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