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Balancing School and Your Social Life

There are a lot of factors that make college a challenge: picking a major, taking general education classes you don't care about at 9 a.m., getting involved on campus, maintaining a job, juggling physical and mental health, the list goes on. 

I'd like to think that I balance a social life and schoolwork pretty well. My success in managing the two comes from me keeping my priorities at the forefront of everything I do. I chose to go to college for two main reasons: to further my education and push myself outside of my comfort zone (aka be social).

When it comes to education, though, nothing frustrates me more than when I see people consistently disengaged and not trying. There are so many people who would love the opportunity to pursue higher education but not everyone gets that chance. I understand that you can't be "on" 100% of the time and that's okay, especially if you're trying, but to me you at least need to be attempting to put effort in.

Obviously balance is important, too. It's not healthy to dedicate 99% of  your life to your studies and 1% to your social life or vice versa. This past semester I had a lot of intensive projects and I'd say that at least 6 out of 7 days of the week I was doing homework. Was I working on homework all night? Not always. But I was opening up a notebook, editing a draft, or working on a spreadsheet almost every night. I was working hard but I still had a social life. I went to Kappa Delta formal and our date party, I still attended concerts, I still went out, but I also knew how to accomplish everything I needed to get done.
This is Mackenzie, she's one of my roommates next year and she's super cool. I'm grateful we do fun things like dress up and go to formals but also just get coffee and study
College provides you with so many unique opportunities that you shouldn't always say no to because you feel like you have to do homework. At the same time, though, you have to be willing to ask for help and push yourself when you're struggling. My accounting class was a challenge and I could have easily just blown it off because I didn't really need it and I'd never use it again. Instead I met with tutors and asked my friends who were accounting students for help.

Trust me, I get that life is busy. Most days I felt like I was averaging 12+ hours day, but at the end of those long days I'd reflect on how happy I was. I have some incredible people in my life because I chose Drury. I have learned a lot, challenged myself, and had some really memorable, fun nights with a lot of people I care about. I pride myself on my hard work and I've seen the results pay off. My biggest advice for college freshmen is to make those social connections, have fun, but also be willing to put in hard work.

Until next time,
Taylor xx

Creating a Stronger Voice

A side note: To my regular readers, this is my entry into the MarketingProfs Marketing Writing Bootcamp Scholarship
From a young age I’ve been drawn to writing. As a child I’d sit in the plush computer chair in my family’s “computer room” and third grade me would write short stories, or at least try. Each time I’d come back to the computer I had a new idea in mind and start a new story. My dad hates clutter on the computer and I know that as much as he may want to delete those half written stories I started as a 9 year old and eventually abandoned, he keeps them in a folder on the desktop entitled “Taylor’s”. I have to admit I’m a little nervous to read the stories I wrote all those years ago, but they built the foundation for my passion.
My sophomore year of high school I began a blog. I spent all my free time writing about different recipes I tried and new products I bought. Eventually, I bucked up and invested in my (now current) domain, www.thebabyperks.com. This was my high school swim team nickname that just happened to stick. My junior year I joined the high school newspaper. I was in love. I started as a reporter and then became a copy editor, features editor and creative director. Around this same time I was also taking marketing classes and competing as a member in DECA. Going into college I knew I wanted to merge my interests. Luckily, my university has a strategic communication program focused on crisis communication, multimedia writing, and brand management. I love the program I’m in and the opportunities I’ve had because of my degree.
If you aren’t challenging yourself you aren’t growing. I never want to stop learning or developing my skills. I would love to attend the Marketing Writing Bootcamp so that I can continue to refine my writing. I know what I love and I love what I do, this Bootcamp will give me another perspective of how to write. I graduate from college in 2 years and I plan on continuing to write for my blog alongside my professional career. I would love to learn how to reach my audience better through creating stronger content. MarketingProfs’ Bootcamp would give me that opportunity to develop my voice on my personal platform and strengthen my skills for my future employer’s platform.
Until next time,
Taylor xx

Confidence

The Confidence Coalition was something I wasn’t aware of prior to joining Kappa Delta. Throughout my past two years in Kappa Delta and one semester of Girls on the Run, I’ve become really passionate about empowering girls to reach their full potential. As I reflected on what ties me to this I realized that it really started because of my triathlon coach in high school.
I was involved in a plethora of sports growing up, and I’ve written a lot about my triathlon experience in the past. I spent a large amount of my summers in high school on a bicycle all across the O’Fallon/Lake St. Louis/Wentzville area. Without the High School Triathlon Club I definitely wouldn’t have continued fitness in college, I wouldn’t have realized why fitness was important.

I don’t care about my body solely for the aesthetic reasons, I care about eating a balanced-ish diet (I’m not perfect) and working out because it makes me feel good. When I feel good about myself, I’m so much more confident in myself. When I am confident in myself, I am able to better serve other girls who are trying to find that confidence in themselves.
You better believe I ate a donut, 2 bagels, and chocolate milk after my half marathon
Going through recruitment can be such a hectic time-- move-in just happened, you’re getting adjusted to living on a college campus, and you’re starting life over. I am so grateful that I had the High School Triathlon Club in my life to lay the foundation for fitness, health, and confidence. I am also so grateful that Kappa Delta saw that confidence in me 2 years ago when I went through recruitment. The Confidence Coalition is so important and

I’m so happy I am able to be a part of something that gives girls the ability to embrace who they are and believe in themselves.

I have a connection to triathlons and half marathons, I hope that I am able to use athletics to continue to empower girls to challenge themselves and do what they think is impossible.

I have never been so confident in myself as I have been recently and I truly wouldn’t be at this point in my life without the HSTri Club and Kappa Delta. If you have any questions about fitness or joining Greek Life (or why I'd recommend Greek Life) please let me know! I'd love to talk about it!

Check out these posts for more of my fitness journey! I should be providing a new update soon.
My Fitness Journey- the beginning of my journey into health/fitness
Going to the Gym- when I first started going to the school gym
13.1 Things I Learned About Training for a Half Marathon

Until next time,
Taylor xx

Creating Culture


Can you create a corporate culture? I think you can, but I know a lot of people disagree. Just because you can create it doesn’t mean it always happens or is easy to do.

Defining what a corporate culture “is” can be challenging when a company isn’t intentional. Patagonia and Zappos, for example, hire specifically on values. Zappos even offers you your pay + an extra $2,000 to quit if you don’t feel like you align with the company’s values after 2 weeks of working there.


When you work for a company that values the same things you do, you are more productive, engaged, and driven to work. This creates a better employee experience.


By prioritizing the employee experience, I think that creates the culture people want. For example, at one Patagonia office they let employees go out and surf during the work day. Patagonia employees truly embody the brand of their company, they are authentic. If the company forced them into high-walled cubicles with no access to nature, that wouldn’t really align with their brand. By allowing employees to engage in activities they love at work, while still doing their job, they value the company more. Simply put, people like going to work so they do better work.  

It’s easier with companies like this where the values are so clearly defined- a passion for sustainability, the environment, and activity (Patagonia’s Culture page on their website is very eye opening). In companies that focus on “just getting the job done” you lose that culture.

Unfortunately, though, getting to work for places with these cool perks or opportunities can take time. Many companies want you to have 4+ years experience, so you have to take that job with a rather bland culture. But hopefully as more managers and senior-level executives learn about the power of an intentional, positive culture, more people will become passionate and engaged in their work.

My hope going forward is that more organizations become aware of their company's culture. Having an employee base who cares about what they are doing and how they represent their organization is (to me) very important.

What are your thoughts about corporate culture?

Until next time,
Taylor xx

Denver

If you're able to think back to when it felt like -2 outside, I was most likely scrolling through LinkedIn Jobs trying to find internships for the summer.

I spent a majority of my winter break applying for internships in Kansas City and St. Louis because I was determined to not go back to my high school job (& I wanted real-life experience in my career field). 

I found out in April that I'd be working with Spectrum (Charter) as an Internal Communications Intern. Over the course of the past three weeks I've absolutely loved it there. I have already gotten one article published and I've been able to edit/revise a lot other content, too. It's great to work in an environment that's so different from my past experiences. Through Drury I've done a lot of external PR and worked with small nonprofits, now I'm doing internal PR and working with a Fortune 100 company.
My first day in the office
But... when I accepted the job I found out that we present our intern group project on August 2, with my last day in the office on August 3. Unfortunately that meant that I couldn't go on vacation with my family and I was pretty bummed.

This past Thursday, though, my boss approached me and asked if I wanted to go to the Denver office this week with another member of the Internal Communications team. Of course I said yes! I have always wanted to go to Colorado, and although it will be for a work conference, at least I get to travel this summer!

Spectrum has four major corporate offices: Charlotte, Denver, St. Louis, and Stamford. Each office has a different corporate focus and I'm super excited to meet the people working in Denver. My internship has been great so far and I know that getting to network with even more people will be beneficial. 

I'm so excited to see how I grow professionally over the next 7 weeks. 

Until next time,
Taylor  xx

PS: I should be updating my blog in the coming weeks so be prepared for that change!! 

Living with Purpose

As I wrapped up the spring semester I was overwhelmed to say the least. These past two weeks, though, I've had time off to relax and it was honestly the best thing that could have happened to me. I've been able to read (5 books already!), write, and workout.

During times of complete stress it is easy to go through the motions of what needs to be done. For me, I can feel like there is no purpose besides getting to the end goal. Breaks like summer and winter break are a great way to reevaluate my purpose.

What do I think my purpose is? There could be a lot of answers, but my focus now is finding balance. I want to find balance within school, work, health, and family/friends. Towards the end of last semester I was so stressed that I sometimes neglected healthy eating and spending time with people.


Tomorrow I start my internship! I'm so excited, but I know that I could get overwhelmed. My goal is to breathe, embrace my role as an intern, and find that balance. I hope that this will prepare me for going back to school in August. I'll immediately jump into spirit week, executing pre-recruitment events and then sorority recruitment itself. That entire 2-3 week process combined with starting school is always stressful, but I know that if I mentally prepare I can handle it.

I'm so excited to go into my junior year of college at Drury. I'm also excited to live life with purpose-- seeking balance.

Until next time,
Taylor xx

Skin Woes

There are a lot of problems that are worse than what I'm about to talk about, but my skin has impacted my life and I wanted to talk about it. It's hard because this isn't a "please pity me" post, it's a post that I want to share to document a challenging time, and hopefully be able to look at later thankful that it ended.

A few months ago I talked about trying to cut gluten of my diet (that was a fail by the way). My acne was getting worse and I was having GI issues so I thought it would help. After not seeing results I started eating gluten again. 

I went to a Springfield dermatologist and he diagnosed me with eczema and I started using the topical cream, Eucrisa. From the end of February to now it has just continued to get worse.
It's not just the redness that bothers me, I'm constantly itching. Like all. of. the. time. I even will wake up to me itching my body in my sleep. It's just so frustrating because over the past few months I have done so much research without any answers.
I was able to see my primary care physician two days ago and he said to cut out dairy for 3-4 weeks and see if that helps. He also did blood work to check my thyroid and scan for other autoimmune diseases. I'm hoping that the blood work will come in soon and I'll finally have some answers. As much as I don't want anything to come back wrong, I hope it does so at least I know what's happening with my body. I have a dermatologist appointment coming up this week so I'm hoping they will also help me find some answers.

Obviously my skin problems aren't the worst thing in the world, but they destroy my confidence. I hate constantly having to itch and feel like people are looking at me because of my skin. I want to be able to reclaim my confidence and solving my skin problems would help that so much.

Until next time,
Taylor xx