The Art Beat Presents: In the Artist’s Corner.
Every week, I will interview interesting and talented folks who are passionate about their craft and trying to make a difference via whatever vehicle they choose.
This week I’m interviewing poet, Giovanni Michael Garced. I discovered the young writer in the poet circles on Tumblr last year and fall in love with his writing, as well as his halo of hair. As an aspiring poet myself, I’m always in awe by people my age who have the wisdom of writers in their prime. Already selling his second chapbook, Sunflower Calligraphy, Garced is already on his way to become someone we will be talking about for years to come.
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Tell me a little about yourself?

My name is Giovanni Michael Garced. I am a 20 year old writer/performer/idea-haver from Miami. I am a natural hair and mango enthusiast. I am nomadic and like laughing a lot.

When did you get into writing poetry? When did you get into performing?

I started writing poetry in middle schools trying to get girls to like me. Got more serious once I got hit in the face with a lot of sadness and reality. I began performing my Junior year of High School.

Who are some of your favorite writers?Gio1
-Pablo Neruda
-Andrea Gibson
-Lemony Snicket
-Buddy Wakefield
-Lupe Fiasco
-Immortal Technique
-Blu
-Samantha Turner
-Ariana Brown
-Warsan Shire
-Christopher Nolan
-Shonda Rhimes
-Coldplay
-Anis Mojgani
-Pedro Pietri
I think I gave too much. But there are many many many more I have to read and some I couldn’t think of on the spot.
What inspires you to create?
The light in me? There is God in me trying to be heard. There is a quote from Sylvia Plath : ” I write because there is a voice in me that can not be stilled”. So like I create because there is a light in me that can not be stilled…or dimmed or put out. You get what I am saying. Creating gives me purpose and that’s what I want to do with my life. Create. Also giving sound to the silences within myself and those around the globe.

Talk about your newest chapbook, how long did it take to create and how do you feel about it?

Well I’ve been trying to make this ever since I put out my first one. I knew once I dropped the first one I wanted to make a second one. So from idea to materialization it took about 9 months. It was very slow because of a lot of things I was going through. Barely writing for 7 months. Not performing for like 7 months. Personal mess that held me hostage. Things like that. I pushed through a lot of walls. Like every writer in regards to their own work, I hate it. [laughs] Well not really, I’m just very critical of my work and overly humble to the point where I’m rarely satisfied with what I put out. But the bright side to that is it keeps me hungry. I do feel good about the rawness of it. A couple of the poems are drafts. Bare in mind no poem is ever finished but those couple of poems aren’t as close to completion as the others. And I just think it’s cool that I can share seeds with people. So hopefully the next time they see it they will see a forest. I am happy that I put it out and left a piece of me on this earth that will live forever. Writing makes humans immortal.

What are you currently in love with, in regards to these topics: music, films, books (can include comic books/etc), tv shows, or anything related to art)? 

-Scandal,
-Scandal episode “Seven Fifty Two” was the best form of media I have ever seen in my life
-I’m really in love with The idea and characters for this movie I am working on
-I’m really really in love with all the ideas swirling in my head for movies/shows/plays I want to make
-Shingeki No Kyojin( Attack On Titian)
-Breakout by N.E.R.D.
-Women of color killing it in art in general
-Pharrell’s voice on some soul stirring instrumentation
-The potential of Earl Sweatshirt
-Making beats
-Lose Yourself To Dance (feat. Pharrell) by Daft Punk
-Sleep. (sleep  is performance art)

-The third part of the Modern Marvel beat by Mos Def

Besides writing and performing, are there any other creative or non-creative outlets that take part in?
I paint sometimes. I’m half okay. I like doing hands on visual art. I used to draw a lot when I was younger. I make beats or I try. It’s fun. and stressful.
Procrastinating.
image (4)What’s one of your favorite pieces you’ve ever written?
Alzheimer’s with Samantha Turner. That piece let me know that I can die and know I served the purpose of art. To genuinely move someone, move a stranger. My words are in those people’s blood. And that energy will always exist. I realized that when a stranger ran up to us and just sobbed in our arms and wasn’t able to speak through her tears.
I know you was a mentor for young and aspiring writers/performers, tell me a little bit more about your experiences with that?
Ah, that was crazy. It was testing because I never thought mentoring is something I could do. It was especially testing because I was working alongside my own mentor. I’m going to throw one of my comparisons/metaphors that probably don’t make any sense to any one but me. He is like the ocean and the kids are fish. and I was rain. How does rain find a way to nourish/stimulate/affect the fish you get me? so that was an adventure in it’s own to find a balance. I learned a lot about myself.  I learned that there is not one kind of mentor. I learned that I’m not the mentor I was trying to be and learned that that is okay. That wasn’t something I could give. Something I learned to accept. I found my role and found the seeds in them as individuals and as a group that I needed and was able to water you know. It was a real nice feeling seeing them on stage knowing I was a part of that journey for them.
If you have to give one piece of advice to anyone trying to become a writer/performer what would it be?
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO OTHER WRITERS/PERFORMERS
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO OTHER WRITERS/PERFORMERS
EXPOSE YOURSELF TO OTHER WRITERS/PERFORMERS
Gio2That’s just what helped me and opened my mind. Reading and watching all these different people. You can’t be that one dude in the cave drawing maps of the world. Something that big will have many interpretations and those views will help your sight grow. When I opened myself to others I learned so many things and my writing grew so so so much. Light feeds off light.
 
Anything else you would like to add for folks to know?
Yo it’s ya boy, you already know what it is. Giovanni Michael Garced in the building.
Sunflower Calligraphy is my second chapbook. It came through the fire. It’s a big part of me that I want to share with as many people as possible. I want my art to travel everywhere I haven’t been and can’t travel to yet. It’s Important for writing and all the voices we have inside to travel. I want to spread everywhere. Creating this helps me do this. Check the links, purchase a book or watch me do things behind a microphone.
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Thanks so much to Gio for being my first interview for In the Artist’s Corner. I hope to continue on with this segment with others like him in the future.
If you like what you read please check on his work below for more information:
Alzheimer’s By Giovanni Michael Garced and Samantha Turner: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8kYOe-uwjw
The Cliche Break-up Piece: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIZjtgSgn0E
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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.

Lately there has been this craze for everything nostalgic. Kids born in the 90s are clamoring to prove that their decade “did it better”. However most children born in the 90s can only really remember from ‘96-‘99, nearly half a decade is lost from us. A true 90s kid was born in the 80s, but this is an argument for another time.

The 90s seem like it was a long time ago, but in really it’s only been 14 years since the end of the decade.

So another essay on the importance of a popular 90s TV show seems redundant. However I’m here to say, this isn’t about how ground breaking this show was, but how many important life lessons this show taught.

Unlike most of the animated shows in the 90s, Hey Arnold was able to teach important life lessons without being completely cheesy. Anyone remembers the Sailor Says segment at the end of every Sailor Moon episode that aired in the early 90s?

Yeah that kind of cheese.

Children shows in the 90s felt the need to have an educational component to their shows, for better or worse. As an adult who still occasionally watches animated shows I find myself missing that cheesy life lessons portion of the show. Adventure Time may have many great life lessons tied into their psychedelic show, but there’s nothing like Hey Arnold on television right now.

Two years ago I remember discovering Hey Arnold on Netflix. This was before the whole The 90s Are All That aired on Teen Nick. Hey Arnold hadn’t been in syndication for a few years now and it was cool to reminisce on a childhood favorite. As I sat there binge watching an “old” Nick classic with my then boyfriend, remembering how hip Arnold was by listening to Jazz music and having the coolest bedroom for a 4th grader, how Stoop Kid finally left his Stoop but he clearly wasn’t a kid but more of a high school dropout who had a serious mental condition that wouldn’t let him leave his Stoop, to how hopelessly romantic, but also how derange Helga was. She was very poetic for someone her age.

Re-watching as an adult made me realize how serious this show would get. There was a reason why my mother would watch the show with my brother and me when we were kids. It hits you somewhere that many other children shows just didn’t.

Comparing the show to others that were on the air at the time, some would have said it was too low key. In reality it was a show that was always consistent and was kids and adults could relate too. Hey Arnold has been a mainstay for The 90s Are All That block for the last two years. Occasionally I find myself watching the reruns late at night.

There are three episodes of Hey Arnold that were and still are extremely important to me:

Arnold’s Christmas: The Episode where Mr.Hyunh reunites with his long-lost daughter.

Synopsis: The boarders decide to have a secret Santa for Christmas. Arnold ends up having Mr. Hyunh as his secret Santa and isn’t sure what to get him. Mr. Hyunh is little down, since the holidays remind him of his lost long daughter, Mai. He goes on to tell Arnold about how he was separated from his daughter during the Vietnam War. And all he wants for Christmas is to see her again. So Arnold goes on this crazy adventure to find her in the city’s records.

Now holiday specials are always good episodes, but this one was one of the more memorable ones.

We all know that Arnold was a special kid. He’s supposed to be the voice of reason amongst all the characters on the show. There is a reason why people go to him for advice. He seems to always know the right thing to say. He is also willing to go above and beyond for the people he cares for.

So his not so little quest to find Mr. Hyunh’s daughter was one that only Arnold could do. To locate her he ends up striking a deal with the city’s archivist that if he gets all of the items on his Christmas List, he would help locate Mr. Hyunh’s daughter. Arnold and Gerald end up on this crazy adventure on https://i0.wp.com/images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090212151929/heyarnold/images/a/a3/Arnold%27s_Christmas.jpgChristmas Eve to complete this man’s shopping list. However they can’t find these very popular boots that are sold out all over the city. At the same time Helga is looking to find the perfect gift for Arnold. She just received the boots Arnold is looking for from her parents for Christmas. When she see’s how much

he wanted to make Mr. Hyunh’s wish come true, she secretly gives up her shoes so she can locate Mai. Both Arnold and Mr. Hyunh are surprised when they see Mai at the door for Christmas.

Now anyone with a soul had to shed some tears from this episode. The reason why I list this episode as important is because of a few reasons. For one it was able to depict a historical moment, talking about the Vietnam War for instance. Culture is referenced in Hey Arnold, but race was never talked about however.

We also see how innocent and pure children can be. Even though Helga can be mean-spirited and selfish at times, she still cares for others. In this case she loves Arnold. Her love for Arnold affects other people because Arnold at his core loves to help others. If it weren’t for Helga’s love for him, he wouldn’t have been able to bring happiness to Mr. Hyunh. In the end it was seen as Christmas Miracle, but in reality it was all about the goodness of others. These are simple morals we are all taught as children, to help out our fellow-man. It’s the simple lessons like this that hold strong sentiments in life. Adults should be required to watch this episode so they can be reminded that there’s more to life than material items.

Ms. Perfect: The episode where you found out Lila is poor.

Synopsis: Lila is the newest student to the school. Helga and the girls decide to bring her into their group as their little “pet project”. They end up finding out that Lila is a little “Ms. Perfect” and starts to excel at all of the girl’s special talents. She also gains the interests of Arnold, which angers Helga. The girls decide to pull a number of pranks that all go ire. Finally they pull the perfect prank against Lila, which forces her to stay home the next day. When the girls go over to her house to drop off her homework they realize that Lila comes from a poverty-stricken home. Her home is in shambles, they barely have enough food to eat, her father is jobless, and it’s never mentioned if her mother is in the picture. https://i1.wp.com/images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20110202142808/heyarnold/images/f/f9/Ms._Perfect.jpg

Having a show that is placed in urban landscape means poverty has to be talked about. Rather than sugarcoat poverty on a children’s show, Hey Arnold was able to bring this to light. In the U.S, we have the 2nd highest rate for child poverty out of the 35 richest countries. Almost 22% of children live in poverty in this country.  More than one and five children in the U.S face hunger.

We also see that her father was jobless. Currently are national unemployment rate is 8.7% according to Gallup.com.

Just to give you more of an idea of what our economy is currently looking like: From 24/7 Wall St, “The Labor Department released its weekly jobless claims at 323,000 in the past week, versus a consensus estimate of 330,000 from Bloomberg. The prior week’s report was revised to 332,000 from 331,000.”

Of course the majority of the episode is about being the new girl, the interactions between girls and how we’re conditioned to believe we’re in constant competition with one another, and the cliché never judge a book by it’s cover. On the outside Lilia seemed like she had it all together. Like many students in this situation, they feel the need to put on a front that their home situation is better than it really is. Focusing on other things helps them cope with the reality. Sometimes it’s getting good grades and sometimes it’s dating a new boy. These “distractions” come in all shapes and sizes.

Poverty, unemployment, and hunger were and still is a major issue in our country, to see a popular children’s show showcase this allowed other children living in similar situations to relate. It also allowed children not living in these similar situations understand that not everyone lives the same life as them.

Pigeon Man

Synopsis: Arnold’s carrier pigeon, Chester, is sick and he decides to go the Pigeon Man to see if he could help. He is a legend in the neighborhood, but no one actually talks to him. Arnold discovers that Pigeon Man, also named Vincent, lives this life because he finds a home with his birds while humans constantly disappoint him. Which they prove at the end of the episode.

This was an episode that was personal to me. In my old childhood neighborhood we had our own pigeon man. He would sit by the bus stop and feed the pigeons all day. My brother was a friendly child and would always stop and say hello to him. I, on the other hand, seldom said anything to the man. He scared me. He smelled and looked like he wore the same thing all the time. Growing up, I was an extremely introverted child and was scared of everyone and everything. To some people I appeared to be a rude child. Our Pigeon Man believed this to be true and would say mean things to me. In retrospect he was probably teasing, but as child and not fully understanding sarcasm it only made me scared of him more.

https://i2.wp.com/images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20090212154911/heyarnold/images/c/c6/Pigeon_Man%2C_episode.jpg

So what does this have to do with Arnold’s Pigeon Man? Everything! It wasn’t until I re-watch the series that I realized both Pigeon Men have a lot in common. In Hey Arnold he looked for peace and humanity in these birds that he couldn’t find in normal society. He was shunned because he found a family amongst those birds. He took care of them, like they took care of him.

Arnold was able to reach out to this man when no one else would. He showed him that not all people were terrible. However, when some of Arnold’s friends go up to the roof to where Pigeon Man lives and ruins his bird coops, he is completely angered and disgusted by what happened.

“Of course they’ll come back: They’re birds. I trust them. I understand them. It’s people I don’t understand…You see, Arnold, it’s time for me to leave here. Some people are meant to be with people, and others, like me, are just different.”

As an adult you realize how terrible this world can be. We make fun of people who lose themselves in a fantasy world. We make fun of people who rather live outside of the cultural norms. But here is a man who was happy living with birds, who was happy taking care of birds. Through the lens of a child, you feel a sense of sadness for the Pigeon Man. He was happy, even though he was living with birds. Through the lens of an adult; you feel a sense of pity. All you can think of is that this man needs help. A child can feel for this man, an adult can only think. That’s the scary part about growing up. You lose the ability to relate to others. Children can relate to talking lions, superheroes, and pigeon man because no matter how bizarre their get up is, they’re all still people (even the talking lions) with feelings.

There are countless episodes that could be mentioned. This show was able to weave together many issues children in the inner cities went through. It captured a voice that many children shows failed to create.

From poverty, class, privilege, gender roles, death and lost, alcohol abuse (if we used Helga’s mom as example), mental instability, and so much more, this show made this all easily digestible for young children through the use of colorful and memorable characters. It instilled good morals, while also being entertaining.

Hey Arnold was not a perfect show; sometimes I wished it tackled race or maybe sexuality. But it did teach you how to be a better person.

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A little over an hour documentary on the history, politics, and cultural significance of hair amongst black women and how the newly reemergence of the natural hair movement is slowly breaking down barriers in a mostly European-centric beauty culture.

Senior Project: A yearlong project all seniors at Purchase College must complete in order to graduate.

 

Part 1:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NYz5YjN-DQ0

Part 2:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CAtC1Xgd17c

Part 3:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jg3spct6LGs

Part 4:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ORc_8fw3p9M

Part 5:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-UJ5J-a8CiA

Part 6:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=20F1QGTPfng

Part 7:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KtfYPg9TEfQ

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.