Visual Poem shot and edited by me. Poem by Unknown Author. 

I’ve always loved this poem. I found it on Tumblr about three or four years back and tucked it away in a for a while. I saved it to a folder on my computer. I swore one day I’d make a visual compliment to it. I came across it again recently, and something about it felt even more moving than before. I tried and tried to track down the author, but couldn’t find them. There is a reason I felt stirred by the poem once again.

The first few months living in LA were some of the loneliest times I’ve ever felt, no matter how many people I was around. The fact that I had a dream to move to this city for so long and finally followed it was exhilarating, but no one did (and no one could) prepare me for how it feels to be 3,000 miles from what you know and who you truly love. Something about it felt so final.

This poem is dark. But it’s on the verge of something so good. It’s on its way, but not there quite yet. It’s bursting at the seams, but so full of emptiness at the same time. All the things I felt in those first few months. I know if you’ve been a viewer or reader of mine for a long time, you aren’t used to seeing this type of tone or this sort of video. But I didn’t want this to be another happy-go-lucky video. I wanted to show those in between times; the ones where you’re at your lowest, or maybe most contemplative. When you’re thinking so much that you sometimes wish you weren’t thinking at all. I didn’t wan’t any chronology or anything to mark a specific point in time. I wanted everything to blend together; to be bold but dull all at once. There are hard sound cuts, visual cuts, wide shots that are all stationary and some slightly hand held, but never heavy motion. Still. Silent. No talking. Everything is long, drawn out, reflective: distant.

I didn’t want it to end on a light note either – because that’s the point. Loving yourself isn’t easy every day. Some days, it is. And that’s a blessing. Other days we have to fight for it. I wanted the visual poem for this writing to reflect the want and need for loving yourself, not the pretty ease of it all. Loving yourself isn’t always about confidence or feeling good in your skin. I’m learning that loving yourself, largely, is about learning how to be alone with yourself, training yourself to think good thoughts, and how to go through things (physically and emotionally) without someone always holding your hand, even though that’s nice from time to time.

If you’re going through a hard time, feeling lonely, or are discovering/rediscovering how to love yourself – you’re not alone. You never are and never will be. I’m here for you and my whole heart is with you.

All visuals were shot on my Canon Rebel T3i. Poem recorded on my Blue Yeti mic. Music by Kevin MacLeod.

Click the video link to view more facts on this video.

Thank you so much for watching and taking time to read this. All my love to you. xx

 

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Life & Lessons

Cheers to the new, and to the year.

This is not your typical New Years post.

For starters, it’s not January 1st.

In fact, it’s fourteen days after the new year has begun. The buzz of newness has probably already started to wear off for most of us, and the hangover already seems to be kicking in.

But for me, the party is just beginning.

This year, I decided not to make or take any resolutions seriously in the first few days of our new slate. I’m learning something: keeping score before you’ve started the game is dangerous. We are creatures of habit, yet we can’t seem to stay on track when it comes to the things we want the most for our lives. I thought to myself: maybe I should walk on the playing field before I run the play.

I chose to start January 1st, 2018 as any another day. New year, same shit. The only difference is that this go-round I let the thought of resolutions and goals and wants and plans whisper a melody in my mind without hanging on to any one lyric, and without turning off the music either. I didn’t cling to or claim the first “I want to go the gym three times a week” or “I want to make more videos.” I typically write everything that crosses my mind down, but I wouldn’t even let myself near a piece of paper in these first few weeks. I wanted to let the possibilities ruminate in the room of my mind; I wanted to see which desires would emerge as the truest of the true.

And I think we have a winner.

Err, winners.

This may be odd, especially to people like myself who try to find balance and find symmetry in everything, but the resolutions that reoccured, protruded, and rose high above the others don’t match and don’t quite make sense in regards to the traditional “New Year Resolution” narrative. These resolutions were what my heart was singing very clearly through all of the mess. So I listened.

Here are my three resolutions:

  1. Read one book a month. Feed your mind.
  2. Celebrate the small victories.
  3. One thing at a time.

Like I said, they’re a bit strange. They go from detailed to abstract, and they might not make sense upon reading them. But there’s something quaint about that, at least to me. They are special little snowflakes; they are mine. I will explain.

I used to love books when I was little. I was a very bossy child (still am) and I would insist on reading my books to my parents rather than the other way around. My mom loves to tell me this story about my 3rd birthday: how when I unwrapped toys and Barbie dolls I was overjoyed, but when I opened a book it was all over. I couldn’t stop flipping through the thing. I didn’t want to open any more gifts. And after the whole thing was said and done, the first present I picked up again was the book. Nothing else was as fascinating. This still rang true on my college graduation day when I did the same thing at 21 and my mom reminded me of this story. “Nothing has changed,” she said. During college you get your fair share of books, but the “fun” reading was reserved for summers only. When I graduated, I read a book here and there. But this year, I want to make it a realistic priority. My soul misses the words.

I have an issue with always living in the future. I’m always planning and plotting my next project, my next hang-out, my next job, my next problem: the list goes on. But this year is about the victories — and very specifically, the small ones. I think there’s something so beautiful about celebrating the small stuff. And I’m going to need it to get through this year, because it’s going to be a tough one. I just moved across the country away from the love of my life and my family to chase my dreams (that I’m not even sure of anymore). I’m not too keen of my job. But I have to keep it in perspective to keep myself afloat. Every day is one step closer to being reunited with a loved one. Every day is one more page I’ve written for my web series, or my film. Every day is one more day I have the opportunity to meet someone special or make a connection. Every day is one day closer to something. I’ve found a loophole around always anticipating what’s next: tricking myself into living in the present to make for a better tomorrow.

Finally, I need to start taking things one by one. I’m guilty of taking on too much. Not for anyone else, but for myself. I try to start five projects at once, see four friends in a week, and do a million things in a day. Not. possible. In fact, I always end up neglecting all of it because I’m so overwhelmed. One of my very good friends used to tell me all the time, “How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.” I know that’s disgusting and weird and you’re like “Who are you, you freak,” but it’s just some metaphor that he’d heard (OK?!). And it makes sense. But for a person like me who thinks BIG, I don’t have one elephant. I never have one elephant. I have five. Lined up down the block. And for me, I just need to take each thing in my life one at a time. Dive in, make it whole and give it my all, then move on to the next. No matter how hard it is, or how long it takes. It’s better to get one thing done than to get nothing done at all.

Now that I’ve given you full insight into the thought process behind my resolutions, here are my two-cents on making yours for this beautiful, promising year:

Make it specific. 

If you are going to choose something concrete, such as the gym or a specialty diet or volunteering or listening to more podcasts — make it specific. Avoid the words “more” or “a lot.” Choose. Declare. One time a week. Three times a week. Every other week. Once a month. Commit and repeat.

Make it general.

You know I love a good contradiction. If you’re going to choose something abstract, make it general. I guess that’s sort of a given, but that’s the point. Think outside of the box. Don’t be afraid to make your resolution(s) a mantra or a motto. That’s fun AF. You can attribute it or place it onto anything and everything into your life.

Write it in pencil.

If you’re a writer like me, try this with me: write your goals in pencil. You can write it big or small; on a whiteboard covering an entire wall or in a notebook tucked away under your nightstand. This sounds silly, but I swear pen can sometimes mess with your brain. It’s so scary!!! It’s so permanent!!! Well flip the script. Write it in something erasable. This way, you know you can change or adjust it whenever you want and it’s not as daunting. Which brings me to my next point.

Be kind to your progress.

We live in a world that fears commitment. I think this is mostly because we aren’t committing to the things we actually love. But the catch is, even when we do it’s still never easy. That’s why it’s a commitment. But trial and error is a real, true thing. Be kind to your progress. You have to try something to know it’s not really what you want to do or what your heart desires. That’s okay. It knocks down one possibility and moves you closer to the one that will actually move your soul and change your life. Don’t be afraid to change, adjust, or make a new resolution. Heck, try out one thing a month. But once you find the thing that you really do want to hold on to, don’t quit. Even when it gets hard.

Happiest of days to you. Wishing you all the love in the world this new year. Go get ’em, tigress. xx

YOURSTRULYMIA

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Life & Lessons

14 Things I Learned From My Last College Spring Break

What is known to be the week of unimaginable amounts of alcohol, major sun burn, and bikinis so small your 13-year-old sister shouldn’t even be able to fit into them turned out the be quite the opposite for me—unless you count the bathing suit bottom I’ve had since middle school, the sun rash on my inner thigh, and the single spontaneous shot of tequila we took on the strip. After catching up with a few high school friends in DC, I traveled south with three of my college friends to spend the week kicking back on the beach in Clearwater, Florida. It was my first and last tropical spring break, but believe me, it was no Panama City. There were lots of old people and ice cream shops. We watched sunsets next to families and shared peanut butter and jelly donuts and went on walks to nowhere. The wildest party we had was falling asleep after too many crab legs. But we laughed a lot. We even cried a little. We talked, and sat in silence, and smiled, and made memories. It was a wonderful time.

My favorite part about getaways and vacations (aside from the fancy stationary pens they leave you in hotel rooms) is the brain space it grants you. Staring at the sea and the sky makes you think. I did a lot of this. Staring out a car window also makes you think. I did a lot of this too. Also—I’m just a sappy, thinky person. So naturally this blog post makes a lot of sense. Here’s a run down of what ran though my brain this past week. I hope you get as much out of these moments and realizations as I did, or even come to your own truths. Let’s start shallow, like the questionable pool at our three star motel.

1. Phones suck.

I don’t understand why we are addicted to distraction. I don’t know why we choose the people on our screens over the people right in front of us. I constantly evaluate whether I am going to burst from the amount of news and entertainment and blogs and emails and updates that I want to (and feel like I have to) read. But when I put my phone away for an entire day while we were here, I remembered what it’s like not to question any of that. And it rocked.

2. Phones rock.

I love sharing my experiences and thoughts with the world. I love being able to take notes when something cool happens and email them to myself so I can write blog posts like this. I love capturing moments with lenses, and seeing what my friends are up to on the other side of the world, and being able to let my parents know I’m safe. I hate Apple maps, but I am grateful every time I open it that I don’t have to unfold a blanket-sized paper one. Thank you, technology.

3. Walks are the best.

I forgot how much I love these things! You get active! They generate thought!  You see cool things! You smell the roses! They make you feel like typing sentences with exclamation marks!

4. So is the sun.

Sunshine doesn’t fix everything, but it fixes a lot. I’ve been trying to figure out why I’ve felt so weird and unmotivated lately, but then I remembered it’s because I’ve been spending the past month with my head in a hood stomping through snow and cursing at the cold. Sunshine feels good and it reminds you to be grateful for life. It recharges your soul. When there’s sun, take advantage of it. Where there’s sun, go. I like to think of it as a natural medicine or herb or drug. Get the D. (But use protection, specifically sunscreen, thank you and you’re welcome)

5. Things can be mended. 

Bad things happen. People will hurt you, intentionally and unintentionally. But I know two things. One, people make mistakes. Sometimes really big ones. And two, people can change. I know these things because I’ve done both. The second was a result of the first. Humans suck, and you and I are not excluded. But humans can also be really great, too. Forgiveness is hard, but it is important. And I’m still learning. The third thing I’ve learned may be the most important, and that is that things can be mended. Broken friendships and relationships get better with time (key word is time). But know that while some things fix themselves, a lot of things things don’t fix themselves—at least not at first. It involves communication, and effort, and proof that that person is not just trying to make things better for the heck of it, but that they actually want things to be better.

6. Mending looks different every time.

No scar or crack heals or gets filled in the same way or in the same amount of time. I’ve learned that you can’t put an expiration date on hurt.

7. Some people just won’t get it.

Every situation is unique. Some things mend differently than others, and not everyone will understand. And it’s not your job to convince them.

8. What people think of you is not a reflection of you.

It is a reflection of themselves, or where they are at in their head or day or process. I’ve discovered that when people are being rude, it’s usually because something has happened to them. If a person says something mean, it’s because of an experience they’ve had or a perception they’ve created in their reality that isn’t necessarily true of your reality (Thank you, The Four Agreements). When someone is acting annoyed or irritated, they are dealing with emotions they may be handling or hiding. I know that doesn’t really make what they say or do any better or less hurtful. But it helped me stop questioning myself and my actions when I realized this. There is something that person has to figure out for themselves. Let them, and you go on with yo bad self.

9. Sometimes what other people think of you is a reflection of you.

Are you noticing patterns?

10. Your parents are your ultimate teachers.

Stop right now and go thank (or give thanks if they are no longer with you) your parents for being them. I don’t care if they are or were the best or the worst—they provided you with a foundation for your life to mold and learn from. I am infinitely grateful for mine. I have realized so much about myself and my habits; who I want to be and who I don’t. How your parents raised you and where they raised you is a part of your life story—more than you even know. I realized this while talking to my friends this week. This is my moment to tell the world that my parents are fantastic, fantastic people. I love them not only for giving me life, being in my life, and providing for me in life, but teaching me what I know and how I know it.

11. Nature is talking to us.

I’m going to be honest with you. I’m 21, and big waves freak me out. But I noticed something: the big waves were never as scary as I thought they were when I swam straight into them, or turned around and rode with them. But they were always scary when I ran away and hope they didn’t hit me. Nature is always trying to tell us something. Catch my drift?

12. Seagull attacks are a real thing.

A seagull literally took a bite out of my friend’s sandwich. I couldn’t make this stuff up, folks. But what was really fascinating and infinitely less upsetting was the evening we watched a 12-year-old boy play with a flock of seagulls by leading them with a single Cheez-it. Magic. At first I was terrified for his life, then I laughed with him, then I was transfixed in pure awe. It was one of the most beautiful things I have seen a very long time. I felt liberated through this little boy; he was having the time of his life. He was so innocent. So free. The most amazing part is that he was in control, and he didn’t even know it. This made me think about my own life.

13. The times you feel the most lost, you never actually are. 

This is a common theme in my life, because I’m graduating and I’m scared and sad. This would not be the first time, but I’ve realized that this is probably going to happen a lot in life and I am okay with it. I started thinking of all the transitionary periods in my life. I look back and realized I got through all of them. Every single one. And the best part is, when I think about where I am now, every “next” stage turned out even better than I imagined it. I felt lost, but now I realized I never actually was. I was just scared. The plan for our lives is already mapped out, and even better than we know. A friend told me “If you don’t feel lost, then you are safe. And if you’re safe, then you will never grow.” Fear is a sign that you are putting yourself out of your comfort zone, and that’s where all the good stuff happens. Guess what? Everything is going to be okay.

14. Light follows.

Just like the seagulls, light follows. Or at least—that’s what we thought. We watched the sun set every night. The first evening, I noticed the reflection of the sun in the water created a path of orange light leading straight to my feet in the sand. I smiled to myself. A sign from the universe just for me, right? The second evening, my friend Meredith said something about it. I told her I was thinking the same thing yesterday, and we shared the moment. The third evening, we noticed the path of light led back to us yet again. All of a sudden, it was not cute anymore. I walked down the beach to solve the mystery. As it turns out, the trail of sun traveling across the water directly to my feet followed me wherever I went. It followed everyone. I was pissed! This was supposed to be a sign, what the heck! I returned with the bad news. They gasped in horror. Then we laughed for a long time. I felt so stupid. We were mad the magic wasn’t ours. But then I realized that wasn’t true. The magic was ours; it everyone’s. And that made it even more real. The world doesn’t revolve around me. It doesn’t revolve you. There’s enough light to go around.

The world is a big place. But the sun will find and follows us wherever we go.

YOURSTRULYMIA

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Professional & Career

37 things I learned from being a producer

Beyonce once said, “It takes a true bad ass to run shit.” But the truth is, Beyonce never said that. And I am not a true bad ass. But the good news is after my first experience as a producer for the student short film, On The Run, I’m 5% there.

People are often like, “What even is a producer? What does a producer do?” Well, well, well. Step into my office.

A producer oversees the creative and business aspects of the production. They help steer the film from it’s conception to it’s completion.  They work behind the scenes. They handle the day to day operations, and act as the point of contact for the film. Sometimes I was out and about running errands. Sometimes I was at a desk typing and scribbling away. Sometimes I held stuff on set. Sometimes I went to the car or to the store to get food or coffee or a prop we forgot. A lot of times, I was making calls and talking to people and convincing and asking and bribing (legally, of course) and scheduling and preparing.

I saw a lot more documents than I ever wanted to see, dealt with more people than I thought I’d ever have to, and got really good at professional-sounding emails and a grown-up phone voice. I was the organizer, the solver, and the handler. I wore whatever hat I was handed, whenever and wherever. But my main job was to bring a team together, create an environment where that team could flourish, and then let my team do their job. And that’s how it all happened.

Being a producer is about being a little bit of reckless, and a lot bit of graceful. It’s busy, and then slow. It’s boring, then exhilarating. And like any job, it has it’s ups and downs.

The cool thing about any job in any field is that when it comes down to it, we all essentially have the same goal: to get the job done. Being a producer taught me about the ins and outs of filmmaking and business, but it also taught me about life and professionalism on a larger and more universal scale. Here are some things I learned along the way.

1. Your first option should never be your only option.

2. Your first option is often not your best option.

3. Never be afraid to ask. Just spit it out. Ask ask ask, or you will never know.

4. People are more kind and willing to give than you realize.

5. People are also hard to deal with.*

6. Negotiate. Everything is a balance.

7. Risk is a wonderful, terrifying, very important thing. Befriend it.

8. (See 7) Realize that when you take risks, shit will most definitely hit the fan. Know that in advance. Be okay with it. Prepare for any and every outcome. Handle with grace and care.

9. Often, things don’t go as planned.

10. (See 9) Often, it’s a blessing in disguise.

11. Rely on your team. They are your allies, your bloodline, your heartbeat, your everything.

12. Know you can’t do it alone.

13. Know you will have to do some things alone.

14. Dance parties are important. (Especially in parking lots at 3am)

15. A team that bonds together is a team that stays together.

16. Learn how individuals on your team react and respond. Tailor the delivery of your compliments and critiques to each person. Think about how your words will best be received.

17. You don’t have to be an asshole to get things done.

18. If you don’t like something, say so.

19. If you do like something, say so.

20. Days and nights will get long. People will get tired. People will be stressed. Things will be said. Feelings will get hurt.

21. “Don’t take it personal” is easier said than done. But really—don’t take it personal. You can’t afford to. There is no time to sit and toil over it. Keep moving.

22. Don’t just communicate, communicate well. Be clear. Be concise. Be transparent. With everyone. Always.

23. Sometimes you will feel useless. And it’s not anyone else’s job to make you feel otherwise, which sucks. What you choose to do about it is up to you.

24. Starting early is never early enough. Start earlier.

25. You will probably cry.

26. You will definitely laugh.

27. You will definitely eat a lot of food. And consume more sugar than you ever thought you would, or could.

28. But don’t chug two Coca-colas back to back after 1am. Seriously.

29. No one wants to be the one to crack down, but someone has to be the one to crack down, and when you are the one to crack down, people will get upset. You have to learn how to get over that super quick. 

30. You will mess up. 

31. (See 30) Sometimes you can fix it. Sometimes you can’t.*

32. (See 31) It will feel like it’s the end of the world, but it’s not. I promise.

33. When you are forced to choose between your pride or the project—choose your project. Always. 

34. Things will get broken, both literally and figuratively. Your job is to put the pieces together, but know that sometimes you will have to pick the pieces up, too.

35. Prioritize the right things. Think smart. Work smart.

36. If you come to the table with a problem, don’t forget to bring a solution.

37. Always, always, always give thanks, appreciation, and love. Constantly, genuinely, and graciously.

*Take tylenol as necessary. Or a shot of whiskey.

As a person who fell in love with filmmaking after making Youtube videos at a young age, I am used to having creative control. I have always been the one to conceive the idea, execute the idea, and edit the idea. But to step back and orchestrate a team was different. I had to trust that my team could do the job and carry out the vision. And they did.

Making a student film while juggling the actual task of being an student, an employee, and a real life semi-functioning human being with social and physical needs is hard. Creative work is draining, but rewarding and beautiful, and that’s why we do it. Having a big vision is a big task. It’s not easy. It’s not predictable. I was not perfect. I did good. I did bad. I messed up along way. But that’s the extraordinary part about this and about life. You learn as you go, and put the lessons learned under your belt for next time.

Sources: http://creativeskillset.org/job_roles_and_stories/job_roles/757_producer

YOURSTRULYMIA

This post is dedicated to my incredible, wonderful, and hilarious team members of Track 02 productions. Becca, Wells, and Tyler—I love you!

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Professional & Career

From One Intern to Another: How to get the best out of your internship

You’ve scoured every LinkedIn article, and you’ve googled “How to be a great intern” at least eleven times. You’ve bought five new dress shirts, a new blazer, and the notebook that you’ve had your eye on too. You know to arrive a few minutes early each day, to always dress and act professionally, and to constantly be taking notes. While all of these things are important, has anyone actually told you how to get the best out of your internship? I’m no seasoned professional, but as someone who was where you’re about to be less than two weeks ago—and for the very first time—I may have a little something to offer. Your internship doesn’t have to be just an internship; it can be a life-changing experience. Here are some ways to get the very best out of your summer, spring, or fall internship.

Introduce yourself.

Say hello and introduce yourself to as many people as you can during your first week. Make an effort to truly remember names. It’s good to recognize the people you’ll be emailing and working with—and it’s also good to put your name and face out there as well.

Be proactive. Be bold. Be brave.

You’ll have daily tasks given to you by your supervisor. But one of the most incredible parts of having an internship is that you have the opportunity and ability to experience and explore a variety of things. You have a building full of resources at your fingertips; use it! Whether it’s an informational interview, sitting in on a morning meeting, going on a shoot, or shadowing someone in or out of your department—be straightforward about what you want to do and what you would like to try. No one will necessarily tell you to try things, so it’s up to you to bring these ideas to the table. Often times, you’ll be rewarded and even recognized for showing initiative. Most supervisors understand that internships are all about learning, and are there to help and support you in making that happen.

Be open to learning.

When something is thrown your way, welcome it with open arms as a learning experience—or even as a challenge.

Try new things and ask questions.

Sit with someone and watch what they do, and ask questions about how they do it. Despite what you are specifically interested in, there are many pieces that go into the making of the whole. Expand your knowledge on every aspect of what your company does. You’ll look better for it.

Be flexible.

Sometimes you will be given a task outside of your daily duties and what you’re used to doing. Be present in these moments. They end up being some of the best learning experiences.

Carry your notebook…everywhere.

And I mean everywhere. You never know when you’ll be asked to do a small task, or be told something awesome or inspirational that you want to remember forever.

Reach out when you are inspired or intrigued.

If you appreciate or admire someone—tell them. I know you may feel like you’re a bother at first, but the truth is: people love to be flattered. Although this is true, always be genuine in your efforts and your interests. Ask to chat over coffee or lunch. Some people like to bring a list of questions, and some like to make it more conversational; find what’s best for you. Most people are happy to tell you their stories, how they got to where they are, and how you can be successful too.

You’re a part of a team now.

Someone once told me, “You’re never just an intern.” From the day you begin your internship until the very end—you are part of the team. Everyone works together and helps one another to achieve the greater goal of an awesome project, production, show, or brand. What you do is not isolated; you can have a positive or negative effect on it all.

Don’t take it personally.

Although everyone is usually welcoming and friendly, everyone also has a job to do. A lot of the times people are busy-busy, so if someone happens to come across as rude or cold in an email or in person—it’s not usually you. Send an email before you approach someone, or ask them if they’re busy when you drop by. There may be a lot going on during crunch time. 

Better detailed than not.

It’s always better to dial it back than to not give it enough the first time around. 

Anticipate how you can help.

During my internship, I often transcribed interviews for producers to skim through for story ideas. They were usually pages and pages (and pages) long, so I always tried to highlight a few potentially interesting lines and note when a new topic began. Going the extra mile is well worth it. You’ll stand out.

Always be ready to think on your toes.

Things happen, and sometimes there’s nothing you can do. But if there is an opportunity to fix something, don’t be afraid to propose a quick solution. You could be the one to save the day.

You will make mistakes.

And that’s okay. It’s part of the process. But what matters is that you are learning from it, and that it shows.

Be honest.

This all depends on your line of work, and how many people are assigning you tasks during your internship. But if you’re swamped—say so. Be honest about how much you are working on, and give a truthful estimate as to when you’ll be able to help that person. The great Jackson 5 once said, “A, B, C, as easy as ‘I’m working on something now, but I can get to this in about fifteen to twenty minutes. I will update you as soon as I start.'” This is always better than saying you can do something, and not turning it in until five hours later.

Prioritize.

If you are interning somewhere with a million things happening at once and a thousand requests from a handful of people, things can become overwhelming at times. Who’s request do I complete first? Will I be able to get everything done? As someone who struggles with prioritizing, the best advice I’ve ever received from someone is to “Work deadline to deadline.” Whenever you receive a task or request, ask for the due date or deadline. Work in order of what’s needed first.

Delegate.

Like I said before, you’re part of the team now. If you have a huge task to take on and you’re being honest with yourself about the amount of work it will be—split it up between you and the other intern/interns, if possible. Teamwork makes the dream work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Seriously.

Much of the knowledge I acquired throughout my internship, in addition to being taught, is from asking for help. When a producer once asked me to find multiple clips of someone saying “obsessed” in an archive full of tapes, I asked what would be the best and most efficient way to find it, and she helped me with no problem. You will always be able to find people who are willing to help. Take advantage of that. But always remember to look it up before you ask, and to write it down so you remember for next time—and the next person.

Beat the “nothing to do” blues.

Even when you’ve asked every single person in the office if they need help and they’ve all said, “No, but thanks”—there is always something to do. If there really is nothing to do, then create something to do. Research trends, make a presentation, write an analysis, or even organize the storage closet. Act upon your ideas. As always—you’ll stand out.

Attitude is everything.

I love the saying “Your energy introduces you before you even speak.” You set the tone for your day, as well as anyone else’s that you come into contact with. Be positive, be friendly, and be you. It goes a very long way.

Walk into every day like it’s your first day.

I’m no stranger to first-day jitters, but I do believe in a little thing called “first-day glow.” You may be shaking in your boots, but there’s a total sense of confidence, professionalism, and brightness that you exude walking into your very first day on the job. You’re dressed to the impress, you want to prove yourself, and you’re ready to learn. Bring that same energy, confidence, and sparkle every other day, all the way until your last day. Another day, another slay—am I right?

Connect.

Just because you’re only there for a few months doesn’t mean that you can’t build real relationships. I’ve met the most amazing people, made the most incredible connections, and found life-long friends in just one summer: from interns throughout the building, to producers and production assistants in the newsroom, to the people in the media center and at the security desk and working valet. At the end of your internship, don’t forget to write thank you notes (you don’t have to limit it to just your supervisor) and exchange contact information. Working hard and being professional always comes first—but be a real person too. Ask someone about their day, or their weekend. Talk about your goals and aspirations. That could be the person to open the next door in your career for you. Even if that’s not the case—at least you made someone smile.

Time is short but sweet.

Let me tell you—time flies. Make every single moment count. Don’t wait until the last minute to do all the things you want to do. Take advantage of every opportunity that presents itself, and create opportunity for yourself. Most importantly—be fearless. You’ll be glad you were in the end.

Leave your mark.

Every time I embark on a new journey or chapter in my life, I ask myself: “How will leave my mark?” How can I make this place better? How do I want to be remembered? What kind of imprint do I want to leave? You don’t have to set the world on fire, or create something extravagant. But I’ve learned that little things can leave the biggest impact. With that being said—what kind of mark do you want to leave?

On the first day of my internship, the other intern whom I worked closely with this summer, Tessa, sat down with me for lunch. Not only was it my first day after she had already been there for a few weeks, but it was her eighth internship while it was only my first. I told her how intimidated I was, and she told me something I’ll never forget. 

“What would you do if you weren’t afraid?”

We laughed, and she told me it was her motto for the summer. I gave her a big hug and stuck it on a sticky note next to my desk. It quickly became the theme of my summer too, and I’m glad it did.

So now I’ll ask you.

What would you do if you weren’t afraid?

The only way for this to be the best experience of your life, is to make it the best experience of your life. Fall into this experience with open arms, an open heart, and an open mind. Go after what you want, and soak up every moment of it.

You were chosen for a reason, and you’re going to do great. Do good, be good, and work hard. Congratulations, and best of luck!

YOURSTRULYMIAIMG_6850Mia Brabham is a senior at James Madison University in Virginia, studying Media Arts and Design with a minor in Creative Writing. She was recently a Summer 2015 production intern at E! News in Los Angeles, California. After graduating, Mia wants to direct, write, act, produce, and eventually host her own television show. You can find her on Twitter at @yourstrulymia_.

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School Year Resolutions

Well hello there!

If you know anything about me, you know that I am a huge fan of two things:

inspiration, and organization.

So when I stumbled across this blog, you know I was double excited.

For her blog  A Glitter Affair, Chantel wrote a post about her New Semester Resolutions. She shares some awesome tips about getting excited and organized for the new school year, or the new semester.

I thought this was an absolutely fantastic idea. So I wrote a list myself! Here are my School Year Resolutions.

DIVIDER

Academic Resolutions:

+ Homework before play, always. Some people are most motivated to do their work right after class. Some need time to unwind. I’ve bounced between the two, as my study habits have changed from semester-to-semester depending on what kind of classes I am in. And as of last semester? I am the latter of the two. When I get home from school and work, looking at my 50 page reading is the last thing I want to do. I find myself diving into my work anyways, only half focused, reading things over and over because it’s not what I really want to be doing. I think I’m helping myself by making myself getting it done, but I’m really only wasting precious time. Prevent this by giving yourself a 30-minute-free-for-all. When you get out of class, give yourself a 30 minute break to snack, watch TV, relax on the quad, whatever. When those 30 minutes are up, do your work. Like Chantel, I am going to put my phone in a completely different room, and study. When you finish, you’ll be glad you have the rest of the day to relax.

+ Break it up. Rather than reading a whole chapter the day before it’s due, read a little bit each day, and stick to it. It’s less dreadful.

+ Stop jumping around. Focus on one task, complete it, then move on to the next. It saves you so much unneeded stress.

+ If you need help, just fricking ask. That’s what teachers and tutors are there for.

+ It’s going to be hard, but read the chapter before you go to class. Chantel had the bright suggestion to highlight all of the concepts you don’t understand, and write down any specific questions you may have. Then you have a basic knowledge of the material, and you might even be a little bit more engaged in what’s going on.

+ Everyone loves new things, okay? Figure out what school supply gets you excited, and get a new one. Just call me highlighter happy.

+ RE-find your study place. One semester, it was outside at a table under a tree. Another semester, it was at a desk in the corner of the library. A different semester, it was in my room. It may take a few times of shopping around to see which spot suits you best. When you find it, stick with it. But here’s the key. When you start getting bored of it, don’t force yourself to stay there. That’s a fatal mistake. You’ll lose concentration, and you will waste your time. Find a new spot again. You’ll look forward to studying, and you’ll actually stay focused.

+ Make study guides as you go. At the end of every chapter. For every test. Don’t wait until finals week to create study guides. It’ll make hell week a little more bearable. 10 chapters x 5 classes + 1 week to do it? You solve that equation.

 

Health Resolutions:

+ Do not stay up until 3AM every night. Just don’t.

+ Really, don’t stay up until 3AM every night.

+ Listen to your body. Don’t push yourself. Nourish it. Take care of it. It’s the only one you have.

+ I want to really take care of my hair this year. I want to let it grow out, so I’m going to work on keeping it healthy.

+ Drink more water. I don’t want my insides to look like SpongeBob inside of Sandy’s dome anymore. Drink some when you get up, and drink some before you go to bed. Carry a water bottle around with you all day. You’ll be more inclined to drink it. Pinky up.

+ You like to dance. So dance. Take one zumba/world beat/cardio dance party class every week. Just one. It’s fun. You let off some steam. And you never not feel great afterwards. It’s a win/win, really.

 

Work Resolutions:

I have an on-campus job as the student videographer and photographer at my university’s career and academic planning center. This will be my second year working there, and I absolutely love it.

+ Be a great team member.

+ Be a great leader.

+ Leave your school stress at home, and your work stress at work. Whatever you do, do not cross the two. I’m going to have to really buckle down on this one.

+ Continue to be organized at work. I print out a monthly calendar from Google, and put it on the front of my work binder to see all the important dates and fairs coming up. In my school planner, I choose one color for my work events/dates, and write them down there as well.

+ There’s a new Dunkin’ Donuts on the first floor, but try not to eat everything.

 

Social Resolutions:

+ It’s my junior year, but I want to continue to be open to meeting people. Not even for the sake of friendship, but because people are interesting in general. Engage with the stranger on the bus. Talk to the person sitting next to you in class. Everyone has a story to tell. Take time to hear it. Take time to learn. You might find friends in the most unlikely places.

And I’m in two already, but…

+ Join one more club. Just one. I might want to shoot my foot off, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

I have found the more you are involved with your school, the more you love it.

 

DIVIDER

 

Now, I know many people are turned away just by the idea of resolutions. They are convinced they never last, or that they are just for show. But I am convinced that anything and everything is possible. If you want it bad enough, and if you truly have a desire to better yourself, it can most definitely happen- no questions asked. If you stumble a few times, hey, that’s life. Just keep on trying. It’s been done before, and it can be done again. You are not the exception. You can do it too, just like everyone else. No matter how small, or how big the goal is.

 

This is a clean slate for you. Take advantage of it.

 

I hope these tips and ideas from myself as well as Chantel have been helpful to you. I know I’m going to print out my list and smack it on my cork board above my desk! Leave a comment below, or create a list of your own resolutions. Writing down your goals make them more real, more visible, and more attainable. I can’t wait to hear them!

 

I wish you the best of luck going into the next semester.

 

Cheers to the new year!

 

To check out my new blog, click here.

YOURSTRULYMIA

 

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DIY | Fortune Cookie Frame

Hi Y’all – Here’s my DIY of the day! It’s super easy, way fun, and takes less than five minutes.

Fortune Cookie Frame | Mia Brabham

© Mia Brabham

Every once in a while you get a fortune that really resonates with you, so why not keep it? Grab a cheap frame from The Dollar Tree, some cute scrap paper from around the house, and stick it on your desk for instant inspiration.

Hope you’re all living life to the fullest. Enjoy your summer, the nice weather, the weekend, or all of the above!


“Fortune favors the bold.” -Virgil


Yours Truly, Mia 

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