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!



I swear I was working…

What a hot day it was today!

I was asked to come back and extend my internship till tomorrow. If you’ve read my pervious post, you’ll know it’s a full on week for me. Two assignments due, two days at uni and threes days interning. This morning on my train ride and in the first hour of my shift I managed to finish on of my assignments, due tomorrow at 5PM and I finished a day of interning. It’s seriously a relief to have finished that assignment, just one more to do and the rest of the week should be good for me.

Today was a good day, I was told that I’d be out and about doing stuff for the weather package and train to be a weather girl –  I might add was the lead story in tonights bulletin. I was partnered off  and reunited with Rolfe, a cameraman I met the last time I was at Seven. It was so good to see him again and to be able to work with him was great fun. At 10AM I was briefed by a producer and Rolfe and I were told to go to Bondi and Coogee to film some overlay and do some voxpops. We started out at Bondi and then made our way to Coogee where we picked up our COS son to use the GoPro in the water. As Rolfe was filming the time laps of an ice-block melting, I supervised the COS son and told him to do things, jump in the wave, interact with people, run from the beach into the water and just have fun in the sun. We also went to this area of the beach where he cold jump off rocks. Oh my gosh was I worried, I mean, I had the care of the COS son in my hands. I mean, If he’d hurt himself or didn’t have fun or got lost I would have gotten in so much trouble, lost my internship and god knows what would happen to me. But thankfully everything went smoothly and when we got back to Rolfe we conducted some voxpops and then returned the COS son back home. I also managed to stick my feet in the water – boy was that nice.

We thought it would be best to give the disc of stuff we filmed back to the newsroom so they could package it together then Rolfe and I traveled to Aqua Park in Penrith. I’ve never been to Penrith before and to be honest, it’s not what I expected. Yes, It was boiling hot but to my surprise it was not as rural as I thought it would be. The action park was filled with families and children on their last day of school holidays. I gave the GoPro to one of the ‘customers’ is that what you call them? who had a son and told them to go have fun and slide down the slide for five to 10 minutes, as I was watching over, Rolfe filmed some more overlay and we met up where I was standing to do some voxpops near the water. Once everyone saw we were interviewing people a whole group of people swamped us, in particular children. It was great fun, but they pretty much just wanted their five minutes of fame, most of what they were saying wasn’t really much use for us. But I took advantage of the situation and asked them all “Are you guys excited to be going back to school tomorrow?” we got a massive reply of “NO”. We missed out on filming sausages being cooked on the barbie, so I called the producer up and told her and she said that it was okay.

From there we headed back to Sydney and the newsroom where I was told I could go home, by this time it was about 4:30PM. COS reminded me of my run down for tomorrow and I talked to the producer I’ll be working under for tomorrows package I’m working on. I asked him what he wanted/needed me to do and gave me tips and advice on how to approach it.

I just received an email from COS, she sent the whole team – camera crew, journalist and producers the run down for tomorrow. Besides my name it has (FP) which I believe means Field Producer…HOW COOL IS THAT? haha.

I’m really exhausted from today, i might be suffering from a slight case of heat stroke because I’ve been outside in the sun a lot of today. But I’m loving this internship, I mean I’m learning so much from producers, COS, cameramen and journalists, I’m discovering new places like Aqua Park and visiting places I’ve never been before. I seriously love this internship and wish it’ll never end. But, I can’t stay an intern forever! One more year of my degree and hopefully I’ll be a real journalist!

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.


Life’s a Challenge

Last Friday I received an email about the internship I applied for. If you read my earlier post, you would know how surprised I was when I read the email which invited me to go to an interview.

I was being honest when I thought I failed the test. The first current affairs test was brutal for me, which I really am disappointed in myself. I thought I’d know more about politics and government.

Anyways, I was invited to go to an interview with two others on Monday and I had to come prepared with a pitch(s). I was in no shape to come up with a pitch, to the end of that week I had my wisdom teeth removed. I was always drowsy, couldn’t think straight, in a lot of pain and I was pretty much a sleep for 3 out of the 4 days.

But, I’m always up for a challenge. I replied to the email letting them know to be expecting me at 9am Monday morning.

Thankfully by Sunday I was feeling a little bit better. So I had time to come up with a pitch, write some notes down and do some uni work. I only came up with one idea, and technically speaking I should have come up with a back up plan, just in case they didn’t like it. But I thought it was a good pitch, different to what the publication would normally do, and it would attract a wider audience group.

Monday came and what a morning it was. I always plan to get a  place least a 15minutes before the required time, because I face a lot, and I mean A LOT of complications throughout the day. I wouldn’t call it bad luck, I like to think of it as a challenge. But man, someone out there really likes to challenge me.

I got off the train at central and ran to get the light rial, no joke I missed it by half a second. The doors closed on me when I got there. But that’s okay because there was another one coming in 5 minutes. Five minutes came and nothing, the light rail came 10 minutes later and you’ll never believe it, it had technical problems, so everyone got off the train and waited at central. Two minutes later and another came, everyone was fighting for a place on it. I couldn’t even get a foot in the door, so I had to wait for another.

By this time, it was about 9:45am, I emailed the interviewers letting them know I may be running late. I finally got on the light rail and just made it to the interview with a minute to spare. Want to know what else? My face decided to start to show bruising, but thankfully some created things called make up.

I think the interview went well, it was a causal interview, I talked about selfies, shoes and my ability to run really fast in heels. I think they really liked my pitch, which is great. One of the panellist told me that I just scraped through with the current affairs test, but my writing sections and personally made up for it.

By the end of this week we will find out if we got a place. But like I said before, what an amazing opportunity that was. I’m happy I made it this far and If I don’t get it? there’s always next time and many other opportunities out there.

You’ve just got to stay positive xx