A Publication

I wrote my first “big” philosophy paper this semester and decided that I wanted to publish it. I used ResearchGate in the hopes that I might get some feedback or peer review. If you would like to read it, it is right here.

This is an academic paper, so the writing is dense and meant to educate, not necessarily entertain. If you’re coming from my blog, you will find that it is nothing like what I write there.


Developing Your Portfolio

Well, the semester sure started with a BANG for me. A kidney infection and ten days of recuperation in Charleston have left me feeling stronger and ready to tackle the work I have ahead of me. Just in time for the midterm season too.

A few weeks ago, I received a golden opportunity to have my resume analyzed and torn down by someone who I – and many, many others – consider to be an expert in this field. I immediately jumped on it and just made it into the pool of candidates. A week later, I got a video response in my inbox. I knew my ego would take a major hit, so I didn’t open it for three days.

Fortunately, I was wrong and the person was very honest but also very kind about it. I appreciated the unexpected bits of praise that were thrown around in the response. Before they looked into my resume though, they asked me what job I was aiming for and if I had a portfolio to accompany it.

I have my portfolio on this website, which is a fantastic representation of what I have been able to get done in roughly 2 – 3 years. As great as that portfolio is, it doesn’t zero in on what I want to sell myself as – a marketer. My first question was “is the portfolio I have on my website something I could sell as a ‘marketing portfolio’?” The answer is no, it is not.

When applying for marketing positions, I usually take quite a bit of time to develop a project specifically for the company I am applying for that relates to a hole in their marketing or audience, one of their current goals, or a potential client. The projects vary by company, but that’s the gist of it. So far, it’s been great for me. Even though I didn’t get every position I applied for, I was still building my portfolio. I just didn’t know it.

So, I pulled together what I could into a makeshift file and called it my portfolio. It’s not my strongest work, but the realization that I needed to start compiling my past samples in such a way was perhaps a better achievement. It helped me to understand a few key elements of applications that can be used for almost any position:

  1. Your portfolio should be easy and efficient for the reviewer to look through. Use your best 5 – 10 works depending on how long you’ve been in your career.
  2. Focus on what they are looking for. Really narrow the details of the job posting or description. A custom or even semi-custom portfolio for each application could help tip the scale in your favor.
  3. Building a portfolio takes time. If you’re 18, like me, your portfolio might be small and that’s ok. The best thing you can do is continue to apply for jobs, continue to learn new programs and skills that you can put into use in those applications, and save every last bit of work you do.

Resumes are great, but portfolios are even better. Put yourself in the reviewer’s shoes, figure out how you want to present your abilities, and make it happen. Understanding what control you do have over your applications will help you refine them and make better impressions.



Looking for Perspective

I pushed myself really hard this week both physically and mentally. On my hike today, I was the strongest and weakest I had been since coming home. My legs are strong, my lungs are building back up, and my stamina has never been better. However, I’m sore, it was cold, and I felt the early signs of burnout. I’ve had a similar feeling in regards to my work – more capable than before but in need of rest.

A couple of days ago, I wrote about an awesome supervisor I have. I worked really hard today to try and understand a newsletter platform and build an effective template for their brand. I was struggling with a few of the comments he had made and glossed over some really simple changes that could have saved a lot of time. I felt as though I had wasted his time, so I sent him an email and thanked him for his patience.

It’s not that hard to be non-threatening and non-defensive but still advocate for yourself. He was appreciative of my willingness to continue to tweak little things and reminded me that it was the weekend and I should probably relax. I’ve always found that hours, days, weeks, and months blur while working from home. Sometimes, it doesn’t matter if it’s the weekend, because my “office” never closes.

However, rest is necessary. As much as I want to become stronger and get through my hikes faster, as much as I want to become more capable in my work, burnout is real and it can wreak havoc on your productivity. A day off is worth avoiding a week of procrastination. Your future self will thank you. Setting start and end times, taking breaks, and recognizing when you’re running out of steam are necessary practices for a healthy work life.


How to Write a Blog

This website has not been up for very long, but I did (and continue to do) a lot of research on how to make a blog an effective marketing platform. My goal for this website is to build up its audience and content enough that it can generate some revenue for me. To be able to do this, I first needed to nail down the specifics of how to write a blog.

Setting up your site is the easiest and, arguably, most fun part of this whole process. Existing hosts like WordPress, Squarespace, or Blogger have made it cheap and simple for a person with little to no coding experience to create a decent website. They have pre-made themes, navigable customization, and fairly good customer service in case you get hung up. Getting your website out is easy. Making a website that people want to visit is hard.

Now you have to write and you have to learn to write well. Writing well will be different for everyone. It all depends on who you’re writing for. What I consider good writing today is not what my English teacher would give me an A for. It’s all about gauging your audience and tweaking your content as you go along. I have not been the most consistent in the topics or quality of my blogs, but that wasn’t my goal for this month. My goal was to blog every day so I could build up my site before I tried to sell it as anything specific.

That’s the next step for your website: set goals. It’s important to make sure the goals you set benefit your site where it stands right now. If you just made your website, it would be unwise to set a goal of getting $100 in ad revenue in the first month. It’s definitely possible, but it may not be helpful for the longevity of your site. In my opinion, most people feel slightly uncomfortable when looking at an empty website, so I set a goal that would make sure that wouldn’t happen. Although I wasn’t consistent in what I wrote about, I was consistent in that I wrote every day and that made my site look full and active.

Pick something every month that you want to be consistent in. This month, I just wanted to get into the habit of writing every day. Now that I have that habit, I can begin to narrow down what I want to write about. Once that’s narrowed down, I might start thinking about how long I want my blogs to be. When generating content, there will always be new things to work on. In the beginning, there will be a lot of areas that need help, and that can be overwhelming. Focusing on one objective will make the whole process of improving a lot smoother.

Today is the last day of my July goal and I’m very happy to say I was able to achieve it. Writing has easily become one of the best parts of my day and I am glad to be taking such a good habit with me to Montreal. For August, I want to take a good look at what I’m writing and try to be more consistent in the times that I write my blogs. If I leave them to the last second, I’ll just write about the first thing that pops into my head and publish it, usually unedited. This was fine for my July goal, but won’t work for my August goal. The process of transitioning from one aim to another is tricky, but it will get easier with practice. Happy writing.




There is this idea that has been sitting in the back of my mind since I was in 11th grade. I have pondered it, doubted it, tried to reach for it, took too much time to grab it, and got a second chance to achieve it. I love public speaking. No, I don’t love the fear of standing in front of a bunch of strangers and talking for ten minutes, but I love the challenge.

When I was sixteen and trying to decide what to do for my senior project, I considered the idea of applying for TEDx events and giving a speech about my experience in public education. I did do that (you can watch it here), just not at a TED event. It was a fantastic event, so many community members and friends showed up to support me, but it just made me want to achieve my goal of the TED stage that much more.

A few weeks before I graduated, I received a notification from a Facebook page I followed called “TEDx McGill.” I had come across this page while searching for a TED event to submit an application to and decided to follow it because it was relevant to me in two ways – TED and McGill. However, after doing some digging, I couldn’t find any evidence that this event would be returning for a 2018 session, so I gave up hope of participating in it. Low and behold, this independent TED stage was coming back and wanted applications for student speakers.

Long story short, I jumped at the opportunity. I took a month to write my application, edit it, edit it again, have other people edit it, worry if I should even apply, edit it some more, and then finally submit it today. I was nervous as I hit the final button, I wondered who I was up against and if I had said anything worth reading. I’ve never applied for anything like this before, so I couldn’t help but think that my words and justification for wanting to be a part of the event may not be relevant.

The people who run this event know who they’re looking for and that may not be me. I don’t know how many people applied or what they put on their application, but I do know that I am proud of myself for even submitting the damn thing. It has brought me so much anxiety and concern in the past weeks, I just wanted it out of my drive. I’m hopeful, maybe naively so, but I know that 98% of success is just “showing up” or in this case applying for what you want. So many people throw away opportunities because they doubt their abilities. Maybe I still doubt myself from time to time, but I don’t let those thoughts keep me from acting.