Tag Archives: snhu

Update on Baby, Future Plans, etc

 

I know, it’s been awhile since I posted on this blog. Two months, actually. I’ve been really busy with the mom life. My baby girl is almost 6 months old. In fact, her six month birthday is this Saturday. After six months of exclusively breastfeeding her, I’m planning on starting her on baby cereal this Saturday.

The past six months have been 20160817_104645filled with so many firsts. And they all happen so quickly! I saw her find her hands and feet for the first time. I saw her roll over from tummy to back, and then, months later, a few days shy of her 5th month birthday, she rolled over from back to tummy.

The past few weeks, she’s been doing a lot of commando crawling. Commando crawling is when the baby gets around by lying flat on their back. She is going to be crawling on her hands and knees soon. She’s also been holding her own chin up with her own hand. It’s really quite cute.

She can sit up. I have to prop her up but once she’s in that position she does a really good job keeping her balance. Compare that to just two months ago when she could not keep her balance very well.

Having my baby girl has been such a life changing experience. I never really knew what people meant when they say that your life begins with the birth of a child — now I know.

In other news, about a week ago, I made my very first YouTube video. It is a photo montage of my baby girl’s first three months of life. Check it out below. I am open to any suggestions / comments. I used the free YouTube editor to add the pictures. But if you know of a (better) free editing software than please let me know about it below.

I’m planning on posting my (second) YouTube video on my baby girl’s first six months of life. I will post the link as soon as I post it on YouTube.

 

In other news, I might be going back to school. As many of you are aware, I completed my Bachelor’s of Arts in Communications degree at SNHU last year. I might be going back to get my graduate certificate in Quality Assurance. I’m currently looking for schools that offer the program. If any of you have a degree/certificate in this field, then please leave a comment below. Tell me how you like it and any relevant experience.

Until next time… I’ll try to post again soon.

 

 

 

Looking Back in Order to Move Forward

To be honest, I don’t really like long titles. I prefer short ones. The ones that make you stop and go “Hey! What’s that?” and then start you on a long process of rumination. But, for some reason, this title seems fitting somewhat. And when I’m writing, I tend to go with my gut instinct, with whatever sounds just right.

And the title is absolutely right! I am looking back towards 2015, at all the great changes that have happened this year. Perhaps at 26 I would have liked for some of the changes to happen just a little bit earlier. But I keep reminding myself that life happens at its own pace. Some of us are destined to have our lives picture perfect before the age of 24, while the rest of us are still struggling to find our footing, to discover who we were meant to be all along.

And even though I don’t believe in God, or any higher being, I still cling on to fate. Yes, I believe in fate. I believe that everything happens for a reason. I believe that everything that has happened to me at 26 (and prior to that) will be revealed in due time. I have to believe. Otherwise, how can I continue to have faith that everything will be okay in the end? And I do believe that everything will be okay. In the end.

At the beginning of the year, you know that I was in school. I was attending Southern New Hampshire University online. Well, I finally did it! I graduated! I can now say that I am a college graduate. I have a B.A. in Communications. It is honestly the proudest moment of my life. I’ve been working toward this moment since I was in high school, first filling out college applications and taking the new SAT (by the way, there’s going to be a new new SAT in 2016. Why??).

My eight year journey of college (2.5 years at Furman University in SC, .5 year in Berlin, Germany and then 1.5 years at SNHU) finally ended in 2015. It took so long because I took a leave of absence that soon became a four year leave of absence. But those four years weren’t a complete waste. I wasn’t sitting at home, watching TV and netflix all day. I was working retail and then during my off hours I was trying to figure out what I want to do for the rest of my life.

Well, now that I am a college graduate, I have narrowed it down to Marketing, PR, Social Media and Higher Education. Of course, I’m still holding on to my old childhood dream of becoming a published writer (hopefully next year in 2016!).

Even though I haven’t yet found my dream job, I’m hoping that that will happen next year, in 2016. In the meantime, I am picking continuing to pick up valuable skills that are not taught in the classroom. Specifically, I have went on a handful of interviews (face-to-face, virtual, phone) and had the extraordinary opportunity to connect with various recruiters and HR managers. I’ve learned how to communicate effectively, as well as persuasively, to get my point across (although that last part is really due to my Communications degree).

Some of these interviews went well, some not so well. Regardless of the outcome, I learned something new from every single one. For example, I learned about presenting my best self forward. I also learned about each of these companies from countless hours of research.

As with every year since 1999, Nanowrimo happened again this year. And this year, instead of just reaching 50,000 and stopping, no matter what. I finished my novel. I began the month of November with a good idea of how I want to begin, and end, my book. I planned out my characters and my plot, and then made sure that I had conflict.

And I finished. I finally finished a novel at just under 60K. Currently, I’m in the middle of editing my book (another first!) Maybe, just maybe, I will try to get my book published next in 2016.

As a result of Nanowrimo, I’ve also started to use to Twitter. More. Much, more more. And I’m finding that I’m really enjoying it. I love interacting with people on social media. I love participating in Tweet Chats. For example, there was a #MillennialTalk Tweet Chat that I attended this evening. I feel like I learn something new whenever I’m on Twitter. And I’m lovin’ it!

And then, on a more personal level, I found out that I’m expecting. Currently, I’m 30 weeks. It’s been pretty easy so far, and for that I’m grateful.

So, 2015. 2015 was a year of change… graduation, writing, soon-to-b new baby. I can’t wait to see what 2016 will hold for me. Stay tuned for my next post which will focus on 2016 and my New Year’s resolutions and goals. But in the meantime, tell me how 2015 has been for you!

 

4 Things I Learned From Twitter

I first signed up for a Twitter account back in 2010 but I only ever started using it as an undergraduate student at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). As a Communications major grad with a degree in Communications, I have taken a lot of courses that emphasized the importance of using social media to increase brand awareness and establish long-lasting, powerful connections. As a student at SNHU, I fully immersed myself in many of the major social media sites, such as Google+, YouTube, and, of course, Twitter.

But it is only in November that I really started to use Twitter. Why, you may ask? One word: Nanowrimo. In addition to the wonderful forum offered on the Nanowrimo site, I found a thriving community of writers on Twitter. Hashtags such as #amwriting, #Nanowrimo, and #Nanowrimo2015 allowed me to connect with other Nanowrimo writers.

But it soon became more than that: I not only connected with other writers, I learned more about Twitter, a social media site, I admit, that I was initially confused about. I am going to highlight four main things that I learned from using Twitter…

4.) Hashtags are King in the world of Twitter. Hashtags are used to categorize tweets. Hashtags help your tweets reach people they wouldn’t ordinarily reach. And let’s face it, it’s interesting to see what the world on Twitter is talking about at any given moment. I am, of course, talking about the Trending Tweets that are updated/posted on Twitter.

3.) Trending Tweets are a quick way to learn what is going on in the world. It’s almost like a cheat sheet. Instead of reading the daily newspaper or checking Google News or the New York Times, you can just check out the Trending Tweets and found out what people in your area, your state/country or even the world are talking about. And then, you can join in on the conversation. Though, of course, you should read up on key issues before tweeting or contributing to the conversation.

2.) Follow people in your industry. Follow people you are genuinely interested in. Follow people you want to network with. These are the people (and their tweets) that you will see in your personal feed when you log on to Twitter. Don’t just follow people just for the sake of gaining followers. Glance at the person’s Twitter page and come up with at least one good reason for following them. Are you following a company that you would love to work for one day? A fellow classmate? Someone who you lost touch with over the years? Or were you inspired by something that they tweeted?

And, finally, the biggest thing that I learned on Twitter:

1.) Engage with your followers. Tweet. Respond. Be interested. Keep them interested. Continue the conversation. Twitter is instant and breathtakingly fast. But that doesn’t mean that you have to be. Show each of your followers the level of care and devotion that you’d want to be given. In short, the golden rule applies here… treat your followers the way that you would want to be treated.

Do you agree? Disagree? I’d love to know your thoughts on Twitter. Comment below or tweet me at @hhensell.

 

 

 

A Dream Wrapped in Silver

When I first decided that I would go back to college after taking a four year leave of absence, I had to figure out what I wanted to study. Like most college students, I kept changing my major, going from English to Art History to Classical Studies and then, finally, to German.

I chose German then because I really enjoyed my German language courses. I loved speaking German. I loved to conjugate the verbs. I had all of my German prepositions memorized in song-form. I really, really liked German. After all, weren’t you supposed to choose a discipline that you were passionate about? I’ve always been interested in European history and culture, particularly Germany. I have a tiny, slightly unhealthy, obsession with Anne Frank. In fact, that’s why I wanted to learn German (and then, eventually, Dutch). I wanted to read her Diary in German. I wanted to get a feel for her Diary in that language. I thought that I would understand some of the phrases and cultural expressions better in the German (and Dutch) than in the English. Translated books are never as good as the original. I know that the German edition is translated too. But my college did not offer Dutch and I figured that I’ll learn German first, and then learn Dutch.

So, I learned German. I even studied abroad in Berlin, Germany. That was the best experience of my life. I loved living outside the U.S. I loved having the opportunity to speak German everyday in a different country. I relished in the opportunity to study and live in a different culture. I loved taking the U-Bahn and S-Bahn. I loved my host family. I loved the food (sauerkraut!) and the Weihnachten Markt in December. I loved everything about Germany.

So, why did I eventually change majors again?

Well, after four years of working retail, I’ve grown (not that I didn’t in college). Much as I loved German, I did not know what I wanted to do with it. And, not all colleges offer German as a major. I knew that when I went back to college, I would choose a major that was practical. But at the same time, deep down, I wasn’t sure if there was another so-called “dream major” for me.

I think researched colleges for a year. When I did so, I also scanned their list of majors and tried to find one that interested me. My first thought was English. Why not? English was my favorite subject in high school. I am a pretty good writer. At least, I think I am. At least, I’ve always enjoyed writing.

But, as much as I enjoy English and writing, I also know that I do not enjoy analyzing literature. I love how it is open to interpretation. And who doesn’t like getting to read fiction for homework? But I knew that I would not be happy staying up until four in the morning, working on a paper for Pride and Prejudice or some other book.

Eventually, I stumbled upon Communications. I used to always dismiss the subject. But the more I read about it, the more interested I became. When I discovered SNHU, I read through the Communications courses. They all looked interesting.

And they were. I’m nearly done with my undergrad degree and I’ve enjoyed every one of my courses. I loved learning about public relations, journalism, social media, Adobe Illustrator, technology and SEO. As someone who has so many different interests, communications seemed like the right one for me. I wanted something focused and yet broad enough to allow me to explore my interests. As a shy person, communications turned out to be my “soul mate” of majors.

When I first enrolled at SNHU, I not only knew what my major would be, I also thought that I wanted to become a copyeditor or an editor. But college changes people. I took on other roles. I became a Peer Leader for SNHU and found that I really enjoyed helping students. I love to connect with them via email and help them with an assignment. I love watching their minds grow and flourish. I would love to continue and develop this role further and hope that I would have an opportunity to do so in the future.

Recently, I started an internship with the Borgen Project, working as an editor. I edited a few articles and found that I really enjoyed it. I always knew that I have an eye for detail and I’ve always enjoyed reading and writing. What I mean to say is that becoming an editor is not on the back burner anymore. It is a possibility, a dream wrapped in silver that is starting to sparkle.

“Oops, I did it again”

I have a bad habit. I start a blog, post several posts in the beginning and then I stop. I stop.

Why do I do that?

Because this blog was once so new and exciting. It was like a shiny new toy. I was like an excited child on her first day of school after a long summer. I relished in the title, the URL, my followers, the WordPress community. I loved everything about this blog… until one day I didn’t.

But there’s another issue here. The reason why I stopped posting was because I had nothing new to post. I can’t write about how I wake up, brush my teeth, get dressed, check my email, go to work, come home, do schoolwork, brush my teeth, go to bed and then start the whole process all over again. That would get boring.

Face it. As humans, we all live boring, incredibly mundane lives. We do the same things all over again. For many of us, we don’t have a choice. Bills need to get paid. We need to eat.

But there’s another thing. I’m almost done with college. I’m currently taking my last course. I’m applying to jobs like crazy hoping to find something that I will love. I have faith that I will find something. I know that I did not go to college for a total of five years since I was eighteen for nothing. College is an investment and I am determined to make sure that it was a good one for me.

This blog was born after I took a Social Media class at SNHU. I wanted to write about the college life. Books. And what it means to be an untraditional online student who started out college traditionally living in the dorms.

But now that I am almost done with my undergraduate education, I am changing. My life is changing. Something happened to me. I am terrified at the thought of the unknown. But I have hope.

Stay tuned for a new post. (I promise you won’t see another “oops I did it again” post from me).

And the title is a tribute to Brittany Spears. My childhood… oh, the nostalgia!

Top 6 Things I Learned at SNHU

6 Things That I Learned at SNHU

 As I approach the end of my time at Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU), I would like to share the top eleven things that I have learned. (Note: These eleven things are not in any particular order).

1. Time Management

Since I take online classes at a brick-and-mortar college, 95 percent of my education is dependent upon me and how well I can get my work down on time. Like most online students, I have extremely busy with work, personal life and school. This means that I have had to learn how to prioritize and plan. I have to plan my work in advance. I have to take it one assignment or task at a time. Once one task is done, then I can move on to the next. This is the key to managing my stress level. I’m glad that I have had to learn how to manage my time because this will be extremely important post-graduation.

2. Teamwork

Taking online classes at a traditional brick-and-mortar school, it may seem as if I don’t have many opportunities for collaboration. Not true! In my Writing for Public Relations class this term, my professor divided the class up into two groups. I am a member of group A. Every week, we work on a different project together using a Wiki platform. One week, we created a flier for an organization. Another week, we wrote news leads. It is an interesting experience as we all learn to set aside our differences and work together to create a project. It has helped to bring new ideas that I alone would not have thought of.

3. Leadership

Teamwork is tied closely with leadership. Teamwork cannot happen without leadership, and vice versa. On SNHU’s social media site, I am one of the Peer Leaders. I motivate new students by giving advice and sharing personal stories. I learned that being a leader is not about giving orders. It is about setting an example, accepting and receiving feedback, and working as part of a team. It is about motivating others and holding others accountable. Leaders are the first people to get up and do something. They set the bar high and expect others to follow.

4. Motivation

I have to stay motivated at SNHU to succeed. Since I don’t have to attend class three or four days a week, it is up to me to make sure that I know what the assignments are and when they are due. It is up to me to make sure that I do these assignments. For me, motivation comes in the form of my impending graduation. I have three classes left, after this one, and then I am done. When I am that close, that’s even more reason to keep going. Another way that I get motivated is (call me crazy) is by watching SNHU commercials. Those commercials are really entertaining.

5. Networking

Since starting at SNHU, I have tried to cultivate my online presence by polishing up my personal brand. I have a LinkedIn profile, which I use to connect with fellow SNHU students and alumni, as well as connecting with people in my chosen field. I also have a Twitter account for networking and promoting this blog. Networking is about making friends, connecting with industry experts, and putting myself out there. I communicate until I get heard loud and clear. I make a name for myself so that I am not just some random person out of a million with a Facebook page.

6. KISS

Chances are, you are familiar with this acronym. KISS stands for Keep It Simple, Silly. As a Communications major, I do a lot of writing for my classes. I write news releases and articles. I create brochures and write memos. In each of these assignments, I am realizing the value of using short sentences and common words. I have to write to be understood and not just to impress.

How I came to major in Communications

Since I started college in 2007 at age 18, I’ve been through at least five different majors.

I started college with the intent to become an English major. I love the written word. I love reading British lit (Jane Eyre, Oliver Twist). I wanted to become a published writer. But then college started, I took a couple of introductory German classes and I absolutely fell in love. I loved the words, the grammar, the nuances of the language. I loved writing in German, listening to my professor speak German, and I loved the culture of Germany. German happened, took me over, and I changed my major from English to German.

For the first two years of my college career, I took German major courses. I even studied abroad in Berlin and had the most amazing experience. I loved the operas, the museums, the Brandenburg Gate, the city, the people.

And yet, I felt that German was not my destiny. I loved it, but it wasn’t in my future. In other words, it wasn’t my calling. I’ve had near instances during those two vital years of college in which I questioned German. I took Art History, Psychology, and Mythology — all of which I loved equally. I considered majoring in those disciplines.

Four years later and I enrolled at SNHU. I did some research. By now, I wasn’t the same wide-eyed teenager in college. I was a semi-experienced professional who  viewed college differently. Previously, I viewed it was the logical next step after high school. It was the path to freedom from parents and discovering oneself. Now, I view college as a means for self-improvement and advancing one’s career.

I chose Communications.  I have so far loved all of my communications classes. I love to blog and I love the idea of social media. I am fascinated by how it has brought people together. I love how we can use social media to connect with celebrities and organizations. I really think that communications is my calling. It was what I was meant to major in all along.