won me! So that was a good end to my great Monday, because not only did I get bid on (*phew*), but I wasn’t even one of the lowest items – woo!

But, of course, after my amazing Monday, the week could only go downhill…

My friend Elise, who was my roommate in LA this summer, has a blog called “e-strugs” (it’s hilarious, you should read it!) about her random struggles (strugs) in life, and in a post last week she said “The thing about strugs is that they happen when you start to take yourself too seriously-they provide some comic relief to be like ‘OK I’m not perfect.'”

And that is exactly what Tuesday did for me…

Tuesday, I woke up right when I needed to be in class (and I needed to finish some homework before class)… which was already a problem. But then, as I rushed around trying to throw on some clothes super quickly, I realized that my throat was dying. Well, I guess not actually dying, but it was swollen, in pain, and I could barely speak. I also realized I was really dizzy, more tired than usual, and my body was achey and tingly – clearly none of these were good signs. So, cool, I was sick. The teacher of the class I was about to be late for is a huge stickler on not having sick students come to class (to avoid contaminating the other students), so I knew she wouldn’t want me show up.

So instead of going to class (and before taking a much-needed nap), I called my mom, expecting to just talk about winning the HerCampus competition, the Date Auction, and my class registration. Instead, it ended up with me crying about how I don’t know what I want to do with my life after graduation Me: “I just want to go across the world and run around and make video blogs!” Mom: “how are you going to make money doing that…?”), and just overall not making myself feel any better in addition to my sickness…

So before I even left my apartment, Tuesday was not off to a great start. As the day progressed, my stomach started to not feel so great (I could barely even enjoy my Subway footlong!), my head started throbbing, and the temperature of my body was changing every few minutes… fun…

But just when my energy was at its lowest point, I showed up to the Greek Council Lip Sync Contest, where the Greek orgs on campus were competing, lip syncing to songs from the early 2000s. I didn’t really feel like dancing, or lip syncing, but I had already paid my $3 to get in, so I figured I might as well stay. And I ended up having a ton of fun! Dancing around to Macy Gray, Cher, Destiny’s Child, and Missy Elliot with my sorority sisters brought my energy way up, and put me in a great mood!

Here’s a picture from the Lip Sync:

go team AEPhi!

So Tuesday wasn’t the best of days, but it ended on a good note. And I think the reason why it had its ups and downs is exactly what Elise said in her blog.

On Monday, I was having too good of a day, so Tuesday had to balance that out (with sickness strugs). But just when I started to feel terrible about myself, and take the day too seriously, I decided to give in and make a fool of myself dancing and lip syncing (I also did an extra rendition of “Somebody to Love” by Justin Bieber once the competition was over) – I wouldn’t necessarily say that the lip sync was a strug, but it was goofy, and some would say it was embarrassing (though I’m tough to embarrass…), so I’ll term it a “happy strug.”

Basically, here’s my point: Don’t take yourself too seriously. Enjoy the days that go amazingly well, but be prepared for it to go downhill from there… but just when you think a day can’t get worse, do something random and you’ll be surprised by the difference it makes!

I hope you are all having a great week! It’s almost Thanksgiving (I leave for home in 2 days – yay!!)! Work hard the rest of this week, so that you can take advantage of family time next week, without feeling guilty about not doing work!

As always, thanks for reading!

– Cassidy

P.S. I know I’m not always the best at updating this blog very often… I always come up with the excuse that “I don’t have any time,” etc. etc… but here’s my new plan: whenever I am sitting around thinking “hmm… what should I do?” I WILL write a blog post (that’s how this post came about – not being allowed to go to class left me with some unexpected free time). Even if I can’t think of anything extremely meaningful to blog about…

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Social Media Panel @ Emerson College 11/08/2010

So I know I’ve somewhat neglected this blog for a while… I’ve still been blogging and vlogging a lot, but just not on here! For 3 weeks, I was a New Balance Campus Fitness Blogger for HerCampus.com (you can check out my blogs and vlogs here), and I’m going to continue to vlog for them, and I’m also vlogging for the EVVY Awards (Emerson College’s own award show – you can watch my vlogs for them here)!

Anyway, I want to fill you guys in on some cool things I learned/heard about this week in the online world.

As you probably know, I am addicted to social media (if you’re reading this, you probably got the link via some social media site). I personally love social media, so I think this is a great addiction for many reasons (If you’re not addicted yet, I can probably convince you to be!), but some of my friends and family would beg to differ…

Anyway, this past Monday, I attended a social media panel at Emerson College, hosted by EmComm, an Emerson College marketing firm. More specifically though, it was moderated by @ZachACole, an Emerson senior Marketing student, who does a ton of things when it comes to the internet (including writing for a bunch of different websites). He’s one of my favorite people to have nerdy social media conversations with…!

The panelists were Twitter celebs @BostonTweet @BostonTweetup (@joselinmane) @likeablemedia and @oneforty . If you’re a social media fan, and live in Boston (or really anywhere – but especially Boston!) you should definitely be following all of these people.

The panel was great – Zach Cole started off introducing each panelist, and then asking them questions. Each panelist had a ton to say about social media, and how to use social media to your advantage, depending on your career and life goals.

It’s the 3rd day of the week, so I decided to format this blog around 3s… so read on for 3 tips in different categories about social media…!

3 things all college students should get involved with in the social media world right now: Twitter, LinkedIn, and a personal blog.

1. Twitter. Other than the fact that it’s super easy to sign up for (just give an e-mail address and a username and you’re all set!) and it makes it possible to network within seconds (just click “follow”!), there’s not much you need to know about Twitter when you’re just starting out. If you want more evidence on why I love it so much, just ask me!

2. Blog. They said as far as the blog goes, not to worry about having some amazingly clever and creative idea, just blog about what you’re passionate about! If you’re a college student, getting ready to apply for real world jobs (ahh!), blog about what you want to do in your career. Just start a WordPress site, a Tumblr, whatever you want. The panelists said that as long as you are passionate in your blog posts, you will stand out to employers, because who doesn’t want to hire someone with passion?!

3. Linkedin. This is important for anyone who has or wants a job, but especially for us college students hoping to make connections before we graduate! If you don’t know what Linkedin is, it’s a career-oriented website where you can basically post an online version of your resume, attach your Twitter, blog, whatever you want, and then connect with people – literally, you add them as a “connection” (it doesn’t sound as creepy as “followers,” eh?). But it’s not just like Facebook where you’re only connected with your own friends – on Linkedin, you’re connected with the people you know, and the people they know, and the people they know, etc. etc.! So let’s say you have 10 connections. If each of those people has 5 connections – voila! You’re connected to 50 more people! This is very useful when trying to find jobs, because the people you know may be connected to people in your career field. There’s also Linkedin groups (somewhat similar to Facebook groups), where you can connect with people of a similar career path, hobby, etc. One thing with Linkedin I learned about at the panel that I didn’t know about before is Linkedin Questions. On the site, you can post a question about anything, and then anyone on Linkedin can answer it! For example, right now I’m trying to buy a domain name, but I don’t know which site to use, so I just posted the question “What is the best web hosting site?” under the “Web Development” category. Hopefully some people will answer my question soon!

3 tips on building your social media presence:

1. Believe in yourself, and just get started! Don’t worry too much about what to say, or what to do – just do it! And with Twitter, the panelists said don’t make your profile private. They said that somewhat defeats the purpose of Twitter if you make it private – Twitter is about getting as many people to hear your thoughts as you can! I learned this when I first got Twitter. I started out with my page private, because I didn’t want any creepers to find me. But then I realized that many more people would follow me if I made it public, and that rather than being afraid of the creepers, I should just not post anything that I wouldn’t want them to see!

2. Don’t separate your professionalism from your personality. Twitter is the most successful when you are transparent, and being your true self, quirks and all.

3. Go to Tweetups! Since @BostonTweetup was there, of course tweetups came up in the discussion! Tweetups are Twitter meetups, where you can essentially get offline and build real relationships in-person with the people you engage with online. They’re clearly very useful, because for all you social media cynics out there who think you can’t form real relationships on the internet, tweetups allow you to make real relationships out of the relationships you already have online! They can take place anywhere – a bar, a restaurant, or wherever you want! If you’re still confused, go to Boston Tweetup’s site, where you can check out all the tweetups going on around Boston. I personally have only ever gone to one tweetup (it was a Social Good Day tweetup sponsored by Mashable and the (RED) Campaign), because a.) I don’t have much free time, and b.) I don’t hear about them a lot – but now that I know about Boston Tweetup, I’m definitely going to start hearing about and going to more of them!

3 ways social media is changing and will change in the future:

1. @likeablemedia: she comes from a marketing perspective, so she originally started using social media as a marketing tool, which many companies do. But she thinks companies will start using social media as more than that – for sales, for customer service,Q&A sites, etc.

2. @JoselinMane: the next phase of social media is influence. Specifically, Klout! I had actually heard of Klout before this panel, but it is new for many people. Klout says it is “The Standard for Online and Internet Influence.” On the site, you can type in your Twitter username, and it will give you a Klout score, along with a bunch of other statistics, For example, I have a Klout score of 34, a true reach of 310 (the size of my engaged audience), an amplification of 15 (the likelihood that my content will be acted upon), and a network of 77 (the influence level of my engaged audience). If you click on any of those numbers, it gives you more explanation. Basically, there’s a ton of information on Klout, so if you have a Twitter account, you should definitely go test it out! And if you don’t have a Twitter account, well, you know how I feel about that…!

@JoselinMane also said that certain places will actually give you a discount depending on how high your Klout is! I’m definitely going to test that out… So you can be rewarded for having influence on Twitter. He also said social media is “the great amplifier.” He cited the movie Bruno failing (because everyone talked about how bad it was on social media), and the new GAP logo (social media users complained about it, so the company went back to it’s current logo – yay! Look how powerful we can be, guys!).

3. @BostonTweet said social media is changing the way news works. We are now the media. It used to be that the local media broke the news first, and then the consumers found out about it. But now we are the media, and the local media picks up on what we’re saying. He also talked about the power of the Twitter search engine, and how it may even be more powerful than Google, because Twitter tells you what people are talking right now, what’s happening right now, whereas Google tells you what has already happened.

3 things I learned speaking to the panelists one-on-one after the formal discussion:

1. @SeattleTweet? I told @BostonTweet I’m from Seattle, and asked him if he thought anything similar would be possible in Seattle. He asked me about the size of Seattle, the public transportation, the neighborhoods, etc., and asked me if I thought Seattle was similar to Boston in the way that you can get from one end to the other (e.g. from Back Bay to Cambridge) in just a few minutes. Boston is a walking city. As of now, I’m not sure whether or not a @SeattleTweet would work… but who knows, maybe someday it’ll exist (made by me, or someone else)!

2. Video Blogging. I talked to @BostonTweet, @JoselinMane, and @oneforty about the video blogging that I do, and asked them all how they think video can be used with social media, and how it’s possible (or if it is possible) to monetize vlogging. Most of them seemed on the same page that they didn’t really know how some people seem to have a decent amount of money, but it seems like they just make YouTube videos, and none of the panelists seemed sure of exactly how those people make money. But some of the panelists cited how YouTube does sometimes pay its users to have ads on their videos, depending on the number of views and subscribers on your channel.

One thing @JoselinMane told me is that, for YouTubers, it’s really good to try to post videos at a consistent time. And that time should be consistent with your viewers. This is something I definitely want to start implementing. For example, the people who watch my videos are probably mostly college students (and my parents, of course…!), so I should try to figure out when college students are most likely to watch videos, and then post my vlogs at that time! This will get me more views, more subscribers, and just overall more success in the long run!

3. A new vlogger role model! @oneforty told me about Sarah Dussault (@dietsarah), a fitness video blogger in Boston. On her YouTube channel, The Sarah Fit Show, she talks about fitness tips, health tips, and weight loss tips (she just finished up a 6 week pre-Halloween Weight Loss Challenge on her show). Every week she answers one of her viewers’ questions, so she really gets her viewers involved in her content. She even allows her viewers to vote on which questions they want answered, which is something I haven’t really seen before! I had never heard of her before @oneforty told me about her, but Sarah seems like a really great model for the kind of video blogging I would like to be able to do (not necessarily fitness-related – although I did that recently with HerCampus.com – but just in the way she interacts with her viewers and produces consistent content). Since she’s based in Boston, maybe I can meet her sometime!

There’s a ton of other things I learned and heard about at the panel, but this blog post is already way too long, so I will leave you with one last thing – some of the tweets from during the panel! I tweeted 10 times during the 1-hour panel, and then a few more times once I got home. Here’s some of the highlights people posted during the #ECpanel :

“the more times ppl say ‘follow me,’ the less I want to follow them” – @bostontweetup (tweeted by me)

Great night tonight at Emerson College with the #ECPanel & of course all the students who listened to me babble. http://twitpic.com/356rpq (tweeted by @BostonTweet)

“each and every one of you can become your own CNN” – @bostontweetup on social media influence (tweeted by me)
@bostontweetup talking about sun and the wind.. all you can do is provide your goodness and they will come to you (tweeted by @celianissen)
Twitter is a conversation not a distribution center via @BostonTweetup @ #ECPanel (tweeted by @akelley18)
“I know most of Emerson is addicted to @boloco” – @BostonTweet – sooo true! I might get some after this #ECPanel (tweeted by me)
“Use Twitter as an extension of your voice” -@BostonTweet (tweeted by @celianissen)

@BostonTweet says he walks 15 miles a day from going to so many different places and events! Crazy! (tweeted by me)

“be authentic and genuine, and you can connect with almost anybody.” – @BostonTweetUp @joselinmane (tweeted by @Karlan_Baumann)

“Think before you tweet” -Janet A. @oneforty (tweeted by @val_molina)

“think twice, then tweet once.” @BostonTweetup on thinking before you tweet (tweeted by me)
“social media is not new media, it’s NOW media” – @BostonTweetup (tweeted by me)
Full house in the bill bordy for the @Emcomm’s #ECPanel ! http://twitpic.com/3566hj (tweeted by @akelley18)
#SoEmerson Tweeting @BostonTweet when he’s in the very same room.(tweeted by @simply_stephi)

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8.5 months of living the dream…

In the words of my dad, I’ve been “living the dream” since December… that’s a long time! And now, tomorrow, this Dream Life is finally officially coming to an end, and it’s time to go back to school!

The Dream really began a couple years ago, when I first learned that the Olympics were coming to Whistler in 2010. I did some calculations in my head, and figured out that the Olympics were going to be during my 2nd semester of my junior year in college… which is when a lot of people study abroad. So I told my parents I was going to take that semester off (which at this point was at least 2 years away), and work at the Olympics, and then I put that thought in the back of my mind… and my parents laughed.

Then one summer day in 2008, I found the online application for Olympics volunteer positions. Of course, since it was summer, I had free time, and I figured it couldn’t really hurt to apply… so I did! My parents just smiled and nodded…

Then 10 months ago, I found out that I had been offered a volunteer position for the Olympic and Paralympic News Services for the Vancouver 2010 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games (although I didn’t learn how to correctly say the title of the Olympics until I started working…!). I was so excited, I couldn’t stand it! I immediately forwarded the position offer e-mail to my parents, with the note “Ahh! Now what do I do?!” – let’s just say, their responses weren’t exactly in favor:

Dad: “You tell them that you can no longer do this!   You are the best!  What an exciting life you have today, and ahead of you.”

Mom: “Congrats on getting the Olympics gig — just don’t quite think it’s worth skipping a whole semester of school for….”

Well, of course, being the determined (or stubborn) girl I am, I didn’t listen to their words of advice. I knew there was some way I could figure out how to get to the Olympics! So I went to the Emerson advising center, met with my advisor, did everything I possibly could to figure it out! Eventually, with the help of my advisor, I set up a directed study for a journalism elective, that allowed me to receive credit for going to the Olympics, if I blogged, vlogged, and wrote some papers about my experience. I also figured out that I could somehow still graduate on time (still a mystery to me!) if I took that semester off.

So there it was! I was all set to go to the Olympics! But then I realized… what do I do with my apartment?! I clearly didn’t want to pay for the 8 months I wasn’t going to be in Boston… well, after a very long, obnoxious, and frustrating process of posting the apartment on every site I could think of, having people look at the apartment, and having 2 different people almost take it… my very nice landlord for some reason decided to let me out of my lease (phew)! I doubt he will ever read this, but landlord, if you’re out there, you’re a life saver! Or a Dream Life saver…!

So finally, about 3 days before Christmas break, and about a month and a half before the Olympics began, I finally really KNEW I was going to the Olympics! Woo! And that is when the Dream Life officially began…!

I spent my winter break at home in Seattle not having to worry about going back to school at the end of January like all of my friends. Instead, I was “worrying” (aka being super excited) about when I was going to attend Olympics training, pick up my volunteer uniform, and pick up my accreditation, Opening Ceremony dress rehearsal ticket, and free bottle of Olympic wine… Yes, it was a very stressful break! (ha)

Then finally it was time for the real Dream to begin! The Olympics and Paralympics combined were the best 29 days of my life. Really, I don’t think they’ll ever be topped (unless I make it to London 2012! Which I will… mark my words). They were the busiest, craziest, most fun, most sleepless, most ridiculous days I have ever had, and can ever imagine having. I worked so hard, learned so much, and had so much fun! I didn’t even think about school the entire time, because it didn’t even seem like school mattered anymore – I was out in the real world, doing exactly what I want to do with my life, and meeting amazing people while doing it!

Of course, all good things must eventually come to an end… so soon, at the end of March, there I was, back in Seattle, with nothing to do but relax and be depressed about the end of the Olympics and Paralympics…! Then I decided I wanted to do the Emerson College Los Angeles Program that summer, even though I was signed up to do it in Spring 2011. But, once again, being the determined (stubborn) girl I am, I figured it out, and soon began the process of searching for LA internships!

I ended up interning at NBC News, which was an amazing experience (read my post about it here: http://cassidyscoverage.wordpress.com/2010/07/28/the-update-blog-continues/ )

My summer in LA was so much fun, so much hard work, and so many learning experiences. But, at last, it was time to return to Seattle, and time for me to face the reality of heading back to school.

Now, after 8 months, I returned to Boston in the middle of August. It wasn’t time for classes to start though, not yet. I came back 3 weeks early to work for the Emerson Channel, making TV shows to air during Freshmen Orientation Week. I hosted a show called the Common Agenda (watch here: http://word.emerson.edu/ca/), anchored the news segment on Good Morning Emerson (watch here: http://word.emerson.edu/gme/), and was a correspondent on Backyard Boston for the On the Menu segment (the best segment… I just went around Boston getting free food and being on-camera! My dream…! watch here: http://word.emerson.edu/byb/category/on-the-menu/).

But now, after making lots of new friends at the Emerson Channel, making some great TV shows (if I do say so myself), learning to Assistant Direct a live show (ahh! So scary/stressful, but so fun!), Floor Directing a live show (again, so fun!), eating way too much free food, and spending way too many late nights in the Emerson DPL, Orientation Week is over. And for all of us Emerson students, whether you’re a new kid or a senior (like me… ahh!), the end of Orientation means one thing… the beginning of classes – tomorrow!

Honestly, it’s going to be a bit tough going back to class. I’ve gotten really used to not being a student – for the past 8 months, the work I’ve been doing has been out in the real world, and though I haven’t gotten paid for any of it, it still seems real. It’s all been exactly what I want do in my life. But it’s time to suck it up, and go headstrong into this last year of college. Time to see how many more things I can learn, so that by May, I’ve gotten everything I can out of this place. Time to work on as many TV shows as possible, so that I’ll hopefully be able to get paid for doing these same kinds of things eventually…! And time to have fun, because once you graduate, that’s not allowed, right? (nah)

So, mom and dad, don’t worry, I’ll get that diploma. And sorry for being so stubborn (determined). Bet you won’t doubt me next time I say I’m going to do something! haha…

And Dream Life, it’s been a great run, but although this is goodbye for now, I’ll be back… right after I graduate!

- CQB

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1 day at Comic-Con!

It was time for me to leave LA for the summer, but I headed down to San Diego for the weekend before making the long drive home to Seattle! So I got a press pass to Comic-Con (thanks to Emerson’s EIV!) for the last day! The Emerson crew had already left, so it was up to me, my flipcam, and my quikpod to find all the fun things and crazy people hanging around!

Highlights from my day at CC include:

- Crazy people in costumes!
– Buffy the Musical!
– It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

If you like this video, subscribe to my YouTube channel to see all my other videos!

– CQB

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The update blog continues…

I’m now back in Seattle, and therefore I have more time for updates…!

Once again, let me just note that these updates aren’t going to be anything intellectually stimulating or awe inspiring… I simply thought I should fill you all in on what I’ve been doing recently – so read on if you want to know!

I’ll start where I left off last time… What was I saying? Oh yeah, LA was amazing, but lacking a bit in the rain category…

Here’s some highlights from LA:

– My internship! I interned at the Burbank Bureau of NBC News. I got to do a lot of things, helping out with stories for NBC Nightly News and the Today Show. One of my main tasks was to make affiliate checks, which consisted of calling a bunch of the NBC affiliates on the West Coast and seeing if they were covering stories of any national interest. It was really interesting and educational to hear all the news of the day all across this side of the country. I also helped out the NBC producers and reporters by logging a lot of tapes (typing up exactly what is said/shown on the video) of interviews and B-roll (video not of interviews, like the video that is shown over a reporter’s voiceover in a package). I also researched stories, pitched stories I found myself, and even got to go out in the field with a producer and cameraman a couple of times! It really was an amazing experience – I learned so much and met so many people who all taught me about the business and gave me advice for entering the business myself in a year…!

One highlight of my internship was waking up at 2AM to go to the 2010 EMMY Award Nominations, hosted by Sofia Vergara (from Modern Family) and Joel McHale (from The Soup and Community)!

The beaches. I was a lifeguard the 3 summers before this one, so I definitely need a lot of tanning and swimming time for it to feel like summer…! I was a bit surprised when I first got to LA that all the beaches are about 45 minutes away from LA, but my friends and I still got to explore lots of them. We went to Santa Monica, Malibu, and Venice (pictured below). All of them were nice for different reasons. Santa Monica has the pier (it even has a roller coaster!), which is beautiful and fun. Venice has the best people-watching for sure (so many crazies!), and Malibu – well, I guess it was too cloudy when I went for me to really appreciate it, but I’ve heard it’s beautiful!

Jumping over waves at Venice Beach

The San Diego County Fair! I hadn’t been to a fair in a while, so when one of my friends mentioned the option of going to San Diego for the day to go to the fair, I was super excited! And I was not disappointed once I arrived… after fighting through traffic and getting lost trying to find a parking lot, we walked through the fair gates and were immediately overwhelmed by all the giant rides and more fried food stands than I have ever seen in my life! Of course, we were curious… so between all of us, we got fried Oreos (I always thought that sounded disgusting, but they were actually really yummy! – picture below), fried avocados (mmm!), fried artichoke hearts (my favorite – picture below), corndogs, and mini donuts. I felt so fat and American, and had way too much fun feeling this way…! We also went on the ferris wheel, which had a beautiful view of the sunset! And there was even a chairlift, which we rode from one end of the fairgrounds to the other – it felt really weird being warm and snowboard-less on a chairlift, but it was really cool!

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Jay Leno! The Tonight Show with Jay Leno tapes in Burbank, right across the lot from where I worked this summer at NBC News. One of the perks as an NBC Universal employee is that you get discounts on a ton of things related to the brand (including things at Universal City Walk – like IT’SUGAR, where I bought a WHOLE POUND of discounted candy…). This, of course, includes getting tickets to Jay Leno. So the other NBC News interns and I scoped out who the guests were going to be during my last week at NBC, and we found out that the one. The only. ZAC EFRON was going to be on the show. Naturally, we reserved tickets for that day – duh! What straight girl would not want to stare at Zac Efron for an hour-long show?! The show was really fun – it was really cool to see that the show is live-to-tape, and Jay does not stop during the taping to redo parts (though he did go back at the end to say “Steve Jobs” a few times, after saying “Steven Jobs” the first time). Jay Leno went to Emerson, so my friend from Emerson came along to the show, and we ended up getting to take a picture with him before the show started! I also got a souvenir – the cue card with the names of all of the day’s guests written on it!

my souvenir from the Tonight Show

NBC News interns (+ friends) with Jay Leno!

In-N-Out Burger! I know this is clearly a very typical thing for Californian newbies to mention… but really. It’s so good! It has every aspect of a good restaurant for a college student:

1. it’s cheap.

2. the food is good.

3. there’s a secret menu! If you go online to their website, you can find different things to try that aren’t on the menu in the restaurant – try Animal Style (on the burger or the fries) – it adds a ton of stuff to your burger… for free!

4. free stuff! The drive-through guy gave me and my friend hats once (see photo below)

me looking really attractive while eating In-N-Out by the pool

In our sweet (and free!) In-N-Out hats!

That is all for this update… the last and final part will be coming soon, and will include the pinnacle of my trip down to the warmer part of the West Coast.

All I can tell you for now is, I lost everything but my dignity in Vegas…

– CQB

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Wow… it’s been a while!

Hellooooo!

Ok, I know… I haven’t blogged in FOREVER! Not since May 1st – that’s a long time! I started this blog to show everyone my Olympics and Paralympics coverage, but I didn’t think it would end there… so I won’t let it! I just get busy and forget to post sometimes…

This post isn’t going to be meaningful, insightful, or focused on any kind of newsworthy event or topic – it’s just going to be informative – about my life – because I’ve been doing lots of things since May 1st, I just haven’t mentioned any of them on here! So here’s a few tidbits and stories from my “summer” (mine started in March…) thus far:

1. After the Paralympics ended in March, I soothed my post-Vancouver-2010 depression by keeping busy. Ok, fine, I wasn’t busy at all – I was lazy. I sat around at home in Seattle, did workout DVDs with my mom, searched the Internet for summer internships, Tweeted, babysat, ate food… the usual things one does when he or she is bored.

But it was great. I don’t know when the next time in my life will be where I have 2 months to kill, to just sit around and do absolutely nothing, and not be worried about not making any money. At first, I was really bad at it. I hated the fact that all of my friends were at school having fun without me, and I just sat around moping, struggling to keep myself entertained. But then I learned to embrace the boredom – er, free time – and started to relax, stopped stressing, and just straight up hung out. It was really good for me to learn how to do that, because, I’ll be honest, I do get a bit stressed out sometimes. My brain definitely needed the break!

2. Now I’m in Los Angeles! Only for 2 more days… but my mom and I drove down here together at the end of May, and since then I’ve been interning at the NBC News Burbank Bureau (I’ll expand on my internship in another post) and taking a class through Emerson (Entertainment & Interactive PR – I’ve never taken a marketing class, but now I know that if the whole broadcasting thing fails there’s something else out there I’d be interested in doing!).

LA has been amazing. The place I’m staying has a pool, hottub, gym, C-store – really, what else could you need for a California summer?! Honestly, my only complaint about being here is that it’s only really rained once the past 2 months! 3 times the clouds teased me, sprinkling a tiny bit, but definitely not enough to need an umbrella, windshield wipers, or enough to clean my dirty car. Then finally, 2 weekends ago, I was driving back to LA from Malibu (which was a beautiful beach, but the cloud cover was crazy that day!), and while I was stuck in traffic on the freeway the weather all the sudden turned from sunny to rainy! REAL RAIN! FOR A WHOLE 2 MINUTES!! My friends in the car with me thought I was crazy, as I rolled down my window and stuck my head and hands out, catching raindrops on my tongue. What can I say, I really am a true Seattleite, eh?

3. Oops, sorry, this update is going to have to be continued at a later date… because I’m going to go enjoy my 2nd to last night in Los Angeles! Cookie-baking time!

And I promise it won’t take me 2 more months before I finish this update… I’ll be back asap!

In the meantime, here’s a little taste of my time in LA – for now, you’ll just have to guess the stories behind all of the pictures!

– CQB

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