Doing What She Loves

When you first sit down with Samantha De Victoria, one of the first if not the first questions she’ll ask you, is “When is your birthday?” With this, you’ll immediately see her mother’s influence in her life. Being raised by a mother who is “really into spirits” in a Feng Shui home, and the owner of Italian rocks that ward off evil, it’s easy to see why Sam is a free spirit. Sam’s mother first introduced astrology into Sam’s life by giving her, “Aquarius Annual Guide to the Stars”. Sam has since bought it yearly and reads it daily.

Sam acknowledges that astrology is powerful and uses it as a guide to romantic relationships. Her mother’s prediction that the relationship between Sam and her Ex-Boyfriend would fail, was the start of Sam “hating Virgos.” Her mother’s prediction proved to be true and Sam vowed to stay far away from them because she “doesn’t get along with them at all.”

I’m a Virgo, and I was a little uneasy when I first became aware of Sam’s hatred for my kind. This feeling quickly disappeared as I got to know Sam a little better. I found out that we both have best friends named Katrina and that we even go to the same mall, myself to shop and Sam to get a feeling of “happiness”.

You can find Sam at X-Sport Fitness in Roosevelt Field Mall at least two times a week. She works up a sweat and completes a strenuous work. She excitedly states that “After an hour on the treadmill, I just feel-happy!” “My trainer said that it’s the endorphins.” You would think that Sam worked out more than two times a week because she seems to be happy all the time. This is easy to see by her contagious friendly easy going smile.

Aside from exercise, Sam’s other source of happiness comes from doing what she “loves” at the Joseph Christopher Salon and Spa. She’s come a long way from cutting her friends hair in Pre-School. She’s “always loved it.” That’s why she went onto beauty school, graduated from there, and “trained for two whole years, before getting her own chair at Joseph Christopher.”.

The art of making people look good, runs in Samantha’s family. Both of her grandmothers were beauticians , but don’t call Sam one. “I’m not a Beautician, Beautician seems trashy, I’m a Stylist,” she proudly stated. She quickly corrected me because it seemed as if I was undermining all her hard work. Sam just wont have it!

Sam is so proud of her occupation and accomplishments and the fact that she gets to do what she loves. When asked if she would give up her career as a Stylist, if the stars told her to choose her another path, she boldly responded “No.” “I love what I do and no one and nothing can change that.” See, there’s a method to her madness.

Samantha trusts her mother’s influence and astrology to aid her when it comes to relationships. On the other hand , Sam and Sam alone are the ultimate decision makers when it comes to her dreams. Though she may seem a little superstitious at first, Sam is actually a grounded -free spirit. She’s an average teenager who is following her heart and doing whatever it takes to pursue her dreams.

Unlike most of us, Sam found her passion early. Her earliest and most fond memory of cutting hair, was one from kindergarten. Sam spent a week in detention for cutting a fellow classmates long hair, after they refused to let her borrow a pencil.

The journey of “fixing train wrecks” started over a decade ago, and Sam is hoping to continue, ultimately until she can work for Public Relations with Redken. She’s currently attending Nassau Community College to get an “edge” over the competition. Same hopes her college education along with all her work cutting hair and styling up-dos for wedding brides, will eventually pay off.

–Brittney W.

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America: The Land of Opportunity

Four years ago Ozzy Gezer moved to the United States from Istanbul, Turkey at the ripe age of 21. When asked what pushed him to leave behind his parents, younger brother and sister he said, “The schools are easier. Professors are more friendly.” He also pointed out that, “It’s easier to make money here.” Easy must be taken relatively. Ozzy currently supports himself and his education by way of a job at a gas station. Although that is not the most glamorous of jobs, clearly Ozzy does not need to have an ideal job to be happy. A familiar sentiment to many immigrants to this country.

A friend of Ozzy’s, also an immigrant from Turkey, currently owns several gas stations and earns a 6-figure salary. Examples like this are what allow Ozzy to dream big with an open mind. In an ideal world he would be making movies and working to move back to his friends and family in Turkey. However, he has worked hard maximize his opportunities in the future.

Currently taking his final semester of courses at Nassau Community College, Ozzy will be moving closer to Manhattan later this month. This is so he can transfer to Hunter College where he can obtain a Bachelors degree in Mass Media. Meanwhile, he has maintained an internship at Ch. 29 Telicare with the simple goal of learning whatever he can. His work at Ch. 29 ranges from being a camera man, to assisting with production to even making copies. He is thankful that he has the opportunity to learn and possibly receive a recommendation for a future job.

All of this is being supported by nothing but his job managing a gas station in Far Rockaway. Ozzy flatly noted that last week he worked 55 hours. I was floored, how can a person take two compressed summer courses as well as work 55 hours a week without going insane? “I worked 18 hours on Sunday.” he said. Ozzy clearly is not afraid of putting the time and effort required to accomplish everything he dreams of.

I was skeptical regarding why he would leave his family behind to start a career, and upon further questioned I discovered another reason behind his decision. Military service is required of all males ages 20 to 41. However, there are ways to delay the length of service as well as lessen the extent of danger one will be exposed to. By pursuing a four-year degree here in the United States, Ozzy is given until he is 29 to begin his service. Furthermore, said service is lessened in length to 12 months, from 15, and most importantly, he serves as a reserve officer instead of a private. This is the most crucial difference, due to present tensions with the Kurdish both in Turkey as well as in northern Iraq (which borders Turkey) privates can be thrust into the front lines at any time.

Ozzy Gezer moved here four years ago on a mission: to obtain a bachelors degree, and to lay the groundwork for a promising career in a field that can both make him happy and earn good money. Both of which allows him to keep himself out of harms way during his military service. Ozzy’s determination, work ethic, and optimism for the future make him living proof that the “American Dream” is still alive and well, and an inspiration to all of us.

–Brian R.

Real (Estate) Work Ethic

This is how he’ll do it
by Adam Michaelson

On a typical summer day, Jared Albaum has the fullest of full schedules. With class and any of three different jobs, his plate is often more than full. After our interview in class today he has to run off to work until the late night. As he explains his days and routines, a look of modesty is on his face. It is quite clear that he means and feels what he says.

Jared was born in the winter of 1987 in Woodmere, New York. It was at home that he learned the true value of hard work and strong morals. His father, a sales representative for a major watch company, has always been an extremely hard worker to be able to live comfortably while supporting his wife and two sons. “I want to achieve what he’s achieved…to follow in his footsteps, in a way.” Jared says as he leans back and is clearly contemplating the steps to get there.

Throughout the summer, Jared holds three separate jobs; he is the valet manager for Bridgewater Catering hall, an electrician’s apprentice, and runs his own car detailing business. When asked about his valet job, Jared will probably grin a bit while thinking of his more interesting experiences. He laughs as he tells me of the time he thought he had lost someone’s car keys but after forty-five minutes of searching, he finally found them…in his pocket. When pressed for a bit more, Jared leans in and smirks before he explains how he taught himself to drive a manual transmission on a random customer’s car. His other two jobs, he explains, are to keep himself busy with work and to earn plenty of money for the school year. “I’ve got a strong work ethic, I know that,” he explained in a recent phone interview, “and I know I’ll just be rewarding myself in the future,”

In the fall, Jared will be returning to the University of Buffalo for his third college year. He rather enjoys it up there, and the experience at a college far from home has given him a new relationship with his mother. Before leaving, Jared and his mother had a fairly standard mother-son relationship; as in, they shared few, if any, hobbies and, therefore, did not spend as much time together as Jared did with his father and brother. The distance, however, sparked something in both of them. As the year went on and Jared and his mother exchanged phone calls for things like general advice, help with work, or even just to talk, they built a bond much stronger than was there before.

Once finished with college, a career in real estate is in Jared’s sights. He hopes to draw from his father’s lifelong experience in sales and marketing to meet and exceed his own goals. Jared hopes to one day own a Ferrari F430 Spyder in a bright white pearl finish, although he’s happy settling with his white Ford Mustang GT, for now. Throughout his entire life, cars have always been one of Jared’s top interests. Once again learning from his father, Jared would often take visits to car dealerships and car shows with his father and brother. This cultivated an interest and passion for anything and everything automotive for both Jared and his younger brother, Elan.

After a series of in-person and telephone interviews, it is clear that Jared Albaum has what it takes. He is motivated by his father, his peers, and the world itself. Although he may work five times as hard as most other twenty year olds, he shows no signs of ever slowing down or giving up. Sure, Jared, still has a long way to go before getting his dream car, but he’ll probably get his a few years before the rest of us.

A Mcgill Student

I want to introduce you probably one of the youngest and shiest students in the classroom who was graduated from high school Great Neck last spring. He is not talkative as other students in class, but I think it will be hard to see him angry or screaming to someone, because he was smiling during the three interviews. I am talking about Brain Rubinton who is 18 years old from Great Neck.

 

This is his first time in Nassau Community College and is not going to register for fall. It is because Brain is a very smart and hardworking student and so, Mcgill University which is also known Harvard of Canada, would like see him as one of their students for the next semester. For some students it will be hard to accepted to Mcgill, but not for Brain. He had 3.6 GPA in high school and it aimed him to be accepted to Mcgill which he will be studying economics.

 

I was wondering why a long Island boy wanted to study out of country. As far as I talked to the other long Island students, they are very happy to be in long island. “I wanted to be far from my house. If I wasn’t accepted to Mcgill, I would probably go to suny Binghamton” said Brain with a smiling face. He was really interested to global economy after taking U.S history in the high school.

 

Brain Rubinton needs six credits from English department for his bachelor degree. He is already taking English 101 but, I wondered why an economic student is in the same classroom with me who is majoring communications. Brain had the same feeling as most students in the classroom. “This course should be fun.” he said.

 

I had a chance to talk many different topics during three interviews, but most interesting topics were “Iraq issue” and especially “Election 2008” which I filmed a short documentary in NCC. As we all know, Barack Obama has influence on young generation especially, college students. Bryan is one of his supporters and he sees no doubt that Barack Obama will be the next president. “American citizens are seriously frustrated of the republicans and we have been in cold war almost eight years.” said Brain. “Mccain is old and he talks totally different when he was independent. He changed because he just wanted to be the next president.”

 

When I remind him how other counties of residents especially, European countries dislike American politics such as Iraq invasion, he summarized probably what most New York residents say. “We don’t like it too. There should be many ways to do it but not like this.”

 

After I had very decent conversations on various topics, I think he is going to be successful what he is studying. It is because economics is related to politics which he has a lot to say.

–Ozzy G.

Arts and Education

Making money is usually the number one priority for most people. Interestingly enough, John Grasso has spent most of his life focusing on his first love, music. I immediately saw an ambitious and creative person who was willing to understand and accept the differences in others. John truly “wowed” me with his dedication to the arts and his vow to entertaining, guiding, and educating special education teenagers.

Aside from Johns’ caring willingness to help others, he has practiced music to the best of his abilities. John has dedicated most of his life to learning, composing, and practicing music. According to John it “doesn’t matter” what kind of music genre it is, as long as it’s melodic beats, rhythm, and  sounds come together to create an amazing tune. When asked, what makes him a good musician? He simply stated Dedication, Desire and Determination. He believes he has all three to keep perfecting his material. Through much practice John has already perfected what some people thrive to accomplish. He is able to play an array of instruments from the piano, drum and guitar to beat mixing and learning basic skills with his turntable. He explains “He doesn’t need anyone’s help either when it comes to putting together the track, arranging it, mixing it, compressing or mastering it. John like many other young male adults has been extremely influenced by rap legends like Jay-Z, Snoop Dog, and Dr. Dre, but has also looked up to American rock bands like Maroon Five. Until now, he has come to believe that there is no place for him on stage and the majority of his musical work is producing and writing creative music. Currently John is extremely happy where he is at musically and says “He has received a lot of reviews from people who have heard it.” He states “When you see someone’s eyes light up because of something you put together and is so much a part of you, the feeling can’t be beat.

Still one question was on my mind. Did John ever think about becoming a music teacher? He replied NO. He said he was once in a music class at Nassau Community College and felt “Stuck out, like a sore thumb.” To him the class has no variety, mainly just focusing on jazz and classical music.

 John instantly grasped my attention when he said he wanted to become a special education teacher for “different” teens. He explained that he has an infinite amount of compassion and willingness to help handicap teens to achieve academic success. In his words he believes “Communication is key, to ensure a child’s well-being.” With this in mind I immediately sought out some questions to really capture what John is trying to “achieve” through teaching handicap students. When asked, what (in his perspective) what would he find to be the most challenging part of teaching? He said “Just trying to get out of character” because special education teachers need to be very focused in understanding  a persons needs and wants, but overall he say that his character is not going to change because he feels he “has no control over that.” He states “I just know that I’ve questioned myself in the past and I always land on my feet.” John believes that one thing will make him a good teacher, his personality. John explains, his “People skills” come naturally to him and through his love for teaching he is excited to share and express himself with students. Although John has no experience with handicap teens, he believes “Everyone does want to learn, and if you don’t want to learn you don’t want to grow.”

John is also part of the many people who love comedy. He is deeply inspired by a mixture or surreal stories whether about him or his many friends. In the future he would like his debut solo sitcom to feature a good friend’s father. When asked why? He said because “he’s just so funny”. Some of his many comedic inspirations range from comedic performers like Dave Chappelle to Martin Lawrence.  John admits that he likes to “make people feel better”, whether it is with comedy or his witty, confident, down to earth personality.

All in all, John ambitious and creative ways have greatly inspired him to achieve any goal he sets his kind to. His caring and understanding determination to help “special” teens came clear when speaking with him. He has dedicated his life to pleasing other whether it is musically or through communication. Through communication and entertainment he plans to motivate others and himself.

 

  Raquel Ortega   

         

A new person i met

Meeting new people is a necessity of the college experience and recently it has been no different from than any other interaction.  I sat down an interviewed a young woman by the name of Laura and from question one I knew I was talking to someone fresh and different.  My first question was an icebreaker, which happened to be what is your favorite color, which she said, was Lila.  I wouldn’t say there is one phrase or word that could describe her but if I could I would say that she dances to the beat of her own drum.  Literally she is a dancer with over at least ten years of experience.  She told me that early in her life she would dance to country music with her grandmother.  Laura comes from a line of dancers such as her mother who is a dancer just as her grandmother was.  Dance is a very important part of her life as she said that stage is the dancers canvass as well as that mixing together costumes, movements and music all make for a great performance.

There is not just dance to this young woman but a deep cultural respect for the arts, which she helps write in the Nassau Community college newspaper.   The arts section reflects upon music, art and any other creative expression that she feels she wants to put into the paper.  Writing seems second nature for this girl who not only reports on the news but also writes emotions and feelings into a journal.  Laura told me that she has a journal that she has wrote since she was a very young girl.  She said that it started out being her writing about her day from time to time than progressed into poetic rhythm about her life and the world around her.

When asked about a future career she came out and said creative arts therapy.  I learned that creative arts therapy is using music, art, dance and ECT to sooth patients who are going through rehabilitation.  Laura felt that sometimes its hard to put statements and words into form and that it is easier to progress if there is some kind of music around or anything creative that could start the flow of ideas or healing.  Another part of Laura emerged from my questioning one who was concerned for her fellow man and wanted to make a mark on society,

Finally my last question which was how would you spend your perfect day.  For most people it has many different answers but hers sounded very tranquil and that it reflected the kind of person she was.  First after a very long and refreshing sleep she would go to a dance studio and take a dance class. Secondly she would then go to a café and spend time reading and talking with some of the most important people she knew.  Lastly she told me she would wish that her day would have at least 48 hours in it so she could anything and everything she would want to do.
-Matthew Fischofer

Heart and Seoul

Upon entering the summer class of news reporting and writing I encountered a personable young man who is my classmate. His name is Adam Michaelson. He is a twenty-year old Korean American born on April 16, 1988. Adam was born in South Korea and spent the first four months of his young life in a foster home. At four months old, an American couple adopted Adam through an agency called New Beginnings. The adoptive parents were happy with a photograph of baby Adam. He became part of an American family where he would be cherished forever, as is an older Korean sister named Sarah, who was adopted into the Michaelson family prior to Adam. His medical background is an enigma. He has traced his biological mother, but does not communicate with her.

The Family of four live in Roslyn Heights. Joanne, is Adam’s fifty-six year old Italian American mother. She is a registered nurse. Keith, is Adam’s fifty-eight year old Jewish-American father. He is a computer analyst for Northrup Grumman. This family unit would fit the description as an upper-middle class of a high socioeconomic level. Adam was Bar-Mitzvahed at Temple Sinai in Roslyn, which brings him into the Jewish faith. Traditionally, Sunday is family day. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and the immediate family have a festive dinner together, usually an Italian meal.

Adam has many interests, which serve him well. A few of his interests emanate from spending valuable family time. For example, his woodworking skills enable him to create bookcases, and other wood furniture. It seems that Adam’s interests have inspired him to perfect his passion for photography. In 1999, Adams late uncle gave him an Olympus OM-1 35 millimeter camera; His fondness for his uncle awakened a hobby, which would blossom with time. Adam combined his love for photography with his involvement with exotic cars. Adam’s favorite car is a Porsche Carrera GT3, White with green interior. In 2005 an acquaintance in the car club in which he belongs afforded him the contact, which enabled him to promote and publish his work in S3 magazine and on cardomain.com, both popular car enthusiast outlets.

Adam Michaelson is an assistant to wedding photographers. “Often I feel like I noticed things that others would overlook and that is one of the main things driving me as a photographer to capture that moment, and share it with the world”.

As a young person interested in his future as well as world conditions Adam expresses concern about many issues. As with most young people the war in Iraq has become a very important subject. “The continuing Iraqi war has affected our economy and the elevated gas prices which impact everyday life. We are now limited by an inflated economy. The end of this recession is not yet in sight. The war has ended the lived of many young soldiers and that becomes a tragedy for all times”

After the brief time I have had the pleasure of getting to know this young man and his youthful, but wise insight as to the complexities of war, economics, and politics. I learned from him a new perspective on life. His views, his understandings are something for me to emulate. I look forward to engaging in future communication and friendship. It seems that he has peaked in me a new interest that I have a desire to continue or enhance from our relationship. It was enlightening and refreshing to see that people of different origins can blend into a united family.