Last week was filled with awards and academia

Last week was a busy week for my family and me. As you know, my dad, my sister and I are all graduating in a few weeks, and this week we had a lot of events to prepare for this momentous occasion.

On Wednesday, Shannon presented her graduate research paper at the UNI Graduate Research Symposium. Most of us were able to go out to lunch afterward (everyone except Shannon, actually) so it was delicious family bonding. Unfortunately, Shannon got a flat tire, which threw some craziness/unpredictability into the day. It was good times (not really).

Thursday, I was awarded the Purple & Old Gold award, which means I’m the top student graduating in the marketing department this semester. Pretty cool, huh? There was a whole shindig at Montage with food, wine and people.

On Friday Dad, Shannon and I were interviewed for This Is UNI. We’re going to have an article about the three family graduations, which I’ll share when it’s published.

On Friday afternoon, Shannon was one of seven students invited to present at a College of Humanities and Fine Arts research festival thingy. She got second! She got a plaque and a Kindle (dibs on the Kindle). We went out to dinner after and enjoyed margaritas. By “enjoyed margaritas” I mean I got a little silly off 1/2 a margarita while everyone else had either a non-alcoholic drink or a drink that didn’t make them silly.

Saturday was my thesis presentation. I know, exciting, right? I gave my half hour presentation at 9 a.m. and busted the joint to go back to bed. I’m glad my thesis process is over, it means I’m that much closer to graduating.

It was a fun week with a lot of family time. Though she wasn’t mentioned, my mom came almost all of these events (everything except the interview). We’ve probably seen of enough of each other for a while, but lord knows we’ll see each other within a week. (We really will. Next week is Easter.)

It’s an exciting time for our entire family, and there will never be another time in our lives like this, so we’re enjoying it while it lasts!

Update: I just found out I am Summa Cum Laude, meaning I’m in the top 3% of GPAs in UNI’s College of Business. Now I will be wearing three medals on graduation day! I guess all my hard work really did pay off!


Graduation is a Family Affiar

I know, I know. I promised you a Chicago update. I’ll get to it. But first, I want to share with you some exciting information about my graduation.

I’m (finally) graduating on May 7. For a lot of graduates, graduation is a family affair. But for my family, that’s literally the case.

I’m graduating with my bachelor’s degree (yay!), my sister is graduating with her master’s degree and my dad is graduating with his doctorate. All in May. All from UNI. Pretty awesome, right!? Well, I’m excited.

The way UNI had the ceremonies set up, it would have been my dad graduating Friday night, my sister graduating Saturday morning and me graduating Saturday afternoon. That would have been awesome! Each of us with our own ceremony. But UNI had to go changing things. Apparently something “important” came up. Whatever.

So now we are all graduating in the same ceremony. Which is cool in itself. It will also save my grandparents a lot of hassle. Their bums will be num after the long ceremony (1,900 students!), but it’s better than sitting through three separate ceremonies.

This year’s graduation will be a momentous occasion for the Horn family. We’re taking over UNI and there’s nothing they can do to stop us.

Oh yea, and Michelle Obama is speaking at commencement.

If you’re going to steal an image, at least Photoshop out the istock watermark

In my management class, we’re analyzing cases in “Winning Moves.” When I finally opened the book (only three weeks in), I realized something was off about the cover.

Winning Moves: Cases in Strategic Management

I noticed the lines through the image at the top…they look an awful lot like iStockPhoto watermark lines.

So, I played detective and did some research (I searched skiing on iStock).

And I found this!

Ski Background Royalty Free Stock Vector Art Illustration

Holy hell! The cover designer literally stole an iStock image (and did a horizontal flip). I’m sure he/she meant to use it as a placeholder and was planning on purchasing the image but simply forgot.

How do you do that! How do you overlook that? Didn’t the publisher wonder to himself, “I wonder what those oddly placed lines through the image are.”?

You can’t really tell on the online cover, but on the print cover, the stolen image is extremely pixilated. That should have been another red flag to the final approver.

If the designer purposely stole the image…then he/she did a terrible job. This is probably one of the easiest iStock images to steal…the watermark would be simple to remove.

Megan's Meanderings Skiing

That was easy. It legit took 5 minutes.

Morals of the story: 1. Proof, review, double check before sending to print. 2. If you’re going to steal an image, at least Photoshop out the istock watermark.

Classes I Wish I Had

My education at UNI has been great. I’ve learned skills I’ll use in the work world, and I feel prepared to enter a career right after graduation (post job offers below). But there are some classes I wish I had–skills I wish I’d learned in class rather than having to teach myself.

My Custom List of Classes I Wish I Had:

Megan's MeanderingsSocial Media – So far we’ve only dabbled in social media in my classes (If you remember Pat from my previous blog, that teacher actually taught social media from a book written in 1999. Awesome). But spring semester, UNI’s College of Business Administration is offering “Digital Advertising.” I’m glad I spent time learning about social media marketing because, hey, it may come in handy some day. But I wish I’d had a class on it before my senior year.

Megan's MeanderingsChip to Dip Ratio Perfection – Mostly I just want to take a class where we just practice getting the perfect chip-to-dip ratio. It’s a key skill that any professional needs, and it can only be mastered with practice. What if you’re at a dinner party serving chips and dip? Imagine speaking with someone who could help you bump up your career when you decide to indulge yourself. But instead of scooping the perfect amount of dip, you accidentally get too little dip. In fact, you barely got any. Do you go back in for more–resembling a double dip? Or do you eat the chip with too little dip and accept that you embarrassed yourself in front of an important person? (The class would also provide training for situations like this, as well as other social situations involving chips and dip–cookouts, barbeques, Super Bowl parties and more.)

Megan's Meanderings

AP Style – I’m a huge AP Style stickler. Ask anyone in PRSSA. But all my classes ever taught me about AP Style was “to follow it.” Thank goodness I had awesome internships to teach me the ins and outs of AP Style. (For those of you who don’t know what AP Style is, Google it.)

How to feign listening – Sometimes, you just can’t pay attention. Meetings can be boring, you can be tired or a combination of the two. But when it’s obvious you’re not paying attention, you get in trouble. So what if it could look like you’re paying attention, even when you’re not? This class would train you how to look like you’re listening, even if you’re daydreaming.

Media Relations – I was a PR major for a while (I was going to double major in Marketing and PR until I realized I hated the PR program), and I never once spoke with a member of the media. Isn’ t that what PR is all about? What would have happened if I just majored in PR–I’d be totally unprepared to enter the world as a professional! (Unless of course I took it upon myself to learn everything…which I would have.)

Napping 101 – Honestly, I just want a nap in the middle of the day. It would also be nice to get credit for it.

Images from

I saw an accident (well, the aftermath). Now I’m traumatized (well, amused).

As I was walking to class yesterday, I saw an accident. Okay, it was the aftermath of an accident, but an accident nonetheless.

As I was leaving work to head to class, I saw this:

Megan's Meanderings Accident

Well, I saw the ambulance first (don’t worry, it was just there because it’s protocol, no one actually got hurt…that I know of) but I wasn’t able to get a picture of it, so you get this.

As I got closer, I realized the dude ran over the stop sign (not ran the stop sign…ran OVER the stop sign) and hit the tree. I’m guessing his tires slid on ice, but I can’t be sure. (For those of you not in Iowa right now, there’s no ice. This suggestion is not plausible.)

I took the following picture as I was walking past the accident. I tried to make it look like I was texting because I thought the cop would recognize me from my super-famous blog and realize I was just taking a picture to blog about the accident. Then he’d arrest me and my Thanksgiving break would be ruined. I definitely wasn’t as sneaky as I thought I was. It was obvs (obvious for you old folks) that I was taking a picture.

Megan's Meanderings Accident

I took this picture without looking so the cop wouldn't get suspicious. Not too bad of quality for not knowing where my phone was aiming. Also, I enjoy that my shadow is in the picture. It gives the photo personality.

Ha! He hit a tree. There weren’t any other cars in the vicinity (except 2 police cars) so either the policeman rear ended the guy, or he was REALLY not paying attention. Or maybe he got attacked by aliens while he was driving–we’ll never know (until I check the UNI police log and update this post).

Also, please note in the picture that the stop sign is crunched under his car. He took it OUT!

I continued walking to class as if nothing had happened. But in my head, I was planning this blog post. And giggling that a dude ran over a stop sign and into a tree. How does that happen!?

About halfway to class, I saw a tractor with a temporary stop sign drive by. I thought, “OMG that stop sign is totally for the intersection where the dude hit the tree!”

I was right.

On my way back to my car, I saw this:

Megan's Meanderings Accident Stop Sign

(I had to take another blind shot to be nonchalant. Some of my classmates were walking behind me, and I didn’t want them to know what I was doing. Not that they would have known what I was doing–besides taking a picture of a stop sign–but I didn’t want them to think I was weird. Now that I think about it, they probably already think I’m weird, so the point is moot.)

Let’s continue.

I love that the stop sign is anchored with a cinder block. It’s classy. How hard is it to put a new stop sign into the ground? I have a hammer in my car–they could have borrowed it.

And I enjoy that there are marks on the tree from the car (you can kind of see them in the picture to the left of the stop sign pole). Now every time I walk by that tree and see those marks, I’m going to remember this incident. I’m going to remember that it IS possible to run over a stop sign and hit a tree with seemingly no assistance. I love the memories I’m building at UNI–I wouldn’t trade them for anything in the world.


Pictures after the car was removed:

Megan's Meanderings Accident

He did this to the tree. Now I'll giggle every time I walk by it.

Megan's Meanderings Accident

The fancy temporary stop sign with the damaged tree in the background. This is my idea of artistic photography.