Thursday, May 28, 2009

Life is Like a Slideshow

I've created a slideshow for my last blog. Enjoy!

My Spring 2009 TWC Semester in Review

Signing Out,

Erica Taylor

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

10 Tips for Future TWC Interns

Coming to Washington, DC and being a part of what The Washington Center has to offer will be an amazing experience. I provided some tips that I discovered to be very helpful during my semester in DC.

1. An umbrella is a necessity: DC weather can be unpredictable and you don’t want to be the one caught in the rain without an umbrella, especially if you’re on you way to work or going to a special event. If there’s even a slight chance for rain in the forecast, be sure to bring your umbrella. Better safe than sorry. Purchasing a pair of rain boots is not a bad idea either. It helped a great deal in keeping my feet and pants dry. Payless is a great place to look.

2. Keep to the right: I’m sure some people could tell when I was new to DC since I just didn’t know what I was doing on the Metro. What I quickly found out is that when using the escalators, you must stand to the right. During rush hour, people are in a hurry, trying to get to work or trying to get home. People will not hesitate to tell you to move over, or just blow past you. So to avoid the madness, just stand to the right.

3. Weekly pass: No matter what, using the Metro system will be costly, unless you’re fortunate to have your internship pay for your commute. To help me save money and time, I bought weekly passes. For $39, you get unlimited Metro rides for a full week. Just make sure you keep your pass away from your cell phone or other electronic devices which can deactivate it.

4. Make the best of DC: Washington, DC has so much to offer, and if you are new to the area like I was, you want to make sure you do as much as you can. I did a lot of touring and sightseeing at the beginning of my term, which was good, because my schedule was less hectic in the beginning. So get out and make the most of DC when you have the most spare time on your hands.
5. Network, Network, Network: This mantra will be stressed throughout the TWC events you attend. Networking is one of the most important factors in helping you get that job you’re in search of, or at least getting your name out there. Keep your business cards handy and don’t leave home without it. Because as they say, it’s not what you know, but who you know.

6. Experiences: Throughout your semester, you are bound to have a variety of experiences--some good, some bad and some just plain weird. But with all the experiences you encounter, consider them as a way to learn, reflect on them and grow.

7. Make Friends: That’s what it’s all about--meeting new people. In The Washington Center program, there are hundreds of students from all across the globe. You’ll be surprised by who you meet and the relationships you build. These friendships can last forever, so be sure to stay in touch.
8. Hunt for deals: Your time in DC will be costly, so try to look for the best ways you can save money. Get a grocery card, search online for specials and guest list passes, look through coupons, attend events with free food and bargain for the lowest price. It goes a long way.

9. Get it done ASAP: With The Washington Center, your internship, class, events and assignments, your schedule is sure to be pretty busy. Try to get your homework and assignments done as soon as possible. It helps to avoid staying up late nights and canceling out on other plans.

10. Be thankful: The Washington Center is a wonderful program that not everyone gets to experience. It’s an opportunity that can only open doors to other opportunities. Thank those who helped you along the way.

Monday, May 18, 2009

It's Closing Time

The last day at my internship was sad. My time at NBC felt like it went by so fast. I wrote thank you cards for my coworkers and went around the building saying my goodbyes to everyone. I made sure I traded contact information with everyone to stay in touch. One of the things I love about NBC is that it feels like a great big family. Thanks to all my coworkers, it was a great learning experience that I can’t wait to share it when I get back to school.

Me with NBC News Correspondent Tom Costello

The final days of class were sad too. We all really enjoyed our class and Professor Feldman. Thanks to her we learned a great deal about media ethics. Our classes were held at the Associated Press building and she even ordered pizza for our last couple days of class. :) She’s been a great professor and I recommend that future TWC communication students take her Media, Ethics & the Movies class if it's offered.

Wow, the last week was hectic. With the portfolio’s deadline approaching, it felt like a race to the finish line. I stayed up into the wee hours of the night working on my portfolio. Besides gathering all the information and papers needed, I had to re-read a lot of my documents to make sure there were no errors and correct mistakes. It took time to save my projects to DVDs/CDs and make copies of them. Time was also spent printing three copies of everything and finally organizing each portfolio together.

Once all that was done, I hurried over to Staples to get my portfolios bound and to print a few pages in color. I was there for about three hours. The bright side; the total price came out to be about $15. I saved a lot of money doing my own printing. I guarantee you one of the best feelings at TWC is to finally be done with your portfolio. It was such a relief. All that was left was to turn it in.

A Spring Term Commencement was held for all TWC students. It was the official last time that all TWC students would be together. The ceremony was touching with the guest speakers and the presentations. It was sad to know that it was all coming to an end; yet it's also inspiring, because The Washington Center experience will now lead to a new beginning. I thank The Washington Center and all the friends that I’ve made for this wonderful and unforgettable experience.

Spring Commencement

Our last day at Grosvenor Towers

“The biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams.” – Oprah Winfrey

Wishing all the Spring 2009 TWC students the best!

Signing Out,

Erica Taylor

Got Debt?

While time is winding down, so is the deadline for final projects, one of them being the civic engagement project. The Washington Center promotes learning through three pillars: Leadership, Professional Achievement and Civic Engagement.

Civic engagement means identifying and becoming informed about an issue you care about, then working to make a positive difference in public life at the local, national or global level through:

1. volunteering with a social service, educational, or advocacy organization

2. participating in a political campaign or with an agency that encourages electoral participation

3. advocating for public policies on issues of concern to Americans and/or the global community

The Civic Engagement project consists of 4 steps:

Step 1 consisted of an identity wheel that allowed students to reflect on the factors that drive or hinder students to be civically involved. This was assigned before the spring semester began for TWC.

Step 2 was to write an outline to evaluate an organization, their role, the problem and my role.

Step 3 is the actual service involvement

Step 4 is the civic engagement presentations at the end of the semester

In my “Education is a Right” blog, I mentioned I participated in an event where students marched up to Capitol Hill demanding for higher education affordability. As a civic engagement project, my idea was to act as a correspondent for NBC reporting about the event that took place, the United States Student Association organization and the cost of college. I put together a script and a news video package with the producers and editors of NBC. It was a great experience working with NBC, especially getting insight on the routine of a news reporter.

Unfortunately there was an error with the audio while trying to upload to YouTube, but as soon as I can solve the audio problem, I will post the video again.

Once it's up, let me know what you think.

Atlantic City, Here I Come!

The past few weeks were filled with traveling trips and tours. The Washington Center sponsored an End of the Semester Getaway to Atlantic City, New Jersey. For a mere $10, over 50 TWC students, including myself, had a chance to enjoy a day trip to Atlantic City for fun in sun, the beach, casinos and outlet shopping. Unfortunately, on the day of our trip, the weather was a bit nippy and cloudy, so we didn’t get a chance to enjoy the beach, but the day was still full of fun.

After we arrived in Atlantic City, we started our fun with the casinos. Each student received a casino card worth $30. My friends and I headed straight for the penny machines. We also played on the nickel and quarter machines. It must have been my lucky day! I won over $60 all together, over $40 on a penny machine and over $20 on a nickel machine. That was good because I doubled the money that was given by TWC. What works for me is to hit MAX BET on the machines… It’s really risky because you can lose all your money really fast, but if you win…. You win big!

After the casinos, we went out on the Boardwalk...

Our first stop was at the Steel Pier amusement park, where I won a stuffed animal.

Along the Atlantic City Boardwalk

Next, we went to the Rainforest Cafe. It felt like being in an actual rainforest. The scenery of the trees and sounds of animals and thunderstorms that happen every thirty minutes was pretty cool. It was great and the food was delicious.

After lunch, we continued on to the shopping outlets. I bought plenty of Atlantic City souvenirs; I used the money I won from the casino. :) We had so much fun that the day went by reallyfast. By that evening, it was time to head back on the bus to DC. It was my first time in Atlantic City, and I’ll be looking forward to visit again in the future.

The following Monday, the Media and Communication Program was able to visit and tour XM Radio. XM is America’s #1 Satellite Radio Service with over 170 different music, news, talk, entertainment, traffic, weather and play-by-play sports channels. Our tour guide, Ross Herosian, is the College Programs & Outreach Specialist at SIRIUS XM Radio was very helpful in explaining the opportunities that XM Radio has to offer. XM Radio seems like a cool place to intern; I recommend any student interested in radio to give it a try.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

I Looooove New York!

April has been an exciting month! The weather warming up made my weeks more enjoyable. The first weekend, I enjoyed the cherry blossom festivities. Cherry blossom is the name for the flower of cherry trees. I never know about cherry blossoms till I came here. The cherry blossoms are so pretty. The arrival of spring begins with the National Cherry Blossom Festival, a tradition that showcases over 3,000 cherry trees that derived from the city of Tokyo. The Festival is an annual two-week city-wide event featuring many cultural performances, special events, and bringing in an abundance of tourists.

The second weekend, I took my first trip to NEW YORK CITY! A couple friends and I took a 4 hour bus ride up with a $36 round trip ticket through I was so amazed. The city is big, the buildings are huge and there are so many people! We did a lot of walking around through Times Square. We also visited the Rockefeller Center area and went by the NBC studios. I had my first New York strawberry cheesecake, which was so delicious and also a big slice of New York pizza. Unfortunately the weather wasn’t too kind. It rained for the most part of the day on Saturday, so we went to the Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). We went to New York just for a couple of days, because we wanted to be back in DC for Easter Sunday. We went to church that Sunday and went out to eat for dinner. I must say New York is a place that I most definitely have to visit again :)
The third weekend started off great. My advisor bought tickets for our program to attend the Washington DC Nationals baseball game. My first professional baseball game, and I had such a great time! The weather was even better. I had so much fun watching the game, eating sunflower seeds and cracker jack and being a part of the crowd participation, trying to get on the big screen :) Too bad the Nationals lost, but after the game there was a nice display of fireworks.

I love DC too.


Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Overwhelming Experience

The past couple of weeks have flown by. With little less than a month left, it feels like there are so many important things to get done and accomplish for my internship, class, TWC and for school. Including trying to make my last month in DC an enjoyable and memorable experience with all the friends I’ve made.

Class is still going well. I made an A on my mid-term, so that was great! We have a final project that is due May 7th; those that are graduating are due on an earlier date. For the project we have to research an incident that created ethical issues for the media. Our professor gave us a list to choose from. I’m doing my project on the Richard Jewell and the Olympic Bombing incident. I plan on getting started on that ASAP.

Things have been going okay at my internship. My supervisor gave me a project to do during down time at work. The project I'm working on helps the show put in interview requests and book guests. My supervisor said my project is a big help to the show, so I’m glad I can contribute.

What’s pretty cool is that I’m around and working with the news correspondents that are seen on NBC and MSNBC everyday, such as Tom Costello, Savannah Guthrie, Norah O’Donnell and Chuck Todd just to name a few. I recently, helped Costello with a story he covered about bed bugs for the Today Show. The bedbugs have been a growing problem in hotels, college dorms apartments and houses. So be careful....

Take a look at the finished piece!

I recently had my mid-term assessment with my supervisor. She explained the areas in which I've been doing well, and areas where improvements can be made. I think this new internship is more of a personal challenge to see how much or how far I am willing to go or what I'm willing to give to accomplish my goals. I’m glad I had that assessment with my supervisor. It made me really understand the things I need to improve on and only made me want to work harder.

I think last week was the first time I probably became overwhelmed with everything. As I was preparing summer courses for school with my advisor, I found out that I need even more time before I can graduate, which really threw me for a loop. I felt so much emotion I didn’t know what to do. On top of the assignments and things I had to do for my internship, class, TWC and personally, made it the toughest week here in DC. I had so much on my mind that I would be physically at work, but mentally not there, worried and focused on other things. I felt I got off track and as a result I turned in assignments late and had to reschedule appointments made. I think I was trying to keep a mental note of everything which is very hard to do, because there’s so much to do.

Fortunately, I’ve bounced back from that stressful week. Each day, I am literally making a “things to do” list. Sticking to that list has made it a lot less frustrating and I am able to use my time more wisely in getting things done. I figure that this last month in the program is crunch time and I need to make sure that I stay on top of everything in getting things done in a timely manner for my internship, class, TWC and school. I see it as an experience I can only learn and grow from.

Signing off,