Life of a Student Journalist

When I was in Gainesville at the University of Florida, I was lucky enough to live across the street from campus. I knew I would be spending a lot of time within the College of Journalism and Communications, more specifically the INC, and I wanted to spend the least amount of time commuting to campus as possible.

One of the great things about the CJC is that within the college, there are many different majors and electives you can take to enrich your experience and education. While I didn’t take any advertising electives, I started in at the University of Florida as a journalism major, then switched my major to telecommunications once I realized it fit my career goals more.

The previously mentioned Innovation News Center was an amazing experience that I truly believe educated me the most on what it means and takes to be a journalist. I have so many great projects that I worked on during my year and a half of involvement in the INC, but my favorite would be the episodic mini-documentary Invisible Aftermath. I helped produce all four episodes by casting the main family, but I also produced the entire second episode.

I also created some investigative pieces like this one on health code violations.

On top of the INC, there is the Center for Media Innovation and Research, a digital lab where students can go for inspiration and research. It acts as an incubation area for students to apply what they’ve learned and to push it further. Student projects and ideas can be found on the Projects page and include projects about an autistic painter, a Catholic rapper and ultimate frisbee.

I’m proud of my school and to soon be an Alumni of the University of Florida. I had no other school in mind when I went back to school and it is surreal that my experience as a Gator undergrad is almost over.

GO GATORS!!

Other topics

One of the things I struggled with was what to write about in this blog. I knew I wanted to write a lifestyle blog, and the only thing that was happening in my life, or biggest thing I should say, was me moving to Los Angeles. Voila! This blog was born.

But there are so many other things that a blog can be about. One person who has made my move to LA so much easier is Abigail Salley. It has been sooo nice to have a friendly face in the city, especially one taking the same class as you. She has an adorable pupper names Wolfy and her blog is about dog training. She includes helpful tips for those trying to teach their dogs, links to dog training vlogs, and humorous posts like Halloween costume ideas for your four-legged friend.

Adventure blogs are also a great topic! One Gator named Tiffany Rizzo has done such a good job travelling around North Central Florida to places like Ginnie Springs, Paynes Prairie, and the UF Bat Houses. These are staples of the area that everyone should visit, especially if they want to call themselves true gators!

Nicole Rogers is a talented reporter that I had the good luck of working with during a 24 hour road trip to the Panhandle and back. She is super talented, super hard working, and super healthy! She created a blog all about her healthy lifestyle and features meal prep ideas on her blog.

There are so many things that an aspiring blogger can pick to write about. Just make sure it is something you’re very familiar with, like these three did!

Don’t just look up…

Look around you too!

One of the things college doesn’t teach you is how to build a career. If you’re lucky you’ll have a Professor who takes an entire class day out of the syllabus schedule to look everyone of their students in the eye and say, “Nothing I am teaching you is what will actually get you the job you want. I am teaching you how to do the job, but not get the job.” I think it would be really refreshing.

I had a Professor who did this, mostly because he understood that not everyone in his class wanted a career just like his. He also understood that he was ignorant to how someone would get into, say, entertainment reporting. But he was very helpful with giving out contacts who knew more about subjects he wasn’t familiar with.

So, how do you plan/start/build a career when you don’t know what the first step can be? I looked up other people’s careers who I admired. I know that seems self-explanatory, but some might think, “But wait- it is only the top 10% superstar people in the field that have magazine articles or wikipedias out about them.”

True, my friend, but don’t forget about LinkedIn. I used it to research companies, people, career paths, etc. I even connected with some people on it.

So, now you’ve looked up, above you and where you may want to go. Don’t forget to again look beside you and see what your industry peers are doing. They, and along with you(fingers crossed) are the ones who will be the future leaders!

I was lucky enough to go to school with many talented journalists who shared the same dream I once did. And if there was a fastpass to war reporter with a focus in the Middle East, I would probably still hold that dream.

The internet makes it super easy to stalk people. It allows me to live vicariously through my classmates, like Zach Oliveri, a super talented sports reporter who has experience live reporting both sports and breaking news. He’s worked all over Florida covering many different topics. Sports isn’t exactly my jam, but reporting on content that you’re passionate about is something not all reporters can say they do.

Another person who has always done an amazing job, including winning the superlative of “most-ready-to enter-the-workplace-as-a-reporter-right-now-she-could-walk-in-the-door-and-get-hired” as efficiently worded my Mark Leeps, my fellow artificial redhead Valerie Lyons. All I can say to the other reporters is that when Val graduates in May it is over for you.

Another person who I (loved)working with during a large group project during the Spring 19 semester was Hasley Pitman. Looking at her experiences within NBC, and back at UF during this semester, I see someone working incredibly hard to reach her goals! She always talked about wanting to go to law school and later become a journalist and, watching her, if she wants to do it, it will happen.

These are only three of many amazing students I have gotten to work with, but I am proud to say I will be a graduate of UF because of the amazing work that students like these do.

Rachel

When I was growing up, I had no idea what I wanted to be. Sure, I had goals of becoming a pediatrician (so I could move to Australia) or going to school for finance (so I could make a lot of money), but I never followed through with any of my career goals that were found by googling “which job makes the most money.” That, is most likely for the best.

When I went back to college at the University of Florida, I finally knew exactly what I wanted to be. I was going to be a journalist, I was going to be a war reporter and I was going to work my way up to a major network anchor position or have my own show. This is still a dream of mine, but going to college to be a journalist teaches you that you have to start as a local journalist before you can even think about making big moves like that.

Now, I’m about to graduate with my Bachelor’s degree in telecommunications, and I still don’t know what I want to do. I’d be happy in casting, development, producing, and now that I’ve begun another internship, fashion or celebrity public relations or styling. Can’t I do them all?

My resume is pretty crazy. I’ve already been a journalist, an entertainment reporter, an anchor, an events planner, a manager, a server, a bartender, a nanny, a self-care advocate, and a production assistant. My only worry is that by doing so many different things, I won’t focus on taking one of them and going all the way with it.

I’ve lived in North Carolina, Atlanta, Panama, Key West, Tampa, Jacksonville, Miami, Gainesville, and now I’ve moved to Los Angeles. My worry is that if I keep moving, I won’t create “home.” Honestly, though, unless the “big one”- that’s what us Californians call the next strong earthquake that’ll do massive amounts of damage- happens anytime soon, I don’t see myself moving out of Los Angeles. This city and this industry is a pretty big challenge for me, and I plan on conquering it as much as I can.

Resume

I’ve been working on my resume as I’ve applied to positions over the past two months and I finally have one that, I believe, includes all the information about me that I would want an employer to know.

Once I receive more credited PA work, I will remove student short film experience from it.

The professional resume of me, Rachel Tate.

Self-care is Knowing When to Spend that Money

Treat Yo’self Tuesday!

Previously, I wrote about what to do in LA when you have no money, or basically how to be poor in LA and still have fun.

But you’ve put in those hours, put in those applications, drove those miles, answered those interview questions, written those cover letters, contemplated getting a sugar daddy, and networked your butt off. Eventually, you have to take a break or your mind will no longer be able to function.

By this point, it is my hope that you’ve gotten or had at least one job. I transferred here with my serving job, which is one of the only reasons why I like working at a corporate restaurant. If you can get a job at one while in college, 10/10 highly recommend. I also picked up a gig nannying in the morning, which is just a fancy way of saying I wake a couple of kids up, feed them and make them lunch, make sure they’re clothed and clean (enough), and then drive them to school. I get $40 a day for about an hour and a half worth of work, Monday through Friday, and a reason to wake up early. Anyone who knows me will probably be surprised that I wake up at 5:30 am for this job, but I also would sleep until 2 PM I didn’t have it.

So how do you treat yo’self? Everyone is different, but for me I like going shopping or taking myself out to eat somewhere. Lunch is a safe bet because you won’t spend as much as dinner. I found myself in Toluca Lakes one day while waiting for an interview appointment and decided I could treat myself to an Acai Bowl.

I also window shopped in here because the mannequins caught my eye. So proud I didn’t spend any money.

Next door to these crazy mannequins was Ubatuba Acai, which had a small area for seating inside, and a larger patio in the back. The patio was gorgeous and had a gardener working on the plants back there, while I ate. It was a nice little greenspace in the middle of a very busy day for me as I had been running around after nannying for three different interviews.

Another upside to choosing an acai bowl was that I was getting much needed nutrients, rather than chowing down on something simple but unhealthy. I did a raw acai bowl with coconut, honey, banana, blueberry and cacao bits. Cacao bits are my favorite thing in acai bowls.

While this is something you can make at home to save a little extra cash, I can never get mine quite right and I do enjoy having someone make them for me. My last boyfriend’s brother started a smoothie and acai bowl shop that has blown up exponentially (still the best smoothie place I’ve ever been to), so I may have become a bit spoiled.

All in all, a nice way to spend $10.

Acai bowl Recipe

Four acai bowl recipes

Three more acai bowl recipes

Hiking Fryman Canyon

For the next #fitnessfriday post, I explore Fryman Canyon.

I chose Fryman Canyon because of its label as a good hike for beginners. After my last hike at Runyon Canyon, I realized those labels were something I needed to pay attention to. I am by no means in the best shape of my life, and getting used to the quick change of altitude during these hikes isn’t the easiest for my body to do, AKA Florida be flat y’all.

I began by parking at the Wilacre park parking lot and taking the Betty B. Dearing trail. There are bathrooms here and water fountains to stock up on water before and after your hike if you forgot to prepare, or are out by the time you return.

The beginning of the trail is on pavement and includes most of the incline that will occur during the hike, so mentally prepare yourself for that. The trail twists and turns its way up into the hills with some nice views of the Valley. On a hazy day, the rooftops and street views are not as impressive, but go around 5 pm and you’ll be able to get the full majestic colors that the sunset brings.

Online it said the park closed at 7pm, but in person the park’s sign said sunset. As a newbie hiker, I really didn’t want to hike in the dark and roll an ankle so we got there around 6 and did a quick thirty minutes up and thirty minutes down. It was just about the time that someone would need a flashlight by the time we made it to the parking lot, although if you are a rebel, we did see a bunch of people coming up the trail after sunset.

I will say, the view was the best during sunset and after, once the lights of the valley really caught your eye.

Since it has been a couple of weeks between my hikes, I felt it best to take it easy. My calves were burning during this hike, so definitely stretch and warm-up before jumping into it if you are a beginner like me.

More info about Wilacre Park.

More info about Fryman Loop.

Info about Fryman Park.

Culver City Famer’s Market

After a long day of nannying in the morning and being a production assistant through the afternoon and evening, I found myself in Culver City during the worst time in Los Angeles: Rush Hour with a capital R and a capital H.

Google Maps told me the 24 miles to home would take me an hour and twenty minutes. My boss told me I was better off heading for the beach and taking some time to chill there. This wasn’t exactly the worst idea, but I had been awake since 5:30 am and working since 7 am. I was tired, my brain was foggy and I, in no way, shape, or form was willing to put more distance between myself and my bed.

I did what any poor, lost person would do and googled free things to do in Culver City. Yes, I meant literally poor, not figuratively. It was a Tuesday and the Culver City Farmer’s Market was the first thing I found and I ran with it. This farmer’s market is open from 2-7.

Culver City Farmer’s Market at sunset.

Located on Main Street, the farmer’s market advertises as being open rain or shine. There was knife sharpening, baskets for sale and many tents full of organic produce.

Culver City Farmer’s Market

There were no bathrooms, so I had to pop over to the In N’ Out Burger across the street where the guy waiting ahead of me in line was FOR SURE on drugs. Other than that, pretty uneventful and I felt safe walking from my car to the market and around the area.

In fact, the shopping area on the opposite side of the farmer’s market was even nice and more walkable, with outside patio areas and a sunset as a background.

Culver City Farmer’s Market Official Website

Culver City Farmer’s Market Official Facebook

LA Mag Farmers Market Guide

Fake It ’til You Make It

I moved to Los Angeles because I wanted more opportunities for my career after college. It’s frustrating sometimes, because there are different careers I would be happy with and sometimes, I don’t know which way to go. My strategy has been to apply to all of them.

One tip is to not be afraid of working for experience (A.K.A. fo’ free). I looked at many different people’s careers to research how they got their start in fashion PR or production or talent or entertainment reporting or… I’ll end my list there. Internships were a huge part of their paths, though not everyone can be lucky enough to land that big one that is a springboard for them. Let’s take entertainment reporting, for example. While an internship at E! News would be ideal, its super competitive. So, the other option is to start your own YouTube Channel, but you’d have to have equipment and media clearance.

What I did is I reached out to a media company that does coverage of red carpet events in Los Angeles. They said I could work for footage for my reel and we met for an interview. Long story short, I covered my first red carpet yesterday for a movie, The Girl on the Third Floor. Check out one of my interviews.

No Money? No Problem!

Free things to do in LA for those who can’t budget.

Because, let’s face it. No one taught us how to balance a check book.

It’s a Tuesday night. You’re sitting at home, fighting the urge to order pizza and ignore all the healthy food you spent a whole days worth of tips to stock your refrigerator with. Food that is supposed to last you all week. Don’t ignore that healthier, smarter voice in your head and login to your Papa Johns Rewards account to see if you have any Papas point, ya know, just in case.

Why do you want to eat the cheesy, garlic-y, carb loaded meal? Because you’re bored. Because you want something to do. And when you don’t have money, it seems like you can’t do anything but sit in your house and text friends for TV show suggestions. Okay, maybe I’m speaking a little too personally, but being in a new city with no money, and no friends (at least on this coast), can get very boring. And can make you very fat.

But, Los Angeles is a very large county. It has a population larger than 41 of the states in the USA. There are many things to do, that are free, to get me a person out of the house.

Go to a Museum

Getty Museum

The Getty Museum is made up of two parts: The Getty Villa and the Getty Center. The Getty Center is located in the Pacific Palisades and models a country house from ancient roman times. Included in the design of the home are four gardens that are home to over 300 Mediterranean species of plants. Garden tours are offered for those who prefer not to wander through them on their own.

Naturally, are is another focal point of the villa. Roman and Greek art can be found throughout the villa and it also has rotating exhibitions. After contemplating whether life imitates art or if art imitates life, a visitor at the Getty can stop buy their cafe, coffee kiosk, or afternoon tea, depending on the day.

The Getty Center is located further inland, within the city of Los Angeles. It also have gardens, beautiful architecture, and art. The art shown here focuses on art categories different than the Roman and Greek found in the Villa. Here are contemporary sculptures, 17th century Baroque art, among others.

While parking and food is not free, the Museum is. If you want to make it cost virtually nothing, ask a friend to drop you off, take the bus, or even bike your way there after parking your car. And pack a lunch.

Other free museums in Los Angeles include:

Always check out Museums that cost upon entry for free days!

Take a Class

Acting classes out here are the cost of rent and I enjoy not being homeless significantly more than I enjoy attempting to conjure emotion on demand. But, many of them offer free classes or what they call an “audit” class.

Find one you enjoy and sign up for some classes!

Get a Library Card

After you become a resident of Los Angeles, checking books out of the library is completely free, as long as you don’t forget to return it. They have more than just physical books, they have audio books, DVDs, CDs, and mp3 downloads. The Central Library in DTLA is just as beautiful as a museum,

Hike

My friend Taylor, allowing me to work on my photography skills while we hike in Malibu.

If there was anything I heard about LA before coming here, it was that I better start liking tacos and hiking. While it is a foodie’s dream, it is also a place that knows how to work off those calories! From hiking in Malibu, to the Hollywood Hills, and even to the Verdugo Mountains lining Burbank, no matter which part of the city you live in, there will never be nature too far away.

Be an Audience Member for a TV Show

Waiting to be allowed into the studio.

Ever wanted to see your favorite show being filmed? Well now you can! I used 1iota, which is a company representing many television shows where you can sign up for free tickets. It usually takes a little bit of time to get word back that they chose you, but it is well before the date of filming.

Free Ticket Sites:

Fun fact, 1iota was founded by a Gator Alumni. Go Gators!

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