Alyssa J Freitas

August 25, 2016

Scenes Of Summer 2016

I decided a bit more than halfway through the summer that I should make a vlog about all of the fun stuff going on. I regret not thinking of this sooner because I missed a few fun events (like visiting my family and best friend in Boston, celebrating my friend's birthday down the shore, etc). These are scenes that I did capture and am very glad that I did! Now that the semester is beginning, I'd like to make a scenes from senior year video, so it's time to get filming :)


August 23, 2016

How To Make The Most Of Your Commute

I spend three hours commuting every day. Granted, I am sure this is not nearly the longest commute in the world, but it certainly isn’t the shortest. Whether you spend hours or just minutes commuting, it can be frustrating to know that this time isn’t being used as productively as it could be. Thinking strategically about how you can spend your commute and what you want to accomplish will enable you to maximize your time. Here are a few ways to approach this universal conundrum.
How To Make The Most Of Your Commute

How do you want to feel? 

First, you have to start by thinking about what you want to feel like during your commute. For example, in the morning are you still in the “waking up phase” or is your mind sharp and ready to go? When you are coming home, do you need time to decompress or is it ideal to bang out those last few tasks so you can start the next day with a clean slate? Having an understanding of your personal preferences will keep you from forcing yourself to do something that may accomplish a task, but not actually serve the needed purpose.

What Are Your Priorities? 

Once you’ve determined the feeling you want, you can brainstorm some ways to achieve it. If you want to spend the morning getting into a good mindset for work, perhaps you can listen to podcasts about your industry or professional development. Maybe you want to slowly wake yourself up so a guided meditation is the way to go. I’m a believer that forcing yourself to do what you think you “should” be doing is a mistake. Align your priorities with your actions to get the most out of your commute!

What is the setting? 

If you are taking public transportation, like a bus or train, you are pretty unlimited in what you can do. Reading, pulling out your computer, closing your eyes…they’re all fair game. If you are driving, you are restricted to audiological pursuits. You may need to think a bit more creatively depending on the situation.

Activities to engage in on your commute 

  • Write (like this post I’m writing on the train at this very moment!)
  • Sleep
  • Listen to an audio book
  • Listen to a podcast 
  • Meditate 
  • Play that new playlists you’ve been meaning to, and actually listen to the lyrics 
  • Read. Read all of the things. 
  • Make business calls 
  • Make personal calls 
  • Organize your calendar 
  • Text friends to plan for the weekend 
  • Or text your friends sweet little messages to make their day 
  • Mind dump and write out your to-do list (or record a voice memo if you need to be hands free)
  • Save some easy tasks from the day, such as drafting response emails, to do now 
  • Daydream 
  •  Chat with the person next to you and make a new friend. 
Don’t let this valuable time go to waste. Think about your feelings, priorities, and the setting in order to decide on your activities and begin to reap the benefits of a fulfilling commute.

What do you do during your commute?

This was originally a guest post on the Wonder Forest blog.

August 18, 2016

Words I Dislike

I recently read a newsletter that went into the science behind why we don't like certain words. One that comes to mind for most people is "moist." I learned that it isn't the word, or the way it's said, that upsets us. Rather, context plays the most important role (for example, no one gets bent out of shape when talking about a moist cake). From reading this newsletter, I began to think about words I am not particularly fond of and have worked on figuring out why.
Words I Dislike


Well, this one doesn't take too much digging. While "classy" is generally used in a positive, complimentary way, I tend to think of class distinction and differences. So often etiquette is viewed as a distinguisher rather than a way to be inclusive and put everyone at ease. In my mind, saying "classy" is a "holier than thou" mentality, which is far from the intent and purpose of etiquette.


You know when you first hear a song and kind of dig it, then you hear it incessantly and can no longer stand it? That's how I feel about the word "authentic." Every site I visit seems to have a million articles with this buzz word so I avoid ever using it in my own writing. The word in and of itself is just fine, but it's frequency of appearance is annoying.


There's more of a story behind this word...I won't go into all of the details, but my use of this word became a source of contention in my household because there was disagreement on the aptness of its use. Just like moist, this is circumstantial, but now when I hear "probably" I'm transported back to the argument of this word and want to avoid it all costs! 

What words do you dislike? Can you figure out why?


August 16, 2016

IBM Sales Internship Week 10.5

Check out training, week 1, week 2, week 3week 4, week 5week 6week 7week 8week 9, and week 10!

“The great accomplishments of man have resulted from the transmission of ideas and enthusiasm.” Thomas J. Watson
IBM Sales Internship Week 10.5
This is officially the last day. It’s appropriately gloomy here in New York to match my mixed mood. While I am excited to get back to school and to my spot in the library (I kid you not, the library is my absolute favorite place), I am sad for what has been an incredible summer to come to a close. Although these were the last few days, there was not a shortage of things to do!

At the start of the week I spent even more time on the phone with people involved with Watson group (as I continually reference in all recent posts, I’ve been focused on learning about Watson). The accessibility and willingness of IBMers to help cannot be overstated. I also spent time contributing to a few final projects pertaining to pulling contacts (i.e. prospecting) and summarizing references to be used in a presentation for clients.

In the evening I went to a client dinner down at Pier A Harbor House where I ate my very first oyster! It was the most breathtaking spot on the water with a view of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island and we got to enjoy a gorgeous sunset. Up until this point I had only seen what it was like to interact with clients in the office; while the content and level of formality changes, I learned that the relationships you build cross situational boundaries.

A very cool part of this week was attending the IBM Architect Summit at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum Complex. Getting to experience the aircraft carrier was a lot of fun and I was glad to see clients in yet another setting. The focus of this summit was “integrating in a social, mobile, and cloud world” and there were a variety of IBM speakers from across the globe. It was clear that these leaders have a deep knowledge of the clients’ industries and issues to a degree that I admire.

One of my favorite parts of the day was meeting some new people who recognized me from my blogging! I started this blog with no expectation of it reaching the level of exposure it has, nor connecting with as many people as it has enabled me to. Meeting others who identify with the challenges and victories I chronicled has been so rewarding. Through this medium I have been able to transmit my ideas and enthusiasm and it has been one of my proudest accomplishments of the internship (read: not so subtle reference to the quote above, although I certainly don’t suggest this is one of man’s great accomplishments, just one of Alyssa’s).

This afternoon I’ll be heading out for a farewell lunch with my manager Dennis, and Taylor, one of the SCLs (Software Client Leader) I worked with (be sure to check out this post for the funny story of how many times our paths have crossed). We’ll get Indian food, reminiscent of my very first lunch with Dennis, and I can’t wait to thank them for how much I’ve learned this summer.

Thank you to everyone who has read along and left encouraging comments and reached out with advice. Becoming part of a larger professional community was a wonderful experience and you all have played a huge role! Thank you to all of the IBMers who I’ve met along the way and a special thanks to those in the Summit Program.


August 11, 2016

Don't Make Me Defend Millennials

“Now, I’m not saying I believe this, but it seems that millennials are lazy and managers can’t get them to focus on doing any real work. Why do you think that is?” someone recently asked me. I was having a pleasant conversation with this Gen Xer and some other millennials until this topic was brought up.
Don't Make Me Defend Millennials
We’ve all heard countless remarks about millennials, generally along the lines of our laziness, need for instant gratification, lack of attention, and the list goes on. While I can certainly attest to possessing some of these character traits and seeing them in my peers, I can also say with confidence that the vast majority of these claims are quite unfounded in my circle. Granted, I have the pleasure of interacting with the top talent in my school and work, but I would still say that there is far too much “millennials are afraid of hard work” talk than necessary.

I have little interest in examining the claims and looking into the details of the numerous studies on our generation. Instead, I’d like to share the information published about previous generations and point out some rather striking similarities.

My mother gave me a 1967 issue of the magazine Glamour College for Christmas this past year. As I was reading through (and drooling over the mod 60s style), I was particularly struck by this passage from the article "On Becoming 18." I find it so valuable, in fact, that I will share it in its entirety here:

Is your generation any different than generations past? Some people think so. Some people are quick to brand and to criticize the "younger generation" as decadent and irresponsible. It will take courage for you to keep your cool when faced with people who think all youth today is wild, irresponsible and a discredit to the nation. But remember, you're not the first generation to be criticized. On an Egyptian tomb, 6000 years old, there is this inscription: "We live in a decadent age. Young people no longer respect their parents. They are rude and impatient. They inhabit taverns and have no self-control." Have things really changed so much?  

Now remember, this was written in 1967! Aside from the fact that each generation is convinced that the proceeding generation will utterly fail, I’d like to comment on the etiquette and relevance of such discussions. It is generally unacceptable to make sweeping, negative generalizations about an entire group of people. We tend to think of race or religion in this context, but I propose that using a generation to group people also qualifies as an unfair way to make a judgement about someone. Why should we be asked to defend ourselves and our peers when assumptions are cast on us? As I mentioned earlier, there is certainly validity to some claims, however, it puts others in an uncomfortable and defensive position. Like I have written about before, the whole purpose of etiquette is to put the other person at ease.

I am not suggesting that controversial topics can never be discussed or that we must never have disagreements (just ask any of my friends or family if I like to have a good debate!). Rather, I am saying that criticizing a group of people and doing so with new acquaintances may not be the best idea. If you desire to have such a conversation let me suggest that you engage with people you have not just met and that you foster a sense of looking at the facts together, rather than asking someone to defend their generation. As Dale Carnegie teaches, a simple statement like “I may be wrong, I often am, let us examine the facts” can do wonders for promoting a collaborative and productive discussion.

What are your thoughts on the millennial generation? Do you agree with my assessment that there is a time and a place for such conversations, or do you think it’s always fair game?