Wanted: Homework (& Some Spare Euros)

You know that feeling right before plunging into a huge drop on a rollercoaster,
or walking through the curtains right before a full-crowd performance,
or feeling the acid buildup in your mouth right before you’re about to yack?

That’s pretty much where I’m at right now.
And I’m asking you to help me yack.
Let me explain.

This summer, I’ll be in New York
for an American Society of Magazine Editors internship with Glamour Magazine.
For ten weeks, I’ll be living in the NYU dorms with the 20-or-so other ASME interns from across the country, attending networking events together, living as cheaply as possible, and eating absolutely everything.

This fall, I’ll be in Milan
for a long-awaited Study Abroad semester with IES.
Four months of uninhibited nomad-ation. Still entertaining the idea of getting a PR internship while I’m there, but nothing will stop me from spending my weekends in Egypt, Greece and Ireland. Nothing.

(Meanwhile, I’ve asked my leadership fraternity to come up with a list of 10 Embarrassing Things I Must Do [and get photographic evidence of] while in both cities, which I promised to blog about. I know, right — sounds like the beginnings of another train-wreck MTV reality TV show. Why do you think I asked?!)


In summary, this will be the hungriest, poorest,
most exhausting and most delicious next-few-months of my life.


Nervous, excited, anxious, looking-at-my-checking-account-and-crying — I’m all of that and more. But more than that, I’m intrigued. I’m about to live and work in two of the greatest metropolises on earth. I’m about to come face-to-face with all that is urban: Interesting people, interesting places, interesting stories.

And I want to takeaway more from my abroad life than just new Facebook albums and pessimism about American politics. I want my experiences to serve you — someone, anyone — somehow.

There has got to be some sort of opportunity here:

To track an interesting social trend.
To begin a series of interviews and videos tied to a specific theme.
Maybe to simply ask one important question to as many people as possible,
and build a study around their answers.

So I’m asking you to assign me something.
New York, New York. Milan, Italy.
What can I explore? What can I research? What can I give?

The topics I’m in love with are youth media; the effect of media messages on teen girls; the meaning of female self-esteem in our poisonous world today. I’ve got a few ideas, but I wanna know what people wanna know.

I want your ideas.
Give me homework.


Feel free to comment, tweet me @bernadetteanat, e-mail me at bernadetteanat [at] gmail.com…
I’m thinking I’ll kick this over to some great mentors o’ mine, as well. I want all hands on deck for this one.

Sock it to me!

6 thoughts on “Wanted: Homework (& Some Spare Euros)

  1. I am so, so excited for you :D.

    Question to ask: Do you think of yourself as a feminist?

    Or, something more abstract I really started thinking about whilst abroad here in London, and whilst hopping from country to country, whilst realizing I have 4 separate homes (Texas, LA, London, in my head) and whilst talking to immigrants in London for my final project: What is home? How do you define home? How do you know when you are home at long last?

    You have an absolutely amazing 6 months ahead of you!

    Love ya, girl :).

    1. Nimisha! The fact that you read this fills my HEART. If I could sum up my feelings for you, it’d be this phrase: Give me your life. But this is neither the time nor place for such emotional vomit (unless you want it to be…).

      I love the feminist question. Someone asked me that the other day, and it made me think of a phrase I saw written once; “the glorious overcoat that is feminism.” Feminism can be both sword and armor (in a bad way), I think; the use and definition have become distorted. I’ve seen amazing activists call themselves feminists and insecure sexists call themselves feminists, too. Which is why this would make for an awesome question; maybe even, “What is a feminist to you?” Would love to bring that back to feminist groups & get their take on how to set the record straight. If they want to at all.

      Also: Just downloaded your final project, FORGIVE THE HARDCORE STALKING RIGHT NOW. Can’t wait to read, you genius. Was this an open project for the Annenberg program? Did you decide to do it on home? That is such a relevant topic, especially cause I was just thinking the other day, I haven’t spent more than 4 months in one place since college started. I’m a freakin’ nomad, too, and I love that you included “in my head” as a home. Tell me mo’ about this!

      K brb, gonna go drown in your videos now. Heart is breaking at you shouting “CIAO BELLO” through the streets of Pisa.
      Give. Me your life.

  2. BRILLIANT idea, Berna. I’m quasi-wasting away in rural Florida and craving things to do right now, too — I feel like what I’m doing at the office just isn’t doing it f or me!

    Permission to steal this idea and modify it for my own intellectual/emotional gain?

    Also… keep your blog posts coming. I like ’em.

    1. Um, hello. Permission to grab the RSS feed of your amazing blog. (Permission ignored. Doing it anyway.)

      Yes, please! You’re already ahead of me, with the documenting of your life in Flo-rida. It would be awesome to share whatever projects we set ourselves to. It’s our mission as journalists, right? Find a story, DAMNIT! Any ideas for what you’ll be “researching”?

  3. Bernadette,

    This is Dan from USC. We haven’t talked in forever. I came across your link through linkedin; you are amazing and inspiring! We should definitely reconnect when you get back. You’ll have an amazing time in NYC – i spent last summer there in Manhattan! And Milan, wow. I’m looking forward to a post where you distill your life knowledge.

    This is a great and relevant topic.

    So to answer your question – one of my biggest questions is the youth perspective on the state of the American Dream – What is the youth story on the American Dream? How do we feel about it? What has been our experience with it (whether through the housing or transit access in our neighborhoods, primary education, ability to be adequately prepared for the workforce) — and from a diverse range of perspectives across race, gender, sexuality, class, immigration status? How do we define it (is it still just about individual responsibility and success, owning a house in the suburbs with a white picket fence or something greater? Do we yearn for a sense of community, an understanding that we have to help others and lift up the Earth in order to help ourselves and reach happiness?) Let me know if this is unclear and if this interests you at all!

    Here’s a little something a graphic designer I’m working with has been working on

    1. Daniel WU! Where have you been, I miss ya! I’m loving your blog, particularly the Awesome Book from your last post. Generally dictates how I want (me and my future kids) to live life. Keep posting, please?
      Also, what were you doing in Manhattan last year? Bestow YOUR knowledge upon ME! I’m such a NY Noob. Any tips on living as cheaply as possible, or must-see/must-eats?

      Hold on. I’m looking at the infographic and my mind is being blown. This is such a great question, to be asked of youth I meet in New York and of youth I meet in Italy — if and what they’ve heard of it. I think one of the defining characteristics of Gen Y is that we’re more apt to throw the good ol’ “American Dream” template out the window; now that we’ve all been encouraged make “following your passion” into a money-wielding reality, I think the new American Dream is simply being able to get exactly what you want, all of it, right away, as unconventional or farfetched as you build it. As you outline in the infographic, I agree in that the new American Dream also involves mad, mad, mad collaboration and life-sharing which is becoming intuitive in our hyper-connected world. We’re an in-between generation, though. It’s our job to figure out what it all means (so that later generations can pick at it, like we’re doing :]).

      This sounds like a project that’s already got wheels, man! Did you start it? Want to spread it? Tell me mo’ about it!

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