Life & Other Drugs, On "The Hill"

The Modern Interview

April 12, 2017

So in my never-ending quest to land a paid summer internship (SOS if you are looking to hire someone who produces sporadic articles about IDs and buses, and also has some other kinda cool talents hmu!!), I have stumbled upon a new form of interview: the video assessment.

Idk if this video assessment thing is technically new or not, but it’s definitely a novelty to my group of friends, and collectively we’ve probably completed over 30 of these in the last few weeks. Basically, if a company likes your resume, they send you an email “inviting you to complete the assessment!”

You then click on the link, and realize, with horror, that you are being redirected to a virtual interview. After an extravagant process of setting up your FaceTime camera and making sure your headphones are working (yes, as if this wasn’t already unnatural enough, you have to use your headset), you are presented with a series of questions. In some assessments the questions are flashed across the screen in text format, and in others a robotic voice asks them. Regardless, you are given 30 seconds to think of your answer and then 60 seconds to stumble through your response.

Sound horrible? It is.

But it gets worse! The 30 and 60 second time limits are marked by flashing numbers, so while you’re trying to think, all you can focus on is that there are 14–now 13, nope now 12–seconds left before the camera turns on and you are recorded.

There are no redos, and no chances to watch yourself over again. You are literally selling yourself into an internet black hole (and yeah, I guess to the company too), and you will never know the fate of where this series of videos ended up.

I’ve had friends criticize the companies who do this, calling them impersonal and inconsiderate of our time. But I actually think it’s a pretty ingenious way to quickly weed out a bunch of applicants before conducting the official first round interview. In 2017, it is somewhat important to be comfortable in front of the camera, and this pseudo-YouTube star way of interviewing interns certainly assesses that. So as of now, I’m actually in favor of these interviews.

I mean, if it’s true that millennials have been told our entire lives that we are superstars/god’s gift to the world/our mommy’s pride and glory, then why not use an interviewing technique that reinforces this?! With this method of interviewing, you are the star of the show.

Or…it’s the opposite. Maybe this interview technique is ingenious because in making you feel like you are a legit celebrity who is recording a self-promotion video with the goal of gaining more fans, in reality you are one of ten thousand college students submitting somewhat generic answers and crossing your fingers that someone will “like” you (in a non-Instagram format) enough to hire you.

Ha! Ha! Hope I brightened your day! Now get back to trying to get hired!!

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It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs

I Analyzed the Flag Animations on the Google Docs/Sheets/Slides/Forms Landing Page for No Reason and Now You’re Gonna Hear All About It

April 11, 2017

Abstract: 

Ever wanted to dig deep into the nitty gritty details of an advertisement and see if it just falls into pieces? This project does just that with the google full google suite (docs, sheets, slides, and forms) and is going to tell you all about it. You’re in my playground now, kiddo.

 

Introduction:

In case you haven’t made the mistake of going to google.com/docs/about instead of google.com/docs–here’s what the landing pages look like.

Docs

where faceless milktoast yuppies look at houses

 

Sheets

where faceless bikers all wearing the same helmet ride into the doom canyon

 

Slides

where a meditative child in pristine beekeeping attire stands in front of a slightly taller child with no face

 

Forms

where two hands lightly grasp a campfire treat. These two hands may or may not belong to the same person and you can convince yourself either way if you stare at it long enough. Also no faces.

These landing pages have an inoffensive little flag animation that resembles people typing into a google doc and replacing the central adjective. The question remains, however, what happens when we examine each name, adjective, and their respective frequencies?

 

Hypothesis:

I’ve honestly got no expectations for this.

 

Hopes:

Under strict scrutiny this seemingly-well constructed ad will wither and die. Or reveal some kind of easter egg.

 

Data:

I examined these four landing pages for about seven whole minutes and here’s what I found:

  • Every page has a rotation of three flags that always appear in the same order: yellow to pink to blue and back to yellow again.
  • A complete rotation lasts about 15 seconds, with 5 seconds per flag
  • Some names re-appear while other names are one-hit wonders
  • Reappearing names have consistent flag colors
  • These names are all lame and white
  • With the exception of Sage, which is pretentious and white

I then made a chart displaying how often each “person” appears and what adjective they type in:

 

Analysis:

Google’s ad campaign is at once completely haphazard and bizarrely repetitive. Words repeat but not often enough for it to seem purposeful. Characters repeat but with no consistency or reliability. It’s absolutely maddening.

From the data collected in the chart, however, I was able to divine the character of each “person” Google created:

Pam: Pam’s the one that does all the work for the group project. She’s everywhere you want her to be and everywhere you don’t want her to be, but you’ve got to admit that she’s got zeal. She’s got a son who’s looking at Northeastern and isn’t afraid to let you know. When men ask for Pam’s number she gives them her business card.

Tom:  Tom’s the type to be mad that his flag color is pink and only knows two adjectives, apparently. His two favorite things are his La-z-boy chair and his fishing rod collection, but if you ask him in person he’ll say they are “Friday nights with the boys” and “making a difference.”

Kim: Kim think’s she’s hot shit when it comes to conflict resolution because she did debate team in high school but breaks down when her sandwich is stolen from the fridge. She’s the kind of person to ask “oh, how are you?” while walking away because you both know she doesn’t give damn about the answer.

Sage: Sage reads articles in the New Yorker and then tells you that he read an article in the New Yorker. He also signs all of his emails with “cheers” because he had a British roommate once.

Jake: Jake’s a simple man. He says there’s “nothing wrong with the office coffee” and things like “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” Jake has the same shirt in four different colors and has never seen a macaroon in his life.

Brittany: Brittany may or may not have stolen Kim’s adjective and her sandwich from the fridge, but you’re not going to ask her about it because there’s a rumor flying around that she’s keyed someone’s car. Brittany’s also very form over function. That’s why she spelled her name like a goddamn maniac.

 

Conclusions:

My hope that this ad campaign would wither and die under further examination was met with mixed results. While on one hand there was consistency and repetition, on another hand the repetition itself seemed more lazy than intentional and kind of lame for a company worth $500 million.

While I was unable to find the great Google easter egg, I hope that in publishing this data someone may be able to catch something I have missed. Until then, Godspeed.

Image via, via, via, and via.

On "The Hill", The Tabloids

How to Look Famous Around Campus

April 11, 2017

I’ve been rocking some pretty sweet looks around campus lately. So sweet, in fact, a number of strangers have come up to me asking for my autograph. “Oh my goodness, you must be that celebrity everyone is talking about! You look so famous!” they yell, pushing autograph books in my face and taking pictures with me. Much to my own dismay, I am not a celebrity. But, I can share these quick fashion tips that will help you look famous and get noticed around campus.

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On "The Hill", Satire

My Life As a STEM Major

April 10, 2017

I wake up every morning at 6 am. Sike!👏 👏 👏 👏  I never went to sleep ‘cause the grind 👊 don’t 😈  stop👏! Camped out in the basement of the Sci Li all night, working on that problem set. My body is deteriorating but Orgo waits for no one! 👩‍🔬🏃

I step out of the Sci Li and head straight to class. Breakfast you ask? No time for breaks👏 ! The only sustenance I need is avocado’s number! 6.023^10th for breakfast👏  lunch👏  and dinner 👏 .

While I’m in class my mom texts me. I smile at my phone even though I don’t know what the text says. I can’t read.

But who needs to be able to read Harry Potter when you’ve got the real heroes, my boy Isaac Newton 🏃and homie Madame Curie👩‍🔬! G👏O👏A👏T^10th

On my way to the lab I pass by the kindergarteners playing in the playground. I chuckle and shake my head. Foolish children. 😈 Who has time to do the monkey bars when the lab 👩‍🔬grind🙌 is 👏 non👏  stop👏!

I leave the lab having cured cancer, eradicated the common cold, and shoved a beaker up my ass. Work hard👊, play hard🙌!

I head back home, towards the sci li. When I realize I haven’t grabbed dinner (mind always on the equation) I eat a couple of radium atoms and record the change in molecular weight once it’s digested while I settle down at a desk in the 50 decibel section of the basement. Never a 00 for this stem gal! 50👏 is👏 an👏 A 👏with👏 the👏 curve👏.

As I sit down to oxidize some proteins and grind through 12 problem sets, I hear some humanities concentrator mention to her friend, “Yeah, I’m writing about gender and sexuality in Macbeth but also Shakespeare on a broader scale-“

I scoff. “Shakespeare? More like Will-I-get a job with this worthless English degree? Answer: no.”

She gave me a weird look, “What?”

But I didn’t answer her, instead choosing to triumphantly shove my head in pipet. Changing the world, demolishing one humanities major at a time. 👏😈👏👏👩‍🔬 👏

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It's a Girl Thing, Life & Other Drugs

How I Spent My Spring Break

April 7, 2017

Okay, so here’s what happened. Ryan and his brother Trey got busted for trying to steal a car. Because Ryan was still a minor, a kind DA by the name of Sandy Cohen was able to get him released from custody without a trial. Ryan went back home, where his mom’s boyfriend was being abusive AF, so he called Sandy to come help him.

Sandy took him back to his house in Newport Beach where he told him he could stay the weekend, despite his wife Kirsten’s protests. While he was there, Ryan met the Cohens’ next door neighbor, Marissa Cooper. He thought she was real cute, but she had a boyfriend named Luke who was a douchebag. Tough shit. Marissa invited him to a party at her friend Holly’s house, and Sandy’s son Seth was like “Yeah, let’s do it!” cause he never got invited anywhere and he had a thing for this girl Summer who was way out of his league but was gonna be at the party also.

Then at the party they got into a fight and when they came home Kirsten was all, “He has to leave! He’s a bad influence on my boy!” and literally everybody else was like, uh, no? But Sandy brought him back home anyway, only to find that his mother bailed and the house was empty. So back to Newport Beach it was.

Anyway, Kirsten was still unhappy with the fact that Ryan was there, so Sandy promised that first thing Monday he’d turn him in to child services. That was the last fuckin thing Ryan wanted, so he made plans to run away instead. But Seth found out and was really bummed because he finally had a friend for once, so he suggested Ryan hide in a temporarily-abandoned model home Kirsten’s development company was building, Arrested Development meets Maniac Magee style. Obviously, Marissa had to see them right as they were about to leave – these things never work as planned – so they let her come along.

But Luke found out that Marissa was hangin’ with a new man, so he showed up to the model home with his crew. They beat the shit out of Ryan, and set the house on fire. But Luke then apparently realized that he was about to commit literal murder, and, being more of an arson man, decided to save Ryan’s life instead. They went back to the Cohens’ home, where they found a bunch of police waiting for them cause a) a minor was missing, and 2) a house was burned down, both of which are known cop magnets.

Ryan got sent to juvie, but when Kirsten and Seth visited him they realized what an inhumane shithole it was, so they once again brought him home as if he were just a fuckin yoyo.  Kirsten still didn’t want Ryan to stay permanently, though, so they tried to reunite him with his mother but it turned out bish was cray, so Kirsten and Sandy decided to become Ryan’s permanent guardians instead. The whole ordeal was so dramatic and stressful that I was just like, “Fuck it,” and watched Friends instead.

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Life & Other Drugs

22: A Progress Report

April 5, 2017

I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling 22 for almost 7 months now. That’s more than half of my 22-ness done. Finished. Never to be seen again. And let me tell you something. I am feeling way super hella lied to. There happens to be a certain song written and performed by a certain pop star (both of which shall remain unnamed) that has completely misled me as to what this experience would be like. She painted a picture of a magical existence, complete with cake and glitter and really good lighting. What else did she promise? Well, let’s see:

  1. “It feels like a perfect night to dress up like hipsters and make fun of our exes.”

N/A. Next.

  1. “It feels like a perfect night for breakfast at midnight, to fall in love with strangers.”

Sounds great, but I’m still on meal plan and none of the places on campus that are open at midnight serve breakfast foods, so. Next.

  1. “We’re happy, free, confused, and lonely at the same time.”

¾. Not bad, I guess?

  1. “It’s miserable and magical.”

Hahahahahaha, “magical.” Good one.

  1. “Tonight’s the night when we forget about the deadlines.”

Ding ding ding! We finally hit one! This one is accurate because I, as a 22-year-old college student who simply cannot be bothered anymore, have handed in over half my assignments past the deadline this year. Deadline, schmeadline is what I say. Next.

  1. “I don’t know about you, but I’m feeling 22.”

Yes, I am! This one’s true, too! I feel every single moment of my 22-ness, and not just because this specific line of this specific song is the first thing I hear every morning when I wake up. I also feel it every time I legally purchase alcohol, every time I get asked “Wait, if you’re 22, why are you a sophomore?,” and every time I think about the course number for a class I’m currently taking, CS22.

  1. “Everything will be alright if you keep me next to you.”

Who is this mysterious ‘you’ and how do I get me one of them?

  1. “You don’t know about me, but I’ll bet you want to.”

Based on the number of places that have not contacted me after receiving my resume this year, I’ll bet the exact opposite.

  1. “Everything will be alright if we just keep dancing like we’re 22.”

Yes!! Guys. The #1 thing that has kept me feeling sane in this torturous turbulent year we call 22 has been my pole, and more specifically, dancing on it. Even more specifically, dancing on it like I’m 22.

So there you have it. Some things played out as expected, and others…. not so much. But I guess we’ll have to see what the next 5 months hold and reevaluate after. At least this version is a lot more authentic than what Lily Allen promised me- “When she was 22, the future looked bright.”

Hahahahahahahaha. Fuck you, Lily.

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Life & Other Drugs

Decoding Dudes

April 5, 2017

Let’s say it’s Friday and we get invited to a party (woohoo). You’re pumped and respond by saying, “Awesome! I’ll see ya then!” I, on the other hand, end up saying something like this: “Errr, you caught me. I’m not doing anything tonight, so yea I’ll come to the pregame. I probably (definitely) won’t make it to the party, but that’s okay with you, right? Cool.”

Normal humans can hang, drink a few beers, and call it a night. I, on the other hand, perform a skewed version of this in which I drink the beer while sitting on the floor, preferably shielded by my coat, and then the second I feel claustrophobic (or on the verge of existential crisis) I leave.

Social anxiety strugz are real, and I get it: you’d rather stare at the streetlamp out the window than have people look at you during beer pong. You’re happy to go to CVS to pick up mixers by yourself to avoid awkwardly throwing off the rhythm of flip cup. But fear not. If you need the key to surviving the pregame, here’s what you need to do:

Your goal: to get the scoop on boy lingo. Be Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game: break that code. Dig deep. You’ll seem engaged as your social anxiety falls away. You’re not just sitting on the floor anymore, you’re on a mission. Throw in some wide eyes, head nods, the occasional “no ‘effin way!” and you’ll be one of the guys, or even better, a girl who is one of the guys, a bro’s f*cking dream.

From my fieldwork, I have gathered the following phrases: pull up, pull thru, come thru, throw down, and turn up. While these could be interpreted as sewing instructions or horseback riding commands, they are, in fact, just modern dude-speak.

“Pull up” translates to “Yea, come over.” It’s used if they like you, meaning you’re already doing something right.  If they don’t like you, they’ll just say, “Um, sure… You can come,” which means you shouldn’t.

“Come thru” is just a plain old invitation i.e. you are formally invited to chill.

“Pull thru” is straight up capitalism, old-fashioned goods and services. If you were asked to bring the beer to the party, you’re expected to pull thru. If you don’t pull thru, everyone will hate you.

*The “ough” in through was dropped as a result of millennial brain damage*

“Throw down” means there’s bout 2 be a party. Google taught me that it comes from the Old English phrase, “Throw down the gauntlet.” So, go find your gauntlet and fricken throw it.

“Turn up” is a call from the heavens telling you to put down your Econ problem set and shove yourself into an over-packed room where you will hear no one, regret going, and say nothing but “heyyyyy!” 

The bottom line is that it is not uncommon to hear something like this: “Yo, before we throw down later wanna hit the Ratty?” “For sure, dude. I’ll come thru.” For us, this exchange seems totally normal, but have your grandmother read it and she’ll ask “what the f*ck are you talking about?”

There is still much work to be done in this field. If you’d like to conduct some summer research with me, let me know. Please don’t be intimidated by the subjects. As I have learned from my time undercover, boys are a perfect species to study because they are often completely oblivious to your mental note taking. On the off chance that they call you out, just laugh and say you were “totally spacing out!!” because there was no way you were judging or going to publish an article about them.

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