Author: Danielle Balzano

My Experience With The Comm Society


By: Sowon Chung ’20

I joined the Communication Society in my sophomore year. Joining Comm Society, I thought, would allow me to meet people while also pursuing my goal of business development within the Communication major. I did not know many people studying Communication because all my friends were in different majors.

 

What I found that I valued most, however was the diversity of interests in my fellow majors. Communication students have different interests and many of them have interesting double majors or minors; so, I not only meet people with the same major, but also people with variety of interests. During my first year with Comm Society, I was part of the newsletter committee, which was very meaningful way to get to know my major because I got to write about the Communication department’s news and events. I enjoyed it so much that I became the newsletter chair!

 

The Communicator. In the newsletter chair position, I oversee the Newsletter Committee that produces the Department’s newsletter, The Communicator. This newsletter highlights stories about the growth of the Communication program and the most recent accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. We interview new professors, Martin Horn Scholarship winners, and other exciting personalities. Last year, we had a big shift as our newsletter switched from a PDF format to Mailchimp, making the Newsletter easier to access and tech-friendly. This year, the Newsletter committee will be teaming up with the PR class. Upcoming in the spring semester, we will begin putting together this year’s newsletter, so any students interested can contact the COMM Society and contribute to the Newsletter! (To view previous issues, check out The Communicator website: https://comm.uconn.edu/communicator/)

 

Public Speaking Competition. Interested in showing off your public speaking skills?  Another meaningful and fun event the Comm Society organizes is the public speaking competition. This year will be the 6th annual competition. Last year, I was really fascinated by the different students from different majors showing off their public speaking skills. The competition also brings together judges from different fields of Communication: last year, the judges included Interpersonal Communication Professor (and Director of Graduate Studies) Amanda Denes, WFSB-TV Reporter & Anchor Caitlin Nuclo, and NBC Connecticut Political Reporter Maz Reiss.

 

Leadership in Comm Society. As an executive board member, I help plan and lead meetings every week. We try to have different types of events every week, such as sharing our experiences of internships, advice about COMM classes, going to communication department’s events, and bringing guest speakers. So far, we have had guest speakers–job recruiters, professors, and graduate students talking to us about graduate programs. Some of the members actually got internships through the Communication society, which is great! And we’re not ALL business; we also have fun activities like bowling, trips to Boston or New York, and ice skating!

 

Overall, I really enjoy being part of Comm Society. I’ve met some great people, followed through on my business development goals, and learned more about Communication in general.   The Communication Society provides a variety of opportunities and experiences for students who are interested in the field of communication. Through networking opportunities, event planning experience, peer-to-peer advising, and other activities, students get the chance to learn more about the field of Communication itself than they could simply by attending classes. Check us out by attending one of our meetings. We have opportunities for everyone! Our meeting days this Spring are Mondays at 6:00 PM in Monteith 320.

 

If you have any questions, email us at uccommsociety@gmail.com.

 

Finding the Perfect Balance of Clubs


By: Rachel Philipson

With over 600 student clubs at UConn, how on Earth do you find the perfect one for you?  Do you only have to pick one?

 

When I came to Storrs as a Freshman, I was completely intimidated by the Involvement Fair, the annual event held on Fairfield Way that brings together all of UConn’s student groups and organizations. I did some research beforehand and knew that I was looking out for clubs that would not only boost my resume, but be fun. College is supposed to be the best four years of your life, right? Joining a club is one way to make the most of your time at UConn.

 

So, I’m obviously not going to tell you about all the clubs that are out there—but a little about the ones that I did eventually join. I hope this helps you find the right ones for you.

 

The Daily Campus

I am a journalism major so I knew I wanted to do something related to my major. I write for my local paper back home so I knew something writing based would be good for me. I remember going into the fair and signing up for the Opinion section, but I wanted something that would challenge me more, so instead I decided to write for the News section.

 

I have been with the News section ever since and I love it. I face new challenges every week. I have dealt with sensitive stories, time-crunchers, and light, happy pieces. I feel my writing gets better with every story I write. By the time I graduate, I will have a great deal of writing experience and build that ever-important portfolio.

 

What I learned: There are clubs out there that can connect you more deeply to your major. And it’s OK to change your mind, if you find that what you initially signed up for isn’t the right fit.

 

UConn Tap Club

I have danced since I was three years old. I’ve done tap, jazz, ballet, and pointe, but tap has always been my favorite. I wanted to join a dance club that wasn’t stressful and I wanted to continue doing something I already knew I loved.

 

During my freshman year, Tap Club allowed me to be a part of some very cool experiences like dancing at HuskyTHON, creating my own dance, and attending a master tap club in NYC.

This year, I am on EBoard and I love the challenge of planning events and trying to help people become friends with one another.

 

What I learned: Do something you love, and as a bonus, give back to the club by assuming a leadership role.  You’ll be surprised at the leadership skills you’ll develop, and how much fun it will be.

 

Alpha Lambda Delta

After my first semester, I got an email inviting me to join the First-Year honor society. In high school I was in National Honor Society, so I was beyond excited to join.  Not only does the society seem very professional, but they also hold fun events. This year, I was a part of Pumpkinfest and found myself selling pumpkins and cactus on Fairfield way—something I wouldn’t have predicted I’d be doing as an Alpha Lambda Delta member.

 

What I learned: If you get invited into a cool organization, say yes. Because you never know the unexpected places it could lead you!

 

UConn Ballroom Team

At the start of my sophomore year, I decided to join Ballroom Team with my friend from back home. We had danced at the same dance studio for 14 years but we were never dance partners. It was a perfect mix of new and old. It was also an excuse to do something with him since we have very different majors and I’d rarely see him otherwise.  I think we’ve become closer friends because of our team experience.

 

Ballroom dancing is very different from tap dancing, but I love the new opportunities. It is nice to have an actual dance class again and to see myself improving. I have the opportunity to compete, and although I haven’t done it this semester, I can’t wait.

 

What I learned: Don’t be afraid to join something new, even after your first year.  Sometimes, a new club could be that opportunity to make new friends—or to reconnect with old ones.

 

Last-Semester ‘Resolutions’

Starting off the New Year is hectic, especially as a college student. After the New Year celebrations wear off, you begin to feel the excitement of starting the new semester and reconnecting with friends. For me, the New Year also ushers in my last semester as a college student. I want my last semester to encompass everything I’ve always wanted to do but never had the chance. It will be my last opportunity to take full advantage of everything UConn student life has to offer.

 

Take Part in More Bodywise Classes

Although my first resolution is in fact gym related, which can seem cliché, it is much more specific to the UConn community. I have always taken advantage of the Horsebarn Hill running routes; however, I have not used Bodywise as much as I would have liked. Bodywise is the UConn Rec Center’s program of free gym classes, which include spinning, HIIT classes, Yoga, etc. I can count on one hand how many I have taken, but I’d like that to change. Especially because the instructors are students as well, the classes are a perfect way to get a fun and motivating workout!

 

Use the Center for Career Development (CCD)

Now that I’m in my last semester, I am more acutely aware of how much the Center for Career Development can do for someone like me trying to get their first full-time job. The CCD’s resources can help with cover letters and resumes, something that I want to perfect before applying to any positions. Also, I have recently learned that the CCD can connect me to alumni who work in my desired field to provide advice, through a program called the Husky Mentor Network. I’m so glad that I finally realized just how many benefits the CCD has to offer students as they prepare for their post-graduation life.

 

Attend More Sports Games

UConn is known for its competitive sports atmosphere but, regrettably, I didn’t partake in as many of these games as I would have hoped. My first-year-self thought that I would be going to all of the basketball, football, baseball, and hockey games. Well, I let that girl down because I’ve only been to a handful of each in my time as a UConn student. Every time I’ve been to one of these sports games, I remember why I love being a Husky: I can feel the energy of the student body coming together. For my last semester, I want to be able to take part in as many UConn chants and nail-biters as I can, before I become an alumnus. Whether it’s squeezing in the last couple of basketball games or trying out new sports like lacrosse–whatever I can do to feel more of the Husky Pride.

 

Sunset at Horsebarn Hill

Although the sunset at Horsebarn Hill has always been on my UConn “bucket list,” I can’t believe I’ve gone three years without engaging in this breathtaking activity with my friends. The first, and notably only, time I have seen the sunset on Horsebarn Hill was accidental. I was actually there to visit the horses and cows. The view was stunning. Throughout my years here I heard many people say a small picnic with some friends and blankets is the perfect way to appreciate UConn and the beauty is it has to offer. However, if that doesn’t seem like the way to go for you, I know that every so often the Division of Student Affairs, or another group on campus, organizes Yoga on top of Horsebarn Hill during sunset. What a great way to relax and get some stretching in!

 

Explore Mansfield

The surrounding towns around the UConn campus have a lot of fun activities to offer contrary to what I had originally thought. It has taken me three and a half years to realize the beauty and accessibility of Mansfield Hollow State Park. It is roughly 20 minutes from Gampel, but it is well worth the drive. From fishing, hiking, or just taking in the peaceful water views, Mansfield Hollow State Park is the perfect place to get a breath of fresh air and as a college student, I know that sometimes that is exactly what we need! In addition, Mansfield has a drive-in movie theater with three movies playing at once. I definitely need to go back for another drive-in experience, especially since Mansfield Drive-in is one only a few movie theaters around and is considered one of America’s Most Classic Drive-in Movie Theaters.

 

My New Year’s resolutions are all specific to Uconn and the community surrounding us. I remember when it felt like ‘forever’ before I would graduate; now, alumnus is a mere few months away. Where did the time go? As my time here comes to a close, I want to be able to say I made the most of my last semester, and I took full advantage of all that campus life has to offer. Whether you share some of these resolutions or you have your own, I hope they include finding time to make these last few weeks as a Husky undergrad the most memorable.

 

Finals Survival Tips from Your Fellow Huskies

Finals week is stressful. As the dreaded week before winter break rolls around, I’m sure everyone is asking themselves the same question, “what should I be doing to prepare?’

Instead of Googling “Tips for Finals Week,” I decided to go old school this year and ask students on campus what they actually find helpful for them before or during finals week.  Here are some of their favorite stress relievers and go-to study tips:

STRESS RELIEF

“Meditation definitely helps me. I have this app called Aura and it’s amazing for stress and anxiety.” – Sidney Rochlin ‘19 (CLAS)

“It always helps me to talk things out to someone else.” – Ellie Grafstein ‘19 (BUS)

“If I have a chance to, Yoga really helps me clear my head.” – Katie Grigely ‘20 (ED)

“Don’t pull all-nighters, get sleep!!!” – Julianna Vinciguerra ‘19 (NUR)

“I actually clean my apartment as my stress reliever.” – Kelly Pagoto ‘19 (BUS)

Sometimes I just say to myself ‘I’m doing nothing and I deserve it’…that usually ends up with me watching Netflix and a face mask!” – Joni Cotter ‘19 (CLAS)

“My go-to is cooking or baking. Then I binge eat most of it…” – Amanda D’arbanville ‘19 (BUS)

 

STUDY TIPS

“Hand writing a study guide with the most important things. Handwriting is really helpful with memorization.” – Nicole Williams ‘19 (BUS)

“I really try to start studying at least a week before and devote around 30 minutes to an hour every day for that one exam until the actual test day.” – Kwaku Gyasi ‘19 (CLAS)

“Quizlet’s test mode is really good for studying! They make it so simple.” – Liz Gallucci ‘19 (BUS)

“I plan out step-by-step what I need to do for the week on my calendar to make sure I stay organized.” – Marisa Nazzaro ‘20 (ED)

“Well first I have a good cry…just kidding! But using color coded highlighters is definitely my lifesaver.” – Avery Adams ‘19 (CLAS)

 

I hope by reading about how other students on your campus use their time to succeed during finals week was helpful—and, at least, comforting, to know you’re not the only one, and we’re all in this together.  I know I’m definitely am going to try some of their study tips and stress relievers!

While taking advice about this upcoming week it is important to remember, no matter how many articles you read about tips for studying, everyone is different and not everything will work for you. Even though studying is important, taking breaks is important, too. Taking stock of HOW you spend those breaks, might help you make the most of them and get the maximum benefit.

I hope one of these tips from your fellow Huskies will help you get through these exams and onto the holiday break that you so very richly deserve. Good luck to all!

 

Time Management Tips

By: Meghan Farrell

Communication Major & Economics Minor, 2019

As a student who juggles multiple jobs, a full-course load and community involvement, I had assumed that simply having many responsibilities would be enough to make me “good at time management.” However, in college I quickly learned that time management skills do not come automatically from the addition of more tasks, but the quality and impact of your work really matters, too. My work experiences have taught me that careers in communication require excellent time management ability as one must manage multiple deadlines, competing priorities and diverse audience needs—all while ensuring a high standard of attentiveness to detail.

 

One of the most important tokens of advice I received was to consider time management not as a standalone skill, but a combination of them. In the spirit of paying forward, I offer my own tokens of advice on time management.

 

Start with the Work That Matters Most. My first tip is to identify the work that energizes you, particularly when there are pressing demands on your time. Deadlines are going to conflict, emergencies are going to arise, meetings will be rescheduled, someone is going to hate your first draft; however, if you are passionate about the work you will find the energy to push through and move to the next task.

 

Make a Working List. I also recommend keeping a fluid to-do list. Planning and organization are among the most obvious time management skills, but it is easy to get overwhelmed if you are resistant to adapting your plans. I often block out time for specific work and school responsibilities, but I also ensure that I evaluate my task list at least twice daily. Reflecting on your to-do lists can also help you come up with creative ways to take advantage of the “slow” parts of your day. I listen to recorded lectures or relevant podcasts on my commute to my internship to reinforce material from classes, and I spend time between classes strategizing article or design ideas.

 

Keep Communication Channels Open. Working as a member of a team is common in many upper level courses, and it’s the norm in most office environments. Communication, delegation and empathy help you manage time in a team environment for efficient work flows. Clear communication and delegation of responsibilities, from the start, will help your team succeed. In my school projects, I create task communication documents in Google Docs that outline objectives for the project, allow people to sign up for the tasks that align to their strengths and track progress to hold everyone accountable. The tracking document also helps identify challenges early on, so that you can intervene effectively before tensions build or it’s too late to solve a problem effectively.

 

Practice Self-Care. One of the most important lessons that I have learned to improve time management skills is how to manage stress. Anyone who took Interpersonal Communication knows that stress can have damaging effects on both your mental and physical well-being. Understanding how you can respond effectively to stress and setbacks will make you stronger when you face your next challenge. Thus, it’s important to also develop your coping skills as a co-requisite of your time-management skillset.

 

Stress Doesn’t Breed Creativity. Especially in a career where you are called upon to think creatively, it is important to give yourself mental breaks to recharge. There are many ways to manage stress, so it is important to find what works best for you. For example, I love the outdoors, and I will often casually write content while sitting outside: I remember one article that I wrote in September at 4,580’ elevation, nestled in the White Mountains. Being in nature allows me to clear my head and broaden my perspective so that I can tackle my next assignment with a renewed focus.

4 Things I Learned From My First Internship

My first internship happened to be on the earlier side – the summer after my Freshman year. I had no idea of what I wanted to do as my career, let alone that summer. At that time I was currently a Spanish major and preparing to apply to the business school. However, I was fortunate enough, and an internship at a New York City Public Relations agency presented itself through a family connection. This PR agency happens to value its confidentiality and privacy of their clients. However, while searching for the other two internships I have had, I used primarily LinkedIn while also searching Husky Career Link.

This specific company had their internship set like a rotational program. They made sure that every couple of weeks, we switched from one area of the company to another. My ‘stops’ around the office were Social Media, Crisis Management, Public Relations and Events. Throughout this program the agency made sure to include ‘Lunch & Learns’ for us five interns. Those lunches consisted of us meeting with those in high positions, including the two founders of the company, and listening to their experiences and advice while getting to ask them questions we had. Lastly, the program also had the interns complete an end of the summer project where we worked together in groups, created and presented a PR pitch to six people from the agency.

I learned a lot that summer, but here are a few of the main takeaways from that internship experience:

1. Never be Afraid to Ask
Never having had an internship before, I was not aware of most programs and terminology in the Communication field. Jumping into something that fast-paced can definitely be scary and overwhelming; however, your supervisor is there to help you. By asking how to do something or what way they want something done can be extremely helpful to learning how a company formats their work. As the program progressed I became more confident, as l realized that I didn’t have to rely only on what I knew, but that I could rely on the collective wisdom of those around me.

2. How to Network
During a Lunch & Learns with one of the company founders, he stressed the importance of networking and challenge us to complete networking goals throughout our time there. Each rotation in the program, we were each placed with three or so people in that area of the company. I followed that advice, and set the goal of keeping in regular contact with everyone I’d worked with on my rotations. Whether it was saying good morning or stopping by during the day for a quick word, the simple gesture made my time there more enjoyable and it helped create connections for later. I also made sure to connect with those I worked with on LinkedIn and I made sure to get their email as well. I made sure to reach out to them when I was finished the internship, to make sure the relationship I built during my time with the company did not end once I left.

3. How to be Organized
Throughout this internship, we were constantly on the move, learning new things almost daily. It was important that with all the information we were gaining, we had to keep it separated into their specific areas of work—such as, for example, crisis management. In order to keep our work organized, this company gave me a folder to hold all of my information. In the folder, they had already placed some quick tips and helpful reference guides, in case I needed any clarification on general areas of work. From there on out, I would print out everything that I did, with approval of course, and put it into the folder. By doing so, I was able to see what I learned from each of the four sections of the company, as well as producing a small ‘portfolio’ of what I had done that summer.

4. Realized What I Liked and What I Didn’t
Even though this was my first internship in the communication field (or at all, for that matter), I was able to learn that I was heading in the right direction of what I wanted to do after I graduate. I was able to experience, first hand, some of the different possibilities that a communication major can offer. Because I enjoyed my experience so much, I even went on to find another PR internship the next summer, at another agency, which helped confirm my strong feelings towards a career in PR. In my second internship I was truly able to hone in on what I liked and what I didn’t. I realized that although I enjoyed working at an agency, I wanted to do something more specific, like a brand. I wanted to learn how to work for one specific company, to understand the brand identity and make relationships with the brand itself.

Without having this first internship, I would have never been able to explore the field of communication represented by Public Relations, and understand my own particular interests within PR. Some people might worry about not having a positive or enjoyable experience, but I would say you still would learn a lot, even from the negative moments. I learned that even if this were the case, you still would learn that the job is not the best fit for you. Sometimes you have to learn what you don’t like, before you can learn what you DO like!

My Education Abroad Experience

Imagine it’s February and you’re wearing nothing heavier than a light coat. You’re walking on the cobblestone streets heading towards the Ponte Vecchio while eating the best gelato in the world and you have plans to travel to Spain the next weekend with your newfound friends. For me, I could never picture that being my life, especially in college. Before studying abroad, I was never a big traveler and had never left the country. I was born and raised in Connecticut, as well as attending UConn, so applying to study somewhere that was that far where people spoke an entirely different language seemed scary to me. After hearing my friends discuss the application process, I decided to join in and research. Soon after, I realized my interest was prominent enough to apply. The website made the checklist clear and manageable. As the application deadline came closer and I had officially applied, I became more and more eager to actually go. At that point I was unsure of what place was right for me but after speaking to the abroad advisors, I realized Florence, Italy was the perfect fit. I was drawn to how Florence was a city, but on a smaller scale. The history and unique culture made me feel like that place could be my home, all while learning about my family heritage. The city, people, and classes could not have done a better job of making that come true.

A couple months later, I got off the plane and was in an entirely new country. The first week was a blur, exploring new sights and settling into my Italian apartment. Soon, once classes started, a more structured schedule helped me make the most of my time every day. In my semester there, I took four classes: Social Media, Italian, Intercultural Communication, and the Art of Buon Fresco. Luckily for me, two of my courses provided valuable knowledge in my future career as well as my major.

Social Media took us step by step on how to create interesting, eye catching posts as well as how to build your audience reach. In that class, we took “field trips” and went to the major sites, such as the Boboli Garden, to take pictures for our Instagram account we created for the course. In Intercultural Communication, we discussed how important it is to be culturally sensitive and aware. Also, in that course, we interacted with students from the University of Florence regularly and discussed topics together such as stereotypes. For my Communication major, these courses helped me gain skills and perspective on what may be asked of me later on in my upcoming career.

While those two helped me with my career path, all four guided me through the culture while I was there. Italian, of course, gave me the basic understanding of the language that I was able to speak, or at least try to, with the locals (which they greatly appreciated). Florence is known for their beautiful artwork around the city, thus why the Art of Buon Fresco provided me with insight and background of the famous works of art I was seeing every day. One of our lessons in that class was a trip to Palazzo Pitti. We walked through the palace’s historic rooms and discussed the fresco’s we saw, their techniques and meanings. After that class, places like Palazzo Pitti are no longer just beautiful pieces of architecture, they tell a story through the artwork within about what life was like during that time period. Without taking these classes, I would have never known about the culture and everyday life in another country the way I do now.

Although my courses happened to teach me about subjects in my major, every course you take will still help you in the future. Think about it: you are in an entirely new country, whichever you choose, and you are in a classroom. The professor will be from that area and will be able to give you lessons from their local perspective. Already, you will begin to understand and learn what the people from that country think and think about. Also, once you live outside of the U.S. for a while, you are able to learn about an entirely new culture and find new ways to empathize with those not from your background. You are able to work on your ability to think bigger and outside of what you know. That alone will help you in the future. The independence, confidence and experience that you had there will follow you for a lifetime.

I was hesitant about going at first; however, thankfully I made the right choice for me as I would never take that time back. I believe this was the best adventure for me to grow as a person thanks to my informative classes and open mind each day I was there. So with the application deadline approaching, my advice to you would be to research more about studying abroad. What could it mean for you? Where would be your perfect place? If you think this could be right for you, apply for this amazing opportunity! If you are even thinking about, or want to know more about study abroad, speak to your academic advisor as well as the abroad advisors! You never know if it’s right for you unless you try.