When Career and Passion Come Together

It’s never easy to put yourself out there. But doing it twice, in the matter of 2 weeks? I’m not sure words can describe it.

It may sound silly, but running for president of the CSMMSS was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. I keep my life very private, so putting myself and my passions out there for all of my fellow classmates to see was both nerve racking and exhilarating. But at the same time, the new CSMMSS president, Cassandra D’Ambrosio, is a good friend of mine, and I’m so confident that she can accomplish great things for the Society. So here’s the thing – I’m not done yet.

If you were at all familiar with my presidential platform, you’ll know that I was largely focused on professional development and career building. So what’s a more perfect position to run for than the VP of Professional Development? It’s not fair that other faculties have so many resources assisting them in their life after graduation, but as VP, I want to bring these resources to the CSMM departments. This is where the Workshops aspect of my platform comes in – I want to cover skills from the basics like resume building, to the more difficult topics like portfolio development. All of the skills and knowledge surrounding these subjects are especially important when pursuing jobs in creative industries, which is why I believe that we need to create CSMM specific events to cover these areas.

This brings me to my second platform point – Opportunities. I’ve found that my volunteer and extracurricular activities have been beyond helpful in landing me jobs in my field, but a lot of these opportunities aren’t communicated very well to the students. As VP of Professional Development I would be dedicated to creating and updating an online destination where CSMM students can check out a wide range of opportunities offered in the Hamilton and surrounding community. This would not just include job postings – but volunteer opportunities, networking events, and whatever else I may find that can assist my classmates in getting involved and building their resume.

And finally, as VP I want to help transform the Public Relations Intern Team into something bigger that can serve a larger amount of student needs and desires. Whether you’re interested in web design, research, video creation, writing, photography…. the VP of Professional Development is the leading Exec member of this talented group of students, and I want to create a team that can deliver a broad range of materials while building on the skills that they want to see grow and develop. This year I was lucky enough to be able to take on a leadership position with the current PR Intern team, so I know the logistics behind this program as well as the opportunities available to help it grow and expand into something bigger and better.

So if you’re like me and passionate about all things professional, vote for me this week. I have some awesome ideas in store for my fellow CSMMers, and I would LOVE to put them into action. And most importantly – thank you for your continued support throughout this crazy election period.

VP

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So Who Am I, Really?

As the campaigning continues, a part of me is kicking myself for not introducing myself to more people, sooner. I wish I had been brave enough to say hi to whoever ended up sitting beside me in whichever class all year long; prior to my involvement in the CSMMSS, I wish I would have attended more events to expand my CSMM network as soon as I entered the program… I just wish people knew more about  who I really am and what I’m all about.

This is partly why the Relationships aspect of my platform is so important to me. The classmates that I have had the opportunity to get to know on a more personal level have left a lasting impression on my life – inspired me to get involved and put myself out there (sound familiar?), helped give me the confidence to build my dream career, and most importantly, became incredible friends that I can count on for absolutely anything. I am so motivated to build a strong community among the CSMM students, because I truly believe that the relationships we build now will benefit us both personally and professionally, beyond graduation and life at McMaster.

So if you believe in my platform, but we haven’t had the opportunity to meet personally, I wanted to share a little bit about who I am with you. Not only do I think these ten things really define me, but they’re also things I LOVE to talk about. Do we share a common interest? I’d love to know! And even if we don’t, well then I really want to know what you are all about too – so shoot me a message, I love to chat.

1. My perfect Friday night consists of sweatpants, Netflix, and online shopping. I’m a fiend for TV, and can get though an entire series in record time (I think it only took about 2 weeks for me to get through the entire Gossip Girl series, xoxo)

2. I’m super serious about my PR career, and nothing excites me more than knowing I have an opportunity to experience a new industry or organization. Last summer I worked as the Marketing and Public Relations Assistant at African Lion Safari and this summer I’ll be interning in the Communications department of Golf Canada! I’m obsessed with the sports industry, but I hope to experience the fashion and luxury goods industry at some point as well.

3. I have never loved a celebrity more than Britney Spears – I know the lyrics to all of her songs, and I’m planning a Las Vegas trip just so I can see her in concert at Planet Hollywood.

4. The best way to describe me is… hyper organized. I keep two planners (just in case I forget one), and To Do lists are a form of stress relief for me. I swear I feel instantly better after writing out my priorities.

5. Speaking of stress relief – my favourite form of exercise is yoga! I swear it is the only movement that is both relaxing and challenging at the same time. This past year I’ve been trying my hand at Bikram Yoga (the hottest of hot yoga), and for those of you that think yoga is ‘easy’, you wont be thinking that after you practice this form.

6. I grew up in an extremely small town outside of Kitchener, so small it doesn’t even have a Tim Hortons (seriously, those exist). And my high school? Kids rode their tractors to school, and pulled pranks that consisted of letting chickens loose in the hallways.

7. Aaron Paul in Breaking Bad…. need I say more?

8. I have such a soft spot for dogs of all shapes and sizes.. this was partly why I chose to volunteer at the Hamilton Burlington SPCA. I swear some days I can’t even walk through their adoption center because I would just adopt all of them.

9. Basketball is my favourite sport, and the Toronto Raptors are my favourite team. My love for the sport started with Chris Bosh, and then one year I got to go out onto the court. Oh and another time Junkyard Dog smiled and waved at me and I pretty much cried real tears.

10. No matter how many blog posts I publish, I still feel a hint of nervousness knowing all of my thoughts are out there for the world to see. Writing is one of my favourite things to do, and even though my blog is SO public, it’s still such a personal thing to me. I think this is the reason why I refuse to do anything blog-related in public places.

For more information on the election and all of the talented candidates, check out the CSMMSS Facebook page here

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Why President?

“So, why do you want to be president?”

I’ve been asked this question a lot over the past week, as I finally decided to tell people that I will be running for President of the 2014/2015 Communication Studies and Multimedia Student Society (CSMMSS). And let me be real with you here – this is something I thought I would never do. Not because I didn’t think I could do the job or because it didn’t interest me, but because I’m terrified of putting myself out there.

You might think I’m kidding, I mean I started a blog, I’ve applied to jobs that I never thought I would get, and I’ve done more than my fair share of large-scale presentations without a hint of nerves. But there’s something different about putting yourself, and everything you stand for, out on the line for all of your classmates to see (and judge). And honestly, I have found myself asking “do I really want to do this?” more than once or twice throughout the process. So do I really want to do this? After giving it a lot of thought – yes, I really do.

The Communication Studies and Multimedia programs at McMaster are taught by wonderful and caring professors, and the amount of talented students that fill the classrooms can sometimes be overwhelming. But throughout my studies I always felt like something was missing – yes, I was learning super cool things about theories and research, but I felt like I wouldn’t have a clue what to do once I stepped out into the real world. And that’s when I realized that I needed to do more than just sit in class and get good grades if I wanted to be successful in my field (especially if I wanted to be the VP of Communications for the NBA – my dream job in case you were wondering!). So I made it my goal to take advantage of as many opportunities as I could find: volunteering in the press office at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair, volunteering in the Special Events department at the Hamilton-Burlington SPCA, and yes, becoming the 3rd Year Student Representative for the CSMMSS. I’ve learned so much more from these experiences than I could ever learn in a classroom, and that’s why I want to bring more of these opportunities to my classmates.

And that’s why I’ve coined “what makes your degree different?” as my catch phrase. It’s something I think about for myself on a regular basis, and it’s something I encourage all of my classmates to consider as well. We may be graduating with a kick ass degree in something we love, BUT what’s going to make an employer choose you over your competition (who may have the exact same degree as you)? That’s what I want to help my classmates figure out. Whether it’s through better communicating external opportunities, providing more internal opportunities, or helping more professional relationships grow – I want to give my classmates the tools to think of their degree as more than just a piece of paper.

So, my friends, that’s why I want to be the President of the CSMMSS. It might be a little nerdy, or maybe people will think I spend too much time thinking about my dream job; but Lululemon always says to “do one thing a day that scares you.” So here it goes.

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