The SURVIVOR Project

Read the true stories of sexual assault and abuse survivors, paired with their portraits. As told by the survivors and transcribed by Arnold, survivors take a stand to voice what they have gone through in hopes of others never having to go through it themselves.

Susan Arnold presents her second published work, The SURVIVOR Project.

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Week Two in London!

Day One

The class I’m in is called Magic, Murder, and Mystery in London Literature. We had an excursion (field trip), where we went on a Jack the Ripper walking tour. Only two of the original sites still exist, and the public can only access one of them.

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Standing in the spot where Cathrine Eddowes was cruelly slain.

The whole experience was rather eerie because I guess I never really thought of the killings as just that…killings. I’ve always been fascinated by the legend and mystery and standing where those women died really made it real to me.

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Even the street art honors the women who were killed by the White Castle Murderer. I wonder if we would even care if the mystery had been solved?

After the walking tour, we ended up in a market where I got vegan dumplings for lunch and made a few little purchases. Then a group of five of us went in search of a charity shop. We found one and I got a dress, a bathing suit (with the original tags still on!) and flamingo patterned shorts.

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Honestly, these were some of the best things I’ve ever eaten.

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The signs around here are amazingly funny.

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Little stands like this are all over the place!

Day Two

There was a tour of Windsor, which is where the royal wedding was and where the Queen lives most of the time.

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Here’s a quick look at the castle.

Honestly, I was not impressed. The castle was beautiful but the lines were long and what little we were able to see of the castle was so blatantly staged for tourists that it hurt. I almost wish it had been similar to a museum. We were not allowed to use our cameras/take photos while inside, otherwise, I would have included some photos for you all.

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Check out this view!

I tried gelato for the first time and I’m not sure if I did or didn’t like it, honestly. A group of us went out on the town for the night.

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Trying gelato for the first time! Chocolate fudge and oreo.

Day Three

The squad (Sydney, Jeff & Caleb) and I went into Hammersmith, which is about a ten-minute bus ride away. We originally went there to go grocery shopping, but that didn’t really happen.

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We walked down King Street, which was home to approximately 8 different charity shops, I was able to get some cute dresses and shirts for a good price. Then I said, “I could get a tattoo today” and Jeff said he would get one with me, so we walked to Hammersmith Tattoo and asked if they could fit us in. They could. So I got a tattoo. By the time we were done getting tattoos, the grocery store had closed, so we did have to go to Asda (Walmart).

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Before!

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After! It means ‘God is greater than the ups and the downs.’

Day Four

We toured Oxford, it took two buses, one incredibly crowded train, and three hours to get there.

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One of the first buildings designed by legendary architect Christopher Wren. This is where Oxford held graduations for years.

This tour was much better than the Windsor one. The university and the town are so intertwined with each other that you think you’re on college grounds and turn a corner onto a commercial street.

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The buildings were so beautiful. It was crazy to realize that some of them are older than the USA.

I was able to see a few locations from the filming of the Harry Potter movies, specifically the staircase and the Great Hall from the first movie when they go to get sorted into their houses.

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On the set of Harry Potter. (Not really, but that would be cool.)

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The Great Hall! Students are actually required to eat here the first two years of their college career.

Day Five

It was a rather laid back day. Class resumed, and after class, I went to the gym. Then I watched Netflix and did homework.

Day Six

For class, we went on a Harry Potter Walking Tour. This involved walking around London and going to the few locations in the city where they filmed outside of the studio.

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The bank that inspired Gringotts.

We saw the first location of the Leaky Cauldron, as well as another location of it and a flat that Harry stayed in.

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The Leaky Cauldron, from the Philosopher’s Stone.

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The Leaky Cauldron and Harry’s flat from the Order of the Pheniox.

After class, a group of us made our way to Platform 9 3/4 to get the famous picture. We waited in line for an hour 

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Can you tell which house I’m in?

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It’s Gryffindor.

Then we went to McDonald’s for lunch and dipped into the British Museum before coming back to campus. While at King’s Cross, I ran into my friend, Jenny, who I’ve seen more in London than I have since we graduated high school. What a small world.

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The shelves were probably four stories high!

Day Seven

We all went out to the Toy Shop for a cocktail night and happy hour. It was fun hanging out with everyone. Otherwise, the day was rather relaxed and homework filled.

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Did someone say ‘two for one’? More like two for fun!

Week One in London!

Day One

I arrived at the airport earlier in the day and was brought back to campus with a few other students. On my first day here, I went to the local shop to purchase an Oyster Card, which is how one pays for the public transit system. I then learned how to use the bus and get to Asda (the British version of Walmart) to purchase groceries. The rest of the day was spent unpacking and exploring campus before going to the Welcome Dinner.

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Flying somewhere over Canada.

 

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The campus library! Isn’t it gorgeous?

Day Two

I went through orientation and registration. I now have an official Roehampton Student ID! I went on an official campus tour as well, I’ve got about half of campus down, the other half is still kind of confusing to me. I met up with some people and we ended up back at Asda getting groceries we had forgotten previously. When we got back to school we wandered around campus and explored the library before hanging out and playing card games well into the night. The people that I went to Asda with this day are now people I hang out with every day and are very much lifelong friends.

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The view of central London from the top floor of the library.

Day Three

We spent several hours in Central London. I learned how to get to the local train station, which is about a ten-minute walk from campus. I saw the London Bridge, the Tower Bridge, the Tower of London, Big Ben (which is under construction, of course) and the London Eye, as well as countless other monuments and old buildings. I am slowly becoming an expert in public transportation!

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Outside the Tower of London, which I will be touring in week two!

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After walking around for hours, we found a little pizza place. Yes, I ate this entire thing.

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Other than Asda, this was the first time we hung out as a group. Going from left to right, I introduce you to Jeff, Caleb, myself, and Sydney. We didn’t know it then, but we’re all pretty much connected at the hip now! It feels like I’ve known these people for much longer than just a week.

Day Four

I ended up joining a group and we went to Hyde Park. While there, we rented rowboats and rowed around a man-made lake for an hour. When we were done, we walked around to find a place for lunch. The restaurant that we stopped at had spinach, chickpea, and fettuccini “meat” balls and spaghetti, which I loved! We took the tube (subway) back to our area of London. I ended the night with a game of frisbee with a bunch of cool people! I was worried coming in that I would be lonely since I didn’t know anybody else who was studying at my school. Honestly, though, making friends has been pretty easy! A lot of people who came here also came alone, so we’re all just trying to get to know each other. Most everybody is kind, generous and genuine.

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The view of the lake and a really weird looking building.

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My veggie “meat” balls. They were honestly some of the best things I have ever eaten.

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Experiencing the Tube for the first time!

Day Five

The first day of class. I’m in a literature course that focuses on how London has been depicted through books, specifically the Magic, Murder, and Mystery of the city. Class runs from 9:00-13:00, Monday through Thursday. It seems long but we get two breaks to stretch, get snacks, and use the loo. My professor is originally from California and has been in London for just over a decade. She’s very nice. After class, a group of us went looking for a charity shop (thrift store). The original one we wanted is no longer in business and the other one we found, the owner was out for lunch. I stopped at a post office to buy stamps and was blown away by how expensive they are. Don’t ask, I don’t want to talk about it. I bought a gym membership since I’m here for so long!

Day Six

Getting up for class is rough, and not having caffeine in the morning is worse. I had to get a coffee on our first break because I kept nodding off. Class went by really fast and afterward, I quickly worked on a presentation. Then I went to the gym. Then I got ready for the Hidden Pubs of London Tour. It wasn’t as fantastic as I wanted to be, but I did see a lot of beautiful old buildings and hear some crazy ghost stories, including one that inspired J.K. Rowling’s Nearly Headless Nick. We ended the tour at a gin palace and after I ordered my gin and tonic I realized that I didn’t like gin. I drank it though. On our way back to the station, we stopped at McDonald’s. The chips (fries) here are the same, and they have veggie burgers. The veggie burger I got was NOT good. I’ll try the spicy one next time, but if that one isn’t good I will just stick to the chips.

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While we were waiting for our tour guide, I found a telephone booth!

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This church is haunted by an evil French queen. It was also destroyed in the Blitz and now acts as a memorial to the lives and the old London that the war destroyed.

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Acting like I liked the gin and tonic I ordered.

Day Seven

I presented in class about Jack the Ripper and we watched a movie about him. After class I went to a quaint little event that the Study Abroad Team at my university put on for us; tea and cake. The cake I tried was vegan chocolate and it was so good! The tea was also very good, except that it was hot and humid and I was drinking a warm beverage. While at the social, a group of us decided to spontaneously go into the city and ride the London Eye. I’ve really taken to doing things spontaneously, as I used to do before my life required organization. We ordered our tickets online with a student discount. I was expecting the cost to be £50 but it was actually only £15, which was a relief, though I probably would have done it anyways. The Eye was pretty cool but not as great as I expected it to be, given how talked up the attraction is. We roamed around the city afterward to find a doughnut shop in Soho. It was the most expensive doughnut I’ve ever had, but it was incredibly rich and the frosting was amazing.

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If you look closely, you can see Big Ben getting worked on in the background. Fun fact: Big Ben is actually the name of the bell. The structure is actually named Elizabeth Tower.

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Check out this view!

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A peanut butter, chocolate doughnut! The store also had doughnuts the size of my head.

 

 

That’s it for week one! Week two will be coming soon, and with some even crazier stories than week one.

After College Portfolio Tips

So you’ve graduated college and you don’t know what to do. I’m sure I’ll be there in a couple years, but HEY! congratulations you made it.

A few months ago, I had a little seminar/chat thingy with a professor who gave me some tips and tricks on what to do afterward and I thought I’d share with you.

  • Step One: A real career
    • Is it right for you? Do you have roots anywhere? Travel first. Once you get a career, you’re locked in.
      • But a gap in a resume can be killer and draws attention
    • Location: it’s all about your personality, you have to like where you live.
    • Experience with Reservations: don’t get a soul-sucking job
  • Step Two: Welcome to the Jungle
    • What type of gig is it? Don’t appear too desperate when hiring, then you’re easy. Different jobs are connecting points to each other and the latter up.
    • Opportunity: you can have a day job that will support you until you can get to your dream job
    • Culture: Does the company care about their employees? Beware of gimmicks that get you to stay, lack of dental insurance in exchange for free coffee.
    • Are they connected? Big names à working with each other à it’s who you know
  • Step Three: Finding a Job
    • Indeed.com
      • Taylor the portfolio for the company
      • Make it as personal for the hirer as possible
      • Try to drop it off in person; physical rather than digital
    • Shutterfly? Other printing sources
    • Glassdoor.com
    • “Headhunters”… like Creative Circle
      • Pretty much sells you to companies
      • It sucks that the system is rigged, but it happens
    • Network!!!!!
    • Go to visiting artists
      • Don’t be a rude.
      • People want to work with people that they get along with
  • Step Four: Common Creative Gigs
    • Freelance
      • Pro: Your hours, your money, you choose, build your name
      • Con: Client is the boss, TAXES, inconsistency
    • In-house Industry
      • Pro: Doing something you love, clocking in and out (most places don’t pay overtime), moving up
      • Cons: Consistency, politics, glass ceiling, company pace
    • Creative Agency
      • Pro: Creative living, variety, good pay, great opportunities
      • Cons: Small fish big pond, design culture can suck, trust in leadership
  • Step Five: Present Your Work
    • Know the market: be prepared, double check, present your work, don’t be vague
    • Fake it ‘til you make it
    • Student work: have you peaked? Continue to work, work outside of class
    • Portfolio site, is it updated? It should be about the work that you want to do.
    • A little mystery is okay, but don’t go crazy
    • 10-16 pages of work…20 maximum; make it efficient
    • Reels: 2:30 or less. Make it good enough that they want to see more
  • Step Six: Resume
    • Keep it clean, HR doesn’t care about your icons; it’s a resume not a poster
    • It’s not fun
    • Make it easy for them to see the information
    • It doesn’t need to be cute or creative
    • Copy and paste will make your life easy
  • Step Seven: Showcasing
    • Know the role you want; assess your clients’ needs
    • Don’t include every piece of work
      • That lucky shot isn’t enough; you have to be able to nail it
    • Photo and video are mashed together now, am I skilled for that?
    • Understand your client
      • Your reel should reflect the clients
    • Music selection can make or break you; play it safe
      • Audiojungle.com
    • Viewer fatigue is real
    • Show work that benefits the employer and the customer
    • Explain your role
      • Context to show how you work
    • A wide range of work is okay
      • Unless you’re going for specific companies
    • Make your portfolio easy to update
      • Make it presentable in every way
      • It’s okay to have different versions of the portfolio
  • Step Eight: Show That You Care
    • Hard work is obvious
      • So is laziness
    • Half of design is marketing and presentation
    • Where?
      • GraphicBurger, Pixeden, Dribbble, PSDCovers, Behance
      • Not all are free, but they’ll be worth the investment and a tax write-off
    • Showcase your work, but don’t distract
    • Don’t put it on a loaf of bread just because you can
  • Step Nine-ish: Process and Details
    • Employers hire people for talent…and to make it easier
    • Be a jack of all trades on styles, learn how to replicate and understand
    • Show off your ability to conceptualize and execute in short and long term
    • Have 10 ideas and pick the best one
  • Step Nine-ish: Webheads and Tech Nerds
    • UX/UI people
    • Show that you are a great communicator
    • Employers need to see that you can handle structure and a lot of information
  • Step Nine-ish: Photography isn’t Magic
    • Be prepared to achieve the results you promise
    • Show variety
    • Adapt with new technology
    • Do you know your equipment, lighting, and studios?
  • Step Ten: Interviews
    • Congrats!!! You’re qualified!
    • This is NOT show and tell!
      • They’ve already seen your work and they like it.
      • Bring another portfolio with different stuff unique to the employer/company, if you want to
    • Communication is as a creative is employable
      • Communicate with employers, coworkers, clients
  • Step Eleven: Checklist
    • Printed portfolio (or iPad) ready to go
    • An extra copy of your resume
    • Business card, makes you stand out
    • Dress to impress
    • HANDSHAKE
    • Don’t overtalk
    • Be cool, be respectful, be yourself
  • Step Twelve: Interviewing Basics
    • So, why do you want to work here?
      • Research the company
      • Kiss booty
      • Be prepared
    • What can you bring to the table?
      • Note some of the campaigns, expand on ideas, show your own creative thinking
    • What about your process? And your struggles?
      • Stick to the basics
      • Collaborate, learn, adapt
      • Don’t say that you’re a perfectionist.
    • Any questions for us?
      • NEVER SAY NOPE!
      • Ask about their favorite project, challenges
      • Learn
    • Should you follow up?
      • YES
      • Only after an interview
  • Backwards Step One: Didn’t get the Gig
    • Don’t get discouraged
    • Occupy your time
    • Find your stoke
    • Persistence pays off

 

  • Closing Checklist for the Real World
    • You’re outward facing in many ways
      • Control your social media
    • Is your work readily available, how is your brand?
      • Site, reel, business card, resume, portfolio, do they all have the same theme, are they consistent, is it great?
      • Update often
    • Are you evolving?
      • Work will evolve; design and visuals change.
      • Make sure you know the trends
      • Does it look current for what people are paying for?
      • Know what people want
    • Double check the contact
      • Have it simple yourname @gmail.com
      • Make your brand consistent
    • Earn it!!!!
      • Do whatever you can to progressively make yourself better every day.

 

 

If any of this is confusing, comment below so I can clarify for you.

Composition| Photography Tips For Beginners

If you’re new to photography, and don’t know where to start, I’ve got your back!

Jumping into the world of photography can be a struggle, so I’m going to share my notes from my various photography classes with you, hoping that they help! This first lesson (can we call it that? let’s go with it.) is all about composition, so you can make your photographs as pleasing to the eye as possible!

(Keep in mind that you can’t possibly follow all of these “guidelines” in one picture! Feel free to experiment; the most important ones (to me at least) are the Rule of Thirds and putting the horizon line on one of the Rule of Thirds lines.)

 

  • Rule of Thirds
    • 3×3 frame, don’t put the subject in middle, put it on one of the lines or where they intersect!
    • imagine a number sign, or as our generation says, a hashtag (#)
    • basically, don’t put anything in the centre of your photograph
  • Balance Elements
    • have something on each side
    • imagine the picture as a scale
  • Leading Lines
    • use elements of the scene to create a lined pattern that will draw the viewers eye and allow the eye to follow the lines
    • horizontal lines= static and calm, vertical= permanence and stability, diagonal= drama movement and uncertainty
  • Symmetry and Patterns
    • makes it eye catching
    • creates tension
  • Viewpoint
    • i.e. an upwards angle creates a more powerful feel
    • angle down on the subject (wimpy, sympathetic), angle sideways
    • IDEA! take a picture from lying on your back to get different view
  • Background
    • don’t make it too busy
    • don’t keep it too much in focus, blur it a bit
  • Depth
    • here is where the idea of “you can’t use all of these in one picture” comes in, above I said not to have the background in focus, where below it’ll say to have it in focus. it all depends how you want YOUR picture to be
    • objects in fore, middle and background; layer
  • Framing
    • have stuff around the edge to isolate main subject
    • if you’re taking a picture of a vacant street, use the buildings on both sides to frame it
  • Cropping
    • crop around [small] subject to get rid of noise in background
  • Simplify the Scene
      • basically get rid of clutter, make the background bare or as less busy as possible
    • Use silhouettes by putting the light behind the subject
    • Fill the frame
      • don’t leave empty space
      • zoom in as close as possible to a subject

 

  • Space to Move
    • humans look ahead; if you’re taking a picture of car headed to the left, then leave some empty space to the left of it
  • Colours
    • contrast, not same shade: blue and orange, purple and yellow, red and green, black and white!
  • Use odd numbers
    • more appealing to the eye
    • take a picture of three under water basket weavers instead of two
  • Texture
    • creates dimension (brick, cement, velvet, etc.)
  • Horizontal Line
    • do not put in middle of frame
    • above or below, depending on the image
  • Lean into Frame
    • when photographing animals and people, have them looking into camera

 

 

 

Good luck! Tweet me your pictures @susanarnold_ or tag me in them on Instagram with @susanarnold_