Monthly Archives: November 2013

The Trouble With Choosing Your Major

How are you supposed to go into college knowing exactly what you want to major in? I don’t really understand how anyone can be prepared to decide what to do with the rest of their life when they are applying to college. People tell you, “Don’t worry, you have time; you can figure it out later!” But then it turns into “later,” and some of us realize we are on the wrong path, but there is nothing we can do about it.

I am one of those people. I decided to apply to the College of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences as a High School student, yet I didn’t really know what I wanted to do yet. I thought being a Business Major would be impossible for me, so I assumed that I should do something similar, but easier. So here I am, a Public Relations major. And people always tell me that my major is similar to marketing, so I should be able to find a job pretty easily. The only problem is, employers want to hire people who majored in Business! It’s that simple. And I see it every day as more and more of my friends who majored in any specialty under Business get job offers left and right. Obviously, now I know that I picked the wrong major. And it is too late to switch.

You might wonder why I wouldn’t be able to switch my major at this point, and the answer lies in the fact that I didn’t take the correct math classes my freshman year; so, if I wanted to take any Business classes, I would have to take two math classes before I could even begin to take business classes (which progress in order after you complete required classes each semester). That might land me a graduation date in 2017, when my current expected graduation is in 2015! And I am pretty sure I don’t have the time or money to spend going through all of that.

So what is the point of all my ramblings? Maybe that high school students should put a good amount of thought into their future before applying to college and selecting their major. I just wish there was some way for people to know what they should be doing with their lives much earlier than their junior year in college. Because sometimes, you look back on what could have been and realize that it is just too late.

Technology & Its effect on my generation

What is it about us millennials and our constant need to be surrounded by technology?

There have been articles, books, newscasts and movies written, based on this topic. While everyone has their own opinions on technology’s effect on my generation, there are a few recurring ideas in these stories. The negative stories say that younger generations are spending less time outside, becoming less socially competent and lazier, and dumbing themselves down due to technology. The positive stories imply that technology has been beneficial to my generation in allowing us to be digitally proficient from a young age, communicate more easily through social networks and other channels, and gain an advantage that generations before us never had. While there are many more ideas that are tossed around in stories about millennials and our relationship with technology, these ideas were particularly prominent in my mind.

My opinion combines some negative and positive views about my generation and our technology addiction. I believe that we spend too much time on our smart phones and that we are losing our social skills, but I also believe that technology allows us to do more than we have ever been able to do before, therefore increasing our ability to prosper in life.

So my view on the issue is that we have to learn to use technology in the right ways. I think that social media, especially with the ease of use on the smart phone, is too prominent and should become less important to my generation. We are changing the way that people communicate with each other. I strongly believe that face-to-face communication is incredibly important, but as technology becomes more advanced, it becomes even easier to hide behind a screen. While I feel that social media is an issue, the speed of communication is an advantage. Email may be losing popularity among millennials, but it still helps when a phone call or meeting is not necessary to quickly transfer information.

Then there is the aspect of technology that allows us to do things that we never could have done before. The World Wide Web has allowed my generation to be able to gain a wealth of information in an instant. Twitter keeps people updated on important events. LinkedIn gives us the chance to put ourselves out there for jobs. We are so lucky to have things like this that make life easier for us and give us the chance to be more informed and productive with our time. Maybe millennials don’t take advantage of these aspects of technology enough, and should focus more on the ways that technology can help us instead of hold us back.

My Latest Project

For the past month or so, I have been working on a project for my writing and digital media class. The premise of the project is to study an application and determine pros and cons, or what the application has to offer, and what it is lacking. I have been working with an application called Sumopaint for this assignment.

When I first began working on this assignment, I was very intimidated by the idea of figuring out the ins and outs of a specific application and determining creative ways to look at the affordances and constraints. I have come to understand how the interface works, but I still found it hard to put into words exactly what I learned about it in the time that I have been using it. One thing I know is that I would have a hard time being a technology writer for the New York Times simply because there is so much language that you need to be aware of when explaining technology. You must become fluent in the terms and descriptions that are used when discussing new applications or interfaces. I have found this to be the hardest part in the assignment.

So to tell you a little bit about Sumopaint; this application is a fun knock-off of Photoshop. Not only does it offer basically everything that Photoshop offers, but it is actually free for many of the uses. If you would like to learn more, check out my website about the application at this link: https://sites.google.com/a/vt.edu/interrogating-sumopaint/.

Ignite presentation about Boredom

http://igniteshow.com/videos/life-if-youre-bored-youre-doing-it-wrong

This is a link to an ignite presentation by Elan Lee. This video is entertaining because he has hilarious ideas of how to entertain yourself when you are incredibly bored. Not only that, but he has an entertaining way of explaining his ideas, such as making up a random statistic at the beginning of the video to show how often the average person is bored. My favorite example that he uses is the idea of carrying around a bucket wherever you go because it will make people think you are official and you can go in anywhere, such as a movie theatre, without being questioned. His overall message is that people should find entertainment in the little things in life.

Considering New Styles of Presenting

Today in my Writing and Digital Media class, we talked about the difference between a good power point presentation, and a bad one. Our general conclusion was that many images and minimal text make for the best presentations, and that bad presentations concist of too many words per slide, too much reading directly off of a slide, and being unprepared when presenting. I agree with all of these things, but I have to admit that I have been the type of person who presents a mediocre presentation time to time.

I think that it is hard for me, in particular, to make an excellent presentation simply because I have a terrible memory. I will stand up in front of the class with a whole speech “memorized,” yet I will forget every word I had planned to say. So I do struggle with making my presentations seem prepared, yet not too staged. I find myself reading off of the slides, saying “um” and losing my train of thought. This is why I am excited about the style of presentation that we will be doing for my class.

The Ignite style presentation consists of 20 slides that last 15 seconds each, and you must keep pace with your slides. I think this is a very innovative idea that forces students to think outside of the box, instead of using the typical power point format where you typically use a title and bullet points on every slide. It will definitely be hard to adjust to something so unfamiliar, but I hope that it will make everyones presentations more candid and interesting.