Podcasts As My New Lectures

Back in February, CollegeFashionista emailed me about their new podcast series. I heard about podcasts as a medium vaguely in the past; they were explained as digital radio interviews.

I listened to Amy Levin’s, founder CollegeFashionista, first interview with Joyce Chang, EIC of Self Magazine. Amy Levin asked Joyce how she pursed a career in journalism. Besides journalism, Joyce shared her new habit of meditating in the morning to clear her mind.

Listening to Joyce’s talking about meditation made me make meditation a daily part of my routine.

The podcast interview showed me how information can be presented differently.

Podcast as a medium taps into the audio senses of the mind. Unlike print, you can actually hear the tone and attitude of a person.

On the contrast with video, you’re only listening instead of letting visuals distract you. When you watch an interview on YouTube, you can’t help judge what a person is wearing. That can distract you from understanding the ideas a person is conveying.

Thanks to CollegeFashionista, I have began listening to other podcasts. My favorite is 88 Cups of Tea by Yin Chang. I remembered Yin Chang as Nelly Yuki on “Gossip Girl”.

To my great surprise, Yin switched from acting to hosting. She interviews various creative minds, especially writers and directors, on how their creative process works. Plus, she asks them to give practical advice on deal with writer’s block, such as which computer programs to use.

Just recently, Yin interviewed David J. Peterson, on how he created the language for “Game of Thrones”. I learned the term conlag, which means a person who invents languages.

My new habit of listening to podcasts has shown me that you don’t have to gain knowledge from a classroom only. Podcasts are a free way to gain others’ knowledge and advice. Plus, they are a lot more enjoyable than a typical college lecture.

I recommend that you take the time to listen to a podcast. You will enjoy it.

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So Many Career Things Happening…

Hi everyone!

Last time, I revealed my decision to pursue a copywriter career.

Well, I have taken a few steps toward that goal.

1. Launching a website

I’m using Squarespace to design a website for my copywriting business. Squarespace isn’t so hard to use so far. And it gives me flexibility on design layout.

I’ll launch my website very soon.

2. Completing copywriter course

I’m learning a lot from my online class. Been good with doing my assignments.

3. Finding prospective clients

I’m reaching out to people to let them know about my new career move.

My Ground Rules For Social Media

Social media is a great way for me to share my life. Yet, there are things that are off limit. The reason is that I don’t want too much of my personal life being exposed.

I have some ground rules of what I don’t share.

1. Not posting info or pics of family

I don’t want strangers to know who my family is or know where they live.

2. No pics of home

I’ve read of YouTubers getting robbed after they showed off their homes. See, I don’t want people to get familiar with the layout of my home or know where I live.

3. No mention of work unless it’s professional needed

I avoid talking about my professional activities unless they’re needed to be mentioned, such as LinkedIn. Otherwise, I don’t talk about my professional activities because I don’t want to accidentally burn any bridges.

Whatever to Money and Prestige

It’s seemed like everyone love to fuss about the importance of money and prestige. People fear that you’re crazy if you choose to pursue an unconventional path in life.

Back in college, fellow history and politics majors did not know how to mind their own business. They kept shoving law school down my throat. I straight up ignored them.

The most important life lesson college taught me: don’t give a fuck about money and prestige. Not all money is good money. If you focus on money solely, you might regret doing unethical behavior. As for prestige, it’s overrated because it doesn’t really bring happiness; it instead creates a superficial reason for people to admire you.

I have chosen to focus on goals that fit my personal mission of enriching myself with intellectual, personal, and creative experiences.

How To Write A Career Related Email

From my experience of emailing unknown people for career advice or anything related, I have learned how to write an email well to get a response.

1. Keep it short

Don’t write a long email. Nobody got time for that. Try to keep it to a paragraph.

2. Use formalities

Address the person with Mr. or Ms. End your email with “Best,” “Best regards,” or “Sincerely.”

3. Include the person’s work

Make sure to have at least a sentence mentioning the person’s work. People get excited when you mention something they did. That shows them that you took the time to research them.

4. Be clear with your intentions

State your reason for contacting the person. You have to explain what you want to learn from the person.

5. Respond quickly

If the person actually responds to your email, email him or her at that moment. Remember, people are being nice to take time out of their schedule to answer your email.

Five Things I Learned In College

It has been over six months since I graduated college. I am slowly figuring out my life. I am glad that I went to college because I learned a lot from it.

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Me in Beijing

Here are five things I learned in college:

  1. Always be curious

People prefer to stick to one thing only. That causes them to not branch off. In life, you should always be striving to learn more. Never be afraid to learn a new skill or experience something different, such as traveling on your own for the first time.

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Kashgar, China
  1. Communication is important

If you have a problem with people, you have to tell them. Passive aggressive attitude will get you nowhere. When you tell people the issue, explain why it bothers you.

  1. Be organized

Life loves to throw things at us, but you have to stay organized. You have to know when work assignments are due. If you drop the ball, you will get in trouble.

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The Book Bar in Denver
  1. Advocate for yourself

Before college, I was a mouse. When I got to college, I quickly realized that I had to speak up. If you don’t stand up for yourself, you will get disrespected.

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  1. Give people a chance
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With my friends Lily and Bethany at Beijing University (Bei Da)

Socializing can be one of the scariest things possible, but you can’t be shy. People are not here to bite you. You can’t truly know people until you get to know them. Never be afraid to say hi first.  

5 Rules on Writing/Blogging

School loves to tell us how to write. We’re told that using contractions is wrong. A lot of professors make ridiculous requirements, such as requiring ten pages for an essay.

Well, a lot of things school teaches us are wrong in the real world.

Recently, I have been a contributor writer at Slant News. I have learned a few things about writing.

1. Don’t ramble

Readers have a short attention span. Generally, articles should be between 500 to 800 words. If you ramble, people won’t bother reading the whole thing.

2. Better to keep it short and simple

In school, it’s encouraged to write long sentences and paragraphs. In the real world, that isn’t okay. When writing an paragraph, it’s better to have only one sentence rather than five sentences. People want concise writing.

3. Only give reverent information

Background information is important, but only give facts that matter to your story. Dumping random facts on people will annoy them.

4. Know your audience

You have to cater your writing to whoever is reading it. If it’s for a specific professional crowd, you should incorporate their jargon into your work.

5. Have a clear point of view

Stick to your voice. Know what you want to convey to others.

 

The Difficulties of Forming a Creative Identity

Whether it’s fine art, film making, writing, fashion, music, or anything creative, it’s hard to develop your voice. You feel the pressure to do it all. Well, you can’t and it’s okay.

When you first enter a creative field, it’s huge. There are so many different types of things to do. Everything excites you.

Yet, there is a lot of competition. You fear that not doing enough will make you undesirable for anyone to hire. That fear makes you jump on anything presented to you. You try to tick every box in the industry. This might make you feel accomplished, but you get lost on who you are as a creative mind.

That is why you need to first think about what you want to do exactly. You don’t have to have a very specific idea and you shouldn’t. That sounds so contradictory, but you have to build depth in something without boxing yourself in. You don’t want people to typecast you or else it makes it hard for you to experiment later on.

To succeed, you have to have depth and range. Both are needed because you have to develop your skills well while being opened to different opportunities. It’s hard to achieve this without spreading yourself thin.

My advice is to take your time to figure your creative identity. Taking the time will help you see what works and what doesn’t work. Don’t let the pressure get to you.

Five Life Lessons

Since graduating college, I have learned some important life lessons.

1. GPA doesn’t matter

Even though I graduated with Cum Laude, no one really cares. In all of my job interviews, no one has asked me about my GPA. They generally want to know more about my experience and skills set.

2. You have to negotiate 

Money is an uncomfortable topic for people. When an employer asks you for your pay rate, don’t ever underestimate yourself. If you don’t take value in yourself, people will lowball you with the pay.

3. Handle rejection with grace and class

Rejection is never fun, but it’s a part of life. It’s okay occasionally to have a pity party, but you have to eventually pick yourself up.

4. Beware of your social media behavior

Socia media is a lot of fun, but you have to be careful with what you post. If you post anything disrespectful about your boss, you can be fired. Whenever you are about to post something, ask yourself if you’re okay with anyone seeing it.

5. Tons of people aren’t meant to stay in your life long-term

Plenty of people will enter your life, but you won’t stay in touch with them. That is okay. Each person teaches us an important life lesson.