Moving to Brooklyn

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While moving into my apartment in Brooklyn today, a wedding was happening outside. What a coincidence—two monumental events, two new beginnings. As I unpacked my things, the groom and the bride (Mr. and Mrs. Carlisle Clark) danced to Chris de Burgh’s “Lady in Red.” Now, as night takes over, wedding goers are dancing to salsa music, which, as my friends know, sparks in me an infectious desire to dance. I may or may not have done a few 1234567s in my room, alone.

My new home is in Bed-Stuy (pronounced ‘bed-sty,’ not bed-stew as I have told many people already) and I am living with an older woman who’s renting out her townhouse. I live in a room next to her on the first floor, and there are four people living upstairs. My housemate works at the United Nations. She reminds me of my mother, so when I met her I instantly knew that Mom would like her. They were chatting about their childhoods (hers in Indonesia, my mom’s in Vietnam) while my sister, my father, and I tried to make my room feel more like home.

As a kid, I would always imagine what I’d buy once moving into my own home. I remembered putting Yankee Candles, a box of crayola, and a bookcase on my list. Now I get to cross off the last item, because GUYS, I BOUGHT MY FIRST BOOKCASE FROM IKEA (see the picture!). I have already started filling it with my favorite books and books I have yet to read. I can’t wait to see my collection grow (free books at Simon & Schuster!!!).

I’m still getting used to the neighborhood, but I’m told that I can find quiet on my street, but if I want some noise, I just have to walk downtown to Atlantic Avenue and Fulton Street. I feel like Brooklyn is known for being a creative, hipstery hub, and I am definitely eager to explore more. My first move? I just bought a Groupon for salsa dancing classes. Who wants to join me?!?

If anyone has some suggestions for things to see and to do in Brooklyn, comment below! I’m always looking for new adventures.

 

 

Someday, what we did will matter.

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Eric, Liz, Michaela, Spencer, Clara, Stephen and Ali: Some fine friends right there. In defense of my misdirected gaze, there was a crowd of parents taking pictures at the same time, and I got confused…

Someday,
what we did
will matter.

During one of Fairfield University’s Senior Week events, I was asked to write a six-word story to summarize my experience at Fairfield University. So I harnessed my budding poetic powers, which I acquired after taking a class with Professor Carol Ann Davis, and this was the result. I wonder what Hemingway would think of my story!

What I was thinking: "Wow. Did that just happen?"

What I was thinking: “Wow. Did that just happen?”

It’s been two days since Sunday, but I hope that the euphoria we all felt at our graduation never goes away. We deserve to be happy because we’ve overcome so many struggles, and our accomplishments at Fairfield will lead to bigger and better things.

I would be lying if I said I always had such a positive outlook on life. See, there were times when I wanted to give up. In freshman year, as a stressed student who received a C on her first journalism assignment, I thought about switching majors. I thought I could fulfill a childhood dream by becoming a medical examiner (but one: I know I would have never survived the classes, and two: yes, that’s a morbid dream and no wonder I can never write “happy” stories). I questioned why I would spend my Tuesdays and early Wednesdays in The Mirror office when I could focus more on my studies. I wondered why I chose Fairfield, when I could have gone to a less expensive school, saved my parents some money, and also cut back on the loans I’d have to pay after school. Remember those panicked moments? I’m sure people have gone through similar experiences.

Despite the struggles, I couldn’t give up, because I knew I would be risking a chance at happiness. There has to be something in the end, I thought. There has to be. (It turns out that I was right.) If I gave up, then I’d disappoint my mom, the woman who has risked everything to see her three children get the life they deserve. Now, my parents can say that they raised three college graduates and almost-adults!

So when I overcame my obstacles (by having a friend talk some sense into me, suddenly realizing how foolish I was acting, and blah blah), it seemed so easy to see how misplaced my worries were. It is clear to me, now, that everything we did at Fairfield was worth it.

To some, my words might seem idealistic, but I’ve gotten this far by being an idealist, so why should I stop?

I wouldn’t have gotten this far in life without help, so thanks to:

  • My family. Truth: I wouldn’t be here without you.
  • My friends. I’ve met many passionate students at Fairfield who believed in a cause and worked to fulfill their goals. I’m glad to call some of these people my close friends. Most of us have been friends since freshman year, and it’s amazing to see how much we’ve changed, changed without compromising the best parts of ourselves. A special shout-out to Ali (also because I want to see if she reads this 😉 – this is the girl who didn’t read The Mirror until this year!!!) who will be working for Fairfield University’s Study Abroad in Florence, because she’s awesome.
  • The Mirror (favorite people: Danica, Luigi, Leigh, Sal, Tom, Shauna, Enxhi, Robby, Jen, and last but not least, Dr. Tommy Xie)
The amazing Mirror staff. Credit: Dr. Tommy Xie.

The amazing Mirror staff at this year’s College Media Convention. Credit: Dr. Tommy Xie.

  • The English Department faculty have inspired me and made me believe in my career choice. I won’t mention specific names, because I feel indebted to many professors there, despite never taking some of their courses!
The wonderful Advanced Portfolio Workshop class, taught by Professor Carol Ann Davis. Photo contributed by Amina Seyal.

The wonderful Advanced Portfolio Workshop class, taught by Professor Carol Ann Davis. Photo contributed by Amina Seyal.

It is powerful to know that we all matter. All of us have something to say and do that will impact the world for our generation and the next.

What’s in store for me now? I’ll be working as an Editorial Assistant to the Publisher at Simon & Schuster’s Gallery imprint. I’m looking for places to live in New York (call me!). I’ll need to learn how to adult … soonish. I’ll continue writing fiction and hope to finish my novel within the next two years.

But now, while writing this post, I am completely at peace, and I reflect on my time at Fairfield with only gratitude.

 

Disenchanted, but not giving up

Want to be as happy as this kid? Join The Mirror. That’s Luigi DiMeglio, by the way; he’s the chief copy editor. See? Copy editing can be fun. Credit: Loan Le/The Mirror

I’ve always been ambitious, particularly with journalism.

When I arrived at Fairfield University, I knew I wanted to major in journalism. I joined The Mirror, the student newspaper, right off the bat, and eagerly approached the editors with my ideas and comments. The entertainment editor seemed to notice my willingness to take part in the newspaper and he took me under his wing. I learned all about layout and news design from him, and then picked up more skills from my journalism courses. I rose from a contributing writer to assistant entertainment editor, and then, as a sophomore, I became the director of the entertainment section. Using the skills that I picked up freshman year, I tried my best to establish a standard for the entertainment section. I attempted eye-catching designs and longer feature pieces that tested the writer’s skills.

Examining past issues of The Mirror, I consider our recent issues to be so much more comprehensive and aesthetically pleasing than the previous years. We’ve been getting praises from administration, students and faculties, and they are saying the same thing. We’re doing a great job so far. I can accurately say that the editors at The Mirror are incredibly humbled by and proud of their work. Even though we complain about our miserable lives in the office on Tuesday nights/Wednesday mornings, we love working at the newspaper. Honestly, why else would we subject ourselves to torture every week. We can’t say it’s because of the pay, because, right now, we have no pay. That’s right. We have no external motivation to keep doing this, besides the fact that we love this. We love the environment. We love putting together a paper within 24 hours.

Now, that I’ve been executive editor/vice president of The Mirror for almost a year, I’ve noticed how much my attitude toward everything has changed. Instead of being preoccupied by my own success, I now worry about the legacy of The Mirror. What’s going to happen after our staff is gone? Honestly, I want to view newcomers to The Mirror as potential Mirror editors, and yet, right now, I don’t have much faith. I’m being honest. Maybe a bit harsh, but I’m not trying to distort reality. The journalism bug is not biting the writers.

At some point in the beginning of the semester, I wanted to just give up on journalism. Martin (the editor-in-chief) and I announced a news writing workshop for beginners and for people who just want to refresh their writing skills. I eagerly trekked from Dolan Hall to The Mirror office in the rain. I couldn’t wait to see who’d show up.

No one came.

This was utterly disappointing. I couldn’t believe that students could be so disinterested in journalism. I thought, “What’s the point?”

But I’m definitely not the type of person to give up. My mom and dad would seriously kick my ass because they didn’t raise a pessimistic daughter. They’ve raised a warrior.

So, I constantly ask myself: Why?

My awesome colleagues also contributed to reasons why people don’t often choose the newspaper as their first priority at Fairfield University.

Reasons

  • Being a part of The Mirror is just not worth it.

Talk about a stab in the heart. It’s not worth it to gain real-world experience in the field of journalism? It’s not worth it to hone your writing so that you can communicate effectively? It’s not worth it to learn design and editing skills from experienced editors? Oh yeah, it’s definitely not worth it.

C’mon. Picture this: On your résumé, you can put that you’ve written over 60 articles for an award-winning college newspaper throughout your college career. You can say that you’ve designed this and that. You can say that you were able to balance working in a newsroom and typical college workloads. You can say, to potential employers, that you’ve put together a newspaper from scratch.

  • There’s no incentive in writing for The Mirror.

See the first answer. But there are plenty of incentives. You can get paid, for example, if you’re consistent with your work and apply to be a staff writer or an editor. You get a lot of experience. You get to meet people who are passionate about journalism. You are more than likely to get extra credit in journalism courses. You can impress your peers, professors and family. The list goes on and on. Search for what you believe to be the right incentive and believe that it’s enough to get you involved with this newspaper.

  • I’m just not good enough.

Bullshit. You have something to give us. We know you do, and we want you to give us everything that you’ve got. Do you have an opinion that you just want to get out there? Write for the opinions section. Think you know politics? Impress us with your expertise. Do you have the uncanny ability to spot errors? Copy edit the absolute shit out of our shit. We need your help.

  • It requires too much work.

Don’t even start with me. That’s a cop-out, and it’s a cop-out that we absolutely abhor. I don’t know, but maybe students forget that the editors at The Mirror are students, too, and have their own share of vigorous workloads. And yet, they still manage to come out here and crank out an issue each week. I can honestly say that managing The Mirror and school work is doable. You just have to look hard at your schedules. Instead of, say, taking a two-hour nap when you could be writing an article, take a 15-minute nap, and then work on Mirror business. Work out a schedule with The Mirror editors. I think we’re pretty flexible. Co-write an article and share your load with someone you trust. Please, just don’t tell us that you have too much work, because it’s an insult to yourself and an insult to The Mirror editors as students.

  • The Mirror is too cliquey.

Okay. If someone said this to me two years ago, I’d laugh. As a freshman, I never truly connected with the editors and other writers. I was too scared. The editors seemed to have their own inside jokes and conversations, and I always felt left out. Now that I am a part of the Mirror ‘culture,’ I can say that The Mirror is a bit of a clique. But not in the “Mean Girls” type of way, because we’re all so very different. What I mean to say is that we are not totally inclusive. We are close in the sense that we’re stuck in the office together from Tuesday afternoon to (often times) Wednesday mornings. We go through the same struggles and have the same complaints. How can we not be a close-knit group after all of this?

If you’re willing to stick with us on Tuesday and Wednesday nights, we consider you an official Mirrorite (the term is still being considered). If you write for us consistently and drop by to say ‘hi’ once in a while, you’re a Mirrorite.

  • Not a lot of people seem to do it.

This is true. In the beginning of the year, we had about 60 people crowded into our small Mirror office. There were people standing outside of the office, listening in. Sadly, however, the number has dwindled to the point that our Wednesday meetings consist only of the editors. We’re trying our best to keep students’ interest. I mean, we’re not scary. Are we? Sure, the editor-in-chief has a mohawk and a wild beard, but he’s chill…

To end this:

I’m still here, at the newspaper. The editors are trudging along. We get by, because we know that despite the lack of contributors, that doesn’t mean we can’t get an issue out. But I know that we can’t last this long. We need students. Like I said, I am not a pessimist, so I am hoping that in the future The Mirror will get the attention that it deserves and people will throw themselves into the awesome world of journalism. We are not giving up.