My post-grad life actually started in the final days of January 2013.
Determined to finish my final semester at VCU on a high note, a 3.5 grade point average attested to that, and making it on the Dean’s List for the first time in my life confirmed how much I’ve matured over the last four years.
Acknowledging the fact that my college years were coming to a close, I applied to jobs earlier than most of my fourth-year peers to get an early headstart. About sixty jobs, I think? The hunt was a grueling chase, writing cover letter after cover letter strengthened my patience.
On top of the job searching process, I juggled Senior class assignments and projects, wrote for two publications at VCU (the Blacksheep Journal and The Commonwealth Times), retyped NFL.com articles for more practice, blogged, performed at open mics, and filmed VCU Basketball games and practices. Whenever the laptop was connected to the T.V. (HDMI cable), NFL Network was streaming in the background.
Scatterbrained? A bit. Goal-driven.
May rolled around as did a throng of rejection letters. What hurt more than them informing me that I couldn’t, was my mother’s dissatisfiction after my graduation ceremony. She’s pushy, saying that I should’ve been done with school three years ago. Moms are always right, but it pained me nonetheless.
I applied to a few more positions after May 11, NFL Films being one of them. The Producer position enticed me most.
As a Producer intern, I would learn the NFL Films style of storytelling and perpetuate Mr. Steve Sabol’s vision. The opportunity of a lifetime for any avid NFL follower.
When checking your bank account, expect to be surprised. I’m in dire need of money and I formed a bad habit of transferring funds from my credit card to my debit. Cash advances cost an extra $10? No problem…
With two and a half years of restaurant experience, I decided that applying to the food and beverage industry would make the most sense. I rented a bike every other day and rode to Kitchen 64, Osaka, Tarrant’s, Bistro 27, Three Monkeys, Sticky Rice, Can-Can, Mellow Mushroom and a high-end diner in Carytown. No response.
If you know me, you know where I stay, and how ridiculous it was for me to bike to some of those places.
This is something that you shouldn’t be doing too often. 24 hours. That’s how long you’re allowed to rent out a VCU road bike. During the day, I’d write and edit and submit my articles to FootballNation.com, then apply to those places aforementioned. After sunset, I figured it wouldn’t hurt my chances to explore the city and check out RVA’s night life.
There’s a method to it. Everyday, a different bar. Happy hour here, open mic there. I chatted with new people and indulged myself to the practice of having an engaging conversation without stepping on a stranger’s toes. More importantly, I focused on talking to a diverse group of men and women without bringing up “football.”
If they broached the topic, then so be it. Other than that, football was the forbidden fruit to not be touched for four hours.
I received numbers. I gave mine out. What mattered is what we did with the ten digits afterwards: stayed in touch.
After no callbacks, I notified my dad about my car. I needed to go the distance now, local restaurants didn’t want me. God is fair. I applied to Bonchon and the manager, Erica, hired me on the spot. I’d make enough cash in the first 40 hours to pay off my lingering credit card debt.
After befriending the managers (all of the coolest brothers by the way), I opened up to them and shared my career goals with the kitchen staff. The story intrigued Sonny, impelling him enough to tell me about his cousin who works for the NFL Network as a photographer. Unreal. Surreal. I ask how I could reach out to him. A Facebook message later, Mr. Vy and I are on the phone discussing my next plan of action. He knows Mr. Justin Hathaway, NFL.com’s Senior Editor and texts me his email addy.
Moments later, Mr. Vy texts me again, stating this time that Mr. Hathaway suggests me to send Mr. Gregg Rosenthal an email.
For those who don’t know me, I emailed Mr. Rosenthal two years ago and asked for his advice. God connected me again to the man who I asked for help, this time for employment attached with a resume.
Rosenthal is super busy editing articles on the website, and therefore hasn’t written back. As for Mr. Hathaway, he recommended me to intern for NFL Films and contact him seven months from now. Well, uh, I didn’t even get the position yet.
I quit Bon Chon after a week due to personal problems; we’ll keep it at that.
새벽 예배 (Early Morning Service)
My mother, thankfully, woke me up at 5 a.m. and took me with her to these prayer services when I was a child. That part of me still exists. God helped me realize that I need to rely on him, not more, but most. When you’ve nothing to lose, the best thing to do is to wake up at 6 a.m. and head to the nearest church. I Googled RKPC, Richmond Korean Presbyterian Church; they open at 6.
I woke up at 7:20 the next morning and assumed that I had more than enough time. Don’t assume. No cars were parked in the lot when I arrived. Trying to get in, a woman who was leaving caught glance of me and stopped.
She’s never seen me before and asks if I’m lost. I tell her that I just came to pray. This short lady old enough to be my mom re-parks her car and unlocks the church’s side door. She walks me through the hall and leads me to Pastor Lee Young Ho’s office.
He’s surprised to see me, as well. The head pastor interrogates me, wondering what brings me here. I share tidbits of my upbringing, tell him about my murky future and relay my prayer requests. He’s more compelled as soon as I answer his question, Who’s your favorite team?, in which I reply The Eagles.
He smiles, and stands up to shake my hand. How coincidental, the pastor grew up in Philadelphia.
We wrap things up with a prayer and I’ve been doing my best (by God’s grace) to wake up at six for early morning service.
I receive an email from them requesting from me a date and hour for an interview. The drive to NJ was tough, I got lost for nearly two hours and arrived to Super 8 by 3:30 am. The interview went well, however didn’t say everything I wanted to say. I’m praying that this is where God places me for the next seven months.
Redskins in-seat serving
Centerplate catering services at FedEx Stadium interviewed me to serve Redskins fans in their premium-level seating. They’ve invited me to work for them this season.
Redskins Training Camp Ambassador
Welcome to Richmond! Finally, a professional football team in my vicinity. I was fortunate to be selected as a training camp assistant and I’m hoping that this experience is what I imagine it to be.
Out of 32,000 students I was selected to film for the VCU Basketball team. If you know me, you know that I am horrible at basketball. God works in funny ways, yes. I reported to work and never complained. The grad assistants and student managers are awesome.
I’m thankful that I had a chance to work for Coach Smart, Coach Ballard, Coach Rhoades, Coach Morrell, Coach Roose, Coach Eddie, Coach Bopp and former Coach Wade.
In no specific order:
Joe, Josh, Young, Lea, Janice, Esther, Brian, Brian Lee, Danny, Jon Chung, Graham, Dwight, Paden, Nate, Brad, Coach B., Coach Smart, Mrs. Smart, Holly, Mrs. Hanneman, Dr. Wiegardt, Sandy, Juliette Cho, Jackie Ho, Slavic, Rebecca, Mrs. Bridgette, Michelle, Mostar, Hannah, Kenny, (Hoa, Andrew, Jonathan, Mike you know why), Grace Min, Kevin Kim, Mr. Kevin/Greg Kristof, Sunny, Greg, Chris N., Johnny Vy, Mr. Andy Pollin, Gregg Rosenthal, Brian Nachman, Nedra M., Ellen, Brandon B., Austin, Alex C., Mr. Headley, Kenneth, Thomas, Rafik, Kevin van Valkenburg, Rory, Tashunda, Slimm, Z, Chung, Sonny, Suhan, AJ, Mike Lim, PG. Eva, Chris, Jonas, Kyle, Sean Hicks, Christina Johnson, Curt, Mike Krooked Smilez, Chef Dane, Erik.
Andddddd of course my dad for always supporting me, my brother for our bond, and my mom … because she once told me that working for the NFL is like pulling a star off the night sky.
Always, always give God thanks and do everything for His glory, not yours.