Inspiration, a fresh slate, and general good feels

Ok, time to get back to my corner of cyberspace that I’ve been badly neglecting. Updates: winter break is over, and tomorrow begins spring semester filled with horrors such as ~*rEpOrTiNg*~ and *~oRgO cHeM~* — both notoriously difficult classes for which I already may have a tiny knot of anxiety in the pit of my stomach.

But, it’s ok. I feel good. Even though I know it’s just the naiveté that comes with the beginning of the semester, I just have to remember what this moment of motivation and purpose feels like to pull me through the rough days. Easier said than done, I know, but all I can do is try.

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The goals: 1) Emerge from this semester fully satisfied with what I’ve accomplished and the work I’ve put in. No ra-grets. 2) Get some bomb-ass clips out there in different styles of writing that I’ve always wanted to try my hand at. Maybe even creative writing???? We’ll see. 3) Be healthy and happy with who I am. This running thing is going pretty well so far, and with the end in sight (my first half-marathon in February) it’ll be exciting to set new fitness goals. 4) Be fearless. There are so many things I am hesitant about publishing or pursuing because I’m stupidly speculating how it’ll be received and am wary of judgement. I don’t have the time or energy to waste on that pettiness anymore.

That’s the dream for 2015. I love this feeling of a fresh start, and can only try to make the best of it. Also, like most writers, having blank notebooks excites me to an almost irrational level, so that’s always a major plus of starting a new semester of school. ‘Til tomorrow!

I suck at consistency, obviously

Here is most rant-filled, grammatically cataclysmic post thus far to make up for my three days absence. 

The past couple days have been a roller coaster — a phrase which I can now confidently say is not one word and not hyphenated in AP Style, because of a timed writing I had to do yesterday for my multimedia lab. It was used in a quote by a woman to describe a week during which her first grandson was born, and her husband shot himself with a nail gun (don’t worry, he survived). My week wasn’t quite as macabre, but for some reason, weirdly emotional and sleepless and stressful and just ugh I want to go home. In no particular order, the events of this week that have built up and torn down my faith in humanity.

The lack of indictment in the Eric Garner case. Like actually wtf. I was upset about the way the Michael Brown case turned out and could understand the frustration but could also acknowledge the ambiguity of the witness testimonies. With Eric Garner, I watched the horrendous video (that for some reason news channels have taken the ridiculous liberty of playing non-stop without giving thought to the fact that we are literally seeing a man die over and over again  on television) and broke down crying at work because it was such a moment of helplessness and frustration. I couldn’t deal. I still can’t deal. I’ve never felt so helpless in something I care so much about and that’s such a scary feeling.

Mindy Kaling’s book Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me and Other Concerns. I read this book despite the fact that a) I promised myself that I wouldn’t pick up another book until I finished Abraham Verghese’s Cutting for Stone which I have been trying to get through since summer and b) it’s currently finals week so I really shouldn’t be reading for pleasure anyways. That being said, it was great. It reminded me how much work and failure and rejection it takes to get anywhere in life. It made me laugh when I was pissed off at everything. Which, in turn, reminded me how essential entertainers and commentators and comedy are to society. When I was younger, I don’t think I had every very many opportunities to read/experience any form of entertainment media in the U.S. by South Asian Americans. But recently, I don’t know if I’ve become more aware, or if there are actually more by number, I’ve found so many great writers. Atul Gawande, Mindy Kaling, Aasif Mandvi, Abraham Verghese — even seeing that new kid Hassan Minhaj on the Daily Show makes me so happy. It’s so validating to see snippets of your own experience, and acknowledgement of your frustrations, told in the stories of others.

The stupid shooting threat at my school. I can’t stand people who go out of their way to make people feel unsafe. I don’t understand what is accomplished by that and it just makes me mad. So when I got an alert by my school about a Twitter shooting threat, my internal monologue was 1.) “aw hell no” followed by 2.) little bit of fear followed by 3.) John Oliver saying “There have always been motherf***ers, there will always be motherf***ers, but what we can’t do is let them control our motherf***ing lives.” And then I wrote up a story about the threat for USA Today College that got edited and published with a bunch of grammatical errors and typos but got 1.2k shares so I guess it’s ok in the end.

The ridiculous Rolling Stone / UVA rape case drama that’s going down. It’s so frustrating that such basic journalistic standards of ethics were completely ignored, which will, in the long run, harm the already marginalized and stigmatized voices of rape victims. While Rolling Stone may be able to save face with great PR (and they’ve already released statements covering their backs) this endangers so many victims and their willingness to come forward with their stories. Beyond annoyed, beyond frustrated.

My last day of lecture and lab in my favorite class of the semester: Multimedia Writing. I loved this class so much. I could go on for a while about all of the things that were amazing about it. And it’s my blog, so I’ll go ahead and do that. I learned a lot. The construction of the class was ingenious in the way that at the beginning of the semester, we were given a fact sheet and pretty much told how to construct ledes, nut grafs, and all of the the components of a news story — something that most of us were completely unfamiliar and uncomfortable with. But, each week, they would slowly take away some of the help, to the point that now, at the end of the semester, we can confidently interview, write, and get published a story without a rubric, in a style of writing that we literally had no idea how to work with just 14 weeks prior. It makes me love writing so much more, I feel so much more confident, and I’m so much more excited about my future journalism classes. The same cannot be said about orgo chem because jeez that class has just been one massive train wreck from start to end.

The last day of lecture in multimedia, our amazing professor read us a speech someone gave at a 50-year college reunion or something that pretty much listed all of the technological innovations and advancements and events and changes that had happened between college graduation and where they were now. And at first, it was inspiring because you realize how far we have come — in terms of media, communications and technology — in such a short amount of time. But, the more I think about it, the scarier it is. Everything I’m learning about now, everything I care about now, has the potential to become completely and utterly obsolete in just my lifetime. And as inevitable and obvious as that statement is, it’s really disheartening and makes me have all kinds of existential feels that I don’t know how to cope with because I am young and inexperienced and jacked up on caffeine and frightened by the concept of finiteness. Peace out.

Thanksgiving break is literally the worst thing ever

Thanksgiving break is horrible. It’s as if someone made the conscious decision to mercilessly taunt us poor college kids with a few days of the warmth and comfort of family, food, and friends – only to toss us back, headfirst and still recovering from food comas, into the depths of hell that is finals week.

For full post, click here.

Picture source: www.gowaynecounty.com

Using Adobe Illustrator for the First Time

For my Visual Journalism class (JOU3109C) at the University of Florida College of Journalism and Communications, our first project for the course was a to create scalable images in Adobe Illustrator — a software that I wasn’t familiar with until now. We had to select a broad topic to which we could devote an entire semester’s portfolio to and here is the result for the first project: a magazine spread devoted to modern day feminism and women’s health.

Out of the three items in the project, I liked the way my magazine spread turned out the most, because at that point I was most familiar with how to work inDesign after much trial and error.

I really enjoyed the process of learning and getting familiar with the intuitive interface of Adobe Illustrator and can’t wait to make more projects with it.

Click the link to check it out: MagazineSpread

Picture source:

etc-mysitemyway.s3.amazonaws.com

A Freshman’s Guide to UF Involvement

It’s your first week at UF, and one walk through Turlington Plaza leaves you struggling to hold on to the dozens of fliers hastily shoved in your face, and bulletin boards around campus are a haphazard collage of neon papers. You know you need to start getting involved, but don’t know where to start. Not to worry, new collegiettes™! Here’s your all-inclusive guide to the do’s and don’ts of involvement, student organizations and extracurriculars in The Gator Nation.

DO join a club that has a group of people you feel you could get comfortable with. 
Involvement outside of the classroom is going to be a way to connect with people who have similar interests or career goals. Seek out groups that would not only provide a support system, but also push you to be your best with some healthy motivation. Steer clear of clubs and groups that pressure you into activities you don’t feel comfortable with, make you feel inadequate or that you just don’t click with. Your involvement should be a positive experience!

For full post, click here.

Picture source:

travel.naturalnorthflorida.com

7 Ways UF is Like Hogwarts

Admit it. At 11 years old, you were probably secretly waiting for an owl to drop a letter off at your door, allowing you to be whisked away to the one boarding school we all wanted to attend: Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Although that dream never came true (I’m still convinced my letter never came because of a particularly unreliable owl), college is pretty much the next best thing. Here are seven ways that UF’s campus resembles our favorite fictional school:


1. The Quidditch Pitch is like: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 
Like at Hogwarts, the stadium is where students assemble for some good-natured rivalry and competition. However, while Hogwarts remains stiffly divided on its house loyalties at its Quidditch matches, the Gators come together at sporting events under the common colors of orange and blue.

For full post, click here.

Pic source: images.fandango.com 

This post was a top chapter article on Her Campus, on Jan. 22, 2014 and Aug. 27, 2014!

July Playlist

After a much too long a hiatus from blogging, here’s a playlist of the music that I’ve been listening to the most this past month. It’s been strange, as the lazy summer vibe coincides with a stressful, busy, and productive semester at school. My music similarly seemed to alternate between carefree youthful summer anthems and heavier, more stoic tunes.

Track Listing:

  1. Elastic Heart (ft. the Weeknd & Diplo) – Sia
  2. Boom Clap – Charli XCX
  3. Global Concepts – Robert DeLong
  4. Don’t Wait – Mapei
  5. Pumpin Blood – NONONO
  6. Breezeblocks – alt-J
  7. I See Fire – Ed Sheeran
  8. The Wire – HAIM
  9. You & Me ft. Eliza Doolittle (Flume Remix) – Disclosure
  10. All About that Bass – Meghan Trainor
  11. Hurricane – Ms Mr
  12. Shower – Becky G
  13. Riptide – Vance Joy
  14. Cool Kids – Echosmith
  15. Dollhouse – Melanie Martinez