Busy Bee in NYC

Although I feel more like an actual New Yorker the longer I’m in NYC, I’ve still done a decent job of hitting up tourist locations. Since I can’t share a lot about what I’m doing at work, here’s a sneak peak into my life outside of magazines!

First and foremost, I’m still a fitness guru at heart and it’s always been on my bucket list to go running in Central Park. I’m always so envious whenever I see people in their jogging pants and sneaks, just trucking around the reservoir like they do any other day. I realized that my time here was quickly running out, so I laced up my sneaks and hit the pavement in the cold 35-degree weather, looking just like any other local.

And let me tell you, the views were worth it.

While I wasn’t in NYC for it, I was lucky enough to see the Trans-Siberian Orchestra live. My mom and step-dad bought tickets for my three brothers, sister and I for Christmas, so we were all able to experience some awesome musicianship together. The pyrotechnics they used throughout the show covered the price of the ticket alone.

Once I was back in NYC, my boyfriend, Dustin, came to visit, as did my ASME friends and future roommates, Libby and Victoria to celebrate the new year. We made sure to hit up plenty of restaurants along the way, including my favorite Mexican restaurant, La Esquina. If you’re ever in the city, I highly recommend you try it. Insider tip: It’s a big place for celebrity spottings, so you have to reserve two to three weeks in advance.

We also made sure to hit up Tom’s Restaurant, famous for it’s recurring presence in Seinfeld.

I walk by this retro-looking diner every day on my walk home from work as well, so I tested out an Italian meatball sub and french fries at the Metro Diner, too. It was my first time having fries in over six months, but these were delicious!

Dustin and I also ventured around Times Square and took advantage of the M&M factory because he had never been. After we were hopped up on sugar, we played in Toys R Us. I tried to ride the ferris wheel, but you had to pay, plus the line was really long and full of little kids. I settled for a huge lollipop from the Willy Wonka side of the store instead.

And to prove I do super-cool things for my job, I took Dustin to a Harlem Globetrotters game! We were able to go to the VIP party and eat dinner with the players before the game. The Globetrotters worked with us on an article to help make a girl’s dream come true — she always wanted to play with the wacky team, so we made her dreams a reality! Check out a spring issue of FITNESS to read all about it.

What fun things have you done over winter break? Are you ready to head back to school?

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?

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 : )

How is it senior year already?

Graduation is imminent!

The summer has flown by! I can’t believe it’s halfway through summer! I wish that I had more time to work for the summer, but I also can’t wait to go back to school. I’ve been having the weirdest dreams about being late for journalism classes with Professor Gilligan, who I’m not even taking classes with next semester! I think that comes from being late for Investigative Reporting a couple of times and freaking out until I realized that Prof Gilligan was later than me, luckily.

In thinking about the summer flying by, I think the past three years have flown by, actually. For me college has been a blur of staying really busy and doing a million things, and now, all of a sudden it seems, it’s senior year! In less than a year, I’ll be out of college and into the workforce. Holy cow!

My first year, I started out as a freshman at Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks. I remember moving in all anxious about meeting people, but excited to start studying (I’m such a nerd). I had already been to boarding school my junior year of high school in Arkansas, so I wasn’t afraid of being away from home, but there were those moments of “am I going to fit in?”

The nice thing about PSC was that there were 800 students there. And there was a ratio of 7:2 guys to girls; that was very beneficial :) Overall, people were very warm to me because of the size of our community. I loved it there. The students are fun, and the teachers are great. I miss it there sometimes. I left because the program wasn’t the strongest – environmental writing. I had my fun, but moving on to Oswego was a good decision.

Sophomore year came and went. I got used to the bigger size of Oswego and the weather. The classes are my favorite part of Oswego (nerdiness once again). Also, I really enjoy the ability to connect with other people on campus, whether they’re faculty, staff, or students. I feel like with the size of Oswego, there’s the opportunity to build close-knit groups, despite the thousands of students. You find your niche with people of like interests, and you gravitate toward each other, but that takes a little more time than I expected.

I feel like Oswego has been cliquey, though. It’s a lot harder to make friends at Oswego than it was at PSC because people aren’t as open with each other. Where I knew nearly everyone’s name at PSC (no joke), at Oswego my sophomore year, I felt a little lost in the masses at Oswego. It wasn’t until this past year, junior year, that I finally felt like I found my own niche.

The problem I think that I had was that there is only a relatively small group of student activists who have similar causes as I do, despite the thousands of students. Oswego has a lot of divisions from fraternities and sororities, who can tend to seem solely exclusive for members of Greek organizations, to sports groups, who seem to be exclusively for athletes, to the members of Humans v. Zombies, who tend to be just for those who enjoy LARPing (live action role playing).

Maybe it’s just my Southern background that makes me feel like the people at Oswego are a little more separatists than unitarians (in the literal sense of the words_, but, maybe that’s just college life. Anyway, tangent aside, I feel like my time at Oswego has been really great. I’ve made some friends and done A LOT of activities on campus. I’m just looking forward to life after college for a little bit. The time of living for partying on the weekends has been over for a while. I’m ready to start doing what I love as an occupation, and then go back to school in a couple of years.

Fitness Required at FITNESS?

Ever since I started my internship, I’ve had one question asked of me over and over again.

“Do you have to be in really good shape to work at FITNESS?

I’m actually surprised by how often I’ve heard this, and some of my fellow ASME interns have even said, “Sam, I’m so glad you were placed at FITNESS instead of me. I’m not fit enough to work there!”

Well everyone, I’m here to let you know that it is not a requirement that you be fit to be considered for employment at FITNESS (I’m pretty sure if this were true, the magazine would be in a lot of trouble with the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission). You don’t have to be an exercise enthusiast, nutrition expert or health guru.

However, it definitely doesn’t hurt if you are fitness savvy. The people I work with are not only knowledgeable about their field, they enjoy it. Casual conversation is often about the latest yoga DVD  that someone used or the class they’re going to test.

The office itself doesn’t hurt either. I can’t help but feel motivated when en route to the kitchen I pass a rack of bikinis, sports bras and workout clothes. Or on my way to the copy room I pass the shoe closet, which is filled with more sneakers than I’ve ever seen at one time. When I leave for lunch, I pass the fitness closet that is brimming with a wide array of workout equipment — yoga mats, medicine balls, bicycling helmets, etc — you name it; it’s probably in there.

Working at FITNESS has also inspired me to keep up with my own workout regime. I used to spend my summers somewhere close to home. In an old post, I made it clear that Oppenheim does not have a whole ton of civilization (I wasn’t kidding about the more cows than people quota). Well, minimal fitness opportunities go hand-in-hand with minimal civilization. The closest gym to my house is 20 minutes and it’s in serious need of an equipment upgrade. As a result, I didn’t work out as much. I’d sweat it out biking, hiking or running outside, sure, but it’s not the same as grunting out a fantastic strength training session at the gym where you can also escape the heat for a few glorious hours in AC.  (You didn’t think my house has AC, did you? Come on now!) Then top it off with all of mom’s fantastic home-cooked meals that you miss oh, so much while away during college and you’re on the fast road to out-of-shape city.

But being here has helped me stay in the fitness mindset I have while at school. This mindset can also be credited to my job at the Cooper/Glimmerglass Fitness Centers as a Student Manager and Personal Trainer. What always happens there happens at FITNESS, too. When you’re surrounded by people who love health and fitness, you can’t help but get sucked in. I’ve always been passionate about athletics and working out, but my love for it has grown exponentially the last two years. Working at this magazine motivates me to try the latest moves we’re telling our readers about or go to a yoga class that could inspire a story pitch. If I can combine my passions and succeed at my job while staying in shape, aren’t I getting the best of both worlds? I think so.

I’ve found my motivation to stay fit through my job at FITNESS, not because I have to be fit in order to work there. What’s your motivation? I’d love to hear about it here, or at The Pulse, my personal health and fitness blog. Hope to hear from you soon!