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Reflect

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Question: What does Florida Atlantic University alumna Markella Haynes ’14 have in common with the television character Jack Bauer?

Answer: Markella and Jack have both demonstrated the ability to accomplish more than a few things in “24” hours.

On Monday, Kyle and I signed our lease for our first apartment together and the butterflies have yet to cease. I chose the responsible path in college, saving myself some pennies by staying home, living in my parent’s house as I finished up my education. And finally, finally we feel like we are in a reasonable financial place to make a place our own. Break out the champagne! I’m a renter!

Now it may not be the most gorgeous or the most updated, but every penny going into it is all ours and I couldn’t be more proud of us. We had to get renter’s insurance and put electric and cable in our names and it feels so right. We already started buying furniture and dipping into those savings we worked hard to maintain.

Along with this, it’s been a month since I started my full-time job at the station. I haven’t started training for the associate producer side of things, but I am getting used to being an assignment editor while it lasts. I know being an AP and an AE is not where I want to stop. I’m not in my dream job just yet, but I am on the road to learning necessary skills that will lead me to a succScreen Shot 2014-07-16 at 1.36.35 PMessful future.

On top of all this, I was reminded just how grand my university was to me. A couple weeks ago I was offered to tell my story and how I got into my current position, and now it’s the homepage success story! My big, tired face is plastered on the FAU.edu homepage as soon as you press ENTER. My story goes through my day-to-day activities as a studio camera operator, while being a full-time student and navigating clubs and honor societies. I wish you could truly put how hard I worked into words, but I think this comes pretty close to it!

If you told me to wipe this smile off my face, I would say it can’t be done! Everything is falling into place so gently and I can’t believe how things have worked out. It hasn’t all been cake and I know it won’t be in the future, but so far things have been so smooth. In my new job I’m learning more about myself and my skills than I ever knew before. My new home will be such a sigh of relief to finally make things my own. And being able to this all with the support of my healthy, loving family is more than I could ever ask for.

 

What I Learned from the #100HappyDay Challenge

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Can you be happy for 100 days in a row?

That was the goal of the #100happyday challenge.

On February 23 2014, I wrote an article for WPTV on the #100HappyDay Challenge explaining a new social media phenomenon where users are supposed to document one thing that makes them happy everyday for 100 days. According to 100happydays.com, the purpose of the movement is this: “We live in times when super-busy schedules have become something to boast about. While the speed of life increases, there is less and less time to enjoy the moment that you are in. The ability to appreciate the moment, the environment and yourself in it, is the base for the bridge towards long-term happiness of any human being.”  

By noticing what makes us happy and documenting it, it claims that finishers will:

” – Be in a better mood every day;
– Start receiving more compliments from other people;
– Realize how lucky they are to have the life they have;
- Become more optimistic;
– Fall in love during the challenge.”

(You can read my entire WPTV article here: http://www.wptv.com/news/local-news/water-cooler/100happydays-challenge-encourages-users-to-record-what-makes-them-happy-for-100-days)

As of two days ago, I successfully documented 100 days of my happiness. On the 101st, I was a little confused about what to do with myself. I was so used to sharing the joys of my everyday life with my friends and family, I felt like the last one had to mean something. But as I mentioned in my last posting, my life is super calm and I find such serenity and bliss in everyday life. I laugh throughout the entire workday, even if I have to wake up at 2:30am to get there. I unnoticeably stare into my boyfriend’s eyes and wonder how I became so lucky. I smile and call my mom without hesitation every time I get into the car. These things I do everyday. MarkellaHaynesThe first day without the #100happydays was a strange day. I continued to take pictures of little things that made me happy, like the coziness of the blanket in my room, my boyfriend snuggling in to kiss our cat on the head, a giant salad my family made for dinner.

And it made me realize something.

The #100happyday challenge didn’t make me happy, but made me want to share my happiness with others. I don’t claim to ever be the type of person who never has a speck of disappointment or failure because believe me, I do get annoyed and irritated and down. But the #100happyday challenge helped me to realize the small daily things that make me happy. The little things that build up the castle that protect me against the deafening punches life throws at me. It’s all about seeing the good in everyday. I didn’t post the photos to be boastful, but to express my gratitude for the things in my life that keep me positive.

Being able to recognize the things that made me happy made me want others to be happy with me. I wanted them to feel my excitement of getting a new job, or be able to watch the sunrise every morning or my cat’s sleeping face. I wanted them to see that being happy in your current situation and in your daily life was possible.

Some of the more memorable #100happydays were days like #day86 when Kyle and I were able to sit at an outside bar and enjoy the sunlight together over drinks and turkey sandwiches. Or #day60 when I handed in one of my last college finals of my life. And #day35 when my two good friends and I had wine and pizza night and chatted and I got no sleep before work the next morning. Life has been fantastically magical.

If you could place check-marks next to those benefits of completing the challenge, I would definitely have most of them tallied off. I didn’t even have to “find the time” to document these things, but it became a natural occurrence to notice the beauty of the day, whatever it may be.

MarkellaHaynes

Calm Life

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Image It’s not that I don’t want to move mountains or feast on the riches that the world has to offer. It’s not that I’m scared to leave or be alone. It’s not even the money because that could all be arranged. But the more and more I meandered through college, the more I realized that I didn’t have big dreams like my classmates. They would talk about heading to the big apple after graduation, or backpacking across Europe as a graduation present. Their eyes would light up as they spoke about moving to L.A. to pursue Hollywood. And there was me, trying to think of a dream that seemed big enough to live up to their standards of living.

As I grew more confident in myself and who I was, really was, I figured out it’s ok to want a calm life. I want to have an exhilarating job, that I go to everyday and people say “just ask Markella! She knows everything!” I want to plant some roots in a city where I can point out where my first kiss was, where my brothers and I went to the park and flew kites with friends, the house where my Nana would take us the pool in the summer. I want to be married and have children and fall into our lives. I wouldn’t quite say that mediocrity and routine is what I’m looking for, but comfort and calmness. I want to come home on Friday nights and kick off my shoes, call my mom to come over for a chat over a glass of wine. I want my dad to be nearby when I have a nervous breakdown and need his constant and continual sense of “you’ll make this work” despite the situation. I want to watch my brothers grow, start their own families and lives. I want to be close to my family, who I grew up with just a stone throw away from my house. I don’t want to have to go to someone’s funeral someday and say “wow. I hadn’t even seen my grandma in seven years.”  I want to be close and familiar.

I want to see more Grecian sunsets, but maybe on my honeymoon or on a family vacation. I would love to visit New York someday and look up at the pretty buildings and imagine working in one of those windows. But not as my life, just part of it.

It’s ok to be happy with a calm life because that’s who I am. I am calm and I crave calm. I love to be challenged, but I love the still of the morning when I can hear those annoying birds chirp on the lake or the early 3am hours when my house is sleeping and I’m tiptoeing around getting ready for work.

It took me a while to get used to wanting this kind of life. It’s hard to listen to friends talk about dreams of moving and having careers that take over their lives, but that’s just not me. I love being comfortable in my town. I like seeking adventure in that comfort and making the best of little situations.

I applaud those who move far away to pursue their dreams, but I am finally settled in the fact that I am who I am and that’s ok.

Arthur R. Marshall Alligator Hunt 2013

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A 12-foot alligator, nicknamed George by the community, floats motionlessly in the cool and tranquil marsh water of the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge.

Little does George know, if he paddles his scaly body just south, he could wind up in the heart of the first alligator hunt at the Boynton Beach refuge.
Though the plan is still waiting final approval from the wildlife director’s office, controversy on the alligator hunt still thrives in the environmental and outdoorsman community.
“The first thing you have to know is that man is a part of nature,” said Newton Cook,executive director of United Waterfowlers of Florida and hunting activist. “If you take man out of the equation, you wouldn’t even have preserves.”
Hunting is a sport that has been passed on for generations, but some environmentalists still believe that alligator hunting is inappropriate for a refuge.
“You wouldn’t camp on a golf course because that land is made for golf,” said Matthew Schwartz, executive director of the South Florida Wildlands Association. “So why would you hunt in a refuge?”
Schwartz explained that a 2011 study determined that the alligator population was on the decline in the refuge. He says that a sample of alligators in the everglades went from 228 in 2011 to 134 in 2012 and believes the proposed hunt will not help population.
Cook disagrees with Schwartz because the refuge and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has set strict limitations on the amount of gators each permitted hunter can capture and the way they will be hunted.
The hunt will be conducted in the lower thirds of the wetlands. The refuge encompasses 144,000 total wetlands, cypress swamp and tree islands, but only 30,000 acres, approximately 21 percent of the refuge, will be open to hunters. This leaves 79 percent to remain a wildlife sanctuary.
11 permits, with two gators per permit, will be awarded to hunters through a lottery from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, who will also regulate the hunt.
The rules of the hunt get even more specific.
According to the Arthur R. Marshall Loxahatchee National Wildlife Refuge press release,each hunter may only harvest two gators over 18 inches on specific weekends from August 15 to November 1. Hunters may pursue the gators one hour before sunset on Friday night through one hour after sunrise Saturday morning, and one hour before sunset on Saturday night through one hour after sunrise Sunday morning.
The refuge requires that each alligator must not be captured using baited hooks, baited wooden pegs, or firearms. Alligators may be taken using hand held snares, harpoons, gigs, snatch hooks, artificial lures, manually operated spears, spear guns, and crossbows. Only water-cooled outboard motorboats, canoes and kayaks may be used to hunt.
Kapsch explains that the hunt was strategically planned so visitors will not witness any gore.
The idea of the alligator hunt started during the Comprehensive Conservation Plan process in 1998. There was an abundance of public interest to have the refuge open to recreational alligator hunting. Since the refuge already held waterfowl hunting, the refuge decided to hold the Sport Hunting Plan Public Meeting to discuss the proposed gator hunt.
Sylvia Pelizza, the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge manager, took each comment into careful consideration, but was specifically looking for comments with substantial, specific facts.
“This is not a popularity vote,” Pelizza said. “It’s to the science, to our development plan.”
The plan received 3,519 comments from 70 different countries.
Because hunting is one of the six recreational objectives a refuge is mandated to fulfill by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the high amount of public interest, the alligator hunt plan was set into motion.
Though the amount of actual gators at the refuge is unknown, a scientific computer model determined that there are enough alligators to spare for hunting. The model calculated that 44 was the magic number of alligators that could be hunted, but the refuge decided to lower the number.
“We weren’t comfortable starting that high,” Marcie Kapsch, a wildlife biologist at the Loxahatchee Wildlife Refuge, said. “We wanted to open this responsibly and take it really slow. So we decided that 22 gators was enough.”
Though the harvesting procedures and rules are highly enforced, a percentage of the community still believes the refuge should be left alone.
“It’s not like there is a shortage of places to hunt in Florida,” said Schwartz. 
With approximately 5 alligators per .6 miles in the refuge canals, Cook believes 22 alligators will not change anything.
Despite the controversy, a final decision will be announced by the end of February.

Night Owl 2013

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By. Markella Haynes
2013

 
BOCA RATON, Fla.– It all starts around dusk, when the single phone line of the NightOwl’s office starts to chatter continuously as hundreds of Florida Atlantic University students call in for a safe and quick ride to their cars and dorms.
“Night Owls.”
 “What’s your name and where do you want to go?” asked Derek Smith, associate director of NightOwls to the caller on the phone.
Smith holds the phone with his left shoulder as his fingers fly furiously around the keyboard typing the caller’s information into the spreadsheet. The information is then sent to the dispatcher and Night Owl drivers, informing them that a student needs a lift. 

Every weekday from 7 p.m. until 11:30 p.m., the six or seven golf carts are started, as the student run transportation service is open for a night of chauffeuring students safely and quickly around campus. 

Student Government started NightOwls in the early 90s when security became an issue for people walking long distances to their cars late at night. But the current employees have realized students usually use it for other reasons since Innovation Village Apartments were built farther from campus.

“If there is a lone girl that wants to go to Lot 5 when it’s, like, really, dark, we’ll take her to be safe,” said Smith, “but it’s more of a convenience service now.”  

Ryan Price, junior and just one of the service’s thirteen drivers, mentioned that although the service makes students feel safer while walking around campus at night, occasionally students still do crazy things to the golf cart that negates their safety purpose.

“One time I had a student hang on to the side of my golf cart while riding a skateboard, and decided to try to switch places with a student I was transporting,” said Price. “It didn’t end well,” he adds, while noticing a student flagging down his cart.

Students have the option to call NightOwls, stop by their office or simply wave down a golf cart down if they see one. With the golf carts whipping wind through riders’ hair at a maximum of 15 mph, Smith says from the time students call, a driver will be there in about five minutes. 

Chris Miller, sophomore and IVA resident, uses the services most nights, as the trek to and from his apartment takes about 20 minutes from the Student Union. 
            
“It’s a nice service,” said Miller, “and you get to know the drivers and get to have good conversations with them.”

Sophomore and theater major Carly Levy agrees that the service is extremely useful when you don’t have a car and the FAU trolley is no longer running for the day. 

“I take the service a lot when I go to the gym,” said Levy. “Even though it’s not that far of a walk, it gets creepy at night.” 

As it is possible to wave down a NightOwl driver for a ride, sometimes students are disappointed when a cart is full and is unable to transport them. Price advises to just call the office and someone will be there as soon as possible to take them where they need to go.

On a typical night, NightOwls moves around 300 students around campus and can get pretty busy when you have impatient drivers, according to Smith.
“I don’t think people realize how many people we actually move,” said Smith.

Nostalgia

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Nostalgia,  noun \nä-ˈstal-jə, nə- also nȯ-, nō-; nə-ˈstäl-\ Meaning: pleasure and sadness that is caused by remembering something from the past and wishing that you could experience it again.

I have some fantastic and life changing news that I haven’t officially revealed to the world yet (and by that I simply mean I have only told family and some friends, but haven’t revealed it on social media thus far ((which is basically everything nowadays))).  On Friday May 16, I was offered and accepted my first full-time job at WPTV NewsChannel 5 as an Associate Producer/Assignment Editor. My duties will include assisting in the writing of the nightly news, creating graphics, running the front news desk, deciphering breaking news and story ideas, organizing the newsroom story assignments, listening to police scanners and watching social media like a hawk for news. 

I could not be more excited or proud to be only a couple weeks out of college and have landed this job at a top-rated station in South Florida, where I grew up and spent my life and hope to stay. I can’t wait to tell everyone when I officially sign the acceptance papers, hopefully this week! 

It couldn’t have been better timing that my brother tells me he has a surprise for me and plops down a blue folder with that familiar handwriting with “Markella Haynes” written at the top. He found some old T.V. Production papers in my old studio/classroom from high school. Papers with essays describing how magically frightful I was about my future as a journalist and working with the media. How job shadowing at the Palm Beach Post and my first internship with Clear Channel made me giddy for my career. In four or five short years, I went from being a starry-eyed high-schooler ready to take on college and hopefully land incredible internships to a full-time employee at WPTV. 

What a rush to think back to making goofy music videos from local bands, to winning video contests about fair housing and making serious mini-documentaries about my ill brother… that was all the beginning. Spending hours in the edit bays, getting Bs in my other classes to focus on TV Production, sticking with TV despite my unapologetic, discouraging control-freak of an instructor; It all lead to where I am. It was all in the divine plan. 

My life has only just begun but I now know that hard work does pay off. If you keep your head held high, feet planted firmly on your ground and humbleness in your heart, you can achieve anything. As I wrote previously, this world is so amazing. No matter what obstacles life throws at you, anyone can achieve greatness. My parents taught us that it’s only up to ourselves to make things happen, and I think this signifies that I’m on my way. 

Why You Should Appreciate Your Local News Stations

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Next month it will be a year that I’ve worked at a top-rated NBC local TV news station. Since my job is a very basic, backseat sort of job, I’ve had a lot of time to listen and learn about the things going on around me. The people, yes, people working in live TV news are some of the most dedicated, people-oritented creatures we should know and love. But through the past year, I’ve seen several anchors painfully distraught over the harmful and degrading letters from viewers picking on their every “flaw” from not liking what they’re wearing, to criticizing how they say words, to blaming them for technical glitches. The more experienced talent, editors and producers definetly have grown a shield to sworn off angry viewers. I even saw a complaint letter tacked on the wall at the station explaining how this viewer is not watching us anymore because we had lousy commercials.

A news station never closes. There are producers and assignment editors and video editors and talent at the station all hours of everyday. They work tirelessly trying to get the news out to you, being the diggers and discoverers of our world. Unfortunately, with the popularization of social media, this allows viewers to attack news stations 24-7 on multiple outlets. I wish people would take a second to recognize how hard news stations work for the people. Journalism is known to have low pay, but these people are waking up at midnight to head into work so you can catch up on the news while you sleepily wake up in your warm bed every morning. They sacrifice family time, weekends, sleep, and their better judgement to get the right stories out. There are slip-ups; it’s live. If life was perfect, so would live newscasts. But the amount of harsh and unnecessary criticism I’ve seen in the past year is a little sickening. Plus- people blame camera operators for not switching the camera that’s on air, the teleprompter for when the anchors can’t pronounce a word. But they have no idea what’s going on or who messed up or what computer glitches are happening. A monitor basically caught on fire one time at work and viewers start freaking out about why the right video wasn’t playing. You don’t know.

It may come down to more of a worldly dilemma, if people have a chance to bring someone else down, they will. But for some reason people expect local news stations to be perfect. The people behind the cameras, actually writing and telling the news; they aren’t perfect so why do you expect the show to be? There are no rehearsals. There is no practice time. These people are here for you. And only for you. Obviously there are the fantastic viewers, who are so supportive of the entire team. And if you’re that type of person — thanks for making the world a happier place!

Take the time to write on your local stations social media accounts and tell them how much you appreciate their hard work. It could go to say that everyone in every profession needs to hear that they are doing a good job, but for the people who work for the viewers everyday, just give them a quick shout out.

Make the world a little bit brighter everyday.

The Most Important Class I Took in College

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Graduation was just a week ago today and since I’m only working part-time for the time being, I’ve had time to reflect on my college experience.

Besides my major-based classes like broadcast journalism and multimedia journalism, I took a class the summer of my sophomore year that changed everything for me. It was called “Writing for Management” and during a accelerated six week course, it taught me business techniques that I had been longing to learn. In that class I learned the ins-and-outs of writing a compelling resume, including but not limited to what work descriptions to include, what order skills should go in, why you should change your resume up to fit a job, etc.

My teacher, whose name escapes me at the moment, was strict and taught us as if we were really in the middle of getting critiqued at a job. She taught us how to write a cover letter, how to search for internships/jobs, how to write thank you cards and memos. She drilled us with interview questions and expected us to know how to dress for a job interview, complete with how to verbally communicate that you were strong, dedicated and eligible for the job.

These types of classes should be necessary in American education. How many times have we heard young 20-somethings, including myself, complain because we know nothing about taxes, how to take out a loan, how to have a successful job interview, where to buy checks. I could not tell you one thing I learned in 10th grade American History or even in Mass Communication Theory in college, but I could recite to you all that I learned in my six week Writing for Management class sophomore year of college. It wasn’t even a class I was mandated to take, but it was one of the most useful ways I spent my summer.

I encourage everyone to take a class like this, even if it’s only at your local YMCA. It taught me everything I know as a 22-year-old hopeful business leader.

Happiness

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“Well I’m what I am and I’m what I’m not
I’m sure happy with what I’ve got
I live to love and laugh a lot
And thats all I need.”

 

Listening to music on my way home from work this morning, this lyrical memorandum stuck with me.

And I thought:

I just want to love and laugh a lot for my entire life too. 

I am only as much as my body and mind will take me. I can’t change that. So why not just appreciate it? 

If I remember that love and laughter is all I need maybe it will make the next 60 years of my life that much more golden.  

Tattooed on my chest, all that I’m after is a life full of laughter.