Simon Fraser University

Co-op term in the Big Apple

May 16, 2002 , vol. 24, no. 2

By Trevor Howes
It's been almost a year since communication major Trevor Howes completed his final co-op term at buzz, a public relations firm in New York City. Here, Trevor, who graduates June 6, shares excerpts from his Big Apple diary.

Jan. 10, 2001
It started when I asked that ever important question: “So what is it you do?” [and] found out the person I was talking to worked for the Fox news network in Manhattan and had connections all over the place. A year later I was on a plane on New Year's Eve, heading towards the city that never sleeps. (It really doesn't.)

The people at buzz are awesome. Their client list is growing and it has been less than a year since their start-up. Tomorrow is a big meeting with a potential client. It is one of those make-it-or-break-it opportunities.
I have to get over my fear of cold-calling the media and pitching our clients' services and stories. This is a big part of my job. So far I don't feel I am very good at it.

The office is totally cool. Very industrial. There is an elevator man for our building that has a total of five floors, right in the middle of Chinatown. We are on the fifth floor. There is also a unisex bathroom with an opaque glass sliding door.

Jan. 13
1854 Seventh Ave. apt. 1B.
I am frustrated. The room I am subletting needs to be STERILIZED. I will just have to buy big bottles of Lysol and use some good old-fashioned elbow grease. Oh the joys of New York city. (No bugs so far though.) But the rent is cheap for New York standards and I don't think I'll be at home that much anyway.
    I'm sure it will be great.
    I hope it will be great.
    I'm not so sure.

Jan. 18
We signed a new client today. Our first job is to announced that they were just funded for $45 million U.S. It will be up to us to write press releases and target their wish list publications, which include the Wall Street Journal, to get media hits.

Yesterday I went to a Cuban restaurant. Had a Cuban sandwich and it was delicious. Got to LOVE co-op.

Jan. 29
Live to the point of tears (Camus).
Looking for a birthday card tonight and came across this quote. It is the way I think life should be. (Do I really do everything with all my heart and mind? I'm not so sure.)
Will I make it through these three months? I hope so.

Jan. 31
Last night, (a bunch of friends) went to a club called Vinyl. It was so much fun. They don't serve alcohol, but it didn't matter. We drank an energy drink called Red Bull. We were dancing from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. The music was fantastic and the crowd was great to look at.

The moment I was dreading finally came. Bugs. Not just any bug though. I came home and started getting ready to go to bed. When I went into the washroom, I heard something moving around in the bathtub. Paranoid, I slowly opened the shower curtain and - yep - a nice big cockroach. So I asked my roommate to kill it.

Feb. 10
I really hope I don't run out of money. Maybe this trip will actually be good for my notorious spending habits.

Feb. 19
If I see that awful Burberry tartan one more time, I'm going to go nuts. There is something so ugly about it, and so many people have it, either on their scarf or hat or pants. Perhaps if only one of two people had it…I'm going crazy. Is this city getting to me?

I took a picture with the Twin Towers in the distance: my favorite buildings.
There are too many people in this city. We are privileged to live in Canada. So much space - so wonderful.
I'm thinking of getting a tattoo.

Feb. 20
Today I am in a bad mood. This city is so big and I feel like I don't have any friends and that I am not doing a good job at work. Sometimes it seems as if image is too important in this city. At work, at home, at play…enough is enough.

I need to develop a thicker skin when it comes to work. I think co-op is good for that. We all try not to make mistakes, but when they happen all we can do is learn from them and try not to take them too seriously. We are on a steep learning curve on any co-op job, especially when the job is only one term.

On a lighter note, this is the best lemon tea I've ever had.
Thinking about you mom…love you.

March 9
I was at work alone today and got a lot accomplished. I wrote a press release and sent it to reporters. I just bit the bullet and did it. And it was even picked up which is a very good thing.

I also installed IKEA furniture at work today. Oh the life of a co-op student.
I treasure my new friends at buzz.

March 10
There is a guy across the table from me - I think he is a Russian spy. He just phoned someone and was speaking Russian. Intriguing. In New York, anything is possible.

There is just under a month left at work and I feel as if I'm already starting to wind things down. That's the disadvantage of a one-term co-op job. As soon as you settle into your job -- off you go. Especially when you work in a different city.

March 22
I could never imagine growing up in NYC. Too crazy, too many emotions, too many temptations.

I had a great day at work today. Found out I'm going to be in PR Week, an international public relations publication. I hope it does buzz well by giving them some exposure. It's nice to leave New York on this note.

My goodness this cappuccino is so strong. It's making my tongue numb. Oh my - there is a little man across the table from me bouncing up and down to the music in the background. Sometimes I wonder what I would be like if I lived in this city for more than a few months.

March 24
The clouds are so grey and ominous. They hover over all the buildings and create an artificial darkness. It is only 6 p.m.

March 25
I am going to miss New York, but only parts of it. The Big Cup, the subways, the restaurants, the sunny days, Soho, Tribeca, my roommates, my friends, work, the hustle and bustle (but only the kind when people don't get in your way - rather you are flowing flawlessly with the thousands of others on the streets or in the stores). Okay, so this is a great city.

The morning of Sept. 11, my favorite buildings in New York City collapsed before my eyes. Live. Ironically, the very last day of my New York city adventure, I hopped on the subway to visit the World Trade Center for the first time. I remember lying on the ground in between each building - the sun was warm on my face - and shooting an entire roll of film. Eight months have passed, and I still think about my time in New York City every day.