When I was in 11th grade of high school my trigonometry teacher, Mrs. Atkins, decided to change things up a bit and she would lecture ever other day and allow us to work on homework problems during class. I absolutely loved this environment as it allowed me to help my classmates with their problems and it really cultivated my interest in teaching. I wanted to go to college to be a high school math teacher, but there was one fairly big issue. As a math major it was vital for me to take AP Calculus, but the AP Calculus class started the course content in the last quarter of Honors Trig and I was in the non-honors Trig section. Mrs. Atkins went to bat for me and we changed my schedule the last quarter of my junior year of high school so I could get into the Honors section and start on AP Calculus. The reason Mrs. Atkins could make this move is because she knew me and she knew I could handle it. She was a great mentor to me and provided me with excellent advice. The only way to provide excellent advice is to know your students very well. At a large University like Ohio State, this only happens in rare instances.
The Second Year Transformational Experience Program provides me the opportunity to get to know and mentor 20 students, from a variety of different disciplines, that I normally would not have the opportunity to interact with. It will allow us to take this large University and make it small. We can always make Ohio State small, but you can never make a small university big. The STEP program is just one way you can make such a large University smaller by getting to know a faculty member. By getting to know each of you I am able to give better advice in mentoring you and I’ll also be able to push you to do your best.
One theme I will be coming back to often is creating your brand. How can we set you apart from the average student. It’s so easy to be average and we need to start right now on creating your brand. A brand that will set you apart from others when you go to apply for a job after you graduate.
To start thinking about your brand, I have a task for you this week. In the comment section below I want you to list your all-time favorite TV commercial. Think about what made it stick in your mind. What made it marketable? What drew you to the commercial? We will share these with the rest of the class this week. If you can find a YouTube link it would be great to include that as well.
My favorite commercial is the Gatorade “Be Like Mike” commercial.
This commercial first aired in the summer of 1991, I was 11 years old at the time and a HUGE Michael Jordan fan. He had just won his second NBA MVP award and first NBA Championship. If you were a young kid in 1991 shooting hoops in your driveway you were trying to emulate one player: Michael Jordan. You wanted to be like Mike. Enter gatorade and their “Be Like Mike” campaign. The commercial starts with a highlight from the 1991 NBA finals where MJ switches hands mid air for a layup (This is incredibly hard to do, trust me, I’ve tried) and goes through a his highlight reel and shows him goofing around with kids. At the end of the commercial comes a powerful message. BE LIKE MIKE. DRINK GATORADE.
To this day I am a gatorade and Nike snob. The reason is simple… Michael Jordan. 22 years later I still drink Gatorade and wear Nike. These two companies had incredible marketing campaigns that made their message stick. I want you to think about how you can make your message stick to your current employer and how can we work on the message that you want to convey to them? As part of the STEP program I can’t wait to mentor you and get you to start working on your brand.