When one door closes, another one opens

Well, I never thought I’d be here. When I first started this blog, I planned on it being an online forum for all of my work as a student journalist, then in my journalism career. Oh, how quickly things can change.

As of this afternoon at about 3:30 p.m., I am officially a holder of a Postgraduate Certificate in public relations from Humber College (pending graduation of course). My career path has taken a 180 degree turn, and I have realized that keeping a blog relevant is MUCH harder than I thought.

But I digress. My time at Humber was simultaneously the busiest, scariest, most fulfilling eight months of my life, but I got through it. And now, I’m moving on to an incredible internship opportunity at High View Communications for the summer. With any luck, it won’t be another four months before I post on here again … buuut if it is, just check out my work with High View!

🙂

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Uncharted Territory

Sarah Bareilles has a song called Uncharted. Although the lyrics say “this is no broken heart, no familiar scars, this territory goes uncharted” she is not talking about navigating her way through the minefield that is being in love. She isn’t heartbroken, nothing is going horrifically wrong in her life as a whole … the thing is that there is nothing going on at all. She just can’t find something to write about, so she wrote Uncharted about writers’ block.

Writer’s block sneaks up on the best of us, when we least expect it. But what exactly is the difference between not finding anything to write about, and just plain not writing? In my opinion, writer’s block is the same thing as good old fashioned procrastination, and for me, it came around Christmas time.

Christmas morning at the Erickson House

Let me preface this by apologizing. I’ve been neglecting this online journal, and for the people who read it (there are only about 5 of them) I left you precious few with nothing to read.

So Christmas …well, exam time, really. The last time I wrote was in November, so I put off writing to prepare for my exams. Sounds plausible, right? After that, the hurricane of turkey dinners and gift wrapping that is Christmas was upon us, and who really has time to blog during the holidays? After Christmas came the start of the second semester, and lo and behold – it’s February 3rd and there is still nothing.

Let’s be clear here. I chose to write about nothing, it wasn’t that I didn’t have anything to write about. During exam period I could have used the cathartic release of writing to get me through, and who can’t find something to write about during Christmas? Recipes, pictures and stories, family stories are all gold for blog success.

If I was to take a page from Sarah Bareilles, I could have found fodder for my blog in my love life. Long distance relationships provide their fair share of happiness rollercoasters, so why didn’t I? Why didn’t I will myself to find something to write about?As much as I would rather not chalk it up to laziness, I will admit that I was procrastinating. Ironically, I wrote a speech about procrastination this week in PR Presentation Skills … maybe that will be the topic of my next blog ..

Here’s hoping that next time won’t be too far away. Until then! 🙂

These are a few of my favourite things.

In Public Relations, we are constantly being told about the importance of social media. Twitter, Facebook, blogs like this one – they are all important parts of representing yourself or your company online, building your own online brand. But there are those sweet, sacred times when updating your own social media turns into looking at what everyone else does. Whether I’m finding inspiration from the tweets of others, or trolling the internet for new Tumblr ideas, getting inspiration from others is a big part of what I do to involve myself in social media. As my Social Media professor, Andrea Tavchar always says, “you have to listen to the conversation, before you can join it.”

So in honour of the role social media plays in my life, I thought that should share some of my favourite sources of inspiration, time wasting, and envy.

The first thing I want to do when I’ve moved into a new house, like my new Toronto spot, is cook. I want to explore the kitchen, stock the fridge, and unpack my cookbooks. Not Without Salt has given me ample inspiration for recipes to try in my new kitchen.  The bacon caramelsFrench baguettes and fennel pollen shortbread not only have me salivating, but the photography is almost enough to distract me form my cooking dreams. The creator, Ashley Rodriguez, is a chef, author and photographer extraordinaire.  I just wish I could embed pictures!

My amazing, fashionable friend Britt introduced me to the most epic time waster of all time. We Heart It is a crowd sourcing website that allows incredible young photographers and graphic designers upload their creations, and lets photography fans, like me, create their own albums. What I see makes me smile, and with winter fast-approaching, I’ve been trolling the site to  find pretty pictures. Maybe I’ll frame some over Christmas …

A bed fit for a dream from Urban Outfitters.

Dresses to die for from Banana Republic.

With Christmas coming up, I’ve been searching my online repertoires to find the perfect gifts for the people in my life … and maybe looking a little for my own Santa’s list too. Banana Republic, J. Crew and Urban Outfitters have deep online  catalogues that always manage to woo me away from my homework. Even pictures of fashionable people, like from The Sartorialist or Toronto’s very own Blog T.O has a great Street Style section, provide inspiration for what I plan on looking like (or imagine myself to look like) at upcoming holiday parties.

So there you go, a few of my favourite things – online of course. What are a few of your favourite things?


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

STU athletes accused of hazing after teammate’s death

For the last two years of my undergraduate degree at St. Thomas University, I was the President of the Student Athlete Council, where I represented student athletes from across campus to the staff, faculty, and other students. My time in this position involved organizing events, fundraisers and holding meetings with the other members; I was lucky to never face controversy.

This year’s president, Jason Cassidy, is not so lucky. He represents a group of student athletes during one of the toughest times that the STU Athletic Department has ever faced; a police inquiry into the accidental death of a male volleyball player, and a hazing accusation.

The Incident

Andrew Bartlett was found dead in his apartment on October 24th, after a night of partying with the men’s volleyball team. Bartlett had just been named a rookie to the team, and was celebrating with his friends and teammates. While autopsy results are still being waited on, accusations of being forced to drink and being hazed quickly followed his death.

Andrew Bartlett, STU men's volleyball team member

As a past student-athlete, I know what reputation rookie parties have.  After violent hazing incidents stemming from football and hockey teams in the US, the public is quick to condemn any parties where first year athletes are welcomed to the team. However, smoke does not always indicate fire.

The Issue

Rookie parties are used to welcome first year players to the team, and build camaraderie and mutual respect within the ranks.  The idea is that while a rookie is dressed up and given tasks, they will become closer one another, and eager to impress the rest of the team. When everything is said and done, the seniors respect the rookies for putting up with embarrassing costumes and games, and the rookie feels welcomed into the family.

In Bartlett’s case, as most other rookie parties, alcohol was clearly involved. However, Bartlett and his teammates were all above the age of majority, and no one was forced to consume alcohol or participate in any of the events. So was his cause of death any different from a regular party with non-athlete friends? Hazing accusations are undeserved when the same results could have happened at a birthday party, or after a night on the town. The mere fact that his death occurred after a party with athletes does not imply that he was hazed.

Feel free to share your thoughts on hazing, and your condolences for Andrew’s family, friends and teammates.

My Toronto Spot

My favorite “Toronto spot” isn’t easily accessible. Up the pathway, around a corner, through the park and down the hill. Finally, when your lungs sting and your eyes water from the wind, you’re there.

There are about 6 km of gravel path that snake between the campus of Humber College Lakeshore, and the Humber Sailing Club. In this nature conservation park, past the bundled up dog-walkers and the Canada Geese, is my favorite spot in the city.  It’s a lookout that juts into Lake Ontario, exactly at the halfway point on my running route. From there, when I turn around, I am stunned by the view that confronts me – Every. Single. Time.

My view from the lookout

I came to Toronto from Halifax, Nova Scotia, so you would think that I came to the wrong place if I wanted a pretty view on the water. But from this spot, I can see a perfectly clear image of the Toronto city skyline, and it reminds me of why I moved here in the first place. I forget about the fact that I’m sweating through my shirt, or that I’ve still got another 5km to run.

The view makes me feel like I’m not that far away from home. Instead of thinking about being overwhelmed with readings and papers and life preparation, I start thinking about how seagulls sound the same on a lake as they do on the ocean.

Toronto and Halifax look eerily similar when you’re looking at them from across the water. What’s your favorite place to go in T.O ?

Home sweet Halifax


Bright lights in the Big Smoke

The Next Chapter

Hello again! I’ve come back to the fabulous world of wordpress, thanks to a push from my new social media professor, one Ms. Andrea Tavchar.

I’ve moved from Fredericton to Toronto, and am now a proud member of the post-graduate Public Relations Certificate at Humber College in Toronto. It’s been an overwhelming, but refreshing change of scenery. Who knew running in the city was so challenging? Maybe the amount of dodging traffic I’ll be doing here will be enough to simulate Ed Welch’s famous volleyball practices. I was sad to leave my friends, teammates and colleagues at St. Thomas, but I couldn’t be more excited to be surrounded by so many like-minded, Type A personalities! We’re all eager to enter the world of public relations, and maybe find out a little bit more about ourselves on the way.

Stay tuned to find out what I’m up to here in the Big Smoke .. does anyone even know why they call it that??   🙂

http://www.humber.ca/program/04561

Bathing suit season: are we fighting a losing battle?

Scene 1: I’m in a tiny, locked room. There are mirrors on all four walls, forcing me to examine myself from all angles. The overhead lighting is making my winter white skin glow and, oh yeah, I’m naked. No, this isn’t a torture scene from a horror movie, and I’m not a prisoner of war – I’m bathing suit shopping (arguably more terrifying than both).

Scene 2: I’m in the checkout line at the grocery store, but I’m not alone. To my right is Jessica Simpson, tanned and toned in a bikini on the cover of magazine a). To my left is a supermodel whose name I’m not familiar with, but whose bared abs I’ve imagined on myself in dreams. She’s calling out to me from the cover of magazine b), telling me to try out her “Top 10 Butt Blasters”. These two ladies in line with me are indicating one glaring truth; bathing suit season is coming.

If there is a woman out there who is unfamiliar with either of these scenes, I’d like to meet her, because I sincerely think she would be fictional. Women of all shapes and sizes are currently sweating it out on the elliptical machine, throwing out their cookie boxes and buying tanning packages in anticipation of having to try on a piece (or two) of polyester-blend fabric.

Photo Courtesy of Glamour Magazine

In society today, women are convinced to believe that they need to lose weight in order to be beautiful. Artfully concealed, the idea often takes the form of magazine articles talking about healthy living, where calorie monitoring and fitness goals are the message. Print and TV advertisements feature thin models with tanned skin and women across Canada take these images to be the ideal.

This month’s edition of Glamour magazine features an article called “Bikini Blast: Four Weeks to Flatter Abs”. The first sentence reads, “Lose weight and tone your tummy, just in time for swimsuit season … you’ll be 100 percent ready to take on the beach—looking and feeling your sexiest.” But wait. What if “feeling my sexiest” doesn’t involve eighteen different kinds of sit-ups? Articles like this, in one of North America’s most popular women’s magazine, lead us to believe that we’re not good enough as we are, but that the key to feeling good is losing weight, and sculpting those abs.

To make matters worse, we are led to believe that the articles in magazines like In Style, Cosmopolitan and Glamour want you to feel comfortable, “dress for your shape” they say. But what does that really mean? If you’re bigger, dress to conceal it. If you have a small chest, push it up. If you’re pear-shaped, read up on what will make you look like a carrot. We are encouraged to make your body look differently than it does naturally, not to encourage our beautiful shapes.

The truth that no one wants to accept is that mourning the loss of your favourite dessert or doing abdominal crunches until you pass out will get you nowhere. You’ll only be cranky and craving sugar once you hit the beach, no happier with yourself than you were before the whole ordeal.

So I say, forget it. Wear what you want to wear, and don’t stress out if you’ve picked up a couple of extra pounds of the winter months. Enjoy the weather, take a walk, have a cookie (or three) if you want to. It’s time for women to decide what we want to look like, not have someone else tell us.