A life update

What a day – actually scratch that, what a week it has been.

This week was my final week of university for the semester. It was a pretty busy and full on week for me and I started to feel overwhelmed with everything going on, but now that the week is over, I can sit back and write this blog post.

It started out with a very chilled Monday where I planned to finish off my 2500 word assignment due the following day and start the other assignment due on Friday. I managed to finish off the first assignment, sort out the rest of my week and start my second assignment. I also put the final touches to my presentation for my talk at my old high school on Tuesday.

I had a 9am start on Tuesday, so I was out of the house by eight o’clock making my way to my old high school, St Ursula’s College Kingsgrove where I would present two presentations for year 11 students during their ‘Empower’ classes. It was so great to catch up and see all of my teachers, thankfully they all remembered me and they seriously have not changed one bit! It was a bit strange going back to school and seeing everything had changed. Many of the buildings had been knocked down and rebuilt so I must admit I was a little lost. Both groups I spoke to were very nice and interactive, I felt really nervous coming back to talk to them – like there was some sort of pressure because I was an ex-student. As a thank you, the school gave me wine glasses, a bottle of wine and coasters with the school emblem on it, it was really nice of them to do so. I look forward to coming back at the end of the year to speak to year 10 students about their subject selections.

After the presentation I made my way to the city to listen to The Today Show and Huffington Post‘s Lisa Wilkinson talk about the art of storytelling, as an added bonus her husband, Peter FitzSimons was there to speak as well. In my spare time, or when I can I like to go to events like this to learn more about journalism – I’m always looking at ways to improve my skills as a journalist. Both speakers were so inspirational and great to listen to, I’m glad I went.

On Wednesday I had an interview with UTS Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences to be the Journalism SPROUTS (Student Promotional Officers of UTS)…you are looking at the new journalism representative for UTS! Looking forward to inspiring and encouraging younger students to study at UTS. Part of my role will be running journalism workshops schools, so in two weeks I will have two workshops on all things journalism to run – I look forward to that. I went to my tutorial after that, it was really cute because our tutor bought in carrot cake, a student bought in tea with hot water and milk and I bought in chocolate. It was a small class, but very cute. The plan was to work on our assignments that was due Friday, but we ended up chatting away and bonding.

By Thursday most of my commitments were over, I had a few errands to run in the morning (I felt like an actual adult) and then headed to my journalism lecture where we listened to a journalist from the ABC, who was also a UTS alumni. I wasn’t planning on attending because I didn’t have anything left to do for that subject and I wanted to work on my final assignment, but I’m glad I did. During the two hour break between the lecture and tutorial I ended up working on my assignment for a bit and went for a chocolate fix with a friend. Our tutorial normally runs for two hours, but within 45 minutes we were dismissed.

Now, I know I should have used that extra time wisely and finish off my assignment that was due today (Friday) 5pm but I was not motivated enough and was very distracted by online shopping. So I ended up having 500+ words left of my 2000 word essay to do.

This morning I bought my laptop to my internship with Sunday Style and finished off my assignment in between transcribing and Pinterest posts and during my lunch break. This week was my third week with them, but to anyones surprise, it was also my final day with them. I was offered something that I couldn’t refuse, which meant I had to part ways with NewsCorp. When I applied for this internship, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into.

I love hard news, politics and chasing people out of court, this internship was completely different. It was focused on fashion, celebrity and feature stories and thing I wasn’t used to – but boy was I wrong. I really enjoyed my time there, even though it was so sort. I was constantly kept busy, transcribing and doing bits and pieces to help the editorial team and everyone was so nice and friendly. I had this stigma that working in a magazine environment, everyone would be so bitchy and snobby, but interning with Sunday Style was nothing like that.

Thank you so much to the Sunday Style team for having me, you were all so nice to me and willing to show me things and share cake with me! It was a short but very sweet ride and I look forward to hopefully bumping into the team again soon.

What now for me you may ask? Well, I’m off on a new adventure starting next week. I’m very excited and nervous at the same time, but looking forward to a change.

You’ll have to tune back here to find out what I’m up to!

The not-so-glamorous life of Han Nguyen

A lot of people assume I have a very glamorous life because I’m (sorta) in the media industry, and sure they’re right but it’s only a small part of the crazy world which I love.

I’ve had some shocking moments and my career has only just started. So I thought I’d share a few of my embarrassing Han moments with you all!

  1. Once I had an interview with a well known online news organisation and I was running a little late for it (I made the interview on time…it was cause I was slightly disorganised in the morning). It was winter time so I was wearing layers of clothes and was speed walking to the building, when I got into the building it was heated. So during my interview I was sweating…like a lot. The interviewer was asking me questions, and while I was answering I was taking all the layers of clothes off, draining my bottle and wiping the sweat off my face. The interviewer offered me tissues to wipe my sweat and offered me a glass of water in-between asking me questions about the job. Sadly, I didn’t get the job but it was a wonderfully embarrassing lesson!
  2. Last year I interned in Canberra’s Press Gallery and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. A moment – which I’ve tried to forget but can’t because it was that embarrassing –  I had was when I was walking/running to a press conference and tripped on the flat surface of Parliament House in front of 10-15 journalist and cameramen and a couple of politicians. This resulted in three security guards running to my aid asking if I was alright and helping me up while I was bright red and laughing. Note to self – don’t try to run in heels…you’re clumsy.
  3. I’m not a very emotional person so it takes a lot for me to cry. Earlier this year I was put on the late shift so I didn’t have to come in until 2pm. I wasn’t feeling 100% in the morning but went into work anyways. I went and sat at my desk and started to work on the things I needed to do, but I felt worse sitting there. Around 45 minutes later the editor comes looking for me, I can’t remember why, I think it was to talk about a story I had just written. I don’t know what happened, but when he came over and sat next to me I just started to cry..not just little tears. But what a legend he was! I was trying to explain to him how sick I felt and he wasn’t turned away by the fact a teenager girl was crying in front of him. He  sat there and talked to me, told me to go home but I refused cause I wanted to finish the story I was working on so he told me to take a walk and then make a decision on if I wanted to stay or not. He was really sympathetic and caring! So great. I went for a walk and ended up going home early. Lesson learnt: Don’t overwork yourself otherwise you’ll get sick
  4. Do you know what’s really bad? When you incorrectly name editors. I have incorrectly named two editors that I can remember, one was when I was talking to my editor who I just met and I called him Daniel (which in my defence is pretty close to his name, okay not really), I didn’t realise my mistake until he emailed me something. Boy was that awkward! The other time I emailed an editor I’ve never met and called him Chris instead of Craig…lets just say I never received a response. Lesson learnt, names are very important!

Those are just a few embarrassing moments in my life. It can be glamorous, but in my case, cause I’m the clummiset person ever…it’s a little more complicated! It’s am amazing life and I can’t wait to see what I get up to in the future. But here’s to more clumsy moments! Because I learn so much from my mistakes and mishaps.


Week two and I already feel behind

Last week was my first week back at university and being a student again. It feels like ages since I last studied and had to do a reading for a class.

I’m going to be honest, it’s second week and I already feel behind. I think it’s a combination of the new ‘trimester’ system UTS has going, the five month break I had and the fact that during my break I was interning/working everyday.

My first class I felt clueless, I read all my readings and watched the film for the week and yet I felt like I knew nothing. Actually, it wasn’t just my first class, it was the whole week that felt like such a drag and pointless. My first day back I went through four cups of coffee, I wouldn’t recommend that to anyone. I got home and crashed straight away because of all the caffeine I had.

The transition from working everyday to having to go back to studying is a very difficult one, It makes me feel like uni is holding me back and I find myself thinking I already know what my lecturers and tutors are teaching me – but really I don’t know, It seems I’ve grown a big head because of the experience I did over my break.

I know I have a lot to learn, and I need to finish this degree – not just because my parents want me to, but as reassurance for the future, but I feel like if I was to go job hunting now I could possibly have a job and do what I love instead of falling asleep in a lecture hall or classroom.

But, I’m going to power through and hopefully survive the rest of my degree!

Since it’s my last full term as a university student (next semester I’ll be doing one subject) I thought I’d make the most of it and be a uni student. I’m going to make an effort to catch up with people, be more involved with the university, go to uni parties and have a social life on weekends.

Last year I just went to class and went straight home or to work. I spent my weekends at home with the family or catching up on work, interned as much as I could – on any free day I had and did not see anyone or have a social life.

So far it’s been good, I’ve seen and caught up with more people than I did all of last year, had more of a social life with family and friends, I’m a mentor to first year journalism students and I’ve been going to as many university events as I can fit in.

One thing still remains the same, I’m kept constantly busy and that’s the way I like it.

When I grow up I want to be a Journalist

Growing up in a traditional Vietnamese family, becoming a journalist was never really an option.

When I was younger I wanted to be a policewoman, that was the first ever dream job of mine. As I grew up I decided policing wasn’t really my thing and that I wanted to be a teacher.

I stuck with the idea of teaching for a couple of years for many reasons – I wanted to make a difference in peoples lives, being a teacher you had great holidays/breaks and it seemed like a pretty chilled and cool job. But one of the main reasons was because my parents wanted me to be a teacher. Being a doctor or pharmacists was out of the question, so teaching was the next best thing to my parents.

One day I was sitting in front of the TV with my mum folding towels when TV show “Getaway” came on. I was folding a purple towel when I looked over to my mum and said “Mum, that’s what I want to do. I want to be on TV and travel for work.” Mum laughed and said something along the lines of “ha-ha if you can do that, I’ll be very happy for you”. Don’t get me wrong, my mum is very supportive of me, but during that time you never heard of an Asian journalist or presenter. Mum was being realistic.

I’m glad mum said that to me, because that was the trigger that drove me to do journalism. At first I just wanted to prove, not only my parents but the whole extend Nguyen family wrong – that Asians can be journos/presenters. Once my cousin told me I’d have better luck being a prostitute than being a journalist. But now, I love my life. I’m obsessed with News and love where I’m at.

I recently had to little cousins come up to me and say “When I grow up, I want to be a journalist just like you Chi Han.” That melted my heart. I’m so happy and excited that my younger cousins can dream big and think outside of the box and not have people constantly being negative about it.

My advice to you kids, dream big – that’s the only way you’ll ever be happy!



Fresh off the boat

I’m back – Tanned, refreshed and ready to get back into it.

For those who know me, I’ve been working/interning/studying constantly for the last year and haven’t really had a proper break. When I found out my family booked a two week cruise around the South Pacific I wasn’t impressed. I really didn’t want to go away, I wanted to stay back and continue what I was doing because I’m enjoying where my life is at.

But I’m glad we went away, it gave me time to think, reflect and relax – the tan was a total bonus.

I figured out that I’m really obsessed with working and extremely nosy. On the second day of the cruise, we had to turn back closer to land for a helicopter because of a ‘medical emergency’. I didn’t realise how nosy I was until my sister got really annoyed at me for asking so many people questions and was constantly distracted by what was happening. My sister actually got pissed off and didn’t talk to me for the rest of the day…oops.

But for the rest of the 12 night cruise I became more relaxed and really enjoyed myself. Had time to read and finish a book (I don’t remember the last time I picked up a book), caught up on a lot of sleeping, ate plenty of food (I put on 1.4kg) and did a lot of swimming.

A magical moment was when I was snorkelling in Lifou, New Caledonia, my sister and I went out a little further than everyone else and as we were swimming out of the corner of my eye I could see a turtle. My sister of course freaked out and screamed “omg there’s a turtle” alerting everyone else to the location. But a little later I went out on my own and found the turtle again, so magical just to swim along with it for 10 or so minutes. What a magical creature.

For the first time I got sea sick, it was on the second last day of the cruise as we were heading back home. Sydney was experiencing severe weather so the water was a little choppy. I must have eaten something that upset my tummy because at 1:30am I found myself sitting on the toilet seat sweating and feeling really uncomfortable. As I was sitting there the motion of the boat was not helping, I ended up vomiting at the same time as sitting on the toilet letting the other end clear out.

I highly recommend Royal Caribbean to anyone planning on cruising. We’ve traveled with them twice and they constantly offer great service, quality food, lots of facilities and actives and you really do have a wonderful time.

Happy cruising!


It’s not really goodbye!

For the past six months I have been interning with Network TENs morning show, Studio 10 and on Friday it was time to say goodbye.

What an internship. The internship at Studio 10 isn’t really a journalism one. A lot of the work that interns do is more production type things, but I wasn’t going to knock back such a rewarding internship just because it wasn’t journalism related, cause in some ways it was as well.

I have learnt so much about myself during my time there. I’ve learnt I’m terrible with stress, but as time went on I learnt how to control and maintain my stress levels – which I’m very proud of. I was overwhelmed a lot of the time towards the end of my internship, I was given a lot more responsibilities and whenever the audience co-ordinator/my boss was away, I had to take over his role. It was very overwhelming the first time I had to do it. I didn’t realise how much work went into a 2 minute segment or how much money was spent in the show. The job stressed me out a lot, I was constantly tired, sleep deprived and as time went on, I lacked the motivation to get up at 4AM to head to the office. I used to be so excited about interning, but this job was really draining.

That week was a bit of a weird week for me, a lot had happened that made me make the decision to leave earlier than planned. Technically speaking there’s another two weeks till the last live show and I had planned to stay right till the end but things happened and on Thursday afternoon I approached my boss asking/telling him that Friday was going to be my last day.

I think the reason I stayed so long was because of the audience and the crew. I loved working with them so much, they made me feel so special and loved, always complimenting my outfits and encouraging me to achieve my best. The audience would give me life advice and treated me with so much respect.

I also felt like if I had left earlier I’d be letting my boss down. He has done so much for me over the last six months, given me so many opportunities to prove myself not just to him and my superiors but also prove to me that I can do things. But when I approached him on Thursday afternoon he was fine with my decision and was happy to hear about the next step in my life.

That afternoon was the first time I felt happy, like real happy in the last six months. The internship had really drained me and taken a lot of energy. I seriously felt a sense of relief when I left the building. Don’t get me wrong, the internship was amazing, I learnt so much, experienced amazing things, met amazing people and got so many opportunities from it, but I think six months anywhere as an intern is draining.

On Friday it was like my first day, I woke up at 4AM so excited to come in, I wasn’t tired, I was full of energy leading the audience for the last time and just had so much fun. It was a great way to end the internship.

I have met so many wonderful people who I plan to keep in contact with, because really…it’s not goodbye. From this internship I met someone who has given me an opportunity in the digital news department at as their intern, so technically speaking I’m just moving departments which means I can still see everyone and I think it’s made my decision to leave a lot easier.

Looking forward to the next step in my life!

You’re so fat now

My name is Han Nguyen, I am 19 years old, 167cm tall, weigh 57kg and was called fat twice in the space of a few days.

Here’s the back story to my life, when I was 15 I weighed 45kg and was all skin and bone. At the time I had a hyper thyroid which made me lose weight extremely fast, I was constantly tired and would pass out on occasions. People used to say ‘omg you’re so lucky you’re so skinny’ or ‘I’m so jealous you can eat what you want and not get fat’. I must admit, I was very happy with the compliments and loved the idea of being so skinny.

I was close to being anorexic.

Not many people know this about me, but when I started taking my medication I gained weight, I had put on 10kg within a week. I was so self-conscious about what everyone thought of me and how much weight I had put on. I used to starve myself because I wanted to lose weight and go back to being 45kg. I was terrified of seeing someone who I hadn’t seen in ages because I didn’t want them to point out I was ‘fat’. I changed my hair style, hoping that people would take notice of my hair cut rather than my weight gain. I wasn’t happy with my life, not because of my weight gain, but because of all the fat shaming.

I have maintained the 55-60kg weight range for the past four and a half years. It has taken me this long to be confident in who I am.

To all those who keep saying I’m fat and pointing out I’ve gained weight, yeah I have gained weight. It’s for the better. But I’m not fat, I’m healthy and extremely happy with my life. I’m in the healthy weight range and am so over all the negativity.

So why don’t you f&%$ off and find something better to do with your life, cause I’m very happy with mine and don’t have time for your shit.