Photo gallery: Lessons Learned, UW-Green Bay student Soundarya Ritzman gains ‘rise’ experience at Lambeau Field
The tenacity of UW-Green Bay students, alumni and University partners takes center stage in a new campaign that boldly defines why we never stop learning. UW-Green Bay Communication student Soundarya Ritzman (read her RISE story) writes about an “experience of a lifetime” in summer 2021—serving as a production assistant and cast member for the Never Stop Learning PSA at Lambeau Field, and watching the PSA unfold, from start to completion:
“I’ve always heard it said that experience outshines any classroom-based learning a student may encounter. It follows the idea of being able to take what was learned in the classroom and apply it to real-world instances which in turn helps grow your understanding of the previously learned idea. This summer, I was able to blend classroom-learning with an experience of a lifetime. I was preparing for an editorial intern position for UW-Green Bay’s Office of Marketing and University Communication. Initially I was shocked to be offered this position and then the shock slowly became nerves. Would I be good enough? Do I even have enough skills to be an intern? Do I even know how to write? However, these fears would soon disappear when I got the opportunity to work on a PSA with members of the Office.
Early June, I was asked if I was interested in participating in being a production assistant intern for a PSA that the University was shooting with the theme “Never Stop Learning.” When I had gotten the email, I had recently fractured my foot and was scheduled to get surgery so I was apprehensive, but realizing that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I knew I had to jump on it. Not even an upcoming foot surgery could prevent me from getting to see this process for a day.
UWGB provides students with access to some different and interesting networking opportunities. Being able to not only meet, but also work alongside the president of the Green Bay Packers felt like an out-of-the-body experience. Mark Murphy is an incredibly kind and easy person to talk to; he took the time to introduce himself to all of us interns and even stayed for a brief conversation about our time at UWGB after his film time. It was great to witness the unique opportunities created between my University and the NFL team in the city I attend college! Where else but Green Bay, Wis.?
When reflecting on my day at the shoot, the easiest thing to talk about would be the actual creation of the PSA itself: how long it took, the people involved, the equipment involved, etc. However, I want to summarize my experience by three lessons that I learned while working as an intern on this day:
Lesson 1: Adaptation over Apprehension
One of the biggest takeaways from this past pandemic year that I’ve been working on learning is the importance of being adaptable. It is said that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% what you do with it. During the day, one of the cast members was unable to show up and the crew needed somebody to step in and take their place in the creation of the PSA. When I got asked to step up, I knew that I would kick myself in the future if I refused. Though I have experience with public speaking, my experience with speaking in front of a camera is pretty much non-existent. Being asked to sub for the original cast member gave me an opportunity to learn about how different public speaking in front of a camera versus a live audience can be. You have to be able to take direction and have the patience to repeat the same phrase multiple times until the director is satisfied with the inflection, emotion and delivery of that phrase.
This last-minute wrench thrown in the original plans gave me an opportunity to try something new and be able to gain a new skill. It taught me that being able to step out of your comfort zone and step up into what you are being called to do is the key to being successful.
Lesson 2: Be a Sponge
When you’re in any situation, be a sponge. Some might liken this to staying in the present, I’ll call it being a sponge. Sponges when put in water, absorb and grow in size and the same goes for humans as they absorb the environment around them. Filming a PSA, let alone filming anything, is not something I have had the opportunity to be versed in over my years at UWGB. Being able to work as an intern at the “Never Stop Learning” PSA shoot was an opportunity to gain a hands-on understanding of the filming and creation of a PSA.
I was blown away by all the equipment that was involved in the process. Each person had their own role and equipment that they were in charge of and even though they had these respective individual roles, they worked collectively towards the common goal. Many of the crew members were freelancers and had worked together previously on other shoots. It was exciting being a fly on the wall watching them reconnect and exchange stories and really enjoy each other’s company throughout the day.
A lot can be learned through observation. We live in a society where we are so quick to grab attention towards ourselves instead of taking a backseat and really taking in the environment. Being able to observe and take in the day as a participant, intern and as an observer showed me the importance of being in touch with the present moment. There is so much that goes on around us that we tend to ignore.
If I hadn’t learned to be sponge, I wouldn’t have gotten to enjoy the friendly environment created by the down-to-earth personalities of the crew. I would have overlooked the state-of-the-art Titletown Tech building, all the tiny components and sparks of creativity that came to the director and producers throughout the day, the selfless teamwork and mutual respect and admiration between the crew within themselves and the crew and cast. It’s those little things that I would have missed out on if I hadn’t learned to be a sponge and sit back in active observation. Life can pass you by so quickly and if you’re not careful, you’ll miss the beautiful interactions of the people around you.
Lesson 3: Ask Questions & Put Yourself Out There
It can be intimidating walking into any scenario where you are an “intern” and surrounded by people who have a great understanding and grasp on their career. However, this is not something that should deter you from diving headfirst into the experience. You are not expected to know everything nor are you expected to be able to do it all on your own, it’s why you are taking on the internship. It’s a learning opportunity and a time to ask questions and listen to what those around you have to say.
The crew and staff that I got to interact with were absolutely wonderful in the way that they treated me, the intern. You hear so many horror stories of internships gone wrong and all that an intern wants is to be taken seriously. I got to talk to the various crew members about their jobs, their career path, the best and worst experiences they’ve had and listen to any advice they could give me on being better not just professionally but also personally. In addition, I got to meet various people who work at Titletown Tech including the Managing Director, Craig Dickman. Thank you to him for his hospitality and for stopping in to talk with us at lunch. All of these conversations taught me that people want to help you, they want to see you succeed—don’t let your insecurities of not being good and your ego of needing to prove yourself stop you from getting to know the people around you. Ask questions and stay hungry for the answers. You’ll learn a lot about the world when you learn how to ask people about themselves and their experiences; when you learn to make it less about yourself and more about others.
Overall, my experience at the shoot was an experience that taught me some lessons. I am grateful to everyone who took the time to talk to me, tell me about their experiences, and teach me about these life lessons. To the crew of the “Never Stop Learning” shoot, thank you for telling me about your experiences and for talking with me during the breaks and lunch. Thank you Robb Fischer, Jim Steiner, Courtney Hayes, Randy Lorenz, David Ames, Todd Mallasch, Dustin Harmon and AJ Miller. Thank you to Danny Mager of Affirm for letting me ask lots of questions and answering every one of them so patiently. Thank you to Celia Ramsey, the intern for Affirm, for your friendship that day. Thank you to all the cast that I got to meet, especially Cordero Barkley of Titletown Tech, who is a UWGB alumni himself and gave me lots of advice on how to make the most of my time at the University. Lastly, thank you to the Office of Marketing and University Communication staff Janet Bonkowski, Sue Bodilly and Sue Pischke for giving me the opportunity to intern a little early and gain this awesome experience.”
Click to advance slideshow or view the album on Flickr.
– Photos by Sue Pischke, Marketing and University Communication.