Friday, July 29, 2016

Social Media and Romantic Relationships

Deciding whether or not social media has a good or bad impact on romantic relationships can be a very conflicting question to answer, especially when looking into several people’s personal experiences and opinions.  Like most people, I used to find myself believing that social media and the Internet generally ruins relationships and has very few positive benefits if any at all.  After committing myself to a serious, long-distance relationship for the past two years, I now have a much different perception however.  Social media and the Internet have been very crucial in the maintenance and growth of our relationship over the past two years while going several weeks a part to only spend time with each other for a weekend here and there.  Therefore, I believe it is difficult and unfair to come to a conclusive answer as to whether social media and the Internet is either “good” or “bad” for romantic relationships because everyone has had different experiences.  As I said, no person or relationship is the same so it simply becomes difficult coming up with a definite and straightforward answer. 

Most research on this subject seems to try to prove how social media affects relationships negatively, but I believe our relationship is different from this and unique.  I would argue that social media and the Internet have had a major and positive impact throughout our long-distance separations.  Has it been perfect with all sunshine and butterflies?  By no means – no!  Therefore, instead of trying to compare how our personal experiences compare with outside studies and published research on this topic, I thought it would be a fun twist to compare how my impressions of social media’s impact on our relationship compares with my fiancĂ©’s thoughts.  Here, we have the same experiences because we are in a relationship together, but possibly different perceptions which could be fun to unfold! So my question is this, how does my and my fiancĂ©’s impressions of social media’s impact on our relationship compare to each other?

First, I will start with my thoughts of how I believe social media, the Internet, and technology in general has impacted Jake and I’s relationship. My initial thought is that it is almost irreplaceable and we couldn’t live without it.  I know that sounds extreme, but I seriously can’t imagine trying to have a romantic relationship with someone and not being able to talk to them every day and share everything with them.  Jake and I started to talk and date right when he was finishing up his last semester of school and planning to move back home to farm to work the rest of his life.  So from that point forward, we have relied HEAVILY on social media and technology to communicate throughout our journey together of a long-distance romantic relationship. 

The Masters of Media at the University of Amsterdam published an article titled: “Relationships 2.0: Social media – Taking the distance out of long distance relationships” and what an accurate point!  If you read through the article at: you can find some very interesting points as to some pros and cons of social media and relationships.  So many people write about the dangers and criticisms of online interactions, but the same social media can also act in a positive way in our real human relationships as well, as the article suggests.  I think this is a common theme as I’ve looked into published articles and outside research on this topic – the negative aspects of social media that are mentioned really haven’t been prevalent in our relationship. 

One downfall to social media use that I would agree with is that social networking sites and communicating over technology really doesn’t substitute the human contact and real relationships.  It’s a great way to feel a sense of connection when we are a part and keeping in touch is easier, but the value of virtual communication is not even close to physical presence.  I’m not sure how Jake feels quite yet about that (because men can be different!), but coming from my point of view I do still feel lonely for his physical presence even though we text, talk on the phone, FaceTime, and Snapchat basically every day.  So does communicating via social media and technology with Jake have the same effect as physically being in his presence?  Of course not!  But… When you don’t have a choice being in a long-distance relationship, I definitely take what I can get.  I thought this image pictured to the right was a very cool depiction of how communication for long-distance relationships has evolved over time – It’s a little comical but also accurate!  I find myself thinking that I can’t even imagine having to write letters “back in the day” and only hearing from Jake once a week, at best.  Well, couples before the “Postal Couple” actually had it even worse than that! 

Jake and I are avid users of Snapchat and FaceTime to communicate with each other in a different way than texting or phone calls.  I really like it because I think I’m able to receive a greater “taste” of that physical presence by being able to see him versus just communicating to him through a text or phone call where I don’t get that.  I also enjoy seeing what he’s up to on the farm that day and things like that.  Texting throughout the day can tend to get very repetitive and monotonous so Snapchat is another way to keep in touch throughout the day for a change of routine.  

Now in the next breath (which might be one of Jake’s comments ha-ha), is that jealousy can tend to occur.  We have never had an actual issue of jealousy in the sense of not trusting each other or an issue with privacy and/or constantly checking up on each other.  My kind of “jealousy”, on the other hand, is when we start to hit two or three weeks apart from each other and I wish I was out with him and having fun – I start to get “jealous”, for a lack of a better term.  I’ll get a snapchat of him out having a few drinks with our friends in town, and I’ll be sitting there in my apartment by myself, three hours away, and doing homework.  Feelings of loneliness and jealousy (or wishing I was there) start to set in.  Is this a bad problem to have?  I don’t think so… And I think it is probably pretty normal to miss the one you love after being weeks apart and wishing you were with them!  I hate to even say it’s “jealousy” because most people’s jealousy stems from taking a picture with a different man/woman, texting someone else, going behind each other’s back, etc.  We really don’t run into those issues at all.  According to the Pew Research Center, 27% of teens who use social media and have dating experience say social media makes them feel jealous or unsure about their relationship, with 7% feeling this way “a lot.” Roughly two-thirds (68%) do not feel jealous or unsure of their relationship due to social media.  This statistic kind of surprised me – I thought there would be more feelings of jealousy among teens using social media in their relationships.  The article ( ) also mentions that “many people in relationships view social media as a place where they can feel more connected with the daily contours of their significant other’s life, share emotional connections and let their significant other know they care – although these sites can also lead to feelings of jealousy or uncertainty about the stability of one’s relationship.”  I do believe this to be a pretty accurate statement – For many relationships, those negative aspects can really get in the way and social media can end up doing more harm than good to their relationship.

So now that I got my two cents in, let’s hear from Jake – I’m sure it will be short and sweetJ.  To get him to start thinking and talking… I went right ahead and asked the same four questions from the Pew Research site and article but with the added notion that it applies to our long distance separations:

1. Does social media make you feel more connected to your significant other’s life when you spend weeks at a time apart?
Jake said that he does feel more connected to me during our long-distance separations through social media.  Although he rarely posts anything on Facebook ever, he likes to see what I’m liking, sharing and posting because he sees it as a direct reflection of my interests and beliefs so he feels like he is continuing to constantly learn about me even when we aren’t in each other’s physical presence.  I thought this was a very cool way to look at it. 

2. Does social media make you feel like you have a place to show you care about your significant other?
Jake said he doesn’t like to use social media as a way to express his feelings for me and/or to show he cares for me.  He would much rather send a personal text message that is just between us.  As long as I know he cares, he doesn’t feel the need to share “lovey-dovey” posts with me on our wall for everyone to see – he prefers the privacy and doesn’t feel like the attention needs to be drawn on us.  Here, I think he has been thinking mostly about Facebook, but I did remind him that he will send me a snapchats wishing me luck on an exam or that I look beautiful that day… So he does use social media to show he cares to an extent!

3. Does social media make you feel emotionally closer to your significant other?
Jake didn’t know how to exactly answer this but he expressed that he generally doesn’t feel an emotional connection to me through social media.  Once I told him to think of other means of social media and technology besides Facebook (like Snapchat, Facetime, or even texting for that matter) he said Snapchat can really provide that sense of physical presence that texting can’t, but we usually don’t have serious, emotional discussions over social media so doesn’t believe it has made us grow emotionally closer together

4. Does social media ever make you feel jealous or unsure of your relationship?
Jake said he really couldn’t think of times when he has felt really jealous or unsure about our relationship.  Maybe the only time is when I go to a college party with my teammates or something like that where other guys are going to be.  He said it has nothing to do with not trusting me by any means, but a similar feeling to how I described my “jealousy”.  He just starts to miss me and wishes he could be there to go out and spend time with me.  He did mention that I probably get a little more bothered by the distance and this sense of “jealousy” is more common coming from me – Which I could definitely agree with actually! 

So when looking at Jake’s perceptions of how social media affects our long-distance relationship in comparison to mine, I see a lot of similarities with a few slight differences.  I do know that I “crave” that physical presence more and therefore that sense of “jealousy” affects me a little more.  I think Snap-chatting, texting, and Face-timing fills that void for him better than it does for me.  When it comes down to it, though, we both would agree that social media and communicating via technology does not even come close to being together in-person.  That’s where the most emotional and physical feelings really grow – There’s no way to get the full effect over social media. But like I said, when you don't have any other option, you take your best option! 

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Home Sweet Home!

This weekend is a little change of pace for me from being back in Redfield!  I'm back home in Minnesota for the weekend along with my fiance's mom (Sheree) who drove the 4.5 hours from Redfield, SD to St. Peter, MN where my parents live by a lake to also stay for the weekend.  Last night we had a great time together out on the pontoon talking and floating around the lake.
Before Sheree got here last night, my mom and I actually went to Inspire Bridal Boutique right on main street in St. Peter.  It was my first time trying on wedding dresses but I had a very successful first day!  Surprisingly enough, pretty much every dress fit me perfectly and I ended up liking 6+ dresses!  I thought I would be overwhelmed by not being able to find one I like, but it was completely the opposite.  I was a little overwhelmed that I liked so many!  I did end up narrowing it down to two dresses, but I did have a favorite.  I also looked at bridesmaids dresses and tuxes for our bridal party and found the colors I like (charcoal gray and coral) and the styles I liked.  So like I said, it was a very successful day :)

I ended up making another short appointment today at 11:00 AM so I could bring Sheree back with my mom and I to try on the dresses for her to see.  So this afternoon we went back into the boutique and I narrowed it down to my favorite.  Sheree liked that one the best so that was reassuring :)  I didn't purchase it yet because I want to try and find it cheaper somewhere else, but it's very relieving to have found one I love!  I have our reception hall picked out and our DJ... Which both worked for the date we are thinking next summer.  I finally picked the church we want to get married in and plan to meet with the pastor at the church this coming week and hopefully that day works as well with the church! It's starting to all come together!!

Friday, July 22, 2016

The Calm After the Storm!

Wow, 11 straight days of camps are DONE! As a senior, it's the start of many lasts which is bittersweet!  It's amazing how slow the days feel from day-to-day sometimes but looking back how fast the series of days went for camps.  Advanced camp went by much quicker than Intermediate camp because it was a whole day shorter.  Team camp is a full four days and it always gets really hot and humid in the gyms during that week!  It got up to 100 degrees most of the days and it's miserable in the gyms without any air conditioning!! We actually had to completely cancel one of our night sessions from 6:30-8:30 because we were in an extreme heat advisory.  The gym floors start to get slippery from all the humidity and it does get dangerous for the players.

So camps are done and I headed home Wednesday night for my follow-up appointments for my shoulder on Thursday morning.  I had surgery on my right shoulder back in December to get my labrum repaired and I have to see my doctor and physical therapist every couple months.  It was nice to see them right after camps when we play and scrimmage very competitively during all of our breaks.  It was a good test to see where my shoulder was at from all my rehab and strengthening this summer.  So I got cleared to play this fall for my last year!  Now I get a nice break at home for the weekend :) 

Friday, July 15, 2016

One Camp Down, Two to Go!

The girls at the first camp finished their last night off in the pool after camp was over for the night on Wednesday! I was on "pool duty" with the rest of the team until about 10 pm.  I thought those girls would be worn out from long, 12-hour days, but they were still squealing and having fun in the pool for an hour or so!

We finished up Intermediate Camp on Thursday afternoon, and Advanced Camp started today (Friday).  There were about 170 girls in the first camp, and now there are about 205 girls in this second camp!  Advanced camp is one day shorter - only going from Friday to Sunday - so this one goes by REALLY fast, which is nice!  After the first day, I can already tell these girls are a little more advanced and experienced with their volleyball skills, which will also be nice and refreshing to have! Pictured below is a picture of our team in our locker room before we went to scrimmage during one of our breaks :)

For Advanced Camp, we pretty much do the same thing... But just condensed into one less day.  This ends up working out okay though because the girls tend to have a little bit more experience and background of volleyball, like I said.  Pictured below is a post on Instagram from our SMSU Volleyball page of some of our players performing a passing demo for all the campers.  We usually always do demos as a big group before we break out onto separate courts for skills sessions. Tomorrow, the girls will get divided into their positions and then placed with a coach on a team depending on their skill level and they will start playing with those teams the rest of camp!

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

From Law Office Intern to Volleyball Camp Coach

Although my blog this summer has been all about my internship in Gillette Law Office in Redfield, SD... The next couple weeks will be a change of pace for me as I'm back in Marshall, MN working our SMSU Volleyball Program's summer camps.  These camps are something we are required to do each summer as collegiate volleyball players at Southwest Minnesota State.  It's a total of three different camps:  Intermediate Camp (for younger & less-skilled middle and high school players) from Monday - Thursday of this week; Advanced Camp (for older/more-skilled players) from Friday - Sunday this weekend; and finally Team Camp (for high school teams) next week from Monday - Thursday.  So... It's 11 straight days that are usually 13 hour days from 8:30 am - 9:30 pm!!! We finished Day 2 today and have a long haul ahead of us... And let me tell you, I could go for a foot massage already!  Our bodies are all usually hurting by the end of this, especially since we scrimmage during our lunch and dinner breaks for an hour or so each time.  

Pictured to the left is all of the campers in our Intermediate Camp this week - Which totals about 170 campers!

Pictured below is most of our coaching staff consisting of our 17 players, coaches and previous players/coaches that help work the camps every summer.  We always have very good numbers for all of our camps with our good reputation and work ethic from year to year.  Our head coach has very high expectations of us as coaches because we are providing a "customer service" to these campers that pay us to come and learn more about volleyball and become better players.  Even though the days are long and it can get extremely hot... We always have to push through, keep going, and keep the faith and energy up for the campers!

Pictured above is a few of our players performing a demo of a skill for all the campers to watch.  We do a lot of training in all the skills of volleyball as a whole group (like in this setting), but also dispersed out into smaller groups on each court with a few coaches.  We have 8 courts set up in the RA Facility gym and 3 more courts up in the PE gym, so we have a lot of court space which is helpful!  This year, I have been in charge of running my own court because I'm a senior (and older with more experience at this), and coming up with different drills and ideas on my own can be stressful and difficult sometimes.  But, I do believe experiences like these will help me in my future careers also.  My patience is tested every year with these little campers, but it can be a very rewarding job at the same time too! 

Friday, July 8, 2016


This was my mood all day today - Did not want to be in the office!  It was a pretty boring day in my cubical... I continued working on a project that Paul gave me last week. I obtained copies of deeds from the Register of Deeds office for a couple trust accounts for one of his client's.  From those I figured out how much interest each trust owned for each parcel of property along with who all owned the property and how much in percentages. Sounds confusing, huh?  Well it was and I felt like I had no idea what I was doing the whole time! 

We finally have started to receive some medical records for one of Tim's clients in regards to their personal injury case.  So a majority of the day I went through these medical records from a couple providers and organized the information into an Excel spreadsheet so it's organized and easier to understand.  Like the other two personal injury cases I worked on earlier this summer, it will be a LONG process!  Dealing with medical providers and records can be a headache.  I'm glad I have some background and experience dealing with these types of cases, and now understand the steps that need to be taken.  That is rewarding! 

I also got to help out Angela a little bit today, who is an accountant in the office.  She needed some help with taxes, specifically entering information into Form 2290 for several of her clients.  It was a pretty easy job that didn't require a whole lot of strenuous thinking so I enjoyed that for part of the day :) 

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Clark, SD Courthouse

Due to another crazy week of a Monday holiday and having to go back to Minnesota for a funeral on Tuesday and Wednesday, today was my first day back to the internship!  Kimberly Zachrison (the Deputy State's Attorney in Huron, SD) contacted me and told me she was over in Clark, SD for court today.  Clark is about an hour drive for me but is a straight shot from where I live in Rockham, as you can see above.  I headed over there this morning for court at 9:30 which went all morning.

As always, it was very cool to see a different court room, judge, and how they do things differently. This judge was the first woman I have seen throughout the couple courts I have been to - Which I think is pretty rare especially around this area.  She seemed to be a very understanding yet fair judge, which I liked to see.  I was a little disappointed in many of the cases... A majority of the lawyers just asked the judge for extensions to the next court date because they needed more time on their cases or whatever the case was.  So I really didn't even hear that many cases and it went really quick.  After court, I sat down and talked with Kimberly a little bit about the cases she is currently working on and I also had the pleasure of meeting Cindy Schmit who is a victim witness specialist for the Division of Criminal Investigation for the State of South Dakota out of Brookings, SD.  We had a nice conversation and she gave me her business card to contact her if I ever have questions - Which is great!  The connections KEEP coming :)