Unit 3: How Are You Exposed To Media?

As we process media daily, I’m sure very few of us stop to think about how we are exposed to it and how we process it. Throughout this post, I will explain to you just this so you can be more aware of how you perceive and engage in the world of media around you.

For starters, there are four exposure states of media. They are the automatic state, the attentional state, the transported state, and the self-reflexive state. All of these differ in ways I am about to explain. Whether we realize it or not, these four states are present in our everyday lives of how we process the media we are exposed to.

In the automatic state, we are exposed to media messages; however, we are not aware of the messages. I’m sure most of you reading have heard or used the term “auto pilot”. That is basically, in a nutshell, what you are doing in this state. In reality, the filtering process takes place without us even realizing it.

An interruption must occur in order to stop the exposure until the message/s move out of our range of exposure. In this state, we also may look engaged and active in what media we are facing, but that doesn’t always ring true. Our text book compares it to a person surfing the web – though they may look engaged clicking on a bunch of pages, their mind may be elsewhere rather than processing the information they are exposed to on those pages.

This is the state in which most media exposure occurs. Consciously, we do not realize when this exposure takes place. Along with that, we also cannot remember the details of our media experience when prompted to do so in the future. This is common with multi-tasking.

The next state, the attentional state, is when you are aware of the messages and interact with the message’s elements. You do not need a high level of concentration for this, contrary to what you might be thinking. In this state, there are varying degrees of how much attention you give the media messages.

Third, we have the transported state. Here is where you are in an attentional state, but are so deep into the message that you, in essence, lose your sense of reality. You are at a high, narrow attention level in the transported state. In this state, you forget you are not a part of the message. Our book uses the example of watching a movie. While you’re watching, you feel like you are a part of the story. You are invested in the emotional side of the message and lose yourself. This happens because our concentration levels are so high while consuming this media that we lose touch of what is reality.

Finally, last, but not least, the self-reflexive state. This is the fullest degree of awareness. In this state, we are aware of the media messages around us, yet still aware of the reality around us and our role in that reality. We are aware of these things while we are processing the messages. When you are in this state, you are more analytical and objective in comparison to the transported state.

Now that you have the knowledge of how we process media messages, take some time to become more aware of your own exposure habits. See if you can increase your media literacy by recognizing these four exposure states when you are exposed to media. For example, I just typed this entire article while listening to the radio. I know the radio was on, but I couldn’t tell you the songs that were played. I was consuming the radio in an automatic state. Yet, I was engaged in my writing of this post. I would say that I was writing this in the attentional state. Can you determine what state of exposure you used while reading this? Let me know in the comments below!

“Remember, Your Blog Is Public”

That’s what my professor told us today. This scared me a bit because of how open and honest I am with all of you. So now here is my question: How open and honest is too open and honest?

“$100,000 for 45 seconds,” my professor explained in connection with education and how long employers will spend looking at your resume.

This statement lead into technology which then lead into watching what we post online. I agree with this. We should be cautious about what we put online because our future employers can and probably will find it.

For those of you who do follow my blog and read it, then you all know the nature of my content on this blog. I started this blog when I felt I didn’t have a voice, or rather, had just found my voice and was afraid to share it with others. I created this blog to post my thoughts, my feelings, and my point of view.

Throughout my posts, you’ve probably leaned more about me than people I see on a regular basis. With that said, I look at all of you (my readers) as my peers who accept me. Maybe that’s where I go wrong. However, I feel comfortable on WordPress and love that I have this platform of expression. Is that something I should be cautious of regarding future employment?

I’m curious to know what you all think. Personally, I don’t post much on my Facebook and I rarely (if ever) use twitter other than an outlet for this blog. WordPress is my preferred form of social media. I post more on here than any other platform.

I’m curious to know what you all think about this. Do you think I should be more cautious of the information I reveal in my blog? Would it be better to have a blog that doesn’t reveal who I am (name wise) and create a blog obscuring my identity?

Please tell me your opinions on this topic because I find that I a have a hard time deciding my own answer. On one hand, I wouldn’t want something I said in a post make me “unable to hire”. On the other, I don’t want to lose this place I’ve created for myself – that all of you helped me build – over fear. What do you think?

Writing A Good Cover Letter

Yes, everyone’s favorite topic – cover letter writing. Most cringe at the thought of sitting down to compose a professional, presentable cover letter. Why is that?

For starters, it’s a lot of work and if you’re not careful, it could turn out to be generic and sound arrogant. In my technical writing class I learned some valuable information on what you should avoid when writing a cover letter.

The first thing you want to do is always write out the date in full. This looks more professional and is more formal than 1/27/15. When you think about it, it doesn’t really take any extra time to do considering Word auto types it after the first few letters.

Next, you want to make sure you have the complete business address. This includes the full name of the person who will be reviewing your resume and cover letter. Never, I repeat, never send a cover letter out “To Whom It May Concern:”. If it is not mentioned in the job listing, search the web, make some phone calls – be sure to not only find their name, but also get the correct spelling. This shows you’ve done your research.

At this point in the cover letter you will want to start your first sentence off with the position you’re applying for and where you found the position listed. Make sure you have the exact position listed so whoever is reading your cover letter knows why they are reading it.

It is important to remember that your cover letter isn’t about you – it’s about how well you match what the company needs. It’s best to avoid using phrases like “I think”, “I believe”, or “I know”. This can come off sounding arrogant and narcissistic. A good thing to do is to research the company. Find out where they’ve been in the past and look to see what their plan is for the future. Use this information to your advantage in your cover letter by telling the company why you want to work there.

Remember to be humble. Find a unique way to tell the company that you hope to be considered for employment.

Whether you’re fresh out of college or an experienced professional, it is important that you take skills that you have and connect them with jobs you have already had. Keep in mind that verbs are about your skills and adjectives and adverbs are about your work ethic. Use this opportunity to create a 3D picture of yourself for your potential employer to see.

Finally, let them know how to contact you. If you have a voicemail setup, make sure it sounds professional. Nothing sounds worse to a potential employer than, “Hey man, it’s so and so. Leave me your digits yo!”. Something more appropriate would be, “You have reached so and so. I am unable to take your call at this time. Leave your name, number, and reason for your call, and I will return your call.” If you have an email address that you’ve been using from high school, make sure you create a new, professional email address in which you can include as well.

This post is derived from notes and class discussion I had Monday afternoon in my technical writing class with Dr. Micheal Martin. Before this class, I can tell you all – I have been writing cover letters the wrong way! I hope this can be a help to some of you out there because I know for me, receiving this information was like finding a goldmine.

The Journey WIthin

Last night I was typing up what I thought to be a really great post for all of you. Unfortunately, I pressed the shift key to capitalize my next sentence and the entire post deleted right before my eyes. I was devastated to say the least. After proofing this one, I’m confident that I have delivered to all of you something even better than that last post and I’m so happy to share this with you all.

So without further a due, here it is: The Journey Within.

I wanted to take this time to share a few things with all of you. Yesterday at work I had one hell of a day. I could feel myself in my desk chair ready to snap like a rubber band that has been stretched passed its capacity. To keep it simple, my job has really been taking a toll on me.

During my lunch yesterday I decided to read some of my 40 Days to Personal Revolution book to clam my mind. What I found was not only profound, but completely astounding to me. The “ah-ha” moment happened for sure.

I’d like to share with you now two of the passages that really hit me where I needed to feel it.

“It is simply the willingness to see in full truthfulness what we need to face within ourselves and our lives so that we may get into right alignment.” – Baron Baptiste, 40 Days to Personal Revolution

This hit me harder than when Triple H hit Shawn Michaels in the back with a sledgehammer at the 2002 Summer Slam street-fight match.

Years prior to today, I would try to mask the truth from myself. I couldn’t make a decision about my life to save it. Was the relationship I was in at the time toxic? (Yes!) Was it good for me? (Hell no!) Should I pursue my BA Degree in Journalism? (Yes). Should I go to nursing school even though I hated my career as a Certified Nurses Aid? (Why would you if you already know you don’t like it?) Should I just stay out of school all together? (That’s what your relationship at the time drilled into your head.)

All of these things and much more would fill my brain as I’d lay awake at night restless and miserable. What I am seeing now is that my head was so clouded with so many things that I couldn’t see my path. I wasn’t ready to accept the truth and see situations for what they were. That was partly because of having so many things jumbled in my brain, but also because I felt the need to make everyone else happy. That was not leading me down a clear path.

The path I was on was covered in shrubs, dead trees, and darkness. I felt I had no light to lead me, nor any clarity on any one thing. It took a long series of events for me to see I was doing it all wrong and now I’m proud to say I am out of that toxic relationship and in a new awesome relationship where my opinions are valued and I am loved. I am pursing my BA Degree in Journalism at a State University and have left the nursing profession all together.

In the last year my life has taken a turn for the better and I couldn’t be more grateful. Now I feel I am on a clear path. The best part of this is, the path is clear only to what is in front of my at the moment. The rest of the path is unknown and I’m more than okay with that. I’m not saying it will always be this way, but for this moment, I’m so happy to have this realization and it brings me even more joy to share it with all of you. I love you all for your endless support and encouragement.

The second and final thing I wanted to share with you is this other quote from Baron’s book, 40 Days to Personal Revolution. It reads: “control freaks are usually insomniacs – they can’t let go.”

Coming from one fellow control freak, that statement is right on the money. My need to constantly try to figure out the next steps and keep everything “the way it should be” was making me lose touch with the present moment. I was forgetting how to be happy with what was. I was losing myself. I feel I’ve come a long way from a year ago, but these are things I still struggle with.

Like I said before, I’m happy on my path right now only seeing what’s in front of me. However, sometimes I do get curious and try to see what’s over the hill and far, far away. Nonetheless, thank the powers that be for this amazing transformation thus far.

What I’m working on now within myself is really learning to let go. I don’t want to be burdened by the past, nor hindered by the future or what I try to predict the future to be. The bottom line is right now is all that matters. It’s all we have. The present moment is the only thing that is true even though it is fleeting.

Like Mike Ness from Social Distortion sings in Reach for the Sky:

“So if you please take this moment,Try if you can make it last
Don’t think about no future and just forget about the past..”

I hope this was as exciting for you all to read as it was for me to write (even the second time around). May the world bring you joy and everything that is good.

Namaste.

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Beauty Horror Stories: Artificial Nails Gone Wrong

We all have them. That’s right, we all have a few beauty horror stories. Here is one of mine I’m currently experiencing and would like to share with all of you.

It’s very common today to see women with artificial finger nails. I too was once one of those women,

Up until recently, I had my nails done about two times, maybe three. This year however, I got them done a lot. It all started back in July when my man and I went to New Jersey for vacation.

“What a perfect time to get my nails done,” I thought. And it was. They were cute and simple pink and white tips. Just enough elegance for a nice time away.

After that I didn’t get my nails done for a few months. Then, in September of this year, I made it a regular event. I decided I was going to treat myself to getting my nails done as a reward for quitting smoking. Everything was great. My nails looked super cute, I was happy with them, they made me feel girly, and most of all, I LOVED the way they clicked off the keyboard while typing.

One of the lady’s I work with noticed I had been getting my nails done. She asked if I wanted to go with her to get our nails done together. Once she told me the price I was sold. It was half of what my nail salon charges. Now, just so you know, this lady who would be doing our nails is the wife of one of our other co-workers and she does them from her house. I have nothing against that and applaud people who can have a lucrative side income because I wish to one day be able to do that with my homemade candles, but really, I should have been a little more cautious.

I still had on artificial nails from the last time I had them done. They were about 3 weeks old when we went to get them done and just about ready to fall off. For those of you who get nails know how uncomfortable it is to be missing only a nail or two you know why I decided to try to keep the old nails on until our appointment. Anyway, in my opinion, she should have removed them and put new tips on but she didn’t (I’m also a licensed cosmetologist in the state of Pennsylvania so I say yes, they should have been removed NO QUESTION…but anyway…). She filed down the leftover acrylic with the electric nail file and on my pinky nail of my right hand filed down to my natural nail bed. BELIEVE ME I FELT IT!!! It hurt SO bad and even drew blood.

Realizing that she had drawn blood, she quickly put her index finger over where the blood was coming from and applied pressure. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, why didn’t I say something? Well, she is Spanish and has very limited English and even though I’m learning Spanish, my communication is still very limited. So with that said, I just hoped for the best and tried to prepare for what I knew was to come.

When she applied the acrylic on my nails, I could feel the open wound on my poor little pinky. It burned until it dried (which wasn’t long) and then it felt fine. I remember looking at the finished product being so pleased with the exotic nail art she did and they fun style of the  nails. I did notice that my right pinky nail looked a little more red than the other nails. I figured ti was from the little “nick” during the electric filing and thought nothing of it, that is, until my nails started popping off.

The lady I work with made an appointment for us and I had to cancel because I literally was (and still am) missing half of my real nail with half of my nail bed exposed.

Here are some photos (FYI, yes, I’m aware my pinky is bent. Both of them are like that. I was born that way.)

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You can see the redness of the pinky finger compared to the other nails. This was the day I had them done.
This is after my artificial nails fell off. I didn't want to take this one off because I could feel and see that part of the nail bed was exposed.
This is after my artificial nails fell off. I didn’t want to take this one off because I could feel and see that part of the nail bed was exposed, although, it’s hard to see that in the picture.
Here is the day the nail fell off on its own (well, mostly).
Here is the day the nail fell off on its own (well, mostly). I did have to assist the process because it was dangling off my finger.
And another shot
And another shot
And another...
And another…
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This is my finger today. It didn’t capture as well as I wanted that only half of my nail is there.

So long story short, I won’t be getting my nails done for a long time. I’m more than content with my short fingernails and painting them myself after all of this. I know they say beauty is pain, but I think this was a little unnecessary pain.

I really hope none of you ever experience something like this, but if you have comment down below what you did and how you handled it. Also, if you have any other beauty horror stories you’d like to share, comment down below. I’d love to hear them!

Broken Castle By the Shore

Sometimes I feel like I’ll never be anything. Sometimes I feel like I’ll never make something of my life. Sometimes I feel like I’ll always be in debt. Sometimes I feel hopeless.

Today is one of those days where all of my feelings are overwhelming my brain. It’s hard for me to handle and hard for me to explain.

This morning I met with an education counselor. I told her about my plans to leave the nursing program at my local community college and finish my bachelors degree at a state university.

When she showed me everything I just kept thinking to myself, gosh, I’m going to be in debt for a long time. This makes me feel defeated.

I want to save money and move out of my parents house. I want to start my life with my own things, my own space, and my own place. Am I asking too much?

At 24, I feel like I should be out by now. I did live on my own before for two years – once when I was 20-21 and once when I was 22. I spent this whole year living with mom and dad and have only managed to save $600.

That’s pathetic to me. In the beginning of the year I was debt free. I paid my car off this year and paid off my credit cards. I guess I did all of that just to open two new interest free cards. One for a computer for school which doesn’t even work now and one for my trip to San Francisco in March for Wrestlemania.

Both do not have interest for a bit yet, but I feel like I can’t save because I’m spending all of my money trying to pay them before the interest kicks in. Not to mention, I pay my student loan, car insurance, health insurance, rent to my parents, gas, food, and anything else I need for myself like clothes and toiletries.

I guess I just want a place to call my own where I can be free. I want to cook my own meals and not worry about bringing leftovers home to be eaten by another. I want to sit in my living room and watch tv whereas in my parents house, my dad owns the living room.

The problem is, I have a student loan now for classes I don’t even want to be in. I’m trying to make something of my writing and make that my career by getting my four year degree instead of going for nursing. And I’m just so confused.

If I stuck it out and be a nurse working I job I don’t care for, at least I know I’ll be making money. But I don’t want to do that. I want to enjoy what I do. I also however want to be able to live I my own.

I just wish life wasn’t so complicated.

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The Value of College Education

 

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The value of a college education seems to have depleted dramatically over the last few years, leaving many college graduates disgruntled without a job and in debt with no money to offer to their student loans. I, myself, believe I am wasting my money every day I go to class. Let me explain why.

Maybe your college experience was/is different. For me, I find myself sitting in classes wondering what the point of higher education is. Maybe it’s because I’m at a community college rather than a university, but I can sure tell you the quality of  my education has gone down hill.

I graduated from my local community college in 2012 with an Associates of Applied Science in Journalism and Media Writing. When I was taking classes for that degree in 2008-2010, I really saw the value in the education I was receiving for my core classes. Maybe it’s because I really cared about what I was doing. However, that all changed in 2011 when I went back part time to finish my degree’s general education courses.

Teachers were dry, lackluster, and didn’t show interest in helping a student struggling. I had an economics class that I struggled in very much. The problem was, when I approached my teacher with any problem or confusion, he didn’t care to help me. That’s the problem with two of  my teachers this semester (I am now a general studies with a concentration in nursing student). I’m not saying they won’t help you. I’m saying that they make you feel like it’s a burden for them when you don’t understand something the first time around.

Now, before people who are teachers and what not start getting all defensive, not all teachers are this way. I have two teachers this semester who are very wonderful when it comes to helping students with questions. My other two teachers however, are not so helpful. I have an online chemistry class this semester which is difficult enough in itself. I had a question on our first assignment so I emailed my professor. I have yet to get a reply. I sent that email in the beginning of September and it is now the middle of October.

My other teacher seems like a very nice person, but she’s just way too busy to be a teacher. Clearly she has too much on her plate. Every class she is between 10-20 minutes late. Also, every class she spends some unreasonable amount of time on her phone whether it be texting or an actual phone call. For example, last night during our test review, she took a 15  minute phone call after coming to class 20 minutes late and taking an additional 10 minutes to settle in and start class.  Not to mention, she has a really unconventional way of teaching. She uses examples to try to make learning concepts easier, but it usually is just more confusing. And she seems very “I’m just here to supplement my income”, which is why I think she has such a poor teaching style. Did I mention she’s very young, as well?

All of this makes me wonder why I took out a loan for school and why I have developed a bad attitude towards my classes. Why am I paying for this?  What kills me is that I want to learn. I could see if I was just filling a seat, but I truly love learning and want to learn. The problem is that I don’t feel I’m given the opportunity to in some classes. I feel like I’m only responsible for getting a grade rather than learning the information presented. Perhaps, that’s just my school, although, I didn’t have this type of problem in my journalism classes.

I think that the teachers see me as one of those kids who doesn’t about education. They have me all wrong. When they show me they don’t care, that’s when I see red and decide not caring is better for me. Caring when they don’t results in me being even more frustrated and unhappy. So what do I do? Just pretend I understand concepts and try to skate through the tests the best I can.

In my opinion, that’s very sad. I’m a student who wants to learn. Instead, I’m left disgusted by this and disappointed my decision to re-enroll at my local community college. For next semester, I’m looking into transferring to a state university to finish my degree in journalism rather than continue what I’m doing at the community college. Maybe I’ll have a different experience with a new school.

In retrospect, I see that I am very upset about the price I pay vs the actual education I’m receiving. Have any of you felt like this or similar? Or maybe you have had the complete opposite experience I have had. Either way, I’d love to hear your story and your perspective on this topic!

 

Photo by Angel Walck