Intelligence is Still Sexy

If you follow me on Twitter or any social media platform for that matter, you’ll notice I share a lot of articles and I enjoy reading articles others share. Recently, Elite Daily wrote an article titled, “Ladies, the Smarter You are, the More Likely You Are to be Single.”

From the title alone, I was a bit annoyed, but I was hopeful that this would be a satirical article that laughs at generalizations men have towards women when it comes to dating. My hope was flushed down the drain.

The article starts out with a few cliches on how hard it is to date nowadays and then moves towards some citations for a modern man’s opinion on what he wants in a woman.

In an article by “The Wire,” financial reporter, John Carney, gives one explanation for this phenomenon, deducing, “successful men date less successful women not because they want ‘women to be dumb’ but rather because they want ‘someone who prioritizes their life in a way that’s compatible with how you prioritize yours.’”

It then proceeds to say that men want a woman who “isn’t ever going to let her career come before making dinner and pleasing them first.”

WHOA. OKAY. Let’s just generalize the entire male population. I get it. Everyone likes being spoiled once in a while. Yes, I have cooked for my boyfriend and frankly, I do enjoy it. But here’s a shocker: he actually supports my future goals and career moves. Actually, last time I checked, a healthy relationship is one where two people care enough about each other to want to support each other. Yes, the romantic gestures are cute, but I’m pretty sure you can accomplish romantic gestures on top of surprise: both being successful people.

Then, the article moves forward to start generalizing the modern female population and their choice in a significant other:

There’s an epidemic of settling in this generation. Women everywhere are dipping far below their standards just to find men who appreciate them. They are giving up things they thought they wanted for nothing more than a simple “he’s good to me.”

Contrary to popular belief, we don’t settle. There is a someone for everyone, even if that someone is yourself. There are guys I could not see myself dating, but I could see my friends dating. If I were to date them, am I settling? No. We’re just not compatible. It’s that simple.

And then we have the Mrs. Degree:

Unfortunately, for all those women who thought a man would come later, other women capitalized on their youth, snatching up all the boyfriends and husbands while they focused on building their careers.

I’m sorry. I’m not sorry I want to be financially stable before tying the knot. Sure, marriage at an early age is fine for some, but it’s not for everyone. To me, on my personal belief, marriage is forever. I’m too young and mentally immature to know how to commit to someone forever. That’s a huge decision.

And capitalization of youth? If a man is only interested in forever with me because of my youthful appearance, we might have a problem. Because I’m pretty sure I’m going to put on some pounds during pregnancy and develop a lot of wrinkles with age – maybe even sprinkle in some grey hairs.

And then the article ends with the comparison that “Big minds are like big balls.” At first I thought the article would finally redeem itself and say something witty like, “damn girl, you have a sexy mind.” Nope.

You may be sensitive, sweet and insecure, but your intelligence makes you threatening. You may not have muscles and a big d*ck, but men will look at you as competition.

You are intimidating and emasculating. While most intelligent women aren’t pompous or arrogant about it, many times men assume they are. They assume the woman is going to correct them, upstage them or, God-forbid, make them feel worthless.

Maybe I’m just basing my views towards a small sample of equally intelligent couples that I know, but I’m pretty sure none of my friends’ boyfriends feel worthless or insecure that their girlfriend is brilliant. I’m also sure that in the corporate world, the majority of people are brilliant and are seen as competition in some manner. You can either learn from the people who are smarter than you or you can sit there. If I meet a person who is smarter than I am in a topic, I want to learn from them.

So, in short, Lauren Martin, I hope you scroll through the comments section of your article and realize that intelligence is sexy and sure hope your article was a complete joke.

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From Coast to Coast

coast-to-coast

As everyone and their mom already knows, I spent my weekends venturing to San Francisco this summer. I fell in love with the city – its coffee, cafes and its people. While I wouldn’t have changed my summer for the world, coming home to an empty one bedroom apartment wasn’t always the easiest on days when I wasn’t too tired from work.

This was the summer where the majority of my close friends were spread from coast to coast. Some were conquering Chicago’s media and advertising hubs, while others were taking on the Big Apple’s publishing giants. And then there are the ones that enjoyed the beauty of Austin and all its glory.

Last summer, I interned in Austin – a city I know like the back of my hand. I paired up with some close friends to make Austin’s own version of the Intern Project. While it wasn’t as big as the San Francisco/Bay Area Intern Project, it made summer a lot easier after long days in cube land.

This summer, I found myself in the middle of nowhere California with a one-hour commute to civilization. The commutes were always long to San Francisco or San Jose, but the people I spent time with were some of the best people. I met more Michigan engineers than I ever thought I would meet. But as wonderful as they were, I couldn’t help but be envious of all of them. All their friends were there. Familiar faces surrounded them after a long day at work. Me? My best friends were scattered across the states – some even across the water.

Which brings me to another point: is this what life after college will be like? When we walk across the stage in a few short months, will our friendships be solely based on digital interactions on social media and FaceTime conversations? Until we’re less on the entry-level broke side of the income bracket, will we only be able to promise to book those plane tickets and make the couches to crash?

As I start to compile a list of companies I could see myself work for, I notice they’re all on the West Coast or Pacific Northwest. I always knew I wanted to get out of Texas after graduation. This summer was a test to prove whether I could handle being away from everything I knew, everyone I knew and all the comforts of home.

If this is what growing up feels like, then I thank the brilliant engineers for building digital tools to communicate with everyone that makes my heart warm.

#Internlife: the final countdown.

amazon_fc

When I first received my Amazon internship offer letter, I was informed the internship would be 10 weeks. I knew 10 weeks was short, but it didn’t hit me just how short until yesterday when I finished week 9 of the program.

After flying out to Seattle for the Planet of the Intern summit, I returned to week 9 and it was time to run the shift. Since week three of my internship when I launched KIVA Systems in our fulfillment center, I played the role of a process assistant while our actual PA was out. However, acting as an Area Manager was a new challenge that worried me.

Tues., July 15, I entered the FC at 6:30 a.m. ready to take on the challenge.

My manager had informed me he was leaving the second half of the day, which was fine because I knew I had the support of my associates and process assistant. However, an hour after he left, all hell broke loose. My PA had to leave because of a family emergency – I wouldn’t have wanted him to stay with that in the back of his mind.

To say I was stressed out would be an understatement. I was living off of two eggs in my stomach that I had eaten at 5:30 a.m. and my body was using what little energy it was getting from the cough drops I was shoving down my throat to survive. But for some reason, I did survive.

I can honestly say that that afternoon summed up my internship in a nutshell. It tested every ounce of physical and mental energy I had. On paper, it looks like I should have passed out and given up, but in reality, I actually got a thrill out of it. Why? Because I had support. Support from my team. When I say my team, I mean the associates. Yes, I did have the support of the other managers, but I don’t think I could have made it out alive if I didn’t have associates who trusted me to not mess up.

Amazon might be known as the world’s biggest supply chain business, but to me, it’s a people business. Learning how to communicate with this diverse team of associates has helped me grow from a timid and confused intern to someone who actually has the potential to be a manager.

As I enter my last week of interning, all I can say is I don’t regret this experience. Even with the walls I’ve hit, the road blocks that made me cry harder than at any other job and the lack of food that has caused my sugar levels to plummet – I don’t regret any of it. Whether or not I return as an Area Manager for Amazon or not, this is an experience I recommend to anyone who wants to build their management skills, build a stronger backbone, learn to communicate with a large team and overall, mature at a faster rate. You have to literally think on your feet and you have to think fast or you’ll surely get left behind.

#Internlife: fear.

image: tracker.come

image: tracker.com

Maybe it’s because I live in the middle of nowhere Farmville, CA. Maybe it’s because my parents called today and all I could say was, “I’m exhausted from the week, but I miss you so much.” Maybe it’s the fact that I’m about to run the entire shift tomorrow and a part of me still has no idea what I’m doing. Or maybe it’s because I think I might have rolled my ankle and I wasn’t supposed to run shift until week nine of my internship.

Maybe it’s a combination of everything I just listed.

I can honestly say this is the most mentally, physically and emotionally draining internship position I have ever held. Some days, I’m kicking ass, while other days, I want to curl up in a ball and question how someone could possibly think I was even remotely qualified for this position.

As I sit in my apartment typing this post after a peaceful mass with an amazing homily, I can’t help but go into extremely deep thought of why I chose to accept this summer opportunity. They say everything happens for a reason, but what was the reasoning behind me leaving everything I’m comfortable with in Texas to venture out to Tracy, CA to intern with a company that will both build you up and tear you down all within the same day.

I like lists a lot, so naturally, I made a list of reasons. Every reason brought me back to one main theme: challenge. I guess it’s the combination of experiencing a variety of obstacles from a very young age that has made me the type of person to almost lust after new challenges. When I get too comfortable in one place and have learned everything I need to learn, I tend to get bored. I chose this opportunity because I wanted a challenge and damn, am I getting one.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t scared. In fact, I’m filled with a whole lot of fear that maybe, accepting this opportunity was a mistake, that I will simply fail and that this summer was a waste. But then I realize that when a challenge presents itself, I can either attack it at full force or I can let it win – I don’t like losing.

I have four weeks left in this internship, then I’m returning to the land of Whataburger, beautiful sunsets and y’all. Until then, I will use the fear that is buried underneath to push forward. Amazon has this saying that when you hit a wall, you better climb it. I already hit my first wall and climbed it. I hope that’s the only wall for the summer, but if it isn’t, I will surely climb it again.

#Internlife: 1500 miles and then some.

photo: questing california

photo: questing california

My family immigrated to America in 1997. We found ourselves setting our sights on Texas. While I’m not a native Texan, I have spent a healthy 18 years in Texas, which at least makes it socially acceptable to call myself a Texan. With that being said, I’m used the 8.25% sales tax, which helped with the transition to an 8.5% sales tax in California.

However, upon receiving my first two paychecks, a part of me died inside. I knew there was a state income tax outside of Texas, but damn California, you’ve done me wrong. But then it hit me, I’m 1500 miles away from home and I wanted to be here.

Growing up in a conservative, Vietnamese and Catholic household, my parents were very protective. They meant well – I don’t blame them for it. This wasn’t the country they grew up in and the concept of trying something new was a mild fear that they held. It didn’t make sense to me how protective they were when I was younger, until I became older.

My first time flying without my family to a different state wasn’t until this past October. I was 21, heading to Philadelphia for the first time. While parents seek to protect their children, I am under the impression that these lessons cannot be put to good use until we’re left out in the open world alone.

Since that first sans family flight back in October, I have flown alone to California and Arizona and damn, I love it. There’s something about putting yourself far away from home that tests your street smarts, common sense and wit. I had one goal this year: travel more, learn a lot and put everything my parents have taught me to good use. This includes pushing my limits and seeing if I can stay true to the morals and values they instilled in me. So far, I have.

I think the majority of what I have gotten out of my internship experience this summer is learning how to be a leader, while earning the trust of associates. Maybe it’s the southern hospitality that has grown on me in the past 18 years or the fact that my parents prepared me for it or both, but developing the trust and support from the associates has been somewhat easier than expected. I’m following momma’s model of, “Be nice, do your job really well and the trust will come.” So far, it’s worked in my favor.

As one gains titles such as “manager” or “supervisor,” there might be a lack of understanding what it means to be on the ground level, doing the direct functions, and being underpaid. My father taught me that no matter how grand your job title sounds, one must remain humble and know one’s roots. My father is the definition of “started from the bottom, now we here,” so it comes as no surprise that this is the greatest lesson he can instill in me.

I guess regardless of where I end up after graduation in the next year, this internship experience has taught me that all because I’m 1500 miles away, doesn’t mean I’m going to forget the basic principles that I will forever hold true.

#internlife II: Pay it Forward

Some of you might remember my 21st birthday. No, I don’t mean the raging alcohol consumption liquid courage part, I mean the community part. The part where I somehow successfully raised $1000 for Cancer Support Community of Central Texas, an organization I adore that focuses on the idea of “paying it forward” every day. Ever since that moment, I had a personal goal to constantly pay it forward every day.

The act of paying it forward does not have to revolve around raising some grand amount of money for a local non-profit, it can be something small. It can simply be, being a good person. I’m a strong believer that one little act or one smile and “how are you?” can mean the world. It sounds insanely cheesy, but I’m a fan.

As I start off my fourth week of interning, I want to focus on paying it forward. I’ve always been the type of person that says, “I don’t do feelings.” I tend to put aside my emotions and focus on the goal and sometimes, that makes me come off as (excuse my French), a total bitch. But lately, working 10-12.5 hour days has taught me a new discipline and appreciation for the little things.

As I enter the fulfillment center each day, I can’t help but notice the varied expressions on the faces of the associates on my team. They know I’m an intern who could be their manager at the age of 21, but instead of treating me like dirt, they’re always helpful. More importantly, even with walking 15 miles a day during a 10-hour shift, they somehow manage to smile and make my sleep-deprived self feel somewhat better about how much of a noob I am at being an Area Manager.

I had one incident where an associate was concerned with her low picking rate; the associate received feedback that she needed to improve or she would receive an increase in coaching and then some. All I did was ask her, “how are you feeling?” as I saw the look of frustration on her face and what she responded with made me realize why I took this job to begin with: I really appreciate you asking me that. I didn’t think anyone cared enough to ask.

It was something so simple.

And then we have the process assistants, who have put up with how confused I am half the time. I might wear a vest that reads, “Manager. Ask me.,” but in reality, I’m secretly hoping no one asks me a question because I might know the answer. Actually, there is a really great chance I don’t know the answer. Today, after working 12.5 hours, after missing my brother’s graduation live stream because of work, a PA came up to me and handed me a box of pizza from a local pizza place. All he said was, “you’re cool and we don’t want our favorite intern to starve during her time here.” That. That in itself made me so happy.

Just when I think I can’t get through this summer, these people, these amazing people come out of nowhere and make me realize why I work the 12-hour days, why my feet hurt and why I care so much about them.

#Internlife: But I’m from Texas

Amazon_Logo

Two flight delays, one long layover and a TSA search of my luggage later, I landed on California soil. Publicly, I acted calm, but inside I was terrified out of my mind. I must have texted a handful of people to inform them of my arrival and fear – all of which assured me that everything would be fine. They were right. I picked up my rental car, slightly embarrassed myself as I dragged my heavy luggage across the floor and headed to the apartment. Because of the delayed flights, I moved in later than expected. Thankfully, the apartment was about 99 percent set up for me. During my first day in Intern Land, I learned a few things about California:

  • There is only one decent country station
  • Saying y’all causes looks of confusion
  • An angry suburban mom is angrier here than in Texas
  • My washer/dryer is in an awkwardly placed closet on my patio
  • I need to hunt down a microwave
  • Motorcycles can weave in between cars like it’s not dangerous (when it totally is)
  • Speed limits away from large cities are much lower. Hello 55-65 mph
  • This city is really split between typical suburb and not-so-nice side of town
  • There’s a Starbucks and liquor store on every corner

My second day started with a trip to the local Catholic church for Sunday morning mass. For the most part, it was the same as mass at home. However, the amount of kneeling was fewer, which confused me a bit. Tomorrow I start my first day at work bright and early – 7 a.m. PST to be exact. It’s going to be a long week, but knowing that I’m going to learn a lot and end the week with Friday off to get to know some cool fellow interns keeps me going.

P.S. I’m the only girl, but these guys are pretty cool – intern brothers? Maybe.

For the next 10 weeks, I will document my experiences via the blog in a series called #internlife. If you follow me on any form of social media, you have seen me use this hashtag many times, so it’s only fitting I make it a series for my second major summer internship.

Hang tight, it’s going to be a bumpy ride, but adventure awaits.

The Stages of Winter Break

Whether you’re a connoisseur of knowledge and aspire to devour every word uttered by each professor or someone who believes that “B’s get degrees,” it is certain that counting down to winter break is a habit that has been engrained in your mind since your started your academic career.

When the swarms of exams have closed, the presentations made, and the projects have been handed in, there is a sense of freedom that fills the campus. It’s time: winter break – an almost month long experience that allows aspiring marketing professionals, financial analysts, engineers, and medical students to rest their minds.

Initially, the break feels like the gates of heaven have opened and there is a part of you that believes that you can “catch up” on the sleep you have lost all semester.

Photo: Surviving College

Photo: Surviving College

And then it finally hits you that all your friends are also home for the holidays and you can grab drinks or coffee and catch up on life.

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

Life is grand because instead of eating decent processed food, you can now enjoy mother’s homemade cooking that has been laced with love, which you suspect is why you are devouring everything in sight.

Photo: Tumblr

Photo: Tumblr

Instead of staying up into the wee hours of the night, you can now binge watch your favorite shows and get good use out of your Amazon Instant, Netflix, or Hulu subscription.

tv

Then relatives start coming and suddenly you have a million new presents and you’re meeting family members you forgot you had.

Photo: Cursive Content

Photo: Cursive Content

But then the relatives leave and you still have another two weeks. To kill time, you decide to download random apps for entertainment. Apps you would rather not admit to, like…

Photo: Tinder

Photo: Tinder

And then you run out of things to do, so you decide you’re going to accomplish all those New Years resolutions like working out more.

Photo: Google

Photo: Google

So you try to be a good sibling and hang out with your brother or sister in hopes that you two will finally become best friends. But they’re not really interested.

Photo: CDN

Photo: CDN

But then, you look at the calendar and you realize that winter break is finally coming to an end and soon you’ll be back on campus with your friends and promise of freedom.

Photo: Google

Photo: Google

Even though you know returning to campus means you have papers every week, project deadlines to meet and exams to study for, you also know that your college years are some of the best years of your life. As much as you enjoy the time with your family and chatting with friends from other schools, nothing beats returning home to your own apartment or dorm room.

After all, we both know New Years Eve is a whole lot more fun when you’re with your friends from college and you don’t have to shamefully return home to your parents’ house. 

Love in the Age of Tinder

Photo: Techno Buffalo

If you’re a college kid, a young professional or just single and bored, you’ve probably heard of the ever-so-interesting app, Tinder. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I admit I have downloaded and played around with it. Call me crazy, but it’s a shallow time killer that one can’t deny is rather entertaining. I’m partially ashamed and partially feeling no shame whatsoever. If you go to a university like mine, I guarantee you at least 80% of the student body has one.

But in a digital age where online dating seems to result in more dates than just meeting someone randomly at a coffee shop or the classroom, it comes as no surprise that the app has become so popular among the Generation Y crowd.

But here’s a few things I learned from Tinder:

1. Being Asian means you will get messages like, “will you be my first Asian?” or “you’re really pretty for an Asian girl.”

2. Everyone chooses the best pictures of themselves

3. Some guys are really really REALLY persistent

4. If a guy has a group photo, make sure you’re swiping right for the guy you’re actually attracted to and not his friend who’s next to him

5. If he says something that makes you feel uncomfortable, YOU CAN/SHOULD BLOCK HIM

6. Be careful who you actually meet up with

7. Yes, there are times when you accidentally swipe “no” when you meant to swipe “yes.” There are no do-overs in Tinderland

8. I have not personally started a conversation, but you can if you want – go you!

9. There are a lot of guys holding puppies/kittens just to look adorable – don’t fall for it

10. Avoid the guy with strange fetishes – i.e. “I’m really into Asian girls.” BLOCK.

11. Just for kicks and giggles: my rule is to always swipe right when you see a friend or someone you know

And now I’m going to delete this app and partially regret ever announcing publicly that I had it to begin with.

A Letter to My Freshman Self.

I recently changed my profile picture on my Facebook page to one of my mother and me during Christmas of my freshman year of college, which got me thinking about how it seemed like just yesterday I was a freshman and now…I’m not.

The first semester of my junior year is coming to a close and finals are just around the corner. The weather is chilly in Austin and I’m getting rather…nostalgic to say the least. I’m not even a senior yet, but just knowing that the school year will soon end in a few months and I will be entering the last year as a college student terrifies me.

So here’s a tribute to the lessons I have learned so far that I wish my freshman self knew when I first stepped foot on the Forty Acres.

The Boys.

But really. There was a point during freshman year where I thought every guy who wanted to kiss me was somewhat interested. It’s crazy to think about it now because I’ve learned to be smarter. Don’t cry over the first college boyfriend. Don’t assume that the fraternity brother who you made out with and called you “beautiful,” is actually interested, and whatever you do, do not make out with the boy who’s visiting from another school who won’t remember your name the next time you see him.

Academics.

Don’t take a course load of every single challenging class you can possibly think of – have a combination of different types of classes if you can. Learn the names of the people in your classes and be their friend, not just the person who you go to for notes. Most importantly: actually go to office hours, not just TA office hours, but professor ones too.

Friends. 

I know you like meeting everything and anything, but really, figure out who your group of friends is. You will meet your best friends and your worst frenemies this year. Love your close friends unconditionally.

Professionally.

Networking will always be key and those handwritten notes do matter. Don’t stop meeting smart people who want to teach you.

Student Organizations.

Stop spreading yourself so thin you can barely move. Join the ones that matter and be involved in them. Joining 100 organizations and being a crappy member won’t do you any good.