This final week of classes has been nothing short of a struggle. Now I’m not sure if it’s a combination of all the impending deadlines I have been trying to ignore, or the last minute group project meetings I have been conducting… Or if it’s a little bit of that mixed with the realization that this is the end of my first semester as a Senior, and once I get back from winter break things start to get WAY too real WAY too fast. It’s this kind of thinking that has only been driving me deeper into nostalgic feelings, and then any effort to be productive usually goes out the window.
So on that note I do apologize for the slightly bleak introduction, but I swear this all has a point.
All of these “finals” and “endings” have really forced me to look back and think about all the amazing things I have been able to do and accomplish within my time here at Boston College. In all this “looking back” I try not to think about all the things I wish I could have done differently or had known more about – as I am a firm believer in things truly happening for a reason. But this did get me thinking about that fateful first day in Professor Kane’s ISYS6621 class and the things I wish I had known when I first walked out of Stokes Hall at 6:50 PM.
So I thought I would write a little personal homage to my earlier self as if I were just starting out this class for the first time. Instead of the coveted “Dear Carol” advice column from GirlsLife magazine – please tell me there are other avid Carol readers, she was my go-to-girl back in 5th grade), I will be writing a rather candid “Dear Taylor” advice column.
So because I know you, and how you often tend to over-react, I want you to take a little step back. Trust me, Professor Kane is not as scary as he is coming off, and you will be able to keep up with this class. He likes to scare everybody a little the first day to weed down the class and you can keep up as long as you are determined! It might take you the first few weeks to catch on but you will get a hang of the blogging, commenting, and tweeting, and in due time it will become almost second nature.
Now when it comes to all the different components of class here are a few ground rules going forward:
I know you might be thinking that Twitter is outdated. But trust me this platform is going to become your new best friend – you might even start using it more than Instagram… (shocking I know) Twitter will help you stay up to date on current events, and will take you out of that BC bubble you find yourself in all too often. You will be able to engage with your other classmates on it in a meaningful and enriching way – and it might even spark up conversations you might otherwise never have.
When it comes to blogging – just remember that it is a process. The first time you sit down to write that initial blog post you will probably be drawn a blank. But as you move through this class you will be pleasantly surprised with how your writing skills develop and you begin to find your unique “blogging voice” and style. In terms of blog content though – always try and stay current – this is where Twitter can be a big help. Keep a running tab of blog ideas or digital topics you have always been interested in but not had the time to really explore in-depth. This comes in handy when you realize it’s your week to blog, and have no clue where to start. Ultimately, only blog about topics you feel passionate about. The hardest thing to do is to try and write an 800 word blog post about something you have no stake in – I liken it to that dreadful 1 minute of waiting for your laundry to finish. It lasts forever and you never know if it will truly ever get done.
Lastly, the most influential piece of advice I can give you is that your fellow classmates are your biggest asset. You will learn as much from them if not immensely more, as you do from the assigned readings and videos for class. This class is about the collective intelligence of the group, and the more you choose to actively participate and share your opinions, the more interesting the content becomes. Push yourself to be both an active listener as well as fearlessly vocal when you have a different opinion. The topics throughout the semester have multiple perspectives so never be afraid to challenge the status quo. Be hungry to learn more, and to even be proven wrong. You might walk into class thinking you understand one thing, and then walk out with a completely new viewpoint.
Oh and P.S. – Snack time is a coveted 10 minute break, so on your assigned day make sure you come prepared. Try and come up with an original food, as snack time can be a real game changer.
And with that I would like to sign off with how Professor Kane first described this class to us on that first day. Social Media and Digital Business is the type of class that becomes what you choose to make it. The more effort you put into your active participation, the more collective benefit and learning you will ultimately reap. It is completely unique in its structure and its grading, and that is often why it scares a typical CSOM student away. But if you decide to stick it out, I promise you you will walk out with a completely different outlook and more learning than you ever expected.
All I can say at this point is you were 100% right @geraldckane, and I just wanted to thank you, and the rest of my fellow #ISYS6621 classmates for making this class incredible!