Minimalist movement

The past few weeks, I’ve been going through a major minimalist movement. This was spurred by a few choice items:

  1. I’m starting my master’s program soon; time to start living like a college student again!
  2. I’ve been very overwhelmed with information overload lately – bombarded from all sides with news articles, social media notifications, and lists upon lists.
  3. My general anxiety disorder has been horrible lately, and the most stuff is around me, the more frustrated I become.

As such, I’ve made a few plans to cut down and simplify:

  • Deleted my Instagram (such a time-waster!) and migrated to Flickr.
  • Deactivated Facebook.
  • Moved my entire external hard drive onto Google Drive, formatted it clean, and gave it away to a friend.
  • Donated a ton of clothes and items to Goodwill.
  • Deleted my Trakt and Netflix accounts since I’m giving up watching mind-numbing TV (except for a few key shows… Breaking Pointe season 3 please!)
  • Went through Just Delete Me and removed as many accounts as I could :)
  • Contemplating deleting Foursquare…
  • Cleaning out my old room and selling off a ton of stuff.
  • Only buying physical books if they aren’t available as an ebook (to eliminate clutter).
  • Throwing away at least 5 items every day to help simplify my life.

The Instagram -> Flickr move was spurred by my renewed interest in photography (I’ve needed a dedicated hobby for some time!) I recently bought myself a Canon PowerShot ELPH 340 HS. I needed a replacement for my old Canon PowerShot from 2008 (the lens gets stuck all the time). I’m planning on digging up my Canon EOS Rebel DSLR too, but sometimes moments happen when you’re not carrying around a DSLR (hence the point-and-shoot!)

(Electronic) information overload.

Lately, I’ve found it exhausting to keep up with the information overload.

I have five thousand (okay, maybe just five) social media accounts. I would personally love to get rid of all of them, but unfortunately:

  • Facebook is the only way I keep in contact with my friends from college (since people don’t understand the concept of email anymore).
  • LinkedIn is pretty much a requirement for any professional.
  • Instagram is how I document my life.
  • Twitter is how I make conversation with companies and influencers.
  • I’m so OCD that I need the help of GrouveeGoodreads, and Trackt to keep up with my hobbies.

I did manage to erase large chunks of my Internet existence using Just Delete Me. I even deleted my entire Pinterest, which I had been using as a design portfolio (I’m changing careers, so the portfolio is irrelevant now). I scoured the Internet for my name (and my aliases) and tried to remove myself entirely. I just don’t like the idea of not being able to consolidate myself as a person into a few key places.

Some days, though, I just want to remove myself from the Internet entirely. Not have to maintain a website. Not have to check email. Not have to be obsessed with refreshing my Feedly and chatting on /r/bravefrontier (best mobile game ever!) Sometimes I just want to curl up in bed with a book, or go to a park and sit, or bake, or play some simply-but-amazingly-made NES game.

And then the rush of modern technology takes over, and I am once again dragged along by its currents.

Tips from a DECA judge…

This past week I had the honor of judging for the DECA International Career Development Conference (ICDC), and wow, was it an experience. There were some teams that I judged that simply blew me away with their professionalism… and then there were some teams that didn’t catch attention-to-detail mistakes before advancing to international competition.

I judged preliminaries for the Public Relations Project and finals for Fashion Merchandising Promotion Plan, but the tips that I have here are applicable to any project / presentation.

Read on for some ICDC tips from an actual DECA judge :)

[Read more...]

Excited for my Master’s degree!

As some of you may know, I’ll be a Master’s student at the University of Texas at Austin (McCombs School of Business) this fall. And if you couldn’t tell, I am super hyped.

  • I miss a collegiate environment. To be honest, I didn’t take college too seriously the first time around. I loved learning and I loved hanging out with my classmates, but in terms of professional development… very lacking. I hated team projects, I didn’t do interview practice, I fudged my way through a lot of p-sets, etc. This is a bit of a “do-over” for me.
  • It’s an opportunity for a career change. I’m aiming to get a position in investment/wealth management upon graduation; however, given that I took a little deviation from finance (plus the fact that I slept my way through my investments + options & futures classes in undergrad), I’m going to need a little boost from the advanced degree and going through the classes.
  • I’ll be in downtown Austin! That means after class, I can just hop a bus and be at Ballet Austin for dance classes. I can do a part-time internship if I absolutely want to. I can fully explore the downtown area, which I didn’t get to do while working at Giant Noise.
  • Case studies!!

Classes start mid-July, with intensive courses in Financial Management (probably the equivalent of 15.401) and Valuation (probably like 15.402). Shouldn’t be too hard (good review, at least), and will give me some time to work on career management and getting to know my cohort.

Interesting tidbit: my sister will be a freshman at UT next year too. Disturbing tidbit: she’s 6 years younger than me. Damn… has it really been 6 years since I first stepped foot on MIT‘s campus?

Saying goodbye.

I’ve run a PR/marketing business on the side since I was young.

At the age of 15 I started officially doing jobs for people – a logo design here, some web design there… SEO projects here, press releases here. Promotional posters, advertising buying, analytics, social media management…

It grew and grew. I had official clients I billed on a monthly basis. I got placements in some amazing media outlets. I learned a lot about marketing analytics, got a job in public relations, and even got accepted into the best Integrated Marketing Communications program in the nation (Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and Media).

But now… I think it’s the right time to lay it to rest.

You could call it a childhood dream, in the same way that tons of students grow up playing violin competitively or dancing competitively, and then give it up in college. Having done a small tour of the PR/marketing world and continuing to do it on a freelancing basis, I’m finally coming to terms that it’s not for me.

Do I still admire the work of PR, marketing, and ad agencies? Absolutely. But there are many goals in my life that are simply not compatible. For example: I really want to re-enter the finance world as a financial advisor. At the same time, I wanted to run a PR/marketing agency. And run a coaching business. And a dance academy.

There are only so many hours in a day. And ultimately I need to decide what is important to me and what’s not.

So I offer a big thank you to the PR/marketing industry. The world that nurtured my love for business development, gave me a platform to stand on, threw me into the shark-infested waters of the adult world way well before my time, and gave me tough love to figure out things on my own.

Now it’s on to bigger and better things.