2015 has been a whirlwind. Recounting all of this stuff made me really wonder if it was truly all packed into the same orbit around the sun. A special thanks goes out to any and all people I may have shared some of these memories with and a hearty cheers to making many more in 2016!
1. Helped lead an amazing advertising club.
This fall semester, I assumed leadership of my university's advertising club, AdInk, along with my trusty Co-President, Hailey Liston. The club meets every Thursday and has a LOT of moving parts. We act as a professional supplement to students who need help with their resumes, networking abilities and portfolios. We hold seminars, keep our members in-the-know with job and internship opportunities, offer professional seminars and take a handful of really cool field trips to see the pros themselves in action. On another level, we also operate as a creative service to other student organizations on campus and even established companies and projects as our "clients." In that respect, we're almost like a student agency, but way more fun. Truthfully, we're just a bunch of advertising geeks that were lucky enough to find each other. I'm seriously so proud of this group I've gotten to know and work with this semester and also for the undying support of our faculty sponsors, Jacquie Lamer and Lisa Bishop.
Everything you need to know is at AdInk.org!
2. Met the members of one of my favorite bands.
And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA) is an instrumental mathrock group from Belfast, Ireland. It doesn't roll off the tongue, but they still gained a huge fan in 2015. Being their first US tour, I was excited beyond belief. I drove down to Lawrence, KS to see them open for Fall of Troy (which I didn't even stay for... oops). I arrived with a fastidious concern to leave with a prize, and I came equipped with a sharpie and their latest album. I managed to meet and greet all of these guys around the venue except for Chris Wee, the drummer. Very talented group of individuals who finally came a long way for me to see them!
3. Won Valentines day.
So some of my close friends know I would gab about Totino's brand pizza snacks and their presence on social media. Well... In February, I finally got senpai to notice me. If you really want to read more, check out this entry in my social media Hall of Fame.
4. Found out I really like Minneapolis.
One perk of my job with the Northwest Missourian newspaper is the opportunity to travel every now and again for professional development. This summer, I took several days off from my internship to attend the Associated Collegiate Press' ACP Summer workshop. I spent five days on the gorgeous University of Minnesota campus to attend a sort of design bootcamp, instructed by the incredible Indiana Daily Student's faculty adviser, Ron Johnson. This trip is what kickstarted my eventual redesign and overhaul of the Northwest Missourian. Shoutout to Ron.
5. Kept Austin weird.
Yet another Northwest Missourian perk was my opportunity to attend the 2015 College Media convention at the Hilton in downtown Austin. The days were filled with workshops and seminars to kick more butt at my publication upon my return, but I also had a chance to sneak away and see my old friend Carlton at and around his agency workplace, McGarrah Jessee. Despite being broke and costumeless, being in Austin for its hallowed Halloween madness was an experience I'll never forget.
6. Interned at one of my favorite companies on earth.
Working at Barkley this summer was just incredible. Enough said. The incredible people I met and worked with are all off doing their own amazing things and it still makes my head spin. Check out my previous blog post to find out more.
7. Volunteered at the American Advertising Awards.
This was the perfect time to see some of the advertising professionals I aspired to be in rare form. The ADDYs is a time for the hardworking industry pros to finally kick back a bit and get some recognition for all of the insane work that they do. I met a lot of really incredible people here and got a behind-the-scenes experience when it came to pulling off a really ritzy awards show. (Spoiler alert, it's a lot of work.) I'm already itching to volunteer in 2016.
**This is where I fell in love with Whiskey Design's work for the Twang Beer Salt client. This becomes very important around #15 in this list.
8. Watched The Bearcats win the NCAA DII National Championship
I like to think that I've found a happy medium between being one of those people who are dismally apathetic toward sports and being someone who gets really into a good game of football. I adopted the latter disposition as I watched the Northwest Bearcats complete their undefeated 2015 season. However, I should mention that this means something entirely different for someone who heads the design section of the student newspaper. Myself and the rest of our staff will be returning to work for the Northwest Missourian especially early to begin work on a special edition to highlight the football program's successful season. Consider it a labor of love, ya filthy Bearcats.
9. Interned from across the country
My first internship experience was far from ordinary. I spent spring 2015 working with the Portland, OR-based startup, Workfrom.co. The company is all about finding great workspaces no matter where you are. It's a really nifty tool for the working nomad; which seemed pretty fitting for an intern over 1,700 miles away. I spent three months assisting in PR outreaches, creating social content, blogging and scouting locations to work from. See what I did there?
10. Got a new whip.
This is pretty self explanatory. I went from a 1990 Chevrolet Corsica (which I had promptly dubbed the "Crustica") to a 2004 Mazda 6. The Mazda was a huge migraine at first, (the transmission went out before I could even get 50 miles on the odometer) but it seems to be running fine now. I'm still knocking on wood. I'm just grateful to have a ride that doesn't regularly sprout life from its easily-flooded floorboards. Massive shoutout to my dad for financing this whole thing until I can land a big boy job. I'm knocking on wood again.
11. Won the client.
In the spring semester, I was part of a course at Northwest called KNACKTIVE. In short, the course is a full student agency made up of four teams. Each team was made up of eight students, each with a specific job title and laundry list of responsibilities. I served as a copywriter for my team, the GHOSTHAWKS. That badass team name was a perfect fit for the badass group of individuals I had the pleasure of sharing a winning pitch to our client, EngageMobile, with. Of course, I signed a NDA in order to work with this client, but I can say this: I can now carry on educated conversations with people I never thought possible. The amount of trivial knowledge I acquired about a select few unlikely industries is astounding.
I should mention this: the client actually said our team's copy was far from the best he saw, but he still thought it supplemented the most genuine work and pitch of the teams he saw. My existing team title of "The Copywronger" was only reinforced by this comment.
12. Was awarded an amazing scholarship.
The American Advertising Federation's Kansas City branch extends its Foundation Scholarship to college students who demonstrate a passion for entering and succeeding in the advertising industry. The scholarship awards some tuition aid over two semesters. More importantly though, it allows me free admission to nearly all Ad2KC and AAFKC-sponsored events, which I have tried my very best to take advantage of. The scholarship also pairs me with a lifetime industry mentor-- I was paired with VML's own Group Creative Director, Chris Corley. Psssst, Chris... If you're reading this we should really grab some coffee soon. I was honored and humbled to be chosen as one of the twelve student recipients of the 2015 scholarship. I urge anyone even slightly interested in this field to give it a whirl: apply here!
13. Designed a lot of newspapers.
I could groan at length about the time and effort I spend just trying to make this newspaper look good, but instead I think I'll just show you. We had some good coverage this year that really got a lot of people to read a newspaper for once. I spend a lot of time in the newsroom. A lot of it is steeped in stress and general malaise, but most of what I'll remember is the camaraderie and hilarious Tuesday nights with this staff.
14. Picked up some drumsticks.
I've played guitar for nearly a decade now, but recently I decided that hitting stuff in order to produce sound also seemed right up my alley. My buddy Merritt relocated to New Jersey a while back to attend glassblowing school and his drumset couldn't make the journey with him. He was gracious enough to let me practice on them while he was gone and so I've been sneaking off to a storage shed and making some noise several times a week since then. It's been a massive stress relief between all of the other things on my to-do lists and my progress is enough to keep my smiling for awhile. I'll probably be recording some of my drumming in the future but for now here's a shameless Soundcloud plug with some work of mine mostly on the guitar.
15. Won a grand-prize sweepstakes and a trip to NYC.
**Remember how I mentioned a little company called Beer Salt up in number 7? Well, they held a sweepstakes and I won it. It's really that simple. I entered on their website and forgot all about it. They sent me a free sample in the mail (which I was already ecstatic enough about). I decided I should give their little care package some Twitter love using their branded hashtag. Forgot all about it. I'm sitting in my African studies class one day and get a phone call from San Antonio. I always answer my phone no matter what the number just in case there's an opportunity to get chatty with some telemarketer (I'm weird like that). Turns out it was Twang, the company that makes a product called Beer Salt; the same product whose makeover by Whiskey Design I loved since seeing it at the ADDYs. They told me I won their grand prize right as my professor asked if anyone had any announcements at the start of class.
"I just won an all-expense paid trip to New York City," I said in shock.
A lot of the class turned and stared at me. The professor kind of just pretended he didn't hear it. Doesn't matter. Still won. And I'm taking my homie Jack with me. I love it when a good plan comes together.
TL;DR: I'll be in New York City for New Year's Eve. Always keep your eyes open. Enter sweepstakes. Drink beer. Have a fantastic 2016!