Every year, the USC Thornton School of Music holds their annual Honors Convocation, an awards ceremony that recognizes students, faculty, and staff for their outstanding achievements. This was my final event for the school year, and as with every event I've coordinated, it came with its own set of challenges and learning experiences.
It's always a challenge stepping into the role of planning an event with a lot of history. For me, Honors Convocation was on its 56th annual, and with that, comes a certain expectation from all the faculty and upper administration of how it's supposed to be done. I'll admit -- my approach to this event wasn't the most organized, nor the least stressful. At the same time I was "researching" how the event was done in the past, I was also trying to plan the event simultaneously. Everything for this event happens comes together in the time span of about a month and a half -- invitations, programs, flowers, musicians, etc. -- and at the same time I was also trying to put the finishing details on Singers on the Verge, which added an extra challenge.
Instead of being proactive in nature, I was reactive -- immediately responding to every request or change that was thrown my way without thinking if it could wait, or notating the changes. The result was feeling like I had a million disconnected thoughts and tasks floating around in my head. There was no method to the madness, it was just madness. Let's just say I learned the importance of creating a detailed timeline with specific deadlines (even if they're estimates). The process not only helps you organize your thoughts, but it allows you to think through all the details you'll be coordinating upfront so they're on your mind as you move forward. That way, questions that come up as you plan can be addressed ahead of time, not as deadlines are quickly approaching (or past). I ended up creating one halfway through April, and instantly I felt more at peace and collected about the event, but I know it would have been a lot less stressful had a taken the time to think everything through carefully from the start.
Thankfully, the entire event came together very smoothly, the students and faculty received their awards, and 1pm on May 12, 2011 I finally breathed a sigh of relief. It's crazy how quickly this year has gone by -- I never would have imagined a year ago I would be planning the events I used to drive carts for as a workstudy student, and on top of that plan two weddings on my own. Definitely excited for all that the rest of 2011 has to hold!