Gone in body, here in spirit

By Brooke Halteman

The last vine. The last storyboard. The last blog. The last day at School Datebooks.

As I sit at my desk – a little salty, I admit, that we didn’t get to move into the renovated office space next door before I left – it’s oddly sentimental thinking back on my experience here. At the beginning of the summer you probably remember me making fun of my small storage space “office.” But now a soccer ball, a pink Eiffel Tower topped with the Spanish and American flags, and a blown-up rubber glove (representative of a cow utter) have lightened up my desk space. A crumpled aluminum foil Sputnik and our trusty steed box sit on the shelves behind me. I am literally surrounded by priceless memories of my summer at School Datebooks.

I didn’t know what to expect coming into this internship, but I assumed it would be a unique experience since the people who work here are such cool individuals. Cool people don’t work at boring places.

For example, within a few minutes of walking into work today I was already being encouraged to try weird potato chip flavors located on the “Chip Table” and vote on which was my favorite. I still have the leftover taste of a New York Reuben sandwich (in chip form) mixed with coffee in my mouth. Not the most pleasant experience before 9:00 in the morning.

Even though this internship has been a lot of fun and even goofy at times, I have honestly learned a lot.

·         Anything can be fun if you make it fun.

·         Anything can be a “marketing opportunity” – even if you’re stuffing boxes with promo stuff.

·         Anything can be made out of a cardboard box.

·         Social media really is important for businesses, especially if the posts are entertaining.

·         Storyboards require good writing and mediocre illustrations (thankfully).

·         Creativity is key.

·         School Datebooks is kind of a big deal.

So, I guess this is me saying good-bye. I literally just heard Jon sniffle in his cube a few feet away. I’ll assume that was because he is going to miss me. But the cool thing is that even though this is my last day physically at School Datebooks, I will still be here in spirit. (I promise I’m not getting weird here – I’m talking about the #InternsInHistory videos that will be posted each month. Follow us on Twitter/Facebook! Shameless last plug.)

I’ll leave you with some exceptional quotes from the marketing department that I’ve acquired over the past couple months. This was an actual assignment for my internship, believe it or not (at this point nothing should surprise you):

Leah – “If there were ever a zombie apocalypse, I’ve already thought this through. I would go to Costco. You can literally have everything there. So many unperishable foods that you could live there for years.”

Victoria – “We should take a team trip to Key West!”

Jon – “We can take a team trip to your cube.”

Jon – “Is 11.8 square miles enough to cover Belgium? How about Rhode Island?”

Leslie – “How big is a basketball field? Oh wait. Math and sports…yeah, I’m definitely not in my area of expertise.”

Leah to Jon (after his 2-day conference) – “You came back!”

Leah – “We could build a bridge out of spaghetti. Like uncooked spaghetti, ya know?”

(After Jon says he doesn’t know OneRepublic or think they would have good music)

Me –  “Maybe your frame of reference is not reality.”

Jon – “My frame of reference is reality. And right.”

I think these quotes encapsulate the personality of our team pretty accurately. My sarcastic, spunky, supportive coworkers will definitely be missed. It’s been real, School Datebooks.

Survival of the Fittest

by Brooke Halteman

I survived the Canadian wilderness this past week! My family went on a fishing trip to a remote lake in Canada and spent several days enduring torrential rain storms and battling fish with razor sharp teeth that were up to 3 feet long (the bodies of the fish were that long – not the teeth).

Overall it was super adventurous and slightly dangerous, so I’m surprised I made it out alive.

Now I just have to survive my last week at School Datebooks. This could be the bigger challenge to overcome with all that Leah and I need to get done.

Thankfully Leah went solo on completing several #InternsInHistory videos while I was gone and really delivered some stellar performances. My first day back on the job we kicked out 3 other videos in a matter of 1.5 hours. That even included making a makeshift globe out of an exercise ball and dressing Leah up like a cow. We are getting good at this efficiency thing.

It’s sad that the end of this marketing internship is in sight. When we were sitting on the ground to cut out spots for the cow costume, one of our coworkers walked past and said “You guys have the best internship ever.”

Yeah, I would have to agree.

Not every college student gets the chance to tap into their creative, childlike side and get paid for it. One of my favorite things about this internship is the energy and entertainment we are able to bring to the office. Don’t get me wrong – School Datebooks definitely has more personality than a lot of businesses I could think of, but you can just tell that the employees here really enjoy laughing at the crazy things Jon puts me and Leah up to. He may take advantage of our willingness to do anything, but we enjoy it and are helping the company in the process. And that’s what matters.

Thinking Outside the Box

by Brooke Halteman

Leah and I debuted our first #InternsInHistory video on Wednesday. This day also marks the beginning of our road to fame. Leah’s friends in Michigan texted her with questions and jokes about her stellar performance as a rabid dog as soon as we posted it online. School Datebooks even gained a few new followers on Facebook and Twitter.

Oh, the things we do for marketing.

In fact, our innovation (and humiliation) has gained us a fan base. All of the Customer Service Representatives love gathering around the intern desk to watch the latest and greatest videos we create, and leave saying things like:

“I’m going to follow the Twitter page!”

“I need to get back on my Instagram account!”

Mission accomplished. 

*Drops mic*Walks away*

*Drops mic*Walks away*

You would be surprised at how much planning goes into making a 6-second video. With such a short amount of time, you have to be on top of your game and make the most of every millisecond. This being said, our creative juices have been flowing like a raging river. Each video we make raises the bar of expectations. I even asked my mom to borrow her old prom dress so we could use it as a pilgrim costume. (I’m sure she loved that request. I also used it to dress up as a “lady” in my 6th grade Medieval Fair.)

But there are some props that we simply don’t have, which means that we have to create them out of supplies in the office. At first we would get strange looks and awkward laughs from our coworkers, but now it has just become the norm for them to see us running around wearing strange costumes or crafting in the middle of the hallway. You would be amazed at some of the things we’ve come up with….

Pilgrim bonnets from printer paper.

A spacesuit helmet from a box covered in aluminum foil.

A periscope from an old web camera.

There is also a cardboard box that has faithfully followed us to the North Pole and the New World. We call it our trusty steed.

Our trusty steed, Leah's paper pilgrim costume, and my mom's super fashionable prom dress (hood included).

Our trusty steed, Leah's paper pilgrim costume, and my mom's super fashionable prom dress (hood included).

Speaking of boxes, this week also included manual labor for the interns. We had to pack a ton of boxes with Pinwheel® marketing items. Pinwheel is an online scheduling tool that was developed by School Datebooks. It’s designed to make life easier for everyone in the school system – administrators, teachers, coaches, students, and parents – by communicating information from one online source.

I have been given the task of creating actual promotional videos targeting these different audiences to inform them of how Pinwheel® will benefit them. Thinking about a serious approach towards marketing is a new concept for me in the sarcastic School Datebooks atmosphere. Filming the #InternsInHistory videos has put me in the humorous mindset, so I have to shift my thinking. It’s time to put on my big girl pants. Bring on the new challenge!

DO IT FOR THE VINE | Pilgrims, Rabid Dogs, and The North Pole

By: Leah Ritsema

So … remember how I told you that Jon and Leslie might have Brooke and I collaborate on some social media stuff soon? Well it’s happening. It is happening in the form of “This Day in History” Vines. So far I have already plundered into the deep unknown in a submarine to the North Pole, as well as embraced my inner rabid dog. I did it for the Vine, okay? 

I can tell you are already questioning my professionalism and wondering why I am getting paid to mess around on Vine all day. Believe me, so am I. I assure you though, these Vines are 100% necessary. 

Brooke and I will be attempting to make 24 total Vines … two for each month of the year – all for your viewing pleasure. I really hope that they are appreciated. And, because I know you are absolutely dying to see what is in store for you, here is an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at a few blooper pictures. 

Getting ready to set sail...creating our ship!

Getting ready to set sail...creating our ship!

Brooke and I have been killing the brainstorming game. Jon was out of the office on Monday and Tuesday at a conference so naturally we decided to poke around his desk a bit to see what random things he had that could serve as potential props. Jon also sent us a little inspiration for an upcoming Vine about the Mayflower, which was just too rich not to share with the world. 

"Bookahontus" ft. young Jon

"Bookahontus" ft. young Jon

It hasn’t been all goofing off; we have been doing SOME work things. On Monday, Justin, Brooke, and I were given the “marketing opportunity” of packaging a ton of Pinwheel startup packages to send out to schools. This involved making the box and stuffing it with brochures, a plastic display for the brochures, five posters, and a letter. Finally, we taped them up and weighed them all. Truthfully, it wasn’t too bad. The three of us laughed as we compared our situation to the episode of Parks and Recreation when Jerry, an office employee that is terrible at everything, excels at stuffing thousands of envelopes ... only to find out later that he does them all wrong and has to redo them. Luckily, we were able to get the packages right the first time and avoided the task of having to redo them.

Getting our workouts in for the day...lifting and weighing all of the boxes!

Getting our workouts in for the day...lifting and weighing all of the boxes!

Today, Brooke and I are going to be Vine-ing like crazy so stay tuned for more on that!

Stay classy School Datebooks.

This Week in History

by Brooke Halteman

On Monday morning I walked into School Datebooks carrying a bag of Santa hats, a long tube of bubbles, a pink replica of the Eiffel Tower, red-rimmed safety goggles from the ’40s, and a miniature Christmas tree.

I can’t believe I get paid to do my job. Because it really doesn’t feel like a job at some points.

Here’s a little background: last week, Jon and Leslie pulled me and Leah into the boardroom for an unannounced meeting. I couldn’t figure out why they wanted to talk to us in seclusion, so I figured they were firing us.

Needless to say, I was wrong. Instead, they assigned us the coolest marketing project that has probably ever existed at School Datebooks.

The datebooks that we print every year have fun facts on each page that describe what happened during that week in history. Here is an example from August 21, 1911: “The Mona Lisa is stolen by a Louvre employee. It was recovered 27 months later.”

Our mission? Recreate these historical facts in a 6-second Vine video.

Is that not the best thing ever?! Our goal is to have 12 videos done for the next year, but if it were up to me and Leah, we would act out every single one of them. The ingenuity going on back in our little storage-hallway-office is off the charts as we look through the history facts and come up with brilliant costumes and scenes to film.

Being in the storage area and near Jon’s desk is also helpful to find props. Conveniently, Jon has a box of random trinkets such as a miniature baseball bat, a Captain America shield, toy semi-trucks, and a figurine of a Cubs player who is apparently named Woody. That’s just listing a few. I’m not sure how we can incorporate these useless things, but I’m sure we will figure something out.

I would say this is Jon's treasure box, but I'm pretty sure it's just a box of junk that he plays with when he's bored at work.

I would say this is Jon's treasure box, but I'm pretty sure it's just a box of junk that he plays with when he's bored at work.

The first video we filmed was a fact from July 6, 1885: “French microbiologist and chemist Louis Pasteur invented the first rabies vaccine, and uses it first on a 9-year-old boy who was badly bitten by a rabid dog.”

So much potential. So many possibilities. Especially when you find whipped cream in the employee fridge.

Leah -- AKA "rabid dog"

Leah -- AKA "rabid dog"

I think it’s safe to say that the School Datebooks interns had the best “work” day ever on Monday as we filmed a couple Oscar-worthy videos. I know the suspense is killing you to see the finished products, but just have patience – each month the “Interns in History” will be coming to a social media site near you!


Shameless plug – Follow us on Twitter (@schooldatebooks) and Like us on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/SchoolDatebooks) to see when we post these videos! (Because chances are Leah and I have probably already followed you. Read our old blogs to understand if this creeps you out.)

Rock Quarries, Munchkins and New Neighbors

by: Leah Ritsema

Greetings readers of blogs and surfers of the internet. Yes, it is true, I have not been in the office for the past few days. I am sure you have missed me and have been losing sleep about what I could possibly be up to, so I will fill you in on my time away. Last week I traveled down to Louisville, KY, to compete at a swim meet that took place in a rock quarry. My team goes every year and we are convinced it’s only because my coach, John Klinge, is obsessed with a restaurant called Hammer Heads that’s near the pool. Our coach makes sure that we all experience as much of Louisville as possible. By that I mean eating as much food as possible. While in Kentucky, I tried a ton of local restaurants. This included copious amounts of homemade ice cream, barbeque that makes napkins tremble in fear, and the best Cuban empanada my taste buds have ever experienced. Apart from the local cuisine though, I had a ton of fun cheering on my teammates, a few of which even achieved time qualifications for the Olympic Trial swim meet approaching us next summer!  

Me and a few teammates posing for a quick photo-shoot  before the first session of the meet. The excitement was too real. 

Me and a few teammates posing for a quick photo-shoot  before the first session of the meet. The excitement was too real. 

After a full weekend of indulging in the local hotspots and swimming outdoors in the sweltering 95 degrees, I drove back up to West Lafayette and prepared myself for being a counselor at Purdue’s Black and Gold Swim Camp. As if I wasn’t at the pool enough for my own practices, I added coaching three sessions a day for 149 little munchkin swimmers to my daily schedule. I then returned to the dorms with the campers where I played a lot of cards (I am the ultimate UNO champion), flushed a few cockroaches, fixed a fair amount of fire alarms, cared for a bloody nose or two, tipped countless pizza delivery guys, cleaned up a little vomit, and all around just hung out with some pretty special kids. I go back on Sunday for the second and final session. It is exhausting work, but extremely rewarding.

Brooke without me here....

Brooke without me here....

Brooke with me here!

Brooke with me here!

Needless to say, I have certainly missed spending my mornings at School Datebooks. I was so sad to leave my new desk neighbor, Brooke, after only one day of working with her. It is really nice to have a friend in the back of the office that shares my love of the snack bar (Justin is still here too, he just isn’t cool enough to sit with us). She has been helping me with the daunting task of following and friending all of our customers and has made significant progress since I’ve been gone. I think Jon and Leslie will have us collaborate on some social media posts soon too, which you all should be sure to check out. I am getting more and more comfortable managing the social media accounts, but I think it will be more fun to do them with Brooke. With both of us being awkward on camera together, it’s bound to be a good time. So, you have that to look forward to. Until then, stay classy School Datebooks. 

Get ready for "Teddy Bear Picnic Day"

by Brooke Halteman

Food is one of my favorite things. Especially desserts. When I accepted this marketing internship, I didn’t expect that my job would involve SO. MUCH. FOOD.

Let me expand. It’s not that School Datebooks is serving me a feast – although the bottomless jars of animal crackers and Cheese-Its are close – but the past week I have been researching holidays dedicated to different foods so we can add them to our Choosing Healthy Habits datebooks. I’m amazed at all of the holidays that exist! Seriously, there is a holiday for every single food.

For example, I had no idea that December 13 was Ice Cream and Violins Day. Yes, both of them. Celebrated at the same time. I would have participated in this a long time ago if I had known about it.

To make up for the lost years of holiday ignorance, I found myself putting a few into my phone calendar:

  • National Blueberry Muffin Day (Jul. 11) – it’s coming up!!
  • Waffle Day (Aug. 24)
  • National French Toast Day (Nov. 28)
  • National Cookie Day (Dec. 4)

There are so many foods worth celebrating. And I have a sweet tooth. Let’s just say my personal calendar does not mirror our Choosing Healthy Habits one.

So, if anything, I’m thankful to School Datebooks for opening my eyes to the wonderfully under-celebrated holidays around the world. We don’t print all of them in our calendars (obviously), but in my research I found some pretty stellar ones that may or may not involve food. They made me chuckle so I wanted to share them with the world.

That makes me wonder why there isn’t a Chuckle Day. Maybe I should create one…


All of these were brought to you by http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/ and http://www.brownielocks.com/month2.html.

All of these were brought to you by http://www.holidayinsights.com/moreholidays/ and http://www.brownielocks.com/month2.html.

"You're a terrible person"

by Brooke Halteman

Yes, those words came from the mouth of the man I’m supposed to impress with my unparalleled Liking/Following skills on social media. It’s probably not the first thing an intern would want to hear from her supervisor, but with Jon, comments like that mean you’re probably on good terms. I admit that I deserved this response since I was poking fun at his age. He ordered me to make his “belittling” quote the title of my next blog, so here you go Jon.

The past week has opened my eyes to new revelations about marketing. I’m learning that bits and pieces of marketing can be found in the most unlikely ways. Like math.

Yes, I said math.

grumpy cat math.jpg

When we started our Marketing Team Meeting this week, Victoria and I laughed at Jon for bringing a calculator. But we didn’t know what was in store for us. About 1.5 hours later, four marketing connoisseurs and two lowly interns still sat around a table with wide eyes and headaches. Jon’s chicken scratch of indistinguishable equations, conversions, and Newton’s Third Law of Motion were written all over the whiteboard – to his disappointment – in only black marker (marketing peeps need some kind of creativity, even if it’s just a colored marker).

Why? You might ask.

Well, over the past 30 years, School Datebooks has printed an impressive 65 million planners and shipped them around the world. That’s a really big number. Most people don’t know how to visualize that in their minds, so that’s where we come in to make our statistic wow you like it should.

Our first idea was comparing the height of 65 million books to the distance to the moon. But that idea was quickly scrapped because our book pile only reaches 513 miles high. The moon is 225,623 miles away.

A lovely, unimpressive representation of our 65 million printed books.

A lovely, unimpressive representation of our 65 million printed books.

Moving on.

We toyed with ideas like stacking the Sears Tower (yes, I know it’s technically the Willis Tower, but I refuse to call it that) on top of itself multiple times or laying books end-to-end from New York to Australia. But nothing hit home like comparing 65 million books to some of America’s favorite pastimes: football and basketball. Plus, basketball is on everyone’s minds recently anyway with the NBA Championship going on, so it’s perfect.

Many numbers later, we learned how many basketball courts and football fields we can cover with the number of books we’ve printed. We also learned that converting inches and calculating volume is not fun.

Alas, the end goal (no pun intended) was accomplished, and I think the comparison is pretty wow-ing. Stay tuned for the final product of our mathematical genius at a later date. It will probably knock your socks off. 

My First Flying Unicorn

by Brooke Halteman

“You came back!” Words from multiple coworkers on the second day of my internship here at School Datebooks. At first I thought it was just Jon being his goofy self, but when other people said it as well I started questioning if interns usually do leave. Maybe they know something I don’t…. 

But as far as I’ve experienced, I wouldn’t want to leave this office. When I first met Andy at a Purdue career fair, I was super-impressed with his relatability and the quirky Marketing internship job description. The first lines of it were: “It’s getting pretty real over here and we need an intern. Someone who wants to learn the ropes; wants their opinion to count (a little); and doesn’t mind a frenetic environment fueled by coffee and sarcasm.” No job description in the history of my searches has ever made me giggle, so I knew this was a good start.

My name is Brooke and I am heading into my senior year at Purdue University. Next May I will (hopefully) graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Professional Writing with minors in French, Global Studies, and Religious Studies. I say hopefully because I walked under the Bell Tower before my freshman year even started…a huge “no-no” at Purdue. Apparently this curses you to not graduate in 4 years. So far I’m on track even though I’ve changed my major 3 times. My goal is to beat fate.

Even though I’m not studying Marketing, I wanted to dip my toes in it before I graduate. Learning some Marketing tricks at an internship grants me “intern grace” while gaining new work experience. Already I consider myself a pro at my first big project here at School Datebooks: liking/following countless high school customers on social media. Since this involves the same skills as Facebook creeping, I’m pretty experienced in this area, and so is Leah — the other marketing intern you’ve heard from. Speaking of Leah, I was so pumped my first day when I found out I would get to share the back-corner-storage-area-office with another human being close to my age.

But. Then. She. Left. Me. For 2 weeks.

It almost seems like after 3 weeks of working here she caught a whiff of what those other interns discovered who apparently left (read the first paragraph again in case you forgot). Or she was driven insane by the never-ending liking/following on Facebook and Twitter. Or maybe she is teaching a swim camp (which is actually true). Any of those options are plausible, but I now have this ginormous task in my tiny hands and nobody to share animal crackers with from the snack bar.

Speaking of the snack bar, I would have to say that it closely resembles the people who work here at School Datebooks: both are a little sweet, a little salty, and are always available if you need them. The personality of the office is seriously unique and fun. I feel like most professional offices are pretty strict and rigid, but School Datebooks is the opposite. My first day didn’t consist of hours of training or long lists of tasks to complete — instead, I had a quick briefing and then went on a scavenger hunt to meet literally everyone who works here. On my adventure I made the faux-pas of asking Jeff if the Grateful Dead was a TV show (it’s actually a band), learned that Leslie’s school mascot was a hot dog, and found out that Jen had Luke Bryan over to her house to go hunting — there’s even photo proof! My biggest takeaway was that everyone here will talk to you and give you some time out of their hectic work day even if you’re just an intern on a scavenger hunt. That speaks volumes to the atmosphere School Datebooks has created, and I’m thankful I get to be a part of it.

So, the project continues. As everyone around me frantically works to meet their deadlines, I am frantically clicking “Like” and “Follow” on our customers’ social media pages. Checking my first blog off of my To-Do List also entitles me to a flying unicorn that bounces across my computer screen. What greater satisfaction exists? 

Following Frenzy

by Leah Ritsema

Greetings people of the internet! Leah here, back to talk to you about my second and third week of interning. It has been busy here at School Datebooks with everyone getting ready for fall and the upcoming school year. Recently, I was assigned the task of finding and following/liking every customer we weren’t already connected with on both Facebook and Twitter. This is what Jon and Leslie call a “marketing opportunity” (something nobody wants to do because it stinks, but it has to get done anyway). Hundreds of Facebook and Twitter searches later, I can say that I have not even made a dent in finding all of you. So far I have liked/followed 588 School Datebooks customers out of the 3,212 high schools that need to be found. I don’t even want to think about the elementary schools, middle schools, and colleges/universities that aren’t included in that number. Stay tuned, I will keep you all posted on my running total! While it is tedious, I really don’t mind the work. It’s cool that I have an actual impact on the company and a direct line with the customers.

As far as social media goes, I would like to talk to Leslie about doing some more posting on the School Datebooks Facebook and Twitter accounts and talk about some of the exciting things happening in the office right now – for example, all of our new renovations and the progress being made on construction (Leslie wants to call this the “pardon our dust” campaign). Also, a “duck-face” selfie contest may be in our future as the Customer Service Representatives are quite good at making them at each other. Jon and Leslie are also talking to me about doing a short talk show called “Cheese-its with Leah” which I think pretty much encompasses my reputation here in the office. I am really enjoying working with social media so far; I think that active social media accounts are a really easy way to help customers get to know your culture as an organization, as well as provide a direct, fun and personal relationship with the customer. 

Leslie had me pull a handful of custom cover samples for their next catalog, and knowing that the covers I pulled will go to print is pretty neat! (I can’t say I wasn’t at least a little biased when choosing the schools. Go Boilers!) Leslie also had me find 70 sports-related quotes to send off for proofing to put into the planners. I particularly enjoyed this task because I was able to apply it to myself so easily. I asked, as an athlete, does this quote do anything for me? Do I feel emotion after reading it? (Again, I may have been a little biased. I definitely threw in some quotes by swimmers.) I look forward to getting even more involved with School Datebooks as time goes on. I love feeling like I make an impact on the organization. It is pretty cool that I get to help make decisions and see my work play out. Despite only having worked for a couple of weeks so far, my opinion is valued here. Not many 20 year olds get to say that.

That’s all that is happening right now!

Stay classy, School Datebooks.

Life between the Cubes | Scavenger Hunts and Cheese-its

Hello internet! My name is Leah and I am one of three new interns for the summer here in the marketing department of School Datebooks. I just finished my sophomore year at Purdue and am an Organizational Leadership and Supervision major with a focus in Sales and Marketing. I am also earning minors in both communication and entrepreneurship. I am 5’ 12” and blonde and a student-athlete on the swim team at Purdue. In my free time, I specialize in binge watching Netflix (I am currently on season four of Friends), eating copious amounts of ice cream, and occasionally, I will body-double for Taylor Swift (yes, we really do look alike.). I like to tell people I am spending my summer in West L.A., but really I am just hanging out here in West Lafayette, training hard at school, and doing some awesome work for School Datebooks during the day.

Wednesday was my first day as an intern at School Datebooks and I found it to be not quite as awkward as your typical first day of school. After filling out all sorts of fun paperwork and getting a brief tour of the important areas in the office (bathrooms and the cheese-its at the snack bar mostly), Leslie and Jon sent me on a "get to know your co-workers" scavenger hunt throughout the office. Justin (one of the other marketing interns) and I set out on our nearly impossible task of guessing which fun facts paired with each member of the Executive, Customer Service, Marketing and Production departments. One of the first things I learned was that Jon is NOT an Exec. Apparently that was really funny. I also learned that Laura is (kind of) a hornet and that Andy has a weakness for a juicy burger from DT Kirby’s (I can’t say I blame him on that one). There are three, yes three, Sara(h)s and two Amandas and while that is basically cruel and unusual punishment for the first day, I am hopeful that I will feel more confident in names after hanging out here for a while.

Second day on the job! Justin and I killing the selfie game. 

Second day on the job! Justin and I killing the selfie game. 

I found myself sitting at my own desk which, if you ask me, is pretty cool. It isn't too fancy, but I have my own computer and a phone and a really fun swivel chair. I am situated in a hallway of sorts between some CSR and Marketing cubicles, and to my surprise, I found that I am also in the heart of the planking zone. Apparently, the CSRs do a plank every day. They didn't say this, but I am pretty sure that this is the fun corner of the building. Despite what Jon says about needing headphones to drown out the phone calls of the CSRs, I really enjoy the talking and laughter. It’s nice to be working in an environment where people can have a good time and joke around with one another while still being focused and doing the job well. As a student-athlete, that is the environment that I am used to thriving in anyway.    

Day two has proven to be more accurate to a normal day. I am still getting used to Asana organization and Pinwheel calendars and the Outlook email, but I did finish my first assignment. I changed a setting on my Asana account to allow an animated unicorn to fly across my screen when I check the box next to something on my list of “to-dos” to indicate that I have completed the task. Because I actually finished something today, I got to experience that thrill for the first time. If a flying unicorn isn't motivation to get something done then I don’t know what is. It also only took me an hour into my second day to fully and whole-heartedly embrace the snack bar. The cheese-its are a very exciting thing for me because I think they are name brand and as a broke, interning, college student, I can’t afford such luxuries as name brand cheese-its.

The glory that is *pause for dramatic effect* the snack bar!

The glory that is *pause for dramatic effect* the snack bar!

I am looking forward to starting my first big project, liking and following every one of School Datebooks' customers. If there is one thing my adolescence has taught me, it’s how to stalk people on social media –  so I think this project will be right up my alley. Since I started my first day here on a Wednesday, it is already almost the weekend! Next week will be my first full week between the cubes so until then….

Stay classy, School Datebooks.  



Packages and packing up: the last intern blog

I have infamously bad navigation skills. God bless GPS.

I have infamously bad navigation skills. God bless GPS.

A few months ago, Jon asked me to make a delivery to the United Way in Lafayette while on the clock. I should have said no, since I was a lost little lamb in this town and I don't have a GPS on my phone. I took many wrong turns and ended up calling my boyfriend to guide me to the right direction. After a two hour round-about trip that should have taken thirty minutes, I got back to the office. Today, I had to do the same thing. I successfully delivered Pinwheel packages to a few schools with no panicked calls to Brock and only a few wrong turns because of construction work. I've learned the roads, or at the very least, I've learned how to operate my roommate's Garmin that I borrowed.

Just as I learned the roads around the area, I have also learned about my place at School Datebooks. I took this internship offer, because it was a paid internship – which is remarkable for English-major type jobs – and because I wouldn't need to find housing for the summer. I didn't really know what I would be doing, but I went into it with unwavering enthusiasm and good humor despite my ignorance. It all turned out splendidly. 

Before working at School Datebooks, my past jobs and internships involved mostly writing, editing and proofing. I was a writer for both a newspaper and a magazine, so it was refreshing to work on some of my other talents over this summer. I realized that marketing is a step closer to what I'd like to do for my career, as opposed to the journalism experiences that saturated my resume. Writing is all well and good, but I liked being able to also create new content and think through problems to yield new ideas. To me, my marketing internship was much more enjoyable than regurgitating an interview for an article or always having the pressure of a story deadline looming overhead. Maybe this is what I want to do? I'm not sure.

As my internship draws to a close this week, I am humbled to know that my contributions to School Datebooks haven't gone unnoticed. My coworkers have told me that they will miss my presence in the office, but I have to leave. My senior year at Purdue will begin in three short weeks. I have football games, train rides, late nights, and new books to look forward to, and many more roads to get lost on.

The marketing girls!

The marketing girls!

Leslie and I at the company party,

Leslie and I at the company party,

Sage wisdom from the Marketing Team at School Datebooks

Bananas can be sent through the mail. Who knew, right?!

Bananas can be sent through the mail. Who knew, right?!

Over the past couple of months, I have been patiently listening to the buzzing office around my little cubicle. I'm the kind of person who observes things first. If I am at a pool, I'm the one who sticks a toe into the water to test it before jumping in. This works for me. 



While I have been observing, I have collected many wise words from my coworkers. Some (edit: MOST) of them are said sarcastically, after a long meeting with my team and a derailed story, but I still write them down. Here is my little collection, and a bit of context for each bit of advice.

"Hoooowwww would you feel if we did ______, Jon?" - Leslie

This is Leslie's way of sugar coating an idea for something at SDI that she knows Jon won't really like. Effective 50% of the time.

"The best ideas come from tangents!" - Jon

After talking briefly about a NYC media project, we got on a tangent and this prompted a story about how a Red Lobster businessman was trying to create advertising for the next month at the restaurant. He said to his partner, "I don't want to go overboard with this ad," and low and behold, "Go overboard" was the next big thing to wash up at Red Lobster.

"Eavesdropping is also the best." -Me, and Jon

After taking another scenic route in a round-about discussion during a meeting, I mentioned that I made Leslie's day by eavesdropping on her. She mentioned that she wanted to add a new proofer to work for SDI. I mentioned this to my English teacher mom, she got curious about the position, and that's how two Thomas ladies kind of got jobs (we'll see if my mom wants to accept) at School Datebooks. 

Bananas are fool-proof! -Leslie, Jon

 During a weekly Friday meeting, for some reason the topic of sending bananas in the mail came up. This is an actual thing that you can do: if you write an address on a banana, and stick a stamp on it, it can be mailed. This prompted the golden marketing wisdom from Leslie and Jon. 

*Note: Victoria and Darren are also very wise, but they refused to help me remember their enlightened musings for this blog. 


In which I compare a washing a pig to a writing a blog.

I bought it too soon, and never opened it during the spring, but I actually kind of like it now. Hooda thunk? 

I bought it too soon, and never opened it during the spring, but I actually kind of like it now. Hooda thunk? 

The other day I ordered my text books for the fall. I have a love-hate relationship with buying my books early: I like flipping through them before school starts and getting the chore out of the way is nice, but sometimes the book lists change and I end up paying for something I don't need. That was the case for the book, Hey Whipple, Squeeze This! by Luke Sullivan, but being the poor college student that I am, I decided to at least read it before I try to sell it on Ebay. It's turning out to be a great idea.

Although I am currently marketing intern at School Datebooks, I have some interest in the artsy, witty and creative world of advertising. Last semester I took an advertising writing course at Purdue that I absolutely loved, to the point that I wondered why I never pursued it sooner. My prof was amazing, and I credit her with helping me land my job at SDI by pushing me to attend career fairs and polish up my portfolio. She also made me buy too many books for her class.

Hey Whipple, Squeeze This!  is a book covering the history and how-to of advertising in a comprehensive, but still entertaining way. The book goes into detail about advertising for different mediums such as TV, radio and social media, as well as explaining why some ads are successful and why some are utterly forgettable.

What I enjoy the most about this book however, is how it pertains to my internship at School Datebooks. In the first few chapters Sullivan describes his experiences working in a creative department, complete with smart, yet snarky comments and plenty of sarcasm. He wrote about how working in a creative industry and thinking of new ideas for a company is a lot like the process of washing a pig: a strange and difficult task involving an animal that doesn't want to cooperate that ultimately ends with the suspicion that the pig never really got clean.

When I first started my internship, coming up with ideas for blogs, new content on the showcase, or other projects left me thinking, "Well, that's not my best work".  Some days my mind would be full of ideas, and others I'd be left staring at my computer screen. Reading this book helped me realize that this is a problem that plagues the best and the newest. It's important to remember that after some practice, the pig may learn to like baths, and blog ideas may come easier. 

Photoshop for the Clueless

Photo source here.

Photo source here.

It's been two months since I started my internship here, and I have used both Adobe Photoshop and InDesign more than I would have ever thought. Between photoshopping binding on the edges of a cover and placing new content in a brochure on InDesign, I could keep Adobe in business. 

Although I did have some experience with these programs prior to working at School Datebooks, I wouldn't call myself that skilled. If I needed to edit a picture or a newsletter for class, I would do it in a roundabout way that involved lots of guessing and stray clicking. Although I can get pretty good results in a timely fashion, the undo button is my friend. 

Now that I am a more "seasoned designer" from my internship, here is a step-by-step tutorial of how to add wire binding to a cover file using Photoshop. This is something I've done maybe fifty times, and yet I still approach it in the same way. It's not stupid if it works, right?

1) Search for a cover in the cluttered folders. Ultimately decide to use the search bar to find one file in a drive of thousands. Browse Twitter while the file is being searched. 

2) Open a cover file. Make sure that it is in CMYK. Immediately forget to do this step. Remember again after the 7th cover edit. Go back and redo RGB covers. 

3) Open up the different binding templates, in small, mid-size, and big. 

4) Select the cover and drag-n-drop it into a template. Easy-peasy.

5) Forget how to delete the overhanging bits of the cover. Remember it had something to do with the magic wand icon thing. Try that for a while. Click things. Don't tell Leslie, unless the situation becomes more dire.

6) Undo Undo Undo.

7) Opt to just use an eraser until you remember how to do it properly. Zoom in and scrub away the extra.

8) Enlightenment!! Recall how to delete the extra bits!! Layers are useful things...

9) Click Save instead of Save As. Panic. Undo.

10) Save the new cover as a TIFF file. Wonder what TIFF stands for. Google. Discover it means Tagged Image File Format. Makes sense.

11) Send an email to Leslie. Write a blog about Photoshop adventures. 

My Interview with Trevor Powers

Trevor was a little shy at first.

Trevor was a little shy at first.

We had a very special person visit School Datebooks this morning! Mr. Trevor Powers was the Important Intern that went to work with his dad, Tim Powers. I got the opportunity to interview Trevor on his passions, his dreams, and his favorite summer past times.

Em: Hi Trevor! My name is Emily. I'm an intern here too! May I interview you?

Trevor: Sure.

E:  Okay! How old are you, Trevor?

T: I'm seven.

E: Seven was a fun year. Where do you go to school?

T: St. Mary's.

E: Okay, and your grade?

T: ...Second. (Dad: You were going to say first!)

E: So do you have any brothers or sisters?

T: Yeah, I have one brother and two sisters. Tyler, Lilly and Lindsey.

E: Cool! So what is your favorite TV show?

T: I like Tom and Jerry!

E: Ooh that is a good show. I used to watch that all the time!

E: So are you having a fun summer?

T: Yeah, I went fishing the other day and I play baseball.

E: What position do you play?

T: I play second baseman and pitcher, but I like second better.

E: And what is your favorite team?

T: Cubs. 

E: Oh no! I like the White Sox! (Dad: Boo! )

E: So what do you want to do when you grow up?

T: I want to be like my dad. A business man.

They dressed alike just for today!

They dressed alike just for today!

E: Aww! And what do you think your dad does at work?

T: He plays with his iPad. 

E: Hah! I'm sure he does sometimes. Well, thank you for interviewing with me!

T: You're welcome. Here's my card.

I'm just a Marketing Intern! His card is way cooler. 

I'm just a Marketing Intern! His card is way cooler. 

What Does CVS Stand For: Victoria on Asianizationality

Asianizationality. Noun. Origin: One cubicle left and back, Lafayette, IN.

Meaning: The innate ability to asianize someone.

 As in:

"Her ability to get her co-workers to understand her culture is due to her good asianizationality."

"Her friendly manner is key to her asianizationality."

 One of my co-workers, Victoria, was born in China, and never lets Leslie, Darren, Jon or I forget about it. Victoria has this tenancy to "asianize" us at any opportunity. Her methods are two-fold; she likes to share her culture, as well as ask us "American" trivia. Her cultural stories are of interest to me, since I lived in China last summer for an internship, but the marketing department is more affected by her questions about ordinary American customs. However, this trivia is the most trivial trivia that could be asked.

Sometimes she will pause from her work to ask us questions like what do you call a female tiger? Why do you say 'go bananas' and not 'go apples'? Why do you park on a driveway and drive on a parkway? And my personal favorite: What does CVS stand for?  (Consumer Value Store, if you were curious.) You would think that these questions would be obvious to us, since we are all Americans. We understand the culture more than she, but these inquiries usually leave us scratching our heads and quickly googling the answers while we attempt to respond. 

Although our ignorance is pretty embarrassing, seeing things in different perspectives are always advisable. Whether it's blankly staring at Victoria when she asks me how velocity is different from speed, or compiling quote themes for Leslie, I'm learning a lot at School Datebooks. And let's be real here, I'm getting really good at Jeopardy.

Until then,





Being Creative and Taking Criticism

I am the type of person who likes to dive headfirst into impulsive projects. In my apartment, there are probably four unfinished projects at any given time. I start things and end them when I have time. Sometimes I can crank projects out in a day, and other times my creativity wanes with the passing months.  

At School Datebooks, being creative is treasured. A clever marketing campaign, an artsy brochure template or a new cover design is valuable to the company and always in demand. While most of my work is menial tasks such as exporting files, I have had the opportunity this week to show my creativity. 

After attending a meeting where new designs for brochures, choices books and cover templates were unveiled, I was inspired by one of Leslie's less-favored designs. She created a watercolor cover, and although it wasn't received as well as the others, I saw the potential in it. I decided to try my hand at designing new covers, while Leslie walked me through InDesign – I still mess up the commands after two weeks.

I consider myself lucky enough to be unattached to my creative work. For example, as an English major, I have had to write and rewrite papers. My mother teaches English, so I usually run papers by her before I submit them to a prof. She has taught me to be distanced from my work, because editing goes hand in hand with creativity. No idea is immediately perfect; all creative work will be subject to scrutiny. 

I try to apply that to my artistic abilities at School Datebooks. My designs can always use some tweaking, and I try to not get bent out of shape over edits and revisions. Being creative is a collaborate effort that starts with an impulsive idea, and ends after being pruned to a desired shape. With this in mind, I will start my third week at SDI on Tuesday after a long Memorial weekend.

Until then,


Pinwheels and Pushpins: The Intern's First Week

Emily hard at work!

Emily hard at work!

"Oh! You came back! Great. Keep doing that, please."

This is my fifth day on the job, and probably the seventh time I have heard that phrase from someone at the office. They mean it in a joking way, since this is a newly made position, the summer months are always swamped with things to do, and the launch of a new online student planner, Pinwheel, is making everyone a little overworked. I really don't mind. The work isn't hard; I love Photoshopping, writing blogs and overseeing social media pages! This internship is a perfect for me, to everyone's surprise.

I am Emily, and I intern in the marketing department of School Datebooks. School Datebooks is a company that makes school planners or organizers for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools, and colleges or universities. I'm a five-foot tall redhead with a passion for Doctor Who and Mountain Dew. I'll be a senior English major at Purdue this fall, and I'd like to work in advertising, PR or publishing when I graduate. During my first two years at school, I worked as a reporter and later an editor for The Exponent, the school newspaper. Then last summer, I lived in Beijing, China and interned for a kid's magazine company. This summer I am home in Lafayette and working at SDI. 

The first thing that I picked up at my internship was the amount of truly awesome people who work at my office. My department consists of four other employees who swear like small sailors and pull pranks on each other, while still being very talented and efficient - my kind of people.

There is also a reward system at my office. My boss will cut out Dilbert comics or "Dr. Poha" and the trophies will travel from cubicle to cubicle as a type of encouragement. And there's an "Uncle Leo" sign for the times our ideas need some work – it's just for fun, and I love that.

The trophies: Uncle Leo, or "Faileo", along with Dr. Poha. If you aren't familiar with him, watch this.

The trophies: Uncle Leo, or "Faileo", along with Dr. Poha. If you aren't familiar with him, watch this.

In terms of work, I do something different everyday. On Monday, I created a social media strategy for the company's Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest accounts. I worked with Hootsuite to schedule posts or tweets and I uploaded pins to the Pinterest account. Later in the week, I created this showcase and I uploaded all of the content, while linking all pictures to Pinterest. Yesterday, I designed quote themes on Photoshop to be posted on social media next week. Today, I will blog for a while and then jump headfirst into the next assignment. There is always something to do at this internship, and I love staying busy with it. Although it's only been a week, I think that I can say with confidence that yes, I will be coming back for more. 

Until then,