Monday, 30 May 2011

There Are People Out There Routing For You!

Yesterday I met a nice man who attended Columbia University's Master of Journalism program back in the 80s.  Columbia, being the first journalism school and one of the world's most renown, I was amazed to find out he was the only Canadian accepted at the time. 

Being a journalism student who just finished my first-year in university, I quickly took the opportunity to ask him a lot of questions about his career. 

Turns out, he's been everywhere. 

He's written for the Toronto Star, the National Post and the Globe and Mail--mainly as a business reporter.  Not only that, he was a producer at CBC and an on-air broadcaster for CBC Radio One.  Listening to his experiences and his credentials...I was in awe. 

Here was someone, who had actually WENT to Columbia Journalism School offering his own advice to me:  a complete stranger and rookie reporter. 

And that was when I realized something.  There really are people out there routing for me to achieve my dreams. 

When I first got accepted into Ryerson's School of Journalism, I was both ecstatic and scared.  Ecstatic because I was one of 150 applicants who made it out of the apparent 1000 who applied.  Scared, because I honestly thought that it was going to be so competitive and many would be uptight, cocky, pretentious and rude.  (I guess my glass was really half-empty at the time...)

Competitive yes.  But uptight, cocky, pretentious, etc..? 
Not the case at all. 

At J-school, everyone was so nice and supportive.  If we needed help with our articles, we got it.  When we needed advice from a mentor, we got it.  And when our idols came to visit for a conference to share their experiences, we most definitely fed off and benefited off of them. 

So as I go back to my encounter with this Columbia grad, I can't help but feel thankful to know that a complete stranger has faith that I can be successful in my career. 

With journalism being a cut-throat industry,  I was relieved to see someone tell me that I had a chance in making it big. I apparently reminded him of Terilyn Joe, because I was Asian.  (It really is funny how Asian reporters stand out nowadays....)  But nonetheless, he said that if I really wanted to be a broadcaster, I should just keep asking and going for it. 

And as I shook his hand at the end of our talk, he asked for my name. 

When I told him, he said something along the lines of:  "Samantha.  I'll look for you one day reporting the news on TV.  Best of luck!"

And realizing that there are people out there routing for me, I couldn't be more ecstatic. 

Now, all I have to do is learn how to believe in myself. 

Thursday, 26 May 2011

Living Life in the City.

After months complaining about waking up early, inconvenient TTC buses and long rides dry-humping complete strangers on the subway, my parents decided it was finally time to invest in an apartment downtown.

Needless to say, getting an apartment for school has a lot of benefits for me.

Yes, a pricey investment, but perhaps worth it in the end as the opportunities are endless. We live around Yonge and Bloor-just steps away from the luxurious Yorkville area where designer clothes and accessories, celebrities and fancy cars are not uncommon.

Not that I can afford anything from Yorkville, living in the area has proved to be not only convenient for all of us, but also quite an adventure. And with that, I cannot thank my parents enough.  I am truly blessed.

While I love outdoor adventures like climbing, biking and jogging, I am a city girl at heart.  I love the rush Toronto brings and all the good things it has to offer.

But that is not to say that I can't imagine myself not living in the suburbs.  Growing up in a suburban Scarborough neighbourhood, that's all I really knew. While downtown is a great area to live, I still can't imagine myself not being part of a suburb with a nice house, backyard, park, car, friends and family nearby.

Though at the end of the day, journalism and the city do make a great match.

But that is the future.  And the future is quite a long time from now.

For now, I should just live for the moment.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Taking the streets of Downtown Toronto.

 These photos are a couple weeks late, but I finally got a hold of them from my good friend Nicole Caguiat, a budding marketing student who wants to start her own blog!! (By the way you better get on that because I need to add you to my blog roll!!)

We toured around Yorkville and various locations downtown for a few nice photos...mainly because Nicole wanted to take some photos for her blog.  And knowing me and my dream of becoming famous (HAHAHA...), I couldn't help but model for a few pics as well! 

But to say the least, I am unfortunately not the most photogenic person on the planet.  If I don't smile, I end up having this "chronic bitchface" look that makes me want to bite everyone's head off!!

But I am nothing like that!! I am a kind-hearted human being with lots of love to share!!

Exhibit A...on the right --------->

 I guess a smile really is a girl's best accessory!!

And here is Nicole in a lovely dress! 

 Nicole looking modeltastic!! Do you think she could pass off as a model??! I mean, a guy did hit on her while we were walking out of Starbucks!!! 

And here is me...with my Chronic bitchface
  AND here is me...Without the Chronic bitchface!!

Okay but seriously, here is a pic I am proud to say is a good one.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

But what is this really all about?

I often wonder how people can gain so many followers so quickly on their blogs.

This isn't particularly important to me, but I have realized that posting frequently (and more than just once or twice a week) is the way to go.

Personally, I have a problem with this.  My blog lacks a purpose/category.  

People tend to have a set focus as to what their blogs entail. The majority that I read deal with fashion, photography, and are often very-light hearted and fluffy in terms of what went on during their day.

This isn't particularly a bad thing...but sometimes, I wish people could go beyond and share something else worth reading.  I browse a lot of blogs during my spare time, but only leave comments on those that peak my interest.  To say the least, I guess you could say that blog posts with just a picture of yourself in a cute outfit and where you got your clothes from really doesn't mean anything.  It's fine to have a fashion blog, but wouldn't it at least make the reader more interested if you wrote what inspired your outfit, or the story of how you made it??...OR SOMETHING ELSE MEANINGFUL?

Because otherwise, the comments and reception you're going to receive will probably go along the lines of..."Great photos!", "You look gorgeous!", "I love your outfit", etc.

While it is nice to receive such praise from your internet supporters, wouldn't it be nice to actually get a few comments that actually show that people read your blog? 

Eh, but maybe that's me.

I've had this blog for almost a year now and I have about 16 known followers (or so they say...) who read what I have to say.  That is not a lot compared to someone like Tavi, who gained over a hundred followers in a year. But she's a child genius, so what can I say?

I guess the reason why I lack followers is the fact that I don't have a set focus on this blog.  And, I'm fine with that. This blog is about whatever I want it to be and I'm happy it ranges from journalism, quirky tidbits, experiences, rants and opinions. I like things sporadic...because personally, those are my favourite types of blogs.

But to say the least, I don't think there are many blogs like this one. Well, maybe there are, but I guess I'm just not looking in the right places.  But whenever I find a blog that is somewhat representative to mine (personal, full of tidbits, etc), I feel like I'm intruding into someone's privacy. 

So people, I have a question.

  Does anyone actually read what I have to say?  And why do you like (or hate) it? 
And for a picture's is a llama worm.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Track and a lack of motivation

WARNING:  This is not a pity post.  It is just a blog about the pent up feelings I have been having for the past three years.  Finally, I feel the need to release them. 

Many of you probably know that I ran track in high school.

Simply put, I was not the fastest nor did I have the fairytale of seasons throughout those three years. 

While it took me a long time to accept the fact that I would never be the best, I finally accepted this after a couple of years.  Before, it was always about proving myself to someone.  I was always out proving that I could run in the fast heat, train with the sprinters, or even qualify for OFSAA on my own.  Because I felt that everyone else on my team was better than me, I felt that I had to prove to my coach and my teammates that I was just as good.   

But this is probably what I would say is one of my biggest insecurities.  Whenever I am given the chance to make it big somewhere, I choke.  I end up performing badly and the results become devastating.

In Grade 9, I decided not to run track because I was told it was too difficult.  Knowing me, I choked and played flag football instead.  While flag football had its fun moments, I was a bench warmer for many games because I was inexperienced and in Grade 9.  I didn't like that at all, so I decided to look at Track as a option for next year.  

As Grade 10 rolled around, cross country season came and finished.  It was a disappointing season for me and I felt that I needed to redeem myself from my disappointments.  So then, I decided to join the track team.  (Okay, well to be honest, I also joined the track team to get closer with a boy...but I guess that is another story...)

Again, simply put, I was not the fastest nor did anyone really know what kind of runner I was.  While everyone else was either sprinting or doing super long distance workouts, I ended up running both.

First, I trained with the sprinters during the indoor season.  While I kept up for while, it was clear that they were too talented and too fast for me.  And I'm not saying this because I have no faith in myself. I was training with runners who went on to win the 4x100m relay title at the OFSAA championships that year. 

When outdoor season rolled around, I ended up running distance workouts in hopes to develop me into something other than a sprinter.

(By the end of the season, I ended up running 60m, 200m, 400m, 800m, and 1500m.  You tell me if that's confusing for a runner...)

 (Grade 10 me running my best 400m race that season)

 Being switched back and forth and not knowing what type of runner I was, I felt frustrated.  I felt untalented, under-appreciated, and eventually, I wanted to quit the team because I felt useless. Never did I come Top 10 in my races ever.  Never did I really get that much closer to the boy I liked... And to make it even better, never did I ever get the relay exchanges right.    It was crappy, to say the least. 

During my first high school track season, I spent a lot of time feeling sorry and frustrated with myself.  I know it's just a sport, but seeing everyone else excel, I wanted to too.  During the season, my sister and the other sprinters were off in Pennsylvania for the Penn Relays.   Being me,  I was both angry and jealous for not being fast enough or good enough to get such a privilege.  Instead, I was stuck in Toronto, wallowing in units and being entered in my first 1500m race for the following weekend...something I was not too excited about at all.  I would say at this point, this was my lowest point that season.  

As embarrassing as this is, I remember bursting into tears as I told Ms. Masterson how scared I was of running the race.  I felt slow, and there was NO WAY I was able to keep up with everyone.  Not only that, the TDCAA's were three weeks away and there was no way I was ready to make this huge turnaround.

But when race day came, I actually ended up doing pretty good!  Thinking that I would come in dead last, I didn't.  Instead, I ended up running 10 seconds faster than my seed with more energy to spare.  To be honest, I even feel like I should have ran in the fast heat. 

 (Winning a slow heat in Grade 10.  Also known as my worst time EVER!)

Soon after the race, I ended up having a conversation with my coach where he told me that I was best being a middle distance runner.  For the next meet, he wanted me to try the 800m. 

Little did I know, that race soon became my best event. Not only did I beat my seed time by a lot that day, I also ran the relay with my team...and won.  (Yay for not screwing up!!)

But as the TDCAA's rolled around (Metro meet qualifier that qualifies us for OFSAA), I was a sub in the relay because I was not fast enough.  As disappointing as that was for me, I decided to focus on my individual races.  Again, I thought I would do terribly.  If you know me by now, you can probably tell that I have confidence issues.

But again, I surprised myself.  Not only did I qualify for all my races, I ended up winning my first individual medal in the 800m with a new school record!  (Not a lot of people know that I broke this record, but to me, it is a personal victory.)

But when Metros,came around, to keep this story short, I didn't qualify for OFSAA.  To be exact, I actually missed it by one spot in the 800m.  Not only that, I was put in the slow heats, and I didn't personal best at all.  Getting so far in what I would call a tumultuous season, I was devastated.  After that night of the Athletic Banquet, I remember crying for an hour, because I didn't achieve my goals. 

So the next day, I started new.  I started running and running every day.  Not track workouts.  Just running and cross-training distances at 3km-5km. I felt that if I wanted to make OFSAA, I would have to at least do something. 

And by Grade 11, I started to see the improvements.  I didn't make it to OFSAA for Cross Country, but I ended up coming in Top 20...something I've never done before. And by the time it was track season, I was pumped to redeem myself. 

School and track ended up being my life in Grade 11.  With the exception of a table tennis tournament because I wanted to go to  meet a boy (I'd like to say that I did a lot of stupid, stupid things for boys in high school...), track and school was all I did in Grade 11.

Sure, I got behind in school, but the results were worth it.  From 66s in my 400m (I know that is slow...), I was running 62s, 61s.  In the 800m,  I was hitting the high 2:20s area. Everything was beginning to look up.

I PB'ed in every race I entered.  At TDs, I medaled in every race, and with that, I was qualified to run four races at the Metro Championships (the city final).  To say the least, I was thinking that I actually had a shot at making it to OFSAA.  And out of everyone on the team, I felt that I had improved the most. 

But knowing me and the Metro championships, we are not good friends.  I failed to do well in every race I was qualified for.  I choked once again..and, yes, you guessed it.  I was devastated.  I missed OFSAA again by one-two spots.
(4x400m relay in Grade 11)

But a week later, there was a light in the tunnel!!  The 4x400m relay qualified for OFSAA because of a disqualification!  And so, I was off to my first and only OFSAA championship and I was delighted.  (To be honest, I don't really count this as making it to OFSAA, because I didn't qualify on my own...but hey, at least I got to run!)

But seeing how the track season ended on a happy note, I was actually kind of anticipating a MOST IMPROVED AWARD that year at the Athletic Banquet.  And again, I was left disappointed because I didn't get it.  Inside, I felt mortified and angry at myself because I knew that if I tried THAT much harder, I would have probably made it to OFSAA on my own.  And as happy I was for my friends who won awards, I found the banquet very hard to enjoy. 

 I remember the look Johnny gave me before the coach was going to announce the award winners, hinting that I probably would get something.  And as much as people are going to tease me about believing anything Johnny says, I believed him because I thought it was true.

But it was not and I felt like a failure. 

And so again, I decided that Grade 12 was going to be my year.  But of course, it didn't end up that way.  I was so concerned about getting into Journalism school that I skipped so many practices honing my portfolio and getting 90s in all my assignments. 

For the most part, practices were decent.  But at the meets, I didn't PB at all.  In fact, I ran so much slower than the previous year.  I swear Grade 12 burnt me out and track wasn't a priority anymore.  To this day, I regret the many times I skipped practice for school...even though I knew it was right.

Nonetheless, I did qualify for Metros.  But again, I messed up in my individual race and missed OFSAA by two spots for the 4x400m relay. This time, I don't really blame my lack of confidence.  Instead, I blamed fatigue gathered from long nights of ISPs and assignments from the whole year. 

While I was glad track was over so I could finish school and graduate, it was bittersweet for me.  Being able to run my best time of the season (on par from my Grade 11 times) for my last race, I felt both satisfied and sad.  Satisfied because I knew I could run that time, and sad because I never really achieved my goal in making it to OFSAA. 

So here I am now.  Reflecting back on what could have been and how far I've come. There are still times that I feel under-appreciated and disappointed for my efforts and my goals, but as life moves on...there are other talents to be discovered. 

The reason I wrote all of this was to get all my thoughts and feelings out in the open, so I can move on and do other things.  While I don't regret many things from high school, I would love to redo my track seasons and compete as a smarter person.

As well, I miss my team, coach, family and all the friends I made at those track meets.  How I miss the laughs and the support system we had for each other.  It only made the tough workouts much better. 

 And thus, I want to regain the motivation I once had. 

Being in university has made me feel so inactive and I want to get involved in sports once again.  Though this time, I have accepted that I am not here to prove anything to anyone other than myself.

By proving that I can do the unthinkable, I am signing up for a road race by the end of the summer.  Maybe two, if I'm lucky.  I want to try running a half-marathon to prove that I am physically fit enough to run the distance. 

But as for now, talk is cheap.  I will update you later on my progress and improvements.

Thanks for reading. 

(Us and our convict track suits)

Sunday, 15 May 2011

Meeting my love...Mr. Patrick Chan

Anyone who knows me knows I love Patrick Chan. And if you don't know who he is, he is a Canadian figure skater who represented Canada at the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

For the record, to all the haters out there who don't like him...I'd just like to say that he is now the World Figure Skating Champion, Quad Master, and World Record holder x 3!!  

SO HA! Suck it haters! (By the way Bethany, if you're reading this I'm totally talking to you.....)
For the record, I'm not a creep.

I may get over excited by PChiddy, but do not think that I will line up longer than 24 hours just to see him.  He's there will most likely be other chances.  Second of all, I actually know people who are friends with him (or are friends of friends of his...).

So yes, there are ways to meet him.  

But in terms of meeting celebrities, I’ve heard many stories about crazy fans stalking famous people. Last week, I read a story about a man who was on a court trial  for breaching a restraining order from Shania Twain.  Also from last week, I read that a woman lined up 32 hours just to get her book signed by Shania in Toronto. 

I’m sorry, but some people are a bit crazy. 

Yes, it will be disappointing not to meet your idol, celebrity crush, favourite singer/actor…but so what? 

There will probably be other chances. Famous people are normal people as well. And as talented and wonderful they are, do you seriously need to go great lengths just to meet them?  

I mean, the only way they will probably remember you is if you attend every single show and signing they're at (which is hardcore and borderline obsessive), interview them (so you can get to know them at a more personal level), become famous yourself (then you would have the connections), or if you stalk them...(which we all know in this case, never ends well). 

And that my friends, is probably a perk about being a journalist.  I tried to get an interview with Patrick, but unfortunately time constraints didn't allow me to.  However, my contact info has been sent to his possibly...I could get to speak with him at a later date.  I really doubt this will be made possible, but I can keep hoping right?  The media person thought my blog was fantastic...which cured my disappointment a bit.

Nonetheless, I still got to meet Patrick.

It was McHappy Day on Wednesday and I found out on Twitter that Patrick was going to be there.  It was quite early in the morning, but I asked my friend Arti to come along. God bless her, she woke up early to accompany me!!!! (me luv u long time gurl!!)

When we got to McDonalds, I was very happy not a lot of people were there.  After donating to the Ronald McDonald House and having a conversation with the creepy Ronald McDonald...I looked up and saw Patrick and a bunch of people!!

It just so happened that he was coming my way, so I kind of stood there staring for a bit.  A bit stunned because I couldn't believe it was real life.......

If you would like a reenactment of my reactions, please watch the video below:  

I know Patrick probably gets a lot of fan mail, but I decided to give him something witty and (cute?!?!).  I am nowhere near an artist, but I made him a little masterpiece.
 It's incredibly corny, but at least he laughed at it.  I felt so bad because I accidentally said his score at Worlds was almost 200 (which is really bad in figure skating...) but I was quick enough to correct myself and said almost 300!  I did however, remember that his overall score at Worlds was 280...something...but the Ronald McDonald added that the exact score was 280.95. (But really, it was 280.98 because I just fact-checked on the internet)...

Therefore, I embarrassed myself in front of Patrick.  (Sometimes I hate my life...)

And does it also make me embarrassing and shameless to ask for a hug?  I guess it really doesn't matter because PChiddy totally did hug me! Lastly, I also told him I was a journalist hoping to go to the Olympics. He said he'd remember me!! (That made my day and everything was wonderful and nothing hurt....)

And so before I stop gushing about Patrick Chan, which I know you're all probably bored or annoyed about right now...I will leave you with the letter I wrote him. Again, it's embarrassing...but personal.  I thought something personal would have a better chance of him keeping it...


 P.S.  The bottom says:

P.S.  Sorry if I acted all ~* fan-girl*~, awkward, shy, etc when meeting you.  I'm honestly a bit besotted by you, but I'm sure you get that a lot.

P.P.S.  I still find it so cute and funny how he's wearing an apron!!!!!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

My summer with a couple of shameless plugs

So it's about week two of my summer vacation and the last week before my job begins.  It isn't anything exciting, but at least it's flexible.  Next week, I will be working as a file clerk/receptionist at a law office.  Hopefully in July, I will be working at my former high school as a teacher assistant.  

I'm thankful I found something to keep me busy for the four month break I have. Finding work has been a challenge because I don't have any retail experience.  In this case, I don't really think I'll ever find a job in retail...sigh.

I won't delve too much on this topic, but if you must, watch the video above and ALL WILL BE CLEAR.

On another note, I am currently interning and contributing for Canculture, a new online magazine focusing on local arts and culture.  And even though it was by created "rival" Carleton journalists, it's all love when it comes to getting the stories and covering events.  So far, I have written two reviews for HotDocs, a film festival for international documentaries.  (You can check them out here and here)

Other than that, nothing much as been taking place...other than meeting UFC fighters Ryan Bader and Jon Fitch!!

Unfortunately, I could never be intense enough to pass off as a UFC fighter....

At least I tried.

But with more exciting news, I also met the legendary figure skater Kurt Browning!! Other figure skaters there were Jeff Buttle, Shawn Sawyer, Jamie Sale, David Pelletier and 2010 Olympic bronze medalist Joannie Rochette.  It was so awesome to meet Joannie after watching what she went through last year at the Vancouver Olympics.  Truly, what an inspiration and role model for Canadians!  What a gorgeous performance!

However, meeting Kurt Browning was probably the bigger highlight.  He is a four time Figure Skating World Champion and his skating style is simply just exquisite!

Embarrassingly enough, I was star-struck.  Just a bit.  I told him I wanted to report at the Olympics as a broadcaster and started to gush about Patrick Chan right after.  If you don't know already, Patrick Chan is another figure skater whom I love and (hopefully one day will marry....).

Of course, I'm only half joking...but a girl can always dream...

And amongst all the Royal Wedding hoopla, my friend Bethany and I also met the Royals...well, their cut-outs anyways.

Unlike most people, I was not into the hype about the Royal Wedding.  Kate and William are a beautiful couple, but all the attention from the cake, the dress, the fascinators, the flowers, the guests, the honeymoon, etc. was blown way out of proportion!  They are normal people!!!

But nonetheless, this photo was fun!

Stay tuned for more as I will posting more frequently in the summer!  Cheers!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

First Year...Done. Finito.

A couple days late, but I officially finished my first year of university last Wednesday.

Thoughts on how first year went?
Amazing...though school was not what I thought it would be.

The people in my program are awesome and I love them all (well most of them anyways). I love my journalism class and professor as I feel we've somewhat became a family after being stuck in the same room every Tuesday for both semesters.

Work wise, it was difficult.  Coming into university with 80s to 90s (I'm not trying to brag...I SWEAR!!!!!!) I was hoping my marks would stay roughly the same if not just a bit lower.

How wrong was I.  There I was, plummeting from high 80s and 90s to 70s and even 60s.  Nonetheless, it was eyeopening.  It pushed me to try harder than my hardest and not take my education for granted.

But if it's one thing I learned, university is way better than high school. The professors actually treat you like mature adults and don't look at us like naive children.  As for the people, thank goodness there were no petty, little dramas.

And with going to school downtown,  it's awesome.  Never have I been on so many adventures.  Never would I have thought that I would interview a local politician, a Paralympic gold medalist, a cute cafe barista, a Toronto rapper, my journalist idol(s), or affected residents from the Wellesley St. fire.

But as fun as I had with all these assignments, it didn't mean I behaved like the perfect journalist.  I have been yelled at for being disrespectful, given dirty looks by onlookers, and rejected a countless number of times by people who wouldn't give me two minutes of their time. 

Yes, I was stupid.  But, I'm still learning.  First year was amazing, and I hope the next three will be the same, if not better!!  You're all amazing!!