Changing Your Life

I was perusing some of my favorite blogs the other day and while I was on She’s a Fit Chick, I read this post about an article that questions where you are in life and where you want to be. Like Jennifer, I decided to answer the questions. This gets a bit long, but hopefully you enjoy it anyway.

1. Where do you want to be in life right now and in the future?

I’m in a really good place in my life, so there isn’t much that I would change. I’m in my senior year at an amazing college, where I’ve met so many fantastic people and learned more than I imagined. I’ve been involved in various organizations that I’m passionate about, started a club that will hopefully continue to grow and help other students who are interested in the magazine industry, and had a fantastic job at the fitness centers where I’ve discovered passions I never knew I had. Not to mention I’ve been lucky enough to live in New York City twice in a year and work at a magazine I absolutely love and 100 percent support.

But that’s only the work and education side. I’m also in a very loving relationship with my boyfriend of practically two years (13 days away) and I’ve never felt more sure of myself than I do when I’m with him. He listens to my worries, basks in my successes and encourages me to keep pushing even though I doubt myself at times and want to give up. He makes me laugh, I never (ok, maybe sometimes) get sick of him and he’s not too shabby on the eyes, either. What else could you ask for in a boyfriend?

I also have fantastic friends that I’ve kept in touch with throughout life and I can’t wait to see these friendships grow. My roommates in Oswego, Kayleigh and Meghan, are phenomenal; I love my good friends from back home and I can’t wait to be reunited with my ASME friends from NYC! I’m so blessed to know this many amazing people.

So yeah, I’m pretty content right now.

But that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop moving forward. My college career is ending in four months, which means a new part of my life is beginning. The adult part. The no-relying-on-anyone-else part. The make-it-or-break-it part. I’m moving to NYC with two of my ASME friends, Libby and Victoria, and I couldn’t be more excited. Or scared. I’m nervous about getting a job in the magazine industry. You never know if the timing will play out and in magazine world you can’t start looking for a job until two months before graduation (So if I’m a stress ball the last few months of college, you’ll know why). However, I’ll be positive and hope for the best! This time next year, I want to be living in NYC and working at a magazine I love. Hopefully I’ll be able to do it without living on Spaghetti O’s, too!

2. Is there something you’ve always wanted to do, but haven’t?

I’ve always wanted to go on a cruise. Since I was little, I’ve dreamed of traveling on a huge ship to some exotic and warm location with my friends. I don’t care if it’s with my family, a girls’ getaway, a mix of guys and gals, or a vacation with Dustin — as long as I’m with people who are ready to relax and have fun in the sun! This year, I’m determined to go on a cruise, possibly to the Bahamas, to celebrate my graduation!

3. What’s something you would regret never having done in life?

Applying for the ASME summer internship, hands down. I remember looking at the application, talking with my professor about it and wondering whether or not I should apply because all of the students who were accepted last year were from big-name schools. I mean, I went to a SUNY school — did I really have a shot of getting in? Turns out I did. I had no idea how ASME determined who got in, but I later found out it’s based completely on what you’ve done to get ahead. Nobody cared that I went to a state school. If I had let my fears get the best of me, I never would have gone to NYC and worked at FITNESS, met great people from all over the country and had the best summer of my life.

4. What are you doing to make yourself available to new opportunities?

Networking like a mad woman. I try to meet someone new every day and learn about who they are and what they do in life. I’ve learned not to be shy around new people and just say hi. I’ve been meeting with a lot of different magazine editors as well, just to learn about how they got to where they are. The mag industry is very much about paying it forward, so making that initial contact, and then preserving it, opens a whole new world of opportunity every time.

5. What do you like/dislike about your life?

  • I love my friends, family and boyfriend.
  • I like that I’m graduating in four months.
  • I like that I’m living with two fantastic people in NYC in a few months.
  • I like that I’m studying to become a nationally certified personal trainer.
  • I dislike that I’m going to be six hours away from my family and best friend.
  • I dislike that my college friends and I are going separate ways (except for Tom!)
  • I dislike that one of my closest friends and I no longer talk because of what he thinks are irreconcilable differences.

6. What are you doing in your life right now to make it better?

I’m working in my desired career field at a magazine I love, growing a networking organization at Oswego State to help future journalism students, launching an online magazine, meeting amazing people through blogging, and training to run my first half-marathon and complete my first triathlon!

7. Are you comfortable with yourself?

More and more every day. There are things I don’t like about myself, but movements like Operation Beautiful are teaching me that I’m an amazing person despite my flaws.

8. What’s holding you back from what you want in life?

A fear of failing. Which I guess segues into confidence. I’ve been successful at a lot of things because I push myself to the limit and because I’m afraid of what it will be like if I fail at something. I need to learn to forget fear and just go for it. I know life is lived to the fullest when fear isn’t a part of the equation.

What suggestions do you have for fighting fear? I encourage you to answer these questions about yourself and if you blog about it, send it my way!

Back at My Dream Job

I’m nestled into a seat on Megabus, staring out the window as the bus leaves New York City and heads to Albany. I’m on my way home for Christmas and I absolutely can’t wait to see my family, yet I’m always a little sad when I watch the skyline disappear behind me.

I’ve been back in N.Y.C. for a little over a week now and I’ve fallen in love all over again. I’m living in a different area now — this summer I was in the Village, right by Union Square, and now I’m subletting a room from a Columbia student on the Upper West Side — but I’ve found just as many quirks as I did before. There are cute diners, boutiques and a Starbucks on every corner. Since we’re mentioning Starbucks, let me just say I’ve realized how lucky I am that I don’t like coffee — I save so much money!

Anyway, the living arrangements aren’t that bad. Yeah, it’s a little pricey, but everything is pricey in the city. You just have to learn to suck it up and take it as part of the package. I don’t have Internet at my house, which is why the blogs have been few and far between. When I get home from work, I usually head to the gym and then it’s time to go to sleep so I can wake up early for work again. Unfortunately, that doesn’t leave me with much time to walk over to Starbucks to snag some free Wi-Fi. I’m sure I’ll do it though!

Just like before, I love everything about working at FITNESS. I received such a warm welcoming, and our editor-in-chief even said it was like I had never left. It makes me happy that I left everyone with such a positive impression, and it drives me to work as hard as I possibly can to maintain that reputation.

I can’t give too many details of what I’ve been doing right now because I can’t let the competition in on our secrets! But I will say that I’ve been doing a lot of researching and writing, so keep your eyes peeled for my byline! Last week was really awesome too because I went to a photo shoot with a celeb personal trainer! Which one? You’ll have to wait and see! I love that I get to meet such awesome people and incorporate so much fitness into my job. You know you’ve found your dream job when it combines two of your passions. Not to mention every day goes by so fast. Even if I happen to be making a lot of photocopies, the day zooms past and I never find it dragging.

Also, make sure you run out and grab the January issue that’s on newsstands now! My picture is in there — can you spot me?

What kind of things do you want in your dream job?

Back to the Concrete Jungle

For those of you who don’t know, this past summer I participated in an internship program through the American Society of Magazine Editors (ASME), which is a highly competitive 10-week program that selects 24 college juniors from across the country to work at well-known magazine companies in New York City and Washington, D.C. Only 10 percent of those who applied were accepted in 2010.

Did I mention it was paid, too?

That may not seem like a big deal to some, but for those struggling in the journalism field, we know how precious it actually is. Unpaid magazine internships are hard enough to land — paid mag internships? Well, you rarely hear of that these days, especially in such a struggling economy.

So, in the beginning of June I packed my bags and moved into a quaint NYU dorm nestled right in the heart of Greenwich Village. I had the time of my life, met amazing people and got to do the work I love every single day at FITNESS magazine. Life couldn’t get any better.

Then I came back to Oswego for my senior year. This semester has been a struggle, to say the least. I’ve been taking extremely demanding classes (but learning a lot!), working as a public relations student manager and a personal trainer at the fitness centers, blogging here and for my fitness blog, The Pulse, and I launched the Ed2010 chapter at Oswego State.

So what’s on the agenda for winter break? You’d think it would be a lot of relaxation, sleeping in and watching mindless television, right? Wrong. Instead, I’m not giving myself a vacation. Right after my finals are finished Monday, I’m packing my bags once more and heading back to the concrete jungle!

Fortunately, the editors at FITNESS were impressed with my work ethic and the quality of work I presented to them on a daily basis (at least, this is what they told me). I’ve kept in touch with quite a few of them while continuing my studies here in Oswego, and as it got closer to winter break, I asked the Executive Editor, Pam O’Brien, if they would be interested in taking me back on the staff while I’m out of school. She, along with the editors she spoke with about it, said yes right away! It felt really good to be accepted back so quickly because it made me feel as though I really left my mark. So in less than a week, I get to reclaim my old desk and resume working at a magazine I absolutely love.

But that’s not all.

As if it couldn’t get any better, right? Starting in January, I will begin a second job while in NYC. I’ll work for FITNESS three days a week and the remainder of the week I will work for The Association of Magazine Media, formerly known as the Magazine Publishers of America (MPA), to assist with their National Magazine Awards. Not to mention I’ll be working alongside one of my good friends, Nina Fortuna, every day I’m there. Once again, it’s a paid position, so both jobs will definitely help me work toward the permanent move to the city in six months.

So keep your eyes peeled for blog posts about all of my activities while I’m back in the city, readers! I’ll be talking about the goings-on at the mag and MPA, and my experiences of living on the Upper West Side. I rented a room from a student who is traveling over break, and will have two other roommates, so I’m sure there will be adventures to share!

Have you ever done a winter internship? What are your plans for this break?

Operation Beautiful Hits Oswego State

Have you ever heard of Operation Beautiful before? Or Fat Talk Free Week? If not, then start paying attention because it’s something you’ll definitely notice around campus from now on.

Operation Beautiful is an international public awareness movement that was founded by Caitlin Boyle. “The mission is to post anonymous notes in public places for other women to find,” she  says. Where’s the most common place to find one? The bathroom. Why? Because that’s where girls scrutinize themselves the most. That’s where the mirror is and that’s where women degrade their bodies and beat themselves up over menial “flaws.”

But no more.

This week is Fat Talk Free Week, a nation-wide public awareness movement that encourages girls to stop degrading themselves. Instead, look in the mirror and say something that you love about yourself; something that makes you unique; something that makes you beautiful.

I work at the campus fitness centers as a student manager, so I like to think I’m in a position of power. Now, I understand my notes are supposed to be anonymous, but right now I feel like spreading the word and drumming up strength behind this movement is more important. After all, I’ve already had a few girls join the movement with me and post anonymous notes in the dorm bathrooms!

So, I took advantage of my power position and had the fitness centers participate in Fat Talk Free Week. Now, when you go into either of the girl’s bathrooms, you’ll see some of the things that make the girls at my school amazing.

If you’d like to see more pictures or learn more about what exactly “fat talk” is and how you can stop it, then head on over to The Pulse. You’ll get everything you want there. And if it’s not there, feel free to make a comment and let me know!

Just remember, you are beautiful just the way you are.

Chilean Miner Runs While Trapped

Edison Pena

It was all over the news yesterday – the Chilean miners who had been trapped for 69 days were all rescued! All 33 of them were pulled out safe and sound, which really makes my heart soar. An interesting fact I found out was that one of the miners, Edison Pena, 34, ran three miles underground every day to keep his sanity. Cool, huh? Read my full thoughts about it on The Pulse, and let me know what you think!

What would you do if you were trapped underground?

Teen Bullying a Crisis for Government

We’ve seen all the news headlines; all the Facebook events that have been made by people crying out to the government to take action against teen bullying, so that a crisis such as five gay teens committing suicide over harassment in three weeks doesn’t happen again. It’s time for the government to stop ignoring these calls, much like the school officials did in many of the teens’ cases, and beginning to do what the American people are asking for. We are asking for change.

Proposition 8 is a great place to start.

Over the years, Proposition 8 has been one of the most controversial laws to have been passed in the U.S. Proposition 8 is a constitutional amendment that was passed in the November 2008 state elections in California. The amendment added Section 7.5 of the Declaration of Rights to the California constitution, and stated that “only marriage between a man and a woman is valid or recognized in California.”

A statement like this is sure to bring uproar from the American people, regardless of what side you’re supporting, and that it did. How could a nation that is all about representing freedom ban someone from marrying just because of gender preferences? Marriage is about love, not genitalia, so to stop gay people from being legally married is going against their constitutional rights as Americans.

Many Americans pleaded this case to the government time and time again, and luckily, the government is finally starting to listen. Kristin M. Perry vs. Arnold Schwarzenegger is a federal lawsuit that has been filed in California that challenges the federal constitutionality of Proposition 8. On August 4, 2010 a judge ruled that the amendment violated the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. On Aug. 16, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the judgment would remain pending appeal.

It took two years for this suit to be filed, but at least it’s finally being done. It’s outrageous that Schwarzenegger believes it’s okay for gays to be harassed in this way.  (I understand he now says he wants to allow gay couples to be able to marry, but come on, he vetoed the legislation for it twice before.) Keeping them from marriage as adults is just like bullying them for simply being gay as a teenager. Americans are making life too difficult for people to be who they are, which is a shame because this is supposed to be the land of the free. The government needs to realize that preventing young kids such as Tyler Clementi, 18, Asher Brown, 13, Seth Walsh, 13, Justin Aaberg, 15, Raymond Chase, 19, and Billy Lucas, 15, from taking their own lives starts with them. If adults are making a big deal about people being gay, then their children are going to learn from those actions.

If the government wouldn’t make a big deal about gay marriage and it was legal to do so in all 50 states rather than only in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa and Vermont, then the American people would eventually come to terms with it and the majority of the people would accept it as the “norm.” Then, the parents wouldn’t be making such a big deal and the children wouldn’t see the parents so upset over it. If the children don’t see the parents so upset about it, then they wouldn’t learn that being gay is different and “wrong,” so they wouldn’t harass so many teenagers.

Ellen Degeneres, a famous TV talk show host and openly gay woman, issued a statement to all of her viewers about the recent teen suicides. “One life lost in this senseless way is tragic, but four lives lost is a crisis,” she said. “Something needs to be done.” That “something” needs to begin with the government passing Proposition 8, and legalizing marriage, regardless of gender, in all 50 states. Forget about the politics and stop worrying so much about whether or not you’ll receive a lot of votes. Do what’s best for this country; what’s best for the teens who are supposed to grow up and make a difference in this country. If you don’t, you won’t know whose life you’re claiming. Isn’t a teen’s life more important than all the scams and schemes associated with politics, anyway?

Magazines, the Power of Print

During my first day of classes, one of my professors made it blatantly clear that she doesn’t believe journalists have any shot at getting a job upon graduation; that journalists are essentially signing up to be poor for the next 10 years. While this professor was semi-accurate about the pay (if you are pursuing journalism thinking you’re going to be a millionaire, I encourage you to change fields now), she was not right about the fact that journalists can’t get a job after graduation.

Unfortunately, it seems as though she has bought into the fallacy that print is dying because the Internet is overtaking all other forms of media. This notion, however, is inaccurate. It’s simply not how media works. People don’t abandon one form of media for another, but rather make room in their lives for the new media outlet while hanging on to the style they already love. So, in the hopes that professors follow this blog, I’m posting these two videos that show proven facts about media and the rising sales of print magazines.

Magazines, the Power of Print

The 20 Tweetable Truths About Magazines

Magazine Publishers of America are also running their “Magazines, the Power of Print” ad campaigns within the print editions of more than 100 titles. These ads are so powerful and they use multiple magazine titles to prove that magazines are thriving rather than disappearing. Yes, some magazines have folded in recent years (R.I.P. Gourmet), but numerous titles have launched and proven themselves successful (Yay, Food Network Magazine!)

I understand that newspapers have taken a slight turn for the worse, but please don’t keep telling students that print is going to be dead soon. It’s simply not true. And I plan on proving this professor wrong by landing a job in the magazine industry soon after I graduate.

What NYC Doesn’t Have

As much as I love NYC, I still missed my country roots. So, to balance out the overwhelming amount of love you’ve seen me express for the concrete jungle, I’ll show you some country lovin’. These are a few of the things NYC doesn’t have (a.k.a. 10 awesome things I had to live without for three months). Enjoy!

Things New York City Doesn’t Have

What little things do you love about home?

NYC, the Perfect Boyfriend

My best friend recently went through a gruesome breakup. Our idea of consolation doesn’t involve crying and holding each other, but rather laughter, insults and good drinks in hand. While consoling her, she once again wondered why she hadn’t found her dream guy.

Smiling coyly over my glass, I looked at her and said, “I found the perfect boyfriend.” Rolling her eyes, she assumed I was talking about my actual boyfriend, Dustin. Oh, how she was mistaken.

“No silly, it’s NYC,” I said. “Think about it. He has everything you could ever want in a boyfriend.”

1. He’s interesting. There’s always something new to discover.

The Frying Pan = delicious dive bar in the Village.

2. He’s smart. There’s an array of museums, libraries and galleries to explore.

Andy Warhol @ MoMa

3. He’s funny. First, you have the comedy clubs such as Dangerfield’s or the Laugh Lounge. Plus, there are always a few interesting characters roaming around that are sure to provoke a chuckle or two.

4. He’s a perfect 10. Maybe you don’t judge looks on a number scale, but sometimes my friends and I cave to this belittling concept. And NYC, ooohh, he makes me swoon. There are so many beautiful sights; it’d be easy for me to sit and stare all day.

5. He’s cultured. You can meet someone from any culture or race here. Not to mention the glorious fact that you can try nearly any type of food!

6. You can go home and relax with him. After a long, grueling day at work, nothing is quite as good as feeling the stress melt away with a relaxing yoga session.

Strala Yoga with Tara Stiles

7. He’s passionate. People come here from all over the world to make their dreams a reality.

8. He’s fun. There’s always something to do to satisfy any craving.

9. You can’t be mad at him. He can have other girlfriends without upsetting you because those girls just make the ride so much more enjoyable.

I could’ve given you a tenth quality, but my lucky number is nine, so it just feels right to stop here. My advice? Go to New York City and fall in love with the perfect boyfriend, too. I promise to share : )