Taking on a new challenge

It seemed like such a good idea when they asked…

What was I thinking?…

I can totally do this…

What if I can’t do this?…

This is going to be fun!…

Am I really ready because it’s almost time to get started…

These are just a few of the thoughts that have plagued my brain over the past few weeks as I prepare to teach a Marketing course this spring for the Gordon Ford College of Business. If I’m being perfectly honest, I must admit that perhaps I was slightly overzealous in taking on a class in addition to my regular duties as CMO (which seem to be anything but “regular” in 2017), my volunteer work, the upcoming high school baseball season, and generally trying to keep my sanity.

Ready or not, starting on Tuesday, January 24, there will be 30 students in my Marketing 331 class who will be looking to ME with the expectation that I know something about Social Media Marketing (SMM). Being in the trenches of SMM every day versus teaching it to others are two very different things. My goal is to present information in a way that provides a new perspective, that makes sense from a professional standpoint, and that gives students the opportunity to gain some real world experience.

As I’ve been working to build the content for the course (with a ton of help from Dr. Corie Martin and others), I realize that this is a great opportunity for me to evaluate the things we do in the Marketing & Communications Office, to read the latest research on the topics we’ll cover, and to really appreciate the value of an area that has become so vital to what we do every day. At a minimum, we rely on social media for WKU branding, for customer service, for engagement with current and prospective students, for communication of major news and events, and the list goes on. Other businesses and organizations use social media for their specific purposes, and – heads up to my students – those are all things that we will cover in class.

Even though this new endeavor is taking up a big chunk of what little free time I had, I’m convinced it will be worth it, and I’m looking forward to the challenge!

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Finals Week Tips

It’s finals week at WKU – the last week of the semester when there is a lot of excitement for the impending Christmas break, but the student stress level is so high you can feel it in the air. I remember those days – thinking that the week would never end and that the tests would be the death of me, but somehow I always made it through unscathed.

Here are a few simple tips to help students survive:

Take care of yourself. Yes, you have to spend most of your time studying, but you also have to sleep and eat. Taking care of yourself physically will make the time spent studying more effective.

Study at a steady pace rather than frantically cramming for a few hours just before a final exam. If/when you feel your mind drifting to the point that you have no idea what you just read, it’s time to put down the material, take a quick break, and refresh your brain.  This is a good time for a brisk, five-minute walk.

Find your ideal study place. Maybe it’s in your room, maybe in the study room at your residence hall or maybe it’s at The Learning Center on campus (they have extended lab and tutoring hours during finals week!).  The library is a great place to study, but it will probably be busier than usual, so be sure to have a backup plan. A [quiet] coffee shop may be a good choice, and the caffeine is easily accessible.

Re-write your class notes. Go old-school with the notes and actually write them with a pen on a piece of paper to help you remember the info.

Friends can help each other out. They say you know something the best when you have to teach it to someone else, so teach what you are studying to a friend or roomie (or even just pretend to), and see if that helps you understand rather than just memorize the material.

Minimize distractions. Turn the TV off, put the phone down and focus on the task at hand. You can always text your friends later to brag about how great you did on the test.

Before a test begins take a few long deep breaths and let them out slowly to help you relax and clear your head.

I’m sure there are lots of websites with other more “scientific” tips, but these are the ones that I always found helpful.  Good luck to all WKU students on a successful finals week…finish strong!