Public Speaking

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       I participated in 4-H and later on FFA for many years, competing in livestock shows, national agriscience projects, state fair projects, and public speaking. Although each event benefited me in some way, public speaking was the one that has made the biggest impact on my life. Growing up, I was very shy and quiet. I would not speak unless spoken to and I would never dream of speaking in front of a crowd. That changed, however when I began speaking through 4-H. Even though my speeches were as simple as “How to Bake Cookies,” it helped form me into the confident and profound speaker I am today. As I entered FFA in high school, the speeches I wrote were much more complex, covering anything from the production of crops like cotton, to the benefits of buying organic products. Those speeches had to be a minimum of three pages, and it had to be fully memorized and performed perfectly. When preparing the speech, three printed and bound manuscripts were required; one for each judge. They must be typed in a certain font, with certain margins, and a cover letter. As I enter the room to give my speech, I pass one out to each judge, shake their hand firmly, ask their name, and smile brightly. I then back away, fold my hands politely in front of me and begin speaking, just like I had rehearsed a million times. There is a different type of speaking when involved in FFA, it is called your “speech voice.” The speech voice is loud, steady, slow and emphasized. This sounds easy but it actually takes a lot of practice to master, trust me. Today I still catch myself doing my “speech voice” when talking to anyone professionally. At the end of the three to four minute speech, I ask the judges if they have any questions. They can ask anything they chose, which means I have to not only memorize my speech, but also memorize every little fact and detail about my subject to ensure that I will be able to answer any questions that are given. 
    These speeches may seem silly to some, but because of my many years of experience, I know that I am prepared for any speaking event that may come my way. I enjoy talking to people; it does not bother me to make phone calls or talk in front of large audiences, and I know that I am one step ahead because I have had the practice that many have not yet received. Because of my FFA background, I know that I will be able to excel in the career path I choose. 

Memoirs of Confused College Kid

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College is a great experience. It all starts with naive wonder that slowly meanders into a complete and utter confusion. I’m not going to lie, I have spent more time in the “complete and utter confusion” phase than I would like to admit. But there is good news; recently, I have started to see the silver lining on the edges of the clouds of utter confusion. 
So in between the tough classes, the difficult professors, the student loans, and the occasional identity crisis what is the silver lining? Even though all of these things can be confusing a scary, it is amazing to see how much you can learn from these struggles. The closer I get to graduating, the more I realize how much I have grown as a person during my college experience. When I started my collegiate journey at Rose State College, one of the most difficult challenges was leaving the comfort of my home that I had lived in my whole life to live on my own. At first it was lonely and challenging but the more time I spent away the more I appreciated my family and the more confident I became in my own independence. The next big challenge at Rose State was managing my social life, my athletic life, and my academic life. In high school, managing sports and academics was a breeze since most of the teachers were coaches or the coursework was not challenging enough for it to matter. College was very different. At first it was stressful, but I soon learned the importance of time management and prioritizing. The next challenge I encountered was transferring to the University of Oklahoma to finish my degree. When transferring from a relatively small college to a world-renowned university, it’s safe to say there is an intimidation factor that corresponds with a transfer. No matter how confident I was in my skills, I still wondered if I would be smart enough for the coursework, or if I would be completely overwhelmed with large classes. Even though the course-work is more difficult, I have realized that the challenge is a welcomed surprise that has greatly contributed to the amount I have learned and retained as well as my confidence in my abilities to face challenges. The larger class sizes were also a welcomed change, even though it was overwhelming I now look at it as an opportunity to meet new people and learn how to adapt to new situations.

A New Start

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Growing up, I had a love for the sport of soccer that no one could take away from me. I played with my closest friends, creating some of the greatest memories imaginable. As we all got older, many of my friends lost their love for the game, I however kept going. As my senior year began, I was faced with a hard decision: to play at the college level or let the game end after 12 years. When graduation got closer, so did the stress of college and scholarships and everything in between. I received a call from a few colleges asking me to play for their school, one in particular being Rose State College in Midwest City, Oklahoma. My first thought of the offer was not positive, in fact it was so negative I ruled it out completely, thinking there was no way I was going to a junior college. My egotistical attitude got the best of me on that one, but after contemplation and advice from my ever so wonderful parents, I decided to join the Rose State Women’s Soccer team. Let me tell you, it was the most humbling, uplifting, exciting, terrible, and all so worth it decision I have ever made. 
    There were many factors weighing into my final choice, one being the location. Rose State was not even an hour from my home town, which is far enough to have some freedom, yet close enough to still feel like home. Scholarships were also a huge part because I was fortunate enough to receive a completely full ride. Rose State even covered my morning coffee (which is much needed when you are learning how to juggle the big kid life of being a college student.) Plus, at the time of my commitment, Rose State had just established a soccer team, which makes me apart of the inaugural team, also making for a cool story later on. All of these attributes made me have a change of heart, and then made me a Rose State Raider. 
    The August after graduating high school, I moved into a cute little apartment in Moore, Oklahoma with a very random teammate of mine from Houston, and a friend from high school who also joined the team. My advice to you after this living experience is this: Do not live with people you have never met and do not live friends who do not share the same living habits as you, it doesn’t end well. Once I was settled in and ready to start my career as a college athlete, my life turned into a roller coaster. But not the fun roller coasters you see at the county fair, no. The roller coasters at six flags that make you cry tears of fear and tears of joy, and you are too rushed with adrenaline to even tell them apart. That story however, is for another day. 

Jumping Back In 

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This past week was my first week back from Christmas break. I went into the class PR Pubs with no idea what to expect or even what PR Publications was. I was excited to see what this class was all about and get a feel for how the rest of the semester would go.

​My first day of class my teacher, Croom had everyone go around the room and introduce themselves and if they had any experience with Adobe applications. I soon learned many of my classmates had little experience with anything Adobe and that we would all be jumping into this class with little prior knowledge or skills. I liked that we introduced ourselves and the level of experience we had with Adobe because it helped me feel more comfortable with my little experience. Croom told us that this class was going to help us become familiar and work with Adobe applications and that he was invested in helping us create our best work. Croom then instructed the class to write about their favorite spot on campus. I thought this was a fun way to get some practice in on blogging and get to learn more about everyone in the class. Our only homework assignment was to watch the movie “Inside Out” if we hadn’t seen it which sounded interesting and easy enough. 

The second day of class I came in having watched the the movie “Inside Out,” and we then watched a video about how the story and plot was created. All of the class wrote down anything they thought contributed to creating the story during the video. After watching the video, we split up into groups of four and did and activity where you divided sticky notes (with key points on how the story was created from video) and put them into five categories. The five categories were empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. These 5 categories will be used throughout the entire semester when we are creating and brainstorming our projects/assignments. Croom taught us that these five categories when brainstorming and creating are almost never used in a linear order, but more of a circle and that you can jump from category to category, For example, you could have a prototype ready on what you think is a good project but then jump back to the empathize category because your project could be lacking something. 

Overall, this week was interesting and a smooth way to ease back into school after the long break. The video we watched and activity we did helped make learning about the five categories for creating more interesting and applicable. I think using these 5 categories when I am creating a project will help me tremendously and a great tool to look back on. I am excited to see what the rest of the semester will be like!

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My Favorite Place

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When you think of your favorite place in the whole world what do you think of? Perhaps you think of Disney World or Greece or even Spain. When I think of my favorite place what immediately comes to mind is the country Zambia. Many of you are thinking where even is that? Well let me explain Zambia is a country located in southeast Africa and 3 years ago is when I first heard of this place. 
My friend Meredith had been doing mission work there for over 5 years with the nonprofit organization Family Legacy which I mentioned in my last blog post. She is the one who introduced me to this magnificent country and it will always hold a special place in my heart. 
Zambia is a country of poverty where most people live on less than a dollar a day. This country also has the highest youth dependency ratio of any country in the world at 91.8%. That means more than half of the population is under the age of 16. In this country there are millions of orphaned children. In a country with such poverty I thought once I got there I would be surrounded by sadness and darkness but it was quite the opposite. The people in this country have such hope and love for the people around them. These people who have so little are happier than people I know in the United States.

Outside In

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‘>PictureThis screen grab from the children’s movie “Inside Out” shows the characters Anger, Disgust, Joy, Fear and Sadness. (Photo from

This week I learned that PR Pubs class is going to focus on developing content creatively using Adobe applications. I also decided I’m really excited for this class!

On the first day of class, Croom gave us some fun and unique homework. We had to watch the children’s movie “Inside Out.” I had seen the movie recently so it was fresh in my mind. The next class he showed us a video about the creation of this film. This video was called “The Story of the Story.” Ironically, this video gave us a view from the outside, in. It focused on the complicated brainstorming process behind the creation of “Inside Out.” Brainstorming will be a valuable tool in PR Pubs.

We also completed an exercise in which we posted sticky notes under five different brainstorming categories on the white board. The categories were Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. The sticky notes each defined a different element in the “Inside Out” brainstorming process. We will focus on these five categories throughout the semester. An important thing to remember about brainstorming is it never flows in a straight, consistent line. It’s more like a circular motion in which you’re always moving back and forth between the five categories until you come up with something, as Croom likes to say,  “good.” 

This week in class we discussed five steps in the brainstorming process: Empathize, Define, Ideate, Prototype and Test. (Photo from

Hi I’m Sami and My favorite spot on campus is…

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My name is Sami Canavan and I’m a PR junior at the University of Oklahoma. Funny story: I started out as an architecture major. I couldn’t quite find my place in the studio so I switched to business. It turns out my brain doesn’t have any space for economics or calculus, so I transferred to advertising. That wasn’t the perfect fit, either, so here I am as a PR major and loving it. I’m also minoring in Italian, which is pretty unique, I know. I chose it because of my family’s heritage and my curiosity in the culture. Studying abroad for a month in Italy sealed the deal. I would love to live in Tuscany one day, but for now I am sitting in my first day of PR Pubs and eager to dive into Adobe this semester. 

Our instructor, Adam Croom, just gave us our first assignment: Write a blog post about your favorite spot on campus. So, here I go.

My favorite spot on this big and beautiful campus is the student section of the Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium. Those aluminum bleachers have witnessed some of my best memories at OU. They’ve seen my freshman acquaintances transform into lifelong friends; they’ve felt me get overly excited about a caught pass; and they’ve definitely been there that time I over-indulged on a Chick-fil-A sandwich AND corndog. 

The whole campus is great, but I love the student section of the football stadium most because it’s where I’ve been able to put all the stress of school and work aside to spend time with the people who have had the most impact on my college experience. 

This rendering of the Oklahoma Memorial Stadium from Commercial Property Executive displays the stadium’s recent renovations.