Saturday, September 27, 2014

College Life: Looking Back

Currently, I am sitting outside the library at my old college during a prospective student day.  I remember when I came to the campus day and had a day full of campus tours, meeting people and in general gathering a ton of information.  I had no clue that this place would become such a key into who I'd become.

I entered college as a simple nerd that coasted though high school getting As because it wasn't a challenge.  To be honest, college wasn't much more difficult, but it did have a few classes that gave me a bunch of challenges and even changed the course of my career path.

Looking back, while I did learn an abundance of stuff that has put me in a great position in live, I think the personal/emotional growth that I went through was much greater.  Most people look a a school and rate the things that they value the most to decide where they want to go.  Some go just to follow a family legacy, and others still go with a career in mind.

Nevertheless the reason, one thing I found is true.  No matter where you decide to go, your college experience is what you make of it.  Every college provides events and activities, food (good or bad), a place to sleep and a place to learn.  Your experience will be rely solely on what you make of it.  If you want to go to classes, do homework, and watch Netflix all day you can do that.  If you want to be a 3-sport athlete you can do that.  If you want to not go to class and party all the time (which will probably shorten your time at college - I've known a few people that experienced this) you can do that.  If you find yourself dissatisfied with your college experience, it is probably no one's fault but your own.  You can get involved in tons of things, but it's up to you to allow yourself to be vulnerable to get involved.

I wanted more out of my college experience by my Junior year so I stepped it up big and got involved.  My college is a small 3000 student college that you could walk across in 10 minutes.  Even with a smaller college I was able to get involved in starting a fraternity (Pi Lambda Phi) on campus (acting as Secretary for 1.5 years), hosting a 2 hour radio show (once a week), being the radio station's Treasurer (1 year), and being Secretary of a poetry and literary magazine (1 year).  Getting involved made my last 2 years at college incredibly busy but incredibly beneficial to my own personal growth.

While I could continue to discuss my experiences, no experience will compare with it.  The general gist is college is what you make of it.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Life Hacks - Clever Solutions For Daily Life

Sometimes it is nice to just see something and think, "Hey, I could easily do that" and in doing so your life can improve in some way.  This is where Life Hacks come in.  Whether it's trying to improve your home, social life, or just looking for a creative solution, Life Hacks are there to make you think.  Below are a few of my favorites, but are by no means an all-inclusive.

There are so many more, but this is a small sample of things that you can do to improve your life!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Correlating Work and Pleasure

It has been far too long since I've sat down and written a blog post (nearly 4 months). Things are pretty calm today so I had some time to sit and read some articles.  Normally, I find myself reading BBC News, but nothing really stood out to me, so I took to Twitter. One of the newer tweets was from @JohnnFour a blogger for which is a Dungeons and Dragons Game Master Tips and Role-Playing Advice blog.

I hadn't read many posts for a while, but one specific one caught my eye. It was a SlideShare presentation by Ian Lurie, Internet Marketer at Portent, Inc. describing how Dungeons and Dragons can be correlated to internet marketing and SEO. Internet marketing and SEO are two things that I really am passionate about because it feels like the trade secrets and the underground info behind websites that allow you to strategize about how to ensure that your target market is being reached and pulled in. Being able to take a look at how people are getting to your site and where they go on the site is great because you can see trends and then plot out how to best hook the audience to stay on your site and learn more.

Just like a good DnD campaign, the GM should know what will tug at the heartstrings of the players to make them have to make some decisions. The GM can look at the situation and assess what needs to be done in the storyline/quest/campaign to keep the players hooked and interacting. The last thing a GM wants is to have to force the story onto the players and them to not be connected to the story.

Below is the presentation from Ian Lurie titled Everything I Needed to Know About Marketing I Learned Playing Dungeons and Dragons

I take a lot of pride in my work as a Website Designer and after reading through this presentation, it really opened my eyes into how much I can use my relaxation/fun time of Dungeons and Dragons and correlate it to my work life. When I started working for the company I'm at now, they had us work through a process to determine what our unique ability is, this was something that should not be specifically work related and I was able to immediately take the resources that we collected during the process to create my unique ability (and no, it isn't entirely about creating run-on sentences).

My Unique Ability Statement is:
My unique ability is to Analyze and Design experiences to provide new perspective to elicit emotion. 

This statement is concise, but it sums up what I do all the time during work and free time. During work, my job is to design landing pages, banners, and imagery that entice people to want to book a vacation at a location or book a promotion with certain carrier. To do this I have to analyze the images and information to best design something that expresses the company as well as creating something that will make someone consider a destination based on an image. The same can be said for my free time playing Dungeons and Dragons. As a GM my job is to create environments, situations, and experiences for the players that will keep them coming back for more and keeping them hooked week-to-week. While it isn't directly the same, the skills remain the same. In both situations, I have to get inside the mind of the recipient and determine what they would want to see to keep them hooked or to try to influence them in some manner to make them act in a different way.

Yes this sounds a little manipulative, but it is how the world of marketing works. We want you to buy a product you didn't know you needed because something we said or showed struck a chord with you. The best way to hone this skill is to continue using it and I feel that using this skill in Dungeons and Dragons will keep my skills sharp.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Big Wheel Keeps on Turning

What a crazy couple of weeks.  As to not going into much detail, the company I work for got bought out by one of the 2 owning companies setting my career path into a spiral of unknowns.  Luckily as of Monday that tailspin has finally stopped and things are returning back to normal again, but not without any changes. 

This change while it was stressful, has brought around a lot of good opportunities such as a promotion, an opportunity to move closer to work (hopefully no more hour plus one-way commutes) and the opportunity to move forward again and not having to worry about re-entering a job market right as all the new college graduates are entering it too.

Altogether, I am very grateful for all the opportunities that I have gotten and really hope that everything continues to go smoothly.  One of my college mentors posted a picture today that really sums up well how my time since graduation has gone

Most people assume that many big events are crossroads in life and that the path you take will lead you to definite success or definite failure.  In this case I don't mean definite as "you will fail or succeed regardless", but rather I mean that the final outcome will be judged as success or failure.  The hard part to envision is that you will probably never reach that final outcome because your life doesn't just stop because of a failure, you will continue down a path regardless of success or failure.  Yes it takes many failures to reach a success and it can be hard to bounce back from those failures, but when it comes down to it, you really will keep going down the path with some successes and some failures along the way.

You could easily hybridize these two graphs together by showing that there can be many victories along a path that can still end up as a failure or vice versa and that once you hit that success or failure, you really have to move forward onto the next branch of success or failure.

While it is easier said than done to move on from a failure, it does get easier to do the more it happens.  If you want people to join a cause you really believe in, you will find people that will straight up say "no" to supporting your cause. Because you are so gung-ho about  this idea/concept you feel defeated a little when people reject your idea, but as you keep talking with people and they keep expressing their opinions, you start to get used to it and you can easily move on to the next person.  Maybe on the first day, or the first week, or the first month of trying to get people to join a group, trying to find a job, trying to design/build something, etc., you may not have any luck, but after some time you start to overcome those failures and get back to the drawing board faster and faster and set yourself up to reach that success faster.

I know this is getting redundant, but when we live in a world where people judge each other based on success, it is relatively important that you view yourself as successful and not to care about what the world views you as.  If you see your life as successful it doesn't matter what others see your life as because success is based on how you feel and not about what others feel.

Success is walking from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm. ~Winston Churchill

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

NFL Season: Preseason

Today the NFL released the 2014-15 season preseason schedule and at first I was disappointed because the Bears had a Thursday night game because I would not get to watch it.  Then I felt a little better because they were playing the Jaguars and that it would be fine if I missed that because the Jaguars have been better.

Click for the full NFL Press Release with the preseason schedule.

Needless to say, as a football fan, seeing this brings me some joy as that means that soon Football will be back on for the weekends!

On Twitter @FauxJohnMadden posted a wonderful t-shirt design that should really exist because I know a few people would buy one. (Heck I might even get one).

It's even better that its one for the Lions, who always show well in preseason, but that's because they don't have to play the NFC North all the time.  The countdown begins, games start in Canton, OH on August 3rd at 8PM Eastern!

Have a great day!