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.

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!


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!

Back to where it all started

I’ve been a little quiet lately here on my blog, a lot has happened in the last few weeks. I’ve been constantly busy with stuff, and whenever I’ve had time to myself, I’ve managed to finish some projects that have been sitting on my table for a very long time.

Today I went back to where it all started – where my motivation to find internships, gain practical experience and love for journalism grew, Seven News. For those who don’t know, Seven News was my first ever internship/work experience. I’m back here for another week.

It’s been over a year since I was last a there and to be honest, I think I was a little bit too overly keen. This time round I made sure I was a little more calm. I’d like to think that in the past year or so I’ve matured a little bit, I feel like I have.

I came to this internship with a positive attitude, like I do with all my internships. I always have an open mind and always willing to learn ( I love learning new stuff, especially industry related). But with this one, I made sure I also came with more maturity.

To my surprised, a lot of the people I worked with last time remembered me and some who I briefly met recognised my face from when I was there or seeing me in the field when I was interning for a different organisation. It’s such a great and warm feeling.

I got to work with a really great cameraman today, his name’s Frank. I had met I’m before but he doesn’t remember me. He was great, giving me tips and advice on what to do, what to wear and how to succeed in this very competitive industry.

I worked with two journalist today. For one I went out to two press conferences, one with Premier Mike Baird and the other with opposition leader, Luke Foley about a $200 million make over for Circular Quay. It was such a beautiful day to be out. I also met another intern who’s interning for Network 10. While I was there, the 10 journo recognised me from interning with Studio 10 and said I was a traitor (in a joking way of course).

It really is great to be recognised, and I guess that’s what the industry is about, it’s who you know and who knows you.

My other story I went out on was about a soccer brawl that left a teenager in hospital with a  broken jaw. We camped out at the hospital for a bit, where the journalist did a PTC and then traveled to Granville police station to record the VO and also do the live cross at 6PM.

I learnt a lot of technical terms today, and a lot of names. For those who know me, I’m really bad at remembering names, but I’m at at remembering faces. I really need to improve on it.

Everyone is so warm, welcoming, accommodating and willing to teach and give advice, which is what I consider the best thing. I’m always looking to learn new things and find different ways to tackle a situation.

I will be posting daily during my week here at Seven News. I’m very grateful for what I’ve got, so thankful for all my internships.

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.