Author Archives: Brendan

Springtime in the City

The city is back to life! Trees are budding, flowers are being replanted, color is seeping back into the humans and surroundings of New York. People are smiling and laughing as they walk down the street, happy to finally unravel and de-bundle themselves from their winter jackets, hats and scarves. Dogs sniff their way down the street, able to enjoy their walk and not freeze their paws off! I think tears filled my eyes the other day as I walked down the street in a short sleeved shirt,  sans the jacket. What does all this mean….SPRING IS HERE!

Not only does the nice weather mean frequent visits to Central Park, the Highline, South Street Seaport and countless other sunny-day sites throughout the city but also a slew of festivals and events only spring in the big apple has to offer!

Below are a few that I will be trying out as we head to the end of the semester! If you happen to be visiting NY during this time check them out! As always, let me know what you think :)

1. Tribeca Film Festival, April 15-26

Who doesn’t love new movies? The Tribeca Film Festival is a world renowned festival that happens right in downtown Manhattan, as well as across the city. You can get matinee tickets for as little as $10 and tickets to guest talks for $35. The movies are ones not to be missed.

2. Cherry Blossom Season at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, April 1-26

Instead of hopping on a jet to Japan, hop on the subway to Brooklyn and see the natural wonders of the Brooklyn Botanic Garden. Get your iPhone camera’s ready because its impossible to see these beauties and not snap some photos. The Cherry Blossom Trees are a sure sign of Spring, so you don’t want to miss it. Only $10!

3. NYC Hot Sauce Expo, April 25-26

I know everyone doesn’t have the love of hot-spicy foods that I do…but maybe you’ll think twice after attending this event. The third annual hot sauce expo will be taking place at The Brooklyn Expo in late April, showcasing 45 vendors! Come with an empty stomach and leave thoroughly pleased. From spicy pizzas, to spicy bloody-marys – your tongue will be on fire…in the best way possible 😉

4. Kentucky Derby, May 2

Chances are you don’t have tickets to the actual Kentucky Derby horse race…but I’m sure you have a fabulous hat somewhere in your closet that you’re dying to break out! This is your opportunity! Many bars and restaurants around the city will be involved in this classic southern event. Gather your friends, don your best derby hat, find a bar showing the race and transport yourself to Kentucky! I recommend finding a horse who’s name makes you laugh…then root for them!

5. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Rooftop

I will definitely be heading to the Met Museum to check out the “Plains Indians: Artists of Earth and Sky” exhibit running through May 10th. There are countless exhibitions to view, enough to fill your afternoon with beauty, history and culture. Before you go, make your way to the Met rooftop. This is one of the best views of the city, overlooking all of Central Park. Bask in the sun, feel the breeze, and look to the sky line – breathe in the beauty and magic of this city!

 

xx,

Brendan

 

Getting to Know Your Professor

Hi Readers! Its so important to get to know your teachers here at FIT. As I’ve said in past blogs, they are a wealth of experience, knowledge and information and many times can help you land internships or future jobs! Introducing yourself at the beginning of the semester is a must, and if you take a liking to him or her, maintain the friendly relationship. Once you leave FIT, it will be great to have a connection remaining at the school.

Today I wanted to shine the spotlight on one of my favorite professors, Linda Finnerty! Professor Finnerty is a highly regarded professor in the Advertising and Marketing Communications department here at FIT. Last semester, she made my Tuesday mornings exciting with Principles of PR and this semester, she’s teaching me “real world stuff” in Corporate Communications.

I can’t begin to tell you the number of valuable industry and life lessons I’ve learned from her. Her lectures (which are always filled with interesting stories from her days on the job) have given me a realistic look into the world of PR. I must say she is one of the best professors I’ve had while at FIT. Her courses are highly sought out by students. You’d be lucky to learn from her! Impressive career + amazing stories + likeable personality = wonderful professor.

Here are some questions I asked Linda Finnerty highlighting her career and place at FIT!

Which classes do you teach at FIT?

Advertising & Promotion, Marketing for Integrated Marketing Communications, Workshop in Business Communications, Publicity Workshop, Integrated Marketing Communications Management, Principles of Public Relations, Public Relations for Museums and Arts Organizations, Corporate Communications and Special Events Marketing Public Relations.

Before you began teaching at FIT, what was your career?

Prior to teaching at FIT, I was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Communications for a major Wall Street firm.  I was responsible for advertising, marketing, public relations, investor relations, special events marketing, sponsorships, corporate culture and corporate social responsibility.  It was a high stress job, required lots of creativity, the ability to multitask and manage a large staff of people, crisis communications skills, relationship building – all while maintaining a sense of humor and the ability to keep things in perspective.

What was your proudest career moment?

My proudest career moment was receiving the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2009.  To qualify for the award, you have to be nominated by your peers and submit recommendation letters from a number of students and faculty members.

What do you enjoy most about teaching at FIT?

The thing I like best about teaching at FIT is the focus, dedication and creativity of our students.  Class discussions are always lively and the quality of the work presented at the end of each semester is amazing!

What advice can you give to students looking to attend FIT?

My advice to students hoping to attend FIT would be to focus on improving their writing skills, because writing is a critical skill for success in the business world; to read a newspaper daily to keep in touch with what’s going on in the world; and be curious and receptive to new ideas and all the opportunities that come your way. And, above all, don’t take yourself too seriously.

If that’s not good advice, I don’t know what is :)

xx, Brendan

We All Have a Story to Tell…

By this point in my college career, I can’t even tell you the number of papers I’ve had to write. From papers on genetic disorders, to the Harlem Renaissance, to Karl Lagerfeld and to direct marketing. As interesting as some topics may be, its not the most fun. But hey, I’m in college…what do I expect?

This semester I’m taking the very enjoyable Fiction Writing class. The class is an advanced writing course that develops students’ understanding in imaginative storytelling. We read short stories and novel excerpts and participate in writing exercises to examine writing process strategies. In a workshop environment, we develop and create a few pieces of short fiction.

There are no rules in fiction writing. You can write about whatever you want, whatever excites you or makes you feel. My professor encourages us as writers to use our imagination and tap into parts of our brains that we may have forgotten existed. We all know what makes a good story, from the books we read to the movies we watch. This class helps us to hone in on our storytelling skills and produce creative works of art.

We have workshops with our pieces and discuss with our classmates what works and what doesn’t. It’s an open environment, no judgement allowed. It’s nice to read other students work and have them read mine.

I find this class to be very therapeutic. As I said, it gets old writing papers that aren’t coming completely from your mind but referencing the ideas and research of others. To create a story is freeing because you’re in control. You control the world your characters live in. I’m able to pull from experiences in my life, good or bad, and use that as inspiration for my pieces of writing.

As a student yourself, would you find it more enjoyable to write fiction? Do you prefer writing research papers? Are you interested in the English and writing classes at FIT? Let me know!

xx,

Brendan

 

Keep Your Eyes On Your Own Paper

The phrase “keep your eyes on your own paper” is something we grow up hearing. From the first tests we took in elementary school, to the SATs, to our college classrooms. Through that sentence, we learn that we can’t cheat by using other people’s answers or other peoples thoughts, that it’s wrong. For so long I regarded that statement as strictly relating to school and education.

As I’m getting older I find that statement to relate to more than just test taking. At my age (21) its easy to compare myself to others. There’s always someone doing something better, wearing something better, getting the cooler internship, taking the cooler trips, getting the better grades. Living in New York you’re surrounded by the best of the best, in all aspects. Sometimes it can be a bit overwhelming.

I’m still learning about myself and what it takes for me to be happy and successful. My formula for happiness and success is different from every single other person’s out there. I can’t compare my path to another, because that’s the thing – we are all on our own life path. My story is different from everyone else’s. That’s what makes life beautiful. That’s what makes each and every one of us so special.

When you’re feeling anxious, intimidated about your future, your success, or your happiness, remember to “Keep your eyes on your own paper.” Within yourself you can find the answers and the direction you should walk down on your life path.

Peace and Love,

Brendan

Adult Stuff 101

Every semester at FIT, I continue to fall in love with my major. Its so exciting and validating when you’re sitting in a class, absorbing the information, engaged in what the professor has to say – and finding yourself actually enjoying all of it.

I have had some great classes throughout my time at FIT. Some favorites include Journalism, Publicity Workshop, Advertising Copywriting, and Video Studio Production.

A favorite this semester is Corporate Communications. Corporate Communications aims to develop the skills necessary to create communications that successfully influence an organization’s internal and external publics. As students, we learn to identify emerging business trends, interpret annual reports and related business documents, and convey business news in a clear, concise style through a variety of business communication and public relations tools.

I find this class very valuable because I’m learning about terms and processes I’ve heard adults talking about for years but never understood myself. We learn about 401k’s, the stock market, how to invest in stocks, why to invest in stocks and many more useful items that will benefit me as I make my way into the workplace.

Our term project, which we work and develop upon throughout the semester, involves choosing a public company in an industry we’re interested track a trend within that industry. We study the background of the company, how the industry trend effects the industry as a whole and then how it effects the company alone. The company I’m studying this semester is Netflix! Not only do I use its on the regular, but I find the internet TV industry to be compelling and ever growing!

What classes are you interested in at FIT? Are any of you thinking of studying Advertising and Marketing Communications? Do you have any questions regarding the major? Let me know!

 

xx,

Brendan

Alert! Alert!

When living in New York, it’s important to stay informed and aware when a rare threat is upon the city. Most often, the threat involves Mother Nature herself. FIT provides a wonderful service for all students and employees called FIT Alert. This system sends out emergency messages to employees and students via emails, text messages and/or phone calls.

Such messages include alerts about extreme weather, fire or flood conditions, violence on campus or public health emergencies. Living in the digital age, we are never without our smart phones. This service allows you to stay informed about what’s happening in regards to FIT and NYC during stressful times, whenever and wherever.

Winter time in New York can be a monster! School cancellations due to weather are always texted and emailed to me, so I’m informed immediately. I also know that my parents receive texts or phone messages letting them know as well, so that your family stays in the loop!

It’s simple and easy to review your information in the alert system through MyFIT. You can specify which numbers you want the messages sent to and add more numbers if needed. Parents and spouses can’t enroll in the programs themselves, but can have their numbers added by the student.

Use this resource to keep yourself safe and informed at FIT!

xx,

Brendan

It’s Getting HOT in Here!

One of my new years resolutions for 2015 was to get back into the practice of Hot Yoga, or Vinyasa Yoga. My freshman year at FIT, I took a basic Yoga class for my required gym credit. I really enjoyed the practice, learning about the different poses and their sanskrit names and translations.

That first yoga class led me to learn about “Hot Yoga.” Hot Yoga is where you do a regular yoga class, however you’re doing the class in a room heated from 100-110 degrees Fahrenheit. Sounds more like torture than relaxing yoga, but trust me, it has many benefits – physically and mentally.

I started taking classes again recently at Yoga To The People, right here on 27th street! Although there are many locations around the city, I enjoy the spacious 27th street studio and it’s physically close to my life at FIT. I sweat gallons during the class, and I can definitely feel it the next day. I’m looking forward to finding my flow again and bringing it back into my routine.

I write this post to encourage us all to find something here in New York that keeps us active! Being the center of the universe, New York has many, many different options. You think of it, New York’s got it – and probably the best you can find. Take a break from your school work, get out of the work room and blow off some steam! 

In these frigid winter months, it’s hard to get yourself out of the house. But it’s worth it! Don’t want to walk too far? There are some great and unique options right down the block from FIT. You could take Yoga class at Yoga to the People, a pole dancing strength class at Body & Pole or even a Kickboxing class at iLoveKickboxing. The options in this city are endless! Try many different things. Find what you enjoy!

Stay warm & Stay active!

xx,

Brendan

The Application Secret

Some of you readers may be going through a very exciting yet intimidating process at the moment. Completing your FIT application process! The SUNY application had to have been filed by January 5th, 2015 – which I’m sure you all know. Supplemental Materials deadline is February 1, 2015, which includes academic documents, Academic History and essay form, portfolios and so on. Let’s pause for a second, take a collective inhale…exhale. You’re almost there!

As a high school senior, this period seems to be all you can think about. You put all your energy into this process – filling out forms upon forms. Writing essays, gathering up anything and everything that represents your aesthetic, your art, your being! It’s a tough thing to do!

Now looking from the other side, someone who has been accepted and attends the Fashion Institute of Technology, I believe I am quite justified to give some advice :). As an applicant, you want to stand out and look special. Focusing on what sets you apart from the application before and after you. I am not a design student, therefor my application process for Advertising and Marketing Communications was different. However, the overarching theme and intention that all prospective students hold is exactly the same. And the “sparkle” the admissions office searches for is the same. And that is this…

Be YOU. Create from your heart. Write from your heart. Photograph from your heart. Design from your heart. Build from your heart. Are you catching my drift?

If you are putting your passion into the work you’re sending over to FIT, it will show through to whomever’s reviewing it. By expressing your individuality and creativity you will successfully get your point across. Trying to create something you “think” people will like, or “think” they’re looking for or “think” others want to see – you’re doing more harm than good in the long run.

FIT is a breeding ground for the unique, the creative, the hard working. A big theme that I wrote about in my application essay was how I looked at FIT as a big puzzle. Each puzzle piece connected with the next, to complete a larger picture – a new generation of creators and pioneers. I finished my essay by saying, “I want to be a piece of that puzzle.” Luckily, I now am.

If you are applying to FIT, I am wishing you the best of luck in this final process!

xx,

Brendan

A Thank You Goes A Long Way

I am a firm believer in the power of gratitude and a simple “Thank You.” Not only does it prove to bring good things into my personal life, but my professional life as well!

I’ve had family members who worked in administrative jobs tell me, they would hire one person over another due to a simple Thank You Note after interviewing. It may seem absurd, but the act of taking the time to personally thank the interviewers can change your career!

I’ve kept this advice close to heart while being in New York and have applied it wherever I can. When I finished at my first internship, I sent a personal, hand-written Thank You note to my boss for the wonderful experience I’d had.

I just recently finished a different internship and did the same thing. When I was interviewing for new internships the following week, I picked up some more thank you cards in preparation. Once I got home from those interviews, I wrote out the notes and sent them on their way.

The notes mean more than one may think. It shows a level of maturity, and respect that so many people unknowingly lack these days. It sets you apart from many others as a polite and gracious person, who could end up being the perfect fit into a company.

Don’t know where to find a companies address? Often times it will be located on their website. Or, if you’ve been communicating specifically with one person via email, they may have their office mailing address attached within their email signature. Last resort, speak to the doorman of the building! They may know where you can find more information on mailing addresses!

Thank you goes a long way!

Brendan’s Guide to Winter Break

As I sit here writing, it is currently “blizzard-ing” outside my window. Oh, January. You look so pretty…but then I’m forced to go outside and I remember how cold-hearted you are. The excitement and joy of December seems like a distant memory. The holidays never seem long enough. However, it is now a New Year. Another year to move forward with your goals and aspirations. Another year to check those boxes off on your bucket list. Another year to live your best life!

Winter break in college is like a double edged sword. You can use it to your advantage, or let it take advantage of you. This break is the perfect time to reboot after a hardworking semester. We all can’t wait to get home and not have projects, or finals to worry about! Its a great feeling.

My first year at FIT, I was new to the “6 weeks off at Christmas through January, instead of one week off like high school, to do whatever you want with no homework or responsibilities.” It was awesome to have that much time off from school, and to be home with my friends and family. That feeling never goes away, I just approach my winter break’s differently now than I did back then.

My first winter break I was basically a blob. My couch and I became even closer than we were before, molding to each others shapes. Netflix was a great friend for those few weeks. And yes, I have wonderful human friends as well. We would get together, get food, go to the local Target, because the options are quite limited in wintery upstate New York. By the time my break was over, I felt gross, out of shape, like I’d eaten two years worth of Christmas cookies. I hadn’t accomplished much on a small checklist I’d made at the beginning of break. I had done my fair share of relaxing, to the point of exhaustion, which lead to more relaxing! A never ending cycle!

But hey, it was my first time and I was learning. That is why I vowed then to make my winter breaks more productive and beneficial to ME. Maybe some people have no problem doing nothing, cozying up in their home and snacking on Xmas cookies. I have now learned that these few weeks are the perfect time to make a list, and get things done. Things you’ve been wanting to do all semester, but may have not had time for. 

SO, if you feel like your break could have been a bit better, I’ve come up with a short list of tips for you to follow. 

1. Indulge in the Holidays

By no means am I saying to not fully relax and soak up the holiday season. Please do!! By that point in our year, we need the family parties, delicious meals and holiday movies on ABC family. Embrace your time with your friends and family who you may not see throughout the year. Give them hugs and tell them you love them! Give back, do something kind, spread the holiday spirit! EAT LIKE YOU’VE NEVER EATEN BEFORE!

2. Set Realistic New Year’s Resolutions

Once the holidays are over, it’s easy to slip into “Post Holiday Depression,” as I like to call it. The hype is over, the Christmas tree is plopped at the end of your driveway. After New Years, write a list of some things you really hope to do within the upcoming year. Big picture resolutions like “WIN THE LOTTERY,” may be a little unrealistic. Think of personal goals you’d like to attain. Say something kind to someone every day, Read more books, Go to a concert. I find that smaller, positive goals are easier to check off my list! That way, when you look back next year you’ll see how much you’ve accomplished. The energy you enter into the New Year with is a great indicator of how your year could turn out. This year I want to take more Bikram Yoga classes and eat healthier foods! I can do that :)

3. Find Enjoyable Hobbies

If you live where it snows, you know some days seem longer and more mundane than others. Its too cold to be outside, or the roads are too icy to drive on. Looks like your spending the day at home! This is where hobbies come in handy! I re-learned how to knit this winter, and have been really enjoying doing that. I’m working on some belated Christmas gifts. I also have been pecking away at the “Books I want to Read” list. (Is it obvious that I like to create lists?) Find what passes your time without feeling like you’re just passing time. Make sense?

4. Get a Job

If you’re like me (or most kids my age I know) you’re a typical “broke college student.” I’ve had a job since I was 15, even throughout college. Personally, I enjoy to work for my money. It feels so much better spending it when you know how hard you worked 😉 I understand some may not be home long enough to find, apply, and get a job. Luckily, I have a job that I can come back to whenever I’m home, at a local bistro. Since I’m home for a few weeks, it’s the perfect time to build my bank account back up before the next semester. I don’t have much time for a job in the city anymore, with school and interning. If you have the option to work a few shifts while you’re home, do it! It keeps you busy AND gives you some spending money!

5. Review Your Upcoming Semester

We’ve all had that nightmare where you walk into school (usually in your underwear) and don’t know where any of your classes are, you’re completely unprepared, and everyones pointing and laughing at you. Let’s not make that nightmare reality, shall we? MyFIT has many ways for you to learn about your classes before actually sitting down at your desk. I like to screenshot my schedule on my phone, so that when the first day comes, I have a visual. It’s a big help for locating room numbers, because I never remember! I also enjoy looking at who’s going to be in my class. It’s always comforting to know you have a friend in class on your first day. Log onto MyFIT, click the Student tab, scroll down to “My Courses,” click “Click here to enter,” click on your course title, then click “Members” under Personal Tools. It shows you a full class list! It helps to subdue any nerves and get you excited for the upcoming Spring semester!

Everyone is different. Everyone approaches things differently, even our college winter breaks. Long story LONG, do what makes you happy and makes you feel good during this time! For me,  enjoy feeling like I’ve accomplished things over break. I hope that some of these tips are helpful to you! Please enjoy the rest of your winter breaks, and HAPPY BELATED NEW YEAR!

xx,

Brendan