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At the journey’s end…

March 28, 2009

This has truly been a memorable week in my world. I went to school for the last time yesterday, and there are about 1,000,000 thoughts and feelings I am reeling in.

It definitely doesn’t feel like I was just in kindergarten. On the contrary, I am probably more prepared than ever to enter the real world, but I can’t believe what a difference 7 months makes. It does feel like just yesterday that I walked into my program orientation (having missed most of it) in a denim miniskirt and a polo top. I will never forget the look on my program coordinator’s face. It spoke a thousand words, but I will sum it up: “I don’t think you’ll be here too long.”

It wasn’t a time period for me. Indeed, I encountered both personal and academic hardships which is probably why I am so overwhelmed with pride and accomplishment to be finished my program. The most important lesson I learned this year doesn’t even apply to PR, it applies to life. Our lives are too short to worry all the time. What we owe life is to make the best of it. If you want to make it the best while you sip a Strongbow, then that’s okay, too.

Cheers to the Niagara College PR class of 2009! “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times”, but we’re all leaving better people because of it.

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For the record: I miss corny TV.

March 20, 2009

The other day someone asked me what the strongest precedent was for setting my morals and values was when I was growing up. Without thinking, I blurted out, “Full House!”. Yes, it was all about cheesy content, and Uncle Jesse’s hair, but it left you with that warm and fuzzy feeling when you walked away. Whenever I did something wrong, I always thought about what Danny Tanner would say. Whenever I felt down, I imagined Uncle Jesse looking for missing sections of his hair.

Full House wasn’t Emmy material, but it was relatable and endearing. It was similar to Little House on the Prairie, which I still watch whenever I can. Whatever happened to those television shows that didn’t challenge you to think? What happened to the shows that were just supposed to be there to keep you company? Is it really a coincidence that ABC pulled TGIF the year the Web almost doubled in subscribers? I don’t think so.

The other day, I had an whole hour (I kid you not) of free time. I grabbed the remote control, and turned on the TV. All of Primetime was filled with shows that challenged the intellect, or was content packed. No sitcoms included. It literally felt like a plethora of hot medium. It was the content I used to crave when I first started to use the Web as a child. Finally, I realized that I just yearned for the days of ABC’s TGIF. I walked away from the television and I watched an episode of Family Matters on Youtube.

Notice the irony? The same medium I blamed for changing the dynamics of television was actually the source I had to go to in order to veg. This led me to thinking that with the rising growth of social media if television will one day in fact, feel like a movie. It made me wonder what kind of television my children would grow up with. Will it be a two hour, Thomas The Tank Engine 3D with surround sound?

It’s just something to ponder, but here is another thing. Does anyone ever notice how often they refer to shows on TVTropolis? Am I the only one who truly misses the days of corny TV? I’m just saying…

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Emotional, much?

March 18, 2009

After many years of having a reputation as a person who is known for her tough exterior and tell-it-as-it-is attitude (usually with a touch of class), I finally really know what it means to be emotional. As it turns out, it can be quite the persuasive tool as I inadvertantly learned this morning while giving a speech for my PR class. The content itself oozed with emotion and personal revelation; however, I had been determined from the beginning to speak the facts for what they were. The plan backfired, and I found myself overwhelmed with emotion as I gave (what was almost a perfect delivery in my expectations) the best public speaking presenation of my life.

At the end of my speech, I was angry and frustrated. As we know from previous blogs, I have a type-A personality when I set expectations for myself and unexpected emotional outpour is rarely a consideration for me. Am I emotionally stunted? I always thought so, but after today, not so much.

After a couple of hours of reconsideration, I feel differently about the experience. I had a goal when I gave that speech this morning, and that was to inspire my class to gain knowledge and take action against a life threatening disease. Whether I like emotion or not, my mini break-down at the very end served my presentation more justice than any direct intellectual approach could have.

There is a reason why most actors win best performances at the Oscars for dramatic roles. People need to see emotion. It’s a humanist quality and something that often links us together above anything else.

After my presentation, I have to admit that I may consider taking the emotional approach when it’s applicable in my PR career. Will I learn to harness it? Absolutely! <—-Emphasis on the exclamation mark.

For those who were in class today (and for the rest of the world to know), many were wondering what the last words of my speech were which addressed my cousin’s leukemia. I choked them out the best way I could, but this is for the record.

“Even as a sibling of a leukemia patient, you only have a 30-40% chance of being a good (bone marrow) match. A first cousin’s odds of matching are 5-15%. The odds of being a match for a complete stranger is 1 in 20,000. However, at the end of the day life isn’t about odds and when my cousin’s doctors decide that he needs a bone marrow transplant they can call me because 15% probability or not, I’m his match and it’s a great time to be alive.”

I don’t know why I didn’t realize this before, but intellect just can’t do that justice.

 

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Ashley, I am sad the world will never have the chance to know you.

March 5, 2009

asmith-3

My heart goes out to the family of Ashley Smith. She is a daughter, a sister, a niece among other bonds to many people and she is never coming home. This fact itself is sad, but the fact that her death could have been prevented is a social disgrace and the people who are responsible won’t be held accountable.

Ashley was institutionalized in the youth criminal justice system when she was 16 years old for assaulting an officer of the peace. She had a history of mental illness and anti-social behaviour which were never medically treated. She grew up in Moncton, New Brunswick, a province which has recently been criticized for its under achieving performances in youth education and medical services.

While she was in the hands of the youth criminal justice system, she attempted suicide numerous times, was removed from social settings, and eventually ended her life in solitary confinement. In her three years of being a member of the youth criminal justice system, she was transferred 9 times, refused visitation from her family (she was removed from her home province in the last months of her life), and in the last 11 months of her life she lost 90 pounds and began losing her hair. To add insult to her death, the guards responsible for her physical well being apparently watched her asphyxiate herself at the Grand Valley Institution for Women, located near Kitchener-Waterloo.

This is slightly before my time, but wasn’t there a reason why the Youth Offenders Act was instated? Wasn’t it to protect the rights of young people with behavioural disorders who are under the age of 18? The federal government supposedly believed youth had the opportunity to be psychologically assessed so they could become members of a normal functioning society as adults. This act has faced public scrutiny from the moment it was instated and it appears nay sayers may have been right all along. It’s useless! At least the way it stands today.

First of all, the children who are entered into the youth correctional system should be given psychiatric evaluation and treatment on a regular basis, not banished to solitary confinement. These actions completely defeat the purpose of the YOA. Secondly, all children, no matter their legal title, should have a right to an education as long as they are on Canadian soil. This was another provision that the YOA has that was overlooked in Ashley’s case. Not to mention, that no one responsible for her well being cared that losing 90 pounds and hair loss in 11 months are two things that should be medically addressed.

There is a ridiculous amount of irony to the story of Ashley starting with Canadian history. In 1984, the YOA replaced the “Juvenile Delinquent Act” of 1908 and the YOA stated, “youth were not to be treated as criminals but rather, in the words of the Act, as “misdirected [children]… in need of aid, encouragement, help and assistance.” The JDA was considered a more imperfect and politically incorrect version of the current YOA as it blatantly implied that parents were incapable of raising their children and thus, the children needed to become wards of the state. Social behaviour disorders were never considered and where children were institutionalized was luck of the draw. The JDA didn’t have provisions for psychological help and educational opportunities were never guaranteed. The YOA was supposed to change these inequalities and social stigmas.

If you ask me, it appears the Canadian government re-branded it’s youth correctional approach for a more human rights savvy society, but nothing changed. It’s still the JDA in sheep’s clothing and Ashley is not the only one who has been a victim of this sorry excuse for a youth “criminal” justice system.

If the YOA were true to it’s words, the reason why Ashley was incarcerated under the youth criminal justice system was to ensure that she could receive proper psychiatric therapy, education, and encouragement for a brighter future when she was released. Instead, she is the face of a preventable death at the hands of our “improved” legislation for young offenders and no one has been held accountable for a life cut tragically short.

 

 

 

 

 

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Curling for Dummies

March 4, 2009

For those of you familiar with my PR program, you will know what this post is about. It was the second annual Curling Rocks Alumni Tournament this past Saturday and I will forever be in debt to my chiropractor.

I learned a valuable PR lesson with regard to event planning. Sometimes in order to make an event work, it means you have to step up and make it work. Me being able to make this event work meant I slipped on a slider, grabbed a rock and threw it (and myself) down a sheet of ice. I have no regrets and my team even won a round!

Never had I imagined when I first began planning for this event that I would come to fall in love with a sport so quickly. It’s strategic, competitive, and it encourages team work along with communication. Televison can’t do this sport justice. This Canadian passtime is underrated and I can’t understand why more people don’t partake in it. If I ever have to develop an internal communications plan, “Company Curling Tournament” will be the first initiative. You can even have a couple of drinks while you play. What more can you ask for in a sporting tournament?

I must admit that I was very nostalgic during this event even as I was counting the bruises and popping the Advil. The passing of “Curling Rocks” marks the countdown for the end of the my PR education and the beginning of my potential PR career which is exciting and nerve racking, especially when you consider my class will enter the workforce in an era of recession. I remain hopefully optimistic though because at the age of 24, you should be. I will just take the life lesson I have learned from curling and apply it to everyday life: Grab a slider to sprawl, a heavy rock to anchor, and fly.

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Okay, to back up for one moment…

February 13, 2009

Like many things I have done in life, I often jump in and just go for it. As a result, I have posted two very random posts without telling any of you anything about me.

So, here is the lowdown.

I am a 24 year old public relations post-graduate student.

How did this come to be? Well, my existence explains itself if you know your biology, but the PR part is incredibly bizarre.

I graduated university in Spring of 2007 with an honours degree in sociology and spent the following year partying, travelling, and serving in a fine dining restaurant. I now refer to this time in my life as “Blissful Unproductiveness”. In June of this past year, the parents cornered me and informed me that the happy days of BU were coming to an end because they were holding me to something I said when I was 19 and I quote, “Fine. Whatever. I don’t care. I don’t really want to be a weather girl anyway. I just like the ditzy part. I have decided to go into HR or PR after I graduate.” The choice was mine, but either way, I was going back to school in September 2008.

What were the odds of them remembering something I said four years ago especially when you consider they don’t live together? Apparently, they were stacked against me or at least I thought they were at the time. In retrospect, I think them holding me to my ingenuine comment paid off in ways I have only begun to realize. My emergence in my studies has forced me to seek my greatest potential and even if I had the chance to go back to blissful unproductiveness, I wouldn’t want to. I don’t know if I will become a PR professional, but I know I owe a huge debt of gratitude to my parents and my PR program itself. ^5’s all around.

Why did I name my blog worldaccording2erin? It’s just my world and what happens in it. I do intend to comment on some world issues in the near future though.

Which leads me to 20 random things about me…

1. My middle name is Patricia.

2. My favourite colours are purple, mauve, baby blue, red and saffron.

3. I hate the feeling of chalk and refer to it as petrified spaghetti.

4. I just got out of a long term relationship in the fall and I am technically single. Note: I have just started seeing someone though, so I may not be single for much longer.

5. I have a general passion for Canadian politics and have been known to become a little over zealous about certain Canadian issues. At the moment, my major beef is over Canadian aboriginal/indigenous rights.

6. I love music! I love all kinds of it, but my favourites are The Beatles, The Who, Jimmy Eat World, Snow Patrol, Led Zepellin, Jacqueline du Pre (famous cellist), Oasis, Queen, David Bowie, and Buddy Holly.

7. I am a little gutsy and like to take risks. For example, there is a strong chance that members of my PR faculty will read this blog and know of how my existence in this PR program came to be and yet, I posted it for the world to know. This leads me to…

8. Fate. I believe we make our own opportunities, but fate hands them to us.

9. Roald Dahl is my favourite author and he always will be. There aren’t too many life lessons that he didn’t cover.

10. George Orwell’s, Animal Farm, is my favourite book and was the first book that made me change the way I perceived the world and stemmed my passion for…

11. Political history. I love it!

12. I am a skilled cook who likes to experiment with different recipes and techniques. Right now, I am contemplating taking on Live food.

13. I am superstitious. Don’t stick a black cat around me. Don’t take your broom when you move. Buy a new one. Spiders are a sign of protection.

14. I love wine. I like red or white but I generally go for a nice shiraz or a gerwurtzminer.

15. I had adolescent epilepsy, learned to live life with epilepsy, and overcame adolescent epilepsy . It’s the toughest battle I have fought to this date.

16. I love to volunteer. My favourite organizations are Habitat for Humanity, Girl Guides of Canada and The Canadian Diabetes Association.

17. I went to boarding school when I was 13 and it was one of the best experiences of my life.

18. I have a type-A personality when it comes to following directions. If you pour above the line in a measuring cup, I will have to kill you.

19. My mother is the most inspirational person I know and my dad is one of my best friends.

20. I am impulsive when it comes to living life. I will want to go to Mexico one day and be on my way to Mexico the next day. I have done it. It’s fun and makes your parents want to say you’re adopted.

Favourite quotes:

“A man is but the product of his thoughts and what he thinks, he becomes.”-Gandhi

“You have enemies? Good. That means you’ve stood up for something, sometime in your life.”-Winston Churchill

“Everything is clearer when you’re in love.”-John Lennon

Hope you enjoyed getting to know me, world.

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Here’s to Peggy Sue on Valentine’s!

February 12, 2009

All this hoopla about the arrival of my best friend’s wedding and inadvertently, Valentine’s Day, started to make me think about my first great loves.

I first fell in love when I was three years old. His name was Buddy Holly, the pioneer of rock and roll, and he sang a song called “Peggy Sue”. Whenever my father played his record the house would literally shake as I freaked out like a 13 year old at a Jonas Brothers concert. When my friends were going to see Polk A Dot Door, I wanted to go see Buddy Holly. My love had endless bounds all the way to the afterlife. 

This month marks the 50th anniversary of his unforeseen early death at the hands of a plane crash. His songs were a profound contribution to music history and even those who never had the chance to be experience his greatness while he was alive still fondly miss him. On Valentine’s Day its always nice to know you’re loved even if you’re in the afterworld so I would just like Buddy to know that That’ll Be the Day, or should I say, there will never be a day when I say goodbye.

Note: In case anyone is wondering, my two other great loves aside from candy are John Lennon and my high school sweet heart, who looked like young John Lennon. Finally, I would just like to say the music never died; at least not for me.

Happy Valentine’s, world!