Allison Acquaviva

Public Relations Major. Junior.

Writing Center Tutor. Circle K Member.

I'm a 20 year old Junior in the field of Public Relations. When I'm not blogging or on campus, I enjoy hanging out with family and friends, listening to music, watching Duck Dynasty & volunteering at the local animal shelters in & around the area. Animals are my biggest passion & someday I hope to make a difference in their lives.

10 Words to Eliminate From Your Writing

Oct 9, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva
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Created by: Pixlr Express

As a public relations and journalism major, there is one thing that I have learned to do, and that is simply to de-clutter my writing.

Writing for social media outlets, newspapers, e-mails and essays all have one thing in common: keep it short and sweet, yet descriptive and detailed. People want the story, the facts.

We have all had to write those dreaded research papers or meet some sort of word count. We eventually run out of information and begin to “fluff up” and colorize our papers with unnecessary words.

Want to keep it simple? Want to give your message and your paper more meaning? Want to make your paper more collegiate? Avoid these overused words.


  1. Amazing: Yes, “amazing” is a great descriptive word, but only for certain situations. This word has been overused so many times that it really has lost its luster and appeal. Look for a synonym to be more creative. Is everything really amazing?
  2. Awesome: This goes hand-in-hand with the word amazing. It’s been so overused that “awesome” is boring. It’s not descriptive enough, and can be viewed as a sarcastic response to something.
  3. Maybe: When writing a paper, particularly an opinion paper, you want to try to avoid this word. “Maybe” sounds like you are unsure of your answer. Why? Just be straightforward.
  4. Very:  This is often used for emphasis of something. However, “very” is very vague. For example: “The weather was very cold today.” Cross it out. It’s not needed and is definitely not the most descriptive word out there. Try thinking of another word that may impress your professors.
  5. Perhaps: I am so guilty of using this word too much. Perhaps, like maybe, just goes to show that you’re not sure of your answer. It almost indicates a question in the reader’s mind that says, “Are they confident about their response?”
  6. Just: In my opinion, this word is simply a filler for a sentence. It doesn’t particularly add anything, so why bother putting it in?
  7. Really: Another common word that we’re all guilty of using too much. Similar to “very,” this word is used for emphasis, yet completely lacks emphasis altogether. There are much better words to describe something. It’s a weak word.
  8. Literally: This word kind of annoys me. It adds absolutely nothing to a sentence. What’s the difference between “I literally drove all night,” or, “I drove all night?”
  9. Like: I know “like” is used for comparison, but it is to the point where it’s so overused these days. Starting a sentence off with “like” is a big NO simply because it sounds a bit immature.
  10. Good: “Good” isn’t great at all. It’s non-descriptive, non-informative, and it leaves the reader lacking information.

Avoiding these words will help improve the quality of your paper. I know that it is so tempting to use them, but seriously, put yourself in your readers’ shoes. Do you want to keep their attention? Do you want them to get the gist of the story without looking for more?  Be creative! Look for synonyms that make the reader visualize what your paper is all about.

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How to Survive & Thrive at Public Speaking & Presentations

Oct 8, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

I HATE presentations and public speaking. It truly creeps me out.

If you’re like me, you get all nervous, your face gets flushed, and you debate if showing up for the presentation is really that important. However; like everything in life, you have to put on your grown-up pants and just do it.

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I know, easier said than done, right? Well, if you struggle with presenting, public speaking, or even talking in class, here are some tips that may help you overcome your fear.

1. Prepare, Prepare, Prepare! 

There’s nothing worse than showing up to a presentation unprepared. One of the things I like to do on the first day of classes is just scan the syllabus to see if there are any presentations in my future. Nine times out of ten, there is. Now, here’s the key to prep time. DON’T PROCRASTINATE! 

Seriously, if a professor assigns you a topic that you’re unfamiliar with to present on, don’t wait until the night before, or even a week before to start your research. Get ahead of the game. That way, you have an easier time coming up with notes or putting together a PowerPoint. The same goes for if you can choose your own topic. Why wait and add the extra stress? Know your material.

2.  Practice Makes Perfect!

The best way to get over presentation jitters is of course, by practicing. Take some deep breaths and rehearse out loud. Practice talking in front of a mirror. It might sound silly, but it actually helps with eye contact! Now, if you’re not comfortable talking in front of a mirror, grab a friend, a relative and give your presentation a try on them. They might interject some great ideas too!

3. Know Your Audience.

If you’re presenting in front of your classmates and professor, chances are you know them pretty well. You know their personalities, or the general mood of the class. Don’t be afraid to use some humor and don’t be afraid to smile! Presentations don’t always have to be stuffy and boring.

4. Focus on the Message.

Instead of contaminating your mind with negative thoughts of anxiety and fear over this, try merely focusing on the message you are trying to get across. What do you want people to know? Why is this information so important? Put emphasis into the answers to those questions. Before you know it, you’ll be able to convey the message in a clear, confident and concise manner.

5. Relax!

This is the most obvious, yet hardest tip to follow. When we face a room full of people and we are the only ones speaking, yes, it is only natural to be nervous! However, we have to realize that each of these presentations are giving us experience. Each time we get up and do our thing, we gain confidence. There is no need to apologize for being nervous; Odds are, everyone is feeling the exact same way, so it is crucial to know that you are not alone.

So, how do you beat the nerves from presentations? 

Ditch the Perfectionism Trait!

Oct 3, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

If there is one thing that my 3 1/2 years at Utica College has taught me, it is that I’m more of a perfectionist than I thought.

As I’ve said in my previous post, I love being a PR major and I love writing. When you’re passionate about something, you are going to work your butt off to do your best at it, but sometimes we work so hard to be our best at something that our passion becomes stress.

Don’t get me wrong; being a perfectionist is not all bad. There are a few pros for our madness. For one thing, we don’t settle. We want to do our best, we want to achieve our goals, we want to be successful. We want to try our hardest.

However; we are also setting ourselves up for disappointment because after all, perfection does not exist.

Note: Pixlr Express & Noteography are 2 wonderful apps for those of us who like to create or edit our own pictures :)

Note: Pixlr Express & Noteography are 2 wonderful apps for those of us who like to create or edit our own pictures :)

So, how do we kick those perfectionist traits to the curb? How can we learn to be content in our situations?

  1. Mistakes happen: Once we realize that we are human and mistakes happen, we will be much better off. The main thing about making mistakes is that we don’t need to be highly conscious or hyper critical of them, but instead, learn from them.

  2. It’s OK to relax: As I said above, as perfectionists, we always strive to do our best. That includes things that we are not even interested in. Let that stuff go. Now I’m not saying to neglect that math class that you hate so much, or slack on the science class that you’re never going to use, but seriously, stop stressing. We can’t be the best at everything!

  3. Don’t neglect your well-being: Sometimes, we perfectionists like to put our work before ourselves. We put our mental and physical health on the line in order to achieve something that does not exist! Go figure!

  4. Go easy on yourself: We are our harshest critics. In our world, there is only black and white. We view failure as imperfection and often beat ourselves up for it. STOP. Things are never going to always go the way we envision them. Instead of focusing on just the end goal, why don’t we try simply enjoying the journey?

Life as a Public Relations Major

Sep 29, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

When I first started my journey as a Public Relations major, I had no idea just how exciting it would be!

I’ve been in this curriculum for only a year now, but I’m absolutely in love with it! There are already so many avenues and opportunities to step out of my comfort zone and try.


There is no real definition of public relations. It ranges from communications to marketing, journalism, management, business, blogging, and so much more.

One of my favorite things about being a PR student is that there are so many areas that I get the chance to explore, and so many experiences that I can easily add to my resume someday!


This semester, I am so fortunate to be able to work on articles for The Tangerine and host my own hour long radio show on WPNR 90.7 FM :)

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My 2nd article for The Tangerine

Writing for The Tangerine has been quite the experience so far. After taking a couple of Journalism classes last semester, I found that I really do enjoy writing.

It’s really interesting how much public relations inspires me. If it wasn’t for this curriculum (and those two journalism classes), I never would have discovered my love for writing and blogging.

I don’t think that’s a secret anymore. I love being a student blogger and I love blogging in general. It makes me happy to get my voice out there, and I hope that with enough practice, I can turn blogging into a full-time, money-making job.


Being a DJ for WPNR is something that I honestly never thought I would do or even could do!

My job every Friday!

My job every Friday!

I’m only a couple of weeks in, but I absolutely love being in the radio station AND I love the fact that I can play my own music.

The best part? Myself and two other fabulous girls are bringing Country Music into the studio On Fridays from 10 am – 12:30pm. **No, not the twangy stuff from years ago, today’s country.** Love it or hate it, it’s our style!


In the short year that I have been in this major, I’ve gained so much experience that I will be able to use for internships and job opportunities.

The field of PR is always growing, always evolving. In every company, business, etc., there are public relations specialists or managers right there to help with press releases, social media efforts, website design, and just the general promotion of the company. (NOT to be confused with marketing!)

Every class, every lesson for me is a learning experience, and it is enjoyable! That is what college should be like, my friends.

4 Things to Remember When You Feel Lost & Stressed

Sep 22, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Stress is such an unhealthy reaction for your body.

It’s exhausting and just fills our minds with a bunch of unnecessary, negative thoughts. It makes us feel like absolute crap, and causes us to be in over our heads. We feel disjointed, lost, confused, overwhelmed, and we forget who we are.

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We weren’t made to feel like that, yet we all experience situations that completely stress us out and we really don’t know how to properly handle them. When that happens, we have to remember these key points:

1. Prayer

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I am rooted in Faith. I was raised that way, and I will always stay that way. One of my all time favorite verses is “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” – Philippians 4:13. It reminds me that I’m a pretty strong person and truly can handle anything that life brings my way. It also reminds me that I am equipped with the right amount of strength, courage and confidence, even on my worst days. I find so much comfort and peace through Prayer, and I truly advise everyone to at least give it a try. :)

2. Circle of Influence

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This past summer was so incredibly stressful for my family. Honestly, I don’t ever remember feeling so overwhelmed. Luckily for me, I had such an amazing and supportive friend who I counted on to keep me calm and logical. During that time, she told me about my circle of influence. In other words….

  • What can I control?
  • What is in my circle of influence?

The answer? Myself. The only thing I have control over is myself, my attitude, my reactions. Anything outside of that, I can’t control, so why stress? It sounds pretty obvious, but it’s so easy to forget and feel like you have to control everything.  Remembering this actually helped me get past those rough times.

The point: Although you may not be able to control the situation, when you realize that you CAN control your response, your attitude toward it, things will seem much easier to handle.

3. Reach Out.

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Having a solid support system in times of turmoil and stress is so crucial. Reach out and grab a friend, a family member, anyone that you trust and know will be there to listen. Remember, you don’t need a whole network of people. Sometimes, too many opinions can cause even more stress. Stick with one, or two.

4. Laughter IS the Best Medicine!

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I think this is the easiest point to forget when we’re stressed….at least, it is for me. Whenever life gives me more than I can handle, I try to relax and unwind with some humor. Put on your favorite TV show, be around people who make you smile and laugh. It’s been proven that laughter actually reduces your stress level.

Fall in Upstate NY

Sep 13, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

With Fall fast approaching it’s time to say goodbye to the warm Summer sun, and say hello to the cool, crisp Autumn air. This doesn’t mean that our fun is over though!

Most people don’t realize that New York is one of the best places to be during Fall! For those of us that have lived here all of our lives know of the activities to do around here, but for those who don’t, here’s a list of some one of a kind things that New York has to offer during this season :)

1) Fall Foliage 

Autumn in the Adirondacks - 2013

Autumn in the Adirondacks – 2013

Fall Foliage in New York is absolutely breathtaking! In fact, today, Upstate NY was voted the #1 spot to view the foliage. The Adirondacks are one of my favorite places to be all year round, but especially during Fall. The colors are so unbelievably vibrant! It’s a perfect spot to just sit, relax, and channel my inner photographer!

2) Adirondack Saddle Tours

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This is something that happens all year, but it is especially beautiful during the Fall. The Adirondacks have been offering horseback riding tours for 30 years and will hopefully continue! The tour guides take you through the gorgeous mountains, around the sparkling lakes, and even stop and barbecue! For more information, click here!

3) Fly Creek Cider Mill

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Located in Fly Creek, NY – approximately an hour and a half away from Utica, this is a great place to really get into the Autumn spirit! Not only do they make cider (hence the name), but they make jams, jellies & a whole array of delicious treats. Check it out :)

4) Twin Orchards

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Want to know the absolute BEST place to get everything apple? Twin Orchards in New Hartford is where it’s at! Apples, Apple Cider, Apple Cider Slushies, and Apple Donuts, are just a few of the amazing goodies this place offers, and at fairly reasonable prices.

Honestly, these 4 items are what I look forward to most about Fall. I hate the cold weather, I hate breaking out the jackets, boots & jeans, but I try to put that all aside & focus on the beauty that the changing leaves bring & of course, the yummy treats!

For Everything There is a Season….

Sep 11, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva
This, by far is one of my favorite verses from the Bible.

This, by far is one of my favorite verses from the Bible.

With Autumn fast approaching, it got me thinking about how quickly things change. Seasons change, situations change, friendships change.

Change can be scary at first, sometimes it can even be painful. We may not be willing to embrace it, but, like the seasons, change is necessary in order for growth.

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When the luscious, green leaves of Summer begin to make their transition into the Amber and gold shades of Autumn, naturally, they detach themselves and fall away.

It’s the same with us. When making a transition into a new season of life, some of the people and situations that were in your life no longer fit you, and they too, fall away.


College is the perfect example of this. No matter what year you’re in, coming into a new semester is always a transition. We let go of the baggage from last semester and begin anew again.

Maybe you’ve changed your major so many times, that people often wonder what your next switch will be. That’s okay. Remember, there’s a time for everything. A time to grow, a time to laugh, a time to learn, a time to be afraid, and a time to be completely lost. The beauty in that is, those rough times won’t last forever and once we get through them, we often learn some of the most valuable lessons.

Same thing with friendships. Maybe those friends that you met last semester are no longer part of your life. That’s okay too. Leave them in the past, there’s a reason they didn’t make it to your future.


I learned those lessons all throughout my college career. It took me a long time to finally find my place and to surround myself with the right people. I went through numerous major changes, and thankfully, I didn’t settle for any of the three that I had (before PR of course ;)). I could have, but it wasn’t my time to just settle. Now, I’m glad it is and I’m glad for the different seasons I went through.

  • Like Winter, I went through the season of cold and frustration. Every class I went to seemed dull and lifeless, and every person I met seemed just plain negative.
  • Like Spring, I went through the season where everything became new and exciting again. A fresh start, a new attitude, new faces and so on.
  • Like Summer, where I was enjoying my classes, having fun, making friends and simply loving life.
  • Finally, Like Autumn, where eventually the fun and excitement settled down into calmness, and contentedness.

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Ultimately, change is inevitable. Everyone goes through different seasons – some harder than others. As I said, the beauty in it is, that no season lasts forever. You may be feeling lost, stuck or nervous right now, but don’t worry. That will pass. You weren’t created to live in darkness, fear or regret. But if you find yourself in that season, embrace it with grace and realize that you will be given the strength to get through it.

How to (Truly) Be a Pioneer!

Sep 8, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

This semester, I’m embarking on a new adventure for my COM 130 class. It’s my first time being a DJ for UC’s radio station, WPNR 90.7 & I’m so excited!

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I honestly never thought I would (or could) be a DJ, but here I am – ready to go!

When I first heard that I was going to have my own hour long radio show, I was completely nervous. Being that WPNR isn’t a huge station for country music, I had no idea what I was going to play, since country music is definitely my genre. But, apparently God has a sense of humor & had some other plans!

As luck would have it, two other girls with whom I was training with, happened to love country music too. So, we pitched the idea of having a country music hour….which ended up into having a 3 hour country music session on Friday mornings. :)

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Basically, we were pioneers (yes, pun intended) in the sense that we are bringing country music to WPNR. Why is that so important? Well, if you’re a fan, you’ll understand. If not, I feel sorry & hope to convert you. It’ll be such a great change to hear some music that is fun and has meaning too. But, back on the topic….

Bottom line: No matter who you are or what you do, if you’re in a situation that you feel needs a little (positive) change, don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t risk your happiness or do something you don’t feel is right for you. Change it! Make suggestions. Be that person who doesn’t settle & says what others are thinking. You never know what kind of difference it would make.

Finding Inspiration By Stepping Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Sep 5, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

Over Labor Day weekend, I took a FABULOUS trip to Boston to visit my aunt. Coming from this small town, I couldn’t wait to be in a big, beautiful, REAL city!

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This was such a positive experience for me – but, then again, I had a feeling it would be. I honestly was in a bit of a rut when it came to ideas for writing, and I never expected to find the amount of inspiration that I did, just from spending 3 days away from Utica!

So many incredible things happened in the course of those 72 hours. I definitely stepped out of my comfort zone to say the least! For one, I had the extreme pleasure of riding Public Transportation for the first time (okay, okay, I know. What’s the big deal? Well, as someone who never thought I’d actually do that & to have done it & LIKED it….definitely an accomplishment for me!)

Downtown North End

Downtown Boston – North End – Pure Italian!

Then there was the Feast of St. Anthony, which was a whole different experience in itself. I have never been surrounded by so many people! It’s an annual tradition in the North End of Boston, filled with music, fun and FOOD. (amazing food, I might add). I definitely got a chance to channel my Italian side at full speed because of this!

A first for me, and such a wonderful experience!

A first for me, and such a wonderful experience!

Saturday was completely breathtaking. Stepping out into the Boston Commons, the Public Gardens, Quincy Market, (& getting my shopping on at the Alex & Ani store) was so peaceful & quiet. I felt completely in my element & so much at home, it was unreal. This was the day I truly felt a sense of freedom & relaxation….which meant a very HAPPY me!

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The beauty of the greens; the vibrant colors of the flowers; & the calmness of the swan boats was simply stunning.

My favorite day, without a doubt was Sunday. Between attending Mass with my aunt & then enjoying some relaxation time down at the Boston Harbor, I learned that I can (& need to) disconnect from the outside, technological world for a little bit and just live in the moment….and I’m so glad that I did.

Castle Island & the beautiful Boston Harbor.

Castle Island & the beautiful Boston Harbor.

But, while Boston itself gave me such a creative burst, I think I owe majority of the credit to the company. My aunt & I have always had a special bond & she has always inspired me & guided me – especially in the spiritual direction. It is because of her that I am the Faith filled woman that I am today. It is also because of her that I was able to write this post. Her home is filled with such beautiful artwork & positive messages of hope & encouragement…..how could I not be inspired?

Auntie Ed & I

So, the whole point of this post? Sometimes you find your creative inspiration in the most unexpected places. Sometimes, it hits you when you least expect it. Sometimes, you have to try something new (& disconnect) to find it. And sometimes, you have to leave your safe, comfortable home to truly experience all that life has to offer. Don’t be afraid of stepping out of the box. :)

The Reality of Fear

Sep 2, 2014 | Author: Allison Acquaviva

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When was the last time you felt fear? Like, real, true fear?

For me, it was 3 weeks ago when my grandfather passed away. I remember feeling so scared. I didn’t know what was going to happen, how we were going to deal with this, & I had no idea where we were going next. Naturally, when an unexpected tragedy occurs, fear is just one of those horrible emotions that rise up.


Everyone is afraid of something. The key is to not let it overtake us. Today, I overheard some students saying how “scared they were of this or how they were afraid of that”. And, it began to occur to me how much we can let fear control our lives. It can truly paralyze us if we let it sit in our brains for too long.

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So, how can we take the steps we need to overcome fear?

1) Find Perspective:

Think things through. Think about what you’re afraid of. Can you control it? Although fear is unavoidable, it still is just an emotion. Like any emotion, it will pass. Take a deep breath & realize that nothing is permanent.

2) Live in the now:

Stay present in the moment. Worrying won’t change the future, so why do it? I know, totally easier said than done, but really, the future is one big question mark. Therefore, our thoughts about the future aren’t real.

3) Believe in yourself:

Believe that you CAN do and overcome anything. Believe that God has given you the strength that you need to fight your battles. Majority of the time, our fears are irrational & if we believe in them too much, we lose our strength. You are what you believe.