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.

Be Careful During Your Morning Commute

Each day that I wake up I lay in bed and prepare myself for the day ahead by listing of all the tasks that I must complete by the day’s end. After organizing my time around assignments, household responsibilities, as well as making time for myself/ my needs I prepare myself for my train ride to school. I know you must be thinking, who needs to prepare themselves for their train ride, there’s nothing to it? Well that’s where you are wrong and you don’t even know it. Train rides are one of the most unpredictable aspects of life that can either make or break your day.

Most people aren’t aware how dangerous train rides can be because everyone walks around with their ear buds in their ears, with the intention of blocking out the world. In my experience I find that in order to have a safer and more productive commute, using headphones to drown out the world around you is ineffective. The best way to deal with the morning commute is to be aware of your surroundings, and be ready to react if necessary.

While I’m on the train, I like many other people, am guilty of listening to my music loudly to ignore others on many occasions. Recently I’ve noticed how dangerous it is to be on the train with my headphones on full blast. A few summers ago I was running a few errands and I decided to catch the three train so I could get to my destination quickly. During my train ride a man came and sat across from me and stared intently at me, but because I had my headphones in I paid him no mind. I felt a bit uneasy because I was in the train car alone with him but since my stop was coming up I didn’t fret too much. After a few minutes I decided to look up and get a good look at the man sitting across from me. He had a strange look in his eye, and he struck me as a person who may be going through a rough time. On his wrist I noticed a band that appeared to be from a medical center, and I also saw that his clothes were shabby and unkempt. After looking him over briefly I went back to playing with my iPod, and before I knew it I had arrived at my destination. I got off the train, and never thought twice about the man who sat across from me until I saw him again.

A few days later I was on the two train going to Flatbush and the same man got on the train, in the exact same outfit. To my surprise as soon as everyone saw him people either started running out of the train car, or moving as far away from the man as physically possible . I thought maybe he smelled bad, but since I was listening to my music I once again paid him no mind. An older woman tapped me and told me that this man, that I had sat across from and ignored a few days prior, was actually mentally ill. Not only was he mentally ill, he liked to fondle himself on the train, and once he was finished, he would wipe his ejaculation onto other people surrounding him. I was shocked at my own insolence, that I sat across from a man who appeared to be mentally challenged, but because I was too busy listening to my music and ignoring him, I didn’t pay attention to the cues in my surroundings.

I share this story with you because I want to explain how dangerous train rides can be when we do not pay attention to the world around us. This man who I sat across from was ill, and I was too caught up in my music to realize that I was in a bad position. It was by the grace of God that I was not assaulted by this man while being in a train car alone with him, and I am so grateful that the situation worked out in my favor. After this incident I decided to find other ways to occupy my time on the train. If I do decide to listen to my music, the volume is low enough that I can hear people around me. At other times I will complete assigned readings, so that my mind is occupied, and I can still be cognizant of what’s going on around me.

Paying attention to the world around us has become more of an option than a necessity, and I want people to know that they are doing themselves a great disservice by distancing themselves from the real world. By ignoring the people and the world around you, you are not preparing yourself for danger than can occur at the slightest moment. Instead of trying to drown out the world, embrace the universe, deal with the people or aliens that inhabit it even if they are unpleasant, but just stay safe and don’t allow yourself to fall victim to others. Listening to music on the train is a great way to pass the time, but it’s also a great way to put yourself in danger during your commute. My advice to all people who use the train as their main form of transportation is to be aware, be smart and most of all be careful during your morning commute.

Virtues from Motherhood: Life Mimics Art

When we’re born we come into this world pure, pristine and untainted by the world’s harshness, each of us a clean and untouched piece of marble. We all age though, and as we age we begin to lose pieces of ourselves, and our marble becomes chipped as life begins to carve away at us. Like all art however, the artist’s hands are what makes the masterpiece.

In life the artists are the people who we choose to let into our lives and give pieces of ourselves to. But if they don’t share the same vision we do for ourselves they will only damage the marble, leaving scars and cracks along the way rather than adding beauty and light.

It is too easy to allow the wrong artists to touch us; it is too easy to let a spoken word run wild ahead of a broken promise. Still though our marble is beautiful, with so many untouched corners. Even in the worst lighting the right artist will see beauty; let those people into your life. Let the people who see you in your worst lighting, and still add beauty to your masterpiece, stay. As heavy as marble may be, we have to pick up and move from those who only cause damage; those who damage us do not deserve us. Damage is not what artists do.

The Flatiron Building

On the opposite side of Madison Square Park is the pinnacle of the Flatiron district in Lower Manhattan. Built in 1902, it remains a major tourist spot for its oddly picturesque features. Back in a time where skyscrapers were virtually unheard of, New Yorkers thought that it was impossible to have a structure amount to that particular grandeur of height. Although the building is only 22 stories high and doesn’t really seem to be very tall compared to other, more contemporary, skyscrapers, The Flatiron Building was quite baffling for the people of that time.

The 307 foot building was built by a Chicago native, Daniel Burnham. He was born in New York and raised in Chicago. As most of us can empathize with, he didn’t start out his career as some noble architect who was extremely dedicated to becoming an amazing mentor and creator of beautiful structures all over the world. His story began with failed attempts of admission to Harvard and Yale then to unsteady career decisions until the opportunity of architecture came along; almost like he was called to the drafting table, the urban civilization needing him to be a part of something great, something that would eventually be historical and loved. He would eventually be trained under a remarkable Chicago architect, William Le Baron Jenney; he shared this incomparable experience with other great historical figures of the modern era like Louis Sullivan and Martin Roche.

Upon the completion of the Flatiron Building, some New Yorkers fell in a complete and utter dislike with the skyscraper and others were amazed. With the wonky angular building, people were concerned with the possibility of it falling; structures weren’t meant to be that tall and look so unstable on a 25 degree angle base. Eventually they learned to accept the building; it wasn’t going to fall down like so many thought, it actually became an attraction, another reason to come to New York.

Burnham should be a symbol for all of us; that sometimes life doesn’t go your way but it doesn’t mean that you’re not destined for greatness. Maybe people won’t notice how great you are now, but we all have the potential to be or do something significant. Sometimes it’s the “Burnham’s Follies” in life that can completely change and enrich your life.

Academic Self-Discovery: Patricia Bright

a tall woman with long black hair, dressed in black, on a cobblestone street

For me, it is always nice to hear the stories behind how a person has gotten into the career they are in today. It makes me remember that academic-self discovery is also about trial and error. One of my favorite YouTube vloggers is Patricia Bright. Patricia is a UK vlogger whith a YouTube channel that focuses on fashion, beauty and adventure. Yet, what I admire most about her channel is that she also posts videos on her life experinces. She gives advice and shares stories on what she has learned growing up in order to inspire, be an example or teach others. Stories on topics such as college, family, confidence, what she would tell her younger self, her career and more.

On a video titled “My Career & Job Salary Mean Bosses, Being Fired & More”, Patricia talks about all her work experinces- the good and bad- and what she has gained from these experinces. She talks about how her first job was in retail, selling wedding and prom dresses for most of her time at University. However, in her last two years of University she no longer enjoyed working there and decided to quit to do hair. Although doing people’s hair was something she loved and called herself “A livingroom hairstylist”, it was something that she did just to “make a living”. Right out of University, Patricia decided to do an internship in investment banking within technology. Though she did not have a degree technology, she did have one in accounting. This internship had a dinner event for the students applying, so a friend of hers told her to go to network. Patricia went prepared, ready to engage, appeared enthusiastic and had several financial qestions. It is because of her eagerness that the recruiter came to her and talked with her a little more than they did with the other students there.

In this moment in telling this story, Patricia advises her viewers who are looking to do an internship to also network. To go to events that the internship is having and to go there “keen”. Basically, to go there with questions and comments that make you stand out, let people know that you did your research and that you are qualified for the position. Patrica then talks about how her internship was extremely competitive and that she had to take an entrance exam in which she failed because she did not study as much material as she should’ve had. I like that she mentions this because most times I fear the idea of failure yet failing something does not mean it is the end. Due to how memorable she was at the dinner, Patricia got her second chance. The recruiter of the internship told her to come back and take the exam over and this time she passed.

In doing this internship she felt as if she did not fit in. Though she worked really well there, she was the youngest on her team, “was so quiet and awkward”, and was always told that she had to “get out of her shell”. Getting out of her shell was difficult for her because she did not feel confident in herself. Leaving that job she became a consultant. This she said was the hardest job she has ever done because of the long hours spent on doing proposals and how she felt she had no time to actually live her life. However, it is because of her experiences at these jobs that she had people calling her to work at different banks and firms and she ended up getting a call from a bank in Tokyo. At this point in her life she became very confident in herself and her knowledge. Working there, she was always able to bring something to the table and felt that her opinions were valued.

Patricia concludes her video by saying “Everyone starts from somewhere and confidence comes with time.” Despite the job experinces that made her realize they were not for her, she did learn and grow from each. Within time she became more confident in herself and in her work. Some of the key things she feels applies to success in any career is “alot of hardwork, sleepless nights, late nights, [and] applying and teaching [yourself] a lot of things.”

A Stroll Down Memory Lane at City Tech

Note: This is a non-food and restaurant related post. This is merely a reflection of my years at City Tech and majoring in Hospitality Management.

I started my degree in Hospitality Management late in 2009, because I didn’t feel comfortable or interested in Communication Design. While it wasn’t easy at first in Hospitality Management and getting through college, it’s everything to me now.

I must admit I didn’t like 1/4 of the classes in hospitality management merely because it didn’t interest me or it was math related and I’m not very good in math (i.e. – cost control and accounting & finance).

pastries

I took Baking 1 & 2 which were two of the hardest classes I’ve taken because I’m not very good at baking and both were late afternoon classes that ended at 7-7:30PM. My boyfriend would stay late at work (he works on Montague Street) and swing over to pick me up  and in return, he ended up with all the desserts, cookies, and bread that was made in class. Fair trade right?

food dishes

I took Culinary 1 & 2 on Saturday mornings (almost a mistake), but I got lucky because both classes were taught by one of the most down-to-earth and easy going professors: Professor Tomlinson. I learned a lot about cooking, food, and how to plate food which was very helpful. My boyfriend would also get up at 6:30-7AM to drive me to class and pick me up on most days after.

dining room tables

I also took Dining Room & Operations which was very fun and taught me a lot about what to look for that may be a red flag when dining outside.

food

During the Dining Room class, we were required to go to a fine dining restaurant in New York City and I chose Asiate. I typically don’t do fine dining, but this was a nice, once in a lifetime experience and especially since it had a beautiful view of Central Park & Columbus Circle.

a city building with the words "ON POINT WITH DOWNTOWN: 'Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. Explore. Dream. Discover.' -Mark Twain"

Last year, I also took Hospitality Marketing with Professor Duchamp which I admire because he’s very much into social media and Twitter. I’m not sure how other marketing professors teach, but if you’ve taken Professor Duchamp in Hospitality Marketing, then you know for the final project you have to create a tour and a website using Square Space. Unfortunately the website I created is inactive, but here’s a screenshot I took during the production.

A lot of friends I know don’t like writing and I was told Research Seminar would be the hardest classes, but it turned out to be my favorite because I was able to combine a hobby that I like to do with my project and it worked out perfectly.

a food shop

This is my last semester as a full-time student and I am taking Hospitality Services Marketing and one assignment was to do a comparison of two Hospitality enterprises so I did Chelsea Market vs. Eataly, two of New York City’s most popular food hall. I’ve never been to Eataly before, so I went for the very first time in April and it was a great and fun experience. I’m also taking Hospitality Enterprise Development and our project for the semester is building a business plan of our own. It was due today and hopefully I did well on it.

a magazine article

Outside of my classes and before Openlab was created, I was writing for the New Tech Times for 1-2 years. It was definitely not as engaging or fun as writing for The Buzz. I am very happy that City Tech created Openlab as it provides a space for students and faculty to share their creativity, but also a chance for student bloggers to express their passion and creativity through images and words.

This is my final post for The Buzz and although I haven’t been heavily involved in our meetings due to work obligations, I did enjoy collaborating with my team mates and reading their posts. I also enjoyed being a Hospitality Student because it really opened me up and I was able to visit sites I wouldn’t have done if it wasn’t for my classes. If you’re still interested in reading my works, you can check out my personal food blog or my Yelp page. If you would like to contact me anything related to food, blogging or social media, you can shoot me an e-mail: jessdeng08@gmail.com.

Thank You! Have a great summer!

Your Network Determines Your Net Worth

I know it is 4-20 and it would be cool to read about all type of hemp influenced products or why/why not weed should be legalized, but there are much more important subjects to blog about.

cans of Chillo drink

Hemp Energy Drinks by AudioVision via CC* License 

Such as …

“Your network determines your net worth.” To the growing hemp producers  that phrase might be all too familiar (lol), but for you younger folk it may sound very new. And thats okay, but after today I want you to never forget it.

cartoon images of blue stick-figure men

3D Social Networking by Chris Potter via CC License

According to Dictionary.com A network is an association of individuals having a common interest, formed to provide mutual 

assistance, helpful information, or the like. When you meet people on your career path or those in your hobby-generated groups you may automatically connect them with your “network.” Although those people have common interests, they become apart of your network, and vice versa, only when you put actively add them to it. Of course that is figuratively speaking, you cannot actually pick people up and put them in a physical network. But just think if you collect business cards, phone numbers, and emails from everyone you meet, even those who do not seem to share common interest with you, you may have thousands of contacts within a few months. After you converse and exchange contacts, you must personally follow up with people and even subscribe them to your monthly mailing or email list if you have one. If you walk by people, choose to bail on networking, and refuse to attend all social events, you are missing a possible life alternating opporntunity.

a woman in a white dress holding out her hand

Helping Hand Edited by Stormgirl via CC license

Some may not know, or even believe that I can be a shy person. It’s true. I would choose to opt out of a phone conversation or even a face-to-face chat unless I know a person very well. THIS IS DISASTROUS for anyone.  How can I be successful in real estate, let alone in the entertainment industry, if I can not socialize or speak to a person or a crowd. Most times I pump my self up or just brush away the fear, but it is a skilled that can only be mastered if practiced. So people, next time you are about to send a mass text/email try sending it personally to someone or calling them directly. That will help build a trusting relationship. You may even spark a conversation that inquires about each of your skill sets and interests, which in return build a network that will allow for exchange of services, sharing of knowledge, or even referrals.

people in suits shaking hands

Business Meeting by thetaxxhaven via CC license

And thats where you build your net worth, which can be thought of as the total assets of a business minus its total liabilities (Dictionary.com). A person can be a brand, or business, as well. Theoretically, your net worth can be calculated by actual financials or based on those connected to you in someway. Those connections can be a direct link to leads, future income, knowledge, and more.

 a word cloud of business terms

Business by Gerald via CC license

*CC: Creative Common

Dedicated to some of the men in my life who practice and preach this concept:

  • My Dad Larry, personal trainer & (Co-Owner of Brooklyn Billionairez)
  • My Uncle Dave, business owner in the Automotive & Entertainment industry
  • My Uncle Sammy, mutli-business owner including We Have it ALL
  • My Brother-Cousin Samar, Owner of Made Realty & Made Capital Corp.

Happy Birthday Samar, you will continue to add on to your network and success.


QUESTIONS TO THE AUDIENCE: Are you nervous when networking? | Do you leave events early to avoid feeling awkward when talking to others? | Do you have stories of success based on your network? | Do you feel having people in your network is similar to using people? | How do you network? | Can you give me advice.