Applying for jobs is no fun task- especially in the seemingly glamorous field of media where thousands of applicants are being considered for a handful of jobs. Your friends in business and the sciences may not share the same dreadful experience, and may have job offers up the wazoo. GREAT! Congratulate them. Your first job out of college is a great achievement. Millennials are strugglin' right now. Every field is different. Everybody wants to end up at the most popular magazine, news organization, PR agency or go straight to being on air. There is NOTHING wrong with that. You deserve it. It's okay and healthy to set your goals to the highest standard and want to be the best at what you do. The problem I faced was not enjoying the process. I was so pressed to get a job before I graduated, even though I was finishing my studies a semester ahead of schedule. The search itself seemed to be an endless series of the exact same questions. (Seriously. Why isn't there a less time consuming way to do this?) The next phase of frustration comes when it has been weeks and you still haven't gotten a response. IT'S COOL. I promise.
Here are some of my top tips for an efficient, anxiety-free job search:
1. Start early and set a quota. Ask yourself, "When will I be available to start working?" From there, give yourself a set amount of jobs to apply for per day/week. For example, I applied to a minimum or 15 jobs every week. Keep an excel sheet for every job you applied for, the contact info for the position and your progress in the application process.
2. Be specific in your search. This will narrow down the amount of applications you have to fill out, and will set you up to be a in a position directly related to your interests. Imagine applying to a whole bunch of jobs and being offered positions that make you want to bang your head against a cubicle wall...avoid that at all costs.
3. Create multiple resumes. Do you have a variety of interests? I wanted to work in digital/social media, but was also interested in PR and events. Create resumes that are tailored to specific fields or positions. It's better to have 4 different resumes than 1 that is too broad.
4. Use non-traditional platforms. Sure, Monster and Indeed are great sites with tons of available positions thats are updated daily, but do your research! Mediabistro and JournalismJobs are only 2 of many sites that I used. Make a LinkedIn account and keep it updated. Not only are you able to quickly apply for jobs directly through the site, but recruiters will be able to get in touch with you if they're interested. And THEY DO. Take your time to search for other avenues to get in contact with hiring managers directly.
5. Don't compare yourself to your peers. This may be the hardest thing to do. People WILL get jobs sooner than you. You may believe their positions to be better than yours, but don't forget- you have a specific purpose. The job your heart desires/journey requires will come to you in perfect timing!
5. Have a glass of wine. Or binge on whatever your thing is (in safe moderation.) Don't overwhelm yourself the way I did. It will come! And even if it doesn't come when you want, use your season of employment to work on your skills. When the job does come, you'll be well prepared.
Oct 20, 2016: In my life, I would like to be impactful. I would like to be irreplaceable. I would like to be somebody that is needed. What good am I if somebody can be me? I want to be a role model for women everywhere. I want to use my own struggles and successes to help better people's life. I want to be a light and a vessel. I want to be happy in all ways. I want to make someone's day, everyday. I want to always want more and feel uncomfortable in stagnancy. I want generations after me to know my name. I want to be a difference. -Benka
Japanese Curry Beef Taco
Jerk Ribs and Cole Slaw
Actual Ginger Ale
The socialite and the intern
Check out my interview with Where She Begins.
We talk about my trip this past summer in her series, Black, Educated + Abroad.
is a concept my partner and I have long-discussed. This is our baby. This is the product of all our experiences. Too many conversations have gone unheard. Too many moments we wish we could've shared with other ladies like us. We're excited to share what we've been working on. In the meantime, please follow @thenorm_on Instagram as we prep for a MAJOR announcement. For feels, check our YouTube channel.
Celebrating Black History Month
Black history month is important because of the contributions black people have made (and continue to make) to the story of the United States. Too often, these stories and the people behind them are silenced or forgetten. Black history didn't start in the US and doesn't end in March, ya'll. Here are 5 low-maintenance, low-budget ways to celebrate black culture this February that will inspire you to think about black history year-round & double as time for self care:
1. Visit of these 100 black-owned bars and restaurants. Are you in the New York area? I Don't Do Clubs has drafted up your BHM bar-hop guide. This list is INSANE. You have to check one of these spots out. Swing by ~on the fly~ or check their websites for black history month events.
2. Listen to podcasts created by these young black creatives. Black Girl Podcast and Carefree Black Girl Podcast are 2 of the most fire "joints" (is that a thing?) to bump on your commute, during your workout or for a night cap. They're raw, hilarious and relatable.
3. Pick up one or both of these poetry and prose books by 2 of my favorites, Nayyirah Waheed (Salt) and Alex Elle (Neon Soul.) Short, sweet and great inspo. for smiles, hugs, motivation and self-care this black history month.
4. Learn via documentary. I'm no expert, but in my opinion,13th was the best documentary of the year. I highly recommend watching this film-I'm sure you'll find it to be full of facts you never knew and concepts you may have never given thought to. No spoilers, but it dives deep into the heart of the even deeper-rooted history of racism in the United States, referencing the 13th amendment as the legalization of modern-day slavery through mass incarceration. Say that 3 times fast. 13th is available on Netflix, and 10 other equally awesome Black History documentaries are available through PBS.
5. Participate in one of these NYC events: This one's easy-show up to 1 or all of these 6 "can't miss" events.
ASK YOURSELF THIS:
What are 3 things that you know would help in your path of success, but you’re completely terrified of?
At the moment, mine are:
Minimize and reinvest.
Take on projects on my own— don’t rely too heavily on other people.
Constantly find ways to stand out in industries that are heavily saturated.
Sometimes change comes from the outside, in. I've found that one great way to get out of a funk is to change my hair! A fun switch gives me a boost and will have me feeling free and
Hopefully this new cut will attract good energy and positive thinking.
Speaking it into
Thoughts, stick to me like magnets.
Ahhhhhh, the smell of fresh flowers (buried beneath snow), the warm sun (amidst temperatures below 30) and pastels, lots of pastels. Despite the fact that I still have to scrummage through sweaters and warm up my car, spring is here! That means it's time for some mental, emotional and physical (sigh) spring cleaning/reworking.
Here are the top tasks on my To-Do list:
Finish furnishing my bedroom: I need a space to relax, think and create comfortably. I’m the type of person who needs a certain zen to be productive. I’m really into gray, yellow and blue as a color combo. I feel those colors together are at any point my #mood. I already have some great pieces, but by the end of this season, I want everything to be pieced together.
Refine video editing skills: Once #1 is finished, I’ll be able to really commit my time to #2. This is something I’ve been putting off, using my busyness as an excuse, all-the-while spending Friday nights catching up on all the shows I missed throughout the week. This is important to me as to not fall into the hamster wheel that work can sometimes feel like. Brushing up on my video editing skills will be self-satisfying, give me content for the social and online presence I’m aiming to build and add some juice to my resume.
Exercise: I know, I know. This is everyone’s daily, weekly, monthly & annual resolution- get that a** in the gym. It’s hard! I think I have issues with all forms of commitment, but I’m growing concerned about my health. If you know me, you’ve heard my ACL story a million times, especially when humidity is over 70% and my joints begin to ache. I tore my ACL playing volleyball a few years ago, and have yet to be restored to full strength/flexibility. 3 weeks ago, I fell down the stairs in the Oculus at World Trade Center. A few weeks before that, I fell down the stairs of my house. I didn’t just trip and catch myself. I tripped, fell, and rolled down several steps. It hurt. I’m grown but recklessly clumsy. I fear I have nerve damage in my knee due to my injury/surgery, and need to get those muscles back to any other human’s regularly scheduled program. This is more than a bikini-bod issue for me. So spring, lets get it. (don’t quote me on this though)
Network. NETwork.NETWORK: This is an important task to keep on top of year round, but what better time than spring (think rooftop happy hours, longer days-cuter clothes) to add some names to my list of “I met them.” It’s been a coooooold winter- TBH, meeting folks hasn’t been a top priority. But after attending a panel moderated by Buzzfeed’s Saeed Jones and meeting some GREAT women, I feel reinspired. Not only is network building essential for professional growth, it’s also a great way to meet people with common interests to work on various projects with. You may even meet your future bae/bff.
Make more lists: For organization and productivity. Here’s to the first!
You are unique AF. There is no one else like you. Sis, no one has the same fingertips as you. Nobody is made of the same stuff you are. You share like hair strands with no other human. That deserves recognition. Embrace what separates you from the crowd.
You’ll have better days. Check out this Huffington Post piece on why confidence matters. Having a strong sense of confidence instilled in you will help you understand other people and think more clearly. It will change your perspective completely, and will allow you to make decisions for the betterment of yourself, instead of falling to the demands and woes of others . #WinWin
Reaffirmation didn’t hurt nobody. Your mind will believe what you tell it. Tell it good things. Beliefs affect behavior. Remind yourself of your best traits and your best traits will become better. There are no "bad" traits, but your weaknesses will be strengthen. Feed the positive only. Reaffirmation starves negative thinking. Self doubt will dieeee. You’ll never say I can’t again. I think, therefore I am. You heard it here first.
Who’s gonna do it for you? (Hint, no one) When you’re doing great things, you will have people that support you and want to see you do well, but you should be your biggest supporter. You should be the leader of your fan club. You should be your hype man. People will compliment and complement you, but will not complete you.
In Case You Need More Reasons To Feel Yourself:
It’s the week of graduation. Countless late nights studying, meetings with advisors, mixing dark and light (not people but alcohol. mixing D+L people is fine), and the hard as hell choice as to what sauce to have with my dining hall made-to-order pasta (Alfredo ALL DAY BTW) have drawn to a close. "The best years of your life," they say. They don’t waaaaant the best years of your life to be post grad when you’re actually making money and NOT ripping your hair out due to anxiety over exams/internships/interviews/unrealistic societal expectations.
I technically finished school ahead of schedule a semester ago. Although my diploma arrived in the form of crisp, bougie AF stock paper and I’ve already begun to take on the burdens of what the kids call the “real world,” this feels like the real deal. It’s happening. I’ll be walking across the stage with my sisters in scarlet (go Knights) one mo’ time.
As this most memorable chapter of my life comes to an end, I reflect on my college years in complete gratitude.
What College Taught Me
God is real. And good all the time. Thank you, A-Life.
Finding yourself is the most cliche s**t ever. It doesn’t happen overnight. It doesn’t happen in a moment. It doesn’t happen in a weird epiphany that causes time to stop, giving you a crystal clear vision like an episode of That’s So Raven. The environments, friends and experiences I was blessed to have throughout college have certainly shaped my thinking, but I found that without expectations of “finding myself,” I was able to do just that. At least partially.
Be present. It’s so easy to live in the future during these years. All of your life to this point has been to get to this point, so it’s hard not to dwell too much in the next step, especially when your undergrad studies can seem like a matter life or death. Choose life. More life. Focus on enjoying the now while envisioning what a future you’d be proud of looks like. Just try not to get too caught up in it.
Not everybody will like you. TBH it’s better that way. Weed out the haters. Not everyone is meant to mesh.
Lay off the waffles, forreal forreal. I had to learn this the hard way. There’s a taboo around gaining weight in college that needs to be shattered. Why aren’t we talking about it? Early on, try to establish healthy eating and exercise habits. Don’t wait until summer after gaining 20 lbs your freshman year like I did. A healthy lifestyle doesn’t stop when you move away from home. And somehow weight starts to stick the second you hit 20. Thanks @god
Be fiercely active about your desires. Do not be idle about your passions and things that interest you. Set minor goals. Make plans. Execute them.
Don’t sleep. Stay up with your friends and party and drink Honey Jack. The conversations you’ll have in the sticky walls of your dorm room will last a lifetime. These 4 (or so) years will fly right past you. You’ve got your whole life to sleep!!! (says my mother when she needs me to do something 7am Saturday)
Fall in love. With yourself. With your friends. With your studies. With a new hobby. Practice romance both freely and cautiously.
Make lots of mistakes. There’s no better time to learn. F up enough and you’ll learn to be your own hero.
There is no hack. Every single person’s journey is different. Don’t compare yourself to Susan who graduated early with a 4.0 and got a job right out of college. She might be miserable! Ok she might not, but still. Celebrate small victories. Don’t stress. Your journey is your own and it was paved just for you.