Tag Archives: College

Hacking Vegas ($)

As you may remember from a few posts ago, Derek and I had the brilliant idea of making a trip to Vegas while we were in San Francisco.

Well, it happened.

And it was an incredible time.

I’m going to share some of our gained knowledge on how to “hack” Vegas, and possibly come out with more money than you flew in with … Just kidding. If you choose to gamble, the odds are quite against you and your soon-to-be-empty pockets.

“The House always wins.”

But — there are easy ways to make your trip virtually inexpensive.

First let’s talk about flights and hotel-stay. When you book a flight through Expedia, there are a series of “package” options to choose from. By booking a flight AND a hotel at the same time, these package deals are generally a better steal than booking each separately. I found a flight to Vegas for less than $120 on Expedia via Spirit airlines (watch out for the checked-bag fees), and with that I began going through all the hotels that had those package deals available. I ended up booking a room at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino for two nights, and my total was $200 … Flight included! Granted, the Hardrock is about a mile off the strip, but compared to similiarly-priced hotels in the area, the HR was definitely the nicest.

Transportation: A mile-long cab ride could easily amount to $10+ with the initial surcharge and Vegas traffic, so take advantage of staying on the Strip (It’s a lot of walking, considering each enormous hotel is about a half-mile long, but it’s doable. Especially at night, when it’s cooler) If staying off the Strip, like me, then take advantage of the free bus or shuttle services that take you to the Strip. The HR had one, and other hotels in the area usually do as well.

Wining and dining: A Long Island Ice Tea cost me about $20 in a club… so if you’re not trying to drop $100 in a single club, take advantage of the many liquor stores around and make drinks in your hotel room. A beer at a pool party cost me more than $10, but the same beer (and about triple the size) was sold at the Walgreens next door for $3. Luckily the lack of open container laws allow one to drink as they please, wherever they please. I made the mistake of wanting to order fancy drinks while I was out … Not worth it.

Oh, you also drink free while you gamble, even if you’re just sitting at a slot machine. But it takes a while for the waitress to come around and then another while for her to bring you your drink, so, if patience isn’t your virtue, bring your own.

Getting into clubs/day parties: Go to this site, and sign yourself up. I was skeptical at first, thinking it could not be that easy to get my name on a guest list. I mean really, who am I? But the process was surprisingly efficient. You simply sign up, choose the clubs/parties you want to go to and you’re name is put on a guest list, which allows you to skip the line and enter for free! Once you arrive in Vegas, you will get a text message and/or email from a promoter, explaining what time(s) you should arrive and what to say at the door. It works. I went to Pure‘s rooftop club (which is now apparently closed from renovations, at Caesar’s Palace), which had free drinks for ladies until midnight, and the Marquee day party at the Cosmopolitan through this site.

As for gambling… stay off the penny slots. They’ll really get you. And if you sit at a Blackjack table, good luck getting up.


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Summer for a student journalist: Struggle Edition.

With four days left in the semester, there is one thing on everyone’s mind: summer.

But for that segment of the student population that call themselves journalism majors, something else gets in the way of summer-time thoughts: internships.

As a journalism student, the biggest asset to a resume, besides a degree, is internship experience. For those that aren’t aware, the internship battle field — and yes, I call it a battle field — is highly competitive. By competitive I mean thousands of journalism students with more than enough clips, reputable internships, stellar GPAs and a list of extracurricular activities are applying for the same two positions within the same one organization. This happens over and over and over again, until all the spots are filled.

In total, I’ve applied for 22 internships across the country. I started applying in December, which is surprisingly later than most deadlines (the deadline for a summer internship with the New York Times is Oct. 31). Here’s a partial list of what the organizations I applied to:

Trust me, the list goes on. After realizing that my chances of getting a paid internship were slim to none, I started applying for unpaid positions. These, however, are limited to where I already live. Without a paycheck, I can’t afford to pay rent in a city like New York. Fortunately for me, my home is now in San Francisco, so that’s not an awful Plan B.

I’ve applied to six internships in SF ranging from social media to editorial positions. I began following up on my applications this week (something we all should do more often), and I was simply told to wait.

That’s what it’s been like: a waiting game. I check my email about three times every ten minutes. My most recent searches involve the word “internship” in some way or another.

I’m a firm believer that if you try hard enough, you’ll achieve your dreams. Yes — It’s sappy, corny and cliché, but it keeps me going. I decided to change my major to journalism four semesters ago. Since then, I’ve secured three internships.  I wasn’t chosen for those positions by chance. I’ve been putting my heart and soul (excuse the sappy clichés again, sorry) into this major since I chose it. 

“Keep trying. Keep at it. Don’t give up.”

That’s the general consensus between editors and professors alike. So, to other student journalists that share this boat with me, I leave you with one piece of advice:

Let’s listen to them.

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