That Summer Intern Life

The fourth Friday of August signalled the end of my internship at a not-so-local agency, which pretty much meant that just as the temperature is beginning to cool down, my summer plans are about to heat up.

Now, I only say ‘not-so-local’ because this agency I worked for was only a few towns away, specifically a 30-minute drive if I own a car if ever learned how to drive – but that’s a whole can of worms altogether. I relied 100% on public transportation (thanks to the UK for having a comprehensive public transportation system that extends beyond the capital city!), made my own packed lunches, and got the chance to dress like the Sixth Former I could have been if only I had the budget, confidence, and wherewithal to pull off business casual outfits.

I completely regret not documenting my #OOTD these past three months.

What’s it like to be an intern?

Let’s start with the basics…

  1. Why did I choose to do an internship?
  2. How did I get the internship?
  3. What were my days like?

First up – I chose to do an internship for the same reasons most undergraduates (or fresh out of the lecture hall graduate, like myself) choose to do an internship. I wanted to gain experience outside of teaching or community outreach, which I somehow managed to accumulate billions of experience in already. In another life, perhaps I could have been a teacher. But guys, just watch me try to fight that destiny in this particular lifetime: I scored myself an internship in an agency, got myself two pairs of cute brogues to mark the occasion, and drank my Starbucks to-go every morning like a modern-day working woman.

Question number two my university has this scheme that promotes extra-curricular activities to its current students, where they assign points to each type of activity. Attending a careers fair, for example, would be worth 5 points. Part-time work held for longer than 3 months would be 30 points, and completing a course outside of your core curriculum would be worth 60 points. As these points add up, you can exchange them for work experience and internship interviews, and I was fortunate enough to jump through all the hoops and come out with a summer internship.

Most undergraduate students, I’m assuming, would choose to do a summer internship between their first and last year of study. NOT ME, THOUGH. I chose to cash in my points at the end of my final year, which put a little bit of a downer on my fresh-out-of-uni celebrations because I felt like I jumped from my graduation ceremony straight into the world of full-time employment with no summer break in between. I felt robbed, and also very stupidly spoiled because who has problems like these?

Thirdly – my days started off early. Wake up at 5:45 and out of the house by 6:55, dressed and belly happy from a freshly made breakfast. Towards the later weeks, however, I know I slept in a bit more and grabbed a breakfast at Starbucks rather than making one at home, which angered my wallet by a lot. Still, what’s done is done.

I take the 7:04 bus from where I live to where I work; for the first four weeks, this bus route doubled as the morning school run. It was as hellish as it sounds. Imagine children from three different grammar schools (plus myself!) all piled up like sardines inside a double-decker bus… you could imagine the conversations I overheard. I just want to quote Abba and say, thank you for the music, otherwise, I wouldn’t know how I would have survived.

a .gif of Spongenbob wearing headphones and snapping his fingers
Spongebob is listening to Abba, I swear

I arrive at the town where I work at exactly 8:10 if there weren’t any delays. I then grab my morning Starbucks, scan my gold member app, and then proceed to walk to the office at around 8:35. My normal walking speed gets me to the office front door about 8:55, but if I am in a rush or angry-therefore-I-power-walked, I would arrive five or ten minutes earlier.

This might all sound neurotic to most people, but keeping to a schedule pretty much saved my soul this summer. What I realised about myself, during this entire internship experience, is that I really value having complete control of my time. As an intern, you don’t really have control over what you do between clocking in at work and clocking out – at least not at the agency I worked for.

I had to spend the majority of my days – my weeks, even – with total strangers who very clearly did not share the same life experiences as myself, and therefore did not have the same values. They tagged it as a generational thing: “you’re such a millennial” was a phrase bandied about lightheartedly in the office. But it was so much more than the years between me and my colleagues…

  • I value smart work over hard work
  • Naps are not just for young children: inemuri is a lifestyle I live by
  • Being gay is not a punchline to some joke and it should never be used as one

So these past three months have been a hardship, to say the least. I came into the internship hoping to gain work experience applicable to most graduate jobs I plan to apply for, and I came out battered and worn with a significant amount of money spent on food deliveries to the office… oops!

I still gained valuable work experience and a lot more doors are open to me now compared to if I never took that internship offer; nevertheless, I know that I have become less idealistic for my work-future, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Some might say I needed this crash course in real life.

Adulting™ is hard, y’all.

Over to you guys: Do you have any internship adventures to lament over? Are you currently a student planning to take one? Am I being too whiny over the whole ‘millennial’ label that people my age can’t seem to shake?

I am going to Belfast next week to celebrate completing my summer internship, so keep an eye out for my first travel journal blog post!

Get to Know Me: Part 2 of 5

Are you ready for round two?

To all my new readers, I am doing a five-part ‘Get to Know Me’ series as way to get this whole blogging thing started. Starting something from the ground up is always very awkward, especially if you have no clue if the things you create – such as this blog – even get some kind of an audience. Am I just screaming into the void that is the Internet? I’ll find out soon enough.

the author standing in a meadow in Japan
The Author, November 2016

More About the LiberaTarts Author

Do you have any special talents?

There is absolutely nothing out of the ordinary about me, talent-wise. I can’t sing, dance, or act. I can’t draw, fix a car, or solve a Rubik’s cube. There was that one time, however, that a high school friend messaged me in a panic about her laptop – something about it displaying sideways rather than the normal, landscape way. While I didn’t have the knowledge of how to fix my friend’s laptop right there and then, I did do some quick Googling and managed to talk her through the solution.

So my secret talent? I’m an expert at Google and the way it works.

Where were you born?

In a hospital, like most people. There was a doctor, some nurses… my mom was there. I showed up near the end though, and stole all the limelight.

Geographically speaking, I was born in a town located on one of the 7,000 odd islands of this archipelago country called the Philippines. There was definitely a doctor in attendance, some nurses I’m assuming were there since I wasn’t exactly present the entire time, and there’s a high chance that my mother was there too. She’s a champion – kudos to her for going through childbirth!

What’s your zodiac sign? Do you believe in it?

I am a Sagittarius, though if I was born a day or two later, then I would have been a Capricorn. I don’t believe in astrology as much as I enjoy dabbling in it every now and again; it’s a fun thing to do and share with my friends.

What are your hobbies?

Bold of you to assume that I am a well-rounded human being with hobbies.

old guy shrugging meme

(I like watching movies and reading books and trash talking television shows. Does travelling to escape the humdrum of everyday life count as a hobby? I take pictures and can shop until I drop.)

Do you have any pets?

I sure hope not! Please refer to my previous ‘Get To Know Me’ post as an explanation, specifically question number 3.

Do you have any siblings?

I have one and he is younger than me. Being an older sister is fun, up until you end up being in charge of a younger sibling and become a pseudo-parent to a teenager because that’s just what older siblings do.

What do you want to be when you grow up?

I wanted to be the next J.K. Rowling. I remember having all these aspirations, back when I was in high school, about becoming a published author at 16 and just basically creating what I love: books and stories and happy endings.

Fast forward to 2018 and I’m already in my twenties. Still no book or story to speak of, but I know more about myself and I am aware that I will be a crappy author. I have no self-control and I procrastinate like a student who has a 3000 word essay due in three months’ time!

Who was your first best friend?

That would be my childhood best friend. We met in middle school and pretty much stuck together, fighting the battles that other preteens did and trying not to be trampled as we navigated our school halls – we were tiny kids and were yet to have a growth spurt. In all honesty? I’m still waiting for my growth spurt even now.

How tall are you?

Funny you should ask. I like to say I’m five-foot-something but this is a total lie because I measured my height once and it was woefully inadequate. I am somewhere in the higher end of the four-foot-something spectrum. I wouldn’t know the exact measurement because I hate to know these things.

What is the least favourite thing about yourself?

The fact that I have no clear goal of what I want to do in life. I moved to the UK to pursue my studies, which I did and this summer I graduated from university with a degree that I can be proud of. As for my next steps beyond that? I have no clue and I hate it.

Over to you guys: Did the second part of the ‘Get to Know Me’ series measure up to your expectations? What surprised you and what didn’t? Tell me in the comments below because I am a very nosy individual and I would like to hear your thoughts.

Look out for Part 3 in this quest to get to know me! 🙂

September Reading Challenge

You read that right: September reading challenge.

One of the things that disappointed me the most about university (and believe me, there were a lot!) was the fact that I didn’t have time to read for pleasure. I graduated in July, a few days more than four weeks ago to the day I am writing this post, and it seems paradoxical to me to even admit this, but it’s true: reading for pleasure was not a hobby I pursued at university. There were many reasons to this. some of which are:

  • seminar reading lists
  • lecture reading lists
  • essay and/or project research
  • extra reading (hah, nerd!) for topics I wanted more information on because curiosity is queen
  • part-time job(s)
  • volunteering, and
  • … procrastinating

Suffice to say, I watched a lot of Netflix (and variations thereof) when I was a student. Even though I had plenty of time and opportunities to pick up a book and just read again, I was very reluctant to do so. My eyes got tired a lot, I couldn’t stay up all night speeding through a novel anymore and frankly, reading an e-book didn’t appeal to me at all and I buying non-essential books on a student budget was not feasible at the time.

So now, eight months into 2018, I have challenged myself to do more reading. I have always told my friends that “I can’t wait to start reading again after graduation.” A full-ish month later, here I am in my room not reading a book. To be fair, I pretty much jumped head-first into an internship with full-time work hours and a three-hour total commute… but the sentiment still stands.

I have been reading a lot of Financial Times, mostly because I have lulls during my internship where I technically have to tasks to do so I while away the time by reading my highly curated myFT list of articles – I like to enjoy it while I can, seeing as I piggyback from my university’s subscription and I don’t quite know when my access to FT’s website will stop.

Back to the September Reading Challenge, here are three books I want to finish reading when September ends. (See what I did there?)

LiberaTarts September Reading List

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, a book by Yuval Noah Harari

Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow, a book by Yuval Noah Harari

Bought for £9.99 at WHSmith.

I read Harari’s other book, Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind, at least two years ago back when I was on my year abroad in Japan. I was feeling homesick and wanted something lengthy to read in a language I could understand completely. It was a great read, very insightful, and I look forward to enjoying Homo Deus as much as I did Sapiens.


Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge book coverWhy I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race by Reni Eddo-Lodge

Bought for £4.49 at WHSmith.

I bought this at the same time as Homo Deus, making use of the Buy 1 Get 1 Off offer the store was peddling at the time. The reason I chose this book was because I always feel wrong-footed whenever the subject of race, ethnicity, or my vague sense of ‘Otherness’ is brought into conversation. Hopefully this book will help me find the middle-ground between “Yes, I’m brown, deal with it” aggression to “Yeah, let’s move on from this…” timidity.


Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan book cover

Crazy Rich Asians by Kevin Kwan

I am loving the hype that the movie adaptation of this novel is getting recently, and I am super upset that the UK will not be showing this film in cinemas until November at the earliest. I half-joked with a friend that I will fly to the US and brave the Trump administration, even for just a week, so that I can have the chance of seeing this movie on the big screen ASAP.

I am a sucker for films and TV shows that are hedonistic in its materialism, and while I understand that there is a heartwarming narrative in this novel, I am just looking forward to a piece of work that features Asian in a context that not revolve around poverty, persecution, and all the troubles that come with that.

So those are my three books to finish by September. I’m taking it easy, choosing pieces that already immensely interest me and giving myself the second half of August as well as the whole of September to reading. If this goes well, I might consider a reading challenge for every month – perhaps even a Halloween themed one for October!

Bring on the -ber months!

Over to you guys: What do you think of my book choices? Tell me about your favourite book and the story behind why they became so! I’m truly curious.



Get to Know Me: Part 1 of 5

Anyone else feel like they’re shouting into a vast empty arena, where the one friend you’ve managed to coerce is sitting in a corner somewhere with flags sincerely cheering you on?

Yeah, me neither.

Reflection image of a closed barbershop in rural Japan
The Author, January 2017

Get to Know the LiberaTarts Author

I’m going to do the real narcissistic thing and assume people want to know things about me, so what better way to kick things off than have a quick quality questionnaire about… anything and everything, really.

I just Googled something along the lines of ‘get to know me challenge’ and clicked on the first thing that caught my eye. Not the first link on the page (thank you very much!) but it was right near the top so it’s not that much of a difference.

Are you guys ready? Here goes!
Are you named after anyone?

Funny story. I was not named anyone specifically, nor was I named after any real people my family knew in person. However, I was named after this really, really obscure video game character and I guess it has taken twenty-odd years for me to come to any sort of peace with that information.
When was the last time you cried?

I was watching a video clip of a Korean television show called Return of Superman on social media. The little toddlers were being cute and adorable and they were crying because that’s what young children do when something inconveniences them slightly. It was cuteness overload.
Do you have kids? If no, how many do you want?

No kids, no pets, no plants that can die on me.

no children traffic sign mock-up

Bold of you to assume I want children in the first place.
If you were another person, would you be a friend of yourself?

I don’t know. Maybe? I sure do complain a lot.
Do you use sarcasm a lot?

Sarcasm? What’s that…?
What’s the first thing you notice about people?

Their clothes and how they carry themselves. I put a lot of thought into the way I look and the way I express myself depending on the situation, and it helps alleviate some of that anxiety of ‘am I fitting in?’ ‘do I look okay?’ into people-watching and taking in what they look like and how they behave as a means of calming myself down.
What is your eye colour?

Dark brown, like a fudge cake with layers upon layers of cake and icing.
Scary movie or happy endings?

Happy endings. All the way. Life is horrible enough already without me having to seek them out in movies.
Favourite smells?

Freshly mown grass. A forest after a long hike. My grandmother’s cooking.
What’s the furthest you’ve ever been from home?

I think a better question to ask would be: where is home and how do I find it? That is essentially the very premise of this blog. I hope I find home along the way, but most of all I want to have a lot of fun finding it!

Over to you guys: Take some time and ask yourselves, when was the last time you cried? What is your favourite smell? Did I enjoy this post enough to subscribe to LiberaTarts?

Look out for Part 2 of 5, coming to a blog near you.