Life in India: The Auto

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For those of you who are unfamiliar with transport in India, actually for anyone, familiar or not with the concept of the auto, please let me share with you my latest fascination.giphy

In fact, I am writing the post fresh from an auto ride. I think it may have been the closest to death I have ever been in my life and I promise you I laughed so hard I cried (subconsciously this could have been out of sheer exhaustion or terror, but we’ll go with the comical experience I chose to interpret it as).

It is 9:30pm and dark out here in Bangalore, and we were on our way back from a pub (so maybe a combination of tipsy as well). We had a bit of a hard time getting an auto driver to agree to take us to where we are staying, let alone do so for a fair price. We ended up settling on a driver who agreed to take us to Johnson Market for 100 rupees (basically the equivalent of $1.50 USD, but we were gypped nonetheless as the trek was really only worth 75 — but that’s not the point). Oh, and he was permanently cross eyed (I promise this adds important context).

Now, before I get too detailed let me explain the concept of the auto as best I can. Also known as a tuk tuk or rickshaw, an auto is basically the Indian equivalent of a taxi, at least purpose-wise. It has 3 wheels. Here they are often yellow and green. No doors, and a bench that fits up to two or three people — or sometimes even entire families — in the back. Three of us tend to fit into one very snuggly, however. They run on a meter, but more often than not (especially since we’re foreigners) they ask for double to triple what the meter would cost. Sometimes the moment we tell them where you want to go they speed away and we have to try upwards of 3 to 4 more to get one to let us in. They are our main mode of getting around this city and have, without fail, provided us with new experiences each day.

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I will not be able to describe the most recent ride with justice. Imagine if you were living out a video game in real time. A roofed four wheeler weaving through the busy city streets at night going far beyond an acceptable speed, and you the helpless passenger left to cringe (or in my case laugh hysterically) in the back. If this is still seeming like a “had to be there moment”, let me at least share with you a stream of thoughts that will hopefully help you get the picture:

  • So this is what it’s like to play chicken…
  • That’s 3 rounds of chicken in a row that we have won. (For those of you who may be unfamiliar, chicken is when two cars speed toward each other head on to see who will be there first (or last) to avoid hitting the other).
  • I wonder how fast we’re going.
  • Looks around the interior for the mandatory displayed registration: Nope, no license. This is safe.
  • I wonder how impossible it would be to tuck and roll into all this chaotic traffic?
  • These breaks are absolutely amazing!
  • I can’t believe we didn’t just hit that person, that family, that cow…giphy-1
  • At least I get the ATV experience while living in the city.
  • I can’t believe we didn’t rear-end that person… What, is that a mere 6 millimeters to spare?
  • The U-turning abilities on this thing are unreal.
  • Seriously sir, you’ve asked 5 people hoe to get to our location, please just let us get out and start over.
  • No English at all?
  • How on earth are we still alive?
  • How on earth have we not witnessed an accident? Perhaps the U.S. should switch up their traffic patterns: purge-style seems to be quite efficient.
  • When crossing the street: Hit me, you won’t.

This is my stream of conscious everyday, multiple times a day. Here’s to making it a full week without being hit by a car, only 9 to go!

Photos/Gifs: giphy.com, imgur.com, autogearcar.com, live.ac.uk

Internship Fails

internship failsSo it’s finally summer, and after all the beach towels and sunscreen bottles are put away from Memorial Day weekend at the shore, it’s time to start your internship. And you’re really excited, right?

OK, so maybe you’re a little nervous. Being the new kid is scary. You’ve got no idea what these people are going to expect of you; you’ve really only got two professional looking outfits. So while you’re all out there stressing about making a good impression in your first few weeks, it’s good to be reminded that you’re not alone. None of us know what we’re doing.

In my first days on the job, I encountered more than a few internship fails. Revel in my failures so you can feel a little better about that hole in your sweater you hope no one sees, getting lost on your commute or accidentally hanging up during your first phone call. (It might just be funny to laugh at me — that works too.)

1. Anybody there?

So it’s the very first day and I walk in the door, but no one is at the front desk. What do I do?

a) Wait for the secretary — I’m sure she’ll be right back.

or

b) Take action: go find someone and introduce myself as the new intern.

Sydney opts for none of the above and walks around aimlessly for several minutes before someone asks her who she is … good choice.

2. Office Antics

So I’m finally inside and I’ve met the intern coordinator. She and her coworker are joking around and ask me which one I think is older. I’m trapped, I’ve got to answer, but what do I say? I tried laughing it off as a joke, but they kept staring at me. “You look about equal?” That’s a safe answer. But they keep pushing, “How old do we look?” Oh, all adults look the same age to me! “Thirty-two.” That’s young but realistic, right? They just laugh at me. I’m still not sure I had the right answer …

3. Snicky Snacks

There are plenty of pretzels and animal crackers at the coffee station, and I was told to help myself. I’m starving and really want some, but do I risk everyone watching me take like seven handfuls and bring them all back to my cubicle? I waited until no one was there, dashed over, poured myself an entire cupful and ran back. Judge me. I dare you.

4. Meeting the Boss

So now that I’ve got all these animal crackers, my boss pops in to say hello. My mouth is completely full with the crackers, but I have to talk to him. Chew? No, too obvious. Swallow? Impossible. Instead I shove all the food to one side and proceed to have a conversation with my boss. Smile, I think to myself, oh wait not too much he’ll see the food in your mouth. Every time he looks away I chew as slowly and quietly as I can. Maybe he didn’t notice?

5. Lunch Break

I get an hour for lunch, success! I picked Chipotle, which seemed like a good choice to me. Unfortunately, I got caught in a rainstorm on the way back and, of course, my car was parked nowhere close to the restaurant. So now I’m soaking wet and have to go back in to work … what am I supposed to do? My hair will dry, and, with the black pants I’m wearing, you can barely tell they’re soaked — same goes for the blazer. But what won’t dry is my shear pink top which is now two different colors, and see through on the top — lovely. Luckily, I had a hair brush (because, for some reason, I thought that was more essential to bring than an umbrella) but I had no idea what to do about the shirt. My decision? I went into the bathroom before anyone could see me and used the hand dryer to blow dry my shirt. I literally stuck my chest under the hand dryer … it was possibly a new low.

6. Going Home

So you think that would be enough fails for one day right? Wrong. I have one more. As I walk out to the parking lot I realize I have no idea where I parked. That’s easy, just use the button on the keys and the car will flash and beep. Plot twist — my keys don’t have one of those. So I searched for my car for at least ten minutes in the drizzle.

So while you’re obsessing about being perfect on your first day, just remember me, soaking wet, animals crackers in my mouth and wandering around without a clue. I also may have written this at my cubicle while I was supposed to be working. Whoops! So have a good summer, and remember, it’s hard to fail as badly as me.

Career Crisis Center: 5 Steps to Get The Internship You Want (or Need)

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As the pressure to find and obtain an internship grows with each passing hour, the desperate masses descend on Leavey to seek salvation at the hands of the Cawley Career Center staff. Imposing though it may be, navigating the career services at Georgetown is both possible and practical, and thus, we present a handy guide to making the most of Cawley:

Step 1

Like many things in this life, the first step is admitting you have a problem. Still trying to work the high school activities resume? Unsure what exactly a cover letter covers? Coming to the unfortunate conclusion that there is no preregistration for life after Georgetown, and the freedom to decide your own future is pushing you toward an existential crisis? GET YOURSELF A WALK-IN. These nifty little appointments let you talk to the generalists of the staff, who can help point you in the direction of more serious aid, including resume workshops and industry-specific advising. Sign up online, Tuesday-Friday, here.

Step 2

Log on to Hoya Career Connection. Nothing soothes a troubled junior’s soul like seeing the literally thousands of internship opportunities posted on this site by employers who want Hoyas. They actually WANT you. You can search by field, desired majors, dates and really any other condition your heart desires. Many of the employers on HCC come to campus to interview, which leads us to the next step…

Step 3

Go to the On Campus Interviewing Workshop. It is not fun. There is no free food. It is not visually dynamic. But it IS absolutely necessary if you want to apply for an internship that conducts interviews on campus. As in, the Career Center will not allow you to even apply if you do not go to their workshop. THIS IS IN CAPS BECAUSE IT IS SERIOUS. You can see workshop dates and sign up by logging on to Hoya Career Connection a la Step 2.

Step 4

Check out the schedule of employers coming to campus here or by logging on to Hoya Career Connection (really trying to drive this one home). There are three primary reasons to attend these events:

1. You can **network** with alumni/others amongst the employed who may help you snag yourself a job, or at the very least, help you understand more about their company.

2. Many of the employers (looking at you, PwC!) turn their session into a workshop where they will teach you a specific skill, from writing resumes to case interviewing. Learning to interview from the people who will be conducting it? Good call.

3. Unlike the OCI Workshop, any employer worthy of your time (at least in my opinion) will provide free food.

Step 5

The most important thing to remember is that it’s not too late. The stress around finding an internship is reaching astronomical levels: Blame it on the bankers for already interviewing, blame it on your cousin who had a full-time offer junior year, blame it on the obscene proportion of Hoyas who appear to have their career goals all laid out, but don’t let it get you down. Most of us have no clue where we are headed in June, and you still have plenty of time to find out.

Photo: Tumblr.com

Summer InternTips: Avoiding Distractions

Now is the time in your summer where you are getting tired of the daily grind. You’re tired of waking up early, tired of daily tasks at work and tired of your officemates’ weird mannerisms. When you are tired, you’re more likely to start up bad habits at work — nodding off in the middle of the day, not listening to instructions, and (worst of all) random distractions.

Distractions at work start off harmless. You discover an interesting website or a fun way to pass the time on office computers. At first, distractions are often office related — reading about your industry but not actually doing your assignment, chatting with coworkers, et cetera — but it often grows to more distractions, like Facebook, Buzzfeed or Twitter. That’s when you get in trouble.

If you find yourself constantly at the mercy of random distractions, and you discover you’re spending most of your time at work looking for ways to avoid work than actually doing it, you should probably follow these tips:

1. Look for an assignment change. Sometimes, a dumb project is the reason for your boredom at work. See if you can find a project that interests you more. After you do that for a while, switch back to the project that made you bored. Maybe you’ll be rejuvenated.

2. Take a five-minute break every hour. This is the best advice I have. Ideally, this time should be spent away from your desk, maybe on a trip to the water cooler or a walk around the office. Refill your waterbottle. Go to the bathroom. Chat with a friend down the hall. Some time away from the desk is sometimes all you need to get back on track.

3. Be cognizant of your posture. Slouching, reaching, craning your neck can make you tired and harm productivity.

4. Have a healthy snack. Avoid the break room doughnuts and instead bring along an apple, some carrots, or some crackers with goat cheese. Unhealthy, sugary or greasy snacks usually don’t help your brain, especially if you’re already tired. Along those same lines, coffee won’t necessarily help your productivity or make you more alert, so try to drink juice or water instead.

5. Have fun with work. If you see work as a chore, you won’t do it. If you like doing it, you will do it. A simple attitude change might be all you need to fix your productivity.

6. Set little goals for yourself. It can sometimes help to set a goal to achieve for, especially if you are only working on a long-term project. Plus, it looks good to bosses.

Photo credit: blackenterprise.com

Summer InternTips: Making Your Job More Interesting

Every intern has experienced the same problem at some point: Everyone around them is doing awesome things, but they’re stuck fixing a spreadsheet, filing papers, Googling random facts about something or waiting for a new job assignment. Everyone seems busy. The intern is not. Everyone is having interesting conversations. The intern misses out on them because they’re filing mail in the back room or running to get something signed. It sucks, especially because the point of internships is not to sort papers, but rather to learn how to function in a workplace and gain some experience for our impending real life.

In order to start doing more interesting work, however, you might have to show some extra initiative, perform better on your current boring work or have what may be an awkward conversation with you boss. Luckily for you, we here at 4E have some tips for you.

1. Make it clear you want to move up at work. It can be hard to be enthusiastic about dull work, but bosses love to see you be enthusiastic about your work. If you’re excited (or willing to do grunt work), you will certainly be excited to do exciting work. If you do well in boring work, you’re more likely to do well in more complex and interesting jobs. Bosses also don’t put a lot of faith into people that can’t even fix a spreadsheet. You need to do the boring stuff to move up.

2. Show initiative. If you’re willing to take risks, accept new responsibilities and work a little outside the box in your boring job, you’ll probably be more likely to get a job that you deserve. Showing initiative in menial tasks is also a good way to show your bosses that you’re ready for that step up.

3. Maintain a healthy curiosity about others’ work. Oftentimes, interns will feel like they should concentrate on their own work. While that’s true, it really never hurts to ask your coworkers what they’re working on, offer help and learn from them. Informal work is one of the best ways to get more exciting tasks into your workday.

4. Excel in life. Go above and beyond on your assignments. Turn them in early. Show that you’re worthy of better things. (Also, if you finish boring assignments early, they might run out of them at some point.)

5. Maintain a positive relationship with your boss. If your boss likes and respects you, your boss is less likely to give you intern grunt work and more likely to give you real work (or at least more real work).

6. Ask if there is better work available. You’ll never know if you don’t ask. Sometimes, managers aren’t even aware you’re bored at your job. Just make sure that when you ask, you phase it like, “I’m looking for some new kinds of work,” instead of, “I’m better than the work I’m doing.” That can be a very thin line to thread, but it is important your boss knows you’re looking for new work without knowing you’re bored with your current work.

7. Change your attitude. All office work is boring sometimes. If you’re bored at work, take some steps to make your day more exciting. Visit a food truck at lunch. Take some frequent breaks and do some stretches. Drink a lot of water and eat healthy snacks. Get to know your coworkers. Especially if you can’t manage to get better assignments, it’s good to make your day interesting with something other than work.

Photo credit: bobfaw.wordpress.com

Summer InternTips: Not Blending into the Other Interns

D.C. in the summer is special for a lot of reasons: the oppressive heat and humidity, the crush of tourists, the litany of outdoor drinking options. But, D.C. in the summer is most definitely most famous for one thing above all else: interns. Every summer, thousands of interns from schools around the country descend on our beloved District for three months of schmoozing with government officials and lobbyists. Those of us here over the summer, however, have an edge on the other interns. Along with living in D.C. year-round, we’ve got friends and connections here. We know how to get around. We don’t have to live in GW dorms for the summer.

But, to our coworkers, we’re the same as every other intern. So, we here at 4E have some tips for those of you whose coworkers put you on the same level as your fellow interns.

1. Be better than the other interns. This shouldn’t really be too hard for you. Use your Georgetown education and treat work during your internship better than you treat your homework. (So, don’t procrastinate.) You are at work to do work. A lot of interns forget that.

2. Do projects right the first time. Make sure that you understand assignments clearly by asking questions and that you are on the right track by consistently staying in contact with your boss or project manager. A lot of interns are afraid to do this, which is their pitfall.

3. Develop a rapport with your boss by getting to know them outside of work with short “water-cooler” conversations. A lot of bosses like to talk about something other than work before actually beginning work. Don’t be afraid to embrace these conversations and let your personality shine through. If your boss only sees you as another intern, rather than a person, you won’t go far this summer.

4. Keep a safe distance between work and home life. A lot of interns are too comfortable sharing their awesome D.C. summer with their bosses. You don’t want to share your drinking habits, hookups and other debauchery with your bosses. A lot of interns forget that.

5. Become a leader for interns. (AKA, become the lady in the photo at the top of this post.) If you’re in an office with a lot of interns, you most likely have people that aren’t familiar with the area in your office. Become an expert on projects so that other interns can ask you questions about them. This can be difficult if you all started at the same time, but if you develop a positive professional and social relationship with the other interns, it should be a breeze.

6. Use your D.C. knowledge to set yourself apart. You’re in a much more familiar environment than most D.C. interns. You know the city. So, be a source of knowledge for other interns in your office and don’t be afraid to name-drop neighborhoods or restaurants that you’ve been to.

7. Avoid the stereotypical intern pitfalls. Try not to seem young, new, inexperienced or unprofessional. A lot of people (maybe not your bosses, but other coworkers) see interns as the dump for bad work. If you avoid those pitfalls, the intern stereotype will change and you’ll get better work.

Photo credit: businessanthropology.blogspot.com

Friday Fixat10ns: Internship Edition

Friday Fixat10ns: Internships from thehoya on 8tracks.

Those of us lucky to have summer internships have now probably just started to get into our routines. The cobwebs and mistakes of our  first weeks are over, and now we’re in the thick of it. For those of you already tired of the daily commutes, long hours and cubicles, this playlist is for you. Here, we have ten songs perfect for any summer intern — whether you’re in D.C. or across the country.

Ballad of a Politician — Regina Spektor One of the best songs on Regina’s newly released album, this song is for those of you working on the Hill or in any otherwise political job this summer. (As in, most of us in D.C.)

212 — Azealia Banks This is for you New York interns out there. (Also, Azealia Banks is only 21.)

Cruel — St. Vincent Many of us will inevitably meet cruel bosses, coworkers and (most often) fellow interns. This song will help you get over them.

Midnight City — M83 I know that I already posted this song (or a mashup of it) on the last edition of Fixat10ns. But, honestly, this is the perfect intern song for anyone in the city. Listen to this song on the Metro in the morning. It sets a good mood for the rest of the day.

Money Maker — The Black Keys Most of us aren’t money makers this summer. Hopefully our internships lead us to become money makers, though.

Civilian — Wye Oak If you’re ever stressed, listen to this song. It’ll calm you down. They’re also visiting D.C. this August 17.

Society — Eddie Vedder Another great commuting song. Also especially relevant to interns due to us now being functioning members of society instead of holed up on a college campus.

Civilization — Justice Awesome dance beat for your commute home or a quick office break.

Hum Drum Town — Theophilus London I feel like this song is somehow relevant to internships. Though D.C. is not a humdrum (AKA boring) town in the slightest, and Theophilus is most certainly not making a profound observation about society or working people. In any case, it’s a great song.

Chillin — Wale feat. Lady Gaga I always feel obliged to include one song on Fixat10ns. Since many of us are D.C. chillin, this is a shout out to everyone who stayed in the District this summer.

Summer InternTips: Your First Week

If you’re like me, you just finished your third day of your summer internship. You’re learning the ropes at your new job, and you’re just starting to get to know your boss, secretary and office mates. But you’re still learning the ropes. You still have to check in at the front desk as a visitor because your badge hasn’t been made yet. You’re still eating lunch alone in your office. You arrive five minutes later than you’re supposed to because you missed your bus stop. (Note: these all apply to me. It’s OK.)

Because here at 4E we know that you’re probably in the same boat, we compiled some tips for how to make your first week as productive to your internship as possible:

1. Get to know your office. Explore all of the possibilities your company, building, and neighborhood have to offer. A lot of buildings (especially on Capitol Hill) have special perks to like food courts, cafes, ice cream or fro-yo, or fancy vending machines. Some offices have green roofs for lunch breaks so you don’t have to eat in your office.

2. Learn the ropes of your work. Don’t be afraid to ask questions. This is your first week — bosses expect questions, and always prefer them to incomplete or shoddy work. Now is the time to figure out how best to finish assignments so that you can do them consistently correctly for the rest of your internship.

3. Meet your coworkers, even the ones you won’t end up working with consistently. Don’t be afraid to introduce yourself to everyone. Basically, you don’t want to be the intern that no one knows the name of come July. Plus, think networking.

4. Start off on a good foot. Though you should expect to make some mistakes, be prompt, polite, and make an effort. Your bosses will expect mistakes as well, but they’ll be watching your work ethic and demeanor this week. Even if you make mistakes, making a good effort this week will help you secure more interesting and important projects later in your internship.

5. Save your money. Unpaid and paid interns alike, we all have thin wallets. So save your money by making your lunch ahead of time and bringing it to work, taking the bus ($1.50) instead of the Metro (with an upcoming price increase in July) or a cab.

6. Stay positive. Even if your week is rough (many of ours will be), the rest of the summer won’t be. Believe in yourself and your ability to learn how to do your job, meet other interns and network with your coworkers. The first week is tough for everybody. Almost certainly, next week will be better.

7. Link in with the greater D.C. intern community. D.C. in the summer is an exciting place with tons of other college students visiting us for the summer. Even though we here at Georgetown are blessed with a hefty set of connections in D.C., it is always a good idea to meet kids from other colleges at other internships. There are plenty of blogs, Twitter feeds and Facebook pages dedicated to summer interns here. Most are only relevant to those who don’t have the privilege of living in D.C. during the school year, but they’re still good resources for anyone on the Hilltop with an internship.

Image credit: Vanity Fair

The Fourth Summer Edition, 2012

Aloha! After a brief vacation, 4E has returned for the summer months. We got a little sunburned, packed up the boogie boards and finished off one last piña colada, and we’re back baby.

Summer 2012 has just begun. Whether you’re in D.C., New York, London, Paris, Barcelona, Istanbul or Cairo, we’re here for you. Fine, we’re mostly here for those of you on campus, but that doesn’t mean we forgot about the rest of you.

Check in on 4E for all your summer needs, from making the most of your summer internship to beating the heat to preparing for your first year at Georgetown. We promise not to lead you astray (on purpose, at least).

We’ve got a lot in store for the next few months, and we know you do too. If there’s anything you want to see on 4E, drop us a line in the comments or at blog@thehoya.com. And hey, if you’re feeling inspired to write, let us know about that too!

Michelle Cassidy
Blog Editor

Photo: failfun.com (slightly modified)

You Should Really Branch Out

Still trying to find a  job or internship? Maybe our last round of advice didn’t work out for you (or maybe you’re just putting it off), but we have another helpful tip. A Facebook app called BranchOut  is a useful networking tool directly that can help you discover the work you’re looking for.

After adding this free app, you create a professional profile (think LinkedIn). You can then search for jobs based on industry, experience, tenure and location. The site was easy to use and navigate — you can quickly find a number of job opportunities. The most interesting aspect of this site was the ability to view the jobs of your Facebook friends (but only those who have also installed BranchOut). If you’re interested in a job at a company that a friend had worked for,you can message them to learn more about his or her experience at that company and ways to potentially secure a job there. It’s an easy way to create professional connections with Facebook friends.

Asad Esmail (MSB ’15) has been a marketing associate at BranchOut since February, and believes that the success of the site is due to the ability separate your professional and social lives. “Whenever you connect to your profile, even though it is attached to Facebook, none of your personal stuff is brought into it. No one has to worry about whether or not employees will see any of your photos or wall posts.”

I would highly recommend this site to any college student who is still seeking a summer job. It can’t hurt!

Photo: BranchOut