Being A Fan

In my family we love watching Professional Football. My Dad has been a huge Giants fan my whole life and every Sunday in the NFL season he’s by a TV watching the games. The Fox NFL Theme Song actually reminds me of my childhood.

For some reason my brother became a Detroit Lions fan in the past year. The Lions are historically the worst team in the NFL. As one of the oldest teams playing they have never won a superbowl and they didn’t even make it to the playoffs in 3 of the last 5 decades. They are a true underdog team. This season they were able to come out with a 10-6 record and make it to the playoffs (first time since 1999). Unfortunately after a close first half tonight they were destroyed by the New Orleans Saints. My brother was crushed and he said he wasn’t going to be a Lion’s fan anymore.

My brother is 12 and these things happen to you when you are young. But even when you are older it can be really hard to see you team lose. I’ve seen my Dad be a Giants fan through the really good and the really bad. From seasons without playoff participation, to a SuperBowl victory against an undefeated team. (Best Day Ever.)

Sure, its just a game. But it’s also emotional. Being a true fan of a team represents a little piece of who you are, a speckle of your true character. It means you promise never to give up, always have hope and always be excited to see a victory. It means that you can sit there and watch your team tear down every last shred of faith you had in them and immediately promise to be there rooting for them again next year. If you can promise to do that for a team then hopefully that means you promise the same for your friends, your family, and for yourself.

I hope my brother is able to stay a Lions fan (by now I am one too!) and he doesn’t give up on his team.  We all hit some rough patches and failures, but you always have to promise yourself that it’s part of life and you still are going to be there at the end of the day.

Happy Holidays!

I just wanted to wish everyone a Happy Holidays! I will be busy tomorrow and I wanted to say so before Christmas. Regardless of what you celebrate I hope you have a fantastic end of the year filled with kindness and compassion, two things that are supposed to represent the Holidays season.

I have been working at Brighton but I also was just recently offered two different internships that will start at the beginning of January. I am really excited about them and I will talk about them with greater detail in the upcoming weeks. I feel like I’m getting back on track to eventually gaining a career in education/technology field and that feels really good.

A few days ago I exchanged presents with my boy friend who is going to be in CA/FL for the Holidays visiting family. Today I am going to bake cookies with a good friend who has been in Russia for the past 4 months studying abroad. Tomorrow some of my Dad’s side of the family is coming over for Christmas Eve and on New Year’s Eve I’ll be seeing my mom’s side of the family. I really love the holidays. I love decorations and festivities, seeing the family, and giving/receiving presents. I’ll write a post about the new year/2011 next week, so for now I just really wanted to wish everyone a great Christmas, Hanukkah, and just a good weekend in general.

Confidence

If I look back on my life to this point I’m pretty happy with the things that I’ve done and the experiences I’ve had. I’m happy to say I don’t have many regrets. But one thing I do regret is my lack of confidence. In high school I was shy and I embarrassed easily. Unlike the typical stereotype of American High Schools, my school was a pretty easy going place. If I had felt more confident I could have easily had more friends, participated in more things, and been all around more successful. The only thing that was holding me back was my lack of confidence, and that voice in my head saying “it’s better just not to do this in case something embarrassing comes out of it!”

Luckily almost all of us look back on high school and think “wow, what was I thinking?” And in college I was actually rather confident in myself. Because of it I made a lot of friends, actively participated in my classes, joined clubs, and eventually was able to teach about 200 students ages 13-15 daily for three months. (If you are a nervous public speaker, try teaching. You will either quickly get over it, or quickly have your self-esteem stoned to death by the students. Either way the process is quick!)  I was able to step out of my comfort zone and risk doing something embarrassing… but generally things worked out and it felt great!

Then graduation rolled around and college was over. I was forced to go and apply for jobs. This was fine at first, online applications are simple enough, my resume is decent, I am a competent 22 year old human being. But then after filling out dozens of applications without a single response (neither positive or negative) my self-esteem started to waiver. And then came the phone interviews. “Why are you interested in this position?” “What makes you a great candidate for this position?” “What is your philosophy of Education?” I wasn’t ready. I wanted to be brutally honest and cynical and make jokes like I typically do in my day-to-day life. And I wanted to do this because I did not feel comfortable. These questions somehow automatically made me feel like I wasn’t worthy of any of these positions, I was inexperienced and I was undereducated.

Now I’m looking back to my regrets from high school and realizing I cannot continue to have poor confidence. I may be slightly inexperienced, but I can’t sell myself short. I have many valuable attributes. And most importantly I am an adult, and I need to learn to suck up this nervousness and just be professional. So lately I’ve been trying to be more confident in myself. Yesterday I had an interview for an internship and I came in much less nervous and more open than I have been in the past. At the end of the process I still felt that “who knows!” feeling that (I assume) many of you have had before, but it was in a good way, not a bad one. I did alright, I didn’t sell myself short, and I didn’t act like a shy 17 year old girl.

There is a quote/comment I saw recently (I wish I could remember where) and someone mentioned that for the longest time he thought his co-workers were all smarter than him. But after a while he began to realize they were simply more confident and self-assured than he was. Confidence is really important. We naturally tend to trust a confident, self-assured person. From now on I’m going to stop selling myself short and build up that confidence.

Why overthink? Confidence is key.

My brother is 9.5 years younger than me. Currently, he is a 12 year old boy that loves hanging out with other 12 year-olds, avoiding homework, playing x-box, and cheering on the NY Giants/ Detroit Lions.

The Monday night game this week is the first in Detroit since 1974. The Lions just scored a touchdown a few minutes ago and my brother came to knock on my door to see if I saw the play. I told him I had and that I was pumped. He then immediately closed my door and proceeded to knock on my Dad’s door.

My Dad wakes up at 6am every morning and is asleep by 10:15 every night. When I was 12 years old I would have never knocked on my Dad’s door at 10:50pm. There have been nights, even this year, that I wonder if my dad is still awake when I see the TV glowing from underneath his door. But I still don’t want to knock, I don’t want to disturb.

Every year my Mom bakes Christmas cookies that we deliver to the neighbors. When I was younger I dreaded delivering those cookies. The neighbors were always happy to see me, (who is bothered by a cookie delivery?) but it was just so awkward. Now my brother happily looks forward to delivering the cookies on Christmas Eve.

He also has one of those lame school fundraisers where you sale baked goods and tchochkes from a catalog in hopes of gaining a $5 prize. He has gone door to door to all of our neighbor acquaintances, and he has already sold over $50 worth of goodies. He is not ashamed or embarrassed at all, he wants to gain fund-raising money so he is perfectly fine with asking neighbors for help.

I always over thought everything. I would feel so awkward it would almost consume me! If I knocked on my sleeping father’s door at night, really what bad things could happen? My brother does not have this fear. He knows what he wants and if he might feel awkward or embarrassed on his path to achieving his goal it doesn’t matter because he wants to get things done. It took me years to gain the skills he has now. I am proud of him and I think this confidence will get him where he wants to go when he’s older.

What I want to do

Lately finding a job has been my main thought. I go to my internship at foursquare everyday and i am working with 60 other people that have full-time jobs with health insurance benefits and annual salaries. I commute daily with hundreds of people who will be traveling for much longer than the 2 months I’m experiencing. One of my housemates gained an introductory level advertising job this summer. It makes me think that I need a career, and I need one now.

This foursquare internship has introduced me to a lot of different people and trains of thought that I wasn’t used to. Because foursquare was only created 2 years ago, the founders and creators still work there, and over half of the company is made up of creative and talented engineers, I feel like foursquare has a “I can create my own type of career/destiny” mentality. And I think these people are absolutely correct. Dennis and Naveen had an idea and they turned it into a reality. The engineers can create different phone apps or websites easily, and their skills would be quickly picked up by other start-up web company if they chose to leave foursquare. Everyone else at the company left another job to work for this small, up and coming start-up where they would actually have a valued opinion in the development of the company.

I’m happy I’ve had this experience and I would be totally willing to work for another start-up company in the future. In some ways it is refreshing to work with these people. In other ways though I find it extremely daunting and intimidating. I thought I was into technology and Social Networking, but these people know about all of the latest phone apps and social websites. I am fresh out of college at a small state school. These people all went to private well known Universities and have impressive resumes at well known companies. (At least 1/3rd of foursquare worked at Google at some point) I feel like everyone has their own ideas that they think are valuable. They see every new idea as an innovation, a possible invention, a possible future start-up company or phone app. I have heard people in the office start sentences with statements like “If i had the balls to start my own start-up….”

That is not the lifestyle most people grow up with. We think we can work hard and someone will hire us based on our work ethic and responsibility. Hopefully we can find a job that we like with an understanding boss and decent vacation time. People at foursquare do not wish for things to happen, they make things happen. Dennis and Naveen became their own bosses. I think several of foursquare’s employees will go on to do bigger and better things on their own time with their own agenda.

Now I look at myself. I thought about applying to a Community Development position at Meetup.com yesterday. I think Iwould be good at the position if I got the job, but I don’t think I have the qualifications or the gumption to actually get that job. I know many people say “you never know until you try”, and I believe that. But today as I was riding the train home I was reading a book called “Relentless Pursuit” about what life is like in the Teach for American program. Just reading about teaching (and this book talks a LOT about the difficulties and problems of teaching) reminded me of how much I enjoyed teaching. I did not feel intimidated or out of place. I felt welcomed, talented and important; even when students wanted me to feel like crap.

I believe that I too am an innovator like the people at foursquare. But I don’t look a the world and thing “what can I do to make social media easier for individuals?” or “what can I do for MTV to make foursquare valuable to their marketing strategy?” I look at cool non-profit organizations and think “How could I as a teacher get my kids involved in this as a part of our classwork?” or “How can I incorporate technology skills in the classroom without it being a useless waste of time?” At foursquare I often feel stuck. When I am in the classroom I feel great, and when I am out of the classroom I love to think about what I can do in the classroom.

Foursquare has given me an awesome opportunity to see that I don’t have to follow the beat and path, I can create something new. But I also have to remember that what I truly want to do is something that is unfortunately still in the prehistoric days when it comes to the hiring process. I think I just need to be true to myself and I need to remember that although I might not immediately get a teaching job, it is what I want to do and I should wait it out to make sure that I get to do what I truly enjoy. And when I finally do get a job I will keep that foursquare mentality in the back of my mind and remember that innovation is not just for start-up companies.

10 years ago

I wanted to write a short post about the 10th Anniversary of the September 11th attacks mostly because I am having a bit of trouble sleeping and I thought this could help. I think this is partially the reason I’m actually having trouble going to bed.

10 years ago I was in 7th grade Spanish class when our assistant principal explained to us that an airplane had hit one of the Twin Towers. My first thought was “How did a pilot manage to make such a big mistake?” Soon after we found out that both of the Towers had been hit, and we were able to tell that this had been a planned attack.

After that I don’t really remember much of the school day. I know we talked about the attacks in Science class. Luckily my classmates and I all lived far enough North from the city that none of our immediate family members had been effected. I remember I got home from school that day and watched TV for a few minutes. It started to upset me. The images of the Towers falling give me this huge depressing weight in my stomach every time I see them. Those were the only images you could see on the television for days and days.

I mostly think of September 11th as a terribly horrific and tragic day in our nations history. I certainly will never forget that day and I greatly admire the absolutely insane amount of courage firefighters and other first responders showed on that day. But there is something about that day that makes me feel so sad that I almost feel sick, still.

I am proud to be an American, I am proud to be from New York (even if its not the city!) I love my life and my family and I appreciate everything I have and this beautiful world that we live in. Even though there are great evils out there, I know that there is much more love, compassion and sacrifice. My mom always says that “the squeaky wheel gets the grease.” I think the same goes for evil and destruction… its gets more attention. But there were thousands of people that came to help in the aftermath of 9/11 as well as many other crises we have faced since then. I see people in my life working hard to do great things to help people and our planet on a day to day basis.

9/11 is a great example of a tragedy that we were able to overcome because of love, compassion and self-sacrifice. There are many other things out there that we can also overcome together with the same ingredients. Always remember this day, not only as a tragedy, but an example of a challenge that we were able to overcome together.

Hello Blogging World!

I am currently sitting inside waiting for Hurricane Irene to knock down our power lines. I thought this was a fitting time to begin a blog. I am not new to blogging, I created one back in high school when it was fun to post your feelings across the internet. I also managed the blog for my Invisible Children Club in school. This time I am going to try to do things a little differently.

Just to give you a little background about myself, I currently a Business Development Intern at foursquare in New York City. This past May I graduated from SUNY New Paltz in New Paltz, NY with a BA in Adolescent Education with a concentration in Social Studies. During my last semester of school I was given the opportunity to Student Teach 9th and 10th grade Global Studies and Pine Bush High School and 8th grade Social Studies at Twin Towers Middle School in Middletown, NY. I really enjoyed teaching and I know that is a career choice that is right for me.

Unfortunately, Social Studies Teachers are currently not in high demand in New York, or any state really. So I am trying to figure out what I want to do next in my life. I have several options right now:

a. Get a full-time job, (perhaps at the Macy’s Make-up counter?) try to save some money and apply to teaching jobs over the course of the next year. Perhaps I will apply to Graduate School for Literacy Education during this time. This is my least favorite option.

b. Apply to Teach for American (I already did this) and see if I get in. If i did that would be awesome. I would have a plan, get to be a teacher, and get my Masters all at the same time. It would also be the most insane, labor intensive two years of my life, but I’m ready for that challenge.

c. Work off of my foursquare experience and attempt to get jobs/internships working with Social Media and technology. I think I would step away from the Business Development area (Even though I really enjoy this experience, I don’t really think BD is my strong suit) and I would lean more towards entry-level Social Media Management or Office Assistant positions.

Other than my job search I’m a pretty typical 22 year old gal. I have a great family, a boyfriend, a dog and a couple very close friends from school and home. I like to eat, listen to music, craft, go out to eat and go to the movies.

I plan to use to use this blog to talk about various things that I experience and have interest in. I will talk about my experiences working with foursquare and applying to Teach For America. Hopefully I will talk about delicious food, new technology I love and other useful things.

I plan to post often, so thanks for listening!