What The London Terror Attacks Mean To Me As A British Citizen
Real Talk |  Source: thedailybeast.com

What The London Terror Attacks Mean To Me As A British Citizen

We are not afraid.

During the 2005 London Bombings, my Aunt Lorna was running late for work. If she hadn't been, she would have been on one of the trains hit. She could have been among the 52 dead or over 700 injured that day.

During the Manchester Bombing, I felt true fear from a terror attack like nothing in America had made me feel. My mother and younger brother were traveling to England in a week. I remembered all the planes that have gone missing over the past decade. I had (what I thought was) irrational fear that I would get a call at work informing me that their plane has gone missing.

During the dual attacks at London Bridge and Borough Market this Saturday, a day before joining my family in England, my mother called telling me to watch the news, and my father warned me to be extremely careful while traveling. He was so worried, he almost made me stay here in the U.S.

I am a British-American. I possess dual-citizenship. All of my family either lives in England or has British heritage, and I have this no-longer-irrational fear that one of my family members will actually be on the next train that explodes, or that my cousins will be victims of the next school shooting, or that my grandmother will be on the bus that slams through traffic.

The people of England have suffered three terror attacks in just over two months. Clearly, this is devastating to our country. So why does the rest of the world seem content to act like it isn't with only a sad frown over their daily coffee? (Note that besides internet articles, the three news channels I get on my TV didn't mention anything about the attacks until 11 p.m. EST, over five hours after the attacks started.)

As much as I hate to say it, it's nearly-impossible to kill an idea. The ideologies behind terror attacks aren't going away anytime soon, so we have to fight back; it's the only way to stop them from winning.

But how do you stop an idea? For me, doesn't necessarily mean I go to war with a gun, I'm not that kind of soldier.

It means I will still be English, and extremely proud of it in the face of those who claim I shouldn't be. It means I get on that plane and see my family this summer.

I know that by helping each other, like the residents of Manchester and London are helping the people who are stranded, scared, and confused are today, we start winning simply by keeping our heads up and refusing to break.

I know we infuriate those who want to keep us down, because we won't "carry on and drink tea". We'll fight back, and we'll bloody well drink our tea while we do it.

It means we can't forget these attacks and let them fade into the background of a newspaper article on page four. We can't forget that we don't change what we stand for as we show the world that this is important, and that we care.

The British are stubborn. Well, stubborn people don't like to lose, and if that means facing ISIS head on, then that's what has to be done.

We might only be college students (and you might not be British,) but all people have a voice, and it can be a loud one (as history has proven). Let's make sure that it's heard while we fight back.

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Real Talk |  Source: rmalo5aapi

Studying Abroad Changed Me And Here's Why

It is one of the craziest experiences life has to offer.

Everyone who has studied abroad typically arrives home fresh and excited, claiming how much it changed them. Most likely, being someone who perhaps never traveled, you hear those words and quickly disregard them. If you've never been abroad, let alone out of your state or town, you won't even remotely understand the mental and emotional rollercoaster that is studying abroad.

I have just returned from a four month stay in Twickenham, England which is a small residential town thirty minutes outside of Central London. And oh my gosh, it is everything.

When I packed up my suitcase in January and headed to this whole new world, I was incredibly scared and nervous. I thought it was a horrible idea. I mean, going outside of my comfort zone? Nope. Not even. Count me out.

But I knew, somehow, that if I skipped this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, I would regret it. Every college graduate who did not choose the abroad route encouraged me to go, saying they wished they had taken the chance while they had it. So I followed my heart and ran with it.

I live in a very condensed residential town in the middle of South Jersey where people tend to spend their entire lives in one house with no intention of ever leaving. It's a bubble of the same people doing the same things every day. Essentially this town is a rut and I had to break out.

I have returned to this same town, four months later, and despite everything being the same, I am hanging onto those UK and European memories I made. My mindset changed immensely when I was far away from home. I went through rough times adjusting, and eventually realized I learned more about myself in those four months than any other time in my life.

I accomplished more than I ever would have if I stayed in that little town in New Jersey. I traveled to six different countries, explored twelve different towns and cities, uploaded 566 photos to my Facebook travel album, tanned on the beach in Barcelona, hiked an insane mountain in Switzerland, and got lost numerous amounts of time on the Underground in London. That's just a few of the things I did.

Incredible, blessed, life changing, and grateful are just a few of the words I could use to describe this experience.

Anyone who needs a change of pace, a fresh start, or even has the urge to see the world. Go. Now. And don't look back 'till you get there.

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Real Talk |  Source: gizmodo.com

Casually Coexisting with Terrorism

Are we blind? Or just experts with blinders?

FlockU Presents is a new vertical we've launched for longform pieces about topics you care about - everything from sex and body shaming to the history of beer pong to how terrorism affects you as a college student.

My experience with terrorism began with an early dismissal from school in 2001 and now involves my shoes getting x-rayed on a conveyer belt and the reluctant surrender of lotions and water bottles over 3.4 ounces to the TSA.

News reaches me in selective bursts; I see what I want, when I want to see it. How did I hear about the attacks in Paris? Dutifully stalking the Instagram of some girl I was jealous of in middle school. I fact-check with a random sample of status updates conveying condolences, extending prayers and providing increasing levels of detail. We send thoughts to loved ones left grieving, to citizens who are feeling the tear of the fabric that makes home feel like anything but.

But there is an inevitable sense of helplessness when it comes to confronting terrorism. What aren't we doing? What can I do, as a college student? Is that why it's so easy to coexist with terrorism?

Lauren, a New York City resident and recent graduate of the School for International Training (SIT), tells me that growing up during a time when terrorism slowly took the world's stage resulted in a sort of numbing effect.

"It was very traumatizing, but now when attacks happen, it's almost normal," she said. "I feel like that's a terrible thing to say, but living with that fear for so long makes you used to it. I'm used to the security everywhere, especially now, living in New York. There is definitely a presence of security."

Cigdem (Chee-dem), Chief Digital Officer at Allianz Turkey and Positive Psychology grad student at the University of Pennsylvania, knows more about terror than most people I know.

But she says she never gave it much thought until it was unfolding before her.

In May, she heard reports that the streets of Istanbul, streets she was living and working on, were in danger of being bombed. "My heart was racing for three consecutive days until I finished my walk home," she said.

She found herself suddenly absorbed in research, trying to understand how and why this all started and what the parties responsible would possibly want to do something like this. Then she stopped, "because it felt as though it would take years to understand all of the whys, whats and hows."

Then a bomb exploded in the Taksim square area, where many of Cigdem's friends live, a place she often passes. The city, "where you are stuck in traffic every day for hours was totally empty for three or four consecutive days," she remembered.

Maybe September 11th and its aftermath have left us jaded.

I strain my brain to remember that day, and recall the one crying girl in my 5th grade class, the only one who knew what was happening. The rest of us only knew she was worried about her uncle and that was that. There was no further explanation. It was one of those things the faculty wanted to leave for the parents to explain. Who knows who really knows better? I wonder what they told their kids about it.

I remember watching and re-watching the towers turn to clouds of ash with my mother, alternating between silent disbelief and existential discussion. Now? I rarely think about it. My parents and I never talked about it much, but I do remember recognizing how American I felt, despite moving here from Russia at age 7. It was as if the experience of nationwide grief had solidified my identity as both foreign and an American.

But it doesn't just end there. Terrorism's aftereffects can create a ripple effect throughout society, creating prejudices, racism, and fear when before, there was none or very little.

Lauren, whose grad school sweetheart is Muslim, believes that, since Sept. 11, the "prejudice is getting worse and it is only aggravating the problem." This is what scares her the most, she said.

She says that even though "[he] couldn't be a more gentle soul, [she's] gotten reactions that he is dangerous because he is Muslim." Lauren questions how much of his struggle to gain employment could be due to his faith, his name, and the prejudices that come along with it.

Recently, a coworker of Lauren's asked her whether she'd give her children a "non-American" name, to which Lauren replied, "Of course!" The coworker then explained that she'd be too concerned with racist reactions and future job prospects.

Research from Chicago Booth's Marianne Bertrand and Harvard's Sendhil Mullainathan lends itself to the unfortunate suspicion that resumes with "white-sounding" names received 50 percent more callbacks for jobs.

This resonates all too well with Lauren and her boyfriend. "When do I succumb to the pressures of society and when do I fight against them?" Lauren wonders.

Cigdem is similarly unsure of her role in the course of events. "From Friday to Monday morning after the attack, no one went out of their houses...the two bridges in Istanbul were emptier than ever."

But she's sure that for many of these people, stuck in their homes and "trying to understand all the whys, whats and hows" of what was happening like she was, the best course of action was doing it at a distance, and continuing with their everyday lives. Because why dwell on something you can't do anything about? Right?

As creatures prone to negativity bias, which causes us to experience negative things/events more intensely than equally intense positive ones, could it be that our mental distance from terror is just a defense mechanism for staying sane and avoiding a life filled with fear or uncertainty.

This is especially pertinent in the information age. With so much media to consume, it's easy to develop blinders, to be selective, and to take it in controlled doses and channels. Yet, with increased awareness, comes seemingly greater responsibility. Think about it: The more information you consume, the more invested you become, and the more driven you feel to act, or the guiltier you feel about failing to act.

It's simpler when you have a cause to donate to, like preserving exotic wildlife or treating cleft palates across the Atlantic. Terrorism isn't so easily actionable.

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Real Talk |  Source: golfdigest.com

The British Open is Targeting College Students

They're trying to entice young people to the game of golf.

When you think of a golf tournament, your mind probably doesn't wander to scenes of college students staying in a Bonnaroo-esque environment watching golf by day and drinking by night. Well, that will be a reality at this year's British Open at Royal Troon Golf Club in Scotland.

The campground with be on the grounds of the Marr Rugby Club and just about a fifteen minute walk to the course. Camping is only allowed to ticket holders age 18-25 (aka college students). They provide the tents and a sleeping pad as well as showers, security, and food options. You just have to bring your own sleeping bag.

This is a first for golf and I didn't expect the folks over in Scotland to be the first to let college kids camp between days at the Open when their average fan is a 65-year-old Scottish man who thinks Colin Montgomerie is just delightful.

However, that is just the reason why they are starting this wonderful and unique option. The PGA Tour has a lot of young, likeable players right now such as Jordan Spieth, Rickie Fowler, and Rory McIlroy, but the crowds are still much older no matter where you go. Free camping for college students is a great way to incentivize young people to travel to the British Open this year and is sure to be a good time.

"The Open is a wonderful opportunity for young fans to get up close to their favorite players and we know this will help inspire future generations to pick up a club and take part themselves," said.

Student tickets are one thing, but lodging is still expensive; especially in Scotland where everyone is old and can afford expensive accommodations. Hostels fill up fast and can be sketchy, and Airbnb's are going for a fortune. So if you're in college, you're shit outta luck.

However, this campground should draw students from around Europe and the world to one of the most prestigious golf tournaments in the world featuring just about every player, and help grow passion for the game among young people (which golf has been struggling to do for a while).

I'm currently based in Dublin, Ireland and have signed to camp with six of my friends. I was told I would be sent a "prohibited items list" after I paid my (refundable) deposit. I'm sure that won't stop the wild Europeans from having a good time after long days of walking miles in the wind and rain. The only question is which golfer will show up first. My bet is John Daly. And yes, he is in this year's field.

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Real Talk |  Source: runnycustard

Five British Things to Watch to Cope with Post-Study Abroad Blues

It's almost like you're there, kinda.

The spring semester after I returned from London was probably my weirdest semester of college. I had just done all of this amazing traveling and now I was back in this same place I was used to. After an initial welcome-home-warm feeling, I began to miss my home across the pond. The best thing to do is to inhale British pop culture to fill the giant hole in your heart.

Luther
If you're not familiar with Idris Elba, that's your fucking loss. We're lucky to be alive the same time this badass is. You might recognize his glorious face from his role as Heimdall in the Marvel movies, Stringer Bell in The Wire, or the Commandant in the criminally underrated Beasts of No Nation. But British viewers know him best as the title character in BBC's Luther, a gritty crime drama about a murder detective with violent passions. Make this man the next James Bond!

The Full Monty
The best movie about male stripping (suck it Magic Mike!), this is the most British thing on this list. When it first came to U.S. theaters in 1997, viewers were given a brochure explaining what different slang meant. Not to mention you get to see King Robert Baratheon's butt from Game of Thrones.

Black Mirror
This is The Twilight Zone for our generation and it's probably the creepiest thing currently on Netflix. There's only nine episodes right now (10 if you count the Christmas special with the decidedly not British but still great Jon Hamm), so you could definitely binge-watch this while you eat Yorkshire pudding and listen to Adele.

Hugh Grant Medley
I feel like you could make a case for Hugh Grant as Britain's most important export. Netflix is intelligent enough to recognize this and they have three of Hugh's classics ready to stream from your bed. Notting Hill, Love Actually, and About a Boy are all classic and will make you ready to buy a ticket back to London.

Sherlock
What British nostalgia is complete without the glory that is Benedict Cumberbatch and Martin Freeman's bromance? The opening alone is enough to make you look through all your study abroad pics and change your cover photo to something involving a double decker bus. Love to London and love to Sherlock.

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Real Talk |  Source: news.central.edu

City Hacks: How to Network as an Intern

Don't be afraid to put yourself out there!

So, you've scored a summer internship, congrats! Now that you have that taken care of, the next step is to learn from this new experience and hopefully build on it by forming a professional network. I know that seems like a daunting task, but it can be fun! Here are some steps to getting yourself out there and expanding on your network!

1. Believe it or not, getting the job is the easiest part about internships. The next few months will require a lot of time, hard work and people skills. I've found that a lot of interns find it difficult to switch gears from their school person to their professional person.

In other words, they're not sure where the boundaries lay in an office dynamic. This can become especially difficult when you're trying to create a mentor-student relationship with a co-worker.

To be honest, there are no set boundaries; in fact, each office environment will have its own dynamic. So, it is important to remember that you are there to learn from your co-workers. Following your boss's lead is sometimes the safest way for an intern to be sure they have not misspoken.

2. Additionally, the change of course from school to work can be jarring for interns because for the first time, your superiors aren't there to watch your every move or to tell you what to do every second of the day- hell, they have their own work to do!

I know it seems weird, but in the real world, no one really has the answers. You'll start to see that in order for you to succeed in your career, sometimes you have to take the initiative and approach your boss with an idea or solution. Sometimes inexperience is the most valuable asset an intern can bring to the boardroom table!

3. Be yourself. As an intern, you might find it easier to come into work and just do the assignments you have been given. Even though that shows great work ethic, it probably won't get you noticed or leave your employers with a lasting impression of you.

Next time you feel like hiding behind your cubicle divider and eating lunch by yourself, push yourself to go to the employee lunchroom and have lunch with a co-worker. Even if you ask one person a week, that's still one more person that will remember your face than before. Just get yourself out there, I promise it's not as scary as you think!

4. Once you have become acclimated to your new environment, the real networking can begin. Most offices have events you can attend or office activities you can participate in.

These events and opportunities are indispensable for interns because they allow you to meet people in other departments that you wouldn't run into on a daily basis. Moreover, they allow you to learn more about the career you are interested in and the types of people that inhabit that field.

5. The next step in building your network is to sign up for conferences in your area that appeal to you. One of the best pieces of advice I have received thus far, is to challenge yourself to meet at least three new contacts at these conferences. You can even make it a game to meet more people than you did at the previous conference or event that you attended.

6. Another great way to expand your professional network is to join organizations that interest you. For example, if you are interested in writing, joining a writing organization will allow you to meet in that industry in your area. Who knows, one of them could end up being your future mentor or boss!

7. As you begin to grow your network and meet people that impact you, it is important to enrich those relationships. It is not enough to just make that initial acquaintance, you have to foster each relationship as you would any other one. Reaching out to a contact to see what they are up to or let them know what you are doing is a great way to keep the lines of communication open.

8. Once your network begins to grow, you will start to notice that the contacts you meet will begin to introduce you to people they think you will have commonalities with. Or they may just introduce you because they think that relationship could help advance your career or help you learn something about the industry you are interested in that you may have not previously known.

Just like anything else worthwhile, building a professional network takes time and energy. Don't get frustrated if you do not receive the response you want while networking. Just like most things, networking is a trial and error activity. You'll start to learn what works for you personally which will make your #networkinggame that much stronger!