We Need to Keep Talking About Unpaid Internships

I remember learning about internships in high school. During many college campus tours I was constantly touted to about that particular school’s amazing internship program by overeager student tour guides and how 9 out of 10 students completed at least one internship during their time at school. I was always going to do an internship. I knew this. It has long be promoted as the way to try out a career to see if it is the right fit. You could build your resume in short bursts and learn real-world experience while learning in a classroom. However as I began to do research I was shocked to find out how many of them required a full-time commitment yet were unpaid. This struck me as extremely unfair. 

Internships themselves, whether they are unpaid or not, are an issue. Today not only are millennials expected to be college-educated, but we now must also have work experience in our chosen fields before even being handed our degrees. Increasingly paying upwards of $60,000 a year for your higher education is not enough, you must also now devote your free time to an unpaid internship. And we are also meant to be grateful that a company is willing to let us do work for free. Also let us not forget about the internships that actually require previous experience.    

Our parents did not need to work for free. They were not expected to have professional experience before even being handed a diploma. They graduated from school and entered the workforce with an entry-level (usually full-time) position. They could immediately start paying back loans and saving for the future. Maybe they didn’t even have any loans because any free time outside of school was filled with a part-time job and not an unpaid position. Tuition and student loans are now too high and overwhelming for anyone to be working for free.     

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Let’s Talk About PCOS

PHOTOGRAPHED BY MEGAN MADDEN

Let’s start off with the Refinery29 article that spurred this post: Get Pregnant? I Just Want to Get my Period

The author writes: “almost a year and a half without a period, I find myself acutely aware of every complaint of cramps, every impassioned post about Diva Cups in a women’s-only Facebook group, and every pregnancy announcement — reminders of what it’s like to have a “normally functioning” female reproductive system

This is an A+ article that talks about what it’s like to desperately want a period, something that most menstruating people could never fathom. For them a period is just something to deal with that they would rather not have to or perhaps a welcome monthly reminder that you are not about to become a parent. Of course, for some people a menstrual cycle is literal HELL – requiring them to take off work or stay home from school because the pain and the symptoms are so great.

Is it weird that I am still sort of envious?

Let’s start from the beginning: I first got my period at the “normal” age of 13 years old. However, that is about the last time anything was normal regarding it. From age 13 to age 21 I would go months without a period and when I did happen to get one it would be extremely light, last a maximum of three days, and not come with any other regular menstrual cycle symptoms. It never occurred to me that this was strange. I had always been told that periods can be irregular when first beginning and that it can take some time for your body to get used to this new process. However, no one ever told me that “irregularity” was only meant to last a year.

The November of my sophomore year of college I got my period. Fine. Great. But two weeks later I got it again. I remember thinking that this was weird so I looked it up online. I found out that two periods in one month is NOT normal and so I made a mental note to stop by health care services to ask some questions that week. At 5AM the next morning I woke up in a pool of my own blood. It felt like I had wet the bed. Sorry for the specifics but my shorts were completely soaked through. I knew something wasn’t right, but I also knew that it had something to do with my menstrual cycle and that no one had actually stabbed me in my sleep. I tried to go back to sleep and skipped my first class to go down to health services. The nurse practitioner told me to undress, put on a paper gown, and sit on the chair so she could examine me. I told her that I was bleeding so much that I was going to need to sit on a towel. I remember her saying that she needed to check to make sure I wasn’t internally bleeding!! There ended up being too much blood for her to properly examine me but as soon as I told her how irregular my menstrual cycle was she immediately said “I think you might have PCOS“.

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5 Ways to Build a More Ethical Closet

 

My friend recently sent me this image (shoutout to Nicole!) and it really got me thinking about my own shopping habits. I think people think that in order to have an ethical wardrobe, you need to spend a lot of money. Luckily, this is rarely the case. In fact, shopping ethically can actually help you save money in the long haul. I really like the simplicity of this graphic so I decided to share and explain my experience going through each of these five steps.

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Eco-friendly Beauty Brand – RMS Beauty

Since doing some research about the toxins and scary chemicals found in makeup and beauty products, I have been looking for some alternatives. I had heard of RMS Beauty before – anyone who is interested in the makeup community has certainly heard of the brand’s cult product the “Living Luminizer“. This past summer I was on the hunt for a moisturizing concealer and decided to try out the “Un Cover-Up” from RMS. I liked it but didn’t really know how to work with it until I read that Emma Watson used it as foundation. I used it all over my face and fell IN LOVE. I have a real issue finding foundations that sit nicely on my very dry skin, but this sat on it like a DREAM. Like most of their products, this RMS concealer is most made up of coconut oil, which my skin really seems to love. I also recently learned that coconut oil does not hold bacteria, which is great because I do not usually like products that come in tiny pots that you need to dip your fingers in.

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How Building A Conscious Closet Became A Feminist Action

I came across this article on The Good Trade. It really struck a cord because this sums up exactly how I feel as a feminist and environmentalist who loves fashion. With the anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster coming up, I thought it was a good time to share.  
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By Erin HoutsonBuilding A Conscious Closet

It’s Been 4 Years Since The Rana Plaza Tragedy

Where were you on April 24, 2013? To most people, it was a day like any other, but for me, it was the day that my eyes snapped wide open to the actions of my closet. No, my closet can’t walk or talk, but if it could, it may have given voice to the hidden women and men who made my clothes. On that day and the weeks to follow, those same faces came at me from the pages of the New York Times, the Guardian, and more covering the Rana Plaza Factory Collapse in Bangladesh.

WHY THIS HIT ME SO HARD

For many members of the conscious fashion movement, this was also their wake-up moment. But at the time, I was working for a media company that covered global development issues, from foreign aid flows that support social and economic growth to the role of corporations through their responsibility, citizenship, or emerging markets activities.

Everywhere I turned, large multinational companies were – despite many people’s cynicism – doing amazing things. The most world’s most famous beverage company was innovating delivery of immunizations and medicine to the last miles of the most remote areas of our globe. Banks were investing in local innovators who were changing their communities through making the internet accessible for all. Payment providers were creating new gateways and currencies like mPESA that would come to revolutionize the way people – particularly women – in Sub-Saharan Africa and beyond would build savings and make everyday transactions that led to empowerment.

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Let’s Talk About that Pepsi Ad

 

UPDATE: Pepsi has now apologized for the ad and officially pulled the video from Youtube. The company has released the following statement: “Pepsi was trying to project a global message of unity, peace, and understanding. Clearly we missed the mark, and we apologize… We do not intend to make light of any serious issue…We are removing the comment and halting any further rollout.” Let’s hope this is a warning to other brands that try to use social issues as marketing tools. 

Oh Pepsi how could you have not seen just how bad this idea was?!?! It should have been obvious to anyone with any common sense that this was going to end up being a PR nightmare.

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Here or There

A bit of a different sort of post today. With just about a month left of classes (!!), I need to figure out my next move. Like literally, where will I MOVE?? For a bit, I was convinced that I wanted to go home after classes ended. I would go home, find a proper job, and work on my thesis. I wanted to go home. I missed my friends and family, but now that the date to leave is actually rapidly approaching, I’m not so sure. There are so many factors to consider so I am going to go on a little rant.

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14 Days as a Vegan

Two weeks ago I decided to try a vegan lifestyle. I have been a vegetarian for ten months and I do not drink dairy. BUT I eat eggs, butter, and cheese. I have wondered for a while if I would have the willpower to commit to not eating any animal products. I knew that I could probably give up eggs and there are plenty of butter substitutes, but CHEESE I knew would be the absolute hardest.

I am proud to say that I went a full 14 days without consuming any animal products. It was actually a lot easier (when I was at home) than I thought it would be. I didn’t miss cheese that much and most of my food staples (spinach, rice, chickpeas, garlic, pasta, etc.) were already completely plant-based anyway. I really recognized the difficulty of a vegan lifestyle while I was out though. For example, I went to Starbucks with two friends for some almond lattes and we ended up staying and chatting for almost three hours. Towards the end, I was properly hungry but soon realized that next to nothing on the Starbucks food menu was vegan. There were plenty of vegetarian options but they all had either cheese or eggs listed as ingredients. I know that it doesn’t sound like much of anything, but when your hands are shaky and you feel slightly faint (which sometimes happens to me if I go without eating for a while), it became a big deal. Little instances like that, things you do not plan for, are what make being vegan hard for me. Plus all I wanted was a croissant.

What I have taken away from the experience is this: I have MAJOR respect for people who live a vegan lifestyle 24/7. It is something that I think I would ultimately like to work towards, and with the acceptance and science promoting a plant-based lifestyle increasing, I think more brands and restaurants are going to make it easier for me to be able to. I also want to try being vegan at home and vegetarian while I am out. I eat at home probably 85% of the time, so this will really help me curb my environmental impact (my reason for going vegetarian and a big reason why I want to go vegan). But when I am out, I think I am going to let the standards slip a bit. Because sometimes you just need that ice-cream or bowl of raviolis and that is okay.