Tag: Journalism

Networking Matters

It’s the cliché you’ve heard a million times when it comes to breaking into whatever industry you want to break into.

I know I’ve heard it more than my share of times, especially considering the extra emphasis journalism places on not just networking for jobs, but networking for sources.

Usually I’ll just roll my eyes when I hear someone say it. Because everyone says it, despite the fact that it’s intrinsically simple and somewhat obvious advice.

But that advice played a big hand in two things that were relevant for my work today.

So I figured I should throw my hat in the ring just this once and remind you all that if you aren’t networking often, you should be.

The first case comes out of an earlier adventure. Remember when I went with my friend Mimi to see the Blizzard employees speak at the Fullerton Public Library?

While I was there I passed my business card along to one of the presenters, who said he would get it to someone in the HR Department.

Lo and behold, just a few days later a Blizzard Entertainment/Activision employee had signed up to be a Gladeo interviewee. Not the same person, granted, but still. I was highly appreciative.

Thus in the not-so-distant future I will be doing a profile of someone at Blizzard. Which is pretty awesome not just in terms of someone being interested in the work I’ve been doing, but also because I love video games. So who knows, if that goes well perhaps I’ll get access to more Blizzard employees and I can say I’ve gotten a wider breadth of understanding about the company under my belt.

So yeah. Going to random events just to network was a successful strategy for me.

My other more recent example is a bit esoteric, so stay with me.

When I was in elementary school, I spent a lot of time playing chess. Which sounds like I’m just inviting my own eminent torment and bullying I know, but it’s true. I was part of the chess club and everything.

Wasn’t too bad at it either, considering I won a number of trophies in little competitions. #HumbleBrag

One of the reasons I was so good at it was because I learned from a guy named Chessmaster Steve. He was, needless to say, the best.

Though I haven’t really thought about or heard from him since all those years ago.

Until today, if the obvious build-up to a point wasn’t obvious enough.

See when Chessmaster Steve was not teaching elementary school kids chess (even if I had assumed at the time that was all he did), he was apparently a trained physical therapist. One who now works for the Office of Veterans Affairs.

As it turns out, one of the Gladeo League reporters has been having trouble finding a physical therapist to talk to for a profile they’re working on.

So, long story short, my mom has kept in touch with Steve for all these years, and I was able to make contact with him so we can try to have the reporter set-up an interview.

Apparently I was playing the long-game when it comes to networking as well, because that’s a connection that I never in a thousand years would have imagined might become relevant.

That’s essentially my elevator pitch. Like I said I’m usually the person who rolls his eyes when someone says it, but networking and making solid connections is super important.

So make sure you get on doing that ASAP for whatever job it is you might be after.

Lecture over. Hope you all took notes because this is 100 percent going to be on the exam.

Time Marches On

I’ve had no problems talking about how much I enjoyed my high school experience in the past. I was a hell of a teacher’s pet and really made good friends with a lot of them, so between that and my time as a journalist on the High Tide it felt like I really came into my own.

In fact, at least once before I’ve written a post very much like the one I’m filling space with tonight. Except that small piece on how much I appreciated my high school teachers is more than two years old now.

Which is just crazy to me. Because I was one year into college then. Now I’m a college senior.

It’s something I’m personally still coming to terms with, but watching a bunch of my old professors react to that news was simply priceless.

For context, tonight was back to school night for my sister. Since I only have one class on Thursdays this semester, I was able to make it back in time to tag along. Like I said I feel close with a lot of those old teachers considering many of them shaped where I am now, so I like to come around and poke my head where it doesn’t belong once in a while.

Other than the “wow we’re old” reaction, I was able to get a lot more meaningful stuff in with a few of my ex-teachers in between the 10-minute periods of back to school talk.

Like joking around with my AP Lang teacher for not being able to make it to the now at least yearly gathering of “the AP Lang Gang” that spawned in her room.

Or catching up with my AP Gov teacher about the crazy political scene and the fact that I tried out a restaurant recommendation in the OC he made at least a year ago.

[[ Also I know today was especially crazy with the Supreme Court nominee hearing. But I’m not going to talk about it. Because I didn’t get to pay a whole lot of attention, and I’m not an expert even if I did. Good? Good. ]]

I had an especially fun time this year catching up with my old journalism advisor and telling him about my new position with Gladeo. As well as catching up with my AP Psych professor and telling her about taking up a psych minor in college — she was pretty ecstatic about that.

On top of that, I was surprised to find that one of my old math teachers (who Aly has a class with now) remembered who I was right when I walked in the room.

Even though I haven’t seen her since sophomore year.

Teachers are crazy sweet with that kind of thing, I swear.

Another surprise of the night was seeing some stuff like this around campus:

For context, again, this 900s building did not exist when I was there. In fact, it didn’t exist about a year ago when I came for back to school night last.

Kind of jarring to see that new space obscuring the skyline, especially considering it’s right in front of the spot where my friends and I used to hang out every day.

There were some other nice parts of the night too. It’s actually my Mom’s birthday today (and I know she’ll be reading this, so extra happy birthday again!) and it was great watching all of her parent friends wish her well throughout the night as we ran into them.

I mean let’s be honest, I actually brought my Switch to the event thinking I was going to have some boring downtime.

Took it along with me like I was dealing watches on a New York sidewalk:

Have I mentioned I love this jacket?

But I never had to use it. If anything, it was kind of a burden in the long run.

Just goes to show you that when you have some old faculty friends, it’s never a bad time to go visit them. I always look forward to doing so, because it really does help bring some hindsight back to my life.


P.S. Despite the fact that it made for one of the most liked posts I’ve put together in a while, my Grandma didn’t like the picture I took of us the other day.

She requested we take another, so we did:

This time with a much more fancy background.

Enjoy!

Condensation

Once again I’m a bit under the weather. Likely a side effect of the shot I received from the doctor yesterday.

So I don’t have a whole lot of energy to muster up for this blog post, and I won’t be writing too much as a result. Just consider this one of those filler pieces I like to write once in a while to keep myself writing.

That said, my not writing a lot actually strikes me as something thematically appropriate for the subject of the post that I have in mind.

Last night I spent some time over at a bar in Santa Ana as part of a celebratory good bye party for the man who was Editor in Chief of the Daily Titan when I first got there a few years ago, Rudy. He just recently got a new position at NBC working in Philadelphia, so a bunch of people from his time at the Titan threw him a surprise party.

Pretty appreciative that I got looped into the whole thing, considering a big chunk of my journalism career would not have been possible without him and Liz, the Managing Editor at the time, hiring me.

I know that’s a lot to unpack, namely the fact that I was out being social at a bar. Because it’s still kind of a lot to unpack for me as well.

Such a strange sensation to be old enough for social drinking…

If it makes you feel any better, I didn’t drink beyond a few sips of one beer — and that was mostly out of social obligation. Would’ve been rude if I didn’t touch the drink that Spencer got for me.

I was driving however, so I mostly did avoid it.

Spencer actually plays more of a role in this than just the guy who bought me a beer. He was the News Editor that first semester I jumped on the Titan, and I actually attribute a lot of my early college tutelage and growth to the guy. We’ve kept up a good amount since than as well, as he often liked to visit the newsroom whenever he was local reporting on something like City Council.

While we talked at the party, he mentioned reading these posts once in a while (which still frankly shocks me whenever I hear someone I know irl reading these, despite the fact that I literally post them on Twitter and Facebook for that exact reason).

One of his suggestions was trying to be a bit more concise with my blog posts.

It’s something I’ve thought about a bit since I first started up this project, but I usually usher those thoughts away considering it’s a personal blog and I approach it with the mindset of a repository for my thoughts and long-form writing BS.

But maybe it isn’t such a bad idea to try and keep things cleaner around here. That way it’s less of a random dumping place and more of a legitimate writing practice.

So I’m going to be trying that from here on, as best I can. Spencer suggested going for 1,000-1,200 words max, and that seems like a good benchmark.

Granted, I might not hit it with some stuff like my Fire Emblem posts, where a couple hundred words are dedicated to copying their skills out anyway, but we’ll see. Seems like that’s a good place to take this blog next to make it more professional.

That or redesigning it one of these days. Another thing I’ve been putting off for literal years now.

But anyway, thanks a bunch for reading this stuff Spencer, and for having my back. I had a great time catching up with you and a bunch of other folks last night, and I’m glad that I can take a little bit of it forward with stuff like this!

I would post some of the photos of the group that we took last night, but it might be weird for people I don’t talk to very much. So my apologies for the lack of photography accompanying my ramblings today.

Covering Barack Obama

Covering Barack Obama

 

Anyone else ever go to an event and then come home and pass out for four hours?

No? Just me?

Alright.

Well, that being said, I’m sure anyone who follows me on social media knows where I’m going with this blog post. I spent the day out covering former President Barack Obama’s visit to Anaheim, so I’m going to run through my experience real quick and log a couple of my more favorite live tweets from the Boom California Twitter account.

Consider this me attempting to just preserve that this happened today, since I’m still kind of in shock about it. But at he same time I feel like a pile of goo right now, so it’ll probably be a little sparse.

Just two days ago, I followed-up on a last-minute email that my professor and friend Dr. Sexton received about RSVPing to go to Obama’s event today. It was essentially a rally for a number of Democratic Congressional candidates in California.

Frankly it was a bit of a moonshot to apply for press credentials. Boom California is an online-only publication now that focuses on issues and life in California specifically, so it doesn’t necessarily fit the bill of who might be going to the event. You know, the LA Times and CNN-type publications.

But then we got the credentials.

So I was up at 4:30 a.m. or so this morning, showering and preparing to head off to the Anaheim Convention Center. Doors opened for press to get their stuff checked at 7 a.m. after all.

Luckily I found that the drive was infinitely quicker than it usually is when I’m heading to Orange County for school. So I managed to make it over before they had even finished setting up a table to check press in. Left me with some time to kill.

Then once it was all together, I got this:

Dmk-zutVsAAL5uy.jpg-large

Talk about a souvenir, am I right?

After everyone got their badges, they were ushered up to the third floor (where Obama and the others would later speak). We were supposed to leave our stuff up there to be checked out by the Secret Service.

At this point I met Joshua Nehmeh, who I spent a bunch of time talking with as all the major news outlets set up their stuff. He’s the host of a political talk radio show who I bonded with pretty quick because we were both caught off-guard by how easily we managed to get into such a high-end event.

Plus his show’s tagline is ‘A shot of truth with your coffee’ and it’s great. So check him out.

Around that time I also ran into Briggetta and Caitlin from the Daily Titan, who also got credentialed in for the local Orange County event, and my original news desk mentor Spencer Custodio coming in for the Voice of OC.

Got to hang out with him for a while after we all got kicked out, and that was cool.

When we were heading back to the Convention Center from Starbucks, there were two protestors standing out in front heckling a bunch of Congressional candidate volunteers who were waiting in line.

Spent a decent amount of time standing outside watching the back-and-forth, because it was so over-the-top that it was just kind of ridiculous and fun.

While I tweeted about these guys a bunch during the waiting period from my personal account, some of my favorite parts had to be these two sound clips I managed to snag:

Particularly the second one where he offered to be an executioner? Like. Holy shit dude. It was 9:30 a.m. and he was going so hard.

Most of what I had gathered from other reporters at this point suggested that Obama’s visit to Anaheim was very last minute. Almost nobody was prepared for it and even the staff at the event seemed disheveled and caught off-guard. Hell, one guy basically told me it was going to be a shitshow when I asked how the whole thing was going to go down.

I’m theorizing that perhaps one of the reasons for that unexpected nature in this event was to try and mitigate protests. Like yeah two guys managed to show up to yell at everyone about every cliché in the book, but there was clearly no big organized response to Obama’s visit.

That’s all speculation, however.

Eventually I had to leave that fun time so I could go back to the ballroom to get my stuff before the doors opened at 10 a.m.

Now, I’ll admit, I kind of underwent a covert operation at this point. We were told ahead of time that most of the press corp. would be put into overflow rooms across from the main room. In fact, when I had shown up early that morning, I was told I’d be in the overflow as well.

But when I went in to pick up my stuff… I just kind of didn’t leave. All I needed was my cell phone, since I was just live tweeting the event for Boom, so I was able to stand off to the side of the press box with my head down. Nobody ever came and told me to leave.

So I think I wound up sneaking my way into seeing Obama’s speech live.

Take that people who sneak into concerts.

Once everything began I shifted over to Boom’s Twitter account full-time. However, I didn’t have too much to do for a while.

Other than Eric Bauman, the chair of the California Democratic Party, I wasn’t really able to get a good grasp on the individuals who opened the event. Most of them didn’t introduce themselves in any specific detail because it seemed like they were just figures who Democrats would know well walking in. It was clear we were leaning toward a specific kind of audience at this rally.

To be fair, my friends at the Daily Titan had just as much trouble with this part, though they did a better job retroactively figuring out who the speakers were.

Mostly with the help of an email that came out like 10 minutes after everyone was finished telling us who they were.

Have I mentioned that the event seemed put together last-minute?

Anyway, after four-or-five speeches from people pushing for veterans and keeping the Affordable Care Act alive, there was a really long intermission.

Probably an hour’s worth of an intermission. I don’t know if we were just waiting for Obama to actually arrive, or if he was upstairs somewhere letting us marinate, but boy was it a long wait.

I was pretty much standing around the whole time, not really wanting to leave to go to the bathroom or anything because… Well… I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get back in.

But then. Like an angel. Obama descended upon our humble congregation.

Which I only say because the tweet I put out about Obama’s arrival was the biggest ‘lightning in a bottle’ from this whole event.

As of my writing this blog post, the tweet has been seen over 7,000 times, has 400+ likes and nearly 200 retweets.

That’s actually insane to me. Watching all of this attention roll in throughout and after the event made me sit there and realize that I did that.

Truly the power of social media can be insanely captivating, for as much as I tend to avoid it.

Everything else I tweeted out got very minor attention comparatively, but there were still some great things I feel I captured at the event.

I also got this great three-part Tweet chain describing Obama’s Disneyland story that he opened with. Basically, he told the audience that the first time he went to Disneyland was his first time in the mainland United States, while the second time he was kicked out for smoking with his friends.

But still told to “come back anytime” by the officers. Because Disney.

His whole speech only went on about 15 minutes after that multi-hour build-up. When it was over, everyone started to trickle out and I split. After all, my whole job was to live-tweet Obama.

Dr. Sexton seemed really pleased with what I did, and honestly so am I.

It’s a little awkward live-tweeting events because you wind up having to focus more on the tweeting than the event itself. But even with that, I have to say… Obama is just a fantastic speaker.

Like all politics aside, it’s hard not to see why (most of) America fell in love with the guy and kept him in office for two terms. He’s just a charismatic guy.

That’s kind of the tone I think I want to leave this off with, because the rest of my story would just be going home and passing out for four hours.

I’m super grateful that I got to do this. Like yeah on a basic level it’s a great resumé builder to say I covered Barack Obama live. I’ll even be updating my blog here to reflect that I did this, archiving a couple of the best-attended tweets.

But even deeper than that, it led to me having a bit of an existentially reflective moment.

When I got home it really hit me that I got to be in the same room as a President of the United States. With press credentials.

That’s just crazy to me.

I’ve had some moments of doubt over the last couple months about my place in the world and the work that I’m doing, to be completely honest. But my promotion at Gladeo and the opportunity to attend this event really turned that around.

I’m excited to see what the next big thing I’ll be doing is!

 

Temporal Contiguity

I’m trying something totally radical today. Instead of writing this post after my trip to the gym, I’m writing it while currently at the gym!

Using the treadmill, to be specific.

About 10 minutes into my run and I’m already beginning to suspect this whole split mindset is a mistake. But overall I’m very interested in killing two birds with one stone, because once I get home from the gym I’ll have to study for this quiz I’m dreading.

Somehow we’re only a week into the semester and have already covered two whole chapters in this class. No idea how the quiz is going to go because it’s uncharted territory and this is the class where I don’t feel totally confident in my notes, so…

Yeah.

Should be fun.

That’s another story, though.

This blog post isn’t necessarily meant to be about me writing it at the gym. That would probably be weird.

Instead I figured I would try to write something positive about school considering yesterday’s post was so negative.

During my Learning and Memory class this morning I learned about something really cool which put words to a thing I’ve always thought about:


Temporal Contiguity

Occurs when two stimuli are experienced close together in time and, as a result an association may be formed.


I think this just about explains itself honestly.

I’ve talked about this same subject probably countless times before, particularly concerning my nostalgia for certain games being intrinsically linked to different locations.

Playing Pokémon Sapphire and the first run of Shovel Knight on 3DS while in Florida with my grandparents.

Playing through Pokémon Firered while in New York many, many years ago for my cousin’s Bat Mitzvah.

Playing Fire Emblem Fates (Birthright specifically) while in New York for a journalism conference.

Playing Pokémon White 2 in a Target near the Del Amo Mall by my house.

I could go on and on with this list frankly, and at least 80 percent of the examples are clearly Pokémon inspired — in case you ever needed a good reason why the series is my favorite of all time.

But I think you get the point.

Before you think I’m a total loser though, just know it isn’t all video game examples running through my head. Even if those are the most prevalent.

For instance, I remember finishing Wilson Rawls’ “Where the Red Fern Grows” while riding our family exercise bike when it was still in my parent’s room.

Followed soon after by bawling uncontrollably all over our family exercise bike when I finished the book.

Screw you Rawls. I’m still not over that.

This writing on the treadmill thing actually kind of sucks so I think I’m going to cut things off here. Try not to kill myself on exercise machines and give myself some closure to focus wholeheartedly on stressing myself out over a quiz later.

Just figured it would be worth sharing this cool new term I learned today that gave me the words to describe a phenomenon I’ve noticed quite often.

Have you found any sort of terms or words like that recently?

Or, if not, what sort of temporal contiguities have you experienced that really stuck with you?

Let me know down in the comments!

2:00 a.m. Adventures

Because I’m on the cusp of starting the last friend hang out of the summer, I’m probably just going to make this post quick and dirty so I don’t have to think about it later when everyone leaves.

Figured what better thing to talk about than the reason I’m so tired right now?

See I went to bed relatively early last night because, as mentioned, the gang is getting together today. Wanted to get some extra sleep to prepare for that.

The world apparently had different intentions.

Right around 2:00 a.m., I woke up to the sounds of very loud arguing just outside my house. At that point I was pretty groggy and didn’t think too much of it, but whoever was out there really wanted to just go at it.

It became much harder to ignore when the police sirens kicked in. Someone must’ve called in a noise complaint, I figured. So by that point I got up and went to look out of the window upstairs.

Thinking it may have been more than a noise complaint considering six police cars showed up.

Naturally I went to see if my parents were cognizant enough to wake up and come see, because at the very least they would have been interested in checking out whatever was going on from the distance like I was.

They were not. So they’re probably going to find out that all this happened from this blog post considering I wasn’t cognizant enough to tell the story this morning when they left to do chores.

That being said I don’t personally know what happened very well either, so I suppose I don’t have too much to share. From the distance I was able to hear just a couple minor things, as the three suspects were turned away from me. The most significant thing I was able to hear was that none of the three of them had a knife.

One of the guys was super insistent that none of them had a knife. So I’m assuming something about weapons was involved in the 911 call.

Just before 3:00 a.m. everything seemed to mellow out. It seemed like some of the suspects were brought away, leaving their red car in the middle of the street.

Around that time I was able to pay a bit more attention to the police officers as they gathered together to chat.

Wanted to point that out specifically because just.

Look at this guy in the middle. He’s so god damn tall.

I honestly thought Slender Man was a police officer in Redondo Beach for a while there. The fact that he’s that big while also standing off of the sidewalk ledge that everyone else is standing on is just.

Hoo boy.

What a man.

But anyway. Eventually they all parted ways, cars skidding around as they went off to address other crimes. Except for one car that hung back until a tow truck showed up to bring away the red car stuck in the middle of the street.

While I mostly put this post together just to say “whoa some wacky stuff happened in Redondo this morning,” I also thought it had a somewhat interesting conflation with my reporter life.

Because I genuinely considered going out and asking the officers what was happening. At least for my own curiosity, but potentially even as something that could be a freelance article for… I don’t know, the Daily Breeze or something.

In hindsight I likely wouldn’t have gotten anything from them since I don’t have credentials for any newspaper and it might come across as me impersonating the press.

But that’s hindsight. Honestly the reason I didn’t do it was because it was 2 a.m. and I was super tired. Plus I didn’t want to get dragged into things as a potential witness to whatever was happening considering I didn’t actually witness anything.

So yeah. No serious reporting. You just have to deal with these mad context-less ramblings.

That said, consider it the potential for future reporting. Because I pay attention to crime things that are happening and newspapers appreciate that.

Anyway that’s all I had, so I’m off to hang out with my friends. Hope you all have a good Sunday!

I’m Ready, Promotion

I’m Ready, Promotion

Before I kick this off can I just say how happy I am to be able to use a random Spongebob quote for my post headline? Because I’m almost giddier about that then the actual news itself.

Except not really because the news of the day is pretty awesome.

I kind of teased it out on one of my posts the other day, but wanted to wait until I had my official meeting today to outwardly speak on it in any significant capacity.

Now that I have, I’m pleased to announce that I am officially Gladeo’s Managing Editor, the head of the nonprofit’s reporter division.

Turns out giving a year+ of your life somewhere can open up some pretty sweet opportunities, and I’m really excited to grow out of my internship capacity into a full-time employee.

The move actually comes at a pretty great time, as I won’t be working for the Daily Titan at CSUF this semester. I get to focus all my extra time outside of class on this job!

Well, when I’m not working on my Senior Honors Project I suppose. But that’s a different story.

With my new position comes a number of responsibilities, including editing written pieces and uploading them to the Gladeo site, running the bi-weekly meetings us reporters have to keep track of who’s doing what assignment, helping to hire and train new reporters and more.

My first big assignment is actually generating and running a small database of interested interviewees to disseminate amongst the reporters, which is getting a major launch early next week. Though I figure it’s worth mentioning in case anyone who’s reading this knows a career professional who may be interested in getting interviewed about their work.

Just putting it out there.

Over the next couple of days I’ll be updating all my social medias to reflect my new position, so if you see a bunch of random messages here or there for things like that, don’t be too alarmed. My blog here will actually need a pretty significant update to reflect the role under my Gladeo page… I’ll get to it eventually.

Honestly that’s about all I wanted to say. I’m just excited about this new opportunity and eager to humble brag get my name out there more and help the nonprofit.

Hopefully all of you have a great weekend full of some positive news, because I’ll be passing these good vibes around wherever I can!

Two-for-One Deal on Gladeo Spotlights

You like reading?

I sure hope so, because today I’ve got two brand new published Spotlight interviews to check out. That’s right, the editing and publishing pipeline has finally caught up with me.

There isn’t a lot of build-up I can think to add to this other than a vague “keep on the lookout” message for some interesting developments coming soon. Next week when everything is confirmed I should have more to say.

But until then, feel free to enjoy these nice little interviews:

The first is featuring Raymundo Vizcarra, the band director at Redondo Union High School. Though my sister is one of his students, I never really had the opportunity to talk with Ray that often before going to chat for this piece.

He’s got a lot of solid advice in regards to balancing school and work, considering he’s working toward a master’s degree, as well as a rather heartfelt history concerning his family moving to the U.S., his father being absent for a number of years and how life led him down the path of music.

You can check that Spotlight out here.

The second features Ismael Villarreal, a design engineer for the aerospace manufacturer AdelWiggins Group.

I found Ismael after being asked to look for some individuals working in STEM careers, particularly engineers. My friend Jonathan’s dad works for AdelWiggins and was able to help get me connected to Ismael, a fairly young buck in the field that got a lucky break into aerospace.

We mostly discussed how the competitive business of aerospace manufacturing works and how his past experiences with education proved both beneficial and lacking in preparing him for the work he was going into.

With some advice on good practices for aspiring engineers who want to go into that field, of course.

You can check that Spotlight out here.

But of course, if you want to see my continually growing body of work, you can always head over to that listing over on the right!

It occurs to me that one day my entire blog could get a re-design and my mainstay “check this out on the right” message may become obsolete… But I think that’s a bridge I’ll cross when I get to it.

Not super relevant for this conversation, however. For now, like I said, just be on the lookout for some things coming up in the near future.

A Short Essay on Short Essays

A Short Essay on Short Essays

I don’t know why I insist on writing these posts after going to the gym lately, because really it’s just detrimental for my ability to imagine and write coherent posts.

Though perhaps not as much as the insufferable heat wave yesterday.

I’ll count my blessings where I can.

Speaking of that heat killing all of my motivation, it seems I’ve been fluctuating between work-focused and not at all work-focused quite a bit the past few days. After doing next to nothing yesterday, today I actually got my stuff together enough to be productive. Notably with a job application I’ve been working on that is, admittedly, a far-flung idea for me to feel completely justified talking about in-depth.

Doing that job application has gotten me thinking a little bit about one part of this app, and many others for that matter, that feels somewhat strange to me at the moment.

The personal essay.

I don’t typically put a lot of thought into the idea of writing essays. Growing up I put myself through the wringer of the Advanced Placement course pathway in high school, which included AP Language and AP Literature. We had to write a lot of essays in those classes to prepare us for the AP exams, so I was used to the idea.

Essays also continued to be synonymous with college courses. Every undergraduate-level class has some kind of writing requirement and all of my Communications courses are all about writing.

As a result, you would think essay requirements showing up in job applications would just come in stride.

Which, to be fair, they do for the most part. Whenever I’ve applied for the Daily Titan an essay has always been required, for example.

But for some reason the essay that was asked of me in this current job application stuck out as… The worst, most stand-out part of it.

It took me a little while to figure out exactly why. But I think the conclusion I’ve come to says something about me and the way I tend to approach work.

For me essays make a lot more sense in a job application when they ask for some kind of very specific information. Using the Daily Titan application as an example, the essay portion of that involves answering a couple of questions pertaining to the potential job.

What does the paper do well? What does it not do well? What can you bring to the job you’re applying for that would make it better?

Things like that.

Sure it’s arguably formulaic to go down this route, but the sense of direction those questions bring do make for a straight-forward task. Answering the questions, while utilizing them as conduits for inserting stories of one’s experience as a means of showcasing that individual’s abilities.

The application I’ve been working on doesn’t really have any sort of driving questions like this to give potential employees a sense of direction.

As far as premise goes, this application simply asks for an autobiographical essay to tell the hiring staff something that cannot be garnered from the surrounding questions in the application. Given the fact that it already asks for degree-earning information, references and work samples outside of the essay, that leaves a vague opening for what can be written.

That somewhat vague nature exacerbates a potential pitfall in writing the essay. Or at least it does in my head where I’m more than likely over thinking things, but that’s another story.

If you have an essay for a fairly serious job application essentially asking you to write about anything you want outside of your direct work experience, where is the line in terms of being too casual or not casual enough?

Obviously the whole thing can’t just be the tale of how you won X reward or accomplished Y task, but it’s also probably not great form to do something jokey or entirely non-serious since the serious aspects might be in one’s resume off the bat. Looking like you take the job not at all seriously while applying to it seems like a quick way to lose a potential job.

Now all of this is more of a theoretical thought experiment, as the pragmatic side of me has already sorted out the balance of serious-versus-personal qualities to write about. But seeing my personal preference lean so heavily in the direction of a structured, serious or even academic paper versus one that lets me express myself in an open, even goofy way is interesting. Introspective even.

Perhaps all those years of AP classes really did screw me up for the rest of my life, just like I joke about.

This seems like the perfect opportunity to ask an actually interesting question at the end of one of these blog posts. Where do you feel you stand on the spectrum I described here?

Do you prefer if a job (or anything for that matter) asks structured, serious questions of you? Or more open, vague questions?

Let me know somewhere on the internet, I’d love to hear it!

Updating my Life

Updating my Life

Check out that artsy Featured Image. Pretty great, huh?

Obviously today I’m planning on talking about my social media accounts a little. Any really observant, dedicated readers of this blog will likely remember that my post last night ended with my thoughts regarding updating the descriptions and such on my various accounts.

Those descriptions, everything from profile pages to general life or job details on a site like LinkedIn, haven’t been given a lot of attention in the past. I obviously put some work into them when I first established the social media sites, but my general disinterest in social media overall let to them falling somewhat stagnant.

Which is the reason why I was still listed as a News Editor for the Daily Titan close to a year after I actually technically held that title.

Oops.

That may not have caused any actual problems for me, but recently it has come to my attention that they could cause actual problems. Seeing people I’m looking to interview for Gladeo check my LinkedIn profile, making more extended friends on Twitter, hearing my friend Nina checks out this blog regularly amongst other friends who have expressed that in the past…

These are the kinds of details which helped click in my head the fact that people actually look at my social media pages.

So no matter how much disinterest I express toward them (seeing as I mostly use the pages as signal extenders for these blog posts), I know it’s important to keep them up-to-date. Because important people are looking at them, and I need to put my best foot forward.

My LinkedIn page probably got the most tweaking, as I finally updated some more of my jobs, awards and skills to gain whatever recognition the site decided to bestow upon me for completing my profile. If you want to check that out as my digital resume of sorts, it’s right over here.

Twitter got the second-most revamping with a brand new profile picture (because unfortunately the Frankenstein one was just a little too silly) and an updated bio. Because again, can’t be going around saying I’m a DT editor anymore.

It’s just former editor now, as you can see on my page.

Facebook got the least amount of love because… Frankly, it’s just a mess. I finally replaced my profile photo from like three years ago, added a banner photo of the beach that I love and… That’s about it. One of these days I’ll go through the interests page and my personal information to update it beyond what it was in high school, but that’s a project for another day. The pretty pictures are right through here, though. For anyone curious.

The only site that I haven’t done much of an update to recently is this here blog. As I went through the other three, I started to think that maybe it’s about time I do so.

Like seriously, I haven’t put any kind of profile photo to represent the site as a whole since its inception a few years back. I fielded the idea of commissioning my friend Sam to draw something for a time, but that never really panned out. I could think about doing that again, but considering she just moved to Arizona it might not be the best time.

On top of that there are some sidelined things that could be better put together in my opinion. Like getting rid of the tag cloud. That’s just kind of useless.

Or hey, maybe I should try to come up with some new post categories so it isn’t all just ‘miscellaneous’ or whatever.

That could be a good idea.

I’m still working on some Gladeo stuff and preparing for school to start at the end of the month by working more on my Honors Project, so who knows if I’ll get to updating this place anytime soon.

Just know that it’s something I’ve been thinking about.