Keeping Cool When Changing Schools

This next post is written by my dear friend and brother, Zack Kochetta, from the perspective of an undecided transfer student.

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It is nuts, absolutely insane, how comfort sets in the moment I have to reconfigure my life completely. It’s terrific, no sarcasm or anything (said Zack Kochetta sarcastically)!  I’m learning quickly to just never get comfortable, purely out of superstition. But yeah, aside from irrationalities, that time has come again where one chapter is wrapping up and another one unraveling. I am an upcoming, incoming transfer student, and it’s got me feeling the pressure, similar to countless other transfer students, to whom I extend my deepest compassion. Hopefully I am speaking for a good handful of them as I express the hopes and anxieties of the whole process, so here goes nothing.

I would be lying (or a stinkin’ bum) if I said that the uncertainties of the future were not a concern of mine. In my education, I just need to receive the tools necessary to put my fears to rest, or else my text books will make for good bonfire fuel and I will do to my laptop what Michael Bolton and Peter Gibbons did to the Initech printer (please catch the reference). The scariest thing to me is the possibility of walking away from school without something to show for it. I don’t want to grab my degree, cap and gown on, and return to my seat at graduation feeling like I had been knocked out and in a cryogenic sleep for the past two years. That’d suck! It would make my final two years of school seem entirely pointless. To have a better handle on the concerns of the future is the main goal at hand, and if I feel that I haven’t gotten that….oy vey, will I be a wreck!

Another scary thing is the 180 degree lifestyle change. People say all the time that you can get that “college” experience while attending a community college, but I also learned during a psychology seminar held at my community college, of all places, that people lie all the time!  Go figure. The school I attend now is great and all, but there is no independence. I go to school, go to a couple clubs a week, and then basically come home at the end of each day. During the time I have attended community college, I have visited my brother (honorably known as 2.0) at NIU MULTIPLE times, and let me tell you, there’s a striking difference. I realize now that I am basically attending High School 102 and what I am preparing to transfer into is Basic Real World Survival 100. It’s freaky; it’s a big jump from a cushy near-blow-off class to a crash course.

Change Management where to go Keeping Cool When Changing Schools

And then there’s the thought of where the heck to go. There are so many school options that deciding on the perfect one is really tolling. However, I must say that Northern Illinois University is a school that plays as a true contender for me. They have a solid business program, a chill campus and surrounding activities, and some really fun “social gatherings” among peers and classmates for some good clean fun.  Essentially, NIU is quite appealing to me (I say this without promotional compensation from the school). Sincerely, it’s a great place and I would feel privileged to finish my degree there. Zack Kochetta approved! But to everyone who is still searching, the perfect place will be found, don’t worry.

It’s funny, because as I look at my list of concerns, I begin to realize that they are actually hopes. I don’t want to miss out on opportunities.  I long for the freedom and independence, and I look forward to finding a school to call home. So I really have nothing to fear and plenty to hope for, and that really puts things in a positive perspective.

I just want to grab this bull by the horns and ultimately tame it. I have the world at my fingertips and I just need to stretch a little further so I can wrap them around it and make it mine (not in a wacked out Dr. Evil kinda way, but instead, an inspiring one). And although I am a little fearful of what to expect in the coming years, I realize that my hopes will not be diminished, I will make the most of this experience and not end it feeling cheated. In the work I do within my field I will put forth my all, and when I get the chance I’ll live it up a bit; no time or opportunities to do something great will be wasted!

In summation, there is a lot to consider. It is overwhelming to say the least. But I know I, as well all other transfer students, can make it through this tough process. We have to know what we want, learn where we will best achieve that, and watch it all unfold into something great that will pave the way for the rest of our lives. To all other transfer students, good luck and god speed. Zack 1.0out!

Make Life Easier

Before I made it to NIU life was a little bit simpler to manage.  I could handle all my affairs including homework, a job, and scheduling without much thought or worry.  Now, with 5 classes, 3 student organizations, 2 internships, and social life to juggle I feel like I need my own secretary.  Unfortunately, I do not have the money or the influence to afford such a luxury.  In lieu of my budget and anonymity, I’ve learned to harness technology  to help manage my busy life.  I’m hoping that with this blog I can help you all do the same.  Here are a few applications and technologies that I’ve utilized to make life a little bit easier.

 Make Life Easier

 Google Drive lets you store, access, and share your files anywhere, whether it be on the web, on your hard drive, or on a mobile device.  Here’s how you can start:

  1. Go to Google Drive on the web at drive.google.com.
  2. Install Google Drive on your computer and mobile device (Free for iPhone and Android)
  3. Place files in Google Drive on your computer and boom, it goes straight to your mobile and vice versa!

You can store up to 5 GB of data for free!  Collaborate with others on documents to do group assignments remotely.  I’ve literally completed entire papers and assignments without ever meeting with my teammates.  Another benefit of Drive is that you’ll never have to worry about forgetting an attachment on your computer at home (the second worst excuse next to my dog ate my homework).  With Google Drive, your documents are anywhere you have a computer or mobile device.

 Make Life Easier

Astrid is the personal assistant that I’ve always wanted.  I can use it to make grocery lists, to-do lists that include errands or assignments, and others.  Best of all, its free and I can use the application to schedule all the tasks that I have to complete.  Astrid helps you get your life organized so you will never miss a due date.  Because it offers the ability to add deadlines and priority levels to your tasks that pair with reminders and alarms, you will never forget to follow through with your obligations again!  The lists you create in Astrid go straight to the cloud, so like Google Drive, you can access your lists anywhere you have a computer or mobile device.  Simply log into your account and surprise, all of your grocery lists, book lists, and assignment deadlines are all there!

 Make Life Easier

Right Inbox is free extension for Chrome and Firefox that works with your Gmail account to schedule emails for sending later.  The add-on places a "Send Later" button in your Gmail account with options to schedule the email at any time and date you please!   You can use it to send yourself reminders or send emails to others at just the right time.  I’ve used right inbox to send time sensitive emails that can only be sent between certain hours of certain days (shout out to Mktg 450 students).  Many recruiters for companies have their email on their phones and I’d hate to leave a bad impression and wake them at 2 AM in the morning (when I do most of my work).  So instead, I’ll write the email at 2 AM but I’ll schedule the email for 4 hours later using Right Inbox!  It’s a win-win!  They get to sleep and I get to look like a stud for supposedly being a productive member of society at 6 in the morning (or so the email says).

Use these applications and plug ins and I’m sure they can add a few months, a few more hours to your beauty sleep, and a few less stress induced wrinkles!  2.0out

Do you have any suggestions for apps that have made your life easier?  Share in the comments below!

 

The 2-2-2 Rule

This next guest post is written by Mike Glassberg, an Interactive Marketing Student at the NIU College of Business. Follow him on twitter @cubswin716.

 The 2 2 2 Rule

For most of my college life, I’ve prided myself on the relentless perseverance to reach any and all of my goals and to never give up. This also meant giving 110% in all activities. Giving anything less felt like a failure, something I refused to let happen.

And at the beginning of my first Senior semester, that’s what I did: gave 110% in every activity, project, or assignment that was handed to me – or at least I tried. But it was overwhelming being a leader in two organizations, working for the university, being a Junior Consultant in the Experiential Learning Center (ELC), all on top of my regular class schedule.

 

In college, and in life, you need to understand what’s important to you and prioritize accordingly. Over the last few months, I’ve implemented a new rule into my life: the 2 weeks, 2 months, and 2 years rule.

What will this matter to me in 2 weeks? 2 months? 2 years?

My most memorable use of the “2-2-2″ rule was from a few weeks ago; I had 10+ page midterm due the next morning. My friend had called me that night as I was typing away, and explained to me a serious personal problem she was going through. I value our friendship very much, and want it to last well over two years. So instead of telling her I was busy with a big paper, I used the 2-2-2 rule and decided that I’d get over the poor grade of my midterm paper in two months, but it would  hopefully mean a lot more to her in two months that I was there for her, especially when I was at my busiest.

This rule of thumb has turned me from a bag of hammers to, well let’s say a few hammers. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still stressed, but its focused in the right places and allows me to be excellent in the areas I care most about.

I strongly urge you to use the rule of 2, immediately. Today. Use it in class when you get an answer wrong and are feeling down. Use it when your best friend can’t make your big party. Use it when you have a dilemma and can’t decide between two alternatives.

I hope this helps you in relieving stress and choosing between alternatives as much as it has helped me!

Go Huskies!

-Mike

Business Careers House

One of the most difficult things about going to college or trying something new is figuring out how to fit in.  Hundreds of students each year flock to NIU and have to begin their academic careers anew.  As a business major, what are the best ways to fit in and flourish in your new environment?  I’ve heard this question many times and one of the best answers I can give is the Business Careers House.  I recently had the opportunity to sit down with Maria Ziebinska, a Community Advisor from the Business Careers House, to learn a little bit more about what they have to offer.

The Business Careers House is a residence hall that serves as a living learning community.  In this community, business majors can go and get help in anything business oriented.  Whatever students have questions about they can either come to me (a Community Advisor) or they can talk to the House Leader Chris.  Students constantly have questions about which classes to take and homework help. Since the residents are business students, I put up a bulletin board about class registration.  We include information like what number to call to set up an advising appointment, a sheet containing the Gen. Ed. requirements (specifically the ten core classes to get into the upper level courses), and tips with staying on a four year track.

As Community Advisor for the 10th floor, my job is to help my residents connect at NIU and be successful. I let them know what is going on in the residence halls and around campus. If they have specific interests that they wish to pursue, I help them get in contact with someone that knows where to go to pursue those interests.  Basically, whenever students have anything they need to talk about they can come to me.

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Our Community Advisors are Here to Help!

The BCH is located in Grant C and spans five floors from the 8th to the 12th.  The floors are designated to business majors.  We all have common interests and we all hang out and it’s nice to be on the same level with everyone. Since everyone is in the business program many of the residents have similar classes.  Because of this, we set up designated study hours where we meet in the study lounge on our floor and do homework.  If a student does have questions about an assignment, people are there to help!  It definitely feels like a family! 

It’s open to all classes, not just underclassman.  I’m Upper-class and I have two residents that are taking UBUS 310 right now with me.  Transfer students also enjoy the House and have found a great support system here as well.  The support is all the same. We cater to residents needs, so if someone speaks up with specific questions as a transfer, freshman, returning students, even upperclassman, it is our job to help.Business Careers House 2 Business Careers HouseWe work hard to point students in the right direction.  A few events we have already done with the BCH are Dinner with the Dean, Time Management Tips from the BCH Leaders, and Bowling in the Huskie Den.  Dinner with the Dean gave residents a chance to meet the Dean, and she gave tips on how to be successful in the College of Business. Time Management Tips were to give students tips on how to manage their time as they transition from high school to college. Bowling was a chance for all the floors in the BCH to come together and bond.

One of my residents, he was one of the students that didn’t really know what path to go down, so the House Leader and I helped him write up a resume and we took him to the internship fair.  We showed him how to network and how to find out more information about the different career paths he enjoyed.  Like I said before, we’re all there to help each other out!

To learn more about the Business Careers House and all it has to offer, visit their website at http://www.cob.niu.edu/businesscareershouse/index.asp  2.0out

Vision for ‘Student Voices’

Having a vision for the future is sometimes a difficult thing to create.  Personally, I feel it is even more difficult to develop a vision for the future after encountering great success.  I know, I know…You would think that after accomplishing something great you would have momentum, courage, or pride enough to move forward but I have found it quite the opposite; especially this semester.  Perhaps I am alone in my thinking but maybe I am not.  Either way, I thought I’d share my thoughts in a blog so others might relate and know that they’re not alone.

Often times when people encounter a failure in their life they will take a step back.  They will hesitate to move forward with projects or coursework due to the negativity they experienced on their last attempt.  I will admit that failure is something I can deal with fairly well.  I can move on from project to project after devoting a brief thought to how I can overcome the issue.  When it comes to successes though, I am on a different boat entirely.

For my job, I manage the various social media channels of the College of Business including the Facebook, Twitter and most importantly (in my eyes), the student blog titled “Student Voices”.  We utilize analytics for a few of these channels especially for Facebook.  With analytics we can see the success or failure of posts and the amount of ‘likes’ and engagement that our content gets.  Just a few months ago our popularity of posts spiked higher than it had ever been before!  After this week of tremendous success I found myself laboring over what should be posted next.  What could possibly get that much engagement or that many likes?  I didn’t know where to turn and all of my thoughts just turned into a mess of ambivalence.  I ended up doing nothing because I wanted to post nothing but the best.  Unfortunately, you can never really tell what the best content will be until it is already posted on the web.

Also, if you follow this blog, you may have seen that it has been two weeks since my last post “Regional Sales Competition”.  Posts prior to this one would have been highly successful if they earned about 15 likes.  This post in particular fetched 42 likes.  Almost triple the original number I used to determine success!  How, in the…..?  What!?  How can I possibly top that?  Truth is, maybe I can’t.  That’s okay though.  I am realizing that people move on and most readers probably can’t even recall the specifics of that post.

Although I won’t have the moments of inspiration where I can jot down gold in the case of the “Regional Sales Competition” post, I think that the key to this whole blogging thing is to just keep plugging away.  Moments of pure inspiration are like flashes of lightning and they come and they go with uncertainty.  I will capture these bolts of lightning when they come but to fill the void and not fall behind again I will continue to utilize another element in my writing arsenal; journalism.  Instead of only writing these personal posts that come from my work in competitions, classes, and experiences I will continue to write on topics that I think will be of interest to you, my audience.  So this blog will take on a new shape.

I will write in two voices; one with a focus on journalism and reporting, the other with a personal approach.  Furthermore, one of the goals of the founder of this blog was to include a guest post a week from students of the College of Business.  I aim to live up to this and hope that you all will take advantage of the opportunity to write a post!  I continue to ask random students to write on topics of their choice but I anxiously await the day where I open my mailbox to see posts written without my asking.

This blog is something that I take very seriously and I hope that you all enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing and managing it.  I love hearing feedback, good or bad, and want to see this aspect of our College’s social media continue to grow and prosper.  It cannot do that without your help!  I appreciate your readership and look forward to a bright and beautiful future for Student Voices!  2.0out

Creating Your Own Path

This next post is written by Marek Swierczewski, a Senior Marketing Major at the NIU College of Business.Marek 224x300 Creating Your Own Path

When I first came into NIU I wasn’t sure what I wanted to major in. On one hand my whole life I’ve spent obsessing about cars and racing which led me to believe engineering was the right course of action.  On the other, I’ve already taken business and economics classes in High School and was set to go into management or marketing in college. I chose to go into marketing, but I had another dilemma on my hands; how to get involved? There are a lot of great organizations in the marketing department, like the American Marketing Association or the Collegiate Sales Advisory Board, but none really seemed to fit me. It so happened that my dilemma was solved by my brother attending Cornfest at the DeKalb airport my freshman year.

While at Cornfest my brother ran across the NIU Motorsports Formula team. The team designs, creates, and races a formula style car every year. Well, my brother told me about them and I attended the informational meeting where I found out that a big portion of the competition is a marketing presentation, I was hooked instantly. This was a way for me to take part in both of my passions simultaneously.

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"I was hooked instantly"

It so happened that the team never had a dedicated marketing person on their team, they’ve never even had a business major on the team; I was the first. After some time I realized that there’s a huge business portion to the team that most members don’t even pay attention to. Biggest of all is the sponsorships, the team runs completely with money from sponsors so it is imperative that all members learn how to deal with potential sponsors. I have focused a lot of my time on teaching each member how to deal with potential sponsors and how to properly approach a sponsor. But the biggest part of my job is selling the car and the whole organization to a panel of potential investors in a mock selling scenario at competition at the end of the year. I’ve had to learn all about marketing plans, selling, finance, even production plant layout to be able to market our team as the best investment against over 100 different universities from around the world.

I am on my fourth year with the team right now, I am the head of the marketing department and am currently in charge of recruitment for the team, and I enjoy it more now than ever. The team has given me a way to practice my skills in marketing in an automotive environment which has lead me to realize the perfect career path for me. I am dedicated to join the racing industry as a sponsor relationship manager, and it is because of my four years on the team actually going out and doing what I am learning in my marketing and sales classes that I have been able to truly find my perfect career. If there is one thing that my experiences with the team have taught me is that there are many different ways to put what you learn in a classroom to work. Don’t limit yourself to just taking classes, go out, find what you are truly passionate about, and get involved, it is by far the best way to spend your years in college.

Women in Business Event

This next guest post is written by Elyse Jares, an Accounting Student at the NIU College of Business.elyse Women in Business Event

There are 21% of women in senior management around the world. When I saw this statistic it did not surprise me, especially in the business world. Men still dominate in this field. There are usually only a handful of women in leadership roles. That is why I was thankful to have the opportunity to attend the annual Crocker Program for Emerging Business Leaders at the Drake Hotel in Chicago. Cindy Crocker, 1980 Marketing Alumna, served as Senior Vice President, Investor Relations and Corporate Communications for Equity Group Investments, one of the nation’s leading real estate companies.

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Women in Business panelists (left to right): NIU Business Dean Denise Schoenbachler, Ventas CEO Debra Cafaro, Program Founder & Host Cindy Crocker

She uses her knowledge and success in the business world to inspire NIU College of Business students. The Crocker Program for Emerging Business Leaders gave 50 NIU business students the opportunity to network with NIU College of Business alumni business leaders and the extremely successful Debra Cafaro. The women shared their insights on networking, leadership, their careers, and balancing between work and their personal lives.

When I first got to the event I felt a little out of place and intimidated. I had never been to a networking event or a hotel that nice before. I found myself diving into the appetizers and felt awkward when I had to introduce myself with no free hands. I didn’t know if I should start introducing myself right away or let everyone eat for a while. Once everyone sat down and each business leader introduced herself, everything seemed more relaxed. The keynote speaker was Debra Cafaro who is the CEO of Ventas, Inc., an S&P company with an enterprise value of $27 billion. Debra Cafaro was selected as one of the Top 50 Women in World Business by the Financial Times. She is happily married with two kids. A major concern many women have and society expects is balancing between work and family. Being able to see several successful business leaders who have juggled a family was very inspiring. They made me realize that you won’t always have a balance between a career and family but you can have both as long as you put enough time and passion into each. It was also informative to hear some networking tips like writing down names right after you meet someone and keeping up to date with the sports highlights.

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Refining our networking skills

It is true when people say it is all about who you know. This event was helpful in the way that it showed us what a real networking event is like. Being able to make a lasting impression on someone involves confidence, assertiveness, and putting yourself out there. This event gave all of us the opportunity to practice these things in a safe and comforting environment. Many of these women were in our shoes and graduated with a degree from NIU. Seeing the possibilities of where our lives could be in 10, 20, or 30 years from now was truly motivational. I am so fortunate to have these types of opportunities through the College of Business and especially events tailored to women in business professions.

Reflections on Barsema Hall

So here I am, sitting in the atrium enjoying a midday hotdog and I can’t help but feel like I’m a part of something much bigger than myself.  The atrium feels energetic and full of life.  It is the proverbial heartbeat of the college and it is such an interesting and diverse place to be in.  Not only is it a place where students take a moment to relax and socialize with their peers but it doubles as a study area where they can complete assignments and other tasks.  This work and play atmosphere provides an interesting dynamic to the feel of the space.

As I finish my hotdog, I step outside where I overlook Dad’s Pond from the terrace.  This is my place to reflect.  In between classes you will often find me here pondering my next move.  It’s as though I’m playing a game of chess with life and my responsibilities are the pieces.  The benches along the walkway provide me with a moment of clarity and the breeze that passes by comes with almost a rhythmic frequency (*contented sigh*).  Just before I get too relaxed, I head back inside to move to my next task. BarsemaSunrise 1024x681 Reflections on Barsema Hall

The thing I enjoy most when I step back inside is the fact that I really feel like a young professional when I enter Barsema Hall.  I am surrounded by the future which is kept in the hearts and minds of my peers and in the walls of the institution.  The future is born from our motivation and our dreams and I get the opportunity everyday to see other students working hard to live out their own!

For the amount of time that I spend in this building I could almost call it home (I’d rather not call it that because then they’d start charging me rent).  The faculty make me feel at home and not a day goes by where I don’t speak with my professors outside of class.  A majority of the time, the conversations never have anything to do with classes or related projects.  Students will walk by and say hi and it all feels like I have an extended family here.  These people have grown with me professionally and worked beside me for the past year.  Going through that process really seems to strengthen the ties between students here at the College of Business.

When I was younger I thought that I’d just become another number in College…how much further could I have been from the truth.hot dog 300x225 Reflections on Barsema Hall

These thoughts I catalogued above came to me courtesy of a few minutes between class and a hot dog.  Imagine that.  Anyways, thanks so much to Dennis and Stacey Barsema for providing this amazing building and thank you to the faculty and students that breathe life into the NIU College of Business.  Give yourselves a pat on the back.  Together, we’ve made a population of students into a community of students! 2.0out

Studying Abroad

This past summer, I had the opportunity to travel abroad.  I heard about all of the benefits from friends, professors, family, and colleagues but never really understood the importance of such an experience until I actually went through it myself.  Upon returning, I made it my goal to inspire and educate people to go.  I learned and saw so much in such a short amount of time.  I earned an international perspective, new business knowledge, and a boatload of memories and friends that I will never forget!  I wanted to take a moment to let you all know why I feel it is so important to involve yourself in an international program!

Globalization and cultural diversity in the workplace is here to stay.  The world is all connected, economically, politically, and socially.  Studying abroad gives students the opportunity to view the world in a different context.  It allows them to use all five senses to explore unfamiliar surroundings in the international community.  Not only will participants learn about cultures, but they will typically glean an understanding of the business and academic practices that are in place for the region they explore.  Furthermore, if they ask the right questions and look in the right places, they could earn an understanding of the political climate in their host country as well. Ray and I Euronext1 e1348674599385 291x300 Studying AbroadWhen overseas, you can look beyond the veil of arrogance that often prevents us from seeing the big picture.  As much as some people would like to believe that we are the only country that calls this earth home, we are not.  When abroad, I read international newspapers and watched the foreign media speak about the United States and the world in general.  I had the ability to analyze my culture from a distance. Doing so gave me a lot of insight because it is often difficult to analyze oneself and ones culture unless viewing it from afar.  Studying abroad allows for this process to take place, and in doing so, I believe that students will come back with an awareness and sensitivity to other cultures that simply wouldn’t be possible without the experience of international travel. Mona Lisa e1348673817743 Studying AbroadOne key takeaway I’ve learned over the past few years is that there is no substitute for experience.  You can read about cultures, hear about them from others, and watch programs about them on discovery channel as many times as you’d like, but until you’ve spent time in the environment and interacted with the culture on a personal level, you will never truly understand the nature of it.  Like many Americans, I lived with stereotypes of the world beyond my borders.  The people of the world around us are just as we think they are…until we speak with them and ask questions.  Only then is our mind opened to the possibility that they are not the way we thought they were at all.  The French are NOT rude as many people have told me.  Instead, they are like mirrors, projecting back the attitudes that they receive.  This is just one of many examples that I may save for a future blog but I hope that the point I’m making remains clear.

The College of Business is very supportive of students looking to earn this international perspective.  They partner with companies to help students journey overseas and explore aspects of business, academia, and culture overseas.   http://www.cob.niu.edu/studyabroad/index.asp  The programs run over summer and winter, so you don’t need to worry about missing classes.  Also, scholarship options are highly available; you just have to look in the right places! Happy abroad Studying Abroad

A final point, completely unrelated to academics or business, is the personal touch of it all.  Not only do you meet people from different countries but in many programs, you get to travel with students from different schools from across the United States.  So not only are you experiencing different cultures from other countries, but you are able to exchange ideas and understand lifestyles from different areas of our own country.  Because you experience so much with these folks you really do become like a family.  I feel like I earned brothers and sisters from my trip.  I’ve even visited friends from the program who live as far away as Los Angeles, California.  This is after spending only three weeks with them in Europe.

I urge all of you to look into the opportunities that the College of Business provides.  My only regret is not doing it sooner.  If you are a freshman, sophomore, or even high school student reading this blog, I hope that you will take the plunge early and understand what an amazing and rewarding adventure it is to study abroad! 2.0out

Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

“Better to write for yourself and have no public, than to write for the public and have no self.” -Cyril Connoll

I came across this quote while researching for a project.  It sparked a dichotomy of feelings within me that I feel compelled to share with all of you.

Initially, I fell in love with the quote.  It spoke to me.  It says that in writing or completing tasks, it is better to do it for your own satisfaction than to do those same tasks for the satisfaction of others, and giving up your own identity in the process.  Now bear with me…as ethereal a concept as this is, I hope that you can all see the deeper meaning of the quote and understand the point it is trying to get across.  There was an old story that may convey the message a bit more clearly.

The story went a little something like this:  One day in an elementary school, a teacher gave her class an assignment to draw a tree.  The brown and green crayons ran out quickly and children had to wait their turn to use those colors.  While everyone else was still waiting on their green and brown colors, a little girl stood up and announced that she was finished.  When the teacher walked over, she realized that the tree the little girl had drawn was purple and shades of red.  The teacher corrected the little girl and said “I’m sorry sweetie, but I’ve never seen a purple and red tree before.”  The small child responded only by saying, “That’s too bad.”Purple Tree kid1 200x300 Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

Now as much as I, and perhaps some of you, would love to do exactly as you please in your writing, assignments, and thinking, it is just not a possibility.  A wise woman recited a quote to me written by John Donne; “No man is an island.”  What we do doesn’t only affect ourselves anymore.  Our actions have consequences.  In today’s world, we are expected to assist in work that others need done to complete tasks of their own.  Our employer or our professor will ask for us to “draw a tree” for them multiple times a day and for many different circumstances.  I ask that you all take a moment before beginning your task, not to “fight the power” or “break the chains”, but instead, to reflect on how you would create this tree of yours before quickly snatching for the green and brown crayons. PurpleTree 300x205 Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

I believe that exploration outside of typical constraints can lead to learning, growth, and discovery.  By infusing your creative self into projects you can become more passionate about the task at hand.  This passion leads to a better product and eventually a more rewarding journey.  We need to remain conscious of who we are as people, while at the same time, satisfying the needs of our employers and professors.  Just remember that you must remain mature enough to assess a situation and understand when it is appropriate to think outside of the box.  As challenging as this may be sometimes, I would hope that the creative spark within us all doesn’t dim anytime soon.  Think outside the box, but with certain restrictions, and you will be amazed at the things you can achieve! 2.0out

spreadsheets 300x236 Thoughts: Creativity and Identity

Perhaps being overly creative when compiling data in a spreadsheet can make things a little….awkward.