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 read off your notes during a presentation, I’m not going to listen

I’ll apologize in advance on this post. It’s not going to have the general Megan-like humorous tone. Sometimes, you just gotta put down the funny bone and get on your soapbox.

I’m a senior in college (graduation in t-3 ish months? I don’t know, I don’t have time to keep track), so I’m in upper-level business strategy classes.

Two of my three classes require a lot of group work and a few presentations (exciting, I know).

Warning: Now on Soapbox

In one of my classes, we’ve had three group presentations already this semester. There are six groups and each presents three times. Using my outstanding math skills, I’m able to calculate that there will be 18 total presentations. Hold your applause.

One group did really well presenting. They used an extemporaneous style and seemed confident. Listening to the other two groups (okay, one whole group and half of another group) was like listening to nails on a chalkboard.

People in each group read directly from their notes. Read. They read their presentation. Am I getting through to you? They literally read off their notes and called that a presentation.

Now, I don’t think I’m the bee’s knees (whatever the hell that means), but when it comes to presenting, I like to think I’m alright. I’m confident, I’m upbeat and I have a remarkably extemporaneous style. Maybe it’s because I’m naturally comfortable in front of people, I don’t know.

I know some people aren’t all that comfortable with public speaking, but the fact that at least 8 people (so far) in my senior-level business class READ their presentation makes me sad. These people are going out to the “real world” in 3 months, yet they can’t give a presentation.

I’ll hop off my soapbox now and accept the fact that some people have a hard time presenting. But for my sake (and potentially yours), I hope no more groups read their presentations directly off their note cards.

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.

I guess this semester isn’t going to suck as much

Last semester sucked. I have no problem saying that. I had boring classes, I didn’t learn much and I wasn’t really challenged. I have hope for this semester though.

I again have three classes: Digital Advertising, Marketing Strategy and Business Policy and Strategy.

Marketing Strategy and Business Policy and Strategy are basically identical classes. Both have multiple group projects and both are structured similarly. Let’s hope I learn something in each.

Digital Advertising is like my interactive marketing course last semester, except more in depth. I seem to know a lot of the information, but I’m hoping to expand my knowledge even more.

Along with classes, I have my usual amount of work. I work about 20 hours at ME&V doing all sorts of stuff. I help with print coordinating and ad insertion, and I’m helping with social media efforts.

I also work at BCS. I’ve been there for four years, and I’m told I have to leave in May when I graduate. I might just keep showing up and hope they continue paying me. I’ll let you know how that goes.

I’m also trying to complete my senior thesis project for the Honors Program. Yea, it is as awesome as it sounds. I recently turned in a 48-page draft to my advisor. 48 pages!

Other than class, thesis and work (which fill up the 8-5 time slot everyday), I’m busy with the job search, hanging out with Jessie and, of course, blogging.

I have high hopes for this semester, with the ultimate goal of landing me a job. I’ll probably update you in March with how ready I am to get out of school…and then update  you again in July about how I want to go back to school.

This post wasn’t really funny, which I know you expect from my posts. So here:

I hate writing “it” after words that end in T. I have a chronic fear of typing “abou tit” in a professional e-mail.

What I Learned This Semester

I love UNI. I’m proud of the education I got, and I’ll be proud to say I’m an alumnus. But this semester, I learned less than I paid for. I’m glad it’s over, and wanted to take some time to reflect.

I took three classes:

  • Operations Management – I learned the most in this class, simply because it’s a subject I’m not knowledgeable about.
  • Interactive Marketing – I love this subject. I find it fascinating and I want to include it in my career. But I didn’t actually learn anything in this class, just because I already knew it. Before entering the class, I had already run several social media campaigns and been blogging for months. I enjoyed the class, it was just boring and redundant.
  • Campaign Methods – Not only did I learn nothing in this class (I obviously didn’t learn about the use of double negatives), I was taught incorrect information. (Reference: Incorrect Grammar 101: A Lesson in Terrible Teaching.) I sat through three hours per week (due to the attendance policy) to be preached outdated and incorrect information. (When the professor “taught” social media, he/she taught from a book written in 1999. No joke.)

Although the semester was tough and frustrating (mostly Campaign Methods), I did learn a few valuable lessons:

  • You can be a professor even if you don’t know what the hell you’re doing.
  • Kidney stones hurt.
  • If you steal a syllabus from the Internet, you won’t get fired (even though if I steal a sentence, I get kicked out of school).
  • Girls looooove drama.
  • As long as you talk for the whole class period, it’s considered teaching.
  • College class lesson plans can be taken from sketchy websites. One professor took a lesson from this site. Looks legit, right?
  • Daylight Savings is delightful. Next semester I might have a different opinion.
  • Night class sucks (I know this already, but it’s worth repeating).
  • As long as you don’t walk to the shower naked, you won’t have to walk back naked, even if you forget your towel. (Forgetting my towel and having to walk back naked used to be one of my biggest fears…until I realized that I would always have my dirty clothes to wear back.)
  • Leading a group project means doing the work no one else wants to do.
  • “Normal” doesn’t exist.
  • If you have 18 people in a group, nothing will get done.
  • No matter what you say, how you say it and who you say it to, someone will take your comments out of context.

They’re not the most profound life lessons, but it’s about all I got out of the semester. Thank goodness I had work to challenge/teach me and keep my brain working. Otherwise, I would be a blob of brainless matter. And therefore not able to write this blog. And that would suck. For you. And me.

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