‘Tis The Season To Be Thankful

This semester, I set blogging goals for the enrichment of my posts and myself. Call it a social experiment or me vying to spice up my normal routine, but I fully enjoyed the new aspect I added to my posting process. For those who aren’t familiar with my new process, it was to cease going on site visits alone. Last year, I relished in my solo hours put into the development of each post since, as an introvert, spending time alone came naturally. But I wanted to try something different and out of my comfort zone. This new, scary, and uncharted territory was my new addition to my posts and I feel like it thoroughly improved my overall blogging aesthetic. I wrote differently, my pictures felt different, and most of all I will always have the memories shared with each of my participants. So this post is for all of you (you know who you are!) whom I begged, pestered, and ultimately dragged this semester. In the essence of the holiday season, I want to take some time to thank all of you who helped, supported, and guided me to where I am now. Without you, I would have nothing, I would be nowhere, and I wouldn’t be who I am; I can’t imagine a world like that, so I refuse to.

Brianna
This all began with a beautiful woman named Brianna. She was the first person to tell me that my photos were actually worth being seen and she was my connection to this amazing student blogging “epidemic.” My Bri-Bri was the first willing participant to go on site visits with me. In fact, most of my first posts were created with her and whatever I learned on those trips, we learned together. So I thank you for always being there for me not only as a sister but as a peer, colleague, friend, and so much more. I was born into a world with you in it and I can’t imagine my life without the one driving force that shaped, guided, and advised me to be the person I am today. We don’t say it often so I won’t say it now but I will say “… Not possible.”

a picture of brianna in a quiet park

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez


Randy+Amanda
I would like to shed some much needed light on this duo. These true gladiators came out on the Friday before Halloween to a site visit with me. It was midnight and we had to weave through drunk costumed people in order to arrive to the site but it was all worth it. I wouldn’t trade that night for anything. It, unexpectedly, resulted in the best photos I would get this entire semester. Thank you for coming with me regardless of your understandable lethargy and aching need to be home after a long week of work. I appreciate both of your presence on that very peculiar night. Randy, thank you for listening to my random architectural gibberish. I began to run off on a tangent about the exposed structure and all you said was “Hmm… Never noticed that.” Amanda, like always, you kept the experience fun and enjoyable. Thank you for making work less tedious (especially on a crazy night in Manhattan) and making me very proud of this new process.

A photo of amanda and randy on a busy Manhattan street

Image Credit: Sabrina Vasquez


Genny
To the Agent 99 to my 86, the Detective Stabler to my Benson, Burton Gustor to my Shawn Spencer, thank you for all your feedback and support this semester. It seems rather preposterous knowing that we’ve only known each other for a short four months. We mutually learned from each other throughout our editing process. There was never a time that I felt that you didn’t have my back; whether it was a quick text at 12 o’clock in the morning or a casual conversation in the hallway. It was lovely getting to know you these past months and I couldn’t be any more thankful for the time that we had together. May our professional collaborations continue to thrive as well as our friendship.

Ride-Along_01
To my personal TMNT, who loves pizza just about as much as skateboarding much alike Michelangelo, but has a kindred heart and spirit similar to the persona of Donatello. Thank you for agreeing to come with me on one of my site visits. On each of my visits, I had to say at least three annoying historical or architectural facts about the site; you were one of the few to mutually geek out with me. I thank you for your time and interest in what I do; it gives me the inspiration to continue working on tuning my craft. Your input has been nothing but insightful and I am deeply grateful for all your encouragement. I said this once before, but you really are a wise person, and never think anything different. Your ability to perceive and analyze is inspiring all in itself; anyone who knows a fragment of what I know about you would see just how truly amazing you are. Thank you for always supporting me, regardless of if it was for a post, project, or just about anything; it gives me the determination I need to do the plethora of tasks I do on the daily. Thank you for all that you are.

Dolores
World, I introduce you to my grandmother. Everyone I know has heard a story or two about her. I don’t know how it happens but my stories and experiences always make a beeline back to this woman. Class after class, I bring her into a project at least three times every semester. I never cared what my professors, bosses, and peers would think of me discussing my grandmother so much because she was the root of it all for me; the one constant that never changed over the years. I voluntarily owe my entire existence to my Nana because I am here due to all her support, love, sacrifices, and wisdom. She gave me my very first camera and taught me everything that she knew. A force to be reckoned with, this woman is the source of all my sarcasm and wit. She deserves more than everything I could possibly ever give her. If I’m ever -so lucky in life to be able to inspire anyone, even an eighth of how much she has inspired me, I would have fulfilled my life’s expectations. To Dennis/Mom/Nana, I also offer the grandest appreciation; I am forever indebted to your love and everything similar.

a picture of dolores in the glow of a sunset

Image Credit: Brianna Vasquez


Sadia
To my very first friend at City Tech, thank you for your time contributed to one of my posts and being the greatest friend anyone could ask for. You don’t only push me intellectually but you also make me want to be better and continue to enrich myself academically and personally. You know me; all my antics and imperfections and you still are a great friend to me. I hope you know how much I appreciate you and our friendship since you just GET me so well. Only you understand when I say “Sorry, I’m a toucher” or when I make that dumb timid face and you force me to do something that I don’t want to do, but we both know will ultimately help me. Thank you for being there for me throughout all the crazy twist and turns in the years of us knowing each other; honestly, I don’t know where I would be without you. So, thank you… Thank you for being you.

Mya
To my baby sis, you make me proud every day! I’ll never forget our outing; I don’t think I have laughed any harder on any site visit, by far. With a sweet face and sarcastic tongue almost comparable to mine’s, I can’t picture the last ten years or so without you. I have watched you grow into the person that you are today and I couldn’t be any more invested in the enrichment of your future. You already know that I love you with all my being has to offer; and it may not seem like it, because I’m so busy at times, but I’ll always be there for you. Thank you for allowing me to schlep you around lower Manhattan on a hot summer day and for all the years of our friendship turned sisterhood. May I continue to see you grow, and may I continue to annoy you every day; it’s my life’s commitment.

The Buzz Team
To the ladies of The Buzz, thank you for being the best damn all-female team that I have ever worked with in my entire life. I take pride and honor, every single chance I get, to have worked with all of you. You’ve made work a beautiful environment and being around you all has only added to my repertoire. This has to be the closest I have ever felt to a work family and I have to admit that it is the best feeling I have ever had about work. Thank you for showing me how great women can click with each other. You all have set the bar so high and I hope that I can be so lucky to feel this way about a work environment again in my lifetime. Sam, you inspire us all to be more organized and involved. Neffi, you give us all the love and uplifting insight we need to continue to flourish in our semester. Robine, you always have something really deep to say that leaves us thinking, trying to fully analyze what you said. Pebbles, you motivate us all to try to really depict our posts and make it so literal for our readers. Cherishe, you always have the gumption to say those things that are on everyone’s minds; you influence us all to be hard-working and to not get entangled in webs of self-made excuses. Thank you, ladies… Thank you for being the greatest role model of how women can not only work together but work EFFECTIVELY together.

Readers
Lastly, it is my greatest honor to thank all those who read, share, or comment on my posts. Each of my posts had you all in mind and I will continually try to find better methods to reach you more in depth. When I first started blogging, I had a motto: It was to “make New Yorkers fall in love with New York again.” I hope I was able to do that and more with my posts. You allowed me to learn more about myself and for that I am infinitely grateful. The more you learned about New York, the more I did as well. I can honestly say that the more I posted, the more I fell in love with New York, myself, which I didn’t think was possible. Thank you for reading; I can’t wait to see the new adventures we’ll take in the future.

The Language of Love

By Robine Jean-Pierre

There are hundreds, if not thousands of languages spoken, written and articulated in the world today. Not all of us will be able to say we learned Swahili, Chinese or Urdu in our lifetime, but there is one language that we can all speak, one language alone that can unite us: the language of love. And no, I don’t mean French or Spanish.

a man in suit and bow-tie holding a martini glass and winking

© David Niven 2017

“No man is an island” (the title of a poem by John Donne). Unless you have spent all of your life in solitary confinement, you have connections with people around you. What we often overlook, even though it may seem obvious, is that these deep rooted relationships require maintenance. Your loved ones have standards that you need to meet, and vice versa, in order to keep the relationship afloat. That might mean phone calls, keeping the house clean, gifts, visits, etc. The thing is that we all set those standards in different ways, and that’s where the specific love languages come in.

In his book The Five Love Languages, Gary Chapman explains that there are five main ways we express and receive love. They are: acts of service, physical touch, words of affirmation, receiving gifts, and quality time. He goes on to point out that each of us has a primary love language; we feel the most loved through it and express it toward others the most. I will explain in my own words and give some examples below.

one man holding a door open for another man

MCT via Getty Images

Acts of Service

If this is your primary love language, you feel most loved when someone helps you. You are always willing to lend a helping hand to others as well. It warms your heart when someone holds a door open for you or offers to do the dishes when it was your turn. Conversely, it really “grinds your gears” when someone does not offer you a hand, whether by outright refusing, or by failing to acknowledge your need. 

For these people, actions speak way louder than words. If you love them, you will be willing to show it, and to do whatever they are asking of you with a sincere heart. This might be doing the dirty work, like taking out the trash without being asked. This is definitely my mom’s love language, and not just because she is a mom. I have seen her offer herself wholeheartedly, not just for her children, but for people who, frankly, do not even deserve it.

two young male friends, one with his arm around the other's shoulder

photo by Vishvanavanjana

Physical Touch

You love to give and receive hugs, pats on the back, an arm around the shoulder and firm handshakes. You find massages incredibly enjoyable, and holding you while you cry is the most compassionate way someone can console you.

People might be suspicious of you because they are not as comfortable with touching, or they suspect that you are just trying to “make a move” on them–but that’s not true. Physical touch is not limited to affection exchanged between lovers. This is my fiancé Angel’s primary love language, and I realized early on that his touchiness was not simply flirtiness when I observed his interactions with family and friends. He was all hugs, all the time, and still is that way.

Words of Affirmation

a text message conversation in which one person expresses his/her feelings for the other

from Pinterest

You value words of praise and encouragement. One compliment has your mood lifted for the entire day. Love letters are the quickest way to your heart. On the other end, hurtful words inflict a wound like nothing else can.

If you know individuals like this, it is crucial that you constantly boost them up with the power of your words. Don’t dismiss them as being vain or conceited when they fish for compliments. Tell them “I love you” often, because even if you hit all of the other four love languages, they might not feel certain until you say it. Don’t just think good toward them–be very vocal about your appreciation and generous with compliments. Be careful, even when joking, about what you say to them.

 

Receiving Gifts

You feel most loved when someone gives you a gift. Whether something small like a flower or expensive like new sneakers, just the fact that someone thought of you means the world to you. Someone’s presence is also a present to you; you would be greatly offended if your significant other got you nothing on Valentine’s Day, but also if your best friend did not make it to your birthday party. 

a man embracing a woman to whom he has given a gift

Vogue (http://www.pulse.ng)

I feel as if this can be mistaken for being materialistic, but there is a difference. From what I have observed, this is my younger sister’s primary love language, and it took a while for me to realize that she wasn’t just being greedy whenever she asked me to bring her something on my way back home. Her attention to detail when choosing and packaging gifts for others also says it all. Because of this, when I have the money and time, I am less reluctant to pick up a Snickers bar or buy her something she’s been raving about every now and then.

Quality Time

You are an unofficial event planner, always coming up with a new idea for a date with your friends, family or significant other. You value long conversations, especially with an engaged listener. If you had one complaint in a relationship, it would be, “We never spend enough time together!” You give your phone a side-eye when someone does not reply back to your messages quickly enough or answer your calls.

a father reading a picture book on the couch with his daughter

Photo courtesy of United Way of West Alabama

This is definitely my primary love language. Nothing hurts me more than a missed opportunity to see someone I love, especially Angel. It drives me crazy when he’s not texting me, even if he has a very legitimate excuse, like work. I can spend a whole day with him and still feel disappointed when we have to part ways. This was true even with my best friend Marsha when we were younger; I often cried whenever I had to leave her apartment, and we lived in the same building.

People like me need as much time as you can afford to give. Make sure that in the midst of all your responsibilities, you don’t make a “quality-timer” feel as if he/she is at the bottom of your list; we are more likely to get jealous of things (e.g. work, sports, video games) than people. Set aside time for dates, phone calls, etc., and as a tip, it’s not enough to just be in the same room together–make sure that the activity requires you to give each other undivided attention.

Get Out There and Love Someone

Chapman explains that each of us has a love tank that needs to be filled. Often times, people act out, complain, or are unhappy because their tank is not filled. Marriages often crumble because two people are working hard to please each other in the way they know how, not in the way their spouse wants. The main way to fill the tank is to show love in that person’s primary love language.

If you are wondering what your primary love language is, think about which one you show others the most, and what bothers you the most (and see the quiz online). I highly recommend you get a copy of the book for yourself and take the quiz. Just as a final word of advice, the goal here is not to win people over, but to love them for the sake of love. If something is to be done, it might as well be done right. Do you want a boring relationship or an exciting one? Do you want nagging parents or happy parents? Love people wholeheartedly, expecting nothing in return, and this world would be radically redefined.the cover of "The 5 Love Languages" book by Gary Chapman

Beware of Fake Friends

It all started when I reached the stage of maturity, that was when my life changed forever. My outlook on life, as well as my cognitive processing transformed completely. My mind was developing, and I could feel myself seeing life through a different perspective. I was evolving mentally, physically, and internally. When I entered this new environment, the possibilities of where my life could be were endless. I realized that new opportunities were being presented to me, and I decided to break out my shell and go for them. I decided that I would find ways to experience life, just like all of my other “friends” did. In doing so I awakened a part of myself that I never knew was hidden within me. Through every painful experience that occurred in my life, I drew deeper within myself, and another person was forced out. At times when I looked in the mirror, I no longer saw that sweet, outgoing, extremely intelligent person that once stared back at me. However, I did see a strong young woman, who was going down the wrong path, dealing with the wrong people, and putting herself in the wrong positions.

Let’s just jump right into the first downfall in my life which was the group of people I surrounded myself with. I prefer to name them by their “outstanding” characteristics than their actual names for now. The two kinds of young women that caused the most turmoil in my life were the Alpha, and the Mime. Each one of these characters were a stepping stone to me finding the other side of me. Individually these people, at one time or another were ranked as high priority in my life. However, after spending enough time with them, I realized that I was more beneficial to them, than they were to me. I tried out various combinations of these sorts of people, until I realized that these people just didn’t work for me.
Let’s begin with the Alpha, because they usually appear to be the leaders of the group. I have encountered more than one Alpha in my life, but no matter how different they may seem, I’ve seen similarities in them all. This female or male may be known to seek power over others even though they themselves are being used by people more powerful than them. The Alpha can be manipulative, and knows how to get what he or she wants. However they expose themselves in various areas of their lives which makes them vulnerable to the ones closest to them. Just like a bully, in actuality the Alpha is sometimes the weakest person, because they need other people to validate their strength. If the Alpha is not idolized, they face adversity which they are not equipped to handle, and they crack under pressure.

The Mime is the person in the group who has not yet discovered their identity. They are a follower who picks up traits from other people and uses these characteristics to build themselves up. This person is, for a lack of better words, a follower. At times you will see traces of your own personality within them. At some points you’ll wonder, when did this person become so much like me? When did we start dressing alike? When did we start speaking alike? If you have to ask yourself these questions then more than likely you should re-evaluate your friendship immediately. The Mime in this group of friends is able to adapt multiple personalities at once. In some ways they may seem like a super friend. However when the fog starts to clear, you’ll start to see cracks, and flaws in their perfection.

Both of these people entered my life at a time when I was open to new friends, but I wasn’t aware that not everyone has good intentions. I allowed them into my space and I allowed them to alter my life. I decided to tell you about these two kinds of people because having them in my life didn’t benefit me, and if you notice that people in your life have the same characteristics, you should steer clear of them. Life is short and relationships can be even shorter. However, if you use the characteristics I listed above you’ll be able to sift out people who will impact your lives negatively. Now I’m not saying that this description is completely accurate, but I am telling you to watch out who you let into your life. People can be toxic, and you should watch out how quick you are to befriend them because they can turn your life upside down. In retrospect, now that I think about it, the only way I could find out what kind of friends worked for me and who didn’t, was to try things out for size. I gave each of these kinds of people a distinct role in my life for a trial period. Some of them were disappointments, some helped me learn valuable lessons, and others were a complete waste of time. All in all, from each situation I encountered, I gained new and useful knowledge. This particular knowledge helps guide me into the right direction till this day, while also preventing me from involving myself with toxic people. My message to anyone reading this blog is: Don’t waste your time, and watch out for who you may be calling your friend.

Virtues from Motherhood: The People you meet

Throughout your life you’ll meet hundreds if not thousands of people, some significant and some not, but all a part of the mosaic of our lives. As my journey at City Tech enters its final chapter I find myself reflecting on my very different experiences in college. I started my journey in college at John Jay, made a brief stop at Kingsborough and now I find myself here. Every school meant something for me, and occupied a different time in my life. When I arrived at John Jay I still wasn’t sure who I was, let alone what I hoped to find in college and it was a very lonely and turbulent time and I don’t have any fond memories there. At Kingsborough, I was just starting to get my life and my goals back on track so I was more focused on getting what I needed to do, done.

When I got to City Tech though I had a better idea of who I was, I knew I was going to achieve what I set out and I wanted to make the most of my experience here. I made friends the second week I was here, and they’ll be lifelong ones at that. I’ve become a part of so many things on campus, met so many great faculty members and peers as well and that alone is invaluable to me. I found when I opened myself up to new experiences and wasn’t afraid to contribute my voice and ideas, that great things happened, like being a part of The Buzz.

As you move through different chapters of your life, don’t be afraid to stop in and say hello, to your peers, your professors, a nonprofit group, a school program or even a free event. Just say hello, share what you have to give, your great ideas, your voice, your artistic abilities because you never know just how valuable you might be to someone or someplace. I’ve been blogging for over a year now and I have met so many great people, bloggers, advisors and mentors that I will carry on with me even after my time at City Tech ends.

With that I would like to extend my well wishes to Phil Kreniske, who will be leaving The Buzz for another great, and well deserved, opportunity. I wish him well and thank him for him time and contributions with The Buzz and its bloggers, you will be greatly missed.