Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Advise to Spring '08 Students

First of all, I'd like to begin by telling everyone that this class is probably one of the most beneficial classes at Clemson in regards to working with groups of people in real-world situations. We were given a task to complete by a client, and we all had to submit our proposal ideas so that he could pick the best one. This is a great example of working with a group of people to compete for something in the business world.

The best advice I can give new students is to communicate as much as possible. I was on the Design team and helped make the User Manual so our client (the American Haitian Foundation) would be able to update their Web site. This was difficult for us because we had to wait until the other groups finished the content of the Web site before we could explain how to update it. To make matters more difficult, our professor was out of town and we did not have "formal" class, so we had difficulty getting some of the people in other groups to come to class. Then, we tried to send out an email to remind people, but Blackboard didn't send it. Though annoying, these are things that happen on a daily basis and need to be dealt with accordingly.

This class is not academically challenging, but it promotes group cohesiveness and cooperation more than any class I have taken so far. It also provides advice for resumes, cover letters, and interviewing for jobs. We even had a "mock interview" to practice our interview skills. I definitely recommend this class!

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Yahoo Article

This type of interview method where potential employees are judged based on personality rather than credentials definitely has pros and cons. I had an interview this past Spring similar to this where we worked in teams to design games for kids (it was for a job as a camp counselor), and I thought this was a good idea because we would be working with each other all summer. For other jobs, I don't think this is completely necessary. I have a friend who is an absolute computer genius (Computer Engineering major) and can fix anything I manage to screw up on my computer, but he has terrible people and social skills. He is courteous and polite, but he is very shy and I can see him being a wallflower in this type of interview situation. Although he would probably be more capable of performing the job than all of the other candidates, his abilities would probably not shine through as well. So, if a certain job (working with computers, for example) does not require as much people skills, I think this type of interview would be completely unnecessary.

One thing I did like was the company that had all day interviews (9-10 hours long) because they said that "people can't BS for that long." I would do well in that type of situation because I am myself no matter how long I have to be a part of something. There are those people that are completely fake, but it is difficult to weed them out based on a 30 minute interview. An all-day interview (even though it would be a pain, especially if you didn't get the job), is the best way to get rid of those types of people. Another important thing the article said to watch out for was people being picked based on compatible personalities. A group of co-workers may have a blast going out for beer, but they may have terrible quality of work together.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Dual Coding Theory

Dual coding theory is used to make information "stick" with viewers. Viewers have difficulty remembering auditory or visual images alone, but when these processes are combined, viewers are much more likely to retain the information. However, the auditory information must complement the visual information rather than compete with it.

One example of a commercial demonstrating dual coding theory is a current Lee's jeans (for her) commercial. The commercial has a catchy song in the background and explains why these jeans fit your curves perfectly. Each part of the advertisement that described the "fit" of these jeans also had the actress doing something to demonstrate this. When the ad was talking about the slender fit of the legs, the actress was twirling around where the camera could get a great shot of her elongated legs. When the ad was talking about a slim waist, the actress was playfully shaking her hips. These images, along with the speaker and the fun music, makes the viewer remember these jeans as easy-going and meeting all of her needs.

Another example of a dual coding commercial is the Invisalign (alternative to braces) commercial. This commercial will have more impact than a radio ad discussing the process or pictures alone because the actors were smiling and enjoying themselves while the speaker discussed the many benefits of Invisalign. The viewers will now connect Invisalign to perfect smiles and good times.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Group Work

It seems like this semester has contained a vast amount of groupwork from each class. I think my generation has been exposed to group work at a young age, and I have felt comfortable with it for quite some time. Our "Bridging the Gap" group was successful because we had different talents to work on each aspect of the proposal. Derek and Bob were our creative geniuses that took care of all of the artistic work of the website, Kent was the delegator and knew how to do a little of everything, and Stefanie and I were the writers. I felt bad at first because I couldn't help with the computer design work, but I realized that they had no desire to write either, so it worked out well that everyone had different strengths.

Our group didn't have any miscommunication problems. I think we can attribute this to the fact that we met up and worked together for most of the project instead of trying to email documents back and forth. We had to do this a few times for editing purposes, etc., and I think this was difficult for Derek when Stefanie and I both emailed him grammar corrections for a document. I'm glad that we completed most of the project in person, because I can't imagine doing a whole project over email.

The most difficult part about groupwork is trying to coordinate five busy, busy schedules to find a time when everyone is free. This is the case for all groupwork, and it often means meeting at inconvenient times. Another difficulty for groupwork is delegating tasks, but Kent was our CEO and I think he did a good job with that.

The best part about groupwork, in my opinion, is getting to know a group of people that you ordinarily would not hang out with outside of class. I really enjoy meeting all kinds of people, and groupwork gives me the opportunitiy to do this. I enjoyed our group because we had a wide range of personalities, but we all got along really well and completed our proposal with little to no difficulties.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Current Happenings-Clemson Animal Welfare Society

Right now, CAWS is pretty busy!! Yesterday (Oct. 27th), we helped with American Family Day to raise money for our club. American Family Day is a company that specializes in corporate family days...companies pay AFD to plan a carnival-like event for all of their employees and families and, instead of having workers travel around the country, AFD hires local organizations to work the events and gives them a donation. We had 20 people work the event and got to raise $850 for CAWS, so it was definitely worthwhile! This was the second time we worked an event like this and the event itself is really easy to work (paint faces, help with crafts, etc.), but the clean-up is a pain because all of the carnival tents, games, etc. have to fit in one Enterprise truck. Luckily, the Clemson men's Rugby team was working that day also, so they got to lift all of the heavy things : )

Next Saturday, (Nov. 3rd), CAWS is going to Asheville to help with the Wolfdog Rescue. As I mentioned in class, this rescue is a sanctuary for the "wolfdogs" in the mountains that are a problem due to wild dogs breeding with wolves. The animals have a difficult time because they have too many domesticated traits to make it in the wilderness with the wolves, but not many people want to adopt a dog that is half wolf. There are quite a few wolfdogs that are really loving and some have found great homes. I've never been to this rescue before, so I'm excited to find out more.

CAWS is also advertising our first annual calendar fundraiser. Everyone is encouraged to enter! Submit a photo of your pet showing "Clemson spirit" (be creative--it doesn't have to just be a costume). Right now the deadline is November 2nd, but we are considering extending it because we haven't even received 12 entries so far. The entry fee is $10 per photo entered, and you can enter more than one photo to increase your odds. The top twelve picks will earn spots in the calendar, a free calendar, and a customized bag of your pet's favorite treats. The top two photos will also win a $25 Petsmart giftcard. Talk to me to learn more or download the application from our website:

Friday, October 19, 2007

Mock Interview Reflection

I thought the mock interview was a helpful way to prepare for a real interview in the near future. Mrs. Rogers asked us to bring a description of a job, internship, or graduation school description that we were interested in so that she could tailor the questions to each student. She did a great job of keeping her “professional” demeanor during the interview and asking us questions that we more than likely will be asked at an interview.

When I prepared for the interview, I tried to imagine some of the challenging questions I could be asked, like “greatest strength,” or “greatest weakness.” I was not asked those questions, but she did pull some things directly off my resume to ask me about that caught me off guard. “How do you think your minor in Psychology will help your career in Health Science,” and “Since you have been involved with primarily quantitative research, would you be willing to work with qualitative research?” were a couple of the questions she asked.

Having this experience of thinking quickly to respond to questions helped build my confidence that I will be able to effectively hold up in a real interview. I was nervous before the interview, but I grew more comfortable as it went on. Three important lessons I learned were to relax, focus on each question, and make eye contact (even if it feels uncomfortable).

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Great Presentations!

Everyone in class did a fantastic job on their presentations. One topic that particularly interested me was Stephanie Mitchell's topic on Alcohol Amnesty. I had actually never heard of this before, but it really makes sense. Despite underage drinking laws, MIPs, fines, etc., alcohol use/abuse will ALWAYS be an issue on college campuses, especially large universities.
Just recently I attended a university organizational meeting for leaders in various clubs on campus, and we had a speaker explaining how we (the clubs) always hold responsibility for the consequences of underage drinkers at our events. In the past, organizations have gotten by with using the "BYOB" rule ("Bring Your Own Beer") and would not be held responsible if a minor was charged for a possession, misdemeanor, etc. Now, even if they bring their own alcohol, the organization can get in serious trouble if a minor has possession of alcohol at a function.

While this may seem to cut down on underage drinking (doubtful, though), this raises a serious issue of safety...If a minor becomes obviously sick to the point of alcohol poisoning, some groups may be even more hesitant to call for help knowing that they can be charged for it. I certainly don't think ANY organization would deny someone of help just to keep themselves from getting in trouble, but they would be more likely to postpone calling and "wait it out" or "just make sure" before they call. This could inevitably lead to death.
Stephanie's presentation explained how certain universities have already passed alcohol amnesty laws stating that if students call for help for a fellow student, neither the caller nor the student could get in trouble. I think Clemson needs a law like this because I have witnessed very sick students begging their friends not to call the ambulance because of fear of "getting in trouble." When there is threat of losing a life, there should be no question whether to waive a charge or not.

Some might argue that this will condone underage drinking, but I disagree. Underage drinking always has and always will be a problem. I really don't see how this law could be abused because I doubt anyone would call in a "fake" alcohol poisoning case--if anything, a trip to the hospital is expensive and students would not want to pay this cost if it weren't even real. If there was a problem with students abusing this law to avoid an MIP, policymakers could address it then. Certainly they could look at the records of other universities that have already passed the law and see if they had a problem with this.

This was a great presentation because it addressed a very relevant issue at Clemson University as well as other universities--good job Stephanie!