And if a ten-ton truck
Kills the both of us
To die by your side
Well, the pleasure - the privilege is mine
Oh, there is a light and it never goes out

I don’t know what it says about me when I say that I think that this is the second best love song ever recorded, with the first being The Beatles- Something

(Source: Spotify)

Tags | music | spotify |
Conversations with My 5 Year Old Brother
  • (I was showing Ethan my pictures from Disney World. We came across a picture of my friend and I on the Teacup ride at night)
  • Ethan: It's dark, when do you go to sleep?
  • Alex: There aren't any pictures of me sleeping.
  • Ethan: When I go to sleep you go bye-bye for a long time and you need to stay here, all day, so when I go to sleep, I get to see you. Don't go bye-bye for a long time anymore.
  • If there was any moment I wanted to break down and cry, that was it. The truth is, in a month, I will be going bye-bye for a long time when I leave for grad school. Until then, yes, I will walk you over to the bus tomorrow. Allie loves you more than you'll ever know. One day, you'll understand.
The Misconception About Philosophy Graduates: We Use Cardboard Boxes for Recycling, Not For Domiciles

It’s articles like these that drive me absolutely batty:

image

Source: Yahoo Education- Don’t Bother Earning These Five Degrees

I like to think of myself as a really nice, happy, and optimistic person, but hell hath no fury if I hear someone say in my presence that philosophy graduates are destined to live in cardboard boxes or something to that effect. I will call you out on it because the assumption that philosophy graduates spent four years on a dead end career path is absolute drivel, ignorant, and quite short sighted. 

My first philosophy class was during my second semester of freshman year at Hartwick College. I dropped out of my biochemistry major and wanted to explore other academic areas before I declared another major. I decided to take Values and Society, which was offered by the Philosophy department because it looked like something I would be interested in, and boy, was I right. I fell in love with Plato’s works, especially Symposium. I treated those texts as if they were gifts from above because the writing was so rich. I thought it to be a privilege to develop valid arguments from these texts about these ancient values and how they fit in with our modern society.

Notice that I said valid arguments and not arguments because there is a difference. The meaning of philosophy is “the love of wisdom,” and the study is centered around teaching its students how to use logical reasoning to identify valid and invalid arguments. Because of that training, we learn how to read critically and not passively. We are not intimidated by big passages of words, such as proposed bills. We will go through it, line by line, and find the mistakes to tell you why parts of the proposal aren’t valid. 

What does that sound like? Oh, it sounds like a lawyer, which isn’t a surprise because, other than economics and mathematics majors, philosophy majors perform better on the LSAT than any other major in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences. As you see, I got a little tired from hyperlinking sources, but you get my point.

What about the GRE? Well, we’ve got that one covered too.

image

And if you don’t believe me, here’s some sources here, here, and here.

Not bad for people who are destined for the cardboard box chateau, right? 

What I feel is the pitfall for college graduates, in general, is actually something that has to do more with themselves more than their degree. In the end, it is up to the individual to market themselves to compete for a job. If you don’t know the strengths of your degree and why they will help you attain a job, then the truth is, maybe you shouldn’t get the position because you can’t market yourself. I like to use the example of Pitbull. Love him or hate him, he knows how to talk, dress, and promote himself to get what he wants and approaches each professional situation with class, even when he’s sent to Kodiak, Alaska against his will. He could have acted like a diva about being sent to one of the most remote places in the country, but he didn’t. He had fun with it and gained a lot of respect from the people in Kodiak for taking out the time to come and visit them. Market yourself with the same confidence as Mr. 305 and you’ll be set. 

In a more realistic situation, when potential employers ask me about my philosophy degree and why I chose it to advance my career, I say it’s because it was something that I enjoyed, I’ve developed excellent critical reading skills, and I can effectively deduce arguments. I then bring up how those skills have helped me in my previous positions. Those are all valuable traits to any employer because not do I bring experience and desirable skills to the table, I actually have fun with them. See? It’s all about marketing yourself. 

What I would recommend to any major who is unsure about their future career is, first, reach out to your professors and have a honest chat with them. They know what’s it’s like and will be your best ally.

Secondly, seek out who the best career services advisor is on campus. Don’t just go to the career services center on a whim, find out who is the best one to talk to because in my experience, a lot of people who tend to work in that department do not know what they’re talking about. I was told by a random career services advisor that being involved in the campus radio station would amount to nothing for my career. Wrong. I received an internship with the Federal Communication Commission because of my radio experience. That internship was the springboard for me to attain my jobs in political campaigns and government relations. If I had listened to her and solely focused on the Political Science club, I really doubt I would be where I am today. When I told one of my friends about my dismal experience with Career Services, he told me that I was talking to the wrong person and directed me towards the best career services advisor and I never looked back. 

After you find the best career services advisor on the block, talk to them about your major and your career path (or lack thereof). If you took the time to find the best career advisor on campus, use them to your best advantage. Your tuition dollars pay their salary. Use them to their full potential so that you’re prepared for the real world. Ask them to conduct a series of mock interviews with you because the more practice you have, the better off you’ll be. One is helpful but it’s not going to fully prepare you for what’s out there.

Then, have them put you in resume boot camp. Don’t leave campus without a resume that has a format that is crisp, easy to read, and is one page. Yes. One page. To me, creating a resume is like curating a museum. Of course there’s a lot of interesting historical pieces, but if you put them all in one room, it’s going to look overwhelming to the eye. Think of your resume that way. You have that one room to curate. Make sure you put out your best pieces in it. If you want to put more experience on it, create a professional website or create a LinkedIn profile and slap it on your resume. LinkedIn is excellent because you can have your colleagues vouch for your skills. 

Lastly, it’s all about location, location, location and taking risks. I grew up in one of the most beautiful places in Upstate New York but it wasn’t a good launchpad for my career. I could have made it work if I really wanted to but I knew the easier way to start my career was to move to either Albany, NY or Washington, DC. I decided that Albany would be more affordable for me, so I took on a lease for a studio that cost me $650 and temp jobs that paid me about $11 a hour. There were a lot of times that I got frustrated but I kept saying to myself to wait until campaign season started because that’s when the opportunities would pop up. After my temp job was over, I volunteered with a campaign, and eventually, I was hired. Looking back, it was worth all of those times where I was wondering if I was going to make end’s meet with my bills and I wouldn’t of traded it for anything. Your career isn’t going to move in a progressive direction if you don’t make the moves yourself. 

If you need help, let me know. There’s nothing more that I love than coaching people towards their dream career, for any field. I know I gave out a lot of tough love, but tough times call for tough people. You can do it, just like Dr. Seuss said: 

“You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You’re on your own. And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who’ll decide where to go…”

Tags | resume | philosophy | college | jobs |
The feeling I got when I realized that for the next two years, someone will be pumping my gas for me…

The feeling I got when I realized that for the next two years, someone will be pumping my gas for me…

Tags | new jersey |
My definition of sexy.

My definition of sexy.

Conversations with My 3 Year Old Brother
  • Alex: (cracks knuckles)
  • Luke: What's that noise?
  • Alex: I cracked my knuckles.
  • Luke: Why would you do that?
  • (Just stay little forever. And ever)
Remember the time my car was stolen and later recovered?

Oh snap! The blog is back and boy, do I have a story to tell. I figured this would be a better way to address the situation because it will have all the details in one place.

If there is anything anyone knows about me, it’s that my 2006 Toyota Rav4 is the apple of my eye. I received her after my 2005 Toyota Matrix, which my grandparents gave me after my high school graduation, was totaled in the Flood of 2006 that devastated many parts of Sullivan and Delaware. The damage was so bad that even now, businesses and families are now beginning to get back to normal yet some towns never fully recovered.

The Rav4 symbolizes my first grown up decision. After my Matrix was totaled, I was given a check for the full value of the vehicle and since it was probably the first and last time I’d ever receive a check for a car that would be fully financed, I decided to run with it and put down a payment on one of the best compact SUVs on the market. 

She lived up to her reputation- I’ve never had a problem with her. She can go through 18 inches of snow without any problems and truly was my home away from home. Even while I jumped from one campaign far away from home to another, she was the one true constant and I took such good care of her. I’ve had her for six years and she only has 85,000 miles on her. Although other cars have caught my eyes and I considered trading her in for something newer and sexier, reality always sunk in and I realized that she is still a great investment. I always said  I would drive her until the day that I couldn’t anymore.

On November 2nd, some poor souls wanted to make that day come earlier than I anticipated. I remember starting that morning with such high hopes. I was coming off of such an amazing week and a half- my friends from back home came down to help me on the campaign and we were on the brink of sealing the deal and turning out more Democrats than Republicans at our polling site for Early Vote, which was incredible because we were working in the most rural portion of the county. I was so proud of our neighborhood teams and we were getting ready to prepare for an awesome Election Day. 

I walked down to the driveway, with my door hangers in my hands, and I saw my host dad walking to his car and he looked at me and said “Alex, where is your vehicle?” 

A lot of people have asked me “how does it feel when you realize your car is stolen from your driveway?” I’ll tell you that is something I would never want to wish on anyone. There were so many places that I could expect this from; I used to live in Washington, DC and Albany, NY where break ins were the norm and I never had a problem. But here we are, four days before Election Day, and my car is missing from my rural driveway at the end of a cul de sac. 

This part is the hardest to write. Over the last two years, I’ve gone around the country working political campaigns far away from home and the one thing I could always look forward to was going home to my car. I panicked and my host dad, true to his kind and understanding nature, put his arm around me and said “we’re going to go inside and call the Sheriff.” 

So many thoughts were going through my head. I wondered how could this happen and I was in such a state of shock that I made up this story in my head that I must have either left the keys in my vehicle or I must have left the vehicle open, which my host families can all attest to, is very unlike me because I’m that kind of person who will literally get up in the middle of the night to make sure that either my car is locked or the house is locked. I didn’t think to check in my bag, I just assumed that if the keys weren’t in my hands, that they must have been in the vehicle.

I was also starting to fear for my life because this wasn’t the first incident that happened to me since I came to Titusville. In September, the day before a very big event in our county, my car was keyed up and the tire was slashed, and it wasn’t like that the night before. I kept saying to everyone that it must have happened in my host family’s driveway, but the town residents always said that it was the kind of neighborhood where that would never happen, so it probably occurred while my car was parked at the office. It turns out that I had good reason to feel like someone was after me because I went into my vehicle at 1:30 to see if we had anymore door hangers to put labels on and came back into the house around 1:36. The surveillance camera shows the thieves entering the driveway at 1:39. We were literally minutes apart from a confrontation. When I spoke to the police, they told me that they didn’t even want to imagine the scenario that could have taken place. 

When my best friend and I got to the office, we received a call from the police that they found my stuff. We were so shocked because we would have thought that if you’re going to steal a car, with New York tags and Democratic stickers all throughout the place, and not to mention with the low fuel light on, why in the world would you take the time to dump most of my stuff out in a parking lot? I was grateful that they did at least do that but it just seemed so odd. There it all was though, all strewn across the parking lot. My heart dropped when I saw one of the apartment’s residents pick up a 2012 sign and gave it to me. Together, we picked up the pieces and put my belongings in my friend’s car. However, what stood out to me was that they took most of our door hangers, except for one particular precinct. We had labeled around 10 or 11 precincts and had them stored in my car and we were only left with one. It was then and there that I determined that we were going to knock the hell out of that precinct and that we were going to win it.  

I beat myself up though. Remember when I said that I thought I left the keys the car? I made myself believe that story that whole day because I was in such a state of shock. “How could someone so smart be so stupid?” were the thoughts that went through my head and I felt like an idiot everytime someone asked me “how did they steal the car?” I replied with what I thought was the truth.

It was even worse when I received my rental car. I hated driving for the first couple of days because it was nothing but a painful reminder that yes. This happened. This happened because I left the keys in the car. I could have prevented this. 

Yet the next day was my Grandpa’s birthday. He passed away in 2006 but I’ve always been a person that believes in signs. After I came back from a meeting with my canvass captain, I sat in my car, praying for a sign for something good to happen and then, I did something that I didn’t do since the car was stolen: I went through my purse. Lo and behold, the keys were there. I had them the whole entire time. It wasn’t my fault. As I type these words out now, I still feel the rush of relief knowing that this wasn’t anything I could have prevented. 

What made me even angrier about the situation was because in college, I took a Prison and Prisoners in American Society class which required us to visit maximum and medium prisons multiple times throughout the semester and I got to know the reasons why folks turn to a life of crime. Here is an excerpt to one of my old blog posts of what I experienced there: 

Another misconception I had was that I would be meeting cold blooded killers. I thought that I would be meeting men that planned out these murders. I was also wrong about that as well. These men grew up in a neighborhood unlike one I could ever fathom. They referred to their neighborhoods as war zones and that it was a kill or be killed lifestyle. They loved school, school was a haven for them. But after school, they had to come back to a home where things weren’t always stable. They were worried about if they were going to get jumped. They were worried about fitting in. And most of the men I met committed murder when they were about 16 or 17 as a result of a drug deal gone bad. They said that they did not mean to kill- they were caught up in the moment and next thing you know- the other guy is dead.

Looking back at that, it makes me ache to have these folks brought to justice because I want to say to them: “I get it. I understand why you did this and that’s the reason why, even in the smallest communities, there needs to be more outreach to the youth so they don’t have to turn to a life like this. You are probably a very smart person and are using your gifts in the wrong way. Things can be better.”

Even with all of that, there was a job to be done. Election Day wasn’t going anywhere and it literally took everything in me to pick up the pieces and say to myself: “Am I really going to let this situation hurt the campaign? Or are we going to win this thing?” I chose the latter and I do not know if I could have done it without the help of my best friend, who was supposed to leave the next morning and told me “So, Alex, if there was any excuse to stay with you until EDay, I think we found it,” my host family, my own family, my colleagues, and our beautiful volunteers. 

The volunteers were incredible. When I needed to break down and cry, they held me. When I needed to work through the panic, they sat down with me and helped me drew up checklists of my responsibilities. When I was alone in the office at night, they rushed over with their dog and stayed with me until I needed to close up shop. When one of them found out that I wasn’t eating, she went out and bought me Ensure and flowers. Words will never, ever, ever, describe how grateful I will always be for their constant support and I guess if there’s anything I’ve learned from this situation, it’s brotherhood. It taught me how to treat people and you can bet that I will always pay it forward.

Another question I get was “couldn’t you just take a break from work?” The answer is no. I mean, I’m sure if I really wanted to, I probably could of, but it’s always hard to explain the mentality you need to win a campaign to folks outside of it because to be a campaign staffer, it is required of you to have a “whatever it takes” attitude. Think of it this way: During the Super Bowl, do you say “eh, my ankle hurts and I’m the starting QB, I’m sure everyone is going to understand if I just take it easy, it’s alright, we’ll still win and the fans will sympathize with me that I’m tired.” No. You don’t do that. I just kept replaying Eminem’s “Lose Yourself” to psych me up because:

Success is my only (insert choice word here) option. Failure’s not.

With the help of my amazing, amazing, ahhh I miss them soooooo much right now, colleagues and volunteers, we did it. And it was an Election Day to be proud of and I still smile about. All of the pain and panic I experienced melted away when my colleague and I were rolling on the floor and hugging each other when we found out that we won and that for four more years, President Barack Obama is going to take care of this country and we worked our butts off to make it happen. 

I eventually got over the material things, especially after finding out that I was literally minutes away from the unspeakable. We won. We won during the craziest situation ever. We weren’t just on the brink of winning Early Vote at our polling site, we DID turn out more Dems than Rs out. And that precinct we recovered? We won that precinct by an overwhelming percent and another one too. The rest of my days in Florida, I didn’t worry about the car or the other things I lost, I was more concerned about spending time with my beloved colleagues and volunteers and seeing the things I always wanted to see but never had time for. 

John Lennon said “life is what happens when you’re out making other plans” and that rang true on Friday. I came back from Black Friday shopping with my cousin, who I haven’t seen since I left for Florida in March, and took a nap after a very fun day. When I woke up, I saw a ton of missed calls from the Brevard County Sheriff’s department.

My car was found. In fact, it was in Mims, which is the next town over, this whole time. Everyone assumed it was taken to Miami, taken apart at a chop shop, torched, or at the bottom of the Indian River. Basically, they told me that a cop noticed my car and went back to run the VIN number. Then the thieves noticed the cop, ran into the car and started a car chase. When they realized it wasn’t worth it anymore, they dumped the car into the woods, and ran into a safe house. 

Yep. Pretty crazy, right? Of course, there’s all sorts of things. Oddly, what makes me feel good is that there really wasn’t a way for me to prevent this situation from happening because I did lock the vehicle. They broke in through the rear window, took apart the ignition, and started the car with a screwdriver. Good times, great oldies on that one. But there were condom wrappers and other lovely things found in the car and one of the things I need to do is get over whatever happened in my vehicle during its short lifestyle as a deviant renegade.

Well, you made it throughout this crazy, crazy story. In closing, I guess the motto of the story is not to sweat the small stuff, especially when there is a bigger goal at hand because eventually, everything takes care of itself. If you have a great support system, be thankful for it, and let them know how grateful and appreciative you are for their kindness. 

Thank you everyone <3 Stay tuned, because there’s more adventures pertaining to this situation coming soon! 

Tags | stolen car | Rav4 | Florida |
The problem with having the best commuter bike ever…

Isn’t it always the case? That we always want whatever we buy to be the best? Whether it’s a TV, a house, or in my case, a bicycle, we always want our investments to be worth it.

Slowly but surely, I am outfitting my bicycle to be the best commuter bike you’ve ever seen. Fenders? Check. Rack? Yep! Bell? Of course! Phone holder? Well, originally, I always clipped my iPod case to my brake cable, but ever since Spotify came into my life, the iPod is retired and I had to get a phone holder so I’m not stuffing it in my bra all the time. I’m so proud of my bike…

…and I’m also scared for it too. Newark is Newark and I need to purchase grade A locks because I’m sure it’s going to be eyed by thieves. In Albany, I was able to get away with using a $15 Kevlar cable and I’m sure I could even get away with it here on Florida’s Space Coast but in Newark, that cable would be clipped through in minutes. Actually, any lock, now matter how expensive or secure the company may claim it to be, can be broken through with an angle saw.

However, even though your bike is never truly secure when it’s locked, it doesn’t mean that you can’t give thieves a hard time if they want to steal your bike. I’m planning on locking my bike three different ways so that if they want to steal it, they’ll have to work on it. My bike also has decals about how it has a carbon fork, which I think is a stupid move on Raleigh’s part because anyone who knows bikes wants a carbon fork since it dampens out the road vibrations. I feel the carbon decals encourages people to steal your bike so my mission is to find some stickers to cover them up! 

Tags | bikes |

I played this song and next thing I knew, after more than 24 hours of rain, the sun came out. The spirit of George Harrison is alive and well.

(Source: Spotify)

Tags | music | spotify |
If there is anything that I don&#8217;t want to leave Florida without seeing, it&#8217;s a manatee. Floridians love their manatees, especially beachside residents- they tend to have manatee mailboxes. 
worldlyanimals:

Manatee (BrianWpic)

If there is anything that I don’t want to leave Florida without seeing, it’s a manatee. Floridians love their manatees, especially beachside residents- they tend to have manatee mailboxes

worldlyanimals:

Manatee (BrianWpic)

Tags | Florida |
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