Category Archives: Emily

It’s Happening!

I have some exciting news, but first read this post from a few months ago.

Done? Okay cool. Well guess what? I did it! I’m an adult!! Not really. Actually I just got my act together and learned to cook a few meals…but whatever, same thing right? And I did it without even taking a cooking class! (Which, to be fair, is one of my biggest complaints about this study abroad experience. Most kids here only take about four classes and those will include “Italian Style Cooking” and “Pairing Food & Wine”. WHAT?! I’m taking six classes and none of them have anything to do with food. Ugh.) But like the proverbial baby turtle crawling its way back to the ocean, I persevered. Just look:

Parmesan zucchini - Healthy AND delicious

Parmesan zucchini – Healthy AND delicious

Roasted potatoes, zucchini and pasta with shaved provolone

Roasted potatoes, zucchini and pasta with shaved provolone

family burrito night!

family burrito night!

Just makin' risotto

Just makin’ risotto

I am now the fried rice QUEEN

I am now the fried rice QUEEN

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes and shaved parmesan

Spinach and ricotta tortellini with chicken, fresh cherry tomatoes and shaved Parmesan

the classic pesto pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella

the classic pesto pasta with fresh cherry tomatoes and melted mozzarella

I mean come on, that’s pretty impressive considering the first post, no? Alright fine, they’re pretty much all pasta dishes, but what can I say? I’m in Italy! (Also we thought our stove was broken for like, two months. Turns out we had one of the knobs turned wrong….oops!) Pinterest and Epicurious are two fantastic websites (who are we kidding, just download the apps) for cooking inspiration. If I can do it, you can do it! (Unless you live in CoEd or Nagler. Then you won’t have a kitchen, so you can’t do it, soz mate.)

–Emily–

Pantomimes Anonymous

Two different Italians stopped me on the street today to ask for directions. On the one hand, I was proud because these authentic Italians mistook me as one of their own. I get a strange sense of satisfaction from being able to blend in with other cultures. However, this happiness quickly became became uncomfortable and embarrassing. This is because, wait for it….I can’t speak Italian!

Yes, my name is Emily Bennett, I’ve lived in Florence for three months and I still cannot speak Italian. I am so ashamed. For most people, the biggest worry while traveling abroad is whether they will be able to understand the locals. This, of course, leads to desperate hopes that most people will know English and even conversations stating how much easier and better the world would be if everyone just spoke one language (i.e. English). But what a horrific white-washing of culture that would be! Can you imagine living in a world where no one knows the subtle romantic quality of the French language, or the explosive passion of Italian, or even the mysterious Swahili?

I get it, it’s intimidating and embarrassing to attempt to speak a language that you haven’t mastered, especially to people who have been speaking said language since they were babies. Trust me, that is what got me in this situation in the first place. When I was studying in France, it was a whole different ball game. I had been studying French for six years before I was living on my own there, so I had a sturdy background of the language and was well-informed of the culture as well. This is the first time I have ever studied Italian, and I know what you are thinking, if I live in Italy, I should be learning the language twice as fast, right? No, wrong, completely wrong. Everyone here speaks English! At least the French have the decency to refuse to speak English to you! Obviously, it would have been much harder for me to survive here if people didn’t speak English, but I think I could have done it, and forcing me to attempt even the most broken Italian in every situation would have sped up my learning immensely. However, I am a self-conscious little baby when it comes to Italian. Too quickly will I revert to English, or not say anything at all. I go to the grocery store at least once a week and I think the only things I have ever said to any of the cashiers are “si” “no” and “grazie”.

Now that my time in Italy is coming quickly to a close, I wish I had pushed myself harder to learn the language and speak it. Honestly, it is a really horrible feeling to be in a country and unable to speak the language. It is embarrassing! Not to mention completely disheartening. I don’t mean for this post to be such a downer, but if you can learn anything from my little failure, really take the time to learn the language before traveling. It will make your time there much more rewarding, and the locals will definitely like you more. Also, don’t be afraid to forget about English and instead rely on whatever of the language you do know (miming helps too). It is much more endearing to see someone struggling to speak the language than one who just starts speaking English and assumes whoever they are talking to will understand.

Buon viaggio!

–Emily–

Health and Safety

As I write this, I feel like crap. My head feels like there is a table clamp squeezing it, my cough makes me sound like I’m dying of consumption, and my nose is simultaneously constantly running, yet so stuffed up I cannot breathe. I. Am. So. Sick. And I realized that while at college, there is no one to take care of you when you feel awful. Sure, there is Health Services, but they can’t really do much for the common cold or flu. Being sick alone sucks, especially if you have a million things to do! So, here are some tips to just avoid it happening altogether:

1. Drink water. Lots of water.

I’m sure you have heard this before, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you follow it. I’ll admit that I am horrible when it comes to this. I know I should be drinking about two liters (68 ounces) every day, but I definitely am not drinking the equivalent of four Poland Spring water bottles every day (yeah four). I suggest carrying around a water bottle that way water is always on hand, and it will result in you drinking more casually, not just when you are parched. For example, if you fill a 32 oz. Nalgene bottle before you leave for class and refill it in the afternoon then you will have had about two liters/ 64 ounces! Success!!

nalgene water

2. Fruit juice: it’s like water but more exciting

Even more healthy than water is fruit juice! I mean water is still necessary on its own, but fruit juices contain essential vitamins that water does not have. However, many bottled juices contain a lot of artificial sweeteners, and do not actually have as many vitamins as they would like you to think. There are a lot of “organic juice bars” in New York City that offer fresh made “pure” juice. Other than that I would stick to good old o.j. and apple juice. If juice is not really your favorite, a cool trick I have seen friends do is fill their water bottle (see above) with fresh sliced fruit. There are many completely natural options, and they are just slightly flavored, so it is easy to drink a lot. Also, there is something satisfying about knowing exactly what is going into your body.

fruit water

3. Do you even lift?

Exercise and I have a complicated relationship. I love the feeling after a really great workout, and I do use running as a way to deal with stress, but sometimes it is just so hard to get up off the couch and go to the gym. Luckily, FIT has two very conveniently placed gyms! The larger one is in the basement of the David Dubinsky student center and classes are offered for free! The second is in the basement of the Kaufman dorm. However, this one is only available to students who are residents. Also, FIT actually has quite a few athletic teams. Less than the average college, but more than you thought I bet. If exercising with your peers doesn’t sound so enticing, you can always do what I do and run along the Hudson river. It is a five minute walk from Kaufman and maybe 10 – 15 from 27th street. I prefer to run outdoors and the city has renovated the area along the river and made it perfect for runners. Another one of my alternative workouts is yoga…at home! You can really find anything on YouTube. Why pay for a gym membership again?

ATH_27fitnesscenter_01

4. Sleep is for the weak. Just kidding, I’m tired and going to bed. 

Sleep is super important for staying healthy. They say you need eight hours every night, but  more is better. Let’s be real though, who gets eight hours every night? My advice would be just to avoid all nighters at all costs. There will probably be nights throughout your college career where you have to stay up all night to finish a project, but try to make these happen as few times as possible. Your body, and your grades, will thank you. A project is always better when it is not rushed. The biggest thing is simply learning to not procrastinate, and instead of binge watching Orange is the New Black, writing that paper, or sewing that shirt. Something that actually helped me a lot was having a roommate was asleep every night by 11 o’clock. Because she went to bed earlier than I did, it forced me to go to bed earlier because I didn’t want to keep her up with lights or noise I was making. As the semester went on, I began to plan doing my work around being finished by 11 so she could sleep, and I ended up being much more productive, and sleeping more! Creating (and actually sticking to) a schedule can really make getting work done at a normal time much easier to accomplish.

–Emily–

Are You There Housing Gods? It’s Me, Emily.

I’d like to say that the stress that comes from trying to figure out housing goes away after freshmen year, alas I cannot. Finding a place to live is always complicated, especially in New York City. Basically you have three options:

1. Live at Home

If you, like many FIT students, live in the tri-state area, it is probably possible for you to commute to school everyday using the Metro North, LIRR or Subway. The biggest pro of this is free housing (assuming your parents are not going to charge you rent). That is huge when considering the high price of rent in the city, and dorming isn’t exactly cheap. However, living at home has its downsides. First of all, most people want to feel like they are getting away and starting their own life at college. Living at home doesn’t really create this type of fulfillment and may detract from learning to live on your own, i.e. cooking for yourself, cleaning up after yourself, doing laundry, etc. Also, commuting is extremely tiring. I interned and did one class over the winterim session one year and I would get home around 7 or 8 pm and just crash. Sometimes I wouldn’t even eat dinner I was so tired. The commute doesn’t even have to be that long, just the stress, and dealing with other stressed travelers, can really take it out of you. Finding time for a social life is demanding as well. You can’t just walk down the hall, or decide to meet down the block if you are living an hour away. In terms of stuff, FIT offers lockers to rent for $10. These are reserved for commuter students, although they go quickly, so get one asap. To be honest, I’ve never had a locker so I cannot say whether or not they are big enough for all the stuff every major has. Trust me, everyone has so much stuff at FIT.

2. Finding an Apartment

I’m going to be honest, I have never looked for an apartment before, but I’m terrified of it. I am hoping to start looking when I get home from Italy, and it all is very overwhelming. Apartments in New York are small, expensive and hard to come by. I wish I could give advice on this subject, but instead I’ll just have to ask for some! As soon as I start the process I will definitely let you know what I find. *Gulp*

3. Dorming

This is where I have my expertise. I have dormed for three years at FIT (except for here in Italy) and there are definitely pros and cons. There are four different dorms. Alumni, CoEd and Nagler are reserved (for the most part) for freshmen. Kaufman, the biggest, is mostly upper classmen. Generally the biggest pro of living in the dorms is how close it is to the school. It takes about three minutes from bedroom to classroom at any of the 27th Street (freshmen) dorms and about ten minutes from Kaufman. All the dorms also have laundry machines in the building, which is a rarity in NYC, and Kaufman has a (small) gym. Each building has a workroom which can be convenient for finding a space to work on projects without going into a room at the school. Alumni and Kaufman both have kitchens in the room, and therefore do not require meal plans. The biggest complaint for all dorms is overnight visitation. There are many steps for requesting an overnight guest and most students are fed up with it by the end of the first semester. The dorms are also very strict about alcohol as FIT is a dry campus, even if you are 21. Many students prefer Kaufman because it has newer facilities and is slightly more spacious (or at least seems that way because of the extremely high ceilings). Dorming is pretty much a toss up for pros and cons, but as a senior I am definitely hoping to move out on my own. Fingers crossed, I can find a place.

For any more specific information on the dorms I can answer any of your questions in the comments!

–Emily–

Fashion Advice from the Famous

As one of the world’s foremost fashion philosopher-sociologist-historian-genius, I thought I’d breakdown some of the most famous slices of wisdom from the leaders of the fashion world. (Ed note: I haven’t heard back from the board of directors of fashion geniuses of the world about my self-proclaimed title, but I’m sure they’re fine with it).

“Before you leave the house, look in the mirror and remove one accessory.”

— Coco Chanel

Now I’m not one to restrict anyone’s accessory affinity, I myself have been collecting rings from my travels and my fingers have filled up very quickly. However, I think of this more as look at yourself before you leave and remove anything that could interfere with your activities for the day. The fashion industry is all about getting work done and getting it done quickly. Personally, I have given up on bracelets (especially bangles) because all you hear all day is loud clacking as they bang against your desk when you type. Extremely infuriating. If the hat won’t stay on your head when it’s windy – ditch it. Basically, don’t wear anything that is going to require more time to deal with than it takes to put it on in the morning.

“Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels.”

—Kate Moss

Completely untrue. Have you never been to Shake Shack? Or eaten a burrito before? I mean hello, CHOCOLATE. End of story.

“You can have anything you want in life if you dress for it.”

—Edith Head

I mean we are in the business of fashion people, this shouldn’t really be much of a shocker. It is important in any aspect of life to convince people you are whatever they need. As much as we try not to judge a book solely by it’s cover, that cover is the first message, and sometimes the only message, seen. Don’t waste an opportunity, be convincing.

“Fashion is the armor to survive the reality of everyday life.”

—Bill Cunningham

Let’s face it, fashion is a luxury. All that is necessary is something to keep you warm when it snows and protect you from the sun when it’s hot. Anything you want for the sake of having it is a luxury. It has been said that Vogue magazine is meant to create aspirational dreams, not be a catalog for the everyday woman, and that is what fashion is – an aspirational, dream-like distraction. Fashion is supposed to be fun because it’s fun to pick what you wear and how people will see you today! Did people wearing the Mao suit look like they were having fun? Embrace the frivolity of fashion.

“Fashion is what you’re offered four times a year by designers. And style is what you choose.”

—Lauren Hutton

Fashion designers do not determine style, they influence it. Style can only be created by the individual, that is what makes it so exciting to see someone with truly great style. If one designer determined style all you would have to do is dress head to toe in that label, but you don’t see anyone on the best dressed lists wearing head to toe Michael Kors or even Saint Laurent. Not to get to in depth with the trickle-up vs. trickle-down theories, but it is obvious in our current fashion climate that designers are taking much of their inspiration from the streets and the boundaries of who is who is influencing whom are blurred. Fashion trends fade, but style is eternal, right Yves?

“A little bad taste is like a nice splash of paprika. We all need a splash of bad taste—it’s hearty, it’s healthy, it’s physical. I think we could use more of it. No taste is what I’m against.”

—Diana Vreeland

With all the stuff available in fashion now, it is easy for clothing to start looking homogenous. Staying relevant in fashion is all about being new and different (even though we all know fashion runs on an ever quickening pendulum of trends that is catching up to us). I love people who can dress totally kooky and be completely confident. They make my life more interesting just by existing. Vreeland captured this spirit perfectly in her famed “Why Don’t You” column for Harper’s Bazaar. The worst thing you could be in fashion is boring.

Why Don't You

Why Don’t You

(and lastly, my personal favorite:)

“People will stare. Make it worth their while.”

—Harry Winston

–Emily–

To go or not to go: That is the question.

fit acceptance

So, letters have been sent out and you have either been accepted to FIT or not.

If you haven’t, I know it is extremely disappointing, but it is not the end of the world. Of course, it would be nice to have gotten in the first time, but I have many friends who have gone to a liberal arts school or community college for the first one or two years and then transferred to FIT. In fact, it is a great way to finish your liberal arts requirements so that when you do get to FIT you have more time for your major and minor classes, or to work or do an internship. Just be sure to check which liberal arts are required by FIT here. If there is one thing I have learned from meeting working people, it is that life will take you on a journey of many twists and turns, and that you will most likely end up doing something you never thought of on your way to your goal. I know it’s hard, but try to look for the silver lining and make this an unexpected, yet opportune moment to grow.

—————

Campus Outdoors

For those of you who did get that acceptance letter, congratulations! Now comes the herculean task of deciding whether or not to actually attend FIT. If this was the only school you applied to or got accepted to, the choice is a little easier. However, the majority of applicants have received acceptance letters to multiple schools. Here comes the fun / devastating part: making a decision. I personally love the pro/con list. It is a great way to visually map out what will give you the most benefits while also helping sort out your priorities. For example, will the fact that FIT does not have a fraternity/sorority culture make you feel like you are missing out on the college experience you want? Does going to football games on Saturday mornings take precedence over going to Central Park? It is important to be honest with yourself during this time as well. If you know you do not prosper under stress, it might be more prudent to attend a more rural school with a more slowly paced curriculum. There’s no shame in choosing a school that will help you gain more from your experience despite having a less recognizable name.information

One of the best ways to determine if the school is right for you is to attend accepted students days. (FIT’s admitted student days are April 5th and 6th this year.) Yes, you can read a lot about every school and it’s facilities on its website, but there is nothing that can make you feel the true personality of the school and its student body like actually being there. Here is an example:

My Mom made me apply to Syracuse University because she thought I should look at a school that was more of a traditional university rather than just the art schools I was applying to, even though I really didn’t think it was worth it. A few months later, acceptance letters arrived and as luck would have it I was accepted into FIT and Syracuse (plus a few others, but who’s counting amirite?) So began the long car rides and extensive tours, and I was begrudgingly dragged all five hours up to Syracuse despite my persistent decelerations of disinterest because, let’s face it, the school with the best program is FIT so I would obviously be going there. Well guess what? I got on campus and I flipping loved it! The wide open quads, the buildings that look like Harry Potter castles, the downtown arts warehouse, the quaint surrounding town. It was everything I had been told college would be like. And that’s where life got complicated.

fit01

I mean it's not really a fair comparison, sigh.

I mean it’s not really a fair comparison, sigh.

Obviously I chose FIT, otherwise you would not be reading this right now, but it was a hard and arduous decision. Mainly, it came down to price, location and curriculum. FIT had Syracuse beat on all of those, but I knew that by giving up Syracuse, I was giving up my chance at that “traditional college experience”. Now, as a rising senior, I do not regret my choice at all as I do not think that experience could out weigh the ones I have had here (and I have managed to visit my best friend at Penn State for many a football game and frat party, so no loss there), but I did realize the importance of experiencing the campus in person at least for a day in the decision making process. An open mind and self awareness are key for making the right decision.

Plus like I said before, your life will take you through many unexpected detours, so if you do end up deciding that the choice you made was not the best, you can always transfer!

–Emily–

Seeing vs. experiencing

If you read an interview with any photographer almost all will say that the biggest difference between shooting film versus digital is the immediate editing. Digital cameras let you take infinite number of pictures while film rolls have less than 50 exposures each. Many photographers say that this has changed the psychology of taking pictures because with film each shot had to be “worth” it and would therefore require more thought, while digital allows you to snap away to your heart’s content and just delete later on the computer (or more likely hoard all of them in a folder on your desktop never to be looked at again).

I’ve noticed this applies to how we experience life as well. We constantly want to prove we have done something, even if it is just to ourselves, and constantly being able to take pictures makes it so easy. But is it too easy? As someone who has been lucky enough to travel as much as I have, I have definitely realized the strongest memories that survive are not ones seen in photographs, but rather the ones where I was just hanging out and experiencing the moment fully.

I’m not saying “don’t take pictures”, obviously you want to have something to look at to remind you of amazing things you have done, I just think it is important to put your camera or iPhone or whatever away and just sit and be. Don’t let an amazing experience slip by because you were too busy seeing it through a screen.

–Emily–

Boys Boys Boys

Speaking of the misconceptions of the girls (and guys) at FIT, let’s talk about boys. I don’t know if you heard, but Cosmopolitan magazine recently named us the worst school to meet guys. Ouch, that sounds bad doesn’t it? Well let’s start from the beginning. I’m assuming since you are reading the admissions blog, you are at least a little interested in attending FIT, and I assume that you have looked up the basic facts about FIT already. Therefore, you probably know that FIT is 86% female and 14% male. Please don’t show up on your first day of class and act surprised that there is only one guy in each of your classes. This goes for gay guys too, although there is a larger percentage of gay men at the school than straight, it is not as drastic as many people believe. However, the idea that there are only gay men here is not true at all. I have many straight male friends at FIT and know several more casually.

That said, it is probably unlikely you will meet a significant other in one of your classes (however, my roommate met her boyfriend of two years in one of her graphic design classes at FIT, and they are probably the cutest couple I have ever met in my entire life). Fear not, you live in the center of New York City! Now before you go translating this into “I will meet my husband at [insert club name here] tonight” let’s slow down a bit shall we? I will admit to falling into the ridiculous train of thought for about the first week of experiencing nightlife in the city, but soon realized this is crazy, and once you go to a club you will definitely understand why. But this applies to bars as well! What are the chances you will meet the person you will spend the rest of your life with in a crowded room that is shaking with music so loud you can’t hear the person next to you and everyone is drinking in excess?

I do not mean to scare you; love does exist in New York City! I am a firm believer in “a watched pot never boils”, meaning that the more concerned you are with finding a guy, the less likely you are to going to find him. Personally, I think most of us attend FIT because we are concerned with our careers and want to succeed. This being said, it is not wrong to be focused more on your studies, networking and internships than on finding a guy. Don’t worry, it will happen – and probably someplace you would have never imagined.

Fernanda De Superwoman

Fernanda 1

There are a lot of amazing, hard working, inspired people you can meet at FIT. I am constantly wowed at the passion for success that flows throughout the student body here. I think anyone who goes to FIT will say that if you are not prepared to work and really put in the time above and beyond what is required, you should think about attending another school.

Despite the high standard of work ethic here, there are, of course, those who seem to effortlessly out-do everyone else. And I mean that literally. Fernanda De Souza “out-does” probably everyone at this school. We met while playing tennis for the school team, of which she was named team captain for her senior season. Fernanda is also a member of the Presidential Scholars and consistently included on the Dean’s List. Beyond her academic achievements, Fernanda is also currently the editor-in-chief of FIT’s newspaper W27. Yet, somehow she still finds time to work as a nanny, write for The New York Observer, keep up an active amateur photography hobby and have a normal social life! (Can you believe I’m lucky enough to be friends with her? Me neither.) She even had the time to answer some questions I thought would be good insight for current or potential students:

E: You do a lot of stuff. I mean, Pres scholars, tennis, W27, you’re writing for the Observer now, plus your nanny job, not to mention regular school work – how do you find enough hours in each day and not want to jump off the roof of your apartment building?

F: When you put it that way, I realize I do so much. I’m not quite sure HOW I find time every day to go from school, tennis, Pres. Scholars, newspaper, internship, babysitting + working at Ralph Lauren on occasional weekends. I heavily rely on my Moleskine planner, it’s my Bible. I had a very scary spell though where I landed myself in the hospital from a severe anxiety attack because all this stress had built up and I finally couldn’t do it anymore. I’m learning to take better care of myself and pace myself during my day-to-day activities so I don’t drive myself back in the hospital. Thankfully, I have a great team behind me (especially at the newspaper) to help me. My time management’s horrific actually but I somehow manage. I’d rather be busy than sitting at home watching Netflix all day. I’d weight about 500lbs if I weren’t involved in everything I do.

E: How much of your time is devoted solely to W27?

F: W27 is draining. I can’t tell you an exact amount of time that is spent on it because it is ongoing. We have meetings for an hour every week which I’m leading, I’m constantly keeping in touch with the writers, editors, photographers via email and phone, then I’m dealing with the publisher and of course, our edit weekends where me and my art team come in once a month and sit there Saturday through Sunday getting the paper together. I also end up writing one or two articles each issue. It’s a lot of time and you’d think I’d get paid for this but it’s very rewarding in the end when it all comes together.

Fernanda 2

E: Hopefully all that time is worth it; does  your position at the newspaper relate directly to what you eventually want to achieve in your career path?

F: Yes, exactly what I do for W27 is what I want to do when I’ve graduated. I want to work in publishing, newspaper or magazine, and potentially, write my own stuff (short stories mostly). I love to edit people’s work, I LOVE to write, I love setting up a nice page layout that is pleasing for the eye (of course, with the help of my amazing art team!). The dream has always been to work at the New York Times as an editor or columnist–we’ll see! Definitely can’t be an editor in chief of any publication anytime soon, always have to start at the bottom, unless I end up starting my own publication, which I would love to do sometime in the future. They say the newspaper/magazine industry is dying, I beg to differ, I think it’s just changing is all.

E: Your own publication! That’s so exciting! Did you know you were going to be named as the next editor-in-chief? And do you like being in charge?

F: I was a candidate to be editor in chief of W27 two years ago actually. I backed out from the running because I wasn’t sure I could handle it my junior year because I knew I would be extremely busy. I was also not mentally prepared. So Caroline Nelson became editor in chief last year and I was her deputy, second in command. And from there, it only seemed like I was following this line straight to the EIC position. So I sort of knew I would land there eventually–I had been with the newspaper for four years and risen from an inferior writer to being in charge. Being in charge is great, having what you say go, but it’s also very dangerous. If you take this power to an extreme, it can really screw with your head.  I try to be the best editor in chief by accommodating my staff but still remaining a strict (but fun!) environment.

Fernanda 3

E: You have been known to be very vocal about your disinterest in fashion. Do you think it is worth coming to FIT if you don’t have any interest in the subject?

F: You’re right, I have no interest in fashion. I came to FIT thinking I’d be working for Anna Wintour at VOGUE eventually but that dream was quickly shot down the minute I came to FIT and realized that I was in for it. I think my biggest disinterest in fashion comes from the people who work in the industry. I’ve met some really horrible people and I go, “WHY must you act like that? There’s no excuse and you take yourself way too seriously.” I think FIT is a great school even if you don’t have an interest in going into fashion, because professors make sure to cover things BEYOND fashion. We are talking about businesses going public or bankrupt and political issues in the Middle East. A great range of subjects are covered in the courses at FIT but the major courses are very good with focusing on a career in each respective major that entails more than just fashion.

E: So do you think FIT’s student body has helped you in any way?

F: Being around the FIT student body has helped to reassure me of who I really am. We are all different here at FIT, not one of us is like the other. There are so many different characters at this school, which is great, variety is fantastic. But I can definitely tell you I don’t feel like I fit in AT all under the “FIT student” role. What I can say is that FIT students are go getters and hard working so being surrounded by this sense of competition pushes me to better myself in my work.

Fernanda 4

E: Speaking of competition, you have helped the woman’s tennis team here to many triumphant successes. What are the best and worst parts about being a student athlete?

F: The worst part about being a student athlete is your weekends get taken away–completely. We were at matches every weekend, sometimes we were gone Thursdays-Sunday for tournaments. Your social life suffers a little. Best part was actually being active daily and being with on a team with women who were so dedicated to this sport, in every which way. Plus, staying at hotels and getting free food and tennis courts (which cost $200 an hour in NYC!) -it’s a treat. We work hard for all those things though.

E: Do you have a favorite professor or class from your time at FIT?

F: Best professor hands down was Michael Hyde. I had him for fiction writing class (also my favorite class at FIT) and I felt such a strong connection with him that he and I created an independent study for me to embark on the following semester. It was an advanced fiction writing course where I wrote longer stories and a novella + had short stories and two novellas to read each week. He has pushed me and my work beyond what I thought I was capable of, he’s inspired me in multiple facets of my life, and we remain good friends, even though I do not have any classes with him anymore. He has become a mentor, really, and I consult him with anything I’m writing presently. The best thing I ever did at FIT I think was do an independent study-I created the syllabus and chose what I wanted to learn and we went at our own pace. I recommend it for any student looking to have a more intimate connection to their work and have a professor RIGHT there at your disposal without 26 other people to compete for his/her attention.

 Fernanda 5

E: Do you have any more advice for incoming freshmen?

F: Incoming freshmen–how do I put this? Don’t come to FIT thinking you’re hot shit. Don’t come to FIT thinking you know everything and are the most fashionable yadda yadda. You’re in for a rude awakening. Absorb what’s around you, listen to your professors, respect New York (and it will respect you back) and utilize it as inspiration every day-don’t take it for granted. Don’t sit at your dorm on the weekends, EXPLORE! Don’t just go clubbing at night because you get bottle service-EXPLORE! And give FIT and the city a chance–they both grow on you.

E: So with that in mind, what is the best spot in NYC BESIDES Bushwick? [Ed. note: Anyone who knows Fernanda knows she is absolutely in love with her new Bushwick digs and talks extensively about how great her neighborhood is.]

F: Absolute best spot in NYC besides Bushwick–that’s a very difficult question – haha. Brooklyn is my hood and I love everything about it. BUT if I must choose, I’d say the Rose Main Reading Room inside the main public library at Bryant Park. Great place to people watch and unwind from the rest of New York.

E: And a more interesting question – what is the weirdest thing you’ve seen while living here?

F: Weirdest thing I’ve seen in NYC is this performance artist, if you can even call him that, who dresses up in the worst rag clothing and plays with his puppets on the subway platforms (normally on Bedford Ave.). He wears a cape sometimes and makes obscure noises and when the train pulls up he runs inside really fast making said noises and runs back out. He’ll never get a dollar from me.

E: Ok, well I’ll just avoid Bedford Avenue from now on haha. Lastly, just cuz we’re both literary nerds, what is your must read book of the moment?

F: Must read book at the moment is an anthology collection called Goodbye to All That: Writers on Loving and Leaving New York. This book is a collection of stories by writers who lived in New York City and their experience there. It was inspired by the famous Joan Didion’s 1967 piece, “Goodbye to All That”. Quick, fast, and interesting read, great for FIT students who moved to New York.

E: Ah, I’ll have to read it! And pretty appropriate for you considering you’ll be graduating soon! Don’t worry, I’m not going to ask if you know what you’re doing after college, I’m sure you’ll be fine no matter what!

Fernanda 6

–Emily–

FREE STUFF IS AWESEOME

Orientations can be pretty boring so I don’t know if you heard this, but there are things at pretty much all colleges called “clubs”. Now wait, wait, I know it sounds a little lame BUT it really translates to “free awesome stuff”. Who doesn’t love free awesome stuff, especially poor students? Sure it takes some time out of your schedule, but it can be worth it.

For example, here in Italy, my school Lorenzo de’ Medici has clubs ranging from the physical to the intellectual. I joined an Italian cinema club, so I basically get to watch an Italian movie for free every Monday. Considering movies cost $13 minimum and it’s a Monday night so what else am I going to do, it is a pretty good deal. Even more excitingly, I joined another club called “Regions of Italy”. For this, I get three or four free restaurant lunches! The owner of the restaurant explains the specialties of a specific region of Italy and then each dish we eat. Last week, the first meeting was dedicated to Northern Italy (Lombardy, Milan, Emilia Romagna, Modena, etc.). We tried pumpkin risotto (which I got the recipe for an am TOTALLY going to try to make – more on that later), peperonata, Parmesan cheese with traditional balsamic vinegar from Modena,  two delicious wines (which I like to think helped me get that 98% on my first Italian quiz right after).

I’ll admit that I was hesitant to join any clubs at first, but I am so glad I just went for it. I mean I had nothing to lose and I now have delicious free lunches! Did I mention they’re free?

–Emily–