Welcome to Everything But The Bagel, a weekly space to make you feel a little less stressed, and a little more grounded, just with writing instead of cream cheese. By diving deeper into the reality of life as a (remote) Trojan, Everything But The Bagel will help you get through the ups and downs of your college experience. Through relatable anecdotes, interviews, and my curated edit of recommendations, this newsletter will remind you that you are at this school for a reason, further helping you make the most of your time at 'sc.

Dear Beautiful, Imperfect, Intelligent Humans,

Happy Wednesday! With 13 days until the highly anticipated Presidential Election, we don’t have a second to spare. So let’s get right into it.

From one browser window to the next, all of those bullets on the bottom of our to-do lists have suddenly floated to, well, the top. To be completely honest here –– LinkedIn profiles can be edited during lectures and side hustles can be pursued as we snack. But you already know this –– we have already spent paragraphs talking about all things boundaries.

Most specifically, I am talking about ambition. Even in a remote-learning world, USC attracts students who put in the work. Our peers are building start ups, signing record deals and making a name for themselves whether it be on stage or behind a screen. And while it is incredibly inspiring to go to school in the shark tank-esque environment that we do, it can get overwhelming –– and fast. Which is why I wanted to talk to someone with more life experience than I about doing the work, all while making it enjoyable and not taking yourself too seriously.

Sophie Flay is a former Trojan and currently works as a Community Journalist at ABC7 where she closely covers a few different communities in East LA. Flay is the brains behind The Rundown, USC’s short-form weekly news show, and is an accomplished digital content creator. But while she was (and still is) incredibly ambitious, Flay made it her prerogative to cultivate a healthy work-life balance during her time at Annenberg. She explains that, “I think it’s hard because USC is such an amazing place in the sense that they want you to explore all of your interests. It really helps make you feel like the world is your oyster.” But Flay recognizes that USC’s rigorous academic environment can quickly become a pressure cooker.

“Our parents would like us to think like, okay, school comes first. And that if you make school your priority, you can time it all out pretty easily.” But Flay knows as well as anyone that this balance can become hard to handle when you add the plethora of extracurricular opportunities that USC offers in addition to a social life that begs our engagement, tempting us to ignore previous priorities.

But Flay highlighted something that I often overlook. She reminded me that, believe it or not, our Professors have lives, too. In reminiscing on her days as a Trojan, Flay remembers her Professors being, “the best in the world and very understanding. They probably have other jobs. So many of them are still working in their career and are balancing their time, too,” which she says works to the student’s advantage, modeling that school isn’t and shouldn’t be our whole life.

According to Flay, it comes down to “figuring out what the priority is. It’s about talking it out with someone, whether it’s a teacher or an advisor, and just figuring out what works. Asking them, is it smart for me to take on this internship this semester? Or should I, you know, just stick to what my volunteer work at school?” Having those question-oriented conversations and that support system is everything, says Flay, because we all “push ourselves to the extreme,” so it’s important to have people that you know can help you navigate the balance.

Having a drive also tends to come with a type of ego or professionalism that is intimidating and, one could even argue, unnecessary. I know I have struggled with working at the pre-professional, fast-paced Media Center while still maintaining my identity as a carefree college kid. While Flay assured me that being professional is always a good way to go, she also reminds bagelers that, “being professional doesn’t mean you have to be cold,” as she made a point to emphasize that you can do the work while keeping it light and friendly. That way, you are more enjoyable to be around, which makes the work a better experience for everyone. Including you.

And as I always like to say, especially when I find myself needing a deep breath or two, the work always gets done.

Wishing you all a week full of balance, appreciation, and laughter––lots of laughter

-Ella

Now here’s some of my favorite things from this week:

Quote of the Week:
“You should never have to set yourself on fire to keep someone else warm”-Timothee Chalamet

Quote Analysis

The Call Me By Your Name actor does make a point here. Believe it or not, we can actually apply the same rules of a healthy work-life balance to that of an energy balance. I always come back to this quote when I feel like I am giving energy to others that I don’t already have in store. Just like a car can’t drive with an empty tank of gas, you shouldn’t have to give more than you have to help others. You should be your number one priority –– always.

Digest of the Week

Politics, man.

With less than two weeks until the 2020 election, I think we all need to take it upon ourselves to not only vote, but to know about the form and function of our political climate, to know how our vote is being counted and what our vote will mean for the next four years.

Here are some sources that I go to for the latest political breakdown.

Known for providing “news, not noise,” former White House Correspondent Jessica Yellin breaks down the news you need to know in an engaging and comprehensive way.

This wonderful website focuses on opinion polls and out-of-box analysis when it comes to politics specifically.

One of the first things we learn as Journalism students is the importance of Twitter –– it’s where the news breaks and where people go for news. Here are three Journalists that I follow to help me make sense of our overwhelming political climate:

Rachel Maddow –– Host of the Rachel Maddow Show on MSNBC

Mike Allen –– Co-Founder of Axios and Co-Founder of Politico

Lisa Lerer –– New York Times/CNN Political Analyst

Something I am working on this week:

Reminding myself to think about social media like sunscreen.

In many areas of life, we like to project our struggles onto other people, places and things. But when it comes to social media and our activity on each platform, we often like to play the blame game. But what we often forget is that we signed up for these apps. We made our usernames and our passwords. How much time we spend on these accounts each day is a choice, although it often doesn’t feel like one. I like to use a sunscreen analogy when thinking about digital wellness. When we go to the beach on a sunny day, we know to put on sunscreen (or at least we know we should.) We know that if we want to expose ourselves to the sun and its damaging UV rays, we need to protect ourselves and our skin. The same goes for social media. When we use these platforms, it is our responsibility to protect ourselves from the collateral damage these apps can have down the line.

Question of the Week:

Every week, I welcome any questions or concerns you may have that could spark discussion/ bring awareness to our community. I will respond to the best of my ability, consulting outside scientific resources to answer them to the best of my ability. Just click here to ask your question! And just remember: No question is a dumb one. If you have it, I’m sure many members of our community have the same one!

Story Ideas? Questions? Need a Hug? Write to me here:

ellakatz@usc.edu on EMAIL

@srirachamayoenthusiast on INSTA

@ellakatz20 on TWITTER