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!

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!

 

Busy as a bee

I feel like I’ve let some people down lately. You can never really win, there’s always someone who isn’t going to be happy with your decision to do or not do something.

For those who know me, I love graining experience and finding ways to improve and develop my skills. A few months ago, I met this person at a forum and introduced myself. I asked if he had any opportunities for me at the local radio station and he had let someone go for me. He offered me a position as a production assistant for his show on a Sunday night.

I was overly excited and accepted it. At the time I thought it was the perfect thing, I hadn’t had much experience in the radio industry and for me to be able to observe and hopefully use the position as a stepping stone for me to go to the newsroom.

My dad wasn’t happy with it. He didn’t like the fact that it wasn’t paid, and that I would have to travel every Sunday for about 20 minutes for a 6PM-9PM shift. Dad is usually all for my sister and I to gain experience but I guys because I had just quit my paying job in retail and my sister had also quit her paid internship, he was freaking out about money.

I mean, my sister and I have always paid for our own stuff, shoes, clothes, uni stuff and more. My parents supplied the house we live in, the food we have and holidays. Now the fact that my sister and I didn’t have a stable income, he was kinda freaking out on how to support us. But my sister and I have money saved, it won’t last forever, but it’ll last till we find another job.

I’ve been a bit picky on what sort of job I’ve been applying for. I’m so over retail, 6 years in the business and I’m slightly over it. I’m not saying I think I’m too good for it, but I think I’ve learnt enough from that industry. I’ve been trying to find work that is more industry related, something in the communication industry. But it’s very hard.

Anyways, today I just quit the position as a production assistant. I’ve been feeling overwhelmed in the last few weeks, first we lost my grandma and that just meant a lot of family time – I’ve missed two pray sessions and I’ve always been the type to put family first. I’ve been doing two internships, Seven News and Studio 10 and I’ve been flooded with uni work and uni is just about to start. I haven’t has time to myself really, only to write blogs where I can reflect on things.

This week, I have two assignments due, three days of internships and two days of uni. It’s going to be a hectic week. If I survive I’m going to be pretty impressed with myself.

I feel like I’ve let people down because of being unable to commit to things. My friends don’t even talk about their problems to me anymore because they assume I’m too busy to listen to them – which sometimes they are right, and whenever they do approach and ask me stuff they apologise for annoying me.

Some even say “I don’t even message you anymore because I know you’re a busy bee”

I just need to learn to balance things out and make sure I’m committed to things. Don’t get me wrong, I’m so grateful to have met all these wonderful people that have helped me in my journalism life and feeling really lucky for all the experiences I’ve had. But maybe for now, I might hold off on searching for something new and wait for what I’m doing now to finish or develop into something.

But, I guess this is the life of a university student!

 

Hi, I’m Han from Seven News – could get used to saying that

What a marvellous day!

Today I was sent out to a story all by myself, because the story hasn’t come gone to air yet, I will not be talking about it here. I was sent out with my very own cameraman, who we call Rattle. He was great fun to work with, knew a lot, I mean a lot about the business and the industry.

Before I left, I was briefed by COS and then sent a media release and was briefed by Cath Turner who will be the journalist voicing and presenting the story – I’m only an intern. Cath is a journalist who I look up to, she’s so talented and has experienced so much.

We spent about 3hrs at the location, shooting graphics and conducting interviews. I had to do my very first interview! I was so nervous , but thankfully I wasn’t the only one. It was my talents first interview as well, so we kinda worked together and had a normal conversation. She was a bit nervous, but everyone there were so great, all so nice and welcoming and very helpful. They even supplied lunch for us!

As we were filming our last footage we received a call from COS assigning us to another task. We had to conducting a few box pops for a package about the light rail construction affecting commuters in the CBD.

I honestly thought people would love to get on TV and talk to me, but honestly I was rejected so many times..it hurts haha. I introduced myself as “Hi, I’m Han from Seven News: seriously could get used to saying this.

I’m really loving what i’ve been doing lately, so very grateful and happy. I know that not everyday is going to be full on and as fun and active. But I seriously can’t wait to enter the work force, even though I’m constantly saying I’m scared and not ready.

Persistence, Twitter, Passion and LOTS of E-Mails

People are constantly asking me “how have you had so much experience and yet are so young”.

These experiences everyone’s talking about are the internships and other things that I have completed. – I’d like to also add and this may make me sound a little up myself, but I’m very proud and impressed with everything I’ve achieved in the last two years since I’ve left high school.

Here’s a list of things I’ve completed/completing – so far: Internship with Seven News Sydney, Oceania Correspondent for The Global Panorama, Internship in Canberra’s Press Gallery for 2GB Radio, Published in the Daily Telegraph, Internship with News Corps’ Macarthur Chronicle, Network Ten’s Studio 10 Intern and Production Assistant for C91.3.

To be honest, I don’t think I’ve done a lot, don’t get me wrong, what amazing things I’ve done, but I would love to do more and put what I’ve learnt in my lectures and tutorials to the test.

Once I set my mind on something, I won’t stop until I get there. I plan to gain as much experience as I can before I enter the big world of the work force, that way, I’ll look more employable to my future/potential bosses, develop new skills, network and most importantly get my name out there.

Whenever people ask me about my so called “success”, I tell them comes down to four important things for me and they all relate to each other.

Persistence, Twitter, Passion and LOTS of E-Mails.

PERSISTENCE: A very wise man once told me that persistence is the key to getting what you want, and boy was he right. Ever since this wise man told me the importance of being persistent I haven’t stopped. I’m the type of person who will hassle you until you give me what I want. I’ll send a person an email weekly about an internship request until they reply. I mean, why not? The worse that could happen is they say no. What’s so bad about that? You’re still in the same position as you were in the first place. Be persistent, otherwise you’re not going to get anywhere.

TWITTER: Twitter was the place for where I got my first ever internship. My first internship was with Seven News. I like to keep my Twitter pretty professional, so I follow a lot of news organisations and journalists. Some of the times, these news organisations and journalist would follow me back. I used this to my advantage, I direct messaged a journalist from Seven News and from there I got my first internship. Twitter is also the best place to get your name out there, people can see you and what you’re up to. It’s great for me because I can share what I’ve written and experienced. Getting your name out there to me is so important.

PASSION: You need to be passionate, love and care about what you’re doing, otherwise there’s no point. Always pick something you’re passionate about, don’t let anyone [parents, friends] tell you what your career should be. I should know, I come from a stereotypical asian family whose parents expected my sister and I to become doctors. But thankfully we didn’t, otherwise I’d be really depressed and hate my parents. The reason I’m so motivated to find and gain experience is because I LOVE what I’m doing.

E-MAILS: Emails, the best thing ever. Emails have allowed me to send my resume and keep in contact with potential employers. Like I was saying about being persistence, just keep sending them, it just shows how much you want this job/internship. If you just sit on your butt and wonder after three weeks why you haven’t received an email back, I personally think you’re an idiot. These employers probably receive thousands of emails each day, of those thousands, about 50 might be from students looking to gain practical experience. You need to find a way to stand out, not by using bright colours but by being persistent. They’ll recognise your email address and realise you REALLY want this compared to the other 49. Man I love emails.

It’s funny, because as I’m writing this post I just received an email about a potential internship. The person who emailed back said “thanks for the follow up email”.

I really hope these four things help you as much as they have helped me. I’m having so much fun as a student journalist and as an intern for any organisation that will have me.

 

“Why is your life so glamorous?”

Today I was asked, “why is your life so glamorous?” not just once, but twice, from completely different people.

Now, A very wise man informed me long before today’s encounter that people will assume that having a life in media/communication is glamorous.

Sure, I’m having the time of my life as a student journalist and as a media intern for any organisation that will have me. It’s not because it’s ‘glamourous’, it’s because I really enjoy and love what I am doing. I’ve completed about six internships so far and i’ve had to do the proper intern stuff: coffee and lunch runs, mail pick up, when I was a fashion PR intern I had to iron clothes. As an intern, you pretty much do all the jobs paid people don’t want to do.

I’d like to point out, I make my life glamorous.

Think about it. I’m not going to show the world via Twitter, Facebook or Instagram that I iron peoples clothes or pick up mail. I’m going to send you snaps of me right up close to a celebrity or playing with puppies and all the freebies I get.

I had to work with puppies for a story. What I shared on my social media accounts: Me playing with cute 12 week old puppies. What I didn’t share: A puppy peed on me, and I also stepped on dog poo.

I guess people are right to assume that my life is ‘glamorous’, I mean that’s what I want you all to see. But really, it’s part of the job, the puppies and the poo.

For those who know me, you’ll know I’m a big believer in starting from the bottom and making your way to the top through hard work and dedication. I love doing ALL the intern stuff, from the coffee runs and to the freebies.

It’s part of the intern life.

I must admit, I’ve been fortunate to have had internships where I have been published and gained practical experience, putting what i’ve learnt in my lectures and tutorials to use. But I also remember getting extremely excited about having to do my first coffee run – in all the Hollywood movies, that’s what interns do. So being able to live like what I watched growing up is pretty exiting to me.

I strongly believe working hard, being persistent and loving what you do will get you far in life.