Friday, April 11, 2014

Advice to First Year CreComms Entering Second Year

Today was my last day (ever?) at Red River College. We completed our second year of Creative Communications this week and begin our final work placement next week. It's been a whirlwind and I thought I'd use this blog post to give some advice to the first year CreComms who are in the same position I was exactly one year ago.

1) Don't stop backing up your files/be paranoid

In first year Tracey tells everyone to back up all your files and data at least twice. In first year it was easy to make this a habit but I've found that by second year we begin to forget this important step. Backing up info can be the most mind-numbing and annoying task. It can take hours and sometimes it seems pretty pointless. Just back it up. You don't want to be the second-year student who didn't back up their IPP and loses it all two days before its due. Believe me that would suck more than the hours it takes to back up all your information.

2) Keep being nice to each other

In first year of CreComm everyone loves eachother and doesn't mind spending hours on end together. By second year patience starts to run dry and it becomes too easy to disregard classmates who aren't your best friends. Don't do this! Keep smiling and make it your mission to meet and have in-depth conversations with everyone in your class. No one wants to be referred to as, "that girl who never talked to anyone." Meeting and interacting with everyone in second year might land you a job in the future - or a new best friend!

3) Grades don't matter

Well they kind of matter. You should still try your hardest and pass every class. However getting a C- on your final assignment isn't the end of the world. Learning from your mistakes while maintaining a good work ethic and positive attitude are what will matter when looking for jobs. No employer wants to hire a straight A student who complains, can't work well with others, and never smiles.

There was one thing that always kept me going when the assignment pile seemed a mile high and the end was no where in sight. I told myself, "People before you have finished CreComm so you can finish it too." Sometimes its hard to stay positive, but to take a word from Dory in Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming!"

PR Majors of 2014

Friday, April 4, 2014

Photography Class

I've loved photography since high school but I've never taken a photography class until this year. I thought I knew how to use a camera but I was sadly mistaken. Learning three simple things: aperture, ISO, and shutter speed have made a world of difference. Shooting and editing in raw can be the difference between a good photo and an amazing photo. I still have a lot to learn but I'm excited to keep trying!

Here are some of the photos I've taken this year.

Low shutter speed

Exchange District raw

Product shot

Friday, March 28, 2014

Why Men Suck at Breakups

It's true. Men do not handle breakups well. Although the male stereotype is tough and emotionless men actually suffer more than women during a breakup. Studies have shown that women express their emotions during a breakup to family and friends which helps them recover faster. Men, on the other hand, bottle up their emotions and will turn to drugs or alcohol to numb their emotional pain.

A social psychology professor named Dr. Fehr at the University of Winnipeg explained in class that men are groomed their whole lives to hold in their emotions and to "buck up" around friends. Women are groomed to express themselves and they feel comfortable using a friend's shoulder to cry on.

Breakups still affect women too. The study by Dr. Robin Simon  says that women feel depressed during rocky periods of a relationship and/or after the relationship ends. However expressed feelings of depression seem to be less detrimental than the substance abuse some men turn to when the relationship goes south.

Men in relationships tend to be more emotionally satisfied than single men. However men aren't as concerned as women about being single. Women who are single put a lot more pressure on themselves to find a partner than men do.

Next time one of your friends, male or female, goes through a breakup you should offer a hug and a listening ear. They may just need to vent, cry, or complain but it seems both males and females benefit from emotional support after going through a breakup.

Dr. Robin Simon says, "Our culture really assumes that romantic relationships are more important for women than men. But recent research suggests that no, it’s not. This represents a sea change in the culture and it’s a positive one. Young men today were raised in a different cultural milieu with two working parents and high divorce rates that make relationships more central to their identities. I think it’s a good thing that these relationships are important to young men. Roller coaster relationships were closely associated with depression in both genders and increased substance abuse among young men. Young men and women express their distress at a breakup differently. Women are more likely to feel depressed after a breakup, while men are more likely to have substance-abuse problems.”

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Resume Writing - Make Yourself the Obvious Choice

Spring is almost here. That means that grads are about to be unleashed on the world with resumes in-hand. You may have pep in your step, a twinkle in your eye, and confidence that the right job will fall in your lap. However many people overlook that first important step - or first impression- that is your resume and cover letter.

You may think that Google searching "resumes" will help you craft the perfect first impression. Those resumes may be a good starting point but you need to craft each resume to the job you are applying for. That means tweaking you resume EVERY time you apply for a new job.

Three steps for writing a strong and intriguing resume:

1) Read the job ad carefully

Nothing is more annoying than receiving an application from someone who obviously skimmed the job ad. Sculpt your resume to match the job ad. Every skill or experience you have that fits the job requirements is another point for you. Make it obvious when you have a skill that matches something in the job ad. The person in charge of hiring will thank you for making their job of reading resumes easier. If you have all the skills required let them know. Make it obvious!

2) Resume length - you can go over one page

There is a myth spread by high school teachers when preparing their students for their first job. The myth is that a resume should never be longer than one page. This is wrong. When applying for a job, especially at a professional level, the employer wants to know all the applicable skills, experience, and education you have. Don't remove relative information just because it doesn't fit on one page. List everything you have done or learned that makes you the right person for this job. No one wants to read a ten page resume, but if your resume stretches to two pages don't sweat.

3) Spelling

No one wants to read a resume with spelling errors. Re-read your resume, read it out loud, and then read it backwards. A glitch recently messed up one of my resumes. It replaced my name with "Red River College." Good thing it wasn't sent out to a potential employer!

Here is an interesting design based-resume.

Image from:

Monday, March 10, 2014

My year-long project: Mom Needs To Lie Down: The years and lives slept away by ME/CFS

Today I am sharing the blog post I wrote for my other blog. However I will add a bit of an introduction for those of you who are unaware of my project.

As part of the Creative Communications program everyone must complete an Independent Professional Project (IPP) in their second year.  Just over a year ago I proposed my idea for an informational video about Myalgic Encephalomyelitis/Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS). 

This project hits close to home for me because my Mom has suffered from ME/CFS for over six years. Watching the pain and trouble she went through just to get a diagnosis was actually quite frightening. She had to seek out her own diagnosis by flying to the Mayo Clinic and then to Dr. Stein in Calgary.

She was turned away by doctors in Winnipeg because they refused to acknowledge what was happening to her. She was told she was depressed, that she had anxiety, and that all of her symptoms were unrelated. Luckily my Mom persevered and finally got the diagnosis necessary to start her recovery.

She is far from cured and she probably will never be "back to normal." A diagnosis is only a stepping stone but without a diagnosis my Mom was left in the dark. Now my Mom knows what is going on with her body and she is better prepared to make positive health-care choices and feels less pressure to "push herself."

I made this video for her and for all the people suffering from ME/CFS in silence. The link for the video is here.

Thank you again to everyone who was able to attend the screening on March 6th of Mom Needs To Lie Down: The years and lives slept away by ME/CFS. So far I've gotten lots of positive response in the form of emails, YouTube comments, and even a blog post!

Here are some pictures from the screening at the Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe.

Winnipeg Free Press News Cafe

Larissa Peck, Joanne Kelly, and Danielle Da Silva

Meghan Franklin, Zach Samborski, and Megan Douglas

Panel discussion

From left to right: Taylor Cole, Dr.  Eleanor Stein (on the TV), Dr. Mindy Campbell, and Lorilee Leslie-Cole

Listening to Dr. Eleanor Stein via Skype

Useful reading material about living with ME/CFS

Taylor Cole with Denis and Marianne Litster
Thank you to everyone for the support and kind words. Although the screening and school portion of this project is over I am not finished. I will continue to use my video editing, media relations, and communications skills to help those who suffer from ME/CFS.

This blog will continue to be updated.

If you are interested in contributing please send me an email:

Monday, February 24, 2014

Deep Freeze Before the Thaw

We all know it. This Winnipeg winter has been a hard, long, and frigid. We've forgotten what grass looks like and we complete our hour-long commutes to work with the heat cranked and our parkas securely fastened. Will this hellish freeze ever end?

Yes it will. And guess what... that first -9 morning will feel like +20 and you'll be outside praising the sun. Then slowly day after day it gets warmer. And warmer. Then it gets so warm you tweet "UGH THIS HEAT IS KILLING ME. I'D TAKE -30 OVER THIS!"

Hey at least you're feeling something, right? If you lived somewhere warmish where the seasons never seem to change you'd forget what that thaw feels like. It's not for everyone, but once you leave here you're winter horror stories will entertain people for years to come. 

Living in Manitoba and loving it can be hard. But we've only got a few more weeks to go my friends, power through. 

PS- Living in Winnipeg means you can wear layers fall, winter, and spring (and sometimes summer).
It's coming!

Friday, February 7, 2014

Five Things I Learned After Moving into Winnipeg

I moved into Winnipeg when I was two-months shy of 18 years-old. I grew up on a farm 20 minutes outside of the city so Winnipeg was very familiar to me, but I still had some big adjustments.

This year, 2014, will be my fifth year in the city! To celebrate here are five things about living in Winnipeg that I noticed during my transition:

1. Traffic

Not only are there way more cars in Winnipeg, but there are also way more traffic lights, one-way streets, merge lanes, construction etc. Driving through a construction zone at night can look just like you took a trip to Wonderland. You have to drive offensively AND defensively. Needless to say my driving skills have improved since moving here.

2. Pavement/Asphalt 

Believe it or not pavement and asphalt can be much worse to drive on than gravel.  Sliding on gravel towards a stop sign is nothing like sliding on pavement into the back-end of a garbage truck. Both gravel and pavement get potholes, but potholes on pavement seem to do more damage. It is much easier to damage your car during winter in Winnipeg than in the country.  Snow-filled ditches usually don't leave dents.

3. People Have Nice Things

I am still playing catch-up with my "city" friends when it comes to my wardrobe.  Maybe it's just me but it seems like the clothing stakes are much higher in Winnipeg than in the country. There is way more selection here so no excuse to dress like a hillbilly.

4. Food

The food in Winnipeg is amazing. I used to think my $7.99 Chinese buffet at Mui Mui's in La Salle was delectable.  Now I know what real food is. I can never go back.

5. Friends

People think Winnipeg is small but try getting away from an ex-boyfriend in a town of four thousand. It is easy to have multiple groups of friends in Winnipeg and there is always something to do on the weekend. I met some of my best friends after moving to Winnipeg (although my hometown friends are still amazing).