Archive

News

Last night my mother called me into the room to ask me if I’ve heard of this new deadly trend amongst young women the 10 o’clock news likes you to believe.

“Have you’ve heard of this? Girls are trying to achieve a thigh gap!? These magazines are airbrushed and edit photos so that can make it seem like they have a thigh gap.”

Screen Shot of Google Search of 'Thigh Gap'

Screenshot of Google Search of ‘Thigh Gap’

I sighed a little, “Yeah I’ve heard of this, but it’s not a trend. If anything this story is bogus.”

“But this is on the news, they wouldn’t report on it if it wasn’t a serious thing.”

Smirking at her, I went on a mini 10 minute rant saying buzzwords like “generational gap”, “culture of fear”, and “internet hoaxes that turn to cultural phenomenons”.

Of course my parents probably don’t pay half attention to what I say because I always have something to say about everything. What they and many people in their age group don’t understand is that whenever some controversy story hits the news that deals with today’s youth, there’s always a hint of paranoia to it. It’s the Baby Boomers and Generation X’s way of trying to understand us Millennial Kids. Kinda like their active use of works like selfie and twerk. They’re trying to be hip, but essentially it just pushes the disfranchise youth further away.

Our recent obsession with Thigh Gaps has addressed important issues many women face. Body Issues, illness like Anorexia, and extreme body dysmorphic disorder.

I’m not denying that there isn’t an issue. A quick search on Tumblr has led me to the proana and thinspo part of Tumblr. It shows the bleak reality of some young women and men who strive for a thigh gap, even if it may kill them. My question lies, when did Thigh Gaps become such a strong desire and is the media to blame?

Screenshot of Thigh Gap search on Tumblr.

Screenshot of Thigh Gap search on Tumblr.

Which comes to my point of our society’s obsession with living in fear.

One of my earliest memories of college was my one of the first classes I ever attended at Purchase.

It was an 8:30 College Writing course with my learning community, which in reality I wasn’t supposed to even be in. During my senior year of high school I took College English, so I could avoid taking the class in college and to have some credits under my belt. However I was placed in Advanced College English, which in reality just meant the same English course the rest of my learning community was in.

Freshman year they place you in learning communities so it can be easier to make friends. Our learning community focused mostly on the Mass Media. This interests me because as at budding journalists, I felt this was the closes community to my major. Everyone in my suite had the same class, so we were able to essentially create our own little community. Thus the name fits.

I fondly remember my first professor. He was this short buggy eyed white guy who always looked exhausted and perpetually anxious. He was fairly laid back and treated us like adults. He was a stickler for being on time. So showing up late was out of the question.

The class ended up being one of my most memorable classes. Besides the fact that we were small tight-knit group that not only all lived together on the same floor, but we also shared similar beliefs. Some of us did butt heads, but that’s college.

I can say most of my time in undergrad was spent reading or half reading books I barely remember, The Culture of Fear: Why Americans Are Afraid of the Wrong Things by Barry Glassner was a book I still quote to this day.

This book dispelled a lot beliefs I had about our culture, like the threat of people putting razor blades or poison in children’s candy during Halloween. It is nothing more than a few isolated incidents that became an annual scare feast for parents. Til this day there’s at least one story during Halloween about how parents should check their children’s candy for hazardous items.

Which leads me to my second story. The recent exposure of the “Knockout Game”. Another trendy story my mother bought to my attention. Unlike the Thigh Gap phenomenal, The Knockout Game was news to me.

The Knockout Game, according to Urban Dictionary, is a game that “urban youth” are part of in which they knockout unsuspecting victims, usually white and in some cases are Jewish. Urban Youth is just a politically correct way of say black kids and a less racist way of saying Nigger.

Death and Taxes did an amazing editorial  titled “Supposed ‘knockout game’ is just a new name for an old racist panic” in-which they looked into similar trends in recent history that ended up being “white panic” rather than actual trends.

For example, with the Central Park 5 case, a landmark case in which five young black and Latino teenagers were arrested and charged for the rape and beating of a young white woman started white paranoia in the 80s in New York City. This idea of ‘wilding’, similar to the Knockout Game, where mostly black youth would supposedly attack innocent white people. Sounds familiar? Just another attempt to paint black and brown men as animals and criminals.

However with all the media panic on the game, there hasn’t been any actual proof that this game even exist.

Via The New York Times:

Yet police officials in several cities where such attacks have been reported said that the “game” amounted to little more than an urban myth, and that the attacks in question might be nothing more than the sort of random assaults that have always occurred.

And in New York City, police officials are struggling to determine whether they should advise the public to take precautions against the Knockout Game — or whether in fact it existed.

“We’re trying to determine whether or not this is a real phenomenon,” Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said on Friday. “I mean, yes, something like this can happen. But we would like to have people come forward and give us any information they have.”

Yet we have folks like CNN’s Don Lemon participating in the media frenzy by “teaching” people how they can protect themselves.

knockout_game_cnn_don_lemon.jpg

Watch the video:

So like the question I proposed for the thigh gap trend, is the Knockout Game really a trend or a reality the media is eventually going to try to make true?

We do know that violent crimes happen everyday and in all major cities. There’s no denying the fact that these crimes are happening. However proposing that these crimes fall in a pattern, when in reality they are isolated incidents perpetuated by criminals. Why are we so quick to call it a trend?

Because that is the epitome of living in a culture of fear.

Advertisements

My report on the recent march for Charter Schools in NYC and NBC’s Education Nation.

Across the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by Bianca Clendenin.

Across the Brooklyn Bridge. Photo by Bianca Clendenin.

“My school, my choice” was one of the many chants sung out by students…teachers… and their families who are fighting for equality in their education.

Tuesday morning on October 8th students, teachers, parents, and many supporters came out to Brooklyn to support Charter Schools in New York City.

In attempt to have there voices heard…according to NY1 over 17,000 supports walked across the Brooklyn Bridge to City Hall on Tuesday.

With the upcoming election in November one of the main topics bought up by democratic candidate for Mayor…Bill de Blasio are Charter Schools and their use of space in public school buildings.

De Blasio believes that charter schools should pay for rent.

His stance on Charter Schools:  “There are charters that are much, much better endowed in terms of resources than the public sector ever hoped to be. It is insult to injury to give them free rent. They should have to pay rent. They have the money.”

His opponent, Republican Joe Lhota disagrees and was at the march on Tuesday to show support.

Supporters of Charter Schools were singing a different tune. To many, Charter Schools are Public Schools and deserve to continue existing in their spaces without being charged rent.

In New York City alone there are 183 charter schools in existence.

Current Mayor…Michael Bloomberg has been an avid supporter of the Charter School system since he took office in 2002. For this he has been seen as progressive.

New York City has been the hub for charter school success stories… For example, KIPP (which stands for Knowledge is Power Program), which I’m an alumnus of their 1st school…Opened in 1995 in the Bronx. The program has branched out both nationally and locally, with multiple schools within the 5 boroughs as well as an elementary and high school.

If De Blasio wins in November, this could lead to many of these Charter Schools closing because they don’t have the funds to afford to pay their rent. It can also mean that the dozens of Charter Schools that planed on opening up in the next few months may have to be put on hold.

Education has been a hot topic in New York in the last few days. Just finishing up their two-day summit, NBC’s 4th annual Education Nation just took place during the 6th through 8th.  Having all kinds of panels filled with educators and supporters…discussed methods on how to better education and to have this dialogue on a national scale.

One of the more popular discussions that I was grateful to be apart of was the Student Town Hall from this past Sunday. Moderated by MSNBC’s Melissa Harris-Perry this event gave a telecast platform for students of ages ranging from 11 to 25 to come and speak out about issues in regards to education that matter to them.

Personally it inspired me to want to do more. As a recent college graduate and aspiring journalist, I realized being active in some sort of policy or advocacy work is a great way to give back to your community. Without my support from my charter school I wouldn’t be who I am today. This is why I hope to blend my growing interest in advocacy and journalism to get back to my roots and give a voice to folks who need to be heard. We can all agree that education is vital to a thriving society and we need to all work together to provide a better future for our children.

Sound off: Do you agree that Charter Schools shouldn’t have to pay rent or do you agree they need to pay up? Remember be respectful in the comments sections. Thanks, B.

https://scontent-a-lga.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-frc3/p480x480/1380204_10201308226601735_55607641_n.jpg

To seed out all the terrible jokes on Facebook and Instagram about folks who won’t be able to receive their welfare checks or people who just don’t know about the current situation so they leave obnoxious comments, may leave some of you confused about what’s going on in Washington right now.

I’m sorry one Parks and Recreation screenshot was needed! In their fictional town, the government was shut down for 3 months.

If you’re a little confused about this government shutdown, that’s fine! There’s more to this current situation than you see from your social media circle.

Here is a short breakdown of everything you need to know about this government shutdown:

On October 1st at midnight the House and the Senate couldn’t come to an agreement on bill that would fund the federal government. This comes right after the Republican dominated House had recently just voted against the current Affordable Health Care Act, with a 231-192 vote along party lines. This bill was supposed to allow the health care act to be delayed another year. However this bill died in the Senate.

On Monday President Obama came out and said that “no matter what Congress decides to do today. The Affordable Care Act is moving forward. That funding is already in place. You can’t shut it down.”

The problem is Congress basically can’t play nice. The reason why we’re getting our first government shutdown in 17 years is because Congress can’t agree on how to fund our government.  The lack of compromise is daunting, but not surprising.

This isn’t all about the Affordable Health Care Act, Congress needs to agree on 12 different bills to pass that would fund different parts of the federal government. So far they’ve had more stopgag budgets than bills passed. A stopgag is basically putting the bill on hold and dealing with it later. As you can tell this hasn’t been the best method.

So you’re question is, what’s actually being shutdown? The answer would be, let’s talk about what’s staying open.

The Military, air traffic control, emergency medical care, border patrol, federal prisons, most law enforcement, emergency and disaster assistance, overseeing the banking system, operating the power grid, and guarding federal property are some of the many “essential to the protection of life and property of the nation” that will still be open.

Financial benefits like Social Security and veteran benefits will still be put into effect. While unemployment and food stamps will still continue for the time being. However depending on how long the government shutdown lasts, these benefits could soon stop.

The postal service and the federal reserve will still be operating, as well as all agencies of independent U.S funding.

Now you’re thinking, ok so what’s actually being shutdown then?

The list is fairly long. Here are some of the agencies that will be included in the shutdown:

All of the national parks and museums will be closed, including the Statue of Liberty in New York and the Yosemite National Park in California.

Women, Infants and Children program, also known as WIC will be cut off, which allows pregnant and new mothers to buy food for their children. A service that reaches almost 9 million Americans, it is estimated that most States have enough funds to keep the program afloat with federal government assistance until the end of the month.

The Justice Department will suspend many civil cases for as long as the government is shut down. However the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will stay open.

Here’s a complete list of all the government agencies that are closed and open: http://www.cnn.com/interactive/2013/09/politics/government-shutdown-impact/

and

http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/contingency-plans

Now that you have an idea of what this shutdown means, who does this effect?

Well currently about 800,000 federal workers will be send home because of this shutdown. This leaves about “1.3 million “essential ” federal workers, 1.4 million active-duty military members, 500,000 Postal Service workers, and other employees in independently-funded agencies who will continue working”, according to the Washington Post.

For a breakdown of the different agencies what impacts this shutdown will bring. Check out this detailed list by the Washington Post.

What about all the” non-essential” workers? Will they get paid?

This is still unclear. This really all depends on Congress.

How will this effect our economy?

Well considering stocks went up yesterday, you would think our economy isn’t doing too bad even while our government is crumbling.

It’s reported that the local economy for D.C is expected to lose almost $200 million everyday the shutdown occurs.

Going by my research, it’s all still pretty unclear what exactly will happen. It all depends on many factors, ones we may not know for a few days or maybe even in a few weeks. The best we can hope for is for Congress to finally come together to create a way to basically fund the government and then get back to work.

Now that you have a little bit more information on the government shutdown, please go out and read more! My little write up on scratches the surface.

Most of my important came from this super helpful Washington Post Breakdown. For more details check it out here: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/09/30/absolutely-everything-you-need-to-know-about-how-the-government-shutdown-will-work/

Ok one more joke and a reference to another show to be obsessed over with. Seriously go watch House of Cards!

Two Sundays ago when Nina Davuluri of New York won Miss America, the racist backlash on social media sites like Twitter was not surprising.

Miss Davuluri is the first Indian-American to win Miss America. Exactly 30 years ago Vanessa Willaims for the first black woman to win.

Crystal Lee, Miss California, was the runner up was also Asian-American.

However on September 15th Miss America was called anything, but her new title. People went to twitter to discuss their hate for the 24 year-old winner. Comments like, “And the Arab wins Miss America. Classic.” or “9/11 was 4 days ago and she gets miss America?

Or even the most grotesque by comparing her to the terrorist’s group Al Queda, “Miss America is a terrorist. Whatever. It’s fine.

These tweets and more only show that many racist Americans don’t know the different between someone who is Arab and Indian and that they love linking terrorism and 9/11 to things that have nothing to do with one another.

People forget that the internet is written in ink. Once you put it out there, it’s kinda hard for it to be erased.

Another image that got circulated around a lot that night was this:

#MissKansas a real miss America ” @nateypoo14 this is why everyone is freaking out over #MissAmerica

To be honest, I forget how big pageants are America. With shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and Honey Boo Boo, beauty pageants are as American as apple pie.

However American is code for white by many people. Use I am technically American, but society pictures an young American girl as blonde, blue, just fresh out of college working where she is. Not me and not Nina Davuluri.

This got me to thinking about the concept of the girl next door.

According to Urban Dictionary, The Girl Next Door is someone who is “someone you could bring home to your parents”or a “sweet, virginal, pure girl who you always admired, but could never actually go up too.”

I most admit The Girl Next Door concept is problematic because it place the Madonna/Whore complex on women. That women can only be one way or another, either prude or a whore. However woman of color rarely have the opportunity to be placed on such a pedestal. They are usually overly criticized, objectified, and sexualized. So being seen as “pure” or “virginal” is usually out of the question.

Women like Nina Davuluri could never been seen as the girl next door in a mainstream concept, even though she has the qualities of one. Miss America is supposed to uphold this idea. A beautiful, smart, and sweet unattainable woman. However her “otherness” cancels this out.

Her racial and ethnic background shouldn’t exclude her from this term (in reality we shouldn’t put such general labels on anyone) or from her being America. Racists White Americans forget that America is melting pot and that there is no one way to be American.

Julie Chen revealed on the daily talk show “The Talk” that she had undergo surgery to enlarge her Asian eyes. Chen, an American news anchor and and producer for CBS. She has done everything from CBS Early News to Big Brother.

While working as a local news reporter in Dayton, Ohio, Chen’s boss allegedly told her that she would never sit at the anchor desk due to her Chinese heritage. ” ‘Let’s face it Julie, how relatable are you to our community? How big of an Asian community do we have in Dayton?’ ” she recalled him saying. ” ‘On top of that, because of your Asian eyes, sometimes I’ve noticed that when you’re on camera and you’re interviewing someone, you look disinterested. You look bored.’ “

via The Hollywood Reporter

Here is another woman who was openly criticized for not looking American enough.

Even though she was born in Queens, New York, because she is of Chinese decent, this erases her Americaness.

When asked about her opinion on Julie Chen’s surgery, this is what Nina Davuluri had to say “Unfortunately, I don’t agree with plastic surgery, however, I can understand that from her standpoint,” she replied. “But more importantly, I’ve always viewed Miss America as the girl next door, and the girl next door is evolving as diversity in America evolves. She’s not who she was ten years ago, and she’s not going to be the same person come ten years down the road.”

Regardless of how you feel about plastic surgery, to see someone change their looks to appease people’s racial insecurities is upsetting. As someone who hopes to work on TV one day, maybe even on screen, the idea that you may have to change your natural looks to fit into a more European Beauty Standard just be successful in this line of work is frustrating to say the least.

Women like Nina Davuluri and Julie Chen, are reasons why I want to work in media. To show that woman of color come in many different molds.

We can talk about how beautiful Nina Davuluri is, but we can also talk about how smart she is. Right now she is going to use the money she won with Miss America to apply to medical school, in hopes to become a cardiologist. Davuluri graduated from the University of Michigan with a degree in brain behavior and cognitive science, earning Dean’s List, Michigan Merit Award, and National Honor Society Award honors along the way.

Is she the girl next door? Maybe or maybe not. But she’s our new Miss America and she really can be whatever she wants.

Four people were killed and eight more were wounded Monday at the Washington Navy Yard when gunmen armed with assault rifles barged inside and opened fire, officials said.

Police shot one of the intruders, who later died of his wounds, the Associated Press reported.

The other was believed to be pinned down in the Naval Sea Systems Command Headquarters building, besieged by police, according to local media.

Two police officers were reportedly among the wounded, including a Washington D.C. cop who was hit twice in the legs and was evacuated by helicopter.

The other victims were all said to be civilians who work at the base in southeast Washington, local media reported.

It was not immediately clear who the gunmen were, but everybody from SWAT teams to the Marines were on the scene and overhead a half-dozen military choppers were circling the base.

Navy yard workers interviewed by CNN said they were fired on in a hallway by a rifle-toting gunman who opened fire without any warning.

“He was tall,” Terry Durham said. “He appeared to be dark-skinned.”

“He was a tall black guy,” said her co-worker, Todd Brundage, who is also black. “He didn’t say a word.”

The New York Daily News, “Deadly Washington Navy Yard Shootings” (via inothernews)

A lot of words are being thrown your way about the situation going on in Syria at the moment. You will hear terms like World War III, chemical air strike, air strike, civil war, etc etc.

Here is a short break down of what’s going on and the different point of views that are out there about Syria.

Last night, President Obama gave another speech about the situation in Syria; he still believes we need military action to intervene. He continues to try to ease the minds of many Americans who are still unsure of military action,”I will not put American boots on the ground in Syria,” he said. “I will not pursue an open-ended action like Iraq or Afghanistan…This would be a targeted strike to achieve a clear objective: deterring the use of chemical weapons and degrading Assad’s capabilities.”

A Link to transcript

On August 31st, President Obama first came out and said that he believes we should go into Syria, but he decided to leave the decision up to Congress. A bold move that both people on the right and left are surprised about. Some say its sign of weakness from our President. Others believe it was a way to give him more time to figured out the best course of action.

His speech came after a deadly attack a week before in Syria where almost 1,400 people were killed, mostly of women and children. Millions have been displaced since the start of this war.

Link to video of bombing (Warning: Graphic Video):

Some people believe the president seemed very passionate about our need to intervene, calling this an humanitarian effort.

Others believe he is too busy playing on the emotions of American citizens by constantly bringing up how many children have lost their lives. And that this is distracting from the fact that our country can’t afford to end up in another war.

However after last night’s speech, the President has decided to prolonged Congress decision on whether we should attack Syria.

The History

To fully understand what is going on Syria, you need a backstory. The country has been at war with itself for almost two years now. As of August 2013, more than 100,000 Syrians have been killed, according to the United Nations.

President Bashar al-Assad of Syria has been in power since July 2000. He was reelected as President in 2007 winning 97% of the vote.

Before him, his father Hafez al-Assad, ruled Syria from 1970-2000.

In the March of 2011 there was a political and violent uprising, after a group of children and teens were arrested for writing political graffiti. Dozens of people were killed after government forces cracked down on demonstrations. These demonstrations sparked multiple protests in the country, which lead to the government trying to appease their highly upset citizens. They announced salary increases for their state employees to lifting Syria’s long standing emergency law and the licensing of new political parties, anything that would make the protests and demonstrations to stop.

From there, the next two years consist of more deadly unrest from the people, failed attempts of al-Assad trying to bridge back the government and it’s people, other organizations like the European Union and countries like Turkey to place sanctions against Syria due to “the continuing brutal campaign” by the government against its own people, and the U.N Security Council trying to send military observers for 90-day mission, but failed after three days due to the increasing violence in the country.

Back in April of this year, U.S Secretary of Defense Chunk Hagel announced that the U.S had allegedly found evidence of a chemical weapon called sarin has been used in Syria on a small scale. Sarin is clear, odorless, and tasteless liquid that once is evaporated into a gas can spread out the environment. Not immediately deadly, but long lasting contact of the chemical can lead to death. For more facts on Sarin, read more here. It wasn’t until the alleged that surfaced August 21st of chemical warfare that backed up Hagel statements.

U.S Secretary of State John Kerry declared that U.S. intelligence information has found that 1,429 people were killed in August 21st chemical weapons attack in Syria, including at least 426 children. According to CNN, Kerry announces that samples of blood and hair taken from eastern Damascus have “tested positive for signatures of sarin”. He backs President Obama and agrees that military strike should be our course of action.

For a more detailed timeline of the Civil War in Syria, check out this “Fast Facts” sheet created by CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/27/world/meast/syria-civil-war-fast-facts/index.html

Russia and Other International Responses

Recently Russian has proposed for Syria to surrender their chemical weapons, “to thwart U.S. aggression,” to be put under “international control”.

Syria’s most powerful ally, Russia has essentially agreed to take control of their chemical weapons, a move the French aren’t too happy with. The French have proposed a solution to the U.N Security Council that would force Syria to give up their chemical stockpile, but not to the Russians.

During President Obama’s speech Tuesday night he mentions this new agreement, “It’s too early to tell whether this offer will succeed,” Mr. Obama said, “and any agreement must verify that the Assad regime keeps its commitments.”

On August 29th, The U.K Parliament voted against any military action in Syria. With this new proposal on the table,  British Prime Minister David Cameron had agreed that his country would join forces with President François Hollande of France and the U.S. in putting forward the proposal.

This proposal could lead to the end of the possibility of U.S attack on Syria.

Where Most of America Stands

In a recent poll done by the Associated Press, only 1 in 5 Americas believe that if we failed to respond to the chemical weapon attacks in Syria will lead to an all out War amongst other rogue governments.

An excerpt from Associated Press on September 10, 2013:

The poll of 1,007 adults nationwide found that most Americans oppose even a limited attack on Syria – likely with cruise missiles – despite Obama administration warnings that inaction would risk national security and ignore a gruesome humanitarian crisis. And a slim majority – 53 percent – fear that a strike would lead to a long-term U.S. military commitment in Syria.

Link to article: http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_UNITED_STATES_SYRIA_AP_POLL?SITE=NVLAS&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT

Most Americans do not agree with the President, many are also pretty undecided about the entire situation. We see the same division amongst party lines as well.

AP’s poll shows that only 53% of Democrats, 59 percent of Independents, and 73 percent of Republicans believes congress should against the strike in Syria. Only a quarter of democrats believe that an attack will cease any other world leaders from engaging in chemical warfare.

Where Congress Stands

Allowing Congress to decide whether we should take military action was a political move by the President. The jury is still out if this was a good decision or not. Congress is just as divided on Syria as the American people are.

According to The Washington Post,  Congress is pretty much divided on the issue:

Where the House stands on Syria:

119 – Against

119 – Leaning no

169 – Undecided

26 – For strikes

Where the Senate stands on Syria:

18 – Against

10 – Leaning no

49 – Undecided

23 – For strikes

Screen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.37.50 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.38.06 PMScreen Shot 2013-09-11 at 3.41.53 PM

So What Should We Do?

Above is just an outline of some of the major points about the situation in Syria.

What I suggest? To research for yourself what’s going on. I’m not here to point you in the direction of what we should or shouldn’t do.

All the light night talk show hosts, political talking heads both the left and right, and our government officials will tell you what they think. Take the time out and decide for yourself what you believe and then come to your own conclusions.

Even if your conclusions are still undecided.

As my college career came to a close, I’ve been continually getting the question: what are your plans after college?

Wide eyed with a blank look on my face, I answer, “I’m still trying to figure it all out.”

If you ask any of my fellow seniors who are graduated in May, their answers will be fairly similar. Of course some are more confident than others, luckily grabbed and accepted their post college jobs in whatever field of their choice. Others decided to go straight to graduate school. Some decide to travel to places like India or China for the summer. The summer post college is a time of transition, and what a summer it has been.

However if you scroll down your news feed on Facebook another tune is being sung: finding a paying full-time or even part-time job is extremely difficult. Even my brother couldn’t find a part-time retail job when he was home. Having a degree may actually hinder you because you’ll be considered “over qualified”.

To be completely honest, I actually did have some sort of plan. I’m not completely a deer caught in the headlights. During my last semester of college I was able to secure an [paid] internship with prestigious media company and over the last few months I’ve been trying my hardest to network like crazy. In media, it’s more of whom you know rather than what you know. Of course don’t expect to keep your job if you don’t know anything either!

My internship put me in a better position than a lot of my peers, giving me experience and the ability to network.  However, it also doesn’t automatically give me employment. It’s a good start though.  According to this article in The Atlantic, paid internships are more likely to lead to jobs as in comparison to unpaid internships.

The first half of my summer was dedicated to volunteering a few hours a week as an unpaid intern for a production company. Not my ideal situation, but to stay home all summer sulking about being broke won’t change my situation. I also really loved it. It really set the tone for the kind of work I hope to do soon.  By my luck I was able to secure a paid internship in July, with a educational advocacy group working in their communications department.

Currently I’m still employed, my summer internship is keeping me on for another few months.

If you’ve been following the news like I do, there is probably a news article, editorial, or news story about our current unemployment rate every day. If you look at the numbers for recent graduates and young people between the ages of 18-21 it’s not a pretty sight. The statistics for women and people of color are even more discouraging.

This also hits on the debate of unpaid internships

With the court ruling earlier this summer, Glatt v. Fox Searchlight Pictures, Judge William H. Pauley III of New York ruled that unpaid internships are unlawful. In this case, interns who were working on the film Black Swan should have been paid for their work.

Because of this case, multiple interns are coming out of the wood work to sue their former employers. Donna Karen International, is the newest company to be in the spotlight as a former intern is seeking a class-action lawsuit against the company. They’re claim? That they were told the internship would be a learning experience, but it ended up being an unpaid errands boy.

We’ve all suffered through a few unpaid internships throughout undergrad. Unpaid internships seem like the passageway to employment, or at least that is what we’ve been told. Fetching coffee or running errands seem like part of the job description, that is until it comes down to finding your first job and you realize your resume is filled with fluff.

The reason why unpaid internships are harmful is not because of unfair wages, but because of the unfair wages you would make once you join the workforce. Entry-level positions in companies are becoming more scarce. Employers can hire unpaid interns to do the work instead, thus saving them money to hire people who would be full time and with benefits. Can you imagine how attractive that is to employers? That you can hire a new batch of interns each semester without ever paying them or just paying them the bare minimum?

It wasn’t until my last semester of college that I acquired a paid internship. However most of my money went towards transportation and food. Commuting from Westchester County to New York City wasn’t cheap. A third of my earrings would go towards transportation alone. One aspect I realized many of the students at my internship had in common was that most were attending school in the city or was lucky enough to find an apartment in a nearby borough.

Another aspect unpaid internships that doesn’t get talked about is the privilege that comes along with it: having the means. If your parents are already paying for school or rent, you may not be so hesitant to take on an unpaid internship. Which means you’ll have more time to work there, which could lead to a better chance of being employed there eventually. So the real question is, who gets hurt the most from these unpaid internships?

Internships should be a learning experience, but you shouldn’t be taken advantage of because you’re a student.

Finding a new path

This summer I’ve applied to over 30 jobs. All of them are in media, video production, social media, and/or communications. They range from full-time, part-time, freelance, unpaid internships, to paid internships. So far I’ve had three call backs, six rejections, one unpaid position, and one paid internship.

Summer did get stressful. Sometimes I wanted to give up. Sometimes I worry if I picked the wrong profession. I’ve even considered going back to school. The problem is, for what?

But it’s only been three months since I graduated. I’ll drive myself crazy if I don’t have a bit of positivity when it comes to the job hunt. Taking on an unpaid internship seems a bit backwards, but I actually gained more experience and did actual work. Volunteering my time actually benefited me in the end because I’ve been able to secure some paid freelance gigs.

As the summer draws to a close, I feel a little more confident than I did three months ago when I started writing this post. Now that I experience my first post college summer, it felt appropriate to finally publish this piece…after a bit of editing may I add.

Right now I have my summer internship, a possible apprenticeship with a graphic designer, and possibly some freelance work with my old job. It’s not glamorous at all, but it takes me one step closer to finding that “dream job” and moving to my “first dream apartment with my best friends”…or just starting to pay off my college loans.

My advice to all you young, educated (college or not), and unemployed little adults out there: stay active, stay productive, and stay up on current events. Also, stay hopeful. I basically didn’t get my dream job that I’ve been wanting since January and it hurts, but at least I didn’t give up. Cliche to write, but cliches are good sometimes.

We’re the next stock of future doctors, writers, politicians, and much more. Without being completely cliche, it’s time we take back the workforce and it make it our own.