Tuesday, July 22, 2014

How to Thrive and Survive in NYC

I’ve been here for about seven weeks and have learned many things in this short time about living in one of the country’s busiest cities. Every day I get up, walk to the subway, work, look for food, explore, shower, rinse and repeat. With that much repetition and practice you could probably say I’m somewhat of an expert.

But, FYI, living here is not the cakewalk I thought it would be. There are key things I wish I would’ve known before coming here. Lucky for you, I’m willing to share.

Below are my five tips for thriving and surviving in the concrete jungle. Or rather, what you should come armed with and keep with you at all times; and no, these are not things you can find at Duane Reade at the corner of 14th and 3rd.

This is a place full of waiting. If NYC were a movie its tagline would read “the waiting place.” Lines can go on for miles, but are you surprised? You’re in a major tourist spot. Sure they can be annoying at times, particularly when you’re late for work, but being patient and able to roll with the punches ensures that you won’t be angry every single day.

A sense of adventure

Coney Island? That's always in the budget!
Fun things are at every corner. With so many stores, parks and entertainment, there is something for everybody. Never should you say you are bored. Boredom doesn’t live, visit or exist here. Channel your inner explorer, grab your monthly MetroCard (it’s cheaper than paying every way), hit the subway and go. BUT notice I didn’t say there’s something safe at every corner. Right along with your adventure sense, store your common sense. Quiet, dark, abandoned alleys at 3 a.m. are NOT fun.

Money managing skills

I quickly realized that the best thing about NYC is the food. Food, food, food; I love food. But my wallet doesn’t necessarily agree with my love of food. I was super excited about landing a paid internship. My first paycheck arrived, but before I knew it a chunk of my money was gone thanks to take-out. My advice? Make a budget. Avoid cheap places like McDonald’s at all costs, but don’t eat at the fancy Thai place in Brooklyn every week and blow all of your money either. Plus, with stores like Trader Joe's and tons of quality street produce stands, it’s super easy to make gourmet meals in your apartment for the low.


While you may not always be the sharpest tool in the shed, you can definitely be the hardest working person in the group. Hard work always beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard. It’s about being confident in your work. No one wants to work with an individual who isn’t proud to show off what they’ve done. It’s a sign of weakness and honestly, in this city, there is no room for weakness. Be who you are and own it well.


Curse Hollywood for creating movies about the city promising us that our dreams would instantly come true the moment we arrived here. This is one of the toughest cities to break through in any industry, let alone succeed. If you want to be among the best, you’re going to have to bring your best on a consistent basis. There are no instant successes and if you take failures too personally then you will never make it in this city. Take your failures, learn from them and let your passion keep you moving forward. You would not be here if you didn’t really want something. Keep that in perspective the next time something doesn’t go your way.

Written by Alexis Reliford, Northwestern State University, ESSENCE
Edited by Andy Zunz, University of Central Florida, Field & Stream

A Walking Playlist

The walk from 7 World Trade Center to my apartment takes about 25 minutes. When leaving the building after work at around 6pm every day, I’m faced with a calming sky and an onslaught of hotel-bound tourist funneling out of the 9/11 Memorial. New York, in its colorful and exhausting variety, can sometimes be over-stimulating. Every once in a while, everyone needs to find his or her own way to tune it out.

I’ve been making playlists and CD mixes for as long as I can remember and it has come to define the way I actively engage with various experiences, the compilations of songs acting a a catalogue of my shifting musical interests.

My college apartment is a columbarium of crumpled essay drafts, unfolded heaps of laundry and a rather dignified vertical rod stacked with dozens of CDs titled everything from “January 2013” to “Abroad” to “Punk 101: for Dad”.

About a week into walking to and from work, I began to develop a playlist that would come to best represent both the exhaustion of a long work day and the vague anticipation of not needing to wear pants for the rest of the it. The result: a eight-track mix of songs – old and new –that accompany me back to my apartment most days after work. They are, in no particular order:

      The Border Line by Goldspot

I found Siddhartha Khosla’s four-man, New York-based band early in high school and was immediately drawn to the strange use of classical Indian instruments in otherwise hoppy indie-rock songs. The song uses an instrument called the harmonium—that soft buzzing sound behind the thinning guitar.

     Lusaka By Night by John Wizards

This is a weird one. I don’t know too much about John Wizards except that they’re from Cape Town and have two keyboardists. I first heard this in a friend’s apartment and didn’t really think it to be all that exceptional, but roll with the strangeness and this band will keep on giving.


      Scenic World by Beirut

Where to begin with Beirut...Trumpets? Mandolin? Scenic World demonstrates what they do best—sweeping accordions layered under Zach Condon belting two verses at a time with restrained melancholy. I’ll have two, please.

           Foolin’ by Devendra Banhart

Speaking of sad, shaky men with powerful voices, Devendra Banhart’s brand of rough-edged, woeful beach tunes really gets under the skin. Nobody should be allowed to sing this alone.

      Armistice by Phoenix

Some of my favorite choruses of all time are tucked inside Phoenix songs, and Thomas Mars’s voice makes this stuff twice as special. Not to mention 'Wolfgang Amadeus' was one of the best alt-rock albums of this decade.

      Moth’s Wings by Passion Pit

Passion Pit is such an important band for people our age. There’s something so new to their sound, but also a familiarity. If only I could write sentences half as crisp as Michael Angelakos’s lyrics—or his tweed jackets.

      Cape Cod Kwassa Kwa by Vampire Weekend

Vampire Weekend is to bad moods what red wine is to white carpets.

      The Obvious Child by Paul Simon

No list is complete without a classic. I know Paul Simon because of Simon and Garfunkel, and because of the clumsy dance my mother does every time this song comes on.

-- Written by Varun Nayar, Grinnell College, Fast Company
-- Edited by Helen Zook, Northwestern University, Travel + Leisure

Monday, July 21, 2014

Kevin Schultz: The 30 Things You Didn't Know

Kevin Schultz grew up in Alexandria, KY, a relatively small town, where his high school graduating class was somewhere around 400 students. Today, he is a creative writing and journalism double major at Northern Kentucky University. This summer, Schultz, 22, was accepted into the extremely selective and prestigious ASME internship program and was placed at Scientific American in New York City. As an editorial intern, he spends his days interviewing researchers, writing stories, transcribing interviews and interpreting whatever scientific lingo gets thrown his way. And, he loves it.

For those who are well acquainted with Schultz, there’s a chance they could rattle off a somewhat similar synopsis of his everyday life. It may not be so likely that they'd know that Whip It is his guilty-pleasure movie, Rasinettes are his snack of choice, or, even, that his favorite scent includes “all the smells of autumn.”

Here are the 30 things you had no idea you didn’t know about the writer/coffee lover/music enthusiast that is Kevin Schultz:

3 adjectives that describe you? I resorted to asking my friends. Here are what they came up with (way more than three): insightful, fashionable, open minded, organized, adventurous, hard working, creative, chill, studious, independent

Most likely found: At the nearest coffee shop downing the largest cup of black coffee I can find, with my nose in a book or writing on my laptop.That’s basically my life.

One unique thing about where you are from?
I live in Northern Kentucky. Naturally, most people think I live in the mountains with no shoes and/or limited teeth. But in reality, I’m about 15 minutes from downtown Cincinnati and 10 minutes from the beautiful bluegrass countryside. It’s a nice mix of city and country living, contrary to most popular beliefs about Kentucky life.

One thing you could never live without?
My dog, Roscoe.

Two sisters. I’m the youngest.

Favorite food?
Anything and everything -- besides black tea, beef and Swedish fish. Although, I really do love salads, Greek yogurt and Indian food.

One thing most people don’t know about you?
Both of my parents are twins.

Favorite thing about journalism?
Being able to tell stories that change lives.

Middle name?

Dream job?
I would love to be a writer/editor for an innovative digital and/or print publication, where I could have a meaningful and important contribution with a focus on areas of environmental science or general science and how it affects everyday people.

Favorite band?
It’s a tie. Beach House, Radiohead, The Smiths and Animal Collective. Also Grizzly Bear, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Deerhunter, The Mamas and The Papas, Fleetwood Mac, San Fermin, Wild Belle, The Black Keys, and so many more.

One thing you love about NYC?
Coffee shops on every corner.

One thing you hate about NYC?
Lack of convenient public bathrooms.

Dream car?
I’d prefer to walk, bike, or take public transportation.

Totally grosses you out?
Someone filing his or her nails next to me. Although, I wouldn’t say it “grosses me out,” so much as it drives me insane.

Life motto?
Never give up, be who you are and always follow your passion no matter what.

Best thing about this summer?
I’m living one of my wildest dreams. (Yes, I said wildest. I am a pretty tame dreamer.)

Hardest life lesson you’ve ever learned?
Don’t wear funny costumes around town, or you WILL be in the local newspapers.

Italian food or Mexican?

Favorite hobby?
Reading, writing, listening to music, hiking, brunching and playing with my dog.

Most embarrassing moment?
Sophomore year of college: I get sick before hosting the SGA debate. I ran down the hallway and ended up throwing up outside of a classroom full of students. As they awkwardly watched me spew my chicken noodle soup all over the doorway, I slipped and fell in the vile and eventually got up, walked to my car, and left my dignity on the third floor of Founder’s Hall.

Favorite sport?
Shadow dancing. No, I’m kidding (long story). I’m not much into sports these days.

Best feature and qualities you look for in a significant other?
Eyes. And, then, intelligence, individuality and style.

Favorite workout?

Least favorite workout?
Anything arm related. Let’s be real.

Favorite alcoholic beverage?
Cincinnati has tons of great craft beer. I’d say anything from Rhinegeist is pretty great. Although, ultimately, I probably should say I’m more of a wine guy.

Dream celeb to spend a day with?
I don’t know if this counts because she is deceased, but I’d have to say Sylvia Plath. She seems like such an interesting and fascinating person from her writing, that I would love to spend a day with her.

Where you see yourself in 5 years?
I would love to say I would be working for a digital or print news publication of some sort (magazine, newspaper, etc.) and working up the chain of command, but as far as actually where, I have no idea. I’m pretty open to moving wherever I can find the job that I would best be able to contribute to in a meaningful way.

One thing you love about Scientific American?
I work with some of the most intelligent and talented people I have ever met, doing a job I could only dream of having in the future.

One thing you love about ASME?

I am constantly surrounded by passionate people who are following their dreams. It’s so nice to be surrounded by people who love what they do. The environment is motivating and inspiring, to say the least.

Written by Anna Hecht, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, FITNESS Magazine
Edited by Maya Allen, Howard University, Woman's Day Magazine 

To The Sounds Outside My Window:

At first I thought it'd be pleasant, motivating, even peaceful to hear the hustle of the city below me as I awoke every morning.

Then came the blood-curling screams.

My roommates and I had a prime view from our dorm window, where we gathered and watched as the NYPD detained the clearly intoxicated girl who had lost her cool. Transfixed for nearly an hour, we could not tear our eyes away as the scene unfolded 30 feet below us.

The view outside my humble abode a.k.a. NYU's Third North dormitory. 

The honking, on the other hand, is never ending. I have a theory, New York, that your drivers live in constant fear that the horn in the middle of their steering wheel has stopped working, so they have to double check. Every. Five. Seconds. Then there are the sirens. I get that there are a lot of noises on the streets of Union Square, but is it really necessary to have shrills that reach the 192nd decibel in order to be heard?

Throughout the summer, your incessant noise outside my window became background music to everything I did.

At first, I would lie in bed at night, pining for a pair of earplugs and the post-9 p.m. silence of my suburban hometown. Your city streets and city slickers woke me at the crack of dawn, refusing to relinquish my attention to the sleep I so desperately wanted. But then, something changed.

As I became more and more acclimated to the city, your sounds began to sooth. Lying in my childhood bed during a weekend trip to small-town PA, I was unnerved by the quiet. It was too quiet. I missed the constant buzzing outside my window that reminded me that that I was spending my summer in one of the most exciting cities in the world.

So, New York and all your accompanying noise, I think we’ll be friends—unless you decide to wake me up again at 6 a.m. with your obnoxious sirens.

All my love,

Written by Lindsey Murray, Temple University, Real Simple
Edited by Russell Willoughby, The University of Alabama, This Old House