Archives for posts with tag: new york city

Miscellany Monday @ lowercase letters

+ epic fail.  In February, a couple laptops were stolen from the financial aid office at college.  I heard about this only because of my connections with the newspaper.  On Feb. 22, an email was sent to all students informing us that,

We regret to inform you that there have been several recent incidents of theft on campus. The [City] Police Department is currently conducting an investigation.

On Apr. 13, we received an email stating that,

In February, [college] administrators discovered that computers in the Financial Aid Office, which contained confidential or protected data relating to current, former or prospective students, had been stolen.

Oh.  So, you mean to tell me that those laptops stolen last month weren’t personal computers, but rather that,

some of the College’s confidential financial aid data on those computers may have been compromised and that certain personal information about students or alumni may have been exposed. The information on the stolen computers includes name, address, date of birth, and Social Security number,  may include data supplied by students or parents, and may affect not only the supplying parties but also spouses or joint account holders, among others. …  All individuals who may have been affected have been notified in writing as the law requires

Oh.  Wow, Social Security numbers and information about parents or spouses or maybe my great uncle twice removed who happens to be my guardian?  How horrid!  Well, thank God I didn’t receive a letter!  At least that doesn’t include me!  And then, yesterday, three months after the incident, I received a letter.  Well.  Golly gee.  If you happen to live in the area, you may have actually heard about this on the news.  Not only was my college city on MSNBC as one of the most impoverished cities in the country, but now we’ve made ABC because of thefts!  Hooray for my college!

Fortunately, on Apr. 15, the vice president and dean of admissions emailed students to let us know that,

The Pennsylvania State Police just informed the College of the good news that one computer stolen from [the college]’s Financial Aid Office has been recovered.

The Pennsylvania State Police, assisting in the investigation with [City]Police and [College]Public Safety, yesterday evening received information garnered by [College] Public Safety about the possible location of the computers. Troopers went to a residence near the College and a consent search was obtained.

The recovered computer is the one believed to have held most of the information that [the college] was concerned could be compromised. It appears that the computers were stolen to be traded for drugs, not for the information they contained.

According to information released by the State Police, a suspect will be arrested in the near future.

We are grateful to [College] Public Safety, the [City] Police Department and the Pennsylvania State Police for the excellent work on the investigation and for bringing it to a successful resolution.

Oh, it was just for drug money, you say?  And the person is going to be arrested soon and one of the computers was recovered?  And hooray for the police for their success!  Success?  Are.  You.  Serious.  Only one of at least two computers was recovered.  That’s not success!  That’s a half fail!  That’s like multiplying zero times a million.  I don’t care how awesome that million is, the answer is still zero!

Well, let’s just hope my information was on the recovered laptop.  Good heavens, that’d be horrible if it weren’t.

+ almost a senior.  Continuing with the amazing experience that is my college life, I registered for classes on Thursday morning.  First of all, I overslept, so for the first time ever, I was not sitting at my computer at 7:20 and clicking “Refresh” every 30 seconds until the time read “7:30” and I could begin registering.  So, that was the first strike against me.  Then, I signed on to my Self Service account and was greeted by a message telling me that I wasn’t eligible to register!  According to an email from the Registrar, only students with unpaid bills couldn’t register.  What?  Me?  Frantically, I called my parents to ask if the bills had been paid, and they assured me that they were.  So, I called the Registrar.

Apparently, several seniors-to-be had been locked out of registering.  Why?  Because Self Service overrode our senior status with our honors status, and honors students have the privilege of registering the day after seniors do (which was a fantastic perk as a freshman, but as a senior, not so much).  Fortunately, the Registrar signed me up for classes personally, and even though I registered almost half an hour after registration opened, I still managed to sign up for all of the classes I needed.

My freshman year roommate was not so fortunate, and she missed the biology class she needed.  Fortunately, since others also missed it, the college made a lab specially for them.  Let’s just hope spring registration goes better.  Maybe the college will actually work out the bugs by then.

+ what’s on your queue?  Since I missed Friday’s classes because I was in New York City, I emailed my professors and told my medieval history professor that I would try to find Becket in FYE, because I was really enjoying the film and wanted to finish it.  She asked if I had Netflix, but I didn’t.  So, I signed up for the one month trial (and am pretty sure I’ll pay for the subscription!) and spent the afternoon watching Becket via the Wii.  Here’s what I’m excited about on my instant queue:

I also want to see The King of Masks and Waltz with Bashir.  My Mandarin professor started showing the first in class, but again, we never finished it.  The second is an amazing animated documentary about war.  I’ve also been wanting to see The Joy Luck Club lately, but unfortunately those three films are only available via DVD (which is an extra $2 per month, which is less than the cost of a ticket for a 3D movie).  Still, I think Netflix is overall a fantastic concept for my family, since Alan and I typically only watch tv to hear the news and otherwise watch movies.  Plus, my family is big on movies.

Do you have any movies to recommend for either the instant queue or DVD route?

Yesterday, the newspaper’s editor in chief, the arts & music magazine’s editor and I had the pleasure of attending the New York Times Student Editors’ Workshop.  Due to traffic, we arrived 20 minutes late and missed the welcome speech, but nevertheless learned a lot throughout the day and even made some contacts.

A wall of Pulitzer Prizes awarded to the New York Times

Approximately 100 student editors met at the New York Times’ seventh home since its creation in 1857.  Some students came from as far away as Brigham Young University, while others were just a short subway ride from their home campuses.

The Dow Jones editing internship was highly recommended to help prospective journalists set themselves apart from the rest of the masses vying for placement in the internship (and, hopefully, subsequent employment with the New York Times).  What was not on the list of requirements?  A high GPA.  According to Monica Drake, the GPA is not as greatly considered as other aspects of the application.  Also, graduate school can be bypassed, and in some cases, a bachelor’s degree.

“If you can do it, then we want you,” said Manager for Staff Editor Training Don Hecker, after telling participants that the Times had hired an employee who never earned a college degree, but rather dropped out and pursued journalism.

That was, perhaps, the most disheartening part of the day.  It wasn’t the uncertain future for print journalism, but the fact that all of my hard work has been for naught.  Who needs to be on the dean’s list when you can just drop out and start a job as a copy editor?  Speaking of which, how much do you think a starting copy editor makes for the New York Times?  Guesses ranged from $20,000 to $30,000 — all higher than what a starting journalist can generally expect to make, but drastically lower than what a starting copy editor makes — $90,000.

My favorite part of the workshop was James Dao’s appearance.  Dao is a national correspondent who also covers military and veterans’ affairs.  He also happens to be working on a series similar to what I hope to do for my senior honors thesis (minus the fact that he embeds).  I was really hoping to meet him, so when he finished talking I leaned over to the editor and said, “Is he leaving?  If he is, I’m chasing him down!” to which the editor said, “Go get him!” and I sprinted out of the conference room and ran down the hall (not an easy feat in a skirt and high heels).

Another speaker was unable to speak because he was meeting deadline.  His replacement nevertheless had quite a bit of wisdom to impart.

“I’m gonna change your life with what I’m going to tell you today,” Neil [I missed his surname] told students.

With the sort of wit and bluntness lacking in most conversation today, Neil was refreshing and honest in addressing the attendees.

“We don’t need one trick pony in the room.  You can be what you want to be,” Neil continued.  “Never take a step back to get ahead.”

Whether the “step up” is a higher paycheck or another step closer to a goal career, Neil told students to keep that in mind and live without regrets.

“Be true to yourself.  Do you really know who you are?” Neil asked, then continued that he frequently closes his interviews by asking his sources what sort of fruit they would be, as it tells him about their characters.  “I’m an apricot.  Apricots don’t grow in bunches; I’m an individualist.”

What sort of fruit are you?

Neil also talked about his “three, five and dime” plan for the future, which requires people to envision where they want to be in three, five and ten years.  Students should plan and and prepare for the future, for the real world that comes after graduation — which, for most of the attendees, is swiftly approaching within either one month or a little over a year.

“If you’re here because you’ve got talent, and you are because you do, someone believes in you,” Neil said.  “You need to believe in yourself.”

[Quotables]

“Journalism is not a dying art.  If you believe in it, you can make it.  The cream rises to the top.” – Neil

“I thought you were just mesmerized by New Jersey.” – Speaker, after noticing students staring out the window at paper fluttering through the air for some unknown reason.

“One thing reporters learn to do is to fudge the details of what we’re doing.” – Speaker