The beginning of a new semester

Well, here we are. The start of a new academic year. For me, it just seems as if something else has simply begun on top of what I normally do. But, for ambitious individuals who aspire to one day be employed full time making good pay, it’s what needs to be done to meet that goal.

I knew it wouldn’t get much easier after graduating from undergrad last May and now that Graduate school is in full swing with two jobs, 3 extracurricular activities, bills, and the desire to have some kind of social life, I don’t expect to have a second for myself until after finals.

So far, I’ve been busy working with Civic Engagement, shameless self promotion here (check out my Rock the Vote Blog here http://sunyoswegocivicengagement.wordpress.com/) to get the word out about the election, how to vote, where to vote, and everything else that it encompasses. It’s been a great experience and I know that it will help me in the long run.

Graduate classes already seem to be a huge step up from Undergrad. It’s the natural progression, everything I expected it to be. More work, more reading, more attention to detail, and did I mention more work?

It’s a different style of history being in a classroom versus in a museum;the feel for history isn’t the same. In a classroom  it becomes a more intellectually dense experience listening, digesting and analyzing, and in a museum the information comes at you using different senses, you’re inside of the history.

I like being back in academia. It’s a much different pace than the private sector or even the government side of the economy. There’s a certain sense collaboration, even if there hasn’t been a meeting to designate who’s doing what. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting a lot of different professionals on campus and everyone has advice and is willing to lend a helping hand in the events or activities we have planned, or are trying to plan.

It’ll be a fun semester and I’ll keep this as well as my Rock the Vote blog updated regularly.

Another great opportunity

This is my first entry as a SUNY Oswego blogger and I am happy to be a part of a great tool in communicating ideas, events, and anything else that we have on our minds. I’ll start my journey as a blogger on this site with a little introduction;

I’m Jon Zella, I’m a Graduate student studying History: Museum Preservation here at SUNY Oswego. I recently graduated from SUNY Oswego with my Bachelor’s Degree in History and a minor in Italian, Buon Giorno. I am also the graduate assistant for Civic Engagement, I work as an interpreter at Fort Ontario State Historic Site, I’m the Head Coach for the Women’s Club Hockey team, Director of Athletic Affairs in Student Association, I write for a hockey blog called the Checking Line mostly about the Buffalo Sabres,  I play the drums in the Avondales and Burning Bridge Street, and now I write for this blog.

Though the above paragraph makes me seem like someone who might be high-strung, I’m generally a pretty calm person. Keeping busy allows me to stay focused and everything gets done, even if it’s at 2am. I enjoy being social, speaking to others; the exchange of ideas and culture is something I’ve always enjoyed.

I also run the Civic Engagement Word Press which will cover a lot of what I’ll be up to this academic year. I will do my best to blog on this as well and keep those interested in the loop with what I’m doing and how my year is going.

Let’s Catch Up

Wow

It has been a while since I’ve really gotten into the flow of  things. Not to worry I am back and fully functioning. Took a much needed break. You know how hectic things can get for a college student. Hopefully to the demise of you the reader (just admit you miss me). With so much time passing , comes so much news.

This past semester I went through a lot. I grew a lot , I experienced a lot. I am grateful for it all , maybe not while it occurred or soon after, and truthfly there are issues I am still trying to resolve. However my new outlook has led me to be grateful for it all. Rain, sleet, Oswego sized snow days and sun. Whatever the problem I may be experiencing in the end will be worth the journey.

Success has found its way to me this year. This past spring semester I was inducted into the Lambda  Pi Eta National Honor Society of Communications. It was a pleasant surprise because although it has been my goal since day one of Oswego to receive academic recognition I never set out for this one in particular. Which made the induction and initial nomination that much more of an honor. I learned that when you take care of your business , stay focused on the goal at hand, the blessings will come. Also it never hurts to be able to send your parents a quick picture of you holding a Honor Society Certificate , all dressed up, with a great big smile with the caption “Hey mom just in case you thought I was going to Thirsty Thursdays every week.”

So all in all there has been a lot to occur. My birthday was exactly a month ago to the date( old & gray) , I received stitches for the first time (a lesson learned from that!), celebrated BSR (woop woop!), became Mr. BSU(check me out), My niece is 7 months and teething (poor baby sister).

As hectic as that may seem. I am still busy at work up here in Oswego. I’m taking summer classes, looking for employment, working on a possible intership/shadow position, and experiencing all that Oswego has to offer in the summer time (besides allergies and a sinus infection).

Rest assure though , we will be in touch!

-Kwame

The Triangle of Life

Man, this may be the most accurate portrayal of school college. When I use to play the “you only get 2 games” I always got fustrated because I could never decide which I wanted. Yet here I am , again always stuck trying to decide between the three. Could this have been the source of my recent frustrations?

Maybe, but chances are it has more to do with these 4 major classes I am taking and trying to stay afloat in. Whatever the reason , it all leads back to this triangle. There has been a lack of consistency on my part this semester. At times, I’ve laid under the covers and said “rest!” then only but a few times, I have decided to go out and party and or drink(soda) all night long. Truest in its location however right at the top, hanging over my head has been the reminder that I want those great grades (not good). At times this has meant I went beast. Just running all around, staying up till all times of night, making a home of the library. Mostly though I have stressed myself to miserable levels and abandoned my promise to self to make sure I am taking time to enjoy life a little.

The sad truth (to me at least) about this triangle is that there is no one right way to approach it. In my eyes there is only room for one other choice. Getting good grades are not an option, nor should it be optional . But again to each their own, “Live let Live”. This leaves the conundrum of choosing between sleep and social life. For a couple of weeks I decided to choose sleep but that did me no good. It left me tense and ready to blow over like a pressure cooker. You see if you do what is required of you academically, you owe it to yourself to take a few moments if not hours to just enjoy the simpler or more carefree parts of life. Beware however it comes with a price, that price being precious time outside of your twin size bed  and head under the covers.

So I guess there is no way to truly win or to come out successful is there? I’m lost and still trying to figure it out. Maybe you have the answer though. If so , don’t act stingy share it with the rest of the world!!! Me 0_0!

Journalists: be prepared to get your world rocked…

That’s what they should warn journalism majors before they start their program.

Be prepared to get your world rocked, because you will write something that you think is really good and then your editor will rip it to shreds.

I’m still getting used to having my work torn apart by editors, and I’m a graduating journalism senior. Such fun!

I suppose getting harsh reviews is supposed to help you do better and build up your work as well as strengthen your skin against criticism, but sometimes I’m a big softy.

I just wrote a blog post for my internship, and I thought it was pretty good. It was about new bills on the floor of the House of Representatives that seek to cut off funding for family planning and reproductive health. I sent my blog to my supervisor, who proceeded to strikethrough nearly everything I wrote. Case in point:

Talk about rocking my world. She told me my writing was still good, and it laid a framework for what she edited into the new blog post. But still, less than 10 percent of what I originally wrote was intact! I survived an editorial run-in.

It just goes to show you that no matter what sort of confidence you may have about a piece, it is still subject to the editor’s appeal. Just a reminder that I shouldn’t get overconfident in my writing, as well as I should prepare myself more for constructive criticism.

Real life 101 note: you may think what you wrote as a journalist is the cat’s meow, but just remember, you’re writing for an audience, and if your editor doesn’t like what you wrote – don’t take it personal when they completely scrap your work. It’s just the life as a journalist after all.

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?