When I’m upset, I write.

In 4th grade, I ran for student council. My campaign slogan was:

“A vote for me is a vote for you – vote for Kelsey W.”

Cheesy, yes. I also promised chocolate milk in the water fountains. 

Had I known then that telling people I was just like them and wanted to keep us all the same could possibly win me a presidency, maybe I would have ran for office this year. Thankfully, I became a writer instead.

Most days, I don’t identify as a person of color. I’m a mix of caucasian, Hawaiian, Chinese, and Japanese. Other days, it becomes apparent when you’re in a car with friends and they pass a bad driver and say, “oh, figures – they’re Asian.” For the record, I have a pristine driving history. 

Sometimes, I forget that women face oppression. I work where there’s a relatively even ratio of female to male coworkers and I earn a salary based on my individual work. Other days, I go on a terrible first date and the guy looks at a girl wearing a short skirt and says “well, if she dresses like that, she’s kind of asking for it.” (Spoiler alert: there was no second date).

When I was a little kid, I went to a country club pool with my sister and our neighbor, who was white. There were three other white kids at the pool and they heckled my sister saying “HOLA! COMO ESTAS BONITA?” and ran away to laugh. Our neighbor went right up to them and stood up for us, telling them about how we were actually Hawaiian. I remember not understanding why they made an assumption that we could speak spanish because it didn’t dawn on me as a little kid that brown skin could mean a multitude of things. I also remember the feeling of someone standing up for me. Someone had my back. I doubt my sister or my neighbor even remember that happening, but that moment stuck with me forever.

It’s easy to forget these small little moments that you brush off because it’s not worth getting upset over and everyone’s entitled to their own opinions and values. Other days, it’s not as easy because those small things are actually big things.

After this election, it’s a sobering reminder of where we’re at as a country. I’m disheartened because I thought we had made so much progress. Seeing such a close race, and ultimately a new president with ideals that I completely disagree with, made me feel more isolated than ever.

When I’m upset, I write. It’s my way of coping with things that seem unbearable and overwhelming. Usually, it’s private and reserved for a journal. It’s something I keep to myself because no one likes an oversharer or more clutter to scroll through. The problem is, we were all too quiet this election.

Up until this year, I never talked openly about politics. I never talked openly about race. I never talked about personal experiences that shaped my present life. I never talked about the more difficult issues that force you to draw a line in the sand and separate yourself from certain people. I never talked about the good people who stood up for me, or assured me that I was capable. What I learned is when you stay silent, you don’t give others the opportunity to listen. 

When people hear personal stories of intolerance, it’s hard to feel anything but empathy. When you meet people who are “different” from you, your mind opens and you realize maybe you should reconsider your perspectives, or at the very least accept the opinions of other people. I fully admit I’ve also had many moments as a perpetrator of racism, sexism, homophobia, classism, etc. where I said things I regret to this day. I recognize now that they were all based in fear and a lack of understanding. We all change, and hopefully it’s into better people.

I’m proud that I grew into an adult who was able to recognize the beauty in our differences and accept other people for who they are. I got there through listening, education, and incredible parents. I got there through the privilege of traveling outside of my own country and meeting people from all different backgrounds, and walks of life. Not everyone is as lucky to visit other parts of the world, but we are all capable of listening and trying to understand the human experience.

Today, I’m not just going to write, I’m going to reclaim a bit of power. I’m going to use my voice and exercise my freedom of speech. I’m going to donate to Planned Parenthood. I’m going to pick up trash. I’m going to do my part to prove that I really do stand for these things and it’s not all talk until a candidate is announced.

If I could shift my 4th grade campaign slogan into the ideals I hold as an adult, it would be this:

We are hopeless only when we decide we’re powerless.  

2016 Update

I wrote most of these blog posts during my time as an undergraduate at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communications.

Since then, I’ve grown and developed professionally with the help of many talented coworkers, mentors, and educators. I will discontinue updating this blog site, but you can see my latest portfolio work at:

kelseywilkins.work

72 hours Without Social Media

I work as a digital community manager, which is a fancy title for someone who is on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc. all day. As much as I love social media, it’s like loving a dragon: majestic and intriguing, but at any moment it can swallow you up in flames. Sometimes it sickens me to think about how much time I waste scrolling through feeds or mindlessly flipping through photos.

There’s the classic debate that the Internet is ruining the way we interact with each other and the world. You’ve heard it before: we’re a society more focused on our screens than each other. We’re too plugged in. Some say social media makes us depressed. It makes us obese. It makes us dumb. The list goes on.

Since my friends and family describe me as a social media addict, I decided to try a little experiment — a 72 hour social media cleanse. I wanted to see if I could handle three days without checking anything, and how it would impact my mood. Does social media really ruin my life? Is it a waste of my time? Can I be more productive without it?

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Just like 127 hours. Except it’s 72 hours, and I don’t have to cut my arm off.

The Rules

Since I work in social media, it’s unavoidable. I can’t unplug my computer and fall off the face of the social media planet because it’s part of my job. The main rule was that I could not check personal social media platforms for 72 hours via any device (notable examples: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter). To make sure I didn’t cheat, I stopped all notifications entirely. My phone wouldn’t alert me if someone commented on my accounts. I took off all of the sites from my browser bookmarks, put the mobile apps in a special folder titled “DO NOT USE THESE” and downloaded software to block the sites for 72 hours.

The Night Before the Cleanse

According to my recent browser history, I checked my personal Facebook 28 times over a 10-hour period. This doesn’t even include the times I checked from my phone, which I would guess is relatively similar if not more. The worst part is this is less than average usage. I typically check Facebook 50+ times a day. I estimate around the same for Twitter and Instagram. It’s a habit as engrained in my everyday life as brushing my teeth or biting my nails. I don’t even think about it when I do it. This is going to be rough.

Day One

I crave it.

I’m too much of a wimp to ever try hard drugs (you’re welcome Mom and Dad) but I assume this is what intense withdrawal feels like after a lifetime of heroin addiction. My entire routine felt empty. I usually wake up and check each site before I even get out of bed. I scroll through my newsfeed like it’s the morning paper. The bright light of my screen is a nice transition to the real world.

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The internet is full of weird things…

This morning, I woke up and felt deflated. I literally didn’t know what to do with myself, so I stared at the ceiling. My streetcar commute dragged on with nothing to hold my attention. I became impatient as each stop lingered for what felt like hours. During my work break, I daydreamed of red notifications. I even tried to convince myself I could check LinkedIn because it’s “work-related” but thankfully got a hold of myself. No cheating.

I guess I’ll read a book I thought melodramatically, as if reading is the worst thing in the world. What is wrong with me?

Day Two

I’m annoyed at the fact that I can’t do something I want to do. I’m anxious and bored. It’s like being a child and Mom says you can’t watch TV anymore. I’m starting to feel extremely disconnected and lonely. Most of my friends communicate through Facebook groups because it’s easier than endless group texts flooding your phone. It’s not even that I feel like I’m missing out on things, but more that I don’t have freedom to do what I want to do.

People probably think this is pathetic. “Why don’t you…?

You don’t get it. I need constant entertainment. I’m so used to always doing something, even if it’s as trivial as reading through a newsfeed. I kept myself busy today. I exercised, cleaned, read a book, embraced nature — I was productive. But I can’t keep myself entertained for the in-between-activity time. What do I do while I wait for transportation? What do I do during commercials? With 2 minutes left on the microwave? Wow, I’m impatient.

Not to mention, this was a crucial day for sharing because I had an adorable puppy on my lap all day. A SLEEPING PUPPY NESTLED IN MY ARMS! The world needs to see this precious pup snoring.

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THIS IS WHAT YOU MISSED OUT ON, WORLD. HOW DOES THAT MAKE YOU FEEL?

Instead, I bombarded my friends with picture messages. I feel like I’m bothering people. With social media, people can check it at their own leisure and deal with the information however they please. You could even hide me from your newsfeed. I feel like I’m intruding on people’s space when I send them a million text messages. I’m unavoidable. I feel like a burden (I mean, I think adorable puppies are crucial but that’s just me…).

Day Three

I think I finally got the hang of it. I kept myself busy all day. I planned every hour so I could feel like my time wasn’t passing slowly. For the seconds I wasn’t occupied with activities, I was lost in thought. I’ve gotten really good at staring out windows or wandering aimlessly.

I also know it is the end. Knowing I only have 24 hours left gives me the last motivation I need to push through. I don’t feel more productive though. Even writing this last entry for day three is painstakingly difficult. I don’t know what to say, and I don’t feel creative. I lost my drive because I’m at a point where I don’t know if people even care about what I have to say.

It’s embarrassing to admit that I am so reliant on validation, even if it’s a dumb Facebook “like” that means nothing in the grand scheme of things. However, since I feel so out of touch with everything, I wonder if people even care. Should you care? What am I proving? Why does what I’m doing matter?

Three days without social media and you can revert to the unplugged life seamlessly. You can go through the motions — wake up, go to work, go to sleep, repeat. But you’ll also feel disconnected and meaningless.

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The Verdict

During my cleanse, a few friends emailed me (old-school!) an article that resonated with me about a guy who quit the Internet for one year. It also makes me laugh because I could barely handle 72 hours. In the article, Paul Miller says he expected to have some sort of grand revelation about life. He imagined himself becoming more productive, more personable, and more of the way he should be before the internet ruined everything. After one year, he realized it’s not the Internet — it’s him.

“I can’t blame the internet, or any circumstance, for my problems. I have many of the same priorities I had before I left the internet.” — Paul Miller

I don’t regret giving it up. It was a good challenge allowing me to reflect on myself, but I don’t think I’ll do it again. More than anything, it was stressful being unable to use it at my leisure. I felt limited because I couldn’t connect to people that matter to me.

Social media does not give my life meaning, but relationships give my life meaning. Without it, I wasn’t able to keep those up easily. Face-to-face interaction is necessary, but depends on other conditions out of my control. Most days, I only see my coworkers and my roommate. A phone call is great, but once the other end clicks, I’m back to nothing. A text is fine, but it’s reliant on the other person responding quickly, and I feel like a burden if I don’t have useful information. People are busy. They can’t text me all day long or spend hours on the phone. I forgot birthdays. I missed events.

Without social media, there’s no way I could stay in touch with everyone. It’s just how we connect these days. I’m sure someday in the future there will be another addition, and we’ll think “how did we do it before this!”. The underlying point is I like staying in touch with people because I care about what’s going on in their life. That’s something I didn’t realize before I did this challenge.

It is exciting to hear from someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, or find a common interest with a new friend you would have otherwise overlooked. It’s encouraging to see people getting jobs, spreading good news, or feeling excited about the future. You never know how someone is going to affect you. Humans are social creatures by nature, but it takes work. Frankly, I’d rather make it easier to connect than harder.

I just had to start another blog…

Yep, it happened. I started another blog. Yeah, yeah — keep your eye rolling to a minimum.

As we saw in my last post, I’m terrible at sticking to plans and have to take baby steps. While I was mindlessly flipping through a magazine in a waiting room, there was one sentence that jumped out at me. It was some article about the best way to achieve fitness goals, and it said “make your progress public”.

I’m not usually one to boast about my fitness achievements — in fact, I normally judge people who do. However, I recently started running after feeling inspired by my coworkers. Running is something that I don’t want to stop doing. I already go through weeks where I choose laying on the couch over lacing up my shoes. I decided to hold myself accountable I would start blogging about it. Who knows, maybe I’ll inspire some other lazy piece of expletives to get up and run too.

Read the full back story and follow the journey: http://kelseyrunning.tumblr.com/

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Baby Steps

I’m usually good at keeping my word. However, when it comes to resolutions, I’ve never been successful. Ever. And I probably never will be.

Let’s take a little gander at last year’s “New Year’s Resolution” blog post. Ahh, 2012 — I was bright eyed and dreamy about how I would really accomplish it all and prove all those naysayers wrong. This is the year, I’m tellin’ ya!

Welp, it’s 2013 now. Did I stick to any of those resolutions? NOPE!

It was great in theory, but who was I kidding with “20 crunches and 5 push-ups everyday, no excuses!”…Have I met myself? I never do the same thing in one day. You’re probably sitting there with a smirk and raised eyebrow thinking “hah, classic Kelsey — never finishing what she starts!

I’ve always been like this. I pick up a new interest, decide it’s my life passion, and then a couple weeks later forget about it when I move onto the next adventure. This is why my dad still complains about the various junk that collects dust in our garage from years of accumulating new “hobbies”.

This year, I’m not going to come up with some extravagant promise to ______ every single day because I finally admit to myself (and the internet) that I won’t do it. Instead of a resolution, I’m going to take baby steps in 2013.

My first baby step starts with this blog. Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about successful blogging but I rarely practice what I preach. My blog is a goldfish that I neglect for weeks while I’m on vacation and pray that it’s not floating dead at the surface when I return. It’s a mess of stories, advice, and digital musings with no real consistency. What it lacks in focus, it makes up for in wordiness. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not about to flush this fish down the toilet and start fresh. I’m merely going to work on improving as I move forward. I’ve got some gems in the archives, but I reckon this ol’ barn needs a fresh coat of paint (see what I did there? Since I changed the design? har-har).

So, I will try to blog more. I will break up text with images. I will categorize, tag, and organize to my heart’s content. I will try to make it more concise just because I care about your straining eyes as you read through my 500+ word posts. But instead of promising that I will do all of these things, I will take it with baby steps.

Improvement is a learning process. And while I’m gagging myself with a spoon as I bring myself to an ultimate low point of quoting a Kardashian, her words ring true:

“Don’t wait until New Years to make changes in your life. You’re capable of doing that every day.”

Thanks Kim, for your monotone words of wisdom. With that, I’ll end my 486 word blog post…Baby steps.

What They Don’t Tell You About Being A Post-Graduate

Fall is here. Leaves crunch under eager footsteps as campus buzzes with wistful excitement…Or at least that is what I would imagine it’s like, based on most teenage movies I’ve seen about college.

Although I started my job in July, it didn’t hit me that I’m officially a member of the “real world” until September. For the first time in my life, I traded in my perfectly calculated class schedule that allowed for sleeping in and 3 day weekends, for a 6 AM office commute. “Oh, THE HORROR!” you’re thinking.

There’s a lot of misconceptions about what it’s like to be a post-graduate. Most college students live in fear that as soon as they get their diploma, the world ends in a terrible meteor explosion and they spend the rest of their lives droning on in the eternal hell known as “work”.

Now, I’m not claiming to be an instant know-it-all about post graduate life. It’s only been 3 months since I finished school. But I’m here to debunk some of the myths. My commencement speech left me bright eyed and dreamy when reality doesn’t always have the same plans. I’m here to tell it to you straight, based on my own personal experience.

The Slight Post-Graduate Depression

You return home to your parents house with your tail in between your legs, and begin the sad, lonely process of unpacking as you realize that your days of college independence are in fact, gone forever. Or, if you’re like me it’s three months later and you still haven’t unpacked.

Regardless, you spend a lot of time watching pointless TV shows, wasting the days away eating Taco Bell and loathing every person younger than you who still gets to attend school as you bask in your own misery. Maybe you’ll polish up your resume, maybe you’ll send a few emails here and there…But you really just don’t feel like doing ANYTHING. Including your dishes, so lay off, Mom!

Put down the phone and don’t call the psychiatric ward yet – this whole “depressed, jobless post-graduate” thing only lasts for a little while.

I read a book that helped me get through it called Stumbling On Happiness by Daniel Gilbert. The book discusses how humans are wired to constantly think about the future and if we’re not living up to our expectations, we get depressed. It’s not necessarily a bad thing because guilt keeps us motivated.

However, don’t let it dictate your daily life. Get out there and enjoy yourself because for the first (and maybe only time) in your life, you don’t have any obligations to anything. Travel, explore, and wander – even if it’s in your own neighborhood. You’ll be surprised to discover things you always used to look over.

Getting a job is HARD.

For some reason, people (especially adults) are under the impression that getting a job right out of school is like putting a tooth under your pillow and waking up to find the tooth fairy visited. The reality of it is that getting a job right after school is extremely difficult. It takes a lot of rejection and a lot of days wondering if you’ll ever survive in the real world.

Unfortunately, most people won’t take you seriously because you’re young. At the same time, you’re somewhat naive to think that you know what you’re doing just because you graduated recently. There’s a lot that you only learn when you experience it first hand. People above you have been through those experiences. You may think your idea is the best thing since sliced bread. You may think you know everything about the digital world because you grew up with technology. The truth is, you have only scratched the surface.

…But don’t get discouraged. 

The good news is, it’s still okay to learn. And there are always people willing to help you.

Just because you graduated, doesn’t mean that you have to know all of the answers to everything. You don’t have to find a job or do what anyone tells you. You’ll actually find yourself caring less and less about what people think of you. You’re still young, and now is your time to make mistakes, sort them out and live your life.

Be patient and stop worrying.

I’m a true believer in the idea that being nice to people pays off. Think about it – are you more likely to help the car that cut you off right before the exit, or the one with the “honk if you love puppies” bumper sticker that slowly edged in and gave you a polite wave as you let them into your lane?

I call this theory “practical luck”. I was extremely lucky to get a job one month after graduation. The stars aligned and everything worked out for me. But that’s not to say that I didn’t work hard to lead up to that moment. I was lucky when the situation arose, but I was also prepared to shine in that interview because I had worked hard to get to that point. Getting a job does come down to luck, but remember that you also have the power to decide your fate. If you want something, figure out what steps you need to get there. Then, be patient and let the universe work in your favor.

So, what’s the “real world” really like?

To be honest, I was terrified to graduate. I wanted to stay in my fun bubble of social parties, fake advertising campaigns, and occasional classes forever. I didn’t want to say goodbye to friends leaving for different destinations across the globe.

As you get older, you develop more obligations and you have to remind yourself to have fun more often. They never tell you how hard it’s going to be to land a job or pretend like you know what you’re talking about when you’re going over bank statements and withholding taxes. The hangovers are also brutal. But the world doesn’t end.

Having a job doesn’t mean you’re tied with a shackle to some unforgiving life of excel spreadsheets. And if it does, then maybe it’s time for a career change. One of my favorite parts about post-graduate life is seeing how bright the future is for everyone. It’s really rewarding to see all of my friends hard work pay off when they excitedly tell me about their new job or their adventures overseas.

The truth is, the real world is not all that bad.

Coping with Jokes

“You need more writing pieces,” they said. “Something that really shows who you are, and what your writing style is like.”

I smiled, nodded, and excused myself to go slam my head against a hard concrete surface somewhere.

I’ve written many poems, short stories, and dumb essays discussing the symbolism in Holden Caufield’s red hat. But I’m far too self-conscious to ever showcase my personal writing (well, aside from this blog when I actually have a purpose).

“No one would ever want to read my emo poems or strange short stories that make no sense,” self-conscious me said to myself.

So, I created a solution.

A wise, drug-induced character from a movie once said:
“Never take it seriously. If you never take it seriously, you never get hurt. If you never get hurt, you always have fun.”

Similarly, I cope with my feelings by making everything into a joke. And thus, a blog was born.

Check out my new blog Coping with Jokes: Sarcastic Poems of the Self-Conscious.

You’ll probably hate it, but I don’t care (actually I do…). Just kidding, I dont! (I do).

The “G-Word”

No, not G-string. Someone asked if that was the G-word I referred to…Sorry to disappoint but I’m talking about Generosity.

My professor tends to use this word liberally. Each time we hear the word “generosity” escape from her mouth, students shoot a smiling glance at each other and shake our heads thinking “Oh silly Deb, and her catch phrases…”

When I first told my non-advertising friends I was missing a week of school to go to New York, they were confused (and jealous). Each person wanted to know what I would do there. To be honest, I wasn’t so sure myself. As far as I knew, we would go to the One Show Creative Week student exhibit and visit various advertising agencies in between. I expected to tour agencies and sit through presentations. What actually happened surprised me.

Advertising has a reputation for being a cut-throat world filled with egotistical Don Drapers and hierarchies. Although most agencies still reside on Madison Ave, the days of being an asshole (their words, not mine mom!) are over.

I learned so many things while I was in New York. I have notebooks filled with quotes and insights. I could write a 10,000 word blog post on everything I soaked up. However, one of my biggest takeaways was that advertising isn’t as scary of a world as it appears.

Eager students hanging on every word

As a lowly student who just discovered the actual job description of a planner, or still doesn’t know the difference between an Art Director and a Designer, it’s easy to feel like a minnow in a shark pool. We hear stories of agencies receiving over 400 applications per week, and we cry ourselves to sleep  thinking about how we’ll forever remain living with our parents (or potentially a cardboard box if we’re lucky enough to land an internship that pays minimum wage). But speaking with people in the industry showed me that we can do it.

It won’t be easy. It’s going to be difficult, and at times we’ll question why we even bother in the first place. But we’re capable of huge things if we keep our passion alive. And people in the industry are there to help us along the way.

“You have all of the power. Don’t let it go unrealized” – Michael Lebowitz, Big Spaceship.

I was completely overwhelmed by the generosity of each person that we met while in New York. Every industry professional had incredible insight for us, and genuinely wanted to help us succeed. Initially, I expected short tours and presentations that ended with “alright, thanks for coming but we’ve gotta go back to work”. I was so impressed and overwhelmed by the kindness each person showed us. They took time out of their day to speak with us, and some even rearranged their schedules so that we could talk more. Almost all of them gave us their contact information and encouraged us to reach out to them at any time. It’s not often that you find people who are so willing to help you, even though you just met.

“Advertising is a chaotic job. Nothing has a logical projection. It’s managed chaos. But there’s no distinct, ordered process towards creativity” – Matt Macdonald, JWT

New York is a place that used to leave a bad taste in my mouth. I grew up in a small town in Oregon, and I am accustomed to the relaxed west-coast vibe. The first time I visited in New York, I came back emotionally and physically exhausted. I remember telling my parents that I hated New York and I would never live there because “everyone is on their own agenda”. It was too fast paced for me. Oh, how times change.

Both New York and Advertising still terrify me. There’s days when I wonder if I’ll survive the industry. However, meeting everyone in New York made me realize that there are far more good people in the world than bad people. We met some incredibly inspiring people who want to see us flourish, and that makes me feel like the real world isn’t as scary as it’s made out to be.

Someday, I hope to be on the other side of it, helping students feel the same way. In the end, we’re all just people. And where would we be if we didn’t help each other once in a while?

“Be smart, work your ass off, and help anyone who needs it” – Tom McDonnell, DDB

Thank you so much to everyone who met with us during the week, and especially Deb Morrison, Dave Koranda, and Harsha Gagadharbatla for leading the way. There’s no way I can ever express my gratitude for the incredible experience that I had. Thank you.

Rollin’ with the Gnomies

This week I have the fortunate experience of spending my time in New York City with the University of Oregon advertising program for Creative Week. I figured most of my networking would come from various agency tours, presentations, and Q&A sessions. I never expected what happened to me tonight.

A few of us decided to mix business with pleasure, and go to a Yankees baseball game. As we approached the stadium, a crowd aggressively gathered in a circle. It was a hectic clump of chaos while people desperately clawed for their free giveaway.

Lawn gnomes. Of all things, they were giving away free Yankee lawn gnomes. If I had any shred of logic in my brain, I would have thought to myself, “What will I ever do with this? I don’t even have a garden…Or any miniscule area of grass for that matter”.

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But of course, I have no reasoning skills whatsoever, and my inner hoarder won. I yearned to own one because everyone else was getting them. Humans are so weird.

The game ended, and the Yankees lost. I couldn’t be sad though, I got a free gnome!

After leaving our seats, I happily carried my new, worthless lawn gnome to the subway. While we took our spot, a lady next to us offered us some cookies because she was in a suite and she (like me) was a hoarder, and took an excessive amount. I declined because I’ve seen too many late night television shows and assumed it was laced with methamphetamines. However, my friend Megan accepted. Once I saw that she wasn’t foaming at the mouth, I obliged (I know, I’m such a good friend…)

I thought the story ended there, until the woman asked me about my lawn gnome. She arrived to the game late and didn’t know that they had a giveaway. Since my hoarding side was fulfilled, the frontal lobes finally kicked in. I offered my gnome to her because realistically, I had no room for it in my suitcase (and no yard for my gnome to thrive in).

At first she wouldn’t accept because she felt cookies weren’t a valid exchange for a lawn gnome. I reassured her that TSA would probably confiscate it, and it deserved a happy life of freedom in her garden abyss. We talked about my trip for Creative Week, and low and behold it turns out she works at ABC in advertising! She was so pleased with my gesture of giving her a lawn gnome that she gave me her business card. We parted ways as she yelled out the subway door, “I’ll never forget you, garden gnome girl!”

Networking can happen in the most unexpected of places. It’s crazy to think about all of the strangers in public places that you never talk to, and the stories that can surface from simple gestures. There are so many opportunities that are lost if you don’t take chances. It’s up to you to break the ice, and take the cookie (well, as long as it’s not tampered with).

In the end, I’d say that a lawn gnome is a fair trade for a cookie, a business card, and a subway ride I’ll never forget.

All Work and No Play Makes Kelsey A Dull Girl…Until Now!

You may have noticed that I’ve been missing in action for the past few weeks. And by “you” I’m referring to my parents — the only people that actually read this blog (thanks Mom and Dad). Against all advice from social media know-it-alls, my blog has been in hiatus since March.

Why? Because I’ve spent the past few weeks fine-tuning my portfolio, breaking all socially acceptable hygiene guidelines, and resisting the urge to poke my eyes out while I wait for video files to render. As I pour myself another cup of coffee at 4 a.m, I think to myself “this is my life” and then go back to slaving away with the other advertising students who brought sleeping bags to the computer labs.

Yet aside from the “woe is me” sagas I tend to dramatize, it will all be worth it soon. Tomorrow, I’m headed for the Big Apple to participate in Creative Week. 60 University of Oregon advertising kids and three faculty members will join me. Luckily for you, this means less cynical posts about insomnia, and more uplifting blog posts about my experience. So, you’ve got the glass half-full to look forward to!

Our incredible professors managed to get us three pages worth of itinerary, and I couldn’t be more excited. I’m visiting DDB, Big Spaceship, McGarry Bowen, Strawberry Frog, JWT, Wieden+Kennedy, Jet Blue, and MediaVest to get a taste of agency culture. We’ll also participate in the Student Exhibit, unConference, and hopefully kick some arse in the ping pong tournament. I can’t express how blessed and thankful I am for this opportunity.

While I’m there, the other students and I will be documenting our experience via the UONYC Blog and also on Twitter. Be sure to follow the hashtag #UONYC12 for updates!

Until then, I’ll be scouring the subways, trying to find the Cash Cab, and eating questionable street hot dogs!

Check out that nerd…At least this New York trip I won’t have to wear a dorky outfit paired with a lanyard.