Making The Most of This Summer Without An Internship

Being at Emerson, it’s likely that you’re constantly surrounded by freshmen with more on their resumes than your parents. That’s just the way it is here, which means there can be a lot of pressure to build up your own portfolio through internships or other professional experiences. However, as we all know, starting out can get a little tricky—especially when you don’t get that call back from a position you really wanted. The truth of the matter is that sometimes things just don’t work out, but fear not. Even if you didn’t land the perfect internship position, there are still a lot of ways to stay productive this summer. Here are just a few ways that you can make the most of your four months off from school.

Freelance Work

I’m going to let you in on a secret: even though you haven’t graduated yet, your work is good. Whether you’re a writer, visual artist or filmmaker, just the fact that you’re pursuing an arts degree means that you’re skilled at your craft. Believe it or not, companies are always searching for people that can do little projects for them here and there with no strings attached. This means that you can make some pocket money from doing what you love, all while practicing your skills and getting real world experience. Content-based websites are constantly fielding pitches (like VinylMePlease.com or HelloGiggles.com, just to name a few) and if you have an idea about an article, email them! Alternatively, Joseph Gordon-Levitt has become notorious for inspiring young artists to collaborate on his platform HitRecord, a website that gives artists prompts and then eventually publishes the best works (meaning if you are chosen, a check is coming your way!) Just trust your talent, put yourself out there, and you’re bound to make something great for someone this summer.

A Summer Job

We all know college is expensive. We’ve all seen the memes about it and we’ve all cried to our friends and families about the ridiculousness of a 100 dollar textbook at least once. But what can you do about it? The obvious answer—the one that not even I like hearing—is to get a job. I know, this is only a temporary solution to the much larger issue of absurd tuition funds but it wouldn’t hurt to put a few extra bills in your wallet this summer from a part-time job. Besides, working retail can be fun sometimes if you find the right place and can also be a good resume builder if you’re looking to enter the customer service world at any point. Indeed.com can be a great place to find some local listings, so just log on, type in your zip code, and see what happens!

Build A Portfolio

Something I think that all Emersonians forget sometimes is that our art isn’t just our career outlet. At the end of the day, it makes us who we are, it relieves our stress and social anxieties, and it lets us exercise our creativity. So this summer, instead of selling your art, just think about making it (not for anyone but yourself.) If you’re a VMA, then make some short films that aren’t class assignments. WLPs, write some stories for yourself. Then, at the end of the summer, choose your favorite pieces, compile them together, and make yourself the awesome portfolio that you deserve. Make something that represents you as an artist, not as a professional, and hopefully that will be the distinguishing factor that can help you get the job next time.

Japan: My Perspective

I have never been to Japan.

I know, I bet you have not been there either. However, there is a reason why that sentence is so important: I am half Japanese and have never been to the country that half of my body, my soul, my literal blood belongs to. Going to Japan is almost like a milestone in my family – if you go, you are a true member of the family. And as of April 10th, I am officially going to Japan this summer from August 17th to September 3rd.

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Commuting From Home

After going through a life-long search to find the perfect house for my family, I knew that there was no way in hell I would be able to live in apartment that I could pay for myself until I was a functioning adult. Most of this sentiment comes in part by the reality of getting zero assistance from my parents to pay for an apartment and the other fees that come with this responsibility. And since the cheapest apartment I have ever come across that is close by to campus costs $900 a month, I have decided to live at home for my junior year of college. I know, I know, I think I might have lost my mind but at the same time, I have no problem being a scammer.

For the most part, I am a home-body. I like the comfort of having a home or at least little pieces of comfort that remind me of home. And I have made myself quite the home here at Emerson but I am looking forward to having real food, free laundry, and a couch that I can lay on without disrupting someone else’s personal space. If it was up to me, I would gladly live on campus next year but that’s not possible as the junior lottery is a fake scam in itself and there’s not enough space for everyone.

What I noticed the most about making the decision to live at home is that I get a plethora of reactions from those I mention it to or those who ask about my living situation for next year. Overall, people tend to respect my decision but I have gotten a lot of confused facial expressions, some form of amusement, and a lot of questions. And for the purpose of this post, I have decided to share these quirky questions and give you my equally quirky but honest answers.

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Back to Campus: Quelling College-Related Anxiety

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Last August, I was terrified to start college.

On another hand, I was also excited to get to campus. Soon, I’d be taking classes in the areas of study that most interested me. My roommates and I had already become well-acquainted through the power of Facebook, which ensured I would not be entering my college years alone.

Still, I had lived in the same comfortable, yet boring, town for the majority of my life. Though my most valuable friendships were not made until high school, I had gone to class alongside the same students for years. My school wouldn’t be too far from home but I recognized that college would still bring tremendous change to my life. And, unfortunately, change can be scary.

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What It’s Like To Have Anxiety

It’s like a shiver, growing in strength as it climbs from the tips of your fingers to the top of your shoulders. A fizzing of carbonated drinks rumbling right under the surface, with every pop follows a shiver. All you can do is imagine your bed and comfortable blanket and sweatshirt waiting for you at home, mere miles and hours in your future. “You can get through this,” you tell yourself. “Just keep going,” you say as you move through your necessary operations. You look at everyone else, envy building within your bones that they seem to be at ease. Maybe they’re nervous about an impending job interview or national test their future relies on, but their skin hasn’t broken out in cold telltale hives of your anxieties.

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Working ‘Till College Do Us Part

When May is coming, all college students can think of is the potential for adventure, fun and sleep during their summer months. No more homework or projects or whatnots.

Well, at least until your internship starts, you get hired at your summer job, and finding the time to split between your friends at home, from school, and all that family you missed out on during the school year. Suddenly, you’re sick of your own summer. When’s the right time to quit?

For each person this question differs. Obviously the money aspect plays a big role and everyone’s fiscal responsibilities vary according to need, want and current stature. So this question is very personal for many. If you need to keep working or work hours on end during the week, quitting your job early may not be the write solution for you. However, as long as friends and family, a good book or show to binge online surrounds you, you’ll get a little break until the academic calendar offers a little solace.

However, if you do not fall under that category, there are many variables you need to take into account.

Are you happy at your job?

This is a question that has many parts. Are your coworkers nice; are your bosses understanding; are you paid well enough for your task? If your answers to these questions are astounding yeses, then you may be happy to keep working. Considering how rare that is, enjoy it while it lasts. But if you’re counting down every hour from the moment you get in, your bosses haven’t listened or respected your requests, the pay isn’t worth the treatment and work you’ve completed, then maybe you shouldn’t stay there all summer. How many times have you been able to see the friends and family from home since starting work? Have you actually taken time to relax before the academic grind begins? Did you go on an adventure of sorts? Don’t loose your summer to a job.

Leave time to relax, to craft, to see friends, to explore, to do anything your young collegiate heart desires. You’ll be working when you’re back in school. If you can afford it and need it, take some time for yourself.

How much time you need is up to you. If you hate your job, need some more money, but don’t want to loose your time at home to this paid task, why not quit a little before. A week, depending on how many things you want to do. Two weeks if you’re traveling or visiting friends and family. If you need that much time for the amount of events you want to complete this summer, do it. Take a month if at all possible.

Just remember to try and follow protocol. It’s never a bad thing to have another work reference or experience on your resume for the future. So try to at least give two weeks notice, more so if possible. Bring it up when you have their full attention. Tell them how grateful you were for this opportunity, even if you hated every second of it and are imagining the fanfare when you walk out. Explain that you need to start focusing on getting back to school, means it had nothing to do with them or your feelings towards them. And give an exact date of when your last day will be. Then, there will be no confusion of when to start the trumpeters.

Instagram Worthy Summer Adventures

Summer is almost halfway through and thus you may be thinking “what have I even done so far?” Between working or summer classes, it is easy to feel as if you are not making the most of  your “summer fun.” This is especially the case when social media tends to make your friends’ lives seem so exciting. If you feel as if you are wasting away your chance at some summer adventures, here are some ideas to help you make the best of your summer.

Day Trips

Juggling a summer job or internship while trying to still have a social life is not an easy task. One of the best ways to make the most of your limited time of is by going on day trips. Anything less than a two hour drive is a good option. Public transportation is also a great option. Going somewhere you’ve never been before even if it’s not a major tourist spot can still make you feel like you’re doing something. It’s always fun to explore a new town or city, try new restaurants, and experience the culture. You never know what you may discover.

Even if you’ve been somewhere before, there is almost always something new to do or see. You never know what you may discover.  You can always try searching Pinterest or even googling for ideas. Viewing your area from the eyes of someone else can remind you of places you’ve always wanted to go or never even knew existed.

Explore the Arts

Most cities, towns or neighboring areas have some sort of local arts scene. Don’t be afraid to check out a local gallery, nearby concert or theater production. It doesn’t matter if you’ve never heard of the artists or bands. In fact, that’s probably better as it will make the experience more of an adventure. Opening yourself up to new art is always a valuable experience. Local arts scenes also tend to be close knit, so it’s likely you’ll learn about other events while you are there.

Also consider checking out some local museums. Most museums are free or low cost and many even offer student discounts. Museums are a great way to learn something new and get inspired. Even your local town history museum is worth checking out. Typically, the people who work in museums are genuinely interested in starting conversations and sharing their knowledge, so be sure to ask questions and gain as much as possible from the experience.

Explore the Outdoors

Camping is a great way to travel on a budget. Most areas have nearby state parks with tent sites or low cost campgrounds. There is so much to see outdoors, and there are so many adventures to be had. Depending on where you live, there are likely different kinds of hiking trails to explore. If you’re a beginner start out with easy trails and see how you like it. There are also so many other options for exploring nature. Everything from riding your bike to spending a day at the beach can be a great summer adventure. If you don’t have a full day to spend outside, consider going on a picnic. Simply getting out in the fresh air can remind you of the joy of summer.

Record these adventures in photos and journals. You can post about it on social media if you wish, but don’t feel obligated to blog every minute. Remember, this adventure is something for you, not something to use just to show off. Make memories that are powerful and fulfilling without worrying about what your Instagram caption will be.

Surviving Festival Season: Concerts, Tours and All

You’ve waited for months, ever since you saw the lineup and qued up your computer in class to be the first to buy tickets. Congratulations, you’ve finally made it! The summer concert season is in full swing.

A huge gathering of artists sharing their craft for appreciative audiences, what is more beautiful than that? Reaching for your wallet to purchase that CD or band tee to find it missing from bag, is that beautiful too?

Here are some tips and tricks to surviving the concerts and tours with more than you showed up with.

  1. The Perfect Bag

I wish I could tell you all to wear a fanny pack with little locks on them, but even I refuse to do that. I know all of my belongings would be safer, but my pride would be ruined. There’s a certain appearance for each concert and festival one tries to create and attain and we’re not going to just ruin that for fanny packs.

People argue constantly on which is better, a purse or a backpack? When in all reality, if you choose wisely and use smartly, both are very effective and safe.

The first rule in choosing a bag: nothing open. I know you can get things easily, but so can others. Secondly, nothing loose. If your backpack is longer than your back, you’re not going to feel anything going on back there. The same goes for purses, tight straps across your body or smothered into your side. It’s like being your own doorman to your gear, you’ll know exactly who is going in and out of the realm of your possessions. And third and lastly to conquering your safety bag when swaying with hundreds of others to the beat, never keep your wallet easily accessible. At the bottom of your bag is best. If it’s not easy for you, it won’t be easy for anyone else. It’s not like you can’t get it, but you’re being smart about it.

  1. What to Bring?

Let’s think about this for a moment, truly consider the situations and scenarios you most definitely will be faced with and the one’s that could potentially happen. You’re going to get thirsty, fact. You’re going to want money, fact. It will be loud and bright, fact. So a bottle of water is needed, your wallet without a doubt, some ibuprofen would be smart, and sunglasses as well.

You could fall or spend the concert being kicked by overly-enthusiastic audience members so a small first aid kit with cleansing wipes and band-aids is smart. Did you check the forecast the day before? Is rain in your future or wind or shine? Plan accordingly.

The two final things to remember, make sure you have room for basic items you’ll also have to carry around as well. This includes house keys, car keys, back-up phone chargers and some memory cards. And under it all, you should find your wallet.

  1. What to Wear

I understand there is a fashion of tours and concerts, but weather is still a factor. Especially if it’s all day long, if you’re standing, and outside in the sun all day and night. Light and comfortable is best, even better if worn right from the start. If not, have options available. Wearing heels on grass for 8 hours isn’t practical, I don’t care what Sex & The City says. You start out in heels; you better bring flats with you.

Layers are great for winter, during testing seasons and for summer as well. Light layers, like a bandeau, a tank top and sweater are recommended. When it’s scorching and you’re boiling, you’re set until the wind comes flying your way and even then you’re set.

Make-up however, I know you don’t want to go out without it, it’s such a perfect photo opportunity, but if you’re smart, you shouldn’t have a problem. Wearing light coverage concealer, loose powder and sure long lasting products on your eyes will be best. Make sure not to touch your face often, especially if you’re sweating. Otherwise instead of being miraculous with the band, you could be smeared or breaking out from the sweaty make-up being re-absorbed into your pores. And even if all of that didn’t persuade you, how about the fact that the less you wear on your face, the easier it will be to breathe and, as a result, keep yourself cool.

Now go out and enjoy the music!

Navigating Your College Career Goals

I’m someone who likes to have everything figured out. I like to know that what I’m doing is ultimately helping me accomplish one of my long term goals, or at least moving me toward something – like a degree. Every class we take at school, every paper we write is moving us toward that little piece of paper that employers love to see.

Lately it seems that everyone knows what they want to do for the rest of their lives, and exactly how they’re going to do it. Lately, I feel as if I’m heading in the exact opposite direction. I write articles, blog posts, poetry, and anything that interests me really. But this past month, I had been questioning the lifestyle and career choices I’ve been making. I let a couple of political arguments on Facebook with family members change how I felt about being a writer. I wanted to put my skills to good use and switch majors and make a bunch of rushed decisions in order to do something I thought was more noble, or useful. I’ve spent the last month throwing myself into things that could’ve permanently locked me into something I didn’t want to do.

Most of us go through phases, when it comes to the big question: “What do you want to be when you grow up?” 7-year-old me might have said a singing space-bus driver. 15-year-old me might’ve said a lawyer or paralegal. Now, at 19-years-old, I still don’t have it all figured out. But I did figure something out. It’s okay to not have your life plan mapped out! And I figured something else out too! Writing is a skill that every employer likes to see on a resume. Words have power, regardless of profession.

I didn’t reach this conclusion alone, however. I reached out to many trusted friends, family, and even coworkers, having active discussions on what the options were when it came to my career and my major and all of them pretty much said the same thing. If you ultimately don’t know what you want to do – a degree is still a degree, and most employers will still value it even if it doesn’t exactly match the job description. They were right. A degree in X, Y, Z doesn’t bind you to a career in X, Y, or Z. Chances are, most of the alphabet is still up for grabs, as long as you have the necessary skills and experience to land it.  

Do not do what I almost did and make rash decisions to make up for the lack of direction. Do things you enjoy now – make connections with people who share the pleasure of doing those things. Do not build the roof of your house before building the foundation. Direction will come when everything settles. We may not know now where we’ll be in five years, but look around and you can see where you are now. Work hard, love harder and take life one step at a time.

Un Aventure En France

When I landed in the Marseille airport, I had no earthly idea what would be in store for me throughout my first three weeks of travel in the beautiful and mysterious south of France. There was so much I had yet to learn. I didn’t know that there are €1 and €2 coins that replace small bills, nor could I have anticipated still finding them in my purse weeks after returning to The States. I also didn’t know just how challenging it would be to assimilate into French culture.

Many little things added up to produce that low hanging cloud of confusion that followed me around in the beginning: there was no ginger ale in any of the bars or restaurants, nor was there any brewed iced tea (the closest thing, to my disappointment, was peach Lipton in a can). In the little apartment that I stayed in with my host, the toilet and the shower were in separate rooms. Shop keepers expect a prompt bonjour upon entry, and it’s considered rude if you neglect to say so. Upon departing, you kindly wish each other bon journée. 99% of the time when colloquial phrases are forgotten or misused, the French will not fail to remind you. One common misconception in America is that bonjour means hello, even though it actually translates to “good day.” There were countless times that I forgot that small fact and stupidly said bonjour past 5 o’clock–at which point I was answered with a cheeky “bon soir!”and a twinkle of the eye.

Still, not all surprises were uncomfortable. To my endless amusement, the French actually do say “ooh la la” — in varying dialects ranging anywhere from Parisian to Marseillais. Most afternoons they sit for an aperitif, an afternoon nip of alcohol. In Aix-en-Provence where I stayed, this was usually rosé or champagne, accompanied by some bread or crackers and olives. Being so close to Italy, the olives are sublime. The ice cream, too, always gelato, is absolutely magnificent. Sadly, this prevents me from enjoying it in America to the extent that I used to. There were marvelous Provençal flavors like violet, amarena (a delicious blend of cherry jam and creamy, milk ice cream), and of course lavande, the smell of which seems to permeate the entire countryside.

Something I will sorely miss is the ease of communication the French have with strangers. People sitting close to each other in restaurants speak freely–even in the street, it is common to strike up conversation with passers by. Despite my unsophisticated French, I rarely felt nervous to ask questions of people I didn’t know. Not everyone was nice, but a majority were more than happy to speak with a foreigner. Some would even compliment us on our good French, even if there were a few grammatical mistakes mixed in.

If I close my eyes and transport myself back to Aix-en-Provence, I can still smell the roses as I walk down the streets of the La Vieille Ville, the ancient part of town that looked like it hadn’t changed in 400 years. I can hear the sounds of the little city: the mossy fountains bubbling with a steady stream of water, the pitted patter of French puppy paws on their promenade, the slow, mellow ring of the cathedral bell.