Category Archives: Work/School Stories

A Georgia Southern Eagle Lands in FORBES

A cool story about a young man (a Georgia Southern eagle!) who was featured in Forbes magazine! As an eagle myself, I just had to share his awesome entrepreneurial story with you:

BLUE GOOSE

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Why We Are NOT “Loan Sharks”

When I tell people where I work, the next question they usually ask is “So what do you do all day?” And the answer is that I process loan applications, evaluate vehicles that would be used as collateral, take loan payments, and make debt collection calls for people who are late. From there, the conversation usually goes toward “Oh, so you reposess people’s cars like on that TV show, huh?” or “Oh, you’re one of them!” (referring to bill collectors). It is also possible that a person might be low on money and they become interested in what rates we charge. And when they find out that rate, most of the time they react as if their hat literally was blown off their head.

C’mon people. Stop with the “loan shark” name-calling. We aren’t crooks. Well, let me explain…

First of all, what is a loan shark? The term shark is used because sharks are known to be dangerous and deadly. And yes, if handled irresponsibly, borrowing money can kill your credit. But no one is holding a gun to our customers’s heads making them sign paperwork. I have come up with five solid reasons as to why we are not “crooks” as we are so often called.

  1. Our customers are HIGH RISK. Most of the time, they have bad credit. This is a great big red flag. This says to the lender, this person is irresponsible and they pay late or only pay the minimum to get by. A lot of our customers are unstable and usually move around alot, hiding from friends and companies to whom they owe money. Also, these people usually have low income and have little to no assets. Would you want to lend a large amount of your own money to someone who is high risk for hiding and paying late? This is the reason we have a high service charge rate (high in comparison to banks and other financial lenders). With a high rate, customers are encouraged to pay as much as they can as soon as they can to save themselves as much money as they can, instead of only paying towards interest and not bringing down their principal balances.
  2. We aren’t “crooks” because we, as the processors of the loans, do not make any commission off of a loan we give out. It doesn’t matter whether I write your check for $25.00 or for $3,000.00. We only get paid hourly. There are no hidden motives.
  3. We aren’t “evil.” It is NOT our goal to reposess vehicles (keep in mind, I’m only speaking for the company I work for). We are not in the car-selling business. We do loans. And actually, when our office has to handle car sales, it takes away from our main objectives — which are loan processing and debt collecting! We do not want our customers’s cars and we will work with them to keep their vehicle. Customers need their cars to get to work, pick up kids from school, and run errands. It isn’t our goal to take this away from them.
  4. We give our customers ample time and opportunity to inform us of an emergency situation that will cause them to be late making a payment. Other title pawn companies are less lenient than us and make threats to their borrowers. We give ours time to let us know what is going on so we can figure out a solution for them. If a customer does not inform us after several attempts to contact them or we feel as if they are trying to flee, we then have no other choice but to assume they have little to no intention of paying. But we at least make many phone calls and send a couple letters before deciding that we are going to take further action on them (repossession, filing a writ, going to court, etc.). We do everything we can in the office before deciding to take a legal step against them. We also NEVER threaten them and we are always honest and upfront with our intentions.
  5. Lastly, we do everything we can to make sure our customers do not leave our office without FULLY understanding what they are doing. We explain the full application process as well as the payment process in detail with the customer before we start anything, especially if they are unfamiliar with title pawns. We read the paperwork to them, emphasize on all the most important details, and ask them if they have any questions before we give them the paperwork to review and sign. But it is very often where the customer is in a rush to leave and go back to work or to pay a bill, so they aren’t listening avidly and rush to sign everything. This is why we make a copy of their paperwork with all the important areas high-lighted for them. And usually when they get home for the day, they can look over it and call us back if they have any questions about it. If they come back before the day is over and decide they want to void the contract. They can give us back our money and we will delete their account.

You see, we aren’t loan sharks. The customer is in TOTAL control. They have the freedom to come to us, they have the freedom to ask us questions, they have the freedom to leave the office if they are unsatisfied with our rates and policies, and they have the freedom to go try their luck at other lending companies. Once they sign the paperwork with us, the customer then has the freedom to either pay early, on time, or late, to pay only the minimum or pay over.

There are no fine print or ball-and-chain in our business.

Please Take Our Survey & Be Entered in a Raffle!

If you copy and paste the following survey and complete it by this coming Sunday the 14th, your name will be entered in our raffle for a $25 gas card – winner will be announced on Monday via my Facebook status. PLEASE HELP OUR GROUP! (This survey is for our research in the Public Relations Campaign Strategies course, and our project is for our client: the PAC)! Thanks in advance! We’re just trying to get as many people as we can to take the survey. You must have attended or currently attend GSU or live/have lived in Statesboro to qualify.

Copy and paste and send it to me in a Facebook message (OR) submit your answers in a blog post comment below. THANK YOU!

 

PEFORMING ARTS CENTER (of GEORGIA SOUTHERN UNIVERSITY)

Survey:

  1. Have you ever attended an event on Georgia Southern’s campus?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  2. How did you find out about that event?
    1. Radio Advertisement
    2. The George Anne
    3. Flyer/poster
    4. Facebook:  Group/page/ Advertisement
    5. All of the above
    6. Word of mouth
  3. How far in advance did you hear/read about the event?
    1. 2 weeks
    2. A month
    3. A few days before the event took place
  4. Have you ever paid money to attend an event on campus?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  5. How much are you willing to pay to attend an event on campus?
    1.  5 -10$
    2. 10-30$
    3. More than 30$
  6. Have you ever attended an event at the PAC?
    1. Yes
    2. no
  7. Do you feel aware of the performances held at the PAC?
    1. Yes
    2. No
  8. What type of performance would you like to see offered at Georgia Southern? (circle all that apply)
    1. Country artist
    2. R&b/ hip hop artist
    3. Indie bands
    4. Off Broadway production
    5. Dance performances
  9. Are you Male or Female? (circle answer)
  10. What is your age?
    1. 18-20
    2. 21-22
    3. 23 or older

 THANKS AGAIN!

~Jasmine Stewart, Hillary Robinson, Rachel Alderman, Brooke Huger~

Research What You’re Passionate About!

This all started as what I thought was a simple assignment for Public Relations Practicum – a one-credit course that PR students here take to assist us with careers (resume building, interview tips, exploring career opportunities, etc.). It’s a great course. Urkovia Andrews is the professor (http://twitter.com/uandrews) (side note: she’s awesome). She instructed us to write a paper after doing lots of in-depth research about our favorite organization/desired company. After looking at the instructions, I felt like it might be a tedious assignment with all the information she was asking from us! But once I really started, I got to see Girl Scouts with a different pair of eyes…

Here’s the paper I wrote on it, based on Andrews’ rubric:

GIRL SCOUTS USA (pdf)

Research what you’re passionate about and you could find a plethora of eye-opening information! On the other hand, you could even learn that something you are interested in isn’t as great as you thought. Either way, it’s a useful learning experience. I love the Girl Scouts! I had no idea they did all of those good deeds for this country!

Omega Phi Alpha

As of two Fridays ago, I am now a pledge in Omega Phi Alpha National Service Sorority. I am definitely excited because I had no idea that a national organization even existed that is based around service! O-Phi-A is based on three principles: service, leadership, and friendship.

I participated in rush week, and on the last day, I was so excited waiting to receive my bid that I waited up until 1:30 a.m. At that point I fell asleep but my bid arrived about an hour later – an invitation in my front door. Actually, the  actives were supposed to be voting from 7:00 to 10:30 p.m. on which 25 of the 100+ interviewees would get a bid. But there were so many interested girls that time ran way over! Most of us had waited up very late to see if we received a bid or not. They ended up choosing 35 girls – their largest pledge class yet!

I’m excited to be able to have a chance to participate on a regular basis in giving back to my community alongside sisters who share the same interests as me. It doesn’t get better than that – serving those who are unfortunate while fortunate enough to have peers there with you who are just as passionate!

This weekend is the pledge retreat. We’re going to Jekyll Island! Look out for plenty of pictures! 🙂

Succeed in College: 13 Great Tips for Freshman

I have some very important tips for freshman or any individual who would like to truly make the most of their time in college. These tips may seem minor, but trust me, they can greatly impact your entire college career. There is an extremely thin line between a great college experience — getting involved, networking, gaining skills/experience,  and having a good resume when you graduate — versus a waste of four years or more of your life (not to mention a waste of money)! So listen up, kiddos:

  1. First of all, if there is any way possible for you to enter into your first year with credits already earned, do so. For instance, you can take Advanced Placement courses, get into Co-Op programs, or enroll in summer classes at the university you plan to attend (or even in your home town at a community college before you move away to school). Even if it’s just one course, it is better than none. Now, of course this is not a requirement. But I assure you that you’ll be at least one step ahead of the game. (Just think, at your senior year of college, this will make the difference between being full time during your final semester or only having three courses to take. It will be a big deal to you at that time, because you may be suffering from “senioritis” at this point!)
  2. Pay attention in class! I know this sounds like a dumb tip but what’s the point of waking up in the morning, going to class, and wasting 50 or more mintues of your time if you aren’t going to be paying attention. Stay home and sleep if that’s the case…
  3. …Go to class! I want you to take your cost of tuition for one semester, divide it by how many courses you are taking, and divide that by the number of class meetings. You will be amazed at how much money you are wasting by not attending just ONE class period! Besides, if you are not in class, you will miss important information – anything from a test date being moved, lecture notes, class being cancelled, a pop quiz, announcement about extra credit, etc.! And these important announcements might be made within the first two minutes of class. So if you’re three minutes late, guess what? You missed out. Be on time for class! (<— Tip #3.5)
  4. Get advised early or on time and be sure you also strive to be the first person to register for classes, even if it means waking up at 2:59 a.m. in order to get the classes you WANT and NEED! Getting the classes you want is vital because who wants 8 a.m. classes? And it’s also important because if you have  a desired work schedule or work-out schedule or whatever schedule, you are more likely to be able to work around it if you can plan your class times. Getting the classes you need is the most important because you can not rely on overrides into a course once it is full. Just one course that you miss out on can mean an entire semester you are stuck at the university. For instance, if Introduction to Journalism is a pre-requisite for Introduction to Broadcast and Introdcution to Broadcast is the one class that can get you into al of your major classes, you’d BETTER be sure you don’t miss out on signing up for it (especially in this economy where the number of professors per course may be limited). Trust me on this one, guys.
  5. Be sure to read all the information posted in your department building (bulletin boards, professor’s offices, fliers on doors, etc.). You can find info about job fairs, meetings for organizations, social events, internships, tips for advisement, and more. I mean, it’s posted in your department which means it probably has a lot to do with people with your major – you! Plus, if you have a horrible advisor (*cough, cough*), he or she might not be very helpful to your college career and might just be there to give you your registration access number… That’s another thing, if you’re advisor is unsatisfactory, let the department know as soon as possible! Because a bad advisor means you are missing out on information that is critical to graduation, registration, and all the other important things in relation to getting out of school.
  6. Visit the career center on a REGULAR basis, especially during your third and fourth years. Technically, you are paying for their services with your student fees. They can help you with finding the correct major for you (considering your interests as well as your skills), let you know when career fairs will be, give you mock interviews, critique your resume, and much more. If you consult the career center regularly throughout your years in school (especially your senior year), you are more likely to get a job versus someone who went once or never went. If you don’t make good with the career counselors, at least get to know all of your professors. Professors are also great counselors as they can give really good advice, critique resumes, write recommendation letters, and not to mention they give you your grades! (Are you taking mental notes yet?) *side eye*
  7. Live on campus (at least for your first year). You will meet many, many people, you’ll create strong bonds with the people you live with/near, have access to campus resources, you’ll be better informed about your environment, and be more likely to get involved in organizations.
  8. Get familiar with your study habits as soon as possible. Every individual has different study habits and not everything works for everybody. Some people say that reading material before they go to class is best for them. Some people say that learning in class then re-reading the material after class works for them. And some people say that cramming truly works for them. Well, the best tip I’ve heard was from professors: dedicate two hours at home for each class period and you are guaranteed to succeed in that class with an A or at least a high B. If you’re like me and you have a job, or if you are an athlete or in many organizations, you may not have time for two hours for every class meeting every single day. But we have time for what ever we make time for. Keep that in mind.
  9. Take your assignments seriously. Each assignment is worth a percent of your final grade, big or small, you want it to count toward a good grade at the end of the semester. And once you get into your major classes, especially your upper-level courses in particular, these assignments might be good enough to place in your portfolio – considering you took it seriously, put effort and thought into it, and received a good grade on it.
  10. Don’t drop out of classes just because you dislike the professor or the book is expensive or the time of the class happens to be during your favorite TV show or happy hour! (<— Oh, I have heard some crazy responses as to why people have dropped classes!) Refer back to Tip #4 and read the end of it if you need to be reminded why this Tip is so important. Only use your ability to drop a class for urgent reasons.
  11. Buy your textbooks and buy them before the first day of school if you can. Go to the college bookstore or local bookstores, keep your receipt, order them online for cheaper, and then return the books you bought once the ordered books come in the mail. Money-saving tip! When you get in your major, you might even want to save your text books. I save them if I like the content and feel like I might be able to refer back to them in the future. For instance, I have used past text books as references for research papers.
  12. SAVE YOUR MONEY!!! The most common dumb mistake people make in college (besides getting DUIs and doing things unprotected [such as riding a bicycle without a helmet *side eye*]) is having creating credit – BAD credit, that is. Be careful, have a savings account that isn’t easily accessible, don’t fall for credit card scams, do things that help build your credit, pay over the minimum monthly payments required, and take care of your assets. (Also, visit this site: www.peterbspeaks.com – he came to speak to students at my school last week and gave great financial advice.)
  13. Get involved! Join organizations, especially ones that deal with your desired career. For one, you might discover that this isn’t the career path you want and you can save time by realizing this early on. Secondly, if you do want to pursue that career path, you have experience under your belt early. Also, if you don’t have time to intern before you graduate, being involved says alot about you and your work ethic. Even volunteer work and community service hours look excellent on your resume!!

I’m giving these tips based on hearing the personal accounts of others and advice I retained from professors and alumni –> But mostly on the basis that I experienced them first hand. Whether I followed them 100% of the time or not, I am definitely standing (sitting) here telling you to follow them! You will save time and money and be well-prepared for life during college and after graduation. *wink*

Good luck with all of your endeavors!!!

PR Campaign Strategies & the P.A.C.

This is my final semester at Georgia Southern, and the capstone class for all Public Relations majors is Campaign Strategies in which we learn to analyze situations, research a client’s situation, and strategically develop a campaign proposal that will offer a client effective solutions in the public relations aspect of their company.

Our professor is the awesome Mr. Curtis Woody who has four clients for our class: the Performing Arts Center — better known as “the PAC,” the Georgia Southern Museum, the Georgia Southern Botanical Garden, and the Friends of the Library. Professor Woody revealed these four organizations to us before he randomly assigned groups to certain clients. The PAC is probably the one most students are familiar with since we have all attended an event there at least twice, so I secretly prayed to get this client. On the other hand, I think most of the groups were hoping to NOT get the Friends of the Library because we wrote it off as the most boring! (I’ll get into that in a minute).

Well, today a representative from each of the four organizations came to speak to our class about their missions and basic objectives and presented to us their core problem. Our group (consisting of Brooke Huger, Rachel Alderman, and Hillary Robinson) has been assigned to the Performing Arts Center. So Mr. Albert, the PAC’s director, spoke with us about their needs. Our group had assumed he wanted to increase revenue in general and increase awareness among the younger generation. We were almost accurate. But he reiterated that his biggest desire was to “get butts in the seats.” He explained to us basically that it is easy to incorporate public relations when trying to promote a new product, but that is it difficult to “sell art” so he needs our help. I never thought about that! This will be a great challenge that we are ready to take on!

However…

As I stated earlier, the client that sounded least interesting was the Friends of the Library. I had never heard of this organization before today. But the representative who came and spoke to us turned my mind around entirely as I’m sure he did for some of my classmates as well.

He explained to us the importance of libraries and how it enhances the quality of life in the community. Libraries provide not only books, but they provide reading lessons for children and adults, they give Internet access to those in the community who are not fortunate enough to be able to afford Internet service or a personal computer, they allow patrons the ability to do research and use printers, and so much more. He expanded on several good points that touched me because I have a passion for children, and it would be horrible if the service weren’t there. I realize that children need libraries for some summer camps, reading programs, etc. But not only that, he told us that an e-mail address is required on job applications to even just be a janitor or cafeteria worker on Georgia Southern’s campus. And this university has hired hundreds, maybe thousands, of Statesboro natives, some of which may not have Internet access or a personal computer in the home – which means they probably don’t have an e-mail address either.

Those of us who didn’t want this client at first are now putting our feet in our mouths after today! I am sorry for not having appreciation for libraries. And I would love to have had this client. But anyway, I am happy that our group got assigned the PAC. We are looking forward to working with Mr. Albert, and we have no doubts in our minds that we can give him exactly what he needs.

Our first step is to set up an appointment to meet with him outside of the classroom. Then we need to begin researching his current situation, similar case studies, and previous tactics that the PAC has tried to increase attendance numbers – including strengths and weaknesses. This will be a challenging ride!

My Employee Evaluation

A couple weeks ago, I was evaluated at my job. I have been working there for going on two years, so I felt like my evaluation would be “alright.” But then I began asking myself how I would rate myself at the office. And I started to realize that the district manager is generally not the type to sugar-coat anything. If she sees something that needs improvement, she will definitely say so. So then I started worrying about what I thought she might tell me! Will she tell me that I have a problem staying focused? Will she tell me that I need to work on my time-management skills? Will she tell me that for an employee that has been working there this long I should have more knowledge about what I’m doing than what I have? I didn’t know what to think anymore!

I walked calmly into her office but inside I was a little nervous, lol. I peeked at the rubric and I was excited and relieved to see several marks in the “exceeds expectations” column! *FIST PUMP* The only thing I got marked off in the “needs improvement” column was the row that read “good judgment.” She explained to me that my only downfall was that I second guess myself too much. She said I have great skills but that I need to have more confidence in my own decisions and stop relying so heavily on guidance from management. And I guess she is right! I never realized that. While making judgments about how much money to loan someone based on how stable they are financially and based on the value and condition of their vehicle, I make a decision but at the end I guess I sort of back down and look to the assistant manager for final approval, even if I don’t need it… Or I ask questions I already know the answer to because I’m so afraid I’ll make a mistake or get something wrong.

I have been trying to work on this lately, because while this is true at work, this is also true in my life! I need to realize that I have what it takes and that I can do any task laid in front of me. The only thing I’m missing is the confidence I suppose…

I CAN DO THIS! *smile* Time to show and prove. A lack of confidence in our abilities and important decisions can hold us back from alot of things in life. I’d rather regret doing something than regret not doing it. GO FOR IT!

Back-to-School Woes

Just a silly list of some things that bother me about the beginning of a new semester, or school in general! 🙂

  • It’s fun how everyone can always tell off top who the teachers’ pets are. They always make themselves known the first day of school coming prepared and fully equipped! Of course, we should all have printed and read the syllabus and purchased the required text books. But there are those who just have to be noticed by the professor at day one. They even resort to asking questions that have obvious answers just to get attention, lol. *shakes my head*
  • Professors that claim certain texts are “required,” so the students go out and purchase these expensive hardbacks only to find that it has collected layers of dust by the end of the semester.
  • Professors that read word-for-word the syllabus… News flash, we’re in college. We can read. Feel free to give us a brief overview and make explanations when needed. But ehhhh, we’ve all heard the honesty policy about cheating and the department attendance policy a million times. We get it. No hats or hoodies allowed during exams and 15 minutes late means absent. Thanks.
  • Better yet! Students that ask the professor for a copy of the syllabus! Ummmmm, it’s online and has been available for a week or two before school even started. Get a clue.
  • People who laugh at the freshman who are lost and use campus maps to find their way around…lol. Hey, stop laughing and help the kiddies out.
  • Girls (especially freshmen) who dress like they’re headed to tryouts for America’s Next Top Model… Yeah, have fun stumbling on the pedestrian on that cobblestone with your five-inch heels. You look great though; I see you! I’ll be just fine with my T-shirt on. Everyone already knows me, lol. I’m not trying to impress anyone.
  • It kills me when I overhead students after class saying things like, “The professor was just rambling the whole time. He didn’t even finish going over the Power Points. I don’t feel like I learned anything.” Well guess what? We are supposed to have read the chapter and the Power Points online prior to coming to class, so technically, he or she can ramble all they want to. We are still responsible for the material whether they went into complete detail or finished going over the notes. And actually, that rambling is useful if you would have read the book because he or she is giving life examples from their own experiences or that of their colleagues. They aren’t just up there making jokes, telling stories, and wasting time.

I’m sure there are a hundred more things about classes that irk me. But that’s all I could gather up for now 🙂

My Pet Peeves on Presenting

I’ve had to sit through tons of class presentations and speeches during my time here in college. And I have compiled in my head a list of things that drive me completely insane about presenting! So here they are, in no particular order.

1. Do not carry a sheet(s) of paper with you with notes on it to help you remember what to say. Jot down guidelines on note cards instead. It is much less distracting than fidgeting and flipping through sheets of paper.

2. Do not rely so heavily on these note cards. Jot notes down on your cards to help you rememeber important ideas to discuss. Do not read directly from them. There’s no credibility in that. That tells your audience, professor, and client that you probably don’t know what you are talking about and that you prepared this presentation before class.

3. And speaking of your audience, greet them before beginning your presentation. Introduce yourself as well. Then introduce your topic.

4. One of my two top pet peeves is how people who present in groups say, “Okay, and I’m gonna talk about…” whenever their turn comes up. It drives me crazy, lol. Just talk about it! It seems like each person in the group starts off with that as their introduction. Really, what is that? Try again.

5. My second pet peeve is that when people make PowerPoint slides, they use a background color or photo that is not dark or light enough in comparison to the color of the text. WHY DO YOU HAVE SLIDES UP THAT NO ONE CAN READ??? Just asking. Did you know that you could change the transparency of the photo if you really MUST use this picture? If not, just use a plain colored background, please and thank you.

6. On the contrary, it’s probably not a good idea to use aa template that is too basic and plain. Or if you do, at least add some graphics, charts, photos, etc. to brighten it up. Just remember not to have a PowerPoint that is distracting the audience from what you are talking about. Visual aids are AIDS. They shouldn’t be, in most cases, the basis of your presentation. They are simply supplements.

7. Leave time at the end if you can for your audience, professor, or client to ask questions. They might want to share new ideas with you or clarify something they didn’t understand.

8. Be consistent in dress with your presentation members. If one person is going to be in business casual, everyone should be.

9. Practice in the mirror, in front of your friends, or even with your group members, the entire presentation. This will help everything get put in order appropriately and also you are able to time yourselves. And while you are practicing, you can try not to say things like “umm,” “uhh,” or “like.”

I am in no way, shape, or form Georgia Southern’s best speaker, lol! But that does not mean I am not able to state my opinions on what could make other people’s presentations better…in the same way that basketball fans can judge NBA players and their game 😉

Happy presenting!