No AP Style here

24 June 2011
I’m beginning to hit the control button rather than the option key on my Mac. Damn my 9- 5.30 work PC.

Until yesterday, I’ve had loads of spare time at work. My supervisor hasn’t, and still hasn’t, given me deadlines on any projects. But she also hasn’t really been all that specific regarding my assignments. It’s been up to me to choose which articles I wish to write, choosing them off of the company’s client spreadsheet. Oh, and cat articles. I’m halfway through editing cat articles. I’ll move on to dog articles after. I know… exciting.

I received an email from my supervisor yesterday morning, asking me to write a (as she labeled it) “special” article. The piece covered Try A Trade, a hands on, skills road show that tours high schools across New South Wales. Try a Trade features eight unique booths, manned by professional trade representatives. Two to three students visit the booth at time, allowing for sufficient time to interact with the trade rep and carry out a skills task related to the job. (At the hairdresser station, for example, students shave a beard or color/ style hair.)

Did you know Australia has a shortage of skill workers? And that Australia is the same size as the US but has about the same population as NY (and the majority of Australia’s population live along the coast)? In attempt to combat the shortage of trade professionals, Australia seeks to recruit individuals from the UK to fill in the empty slots.

Which is where Try a Trade comes in. It’s a brilliant way of presenting an alternative to non- “uni” bound students while attempting to recruit prospective future trade workers. It’s a positive for both sides really.

While at work, I keep a separate Word document open to jot down thoughts to include in a later post. I get out of work at 5:30; I had planned to ex out of the cat docs at 5 to update my blog.

Well 5 came and went and no blog post from me. Reasons:
A)  got engrossed with these kitty cats… and caught up with the songs playing on my iPod. (It's perfectly acceptable to listen to your iPod while at work here. Yesterday was my first day trying it…  adds a little personal touch (playlist: Gesher ’07, the playlist I had made for my grandmother and country music) to my workday, while actually helping me focus. I loved it!
B)   I was asked to put together a photo/ video/ text slideshow for a client. I swear, my name was written all ova’ that.

So yes, blogging at work didn’t quite run according to plan. (Not that I’m bothered by it. I honestly had such a fantastic day yesterday!)

But I do want to post my thoughts.. I wouldn’t say they necessarily flow, so buddy header and bullet point are gonna come in quite handy. Here goes…

Proof of Entrance at Sydney Clubs
Stamps before entering a club is nothing new... we have them in DC. Palm downwards and BAM goes the (washable) stamp on the back of your hand. There are stamps here too. But nope, not in the same location.

Here, it’s a greenish- black tattoo like stamp on the inside of your wrist.

Um, the same location that the Nazis tattooed serial numbers onto innocent Jews and prisoners.

Great. Holocaust thoughts while entering the club. Such a killjoy. And it’s definitely what I want to keep thinking about a few days later when no matter how tough you might scrub at the stamp etched across you wrist, it just won’t budge. 

AP Style is a foreign concept in Sydney
The writing in Sydney, or at least the writing I’m editing, is horrific. I asked my supervisor day one, if Australia follows AP Style rules (the rigid rules we, as future Journalism professionals, abide by). My Writing for Mass Comm teacher might have fainted had she seen my supervisor's puzzled look. Australians write as they please here, following no rules and ignoring all attempts at being concise, clear and direct.

I copied a few of the lines from the cat articles I’ve been editing:
  • “Obesity in cats is a growing problem, especially in a society that is also facing an epidemic of the overweight.”
  • “Also don’t listen to stories about cats that are never found.  This will not help, only make your more sad and scared.”

Reading over these articles is doing a lot for raising my morale regarding my own writing skills.

Sydney Lingo
Part of what makes working in Sydney, and I’m sure any other foreign country, so fascinating is that you pick up on the nuances of the culture by actually working in the culture. After reviewing my first article, my supervisor pointed out that my spelling was wrong. Down under, it’s colour not color. And s’s not z’s. Whoops.

Words are also different.
  • Washroom: bathroom
  • Moggy: cat (Oh, please... just ask me how many synonyms I now know for the word “cat.”)
  • Solarium: tanning bed

Phrases and responses:
  • You say: “Thank you.”  They respond: “It’s ok.”
  • Cheers: Used for everything. Just tag on to any sentence.

Intonation here is also unique in that many Australians end their sentences in a higher pitch. As if constantly asking a question. Maybe that’s what makes them sound so friendly. No harsh statements out of these Aussies. Just questions. Cheers!

Cat Facts
(Thanks cat articles.)
  • Ernest Hemingway’s cat, Snowball, had six toes. Snowball’s offspring roam around the Keys and are taken care of by representatives from the Hemingway museum. (It was a part of his will for them to do so.)
  • Cat’s ingest grass which apart from causing them to vom, helps dislodge hairballs.

What I’ve Learned from my Internship So Far
I’ve spent my week writing articles on tanning and on relationship advice. I swear, ask me anything about spray tanning and I’m on it. But besides my newfound bronze bod knowledge and my tips on how to keep your relationship strong, the job has actually reassured me of my passion for writing and how right of a choice it was to major in Journalism. The job also reminds how little I enjoy sitting in front of a computer screen all day (well, unless its mine and the page is open to Facebook. That’s a total different story.)

It’s remarkable. So many of us begin college unsure regarding our course of study. We’re always assured not to worry, it all works out. Life aligns, you decide.

But to be a struggling freshman wavering between Psychology and quarterlife crisis, words of reassurance about some hazy future does anything but assuage you. Um, ok mister pin stripe suit. How do you really know that I’ll figure out what I want to do once my four years are over?

I’m a rising junior now; I look back on my two years of college and smile. (And then freak because the prospect of school coming anywhere close to ending causes extreme heart palpitations.) But it’s a knowing smile, how yes, it really did all work out. I did find my passion and transfer that to a major. And finally… finally there is proof that I chose to follow the right path.

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