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Spring 2017 Orientation Recap: The Biggest Semester Ever Takes on NYC

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By Daniel Denning, ADV Junior

The Newhouse NYC Spring 2017 semester kicked off on Sunday, January 8th when many of us excited new students moved into the EHS dorm on the Upper East Side and officially became New Yorkers. We are the biggest Newhouse NYC semester yet, with 27 students total from various majors including Advertising, Broadcast & Digital Journalism, Magazine, Public Relations, and Television, Radio & Film.  During our semester in New York City, we take on professional internships during the day, take classes at night, and try our best to be tourists on the weekends.  But we couldn’t do anything until our two-day orientation began.

Day 1: Thursday, January 12th

Whether or not we wanted to, we all woke up early to make our first day of orientation. Starting at 9am (meaning 8:55am—because on time is always five minutes early, according to Cheryl Brody Franklin, our Newhouse NYC Director). This meant waking up with plenty of time to get ready and figure out exactly how to get to the Fisher Center in midtown. Some people left as early as 8am to make sure they made it on time. Luckily breakfast was provided.

We were treated to fruit, muffins, bagels, egg sandwiches, and juice before Cheryl, Shelly Griffin (Associate Director of Off-Campus Programs), and Marisa Ramel (Newhouse NYC Program Advisor) began briefing us on what we  would be doing over the course of the semester. Some important points were echoed, such as being kind to one another, acting professionally at our internships, and being respectful to everyone we meet because we are the New York City representatives of all Newhouse students.

Next up was one of the best parts of orientation. Newhouse alumni and current NBC employees Anna Brand (Special Assignment & Planning Editor at NBC News) and Brandi Kellam (MSNBC Talent Booker) shared their favorite spots to eat in New York City. We pulled out our new Newhouse notebooks and diligently took notes. Food is important, and we didn’t want to miss any of the good stuff!

They included suggestions for the best brunch places, the best pizza places, the best bagel places, the best cheap-eats, the best place for healthy and vegan options, and so much more. Some highlights include by CHLOE, a vegan restaurant that serves amazing desserts, and the classic deliciously tasting Joe’s Pizza. Every single one sounded amazing and pumped all of us up for all of the great food we would be eating over the course of the semester.

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After all of the food talk, we were all naturally very hungry. Luckily, we got to try some NYC food for ourselves immediately after. Cheryl and Marisa led all 27 of us through the New York city streets and subway to Joe’s Shanghai, a Chinese restaurant with the greatest soup dumplings you will ever taste. Personally, I also really enjoyed the General Tso chicken. It was a great opportunity for us to sit with some people we didn’t know very well, enjoy a nice meal, and get to know each other better.

Even though the food stuffed us, Cheryl offered to take us to the Momofuku Milk Bar, one of the must-visit dessert recommendations from Anna and Brandi. Some of us tried the cereal milk soft serve ice cream, others had the cookies, and some, including me, had the out-of-this world birthday cake and grasshopper chocolate chip cake truffles. I already know I’ll be returning a lot before the semester is over.

We finished our first day of orientation with full bellies. The 27 of us broke up into groups and took our own adventures through midtown. No one stayed out too late of course, we had to be back at the Fisher Center at 9am (really 8:55am!) the next morning.

Day 2: Friday, January 13th

With another 9am arrival time, many left shortly after 8am again. It was a good idea to leave early because as most of us learned, people can get sick and cause train delays. The 6 train didn’t leave from the 96th St stop until shortly after 8:30am because of this and we didn’t arrive until 8:56 (one minute late!). Luckily, most of us made it in our seats by 9am and were treated to another breakfast before the day’s work began.

We began with an enthusiastic panel of Newhouse alumni working admirable jobs in New York City. Eric Vilas Boas of Thrillist.com, Jon Erwin of Syfy, Amy Zainfield of MRM//McCann, Megan Corbet of AB, and Dana Wickrowski of Sunshine Sachs all joined to share some helpful insider advice. They provided their best tips on how to meet people in the industry: making a list of people you want to contact and reaching out on social media, networking within your own company, and taking part in a lot of informational interviews. They also shared some subway advice and good apps to download (including NextStop and EmbarkNYC) to help ensure we don’t get really lost.

Since we all have internships, they shared advice on how to stand out. Some of the best advice is to ask a lot of questions, anticipate your supervisor’s needs, get to know the names of everyone on your team, and, of course, always be passionate and excited about what you are doing.

However, some of the best things they talked about were about how to enjoy New York City. Walking over the Brooklyn Bridge, visiting the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, exploring the Highline, and visiting the live music scene were suggestions we  put on our to-do lists. The panelists also stressed the importance of taking time to yourself, whether that’s going for a run or reading a book in the park.

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As a huge Syfy fan, I got to chat with Jon about the production of “Haven,” my all-time favorite Syfy channel show. Being able to meet someone who works on the show in such a hands-on way was so enlightening.

Next up was the mentor lunch. Everyone in the Newhouse NYC program gets matched with someone who works in their field. The mentor’s role is to guide us and help us take advantage of our time in New York City. They are all volunteers and are so kind to us. The mentors got to meet their mentees in the Fisher Center and share lunch from Dos Toros, an amazing burrito place that catered our meal. Yes, it was better than Chipotle.

After lunch, the final part of orientation began. We got to hear from a panel of Newhouse NYC alumni. These five people all participated in the same program as us just a few semesters ago, and they shared all of their wisdom about the classes we’re taking, how to make the most of our internships, how to utilize being in New York City to help our job search in the future, and of course, the importance of thank you notes. It was great to hear from these people and to see how they all became successful and joined great companies after finishing this program.

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Before saying goodbye for the day, we signed the final Newhouse NYC contract promising to follow all of the rules outlined to us throughout the orientation. We handed them in and became official Newhouse NYC students. Cheryl kindly gave some of us tutorials on how to use the subway, and we headed out to begin our journeys through New York City. We learned a lot and experienced some of the great things New York City has to offer, but it is only the beginning. All of us Spring 2017’ers have a lot to see and we couldn’t be more excited for it.

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