September 13, 2015

Three Things I Learned At My First Journalism Conference

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the National Association of Black Journalists Convention in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I had a great time both professionally and personally. It was my first time really interacting with journalists outside of my past internships and jobs. I had the chance to recruit candidates for HuffPost, attend workshops, network and see a city I probably never would’ve went to if it wasn’t for the convention. (I was shocked Minneapolis had so many Ubers lol.) It’s been a little over a month since the conference and I’ve had some time to reflect on what the experience has taught me.

     1.) I'm Still Finding My Beat

A “beat” is the topic you mainly focus on in journalism. So I work in politics but someone’s beat can be government, poverty, economy, foreign affairs, etc in politics. I randomly went to this workshop about business journalism and didn’t have any expectations. I wasn’t really interested in the beat and I frankly didn’t know that much about it. But by the end of the workshop I was ready to look up every financial report and stock prices. I learned that so many people don’t know the basic information about their personal finances, loans, gas prices, etc. I’m always giving financial advice to other people and never saw myself one day being a business reporter until I attended that workshop.

      2.)  Broadcast Still Dominates

As I was working the HuffPost booth it quickly became clear that the majority of people at the conference were interested in working in T.V., not online, not radio, not print. So many people came up to us and asked how they could become a host on HuffPost Live, despite our focus being online news.  As I was talking to people, a lot of them were interested in being entertainment or sports reporters/anchors. I think I met two people who wanted to be an online writer for hard news. I was just really surprised because the trend is that everything is going online, yet there are so many people vying to be on T.V. 

      3.)  I’m Super Blessed

I feel like the word “blessed” is so cliché and overused but it’s the only word I can use to describe my career at the moment. It’s no secret that I love my job but being at the convention proved that I really can’t take it for granted. I had friends around me discussing how their T.V. contracts are basically trapping them. How much they hate their bosses and co-workers. How little pay they get but are expected to wear modern clothes and always have their makeup, hair and nails done. I witnessed so many people talk about how miserable their jobs/lives were. I can’t help but feel blessed. Super blessed.

Check out my first YouTube video and see all my adventures at NABJ:

July 7, 2015

A Year Of Blessings And Struggles

As another birthday approaches and I reflect on this past year I know the biggest I’ve learned: If you’re not happy where you are, you probably won’t be happy where you want to be.

I wrote last year that I didn’t feel like I was really living my life and I think in many ways that has changed. Let me tell you this year I had more blessings than I ever could imagine but with blessings came some struggles too. At times I felt like as I was growing in my professional life, but felt like I was failing in my personal life. Or when everything seemed great I would get a terrible allergic reaction (it happened twice!). I honestly felt like I couldn’t catch a break sometimes.

I felt like everything was a race before. I would put so much pressure on myself to reach the top and to be best that I would literally make myself sick and stressed. This year I discovered my passion yoga and my entire outlook on the life I want to live has changed. I’ve never felt so at peace with myself. I learned that I can’t wait to be happy tomorrow or wait until everything falls into place to feel like things are fantastic. My life is fantastic today because that’s the way I chose to see it.

But despite some mishaps here and there I don’t think I’ve ever been happier. I’m living at home with my mom saving money and I feel like my relationship with her is closer than ever (she’s my bff). I work for an amazing company doing a job a job I never thought I would get but have grown to love it. And most importantly I have a support system of people who believe in me. I’m grateful every single day for the life I live.

So here’s to me turning 23 and making this year all about growth, control, and more good fortunes! 

May 9, 2015

HuffPost's 10 Year Anniversary Party

Today marks The Huffington Post's 10 year anniversary! I feel so blessed to work for such a young and well-known organization. On Thursday, we all celebrated HuffPost's anniversary at the Monarch Rooftop Lounge in New York City. It was such an amazing 24-hours. I had the time of my life at the party. I met people that I only chat with through email, saw the Empire State Building light up in green just for us, and I just made some awesome memories. Here's a few pics from the party, enjoy!

Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post

Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post

Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post
Photo by Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post
The after party (clearly)

May 1, 2015

Three Things No One Told Me To Expect After Graduation

I honestly cannot believe I graduated from college almost one year ago. My student I.D. is still nicely displayed in the front pocket of my wallet (I can’t resist a student discount). And I’m still on the email lists of student clubs (I know when all the Tango meetings are haha). I feel like I was really prepared to graduate. I had really good internships, a nice resume, and clear goals. I went to workshops on how to prepare for post-grad life on topics such as how to save money, cook on a budget, and negotiate your salary. I felt prepared.

But being one year out of college I learned that there were things that no one braced me for. Here are three things I wasn’t prepared for:

Your Work Environment Really Matters

Most people told me that the most important thing was getting a job, that’s it. But let me tell you this: You can have the best job title in the world but if your work environment sucks, you won’t enjoy your job very much. I interned at a lot of organizations so I thought I knew what my first job would be like. I had a vision of high heels everyday, a face full of makeup, working a shifting schedule of crazy hours, never having a break, and working with people who would claw their way up to the next position. Yet, that’s far from what my job looks like now. 

Yes, I work a lot of hours but my office environment is inviting, friendly, and my co-workers are really supportive of my ideas. And since I’m being honest here I think the best part is our weekly yoga classes and free snacks.

I think recent or soon-to-be grads should know the things that go beyond salary and job duties. Does you job allow you to work from home? Do they have commuter benefits? Does your company offer fitness classes or professional development workshops? What's the dress code? These are super important things to know. You can end up very miserable if your work environment is not good.

The Post-Grad 15

So my weight never fluctuated while I was in college. I went to community college for two years, so I never had a meal plan then. When I transferred to UMD and started living on campus I ate normally and was always really active. I lived for the group fitness classes at the gym. I would take Zumba, STEP, and hip-hop classes and my college was so large that I walked everywhere.

But once I graduated, I started gaining weight (or muscle as my mom likes to call it). Now it wasn’t 15-pounds, maybe 7 or 8 pounds but still I felt like that was a lot. Even the pants I would used to wear for my internship didn’t fit anymore. I blame it on the happy hour. I’m telling you, sitting at a desk all day and going to happy hour will make you gain weight. They should’ve warned me!

At the beginning of the year I got serious about my overall health. I kept doing yoga twice a week but started doing one day of weight training and two days of cardio at the gym. I also limit the amount of meat I eat and detox once a week. The little bit of weight I gained is gone and I’m probably healthier now than when I was when I graduated.

Your Co-workers Can Become Your Good Friends

Before I graduated I didn’t give much thought to co-workers. I didn’t know that these people who I spend most of my days with would become my friends, lunch buddies, and support. I learned that your relationship with your coworkers is just as important as your relationships with other people in your life. Co-workers aren’t just people who you sit next to and take a tissue off their desk. They are important parts of your professional life.

July 7, 2014

Being Happy vs. Being Content

As my birthday approaches, I've been reflecting on this past year. I realized that before this year, I was never really living. I would go places, meet people, and accomplish goals. But I was living my life contently, not happily. And I didn't know it.

Sometimes we can be so driven that we forget about our own happiness. I never set out to find happiness because I thought smiling in pictures was enough. The people I met and things I've experienced this year changed my life. The joy I found this year is indescribable. Multiple things have led me to discover true happiness and I'll share some of them with you:

1.) I learned how to love and care for someone beyond myself.

2.) Some people stopped being friends with me and I let them. I didn't chase after acceptance, friendship, or love anymore.

3.) I learned the true definition of what it means to struggle.

4.) I didn't accept every opportunity. I did what I felt was right in my heart.

5.) I learned to value genuine people around me.

6.) I changed my goals and accepted that my dreams might change as time goes on. Once I stopped holding onto a specific vision that I had for my future, I felt free.

7.) I learned that being independent doesn't mean having to be alone.

8.) I appreciate small moments. The kind of moments that no camera will ever capture.

I wake up with a smile. I wake up with purpose. I stopped going through my day and started living. It's remarkable as I look back at my victories, both big and small. I'm excited to see what this (happy) year brings and this time I promise, I will really start blogging more.

July 7, 2013

20 Lessons I Learned This Year

Obviously I am a terrible blogger because this is the first time I'm updating this in months. But hey a girls been busy. Forgive me.

Updates: I finished an amazing junior year at college, I have a remarkable internship, I've discovered my love of consignment shopping, and my
birthday's tomorrow!

This past year has been rocky at times, stressful, liberating, and life-changing. Here's a list a few things I learned:

1.) Step outside.

Sometimes the most outgoing people can remain in their own box. I went on a Spring Break trip to advocate against domestic violence. I remember in the beginning I was so hesitant to go even though I signed up and volunteered for it. I am so grateful that I took a leap of faith and went on the trip because it was the best experience of my life.

2.) Know the difference between being ambitious and motivated.

3.) Just because you miss someone doesn't mean you should re-open that door.

4.) Don't be too set on any one path.

5.) Keep the faith through the pain.

Sasha, my sister/best friend/cat suddenly died in December. It was devastating and I still miss her so much. I learned that she's in a better place and it was meant to happen.

6.) Speak up. Bring something meaningful to the table.

Observing is nice but I'm not sure where it really gets you. Ask questions, be a little too curious, and don't be silent. A little voice is better than no voice.

7.) Stop complaining if you continue to stay in negative situations.

8.) Do what makes you happy.

9.) Discouragement from others should become your encouragement. 

10.) Rejection can be such a blessing once we understand its meaning.

11.) Not every Youtube tutorial will work.

12.) Your hero should be similar to yourself.

My mom and my grandma are my hero's. I hope one day I can become a hero to somebody.

13.) Read the newspaper.

Acting like a dumb girl went out of style a long time ago.

14.) The only person who will continuously put you first is yourself.

15.) You are a reflection of the company you keep. 

16.) Be transparent but don't over expose yourself.

17.) Know your goals and remember your dreams.

18.) Collect stationary.

Thank you cards never go out of style.

19.) No blessing is ever too small. Appreciate everything.

20.) Don't rush.

Slow down because at the end of the day jobs will still be there, love will come, and things will fall into place. I'm in no rush to grow up.

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