Currently listening to: William Fitzsimmons – Everything Has Changed
The “home stretch” is finally over – two weeks of meetings, classes, intense study sessions, no sleep, I am finally done! It does, however, feel entirely strange.
I look at where I am right now, in two lights: that I am done with my last semester in college. No more homework or going to class or studying ’til the sun comes up. And yet – no more HOMEWORK or going to CLASS or STUDYING ’til the sun comes up, ever again! I am done – this chapter in my life is almost officially closed. It feels odd – a mix of happiness and sadness, wrapped up in a shroud of nostalgia. Even with the last day of class behind me now, I would do it all over again. Except, come this fall, I will not be back.
Rather than write about the gloomy side of the end, I thought I would share a huge part of what made my last semester at UT so wonderful. During the last semester, many majors at the university have a class that uses real-life cases or clients as a way for students to utilize and implement the skills learned in the classroom. My advertising and public relations classmates and I had the opportunity to create communication plans for a variety of companies, including Austin Bone & Marrow Clinic, Amy’s Ice Cream, Texas Campaign for the Environment. My class lucked out and was assigned Kerbey Lane Café, known in Austin as a hip, homegrown 24-hour diner. We split up into small groups (our team was 6) and spent the entire semester creating a integrated communication campaign for KLC.
We were allowed to choose our groups, and by the grace of InDesign, my group turned out to be incredible. A veritable power team made of the best from advertising and PR.
For the first half of the semester, we spent multiple meetings and countless hours doing research on KLC – consumer insights, statistics, brand imaging. Besides practicing what we already knew, my absurdly talented teammates taught me a great deal about advertising research.
The second half of the semester was spent creating a proposal that our client could actually implement. I have to admit, that part was pretty cool. To envision and budget a concept that a real-life company might actually utilize to bring in more revenue and traffic? Pretty darn neat.
My group had this amazing synergy – a genuine respect and appreciation for one another. I think that’s a fairly difficult thing to find, even when we enter the “real world.” Yes, you’ll work with people that you like and whom you get along with – but this combination of energy was something I had never experienced before in my four years at UT. We joked around and challenged each other. Not to say that we always got along – sometimes those idea sessions were stressful! But there was always an underlying sense of appreciation for everyone’s effort and positive expression for one another’s personality. This is the group that all future groups will compare against.
We presented our campaign to our professor and the client on the last day of school. Nervous and excited – not to mention, the first team to present – we were so thrilled when it was finally over. Five months of blood, sweat and queso were finally behind us. We celebrated over dinner and drinks at Trudy’s and Posse East, retreating to West Campus to just hang out in the end.
Exhausted and happy, we sat together and just talked. Though we had gotten to know each other rather well over the semester, we were all keenly aware that college was over. We discussed the classes we taken and the people we had met and the college-y things we had done – so different and yet so universal at the same time.
As we sat around, blowing bubbles and talking about the past four years, thankfully no one had seen me tear up (Evan told me to keep it together, as I had been quite emotional about graduation). I thought, this is so damn beautiful. We all have such different backgrounds of where we came from before college, what the past four years had been like, and where we were headed. We will always be united by this shared college experience that I will look upon fondly.
We ended up winning the project in our class : )
Twitter ended up being a cornerstone in our campaign, as we launched KLC’s official account during the semester. Guess who pushed for this?
Research was not always fully cooperative, but we made it work.
Evan was a whiz with InDesign.
We ate so much KLC this semester. I can read the menu by heart.
All the hard work paid off in the end.