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The Day My Life Changed

March 17th, 2012 – St. Patricks Day of my senior year of high school. It was an unusually relaxing Sunday. My mother, sister and I had all gone for massages earlier on in the day. It was actually my first massage, and definitely not my last. My body and mind were feeling great. My two best friends and I drove into downtown Saratoga, got some coffee and chatted. You could say I was thoroughly enjoying myself.

It was one of those oddly warm March days, where you start to believe its already spring. You break out the light jackets, forgo the socks, and proudly don your favorite sunglasses. The drive home with my friends from downtown consisted of all windows down and blasting our favorite music. Ugh, it was a wonderful afternoon.

As we pulled into my driveway, I said my goodbyes to my best friends. We each complained about the amount of homework “we would be doing” later on that evening. We were seniors in high school with full blown senioritis, to be honest, that homework was probably never completed.

I walked into my kitchen and my mom was standing at the counter. She asked how my afternoon was, we talked, and then she went silent. I looked at her and she was holding an envelope out to me. It looked like junk mail, in one of those business letter envelopes. It wasn’t super big, it wasn’t too small. When I grabbed the letter and read where it was from, I stopped breathing. “Fashion Institute of Technology.”

This was THE letter. The letter that would make or break me. The letter telling me if I was going to college. The letter that determined if I was going to be leaving home in the fall or going to community college, seeing as I was too lazy to apply anywhere else. I wanted to go to FIT so bad I didn’t have my sights set on anywhere else.

But who get’s their college acceptance letter in a small business sized envelope?! I was picturing some big package, with the famous “Welcome to the Fashion Institute of Technology” red and black folder I had so often seen in my research on Facebook. If this small envelope had a big folder in it, I would be pleasantly surprised…but I wasn’t about to get my hopes up.

I began to laugh nervously, spouting out a hundred “Oh my Gods.” My mom and I stood in my kitchen, as I ran my thumb under the seal of the envelope. My heart rate was unhealthily high at this point as I unfolded the single sheet of paper in this business size envelope. My mom read the letter next to me, our eyes scanning immediately to the first sentence.

“Dear Brendan, ………Congratulations! You’ve been”

I’m pretty sure we each let out a big scream…and then immediately we both began crying and went in for a hug. I cry when I’m happy, I cry when I’m sad – something I definitely got from my mother.

I was beyond happy. My dreams were coming true! I would be moving to New York City. I would be studying at one of the most prestigious fashion schools in the WORLD. I would be taking the first steps in achieving my goals! I couldn’t believe it. Now I could take a deep breath, I knew I was going to college. The rest of my senior year would just be about having fun and enjoying life. No stress.

The reason my acceptance letter was so small was because I was accepted early, into a group of “exceptional students.” It was such a privilege to receive my acceptance letter so early. And don’t worry, a few weeks later I received that famous black and red folder I had been dreaming about…in a much bigger envelope!

My life changed that day. Its hard for me to remember life before NYC and FIT. But here I am, living in New York, working hard, having fun and still making my dreams come true.

I don’t think any other St. Patrick’s Day will ever be as special as that one. Maybe it was the luck of the irish that brought me that acceptance letter that day. Whatever it was, I am so thankful that it happened.

Be looking out for some exciting pieces of mail within the next few weeks! Your life could be changing too :)

xx, Brendan

 

 

Three Tips for Group Projects

Well, we’re almost a quarter of the way through Spring 2014 semester! Time is fllllyin! And in regards to my classes….that means midterms are around the corner, and FINALS not far after that! WOAH! No matter how much I am dying for summer, I hate to rush away the rest of the semester.

In almost all of my classes this semester, my term project has already been assigned and there is a commonality between each project. I’m working in a group for each one! To be honest, I’ve always had a slight fear of group projects….I’m very much a control freak and would rather take on a whole project myself, especially one that’s being graded. I knew a semester like this would be coming and now its finally here.

But I can’t get myself too worried because there are so many benefits to working in a group. Of course you hear the horror stories of a single student doing an entire project the night before its due, because his group flaked out. That’s an exception! There are many positive aspects to working in a group for a project. For example, you don’t have to take on as much work. In a good group, every member is doing an equal amount of work so that no one is too stressed out. Also, you tend to learn more because you’re able to discuss the topics with your other group members! Most importantly, its a great excuse to make some new friends!

Here are three tips to remember when you work on a group project this semester, or a semester in the future!

1. Set up a form of communication

Communication is NECESSARY to complete a group project successfully. Luckily, we live in an age where you can communicate anywhere, anytime. Make sure you get the phone numbers of each of your group members so that you’re able to text them to set up meeting times. Another great way to communicate is through Google Docs and Google Drive. Google offers an area where you and your group members can all edit and work on a document. It’s a great place for making notes and throwing around ideas.

2. Be open to everyone’s ideas

For the shyer type, a group project can be very daunting. Some students would rather sit in the back of class, take notes from the professor, and go home after that, not making a peep the whole time. It’s important to introduce everyone in the group to establish a level of comfort. If you’re more of a confident person, be the one to begin introductions. Then ask around if anyone has ideas for the said project. Try not to make faces, roll your eyes or laugh at someone’s idea. To them it may be the best they ┬áhave! Each idea is something to build and jump off of.

3. Establish who’s doing what

Like I mentioned before, there are sometimes horror stories of one student doing a whole group project themselves. This isn’t the point of group projects, and professors would hate to hear this. By giving tasks to each group member, setting due dates, and discussing as a group each persons role, you’ll most likely have a more successful project in the end. Most often, professors have a student rating system that they give at the end of the project. If you feel like one student didn’t fairly do their part, this is where you voice your concerns.

I wish you the best of luck on your projects throughout the semester!

xx, Brendan

Back In the New York Groove

New York City has a flow like no other. Everyone walking is in a rush to be somewhere and they’re most likely running late. A walk down the street doesn’t just get you to your destination but also doubles as cardio! If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen. Or NY’s version, If you can’t walk fast, GET OUT OF MY WAY! ;)

Needless to say, the pace of New York is much different from my hometown. And I love it. However, when you’re out of the city for SEVEN WEEKS (much too long for me) it takes a day or two to readjust. I have to use the New Yorker part of my brain, and put on my New Yorker legs. There’s an art to bobbing and weaving through pedestrians without bumping into them and I must say I’m an expert artist!

Now that I’m synchronized with the pace of the city, I look forward to starting my semester at FIT! This is the first semester where I’m taking all major related courses! I find that something to celebrate. No more science, history, math classes…well at least until my bachelors, I think.

This semester I’m taking Sales Promotion, Research Methods in IMC, Advertising Copywriting, Audience & Media and the Credited Internship class. It’s so awesome once you start to see lessons from one class being integrated into another. That’s when you really start to absorb all the information because you see where it all fits in the industry.

My schedule this semester is also very on point. I intern with fashion designer Daniel Vosovic at the CFDA Incubator Mondays and Tuesdays, work on wednesdays (eyeroll but money doesn’t grow on trees), and class Thursday and Friday, and work Saturdays! I’m already loving the different structure this semester. Being in the industry two days out of the week teaches me a lot, sometimes more than I’d learn in a classroom setting.

Spring semester comes with a side of optimism. No matter how frigid and indecisive Mother Nature is the first month or two, Spring IS right around the corner. NYC comes back to life along with all living in it. Trees bud, flowers bloom, and opportunities arise for everyone. I can’t begin to explain how magical NYC is in the springtime. And did I mention summer comes after spring? ;)

Springy thoughts my friends!

xx, Brendan