Save the “Tiger?”

Earlier this spring, Charlie Sheen, the infamous former star of TV’s “Two and a Half Men,” tweeted that he was on the hunt for an intern with “Tiger’s blood,” and over 70,000 answered the call. One of them was CCNY Ad/PR major Rumi Syed, 21, and he’s outlasted tens of thousands of potential interns to handle Sheen’s social media needs for $10 an hour. As of this writing, he’s made it to round three.

Says MCA social media professor Alicia Evans about Syed: “Rumi was an exceptional student who was always prepared.  His writing skills are excellent and his ability to quickly grasp concepts and apply them to ‘real world’ applications are great. I think it is a marvelous opportunity and will certainly look good on his resume. Rumi will be an asset!”

Here, Reporting and Writing student Candice Green talks to Syed, who lives in Brooklyn, about why he wants to work for the ferocious star and what he plans to do if he gets the internship.

Q: Charlie Sheen is known for being angry, abusive and some might add, psychotic. What encouraged you to still want to intern for him?

Syed: To be honest, it is less about Charlie Sheen and more about crisis management. I feel like his PR team isn’t doing enough to prepare him for the media. Also, I’m hoping this is my one-way ticket to Hollywood; not acting but to become a publicist for other celebrities. I mean who wouldn’t hire me after working for Charlie Sheen?

Q: With all the damage Sheen has placed upon himself, do you honestly feel his PR team could have saved him?

Syed: Yes, his PR team failed to create a strategic crisis management campaign. For example, Sheen is involved in a lot of charity work. He donated to Haiti and now he is donating to the tsunami relief effort in Japan through his talk show tour. How many people know about that? Very few.

Q: What were you looking to get out of this internship?

Syed: Experience, just like every other internship. But I know this one will be different than any other internship. It will be intense, and I doubt I’m prepared enough to take on Charlie Sheen. But I’m pretty confident thanks to CCNY MCA professors, especially Professor [Lynne] Scott-Jackson. She actually helped me prepare for the third round of the internship.

Q: Were you a fan of his prior to his new behavior?

Syed: Definitely, “Platoon” is one of my favorite movies, and that’s way before “Two and a Half Men” came out. And, yes, “Two and a Half Men” just happens to be one of my favorite TV shows.

Q: If you were to meet him, what’s the first thing you would talk with him about?

Syed: Well first, I would get his autograph like a fan. Then maybe ask him what is it that he wants? Maybe he doesn’t want the good guy image but still wants a huge fan base.

Q: How does it feel to make it this far?

Syed: It feels great, and I’m really excited. I mean to be considered good enough out of 74,000 applicants is huge for me! I guess now I am pretty sure that I’m in the right major.

Q: How did your family and close friends feel about you applying for this internship and getting so far?

Syed: Friends were jealous but very supportive, and my mother called all of her co-workers–embarrassing!


Stress Less!

Last month, just before the start of the overheated midterm season, Doreen Thomas (pictured below), outreach coordinator for the CCNY Wellness and Counseling Center, dropped by my 11 AM Introduction to Journalism class. She explained the facts about stress and offered practical suggestions for battling it. 

Using Ms. Thomas’s information and advice, students then wrote articles about the problem they all know so well. Here are two of the best.

Adam Reyes wrote this piece, which includes lots of student interviews, a recent national study and a clever kicker. He loves travel and music and after graduation hopes to be a photo journalist.

City College Students Struggle with Stress by Adam Reyes

During midterms, Noushin Sultana, a City College junior, spent three days without sleeping due to stress and the overload of work her classes give her. “College can really take a toll on you,” says Sultana, 20.

She is not alone.

Every fall during the heat of midterm season, exams and academic work put an enormous amount of pressure on students.  According to a 2009 pull conducted by the Center for the Study of College Student Retention, students say that stress is the biggest life issue that affects their studies.

Students are now finding ways of dealing with stress that can work efficiently for them.  Some handle it by trying to be more organized. “I now find myself writing a checklist of the things I need to get accomplished for my classes,” says 19-year-old Steven Millan, a City College junior. “It allows me to manage my time efficiently and not worry so much.”

Others work out in order to manage anxiety.  “I exercise to relieve college stress,” says Keyonna Hayes, a 21-year-old senior. “Not only do I burn calories, but I get my mind off of school as well.”

Some students use the resources available to them at the Wellness and Counseling Center.  Doreen Thomas, who is an outreach coordinator at the Center, notes, “Anytime anything is affecting anyone negatively, take the step and talk to someone.”

When times get very rough, some students resort to medication.  Lola Daniels, a 21-year-old City College junior admits that, “hell, yeah, college stresses me out! I take pills for stress.”

Candice Green took a positive approach to covering the issue of stress. She wrote about how students battle it back. Candice, a psychology major with a passion for writing, plans to become a middle-school guidance counselor after graduation. (Teenagers need lots of stress-reduction tips!)

Some CCNY Students Are Winning the Battle Against Stress
by Candice Green
Nicole Garcia, 21, a junior at the City College of New York, is excited about taking back-to-back midterm exams for her five classes. “Two years ago I used to dread this moment and was ready to drop out of school,” she jokes. “But I learned to prepare myself ahead of time, so now my midterms are nothing for me to stress out about.” 

Garcia has gotten her stress under control, unlike many of her classmates. CCNY students are in the midst of the most overwhelming time of the year—midterm week–and filled with anxiety. So what has gotten Garcia so relaxed? She took advantage of a stress management workshop sponsored by CCNY’s Wellness and Counseling Center. Garcia uses the techniques now whenever she gets stressed. “It surprisingly works!” she says.

Doreen Thomas, outreach coordinator for the Wellness Center, offered some specific techniques for students to remain relaxed before taking midterms or whenever stress arises. “One relaxation strategy is deep breathing,” she explained recently, as she demonstrated the exercise to a class of journalism students. “An emotional technique is expressing yourself; feelings are energy.”

Students should also try to identify exactly what gets them stressed before their big exams and figure out ways to help decrease these factors. “We should ask ourselves what is affecting us and how?” said Thomas.

Jeffrey Williams, a 19-year-old sophomore, also attended a workshop provided by the center. When asked what triggered the most stress and how he plans to handle it, Williams said, “Having so many exams all at the same time is stressful, but I try not to think about that and study harder on the subjects I don’t feel that confident about.” He also mentioned listening to his iPod prior to taking his exams to help his mind to relax, a strategy also suggested by the Wellness Center as a relaxation technique.

Kevin Goldberg, 20, a junior, says he’s stressed and wished he had made the time to learn some of the Center’s techniques. “Right about now I could use any advice to keep me sane during midterms” he said. “And the stress only gets worse for finals.”