Listening is an Important Skill to Practice

DSC04253 by Jennifer V.

An often overlooked skill that I wish I had is the skill of listening. I must admit, I am a terrible listener and I have been for the longest time. My attention span is equivalent to a child’s (not really, but kind of) and I have trouble displaying interest when someone is talking to me. 

I recently came across a quote that said, “Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.” This is something I never thought about and it’s very true. We listen to say something back, we listen to give advice. However, sometimes people don’t want advice, they just want someone to listen and to sympathize. 

We should listen with the intent of curiosity, because genuine conversation can only happen if we truly want to learn something new. Something that a lot of us tend to do, especially when a friend is venting about their problems, is turning the conversation and making it about ourselves. We usually do this with good intent, hoping that it shows them we understand what they’re going through because we can relate to the situation. Feedback and responses are always good and shows that you’re listening however, we should keep our own talking to a minimal and especially not shift the focus of the conversation to ourselves. 

From now on, I will be more cautious in my everyday conversations, whether I am having a heart to heart conversation with my best friend or a small talk with the cashier at the grocery store; I will listen.

What I learned from working at a news station

DSC04253 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

Last term, I had the exciting opportunity to intern at KOIN 6 News right in downtown Portland. I applied for this internship because working in the journalism field has always been something that interested me, and because PSU does not offer a journalism major, I figured that I should try to gain experience in this field outside of the classroom.

During my 10 weeks here, I learned so much about the world of broadcast journalism and television production. Here are some of the best things I learned from this internship:

1) How to run a teleprompter

 

First of all, I had no idea that at some news stations, the teleprompter, where the anchors read the script off from during live newscasts, is manually operated by hand. I had to run the teleprompter a lot of times and it was the most nerve-racking job I did during my time here. I had to listen closely to what the anchors were saying and if I stopped paying attention for like five seconds and stopped rolling the script, it would throw the anchors off track on live TV in front of thousands of people. 

2) How to operate a news camera 

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The camera that is pictured above costs $50,000, so you can imagine all the things it can do. The videographers were more than happy to teach me how to set up and operate these cameras. There were a lot of buttons and nozzles that I had to learn and memorize. 

3) How to conduct interviews

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Most of my time interning was spent shadowing reporters as they go out into the field and investigate. A lot of their work involved interviewing people such as politicians, witnesses to crime scenes, and police officers. The best advice I received was from the weekend anchor who told me that a good interviewer must be a good listener. Listening is a skill that a lot of people tend to overlook.

4) Asking questions is the best way to learnIMG_8279

If you ever apply to intern here, don’t expect anyone to sit you down and teach you everything  you need to know about the world of news. Everything I learned was from asking questions. If I was curious about how something worked or why things were done a certain way, I didn’t hesitate to ask whoever I was with. Everyone that I worked with were very helpful and were eager to answer my questions.  

If you are interested in learning more about broadcast news or television production, I highly recommend you apply to KOIN 6. This was a very memorable experience for me and I would be happy to answer any questions you may have! Good luck!

 

My Favorite Coffee Shops in Portland

DSC04253 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

For the past year, I’ve been really interested in exploring new coffee shops around Portland. There’s just something about the atmosphere of a coffee shop; the quiet background music, and the sight of people on their laptops doing work while sipping on their drinks, that is just so calming and pleasing to me.

The coffee community in Portland is actually really close-knit and very supportive of each other’s businesses. I’ve met a lot of cool people within this community through my boyfriend who is a barista himself. At least once every few months, the community would come together to host “latte-art throwdowns”, which are basically tournaments for who can make the best latte art. I’ve attended a few and they’re really fun.

Here are some of  my favorite coffee shops that I’ve visited:

1) Deadstock Coffee

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Located in Chinatown, this black owned coffee shop is for those who love coffee and sneakers. The entire shop is sneaker-themed and the people who work here are huge sneaker enthusiasts!

2) Kiosko

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Kiosko coffee is a closet-sized, Latinx owned coffee shop that is located along the southwest waterfront. I love coming here because I love that it’s near the river, plus they offer a variety of unique signature drinks such as the “True Mexican Mocha” (the cup at the top in the photo) that I order every time I come here.

3) Case Study Coffee

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Case Study is my go-to shop because there’s one down the street from my house and I always go there to to do my homework. There’s a location downtown on SW 10th, super close to PSU campus!

4) Push x Pull Coffee

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Push (and) Pull coffee is one of my favorite coffee shops because the staff here is so friendly! Plus I like the nice open space.  

5) Coava Coffee

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Coava Coffee has multiple locations but my favorite one is the downtown one, which is just a couple streetcar stops away from PSU. The downtown location has two floors, and plenty of seating and tables for those who need to get work done.

6) The Arrow Coffeehouse

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The Arrow Coffeehouse not only serves great coffee, but they also serve fresh-baked pastries, and breakfast and lunch food! They’re located on NE Martin Luther King Blvd.

This is just a short list of the many amazing coffee shops that I’ve visited in Portland. I am still on an ongoing quest to find new ones to visit everyday, what are some of your favorite shops that I should check out?

I Can’t Wait to Leave School, But I Don’t Want to Leave

_DSC6107 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

This spring, I will graduate from Portland State with a bachelor’s degree in communications. I have long awaited this day since the moment I started college, and it’s been very comforting to know that after spending basically my entire life in the classroom, I am almost done. No more assignments, no more homework, no more projects, no more school. But for some reason, as graduation day gets closer and closer, I have this subtle feeling of not wanting it to come.

I’ve been a full-time student my entire life. Waking up and going to school is all that I’ve done for the last nearly 20 years. So how am I going to adjust to waking up one day and not having to go to school anymore? Sure, I will have to find a job, and that’s what most of my time will consist of, but the transition from full time student to full time employee is a big one, and it will take me a long time to adjust to it.

So after complaining for so long about how much I hate school and how much I want it to end already, I actually don’t want it to end. I am scared and nervous to be going out into the real world where it’s everyone for themselves. However, I guess it’s a good thing that I feel this way. If I wasn’t scared, then I’m not taking a chance.

Until the day graduation comes, I am cherishing every moment I have left of my time here at PSU. This is the last time I will ever get to feel like I’m not an adult. I want to leave, but I don’t. Graduation can wait just a little bit longer.

Not Many People at Work Look Like Me

_DSC6107 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

Over the summer, I worked at my first internship at a marketing and advertising agency. It was great. The people were nice, I learned a lot about the career that I’m trying to pursue and I gained so much experience from it. But since the first day that I stepped into the office, I couldn’t help but notice one thing: Nearly everyone there was white.

I’ve worked many jobs before. Regular minimum-wage jobs like stores at the mall, and diversity has never been an issue there. But since this is my first job in a professional environment, it really opened my eyes to the lack of diversity in the professional working world. Everyone at my internship treated me well and my race has never been a problem or affected my work, but I still couldn’t help but feel somewhat out of place. It was like a cloud of discomfort that filled the entire atmosphere for me every day at work. It feels lonely when you don’t really see reflections of yourself on a daily basis. There were only three people of color at this office: myself, and two other girls who were also Asian. I talked about this issue with one of them and they felt the same way I did.

From this experience, I had to ask myself: What can I do as a person of color to improve the issue of diversity in the workplace? More importantly, how can I use this struggle to work harder towards my career goals and help others who face the same problem? I’ve looked online and found that there are so many other individuals who have dealt with this issue. It’s great to know that I’m not alone. Perhaps in the future, I want to work with organizations that offer resources that help people of color, specifically students, get into the career that they are trying to pursue. I have found some great internship programs and organizations based in Portland that do just that, and I’m happy that they exist. It’s a great starting point to tackle this rarely talked about, but important, problem.

How I Deal With Stress

_DSC6107 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

This summer has been the most stressful summer I’ve ever had. I was balancing two jobs and an internship all at once and it was quite chaotic to say the least.  I remember asking myself, “How do people actually deal with stress in a healthy way?” I know there are people out there who deal with way worse than what I was dealing it, but I was genuinely curious about how people handle this type of mental frustration. I wanted to know what healthy coping mechanisms people use when they’re stressed, so I did research and found that these are the methods that worked the best for me:

1) Go on walks or long drives:

I preferably like driving for a long period of time with no destination with the music blasted. This helps me a lot and gives me a time to think and clear my mind. However, the most energy and cost efficient method is to go on a long walk. It not only gives me my workout for the day, but it gives me a time to just breathe in the air and think.

2) Watch a funny movie or videos

I love a good laugh every now and then but I especially love it when I’m feeling stressed out and need my mood brightened up a little. I would go on either YouTube or Netflix and find the stupidest thing I could watch that will give me a laugh.

3) Get a manicure, facial, massage or any type of beauty and health service

For me, getting a manicure not only makes me feel better because my nails will look good, but it’s also relaxing. Same with getting a facial. It cleanses your skin and it feels so good when your face is getting massaged. And of course, getting a full body massage feels heavenly and actually may improve your sleep quality and mood.

4) Talk it out

One of the methods that I find most effective is simply talking it out with someone. I have a few people who I can always depend on when I need some advice or feedback on my problems. This way, I don’t bottle things up and suffer silently.  

5) Sleep

I saved the best for last. Sleeping is my favorite method to feel better from stress. Sleeping in general is one of my favorite activities to do, actually. For a short amount of time, you forget about your problems and the world stops for a few hours.

 

My Reluctant Craving for Adventure

_DSC6107 by Jennifer Vo-Nguyen

I have never been a traveler. I’ve actually never been outside of the country, but I know that even if I did, I wouldn’t like it. I don’t like leaving the comfort of my own bed and home, and I never understood why people want to travel so much.

It wasn’t until about a month ago, I took a road trip to Las Vegas. A few of my friends and I drove 16 hours to Vegas, and within this short amount of time, my opinion of traveling changed completely.

During the trip, my friends and I took turns driving with each of us at the wheel for four hours. This car ride from Oregon to Nevada was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen. Going 85 miles per hour through the lonely road, going past the sand dunes, passing by the mountains, and especially seeing the sun rise in the desert was a sight that I will forever hold in my heart. It may sound kind of cheesy, but it was during this time that I realized that there is so much beauty to explore in the world.

I am now looking into studying abroad during my last term of college next year. I don’t know where I want to go yet, but I know for sure that wherever I choose to go, I will make it a goal to explore the nature and beauty of that country even if it’s something as simple as a sunset. Like I said, there is so much beauty on this Earth and all of us should take some time to search for it.