Return to WordPress: A Personal Update

Wow, fellow weather bloggers, it has been a while since I’ve posted on here – almost choked on the accumulation of virtual dust. I’ve been on a hiatus, mainly because maintaining this blog was no longer a top priority *cough*or critical assignment*cough* and I have been busy with other things in my personal life and academic endeavors. Since my last post in early December of 2013, quite a few big changes have occurred; most for the better, but some not so great. Over the first few months of 2014, I was extremely busy putting together my applications for graduation from Chesapeake College and transfer admissions into North Carolina State University to OFFICIALLY declare my major in meteorology/atmospheric science. Accompanying this stressful time, a guy friend I had become acquainted with while at the community college began to get a bit too interested – and hello love life, I wasn’t expecting you to show your ugly face. I was accepted as a transfer student into NC State (the only admission application fee I paid, yay!), graduated from Chesapeake with top honors, and started a relationship with practically my best friend (some dorky music education/psychology double major who was feeling pretty darn brave). *It was totally all the weather talk that landed him, he’ll even admit it, so I don’t know why talking about the weather is considered a “turn-off” in the dating world.*

I’m not much of a pessimist, but with all this good stuff happening, there was bound to be a speed bump, right? Well, let’s try a brick wall from a cancer diagnosis. My father began to feel sick in May (or at least that’s when he finally told us). Doctor appointments galore and the conclusion was an ulcer – totally treatable, right? Well, it would have been if it was the correct diagnosis. More appointments, more tests, and more uncertainties lead up to August when we had enough and got him on the roster at Johns Hopkins. Mind you, right in the middle of this, I was also moving away, out of state, to begin at NCSU. Well, a few weeks and tests later, the diagnosis came on September 4th, stage IV esophageal/stomach cancer (resulting from nearly a lifetime in the fire department and fire protection). Needless to say, my first semester at NC State was extremely stressful and not my best, but I managed to rush home right after my last final and spend the last three weeks I would have with my father. He passed away on the morning of December 29th, 2014 – a day that the world just stopped, but also when I realized how much love can surround a person during a time like that, and how anomalous the healing process really is.

The following semester at NC State was mainly picking up the pieces and getting back into the rhythm of focusing on school. Nightly calls with the “Music Dork” (boy thing mentioned earlier) kept me sane as I frantically repaired that GPA as much as I could, as well as beginning to network with other meteorology majors on campus. Not living on/near campus made it a little harder to make the meetings for weather groups on campus, but still being able to tour the NWS in Raleigh as well as Raleigh’s largest broadcast station WRAL renewed that spark of passion that had gotten shoved to the back burner. Summer break came and went, as I returned home to my mom, sisters, and my boyfriend’s family and took two summer courses (no internships due to being a bit too occupied over the winter application period, but that’s okay). Now, I’m settling into what will be the beginning of my fourth week back in class, year two of three *hopefully* at State, and I actually had a little free time to consider blogging again.

That’s basically what I’ve been up to since my last blog post. I really have wanted to come back since last fall, because I love being able to focus on and write about a specific topic, but time has been an issue. I know that I still won’t have much time to blog due to school and my “adult life,” but a post here or there when I get inspired (or asked) to write about something usually doesn’t take too long. So, for those who actually read everything about my wonderful personal life, thanks – I’ll let you get back to your more important things instead of hearing my spiel. However, if you want to get more connected, I’m becoming much more active on my Twitter @ShaeWX (which is really all weather stuff – mainly for the Mid-Atlantic region with some sarcasm tossed in).

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Excerpt: Using Social Media to Spread Vital Information

As some may know, I am currently in the finishing stages of my IDC (Interdisciplinary Course of Knowledge) Honors Contract. For this contract, I had to construct an 8-10 page research paper, including interviews from professionals in the fields of journalism, meteorology, and civil service (although all of my respondents so far are meteorologists). Additionally, I conducted an online public survey that was used in comparison to the research used within the paper. Since I have yet to present this project in its entirety to my classmates and professors, I must refrain from divulging all of the secrets. However, a little “teaser,” paraphrased from the main ideals within the paper, has never hurt anyone!

With the use of social media escalating, many news and other information sources are making the transition to social networking platforms. The concept of getting the information out to a large amount of people in a small time frame has become attractive to many media outlets. Additionally, social media platforms can also be used to make reports or information updates from those in the affected areas. However, many remain skeptical of the use of social media due to problems associated with the viral spread of misinformation, commonly attributed to citizen journalists. With the use of professional interviews, current research done by the Pew Research Center, and an online public survey, this paper will analyze the advantages and disadvantages of using social networking platforms to disperse and obtain vital information.

My favorite part of this research project so far has been the interviews. Being able to connect with professionals I have looked up to for years has been such an amazing experience. The insight they provided has shown how those media fields, specifically meteorology, are making the transition from the television to social media. The harder portion of the project would be gaining the responses for the survey. However, with some help from wonderful professors, friends, and fellow weather-enthusiasts, the response goal is realistic and I am optimistic about the results.

This will likely be the last time I reach out for responses through my blog. Please, if you haven’t done so already, take the time to complete this short survey. The responses will be closed on Saturday evening (12/7). Following the completion of the survey, please also share the link with those who follow you! Thank you once again for those who have participated so far with this project. It has been an amazing experience and I am beyond enthusiastic to attain the results!

Take the survey here!