Tag Archives: College

Trapped in the Cry Closet


Image result for Finals Week

Image result for Finals Week

Finals week were always tough while attending Champlain College.  I would head into the library to see hundreds of students locked inside the rooms studying.  They brought over their laptops, pens, pencils, notebooks, and other studying materials.  Some had a major exam coming up while others were cranking out that 15-page paper.  Many students even resorted to pulling off the classic all-nighter to get their work done (and yes, even I pulled a few all-nighters to complete my papers during finals week).

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What was even more crazier than the week itself were the stress-release activities Champlain College offered.  Things such as puppy rooms or chair massages were offered for students who needed a break from the chaotic week.  I’ll admit that some of the activities seemed childish for young adults like me.  My favorite way of relieving stress after finals was blowing off steam at the house parties around Burlington, also known as ‘House Party Hunting’ (House Party Hunter!).

Image result for College Finals Week

Image result for College Finals Week

Like Champlain, many colleges offer stress-free related activities during Finals Week.  From puppy rooms to coloring, there’s many ways students choose to relax.  These days, there is one activity that proves to be so incredibly preposterous.  Nestled within the University of Utah lies…The Cry Closet.

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Image result for The Cry Closet

The Cry Closet – a small dark room decorated with dark fabric lining inside that features a plush floor filled with stuffed animals.  A time hangs inside of the door while the outside features a sign reading ‘A Safe Place for Stressed Out Students’.  Students can find this closet at the J. Willard Marriott Library.

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Here are the rules of this so-called ‘Cry Closet’:

  1. Knock before entering
  2. Only one person in the closet at a time
  3. Limit your time in the closet to no more than 10 minutes
  4. Turn lights and timer off before leaving
  5. Use #cryclosetuofu if posting on social media

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Ok seriously folks… a CRY CLOSET?  This is what our young, innovative aspiring college students are working on these days?  A small closet filled with stuffed animals that they can cry in?  If Champlain featured a cry closet in the library, I would hotbox the room with bong rips before finishing up that final paper (I would be ‘crying’ from the coughing fits).

Image result for The Cry Closet

Image result for The Cry Closet

But all joking aside, this spells trouble for higher education all across this nation.  When you have students using a ‘cry closet’ during their spare time, you know damn well that they aren’t prepared to take on the world.  You know what’s sadder than the amount of work they have?  The fact that they have to use a ‘cry closet’ to mope about how hard their life is right now.

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Folks… THIS is the generation we have entering the real world – college students clutching a stuffed animal, crying about their huge biology exam coming soon.  They weep and cringe at the thought of finishing up that 20-page paper on German Philosophy.  Not only is this sad, but it’s also downright SCARY to think about.  I shudder at the mere thought that some of these students will be doing Public Relations in the future!

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There are much healthier (and more mature) ways to destress during college finals.  Exercise, healthy eating, taking long walks, writing, and drawing are a few of many ways to take care of yourself.  Feel free to reward yourself after a long day.  Maybe order pizza on a Monday after finishing up most of work or head out to a bar one night after completing that essay.  Finals week can be stressful, so its important that you take as much steps necessary to get through it.  Anything is better than locking yourself in a small room to cry.

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In the end, students need to come out of the Cry Closet and into the real world.  There are no cry closets in any work office you enter.  While there is no cry closet, there are bars all around where you can blow off steam.  These bars are located all around the office for your convenience.

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If you’re a college student stressed about finals, step out of the cry closet and into the REAL WORLD.  Pull up your big boy pants, get your coffee, and finish up that term paper.  Now is the time to show the world what you are truly made of.

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MakeSandcastlesNotWar/Tal Rimoni Show


Afternoon everyone!  If you remembered from yesterdays press release, I was going to be on The Tal Rimoni Show at Salem State University.  Junior Salem State student Tal Rimoni invited me in to discuss when public relations goes to pot.  It was a great half-hour of questions, good laughs, memorable stories, and even some take-aways at the end of the series.

 

For those who couldn’t catch the show, here were some of the highlights of our discussion:

 

MakeSandcastlesNotWar Visits The Tal Rimoni Show

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TR: So first, give a little background about yourself.

JC: So I transferred from Champlain College into Salem State University back in 2013 where I majored in Communications with a minor in Marketing & focus on Public Relations.  I switched my focus from Media Studies to Public Relations after completing the first semester.  There was this special event at school where I really enjoyed learning more about the PR industry.  After the first semester I joined SSUPRSSA (Salem State University Public Relations Student Society of America) to get more involved with the public relations industry.  PRSSA held weekly meetings that discussed things such as networking, agency tours, PRSSA Conferences, and many more exciting news.  Since then, I graduated almost 2 years ago with a Bachelor’s degree in communications.
TR: What led you to work in this industry?

JC: I have been interested in cannabis since the 2012 elections when Colorado & Washington State legalized recreational cannabis, which was also the time when Massachusetts decided to go medicinal.  While in college, I looked more into this booming industry that was happening in legal states.  I conducted research about cannabis through Leafly, Weedmaps, and even from friends around the school.  From strain effect to dispensaries, I looked through every aspect of this industry
TR: Do you smoke marijuana personally?

JC: Yes, I have consumed different types of cannabis products such as flowers, edibles and even tinctures.  While trying some of this products out, I even learned about new products out on the market.  I mostly enjoyed the different types of effect it had.  Some strains made me focused and more energized for the day while other made me relaxed for the night.

TR: How do you network in the Cannabis Community?

JC: I attend networking events I find through social media or word of mouth.  The main event that kicked things off was this ‘End of Prohibition’ party back in December 2016.  That event connected me to a LOT of interesting people that played a major part in the cannabis industry.  Ever since that party, I stayed connected with the people who host networking events to stay informed of what’s happening.  Social media was also a big way to find out what events were happening around cities like Boston or Salem.  Facebook was the major social media network where I found out about the events because I get many event invites sent out every week.

TR: Now that Marijuana is legal, has its use increased or decreased
from your perspective?

JC: Cannabis use has definitely decreased over the years because the regulated market made the business more sophisticated.  Studies have shown decreased use in CO & Washington State since shops open up.  Cannabis shops aren’t easily letting children or teenagers inside because they are being cautious when rolling out this industry.  There is definitely more media attention spread about cannabis, but there hasn’t been major increase of cannabis use in general.
TR: Why has it taken so long for Marijuana to and still be legal?

JC: Mostly it has to do with politics.  That ‘Reefer Madness’ mindset is still looming over people’s head, which has created many roadblocks in industry.  Employees, especially those in the Communications industry, are very limited due to legality issues.  Cannabis is STILL a schedule I drug on a federal level, so there is very little that we can do with this product.
TR: What is the future of the industry looking like?

JC: Other than just cannabis shops, I see cannabis being more integrated into our daily lives.  You hear about things like Pot & Paint night and Cannabis Yoga which are just some of the beginning stages of the entertainment aspect of cannabis.  Pretty soon you will see cannabis integrated with writing, arcades, movie theaters, etc.  Personally, I would love to see a 4/20-themed jazz club where you consume cannabis and listen to jazz at night.  I definitely see cannabis being more integrated with our daily activities.
TR: You have a blog yourself, so could you explain what you write generally?

JC: MakeSandcastlesNotWar started back in March 2016 as an entertainment PR blog.  I write about many aspects of entertainment such as TV, movies, fashion, music, etc.  Cannabis came into play in December 2016 when it was declared legal in MA.  Some of my reoccurring entries include PR Nightmares, TV Criss-Cross, philosophical journeys, and other craziness.  While the blog focuses on Public Relations, there is also topics about marketing and advertising.

TR: Well thank you so much for being on the show today Jon.  Any final comments?

JC: Your welcome Tal!  Here’s one thing to remember – Make SANDCASTLES, Not WAR.  Thank you!

MakeSandcastlesNotWar Press Release #1


MakeSandcastlesNotWar

350 Revere Beach Boulevard Apt. #3-3T

Revere, MA 02151

Jon Carey

                                                                                                                                        April 9th, 2018

 

 

MakeSandcastlesNotWar Creator Featured on Tal Rimoni Show

MakeSandcastlesNotWar creator Jon Carey will be featured on the Tal Rimoni Show.  Carey will be joining Salem State University student Tal Rimoni on the series tonight at 7 PM.  Some of his discussions for the episode include his experience networking in the cannabis industry, how he got his start, where the idea for MakeSandcastlesNotWar came from, and other juicy topics.  PR enthusiasts alike won’t want to miss out on this colorful topic about public relations going to pot (LITERALLY!).

This idea was pitched through Jon Carey, sole creator of the thriving entertainment PR blog MakeSandcastlesNotWar.  MakeSandcastlesNotWar covers the latest and greatest in the field of entertainment; many stories come with its own PR twist, providing a bigger lesson hidden beneath the actual story.  Carey covers a wide range of categories such as fashion, movies, TV, music, cannabis, and many others.  Each new topic is covered daily Monday-Friday with a series of special quotes on the weekend.

“Massachusetts has become a gold mine ever since they voted to legalize cannabis”, said creator Jon Carey.  “A lot of college students, especially those in the communications field, are graduating during such an exciting time where a whole new industry awaits them.  Cities like Boston and Salem will grow even bigger.  The possibilities for these ambitious students are endless.”  Carey also says he looks forward to reuniting with his Alma Matter Salem State University.  He was a Communications major focusing on Public Relations as well, but now Carey will be the one providing the scoop on this flourishing industry.

The Tal Rimoni Show airs on WMWM 91.7 FM during Mondays from 6-8 PM.  Creator Tal Rimoni is a junior Communications major focusing on public relations at Salem State University.  He enjoys movies, music, TV, politics, and sports.  Some of his featured guest included up and coming rapper DaVinci.  Rimoni will feature Jon Carey starting tonight at 7 PM.

Graduation(1 Year Later)


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This past weekend I attended my friend’s graduation party in Dracut.  I took the long drive from work to reunite with my old PRSSA friends.  It was going to be interesting to see how everyone was doing now that their all done with college. Some of my friends already snagged jobs while others are still working on their career path.

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Overall the party was amazing.  Great summer food, cold craft beers, and timeless conversations with the graduated crew.  This was the time for us to reflect on the amazing adventures life had to offer us.  We all may done with most of our education, but this was when the real lessons started.

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While heading home from a night of fun with my amazing PRSSA crew, I started pondering about how much has happened in over a year.  It’s been over a YEAR since I walked those steps and received my diploma, igniting what would be the start of the Real World.  I entered college in 2010 and officially finished my schooling by winter 2015.  What’s even more shocking is that it will be almost SEVEN years (more than HALF a decade!) since I packed my bags up to Burlington for Champlain College.

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It was a long and strange journey folks – a roller-coaster of emotions, events, thoughts, and actions.  The silver lining is that I’m on another journey that’s just as better as the college era.  While my Friday nights have been replaced with Netflix and cannabis rather than going hunting for house parties (HOUSE PARTY HUNTER ON THE LOOSE!), I’m still going out to Boston every week for adventures.

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So at this point, it’s time to ask those burning questions.  Where are we now?  What has happened a year after graduating college?  Have I become the entertainment PR superstar I was destined to be?  Has MakeSandcastlesNotWar transformed into the golden path of my dream career path?

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At this point, things have gotten more…interesting to say the least.  I haven’t picked up my dream PR job yet, but I shifted around with a few jobs here and there.  If you’ve been keeping tabs on MakeSandcastlesNotWar, you would see that the blog has grown significantly (25-30 views a day compared to 5-10 views!).  Even with my part-time job in place, I continue to generate that amazing PR juice for this blog.  The blog has really been branching out its brand identity, what with the addition of the ‘4/20’ category and ever-growing ideas popping out.  Sure, there isn’t as much leisure time in my life, but there will never be roadblocks when it comes to creativity!

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Personally, I knew that this journey wouldn’t become so easy; but in actuality, I’ve discovered that there’s much more steps in the system that I imagined.  I’ve learned the hard way that you have to get your name/face out there in the world before any major PR work can happen.  Everyone starts at the bottom and goes up in the ladder (like Oliver Queen’s salmon ladder!).  Yes it can be complicated at times, but colleges never said that it will get simpler.

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To my PRSSA friends at the graduation party (as well as all of the graduates having their party as well) – congratulations.  Congrats to all of your hard work during the most amazing years of your college lives.  Now is the time to pool in all of your experience, knowledge, tricks, and ideas into what your set out to do.  You’ve learned all that you can in the courses and now it’s time to push your own twist to it.

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In short, I’ve been grateful for the ones I went on the past year.  From my experiences, life has gotten a LOT more interesting now that school’s out forever!

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I used this quote last year and I’m bringing it back again…I know we’ll be just fine when we learn to love the ride.

 

Salem State PRSSA 1st Mass Chapter Meetup


It’s been almost a year since I graduated from Salem State University and I still make the time to reunite with my PRSSA friends.  While being a part of PRSSA (Public Relations Student Society of America), I gained some great friends that would help me on my path towards the Public Relations industry.  I joined PRSSA in Spring 2014 while in college and it has been quite an adventure since.  From networking events to National PRSSA Conference, Salem State’s PRSSA chapter has been a blast to be a part of.

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All of my PRSSA pals are currently graduating in less than a month.  It amazes me how far each one has come since their first meetup at Salem State University.  They may be leaving college soon, but they pulled together one last PRSSA event before taking off on their own ways.  This past weekend I attended the PRSSA Mass Chapter Meetup at Salem State University.

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The Mass Chapter Meetup was a school event rounding up PRSSA members around Massachusetts to meet on Ellison Campus Building at Salem State University.  Each member got together to network with other aspiring professionals, hear from professional speakers about the PR industry, tried their hands at a crisis communication activity, and even heard from SSU alumni about life after graduation (one of those people just happened to be ME!).  This was the first ever Mass Chapter Meetup that was put together by the e-board members.  Their first theme was ‘Battle of The Brands’, emphasizing on brands of the business world.  It was a wonderful event to get PRSSA pros together in one school to gain more knowledge about our careers.

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This event kicked off with our guest speaker Nicole Keiser.  Nicole had a combined background of journalism and Public Relations after graduating from Emerson College in 1997.  She worked in PR agencies such as CGPR and Regan Communications Group; right now she is a consultant for City of Boston (for Boston Water & Sewer Committee) and City of Gloucester’s Mayor Office for Crisis Communications.

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During the presentation, Nicole discussed the key differences between working in a newsroom and in a PR agency.  She mentioned that competition within the newsroom is very fierce and that it takes a lot of work for news to get out through the airwaves (FUN FACT: The BEST day/time for a ‘ribbon-cutting’ event is Tuesday at either 11:00 AM or 1:00 PM!).  Having good relationships with the media is so critical in the communications world because you need to know who to call for the right information.  One note that Nicole made was that a PR pro is someone who does their research in advanced, reads the day news every day, and knows what is happening in the area of their expertise.  Two key points you need to know is who is your audience and what is your headline.  These two questions are crucial to understanding how you will get your work done each week.

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For the last slide, Nicole gave some good advice on how to succeed.  One advice she had was to ‘Write, write and write some more’ (which is what I have been doing with MakeSandcastlesNotWar!).  Another tip was to learn how to answer phones, have a face-to-face conversation, and how to listen.  Knowing how to use social media is wonderful and all, but it’s VERY important to know how to talk to people the right way in order to conduct good business.  The last tip was to ask for critiques from mentors and don’t take it personally.  I know that MakeSandcastlesNotWar isn’t the #1 blog in the US and I could always use some critiques from professionals about how to make this blog bettetr.  You will be critiqued on your work even after graduating college, so be prepared for some tough love when you enter the real world.

After Nicole wrapped up her performance, we grabbed some sandwiches for our lunch break.  We watched some improv while stuffing ourselves with sandwiches, chips, fruits, and even some ice-cold sodas.  Our next agenda was hearing from SSU alumni about life after graduation.

We all headed into the MLK room for the SSU Alumni event.  I sat with Gerald, Andrew, Carrie, and Alex to talk about what life is really like after graduation.  As someone who still doesn’t have their life together (STILL no set income or full-time job), I was a bit anxious about how I would address the aspiring PR pros on this topic.  Dominque headlined the event by asking questions about what motivated us to get into PR, when was the best moment at Salem State University, what steps to take after graduating college, and other final pieces of advice.

Here were my answers to the questions I was asked:

#1:  The event that motivated me to enter PR was the communications dinner I attended during my 1st semester at Salem State University.  I was sitting at a table where I met PRSSA members Nick and Tathiana.  While eating my dinner, Nick talked with me about what PR was, how versatile the major was, and how you can get into entertainment PR.  That was the pinnacle moment where I wanted to shift my gears right into Public Relations.

#2:  To me, the best moment was being a part of PRSSA after joining.  From the chapter meetings to attending National PRSSA Conference, I learned so much more about the world of PR than I did in one semester of schooling.  Meeting all of these other PR pros meant that there was a big world I could be a part of after college.

#3:  One step I did constantly was a TON of networking.  College may have prepared me for the work I would be doing, but not on how to going about searching for those jobs.  Attending these networking events made me realize that I really needed to step outside of my comfort zone to snag my dream PR job.

#4:  My one last piece of advice for the students was to network…CONSTANTLY.  You may have been a big shot while at SSU, but no one knows who you are when you search for jobs in Boston.  It’s crucial to get your name/face out there so that people know who you are.  Another advice would be to put the phones away and really learn how to communicate with people.  Social media is great and all, but you need to learn how to talk with people professionally so that they trust you more.

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And that ended the panel session.  We gathered back into the Ellison room for more networking.  It’s been a real fun event and everyone was so enthusiastic about the PR life after graduation.

Overall, this was a wonderful event to attend!  I had an amazing time meeting with some energetic PR students who are looking to make it big with their careers.  PRSSA is truly an incredible activity to be a part of and I look forward to seeing what big plans they have in the future.  They may be in for a rude awakening once they enter the real world, but I’m confident that they have the skills/tools necessary to survive.

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A special thanks to Nikki, Dom, Rajira, Elizabeth, Amanda, and Kristen for hosting this event!  I was truly blessed to be a part of this amazing PR event here at SSU.  With that, I wish you all the best of luck with your journeys after college.  Go get ‘em, PR pros!