Meet a Stranger: Chelsea Wallace

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meet a stranger (1)

Chelsea is a writer! That’s exciting for a fellow writer/journalism student like me because she’s actually a success story. Through her blog you can get a taste of a writer’s life and how diverse it is. Chelsea always encourages discussions on her posts and writes with a positivity that I find inspiring, always finding the life lesson in everything whether it is about writing while depressed or how to tell people you’re (gasp) an English major. Her writing is honest and you can tell she writes to find herself while still managing to connect with others through her relatable posts. Give her a follow! I feel she’s going to have a great career.

Name: Chelsea Wallace

Who are you? Writer trying to navigate my first year post-grad, girl trying to think of herself as an “adult,” fan trying to survive the next seven months without “The Walking Dead.”

Three of your favorite things: Harry Potter, red beans and rice, and falling asleep during thunderstorms

What consumes your time? I work as an editorial assistant at a local lifestyle magazine, so anything from copyediting and research to prepping photo shoots and fetching mail. Lately, I’ve been able to do a lot of writing for upcoming issues, so I’m traveling around conducting interviews and brainstorming more story ideas so I can keep writing. Spare time consists of trying to stay in touch with my friends (the vast majority of whom live at least three hours away), editing my novels and trying to convince my boyfriend it’s time to adopt a dog.

If you had to choose your last meal, what would it be? All of the Raising Cane’s fried chicken I could stuff in my mouth. (I have celiac disease, meaning no gluten, which means no delicious tenders of fried amazingness for the last six years.)

What keeps you sane? My boyfriend and my job. In that order.

What’s your favorite memory? I have always been on the more reserved, quiet side. When I graduated high school (my all-girls, Catholic high school), I had my core group of friends but mostly assumed a lot of people had no idea who I was. As I watched all the other girls crossing the stage to cheers and hollers and clapping, I prepared myself for a small section from my family to cheer. But as they called my name and I walked across the platform, imagine my surprise as the noise from my classmates almost knocked me over. I heard people whistling and cheering and yelling, “You go, Chelsea!” That was the first time I realized I have much of an effect on anyone’s life at all, that just because I didn’t always interact directly with everyone every day, people knew who I was (at least vaguely) and appreciated me for who I was.

Do you have any idols or role models? Fictional: Luna Lovegood because of her willingness to be her genuine self, Buffy the vampire slayer for her inner strength and integrity, and Jane Eyre for always doing what’s right. Real: John Green because of his cheerful, philanthropic, encouraging nature; my writing professor from college for teaching me that criticism to my writing actually makes me better. It’s funny, I’ve never really thought about a lot of specific people I look up to: I appreciate loyalty, honesty, integrity, strength and logic, and when I see people in my life who exhibit any combination of these, I latch on and observe.

What’s on your bucket list? Taking a nice, long camping trip. And not, like, in an air-conditioned cabin in a campsite with a bunch of other campers who couldn’t beat the heat. I mean carrying everything on my back for weeks, finding my food and water in the wilderness, not seeing another human from beginning to end (except maybe my boyfriend, who’s a better hunter than I am). I mean not shaving, not organizing campsite activities: just existing. I want to get so tired I can’t move and get so deep in the woods that I can leave civilization behind for just a little bit and focus on what’s going on in my own head.

Your online homes: My blogs (chelseamwallace.wordpress.com and chelseamwrites.wordpress.com), my portfolio (chelseamwallace.com), my twitter (@cmw_writes), and my Instagram (@chelseasaysheyy).

A question from the previous featured blogger: Be honest. Are you truly happy with your life? If yes, why? If no, how can you change that? I’m at this weird point in my life where I look back to the person I was even just three years ago. I remember all the things that happened to her, what she thought and felt, but it doesn’t feel like something I went through. That Chelsea feels like she’s someone completely different, and not just in an “I’ve grown so much,” way, but a literal almost out-of-body-experience way. I would guess that three years from now, I’ll think the same thing of the person I am right now. I tend to always look to the future, no matter what point I’m standing in, which I think contributes to that feeling. Like I’m not truly experiencing what I’m going through, even though it feels like I am. Because I have so much in my life that makes me genuinely happy and content: a wonderful job doing exactly what I want to do, an amazing boyfriend (soon to be fiance) who understands me and likes me anyway, a beautiful home and great friends. And I love all of it. I am happy. I think I could be happier if I stopped thinking ahead, if instead of, “I have this great thing, now what’s next?” I thought, “Wow! I love this great thing I have, and I’m going to cherish it and relish it.”

A question you’d like to ask the next featured blogger: If you had unlimited resources (human support, finances, etc.), what non-profit would you create and why?

If you’d like to be featured, shoot me an email at erawrites@gmail.com.

I’d love to hear from you!

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I’ve never met an internship I didn’t like

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*First published on the Times Union blog “This is college!?” I love internships…maybe that’s because I’ve had great ones. I wanted to share a tiny bit of my personal experiences and encourage others to pursue internships and not blow them off! Interned somewhere cool? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

Internships sometimes get a bad rep but it all depends on where you work, who’s mentoring you and how hard YOU work. You’re obviously not going to have fond memories of your internship if you spend more time with the photocopier than you do with your boss. Comedian Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” That’s what you have to do. No one will walk up to you and hand you an internship, you have to reach out, network and get your foot in the door.

Ok, enough talk about doors. Internships are crucial to your post-college success. An Internships.com survey of employers and students found that 69% of large companies with more than 100 employers made full-time offers to their interns. If it doesn’t lead to a job at least it might lead to some new professional connections. Don’t forget to meet the people around the office and talk to the ones who are doing the job you might want to do in the near future. You’ll be surrounded by professionals. Take advantage of that!

Courtesy of thoughtcatalog.com

Throughout my college career I’ve had three internships. This time last year I was interning at Metroland, this past summer I did a virtual internship with online travel website, Global Yodel and right now I’m at Times Union.

You know what I’m thankful for? Never having to sharpen pencils or be the go-to coffee run girl. My first days at all three internships were spent getting right into the good stuff. You won’t find that at just any workplace. I don’t know if I was just lucky or if I landed these internships because I wasn’t willing to settle. I spent hours on Internships.com searching for an interesting internship. I tried all kinds of keywords and search filters. I read what feels like hundreds of intern position summaries. Global Yodel caught my eye. Not only did it sound like a fun job (social media/editorial intern) but it also had a great, eye-catching website that made it look like a serious, professional but also really fun place to work for. Plus it was a virtual internship which meant I didn’t have to show up to an office…or even change out of my pajamas. Have you ever done work from your bed? It’s nice. I recommend it.

At Metroland I was able to really dive into the local scene in Albany. I got to report on a town meeting, interview fashion designers, and write a feature story on a local cidery. I never tackled the same topic twice. I wrote about a political movement but also about hook-up culture. One publication, so many flavors!

What I’m trying to say is don’t get invested in an internship if you think there is no real value to gain from it. I learned a lot during my internships and was given many great opportunities to do cool things and meet interesting people. Internships shouldn’t be dull or a way to kill time. They’re actually pretty valuable. If you find the right one, it can be an experience that will immensely improve your skills and look pretty great on your resume.

There are great site to find local or virtual internships. Try Internships.com or Internmatch.com. And a great resource for internship advice and tips is Internqueen.com.

Now that I’m on my third (and hopefully final) internship, I’m sure these remaining months will be worth it. As long as I’m learning and being constantly challenged then I’m happy. I’m not here for the college credits, I’m here for the experience.

Where have I been?

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Photo by e.b.

Photo by e.b.

Whether or not anyone has noticed my absence on WordPress, I sure have missed being part of the community. I admire anyone who has a full life (whether that is a professional, academic or social one) and still finds time to blog on a regular basis! I envy applaud your passion and excellent time management 😛

I’ve been busy. Yeah, we all say that as an excuse for slacking. I’m in my final year of college and even though I’m only taking one class and one internship this semester I still somehow managed to find a few odd jobs to keep myself occupied.

I’m the social media manager of a local music festival. After attending last year’s MOVE Music Fest I wanted to volunteer for this year’s and instead found myself taking on their social media accounts and being more involved than I ever thought was possible. As a committee member and social media manager, I attend meetings and help make decisions on everything from headlining bands to ticket dates and new festival features.

A portion of the 100 bands. Photo from MOVE Music Fest Facebook page.

A portion of the 100 bands. Photo from MOVE Music Fest Facebook page.

Truthfully, I picked up a lot of useful social media tips from my internship with Global Yodel last summer. Social media management is exciting but still demanding work. I thought it was just fun and games but I’ve learned my lesson! The planning that goes behind all of it can be intense especially when the media team is very small.

Another note on Global Yodel. After I wrapped up my internship they offered me the chance to start a new feature on the site. Band interviews! I said hell yes because a) I’ve always wanted to get into interviewing bands and b) I really wanted to stay a part of Global Yodel since I loved it so much. So far I’ve interviewed two awesome bands and because Global Yodel’s philosophy is that locals know their cities better than any travel writer, getting the perspective of a city through the eyes of a band that lives in it is a fun spin on things. Take a look at my two interviews below!

A Guide to Brooklyn with Ra Ra Riot

A Guide to Cape Town with Beatenberg

So, I graduate in May. Some days that feels far off and other days the reality of it hits me harder than I’d like it to. The job hunt is stressful and it’s made me realize I need to pick up more skills. My first couple years of college were so writing and reporting focused while my last two were very oriented towards online media and social media, including blogging. I feel like I’ve lost touch with the writing side of me. It’s been ages since I’ve written a proper journalistic piece. While I don’t think I’ll ever be a reporter in the true sense of the word, I do still want to keep writing. I also need to get back into blogging. Brainstorming interesting blog topics is something that takes time though. But I’m working on it. If you read this far, thank you and leave me a comment saying hi!

See you around, folks.

2014: A Year in Live Music

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I saw some exceptionally excellent bands this year. I always feel lucky when my favorite musicians make a stop in Albany.

February 28 – Band of Horses @ The Egg

Hearing this band (and lead singer Ben Bridwell’s voice) live was an incredible experience. I’ve loved this band since my high school days. I was a bit hesitant to attend an acoustic show but it was great. They are talented through and through.

April 9 – Dirty Heads @ Upstate Concert Hall

April 26 – goodbyemotel, Magic Man, Titanics @ The Hollow

June 22 – Snowmine, Titanics @ The Low Beat

This show happened in a small bar with less than 30 people but it felt like a full house. My friend and I met the bands afterward and talked to some of the Snowmine members. These dudes were so chill and very, very friendly. Titanics is a personal favorite because they are a local band and actually amazingly good. And Snowmine just gave us everything they got. So glad they made a stop in Albany.

June 24 – Paramore, Fall Out Boy, New Politics @ SPAC

Man, they can draw a crowd. Paramore and Fall Out Boy put on such fun shows. I was singing and dancing the whole time.

July 8 – Grizfolk @ The Low Beat

It was so cool to finally hear them live after randomly discovering them a year ago on Noisetrade.

Grizfolk. Photo by Era B.

Grizfolk. Photo by Era B.

July 9 – Broods @ The Hollow

Gorgeous music, gorgeous people.

August 12 – Drake vs Lil Wayne @ SPAC

September 9 – twenty one pilots @ Upstate Concert Hall

twenty one pilots. Photo by Era B.

twenty one pilots. Photo by Era B.

twenty one pilots is one of my favorite bands and the story and fan base behind them is really touching. The moment the lights went out and the crowd started cheering…well, I was smiling and holding back tears as I realized where I was. It was an honor to be at that show. For a lot of people, this band is not just a band, it is life-changing music and lyrics. It’s therapy, a light in the dark, a breath of fresh air in a suffocating closet. It’s a life-saver for those going through dark times. I’ve never had to rely on them in that way but I can appreciate and value their purpose in making music.

Also, they crowd-surf! Or more accurately, play their drums on top of the audience. It’s pretty cool. Next time (because obviously I have to see them again) I want to be closer to the stage and not all the way in the back. Being closer would have made this show a lot more enjoyable.

September 11 – Sir Sly, Wolf Gang @ The Hollow

Sir Sly was so exciting! This was another band I heard about a few years ago and finally got to see live. I met Landon (the singer) afterwards and he was such a sweetheart. Great band, and being front row was pretty cool.

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Sir Sly. Photo by e.b.

November 15 – Vacationer, St. Lucia @ The Hollow

December 15 – Young the Giant, Cage the Elephant @ Mesa Amphitheatre

Funny story. I had tickets to see Young the Giant in Saratoga Springs, about 30 minutes outside of Albany but they had to cancel their show. And Cage the Elephant came for a show in Albany as well but I didn’t think they were that great at the time. It was a few months later that I realized they were actually really good and I regretted missing their show. But when I was planning my trip to Arizona I was looking for concerts and Young the Giant and Cage the Elephant were playing a show together! Can you say lucky??

Ugly Christmas Sweater Concert. Photo by Era B.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Concert. Photo by Era B.

A trip to Arizona

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So I finally reached the West coast. My first trip to the hot side of the U.S. took me to Arizona. I reunited with one of my best friends who I hadn’t seen since high school graduation five years ago. It was a short trip but we did a lot. I saw parts of Mesa, Tempe, Phoenix and Chandler. Canyon Lake (pictured below) was pretty. Very calming, that was my favorite part. Or maybe that was just because we were the only ones there and you could actually hear the water lap against the sand.

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Casey Morgan’s had delicious food. So many restaurant menus there are heavily influenced by Mexican cuisine. I had an enchilada dish that had more beans on it than anything else.

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My best friend and I also went to an Ugly Christmas Sweater concert. It was a lot of fun. Young the Giant and Cage the Elephant were the headliners. The ugly sweater I was wearing got me noticed by one of the concert promo people and she invited us to meet Young the Giant backstage for radio promo pictures. So that was unexpected but made our night a lot better and more memorable. Here’s a very grainy shot of our ugly sweaters!

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The weather was really nice. It was always in the 50s and 60s which was especially welcoming after the 20s, 30s and 40s of Upstate New York. The palm trees and cacti threw me off at first because it felt like I was in a movie or something. Getting used to a new climate and environment is interesting. The color scheme and architecture of Arizona was really unique. They’re very proud of their desert heritage. Most buildings were low and painted in earth tones. And there were community complexes everywherreeeee. Albany has like, two.

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This was such a good trip. Good food, great company, awesome memories. Seeing my best friend after five years was probably the highlight of 2014. I’m so grateful I had the chance to make this trip, meet so many cool people and create about a dozen new inside jokes with her 😛 There’s nothing like a best friend. Also, thank God for airplanes.