A definite success all around!

Remember when I talked about that finish line in my earlier blog? Yes, we just past it and we past it finishing in 1st place!

Our Last Class session - we packed another 45 boxes for shipping. Photo courtesy of Liisa Temple.

A class of 12 dedicated Honors students has raised more than $4,000 dollars for shipping costs (at $12.95 per box, that’s over 300 boxes) and has shipped 190 boxes in just one semester. Never did I think we would accomplish our regular goal of shipping 120 boxes and raising $1,554.

As the semester winds down and my thoughts are frantic on final exams and graduation (yes, I’m graduating May 5th!), I want to take some time and express my feelings about this incredible class.

From my university experience, I’ve found that taking a class that combines learning with a real world application is very rare. With this class, One Pencil Can Help Bring Peace, we’ve learned how to take social media and use it to our advantage to promote our cause. Here are some things I will take away from this class (especially since I’m an International Business major):

  • Public Speaking – Just this course alone, I’ve spoken in public about 7 times. And each time I’ve had to adapt my “speech” to my audience because everyone likes this cause for different reasons whether it may be helping children or helping support our troops in Afghanistan. Public speaking is really hard but when you find a topic that you’re pretty passionate about (like I am) you find yourself speaking from the heart rather from your memory.
  • Creating an event – Our class held our own Bull Market event where we sold Papa John’s pizza for a $1 to raise funds for our shipping costs. Not only did we do the advertising and the necessary public relations that were needed to promote our event but we also combined all our resources and networks to make this event a success.

    Our Bull Market event April 6, 2011

  • Social Media – Yes, Facebook and Twitter can be used to create awareness and promote a cause or business rather than promoting one’s latest fight with their significant other. I’ve learned the real, definite impact Facebook has in our lives and how it can elevate one’s organization. I’ve learned how to capture my friends’ attention on Facebook and how to make them care to click on my link or even bother to read about my latest update.
  • Marketing – Oh marketing. My absolute favorite (No, really it is! I want to do something along the lines of international marketing after graduation). This class was a big practicum in terms of marketing. We dominated in terms of publicity. Our class was constantly doing interviews via radio, TV, newspapers, and even our university’s home web page. We’ve promoted our cause through social media and through our blogs. Because of marketing, I was able to land a $1,295 donation from Publix Charities. Overall, I’d say our marketing efforts were a huge success for this small class.
  • Blogging – Everyone has either heard about blogging or has read one but does anyone know how really hard it is to write a blog? Not only do you want to have your “own, unique” voice but you need to a) capture your reader’s attention b) make them care about what you’re writing and c) have fun with your blog. I admit it. At first, I detested blogging. I could never think of anything great to write. I knew I wasn’t eloquent enough like my classmate Zoe, witty enough like Zazu, nor was I as heartfelt like Kati. But alas, just like everyone tells me “practice makes perfect” or at least in my case better and more enjoyable. I think throughout my blogs I’ve finally found my voice and was able to communicate more effectively than in the beginning. Something really cool and very memorable about blogging was when my classmate Zazu’s blog entry became “Freshly Pressed” on WordPress.com. In a single day, her blog had over 2,000 hits! This just shows that when you have a great message along with a great voice, it will be heard.

Those are just some of the tangible things I’ll be taking with me from this class. As for intangible things, well, here it goes:

  • Respect – I have the utmost respect for my professor Liisa Temple and her husband Rex Temple. Between the two of them, they’ve created an organization to help children receive an education. I think that’s the best gift a child can ask for and receive. Not only are they parents to their wonderful dogs, Charlie and Sam, but in a way they are also parents to all these children they’re helping in Afghanistan. Because of them, I’ve gotten another good glimpse at humanity at its kindest and its best. Seeing how they went from just a “Hey honey, can you send me any spare school supplies” to an actual organization has shown me that I can do something similar when I’m older. And yes, I’m definitely planning on it!

    Professor Liisa Temple and USAF SMSgt Rex Temple. This class would not be possible without them! (Photo courtesy of Liisa Temple)

  • Unity – Never in my 4 years of college experience have I ever experienced the sense of unity I got from my class. Normally, I’m lucky if I get a small class size which consists of around 50 students. Having brought 12 students together from different background and majors, I was a bit wary. Usually I’m the girl that’s shy and never makes friends with her classmates. Fortunately for me, that wasn’t the case here. This class got along so well! Because we did have that different background and that different major, we were able to pool together our own resources and networks to make this class a success. It wasn’t like a big group project where a few people slack on their responsibilities and I’m usually the one left with more responsibilities because I want that A. Everyone and I mean everyone brought something to the table. And you can see that with our 190 boxes already shipped and $4,000+ shipping fund raised.

    Our First Class, photo courtesy of Liisa Temple

  • Friendship – I’m actually not quite sure if I can classify this as ‘intangible’ but let’s just pretend. When I’m usually done with a class, I have no qualms about letting that memory store in the back of my brain and not use it again unless I need to remember something the professor said. That’s definitely not the case here. I’ve made such great memories in this class and better yet I’ve made some friendships. I think very fondly and very highly of each classmate and my professor. I know that in the future I will keep in touch or at least Facebook stalk them and see where the wind takes them in this great journey I call life.

This class went above and beyond my expectations. I absolutely adored everything we learned/did and now I have that sense of accomplishment I was missing throughout my collegiate career. I’d like to thank everyone who’s read my blog and have followed my incredible journey. I’d also like to give a final thank you to Liisa and Rex Temple and my classmates for giving me the best “last” class experience before I end my college career.

Photo Courtesy from mycommentspace.com

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About Sarai Quiel

I just graduated from the University of South Florida with a bachelors in International Business. Instead of taking the next normal step in life (aka finding a 9-5 job), for 8 GLORIOUS months, I will be teaching English in Malaga, Spain! Obviously because of my choice location, I wholeheartedly enjoy soccer, travelling, photography, reading, Salvador Dali, the beach and living life to the fullest. Click on my blog to read about my life as an expat and my latest travel adventures!
This entry was posted in Afghanistan, Awareness campaigns, Charity, Education, Uncategorized, University of South Florida, USF Honors College and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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