We’ve made it this far!

In my short 21 years on this earth, I’ve grown up in a small town, graduated high school, survived  four years living away from mommy and daddy, and now I’m finally about to leave Otterbein for the real (big, scary) world.

My key to survival? Keeping my faith, working towards goals, and laughing. As a PR major and because I’m graduating in a few short months, my main focus right now is figuring out my calling in life. What’s the big picture? I’m documenting my day-to-day journey and just sharing what makes me laugh. Hopefully something I say can either inspire you, serve as advice, or at least get you to crack one little smile!

In addition to blogging, this site is also serving as my professional portfolio. In the Professional Experience section, you can find my qualifications, resume, and samples of some of the work I’ve done over the last four years. Enjoy!

4 things graduating seniors are tired of hearing

Graduation is right around the corner, and by that I mean 47 days, 22 hours, and 19 minutes away.

This milestone is a close to one chapter in our books and the beginning to another. It’s one I am both excited and afraid of all at the same time.

Being that it’s pretty common for people in my position to be nervous, anxious and/or confused, you wouldn’t believe the amount of people that think I have it all together, and a 10-year plan for my future. I DON”T. Unless you’re one of the few graduates that are moving away to some fabulous job opportunity, I think I speak for most seniors that are tired of hearing the following comments and questions.

1. So what are you going to do when you graduate?

Answer: I don’t know. I know some people have plans and jobs made but I don’t. And every time I am asked and I have to answer honestly, I feel a little bit worse about that. When I get a job, you’ll know; I’ll be shouting it from the rooftops!

2. It doesn’t matter what you know, but who you know.

So my last four years in class mean nothing? It does too matter a little bit what you know. I understand networking is one of the most powerful tools I can use, but at least try to pretend to believe that all the theories, research and papers mean something.

3. You might have to move back in with mom and dad.

Yes, it’s a possibility. But do you have to make it sound like such a bad thing? There are very few graduates, in my humble opinion, that have a strong desire to move back home but it often happens. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But we want to make that decision on our own. If we have to move home, we’re going to make the most of it, so don’t make it sound like we are failures for it!

4. Don’t ever graduate.

The amount of recent graduates that tell me “Don’t ever leave college.” aren’t really making me excited for the life after graduation. I know that these are the last few days of care-free fun but I’d like to think that there’s still reasons to celebrate after I get my diploma.

I don’t want to me marked as a ‘Pessimistic Patty’ and I  really do appreciate everyone’s concern in advice. Graduation is a bittersweet milestone for me. As cliche as it is, I love college. I’ve made great friends, memories and learned so much. Although it’s been an amazing four years, I’m ready to be more independent and hopefully make more money than I’m spending!

I don’t know what the future holds but maybe, for once, it’s a good thing!

Recap: my cruise around New Zealand

HELLO, finally! I’ve been extremely behind on pretty much everything since I got back! Here’s a recap of everything that happened on the last two weeks of my trip.

Monday morning, January 20th, we boarded the Celebrity Solstice cruise ship. We were assigned a small inside cabin with two beds and a bed that came out of the ceiling for myself and my two roommates Lauren and Rachel. The ship was amazing. We loved the unlimited buffet, hot tubs and pools! We were docked in Sydney for the night so after our first dinner on the ship, we headed out to Argyle, one of our favorite spots in Sydney. We spent the next day exploring the city one last time and saying our goodbyes to Australia.

The next day was our first day at sea. we had our first cruise class where the event coordinator of the ship came and spoke to us. after class we all hit the hot tub and pool deck! It was quickly easy to see that the majority of the other passengers were over the age of 65 so our group stuck out like a sore thumb. Even though it wasn’t what we expected, we made friends with a few other young passengers as well as cruisers of all ages that we loved!

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The 23rd we were in Tasmania. We boarded a bus and were driven to a beautiful winery. We were taken out by the vines, into the wine-making areas, and then downstairs to a wine tasting in the barrel-storage area. We tried a whole bunch of different wines, given pouring lessons, and a fancy cheese tray. Outside the winery was a really cool outdoor concert venue with teepees, huge cushions and art displays.

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Afterwards we headed to Cascades brewery. Upon arrival, we learned that we were all required to wear long pants, socks, closed-toed shoes and neon vests. They had a collection of old warn sweats, socks and pants for us all to wear on the tour. We toured the brewery and then had a tasting of their beers when we were done.

The next two days we were crossing the Tasman Sea where there was constant waves and bad weather. One night there was a storm with 30-foot swells and waves crashing against the fourth floor of the ship. It was a rough couple of days and a lot of us were seasick, but we still had class. Multiple cruise officers from the all of the departments on the cruise came and talked about their jobs and the industry. It was great to get to know and have access to the hotel director, entertainment director, captain, etc. Because there wasn’t great weather, we had to make our own entertainment. We did a lot of hot-tubbing, eating, playing games, etc. We went to dinner every night, including formal night and really begin to love our waiters. After dinner we would usually go to a show and then either the casino or dancing. The show was different every night; I even was on stage for the magician one night!

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On the third day we were at sea, we were going in and out of the Sounds. Beautiful tree-covered mountains lined both sides of the ship. It was also Australia Day so we all wore our favorite gear we bought while in Manly to Skybar and met up with some of our favorite cruisers! That was also our second formal night so we got all dolled-up for dinner and the show.

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On the 27th we were all thanking the Lord we were finally back on land in Dunedin! We got to go to the Cadbury Chocolate Factory! The tour was about an hour long but the best part was the big silo. We went inside the top of a huge silo and there was a ‘chocolate monster’ that unleashed a downpour of melted chocolate that scared the poop out of us. The next stop was Speights Brewery. It was by far my favorite brewery that we toured. After we toured through a history display and production area, we had an awesome self-serve tasting.

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The next day we boarded a tender and we taken to Akaroa. We then took an hour and a half bus ride to Christchurch. We first stopped at a famous cathedral that was extremely damaged by the earthquake in 2011. Then we went to a container mall. Many retailers lost their buildings because of the quake and so they made a cool mall out of shipping crates. That day was Emily’s birthday so our professors made reservations at the fancy French restaurant on the ship. Everything was very elegant  and we had some amazing food.

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That night there was a dancing competition called ‘Dancing with the stripes.’ The competition was for 12 couples comprised of one cruiser and one cruise employee. We had one of our guys, Lee, paired up with one of the officers, Angie. They had to dance to multiple genres and songs including the Tango and Gangnam Style. The best was the ‘interpretive dance’ of the Titanic theme song. Of course, our couple won because of our obnoxious cheering. It was hands down, one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a long long time.

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We were in Wellington the 29th. We toured a local museum and then got to sit in on a class at the culinary school Cordon Bleu. Afterwards we had free time to explore the city and do some shopping! The following day we were in Napier. We had a virtual vineyard tour and wine tasting which was really neat. In a theater, we were virtually flown to 12 different wineries in the area and sampled a wine from each!

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The 31st was our last day at sea. We had our final presentations in the morning and then the rest of the day to ourselves. It was our last formal night so eight of us decided to pair up for a ‘prom-style date night.’ We took pictures and toasted our final formal dinner together with our amazing waiters Victor and Joseph!

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February 1st we hit Taurunga. We had the entire day free so some people went on excursions while the rest of us explored the beach and the town. The next day we were in the Bay of Islands. Being our last day, we all booked a sand boarding excursion. We took a tender from the cruise ship to the dock, an hour-long bus ride, and then another boat to the sand dunes. Basically you climb to the top of a sand hill and boogie board down it. It was an all-day event that was really fun, even though I was no good! I ate at least a gallon of sand.

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After we got back to the ship we packed up. We went to dinner, the casino and dancing one last time. The next morning we spent a few hours disembarking and gathering our luggage and then headed to a hotel in Auckland. It was the day of the Super Bowl even though it was a Monday there. After the game was over we headed for the airport.There were lines and cranky people everywhere. And the majority of us had overweight luggage. So after we finally all get checked in we find out our flight was delayed 3 hours. So we were trapped for 5 hours in the airport, again. We surprisingly had a few good laughs and eventually boarded the plane.

When we landed after 14 hours of flying, we all headed for baggage claim. I had already missed my connecting flights but the others in my group still had hope of making theirs. We said our very dramatic and emotional goodbyes and of course I was a hot mess.

After we split up, it took me over 2 hours to get new connections to get home and it ended up that the group missed their flight too. Both of our rescheduled flights left later that night so we all had a 6 hour layover. I ended up meeting back up with everyone to hang out and for dinner.

Eventually, I boarded a flight to Atlanta that I was hoping to sleep on, which I didn’t. In Atlanta I had an hour layover before I finally boarded the final leg to Columbus. I was so happy to see my mother when she picked me up but I could barely keep my eyes open on the way home! It took me about a week after I got back to adjust to the sleeping schedule; jetlag sucks!

Overall, it was one of the best trips of my life. I visited some of the most amazing places and met wonderful people. I grew especially close to the group from the University of Delaware that I was traveling with. I recommend anyone still in college with the opportunity to study abroad to take advantage of it. Go by yourself and be pushed outside your comfort zone. I couldn’t have asked for a better experience unless it would have been a month longer!

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Moving On

Hello once again!

Our time in Manly has come to a bittersweet end. Over the past week we have made some more amazing memories! Tuesday we all went to the beach and then stayed in town for the night. Wednesday, all 24 of us snagged cabs to Sydney’s Scary Canary. It was an interesting time but not really my cup of tea.

Friday night was great. Our professors organized a fancy shmancy dinner for us. We all got dressed up (some of the guys even voluntarily wore suits) and took pictures. We had a room reserved for dinner that had a balcony at the school with an amazing view. Upon arrival we were handed a champagne-filled flute. For dinner our entree (they call appetizers entrees) we had a shrimp and noodle salad served with a Sauvignon Blanc. We were then served kangaroo with risotto. The roo was SO GOOD! It tasted somewhat like a roast beef or venison. With it we had a glass of Cabernet For dessert we had a chocolate cake with strawberries and chocolate sauce, served with a port wine.

Afterwards the school hosted a ‘disco’ with all of the other groups staying at ICMS. When we got there, everyone was standing around, bored, and no one was on the dance floor. Us Americans changed that! Our group stormed the dance floor and just had a blast all dancing and laughing together.

Saturday we bought tickets to go the Ivy in Sydney. This is supposedly the club where celebrities go when they are in town. although we didn’t see any, we still had an awesome time! It was like a club out of the movies. There were so many different levels, bars, rooms, clubs, etc. that we got lost many times. My favorite was the pool. There was a 70′s theme and everything was decorated spectacularly. There was an awesome DJ inside that had crazy effects, smoke machines, fire blasting and bedazzled show girls. It was a site to see!

Yesterday my roommate and I got some last-minute things done. We slept in, shopped for souvenirs and prepared for our last final this morning. For dinner, our whole group headed to one of our favorite spots, the Ivanhoe, for a relaxing dinner and glass of wine. I had the most amazing salmon cakes!

This morning we took a final and now we are packing and getting ready to leave for our cruise. For the next two weeks we will be cruising around New Zealand and I won’t have much access to the internet so until next time…….

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1 Week Down…

So much has happened this week, yet it feels like its flown by! We’ve offically spent 1 week here in Manly, Australia! My group is really starting to get to know each other and have a lot of fun!

Last week we were getting adjusted to our new home and had lots of class and homework. We had our first wine tasting in class on Wednesday which was very interesting. One day after class our group headed into Manly and met at our favorite place in town. There’s four levels including an amazing rooftop with modern seating and a small bar. We had a wonderful view, great place and good drinks to enjoy!

By the time Friday came around, we were all so ready for some time off! Twelve of us decided to do the Sydney Harbor Bridge climb. We took the ferry over to Sydney and had to climb just to get to the bridge. We were given oh-so-fashionable (not) jumpsuits, gear and lots of instructions. We climbed up 1 ,332 steps to the very top and it was totally worth it! We got lots of pictures and even a funny video of our group. Afterwards, we went out to explore the Sydney night life. It was interesting to see; they listen to almost all American music, but put it to house music. Overall, Friday was definitely the highlight of the trip thus far!

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Saturday was our first 100% free day with great weather. The girls (there’s 15 of us) were ready to bake on the beach! Although there’s a very popular beach near us, we opted for a local favorite: what we call ‘the rocks.’ There’s tons of huge, natural rocks that border the ocean and make a great spot to set up camp. Here in Australia, there’s no ozone layer so the sun is much more powerful. We went through an entire bottle of sunscreen because we had to reapply so much.

photo 5 photoAfter the gorgeous day at the beach we headed to a nice restaurant for Josh’s- one of the guys in our group – birthday. I had an amazing crab pasta. Afterwards we all went out and explored Manly a little more.

Sunday morning we saw Illusionists 2.0 at the Sydney Opera House. It was a good show, but not my favorite. Although it is cool to say we’ve seen a show in such an iconic venue.

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This week we have two midterms, five quizzes, and two finals along with group project work. It’s a bit overwhelming and especially hard to study when you have 80-degree weather and a beach within walking distance. Wish me luck!

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Down Under: We’re finally here!

Hello from Manly, New South Wales!

I’m finally here, and settled in with the whole group! We’re staying at the International College of Management Sidney. We’re about a 20 minute ferry ride from Sidney. It’s gorgeous here; I can’t even begin to try to explain it.

The campus used to be a convent in the 1800s so the architecture is beautiful. I’m staying in a double. The rooms are clean, but nothing special. It’s great through; I feel like I’m living in a freshman dorm all over again.

Fun Facts: Nicole Kidman and Keith Urban had their wedding at this school. It’s also the mansion from the Great Gatsby movie!

The school itself sits on a huge hill; you can’t even see the top from the bottom. The walk from the school, down the hill and into town is 10-15 minutes of steep incline.

Upon everyone’s arrival, we had a tour of the campus. Aside from our group of 26, there’s a group from Brazil, Germany and from New York staying on campus as well. The school provided us with a barbecue dinner outside. It was great with a gorgeous view!

We got dressed up, took pictures, and just got to know each other better. I really like the group I’m here with. I’m the only one not from the University of Delaware but they’ve been really inviting and fun to be with.

After the barbeque we went back and hung out in one of the bigger rooms. Eventually all 24 of us went out to explore Manly.  There’s an awesome beach and a ton of restaurants and shops throughout. It was a great first night out.

Today, Tuesday, we had breakfast at 7:30 a.m. and class at 8:00. Because it was the first day, we just got a brief idea of what coursework would be required. Then our professors took us into Sidney. We toured the Opera House which was really cool.

We then walked for about an hour (in dresses) to where we were supposed to eat lunch. Meat pies are a cultural staple so we decided to all try one…not my thing. It’s basically weird roast beef with a blob of potatoes on top.

By this point everyone was tired so we began the journey back to Manly. Tonight it’s raining so we may just stay in and get delivery for dinner. We have a quiz tomorrow and lots of reading to do too. Everyone’s tired and sore so we will probably just all hang around the dorm tonight – so college. Until next time..

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