Overload.

Things have been a little intense. It’s about 3 weeks since I was hired by Borgen and 2 weeks that I’ve actually been contributing my writing. And 9 articles into it, I’m loving it. But I’m also totally exhausted. On top of my 40 hours a week at my paying job I’m putting in 20+ in research and writing as well. I’m only up to the 5 articles a week part of the internship. But, pretty soon, I’ll be required to do 7 a week.

Part of me keeps hoping that I’ll be able to go ahead and bust out a bunch right now so I’ll actually be ahead of the game.

The other part of me realizes that I’m a terrible procrastinator.

I’ve been assigned two topics that I’m supposed to write most of my articles about. One is pretty easy to find information about, clean water. All over the place there are new purification and desalination processes coming out. And people all over the world are starting new groups and generally coming together to make access to clean water a reality.

The other topic, the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, is proving way more difficult. I’ve only found one hearing so far that has anything to do with global poverty. A fair amount that deal with human rights issues. And a TON that deal with why certain groups think Obama sucks. Not the least helpful. Not to mention, the news team posted a topic that needed to be covered this week that dealt directly with the committee. But some girl (who isn’t even assigned that topic) snatched it before I could. Ugh.

Oh well, I’m sure I’ll come across more things over the next 10 weeks. And I am allowed to write about other things sometimes, it’s just the majority of my stuff has to deal with water and the senate.

I really am enjoying it a ton, though. It’s challenging me to think and write in different ways than I normally would. And I’m learning a lot about poverty that I probably would have missed otherwise.

The weekly conference calls are a little boring. but I understand why we have to do them.

Here are some of my articles!

Protests in Brazil Escalate Over FIFA – Chelsea Evans

Students Stand Up For Clean Water in Kenya – Chelsea Evans

They also had us create a Crowdrise account for fundraising. If you feel some great humanitarian need to donate, that would be great. If not, no worries. The money goes to what we do; traveling, informing, debating, and learning. We don’t physically do aid or give the money to people as Clint Borgen actually works with our government to promote us actively taking a larger part in global aid for poverty.  But none of the money lines the pockets of the employees, this is a strictly non-profit group. These people are either volunteers or interns working for Borgen part of the day and holding down normal jobs the rest. If you want to learn more, go to Borgen Project.

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Official Intern.

So, today is my first official day as an intern with The Borgen Project. I’ve reveling in it for a week already, but after participating in my first volunteer and intern team national conference call and actually knowing I was on the phone with the man who started the whole project (and a hundred other interns and staffers) really brought it home for me.

clintborgen

Meet Clint Borgen, the founder and President of  The Borgen Project. He’s the man behind everything that we do and the one who meets with the members of the government in an attempt to persuade them to support funding to end global poverty. See, instead of taking donations to help the poor and instead of sending groups of volunteers to the impoverished countries, Clint works from within our own country.  He, and his staff, believe that in order to really eradicate poverty to wealthiest country needs to be playing their part. Sending volunteers and aid is great, but the countries of the world all need to really pull together to actually put an end to it. During the day he works for Borgen and at night he tends bar and serves since he needs to make money to live on.

mantra1Meet Mantra Roy, the manager of the news team for The Borgen Project and, therefore, my boss. She oversees the numerous bloggers, journalists, and editors (while doing much of the editing herself). Unfortunately I don’t know much about her other than that, but she seems like a nice person and just as determined as Clint.

These two people are already an inspiration to me, and I’ve only really been hired for a week. Understanding what they give up themselves so they can help those in need, people they’ve never even met, is seriously overwhelming.

I’m very excited about this opportunity and I’m doing my best to quell the massive amounts of nerves that keep popping up in the form of anxiety attacks in the middle of the night. I just have to keep faith in myself that I can do this and that, maybe, what I write will get more people interested in the cause and therefore the government more interested in the cause and we can really start to actually DO something about this Millenium Plan and this ever-growing (but actually slightly diminishing) problem of extreme global poverty.

I am not simply doing this for myself and my resume and my future. I am doing this out of a very real desire to help other people.

Huzzah!

Picture credit: theborgenproject.org

Picture credit: theborgenproject.org

I think I must be really good at getting internships, even if I seem terrible at getting real jobs. Maybe that can be my thing. I can work terrible jobs to make money and then do a lot of side work for internships doing stuff I like. It would probably be pretty annoying, but at least it would be better than just working the terrible job and sitting on my ass all day.

So, yes, I received an email today informing me that they liked all my stuff and the interview went well and BOOM I will be writing blogs for The Borgen Project!

I should be starting that in about a week, and I’m very excited. I am really starting to think 2013 could be a good year. Maybe not the year where everything turns around for me, but at least a year that acts as a stepping stone or something.

 

Murderous Anticipation.

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I have been applying to so many jobs in the last ten months that I actually forget about a lot of them. I do write down all the places I applied to and the position and what site I used. But they cease to stick in the forefront of my mind anymore unless, and until, I get the seemingly inevitable “We appreciate your interest in the position but at this time bla bla bla you suck bla bla…” email. Recently, though, I sent in my resume and a writing sample to be considered for a blogging internship with the NGO, The Borgen Project.

Blogging? Talk about a dream come true! Plus, writing for a great organization that works with politicians to end extreme global poverty? Hell yes. My levels of anticipation have been mounting for days.

I actually got an email back from them at the end of last week informing me that they liked what I sent and that I had been moved forward to the second stage of the hiring process! Yes! All I had to do was write a 400-500 word article on one of two topics and send it on in with a good title and sources, and if that was a success there would be a phone interview.

So I sat down and researched my topic, how ending global poverty could benefit the United States, for a few hours. After studiously taking notes and making references to quotes and data, it was time.

Can I just say that going from writing academic papers for Literature (usually 5-10 pages) to writing personal blog content (whatever feels like a good length without too much rambling) to trying to write a 400-500 word blog that is essentially a news article is…super damn complicated. Basically I had to write out the whole thing and then spend two hours tweaking and deleting and rewording before I had something informative that came in at just 487 words.

After hours of editing I finally realized that I was no longer getting anywhere and that it was what it was going to be and just went ahead and smashed my hand down on the mouse to send it. What a relief!

Psh. Nope. I proceeded to agonize over it endlessly and get no sleep. Then worried about it all day. Actually, for the last three days I’ve been checking my email every couple of hours, holding my breath, and then furrowing my brows when I realized there was nothing there. There has been a constant battle in my head about “Well not hearing anything right away is a good sign” and “Seriously? Why did I even try, I fail. Wahhhhhhhh”

Today at work, though, I pulled out my phone to figure out how to spell some complicated flower name so I could put it on a chalkboard sign (oh, working floral) and out of habit I checked my email.

Re: Blogger Internship

The conversation in my Gmail between HR and myself was all bold and highlighted, signifying that an email had been sent to me.

There was a moment where I was totally convinced I shouldn’t poke that email until I was off. But I stabbed worry and caution in the face and opened it.

Hi Chelsea,

You passed the writing exam! I would like to set up a phone interview for…

And then I started jumping up and down and flinging my arms about.

What a relief!

PSH!

FryPhone interview means “Lets start frantically researching the organization and reading all their blogs and liking them on Facebook and researching SEO writing and generally panicking and rereading the email.”

I wish I was lying when I said I’m getting a haircut tomorrow. For a phone interview. 

It’s just that this could be a monumental internship for me. I finished my social media marketing internship with Environmental Paper Network in a very anticlimactic fashion last month. And the other marketing and communications internship I started with Out Network is apparently on hold as the founder/my friend/my mentor recently started a new big boy job, went to Maryland to get married, and reenlisted in the Reserves and he has yet to message me back (I’m letting him get to it when he gets to it). Aside from pumping up the volume on my pathetic resume, it will give me something else I need SO desperately. A writing portfolio.

It has been so frustrating to find posts for writing jobs only to read,

Requirements:

  1. ___ years experience
  2. Portfolio of published writing

I mean, technically blogging isn’t really the same as getting published in a newspaper or a magazine or an academic journal. But it’s a start, and the fact that I’d be writing for an organization’s blog and not my own is a plus.

So, here’s to 2013 actually working out and this being what helps me get a real job.

Navigating the Interweb.

I am woefully incompetent when it comes to these newfangled internets all the kids are raging about these days. Well, at least compared to most of my peers.

They stole my face? Herbert, come in here! This book is filled with stolen faces! It must be black magic! Get the cross, it's time for a witch burning!

They stole my face? Herbert, come in here! This book is filled with stolen faces! It must be black magic! Get the cross, it’s time for a witch burning!

Compared to my 70 year old coworker, Gloria, and the women who come through my check out line, I’m a genius.

I don’t use Reddit or Instagram. I have a Twitter that I haven’t been on in months. Outside of Facebook, Google, WordPress, and a few others, I don’t get out much on the internet.

And why should I? Especially when all my contemporaries are posting the same thing on Facebook. I can just appreciate it there and like and share and whatever else and move on.

This is all leading up to announce that I started my new blog The Wee Wanderer. But it took me about an hour to figure out how to link the damn thing to this blog and this blog to that one.

Mostly because I was trying to figure out how to make it all as fancy as Ms. Katie has it on Sass & Balderdash. But then I got annoyed and chalked it up to being broke and not blogging enough to justify getting a premium membership or a domain or anything. At least, just not right this moment.

In any case, go check out The Wee Wanderer. You can look at my snazzy and super free theme and a beautifully composed About section. Of course, by the time you read this and inevitably click that link, I might have added a post. But still make sure to note how well I take advantage of all the free stuff WordPress offers…

Gloom & Doom

I’ve been so exceedingly gloomy the last few weeks.

Gloomy. Vampires probably live here. Real ones, not that sparkling, flat-faced bitch.

Gloomy. Vampires probably live here. Real ones, not that sparkling, flat-faced bitch.

It doesn’t help that I found out that my trip to Ireland won’t be a paid vacation even though my year is up at this job in October because the company goes January to January with benefits.

And that they are working me to death and paying me shit for it. I’m quite literally a specialist in two departments and a cashier and still only get cashier pay with the only chance of a raise in October, which will be a whopping 2% of what I made in the last year…

And that people all around me are getting better jobs and getting married and moving and all of that.

I had reached a certain level of contentment earlier in the year. There was a point I had come to where I was like “oh it doesn’t matter that my job is terrible and I don’t make any money because I have a great life outside of work.”

But then that died the last two weeks.

I think I’m back on the track to being okay again, though.

Planning this trip to Ireland will really help keep me from going nuts. I just have to remind myself that each shift that I work and each day that I spend there is one drop of cash closer to going to Ireland. Because, while the trip itself is already paid for ($999 a person for 6 nights and 7 days including a rental car, hotels, and airfare), we still need spending money for food and gas and trinkets and pasties. Plenty of pasties. Actually, I just like the way that Irish people say that word.

So I’m thinking of starting a separate blog for my adventures there. We got a fancy ass camera (Canon Rebel T31) so there will be tons of pretty pictures to post. And Steven and I literally can’t go anywhere without some sort of misadventure. Especially if it involves a car.

I think I shall start it soon and go through the whole planning and countdown process as well. Won’t that be fun?

Hmm. I think I'll get white girl wasted while I write this bullshit piece on the must see aspects of...where am I again?

Hmm. I think I’ll get white girl wasted while I write this bullshit piece on the must see aspects of…where am I again?

And in connection to this new blog I’m going to take a class starting in June on Travel Writing. It seems a little hopeless to think of getting a job in something like that. Lot’s of people want to do it these days because they think that they will get to take a lot of free vacations (which is a lie) and get paid to have fun (also a lie). But I do think it could be interesting and maybe bring a lot more life and professionalism to the blog itself. And maybe I’ll be realllllllly lucky.

You never know.

On that note, I need a really catchy name for the travel blog. I was thinking of doing something related to the traveling gnome since I’m (legally) a little person. But then I figured that has been waaaaay over done. Thoughts?

Relive the Rejection

I mentioned in my post, Publishing Powers, that it is always a good idea to branch out and try to either get yourself published traditionally or to at least enter some competitions.

And, several months ago, I did that very thing. I entered the Writer’s Digest Annual Writing Competition. Grand Prize is being published and $3000.

I got an email from them finally:

  Well not the “Congrats you can stop worrying about the bills temporarily because you got some money! Oh and good poem too!”  I was hoping for. I’ll admit that recently I was much more focused on the idea of the money than the whole getting my poetry out in to the world thing. So what? Money feeds you!

I am torn, though, on whether I should thank them for the courtesy email. They said that winners would know by October 19. 2012. If I hadn’t heard anything by then, I would have known and moved on. Instead, I get an email and all I can read of the subject on my phone is “81st Annual Writer’s Digest…” Deep down I knew it was the rejection. But, there was still that small bit of hope tantalizing my brain. And then the sudden punch of the “Of course…”

On the other side, at least they were nice enough to send out an automated “Sorry! You’ll get to learn all about the people who are actually good at writing in a few months, though!” email.

Now it is time for me to take my own advice and be comfortable with the thought that my poem does not suck and going up against over 9,000 people is kind of a bitch and one day, when I’m like 97, some place will say “Hey, this is pretty alright. Here’s $10 and your writing in a small corner of our publication.”

What I really need to do is seriously get to writing new material. I find it difficult without peers to read and critique my writing though. People can be serious assholes in writing workshops. But some people are genuinely there to help and give opinion on what works and what just has to go.

I’ll just sneak into a class on my old campus again and make them all read my stuff. Actually…I have an old professor who would actually be okay with that…hmm…