ABCs & learning the basics of ‘blogging’

sighh. helloo

breathed in & out…

this is harder than i envisioned. i wanted a space to freely share my thoughts on architecture based on my experiences and update you on what is happening after i graduated.

i have been attending training for my first paid job *mini celebration at a small architecture and film business called Architel TV.

today is a saturday, my first f-r-e-eeeee weekend and a day i am mentally free from society’s committments.

IN THIS POST, i wanted to let you know that i have borrowed books on ‘blogging’ & how-to’s in learning about WordPress. I guess or ideally, I would like to use the time I have off to breatheee AND build up skills in ‘writing’ or ‘blogging.’

The Quick Expert’s Guide to Writing a Blog – for teens (doesn’t mean I can’t use it)

  • definition: a blog is any website to be updated regularly (i failed already).
  • ask yourself why start a blog?
  • ‘log’/record… a personal online scrapbook
  • connect with other ppl with similar interests
  • creative outlet- space you can build, personalise, own, vent stress/relax- i call it a                hobbie!

What’s your blogging style?

-mastermind – specialist subject/s

-diarist – sharing DETAILS of life – online journal, likes/dislikes

-mystery blogger – online personality, an invented name (ooo interestingg)

-columnist – strong feelings about politics/social issues…

-service/help hub – INTERACTIVE – ask readers for advice & invite them send qns/problems to answer in future posts

i think i situate with the first two options + the last two…

How to earn o-ka-ne? (japanese word for ‘money)

-Google Adsense

-Amazon Associates (get a small percentage/commission of sale after a buyer clicks on certain link)

-Ask on blog directly – donate buttons/tip jars (hmm…something to consider…)


What’s the difference – blog, website….

  • website: collection of pgs with links + info
  • blog: website that has UPDATES in reverse chronological order eg.wordpress!
  • micro-blog: blog with SMALLER lengths of info eg. twitter/tumblr
  • social network: INTERCONNECTED ppl who follow each other’s updates


Copyright issues, SEO & stuff

  • Free pics – Morguefile, Creative Commons
  • Or DIY – take own photos & record audio
  • SEO – text over pics, meta tags, think of synonyms/phrases for words, RSS feed

ideas for posts:

  • lists – top 5/10
  • revisit past archives/repost & re-introduce/reflect
  • to the future – what will world be in… hopes & dreams
  • reaction post – link to other blogs – agree/disagree
  • travelogue – pics and vids
  • add quotes – or of your own… hmm
  • your fav blogs – links & whyyyy?


  • social blogging:
  • comment on other blogs
  • exchange guest posts with another blogger/interview each other
  • group blogging? invite a regular guest – huffintonpost?
  • use social network to SHARE LINKS eg. fb – create a pg linked to account & ppl can             see in their timeline. twitter – widget – not only blogposts but THOUGHTS on sidebar
  • sharing tools – google +, digg, delicious

is there anything you would like to add?

and that is my notes from the book i just finished reading – an hour spent!

hmm, do any of you set a schedule for blogging? should i try this?



  • i am thinking of creating a series to help you learn about blogging & using wordpress while i learn too.
  • refer to: stumbleupon

-i have read posts where architecture blogs participate to write on a topic – architects are from across the world to connect together – i forgot the tag name… but this is good for us to contribute!! eg. questions, ‘      ‘ wednesday, use widgets… go on: memes/blog hops, simply linked/mister linky & blog awards


#blogginglife, #sidehustle, #writingskills, #writtencommunication

millennial thinking – living in a economically challenging society …

okay, i am a little bit angry.

i just got some thoughts out to my mum at the dining table before.

it was to do with ‘money.’ haha not funny okay?!

leading up to this day, i was penalised and as a result “paid” money for my fines – car parking, cars, cars, cars.

i then was able to focus on this angry to think of a plan, an alternative plan.

i call it: The NOMAD

ze alternative ‘nomad’ plan:

  • negotiate current work hours to 10am to 4pm or work 4 hours at office and 3 or 4 hours AT HOME
  • build up a ‘side-hustle’ – freelance business, to build up a service/product to earn income over time (passive income?!)
  • sell my car – DITCH driving and walk nomad style(yeah!), take public transport instead of ‘owning’ a car (a big asset which costs a lot of money to have- insurance, annual registration fees etc.)


-my mum wants me to live at home with her (i will save a lot of money, thank you mum). i’m also considering building a small/’tiny’ home out of shipping containers as my own studio/office

^ i can imagine myself travelling and being out & about (haha ‘nomad’) but when i’m home, my mum’s home is my home.

^what if i have a partner and want to settle down? hmm probably not – again SAVING $$

  • how long before i start applying these? i am trying to think realistically – if i work at different places/jobs for 3-4 years, i can have some money to do things i want (live/work overseas?!) this is what i call the SAFE income – working hard to save for the initial coming streams of money.


-i will rely on people – driving favours(carpool though!)

-difficult to get around outside my local community area

  • being a ‘nomad,’ i will also USE up a lot of the time walking, taking slower modes of transport – time will be used up (hmm….)

what about you? do i sound crazy for having this plan…?

#alternativeliving, #economicsin21stcentury, #millennialstruggles, #thenextgeneration, #thestateoftheworld

UPDATE on almost 1 year after graduating architecture:

i have some optimistic news for me and soon-to-be out of graduates of architecture.

there is certainly different careers in architecture – ah, i’m so lucky to be born in the 21st century/millennial/gen y (or whatever you want to call it) and to live in melbourne’s ‘eclectic’ design & architectural landscape!

okay, here come the news.

so, i still will be volunteering (climate change work finishes in early may)…

on the other 3 days of the week, i will be a trainee producer at Architel. And… YES, it is a PAID job (mini celebration dance woot-woot)

you are probably thinking FINALLYYYY right? (i will write a post sharing to you on what happened after graduating… both good and bad things unfortunately & fortunately).

i’ll be in training for the next two weeks (i know that i will work with the company for a while – it’s my first change of SAVING UP money & learning about cash flow, maybe tax & all of that)

yepp, ARCHITECTURE + FILM = what a combo!

so the plan is to work with this small film business for half a year (could change, maybe even up to six or nine months – don’t know)… also am thinking of working with a broadcasting tv show on architecture (second half of year…?) – suggested me to speak to the person who runs the show (referrals/links/networks are so important when finding work – one of my GOLDEN RULES for you!)

^ featured image – State Library of Victoria (shadows, tonal contrast, vintage aesthetic – subdued)

g’day & chao, i have something to share

2017 was a bit sloppy. i wanted to blog well about architecture & my experiences but i lacked consistency and motivation to write.

i know i need to edit this after writing.

this new year, i have a drive to get this up & running again because:

  1. i want to explore a lifestyle & career of writing, blogging, freelancing using the power of words, stories as a communication tool.
  2. i want to see how ‘passive income’ works (it would be great if i could make a little bit of money so i can feel a little bit secure financially). i am turning 24 later this year and i have yet to have a proper/formal/professional paid job 😦
  3. experiential prototyping & reflections – 4 years of learning about architecture is a lot! architecture now is interconnected with other experiences of my life – i have a gazillion of synapses in my brain that connects links with architecture to film, to environmental sustainability & philosophy and so on… (i need to get it down because my brain gets tired & hot from the information storage!)

like i said, i have to re-write this again some other time.

i made the move to switch from google blogger to wordpress, hoping that a cleaner, more intuitive interface will help me write consistently, well and honestly.

cheers for growth in 2018 & i will see you in the comments – i want to build a community of graduates, students of architecture, design/architecture/interdisciplinary professionals to engage, talk about, dialogue about architecture, your experiences and in connection with the world.

from a vietnamese-australian milennial girl who lives in melbourne (very privileged to live here!), who graduated, who is volunteering, and writing about these experiences in hopes of something to build, branch out, create connections, allow conversations, something to evolve out of it.  


17/01/18, 8:01pm


#blogginglife, #graduatearchitect, #interdisciplinaryarchitecture, #millennialstruggles

Designers/architects as local community leaders

G’day & Chao. Greetings,

I don’t know why but the thought of ‘blogging’ or ‘writing’ on this platform was not on my mind lately. II’ve been going out in life in different branches and have not kept in mind about the ‘reflection’ process…

I wanted to talk about my current involvement with a young adult committee group in my local community, Brimbank Youth Ambassadors (BYA).

Now, just coming out of university with a worldview revolving around design and the built environment, I was flabbergasted with the notion of the authority of ‘young adults & the community.‘ In architecture school, I was told that we could be ‘designers’ or ‘architects’ who have the power of designing spaces for society to use/inhabit. BYA brought be a new perspective – a perspective that any young adult can be a ‘designer’ (beyond designing spaces) – a collaborative and interdisciplinary voice to make community better, thus improving our prospect of flourishing in local community and society.

Sidetracking a little, a little before my graduation ceremony, I have looked in community work/activities and saw BYA advertised in my local library but I didn’t apply because I thought I lacked ‘leadership’ skills like public speaking etcetera…×225.jpg

I’ve attended two meetings so far and I feel like I can breathe a little more, have my mind opened a little more and I can hear myself a little more.

Now to give you a little behind the scenes, this is a bit strange (like all things life are strange). I wanted to connect and join with an ‘interfaith/intercultural’ group with young people who want to explore this area. I contacted the number who ran this group in my suburb but told me the lack of interest caused the group to end. She then referred me to another group (young adults – still good) and I turned up to their meetings.

I am trying to say that I would not have the courage to sign up for this in the first place without the chat I had with the ‘Youths Officer.’ (no online form, no interview/CV hand-in I had to do). Amazingly, I thought this would be the opportunity for me to grow – I am still working at my local council. Being involved with this BYA group means I get to witness and experience the processes, principles and structures of ‘local government.’

What is BYA?
Group of young people in Brimbank who have a voice, who cares, who wants change in community!

Keywords/phrases I’m picking up…

^ Brainstorming session with my group:
1. From our experience, answer: Why should we give a voice to young people in Brimbank?

I forgot exactly what I wrote but it had something to do with valuing multiculturalism, having a space to talk about personal/social issues in community and social justice.

2. Categorised notes under umbrella headings/themes: 

^ Cleaned up the brainstorming & notes to form a model that BYA can implement and follow as our guiding principles when we get out there and make change!
Something interesting I found when we were sharing our ideas and writing them down was the ‘kind’ of language we used to describe it. It wasn’t much about the BIG words like accountability, equity or agency, it was the VERBS:
– provide
– facilitate
– advocate
– ensure
– prevent
– be…
This is still new to be but it sounds like activism… local politics… 

How can this be implemented in my alternative architecture career?

At university, we looked at big projects. We took them on on a large/top down approach – I mean architecture/design industry knowledge and then pushing down to micro scale. 

Working with local community with ‘young adult’ issues made me think that the role of architect/designers should start from a manageable and smaller range- starting from our family, neighbours, local community then engage outwards to our bigger and broader society. What do you think?

I want people to understand the language we are speaking – so shouldn’t we engage the community with issues we CARE about first – personal-community-level-understanding and advocacy and not push design solutions that are too TECHNICAL to understand. 

Next steps…

I don’t have a plan of how long I will stay with the BYA group but I think I will stay with them in 2018 too. Maybe I can touch on ‘environmental/climate change’ issues young adults can be involved in (social media strategies/events) or… broaden out of architecture and work with themes of social issues of cultural identity and expression, mental wellbeing …

i’ll remind myself to write soon,

see you in december.


‘ky niem’ or ‘experiences’ in your life i.e career

“I’m doing work experience…”

“Work experience… paid?”

“No. But I feel like it’s a job.”

“No. I mean paid work. Are you going to look for a job.”

^ This was a conversation on the train home from work today with my old high school friend.

Can you read the ‘tone’ of the conversation?

On the exterior, I was trying to maintain a ‘composed’ demeanour but inside I was frustrated. Why does this world care about money PLUS job.

Can we work for free?

Are we ‘secure’ when we work WITH money?! (I have been volunteering and I find its work quite fulfilling and satisfying without ‘tangible’ rewards of a man-made system).

Okay so I may be over-dramatic and missing out on some main points like:

– You need money to pay back to the things you ‘owe’ the bank, council, services you use…
– You need to ‘save’ up money so I can use the money for ‘something…’
– You need money because the world now cannot be ‘stable’ without money ‘in…’

I guess I am the only one okay with no ‘gains’ in income as of yet…

Okay, I will get to the main story of this piece now:

The last blog I wrote was about the unfairness of interns have in unpaid situations when their labour is used for primarily FOR the company/organisation.

I noted things about my experience at my council workplace so far and I would like to clear this up.

Amazing – this conversation was brought up today at the office and I was as open and honest as can be.

I wanted to speak up a little.

It began with us discussing about my duration of work up until Christmas and options after. I told her I hoped to be continuing working with them but in a PAID position. She said that council was struggling with financing and providing for interns like me. This is new to me so I nodded and tried to be open and non-judgemental.

I am glad we talked about this because then she referred to what she called ‘volunteer rules’ of the council. She shared stories of big companies exploiting volunteers… and that she wanted me to SPEAK UP about my wants and dislikes… being verbal about the work I do – whether it aligns with my skills and related to my field etc.

This is important – words can imply things differently to people. One understands and assumes it this way and another differently. I was unsure about the word ‘intern’ and ‘volunteer.’

This is why graduates, young students should speak up when in need of help understanding about workplace or any question that arises. It doesn’t hurt to speak up about what we think – as long as we’re open and ‘transparent’ with each other in a civilised, respectful face-to-face manner I think.

I’m learning so many things like this for example. I’m not learning about architecture but I’m learning about how society, community and the world works.

I feel engaged with the world. Thus engaged with life.

Just gotta keep going and see where this leads.

Rest time,


p.s – ‘ky niem’ in the blog title means experience in Vietnamese!

Dear Millennials: Do we have rights as an ‘intern’ or ‘volunteer?’

G’day and Chao (hello in Vietnamese),

If I hear my parents talk about ‘work’ (direct translation in Vietnamese – di lam) again, I will get very frustrated.


It didn’t dawn on me that the topic of ‘work/employment’ is every-changing but also stubborn in my opinion. Hmm, I’m not sure if it is the way society is run, or the rules of the state or federal government but us millennials (I am speaking on many of them on behalf) have found the ‘post-stage’ of graduating tough.


I have finished now and feel for those in those institutions – Gen. Y’s with questions about whether the education is really needed… whether they need to study further or study something else….


For me, I think the right to get rid of the HECS-HELP loan was a good idea – for us to treat education importantly. Okay, so it was a loan… my mum paid a portion to help lessen the debt. I didn’t feel the burden of paying off the debt. I am still on Centrelink and money was not something I wanted to talk about or deal with at that time (or ever). I don’t know if Gen.Ys’ have thought about their ‘career’ and ‘work’ prospects and goals during study. I will admit that I didn’t. I felt narrow-minded and closed – not robotic but asleep. I didn’t have a plan and no backup plan (but this is a story for another time – university should be an option not a necessity). A worst case story for my family and friends would be that I paid thousands to study four years, to walk away with a certificate and not get an architecture-related job.


Sighh, what was work like in the early 2000s? Early 90s? What did you have to endure?


Let’s skip a couple of months after March of my graduation ceremony… to my current status – ‘working’ at my local council.


1. My parents were quite pleased (I hope) I work at the council (I don’t hear much around my area of people working there).


2. When I told my mum & dad I was ‘volunteering’ with the council, the only ‘comfort’ I gave them was the possibility I could get a paid job after working with them.


3. A friend I caught up with congratulated me on my job but I experienced confusion when he asked about what kind of job it was, whether it was an internship or work placement… whether it was related to architecture… was there something I don’t know about work?


4. My cousin in Sydney(I would call her my mentor), was excited for me that I have finally took a step into work world. Note – she has been persistent with pushing me on finding opportunities, applying for graduate programs and cold calling to ask for internships …. (but I did not follow them). Similarly, she enquired about my work offer. She asked if I was paid… whether I was compensated for my travel costs… She expressed her concern that I should be paid doing intern work…


What is going on?


I searched up intern/volunteer/paid work on Google and found a plethora of readings. Time to turn on my ‘left-brain’ on:




There were a heap of links of headings with terms like ‘slavery,’ ‘illegal,’ ‘unfair…’ etc.


The guidelines written by FairWork Australia provided some good points to consider a ‘fair’ internship. The main argument presented was about the notion of an employment relationship between ‘intern/worker’ and organisation – i.e should be paid. I roughly paraphrased their words to my understanding to make it easier:


1. purpose


If the person is doing more of the organisation’s work(‘productive work’) on top of observing, learning and skill development, an employment relationship may arise…
2. duration


The longer the contract, more likely worker becomes a worker/employee…
3. significance of organisation


If work is done similar to other employees, likely person becoming part of employees?
Note – In my experience, the activities/work I did were part of general ‘sustainability’ which I was interested when contacting them in beginning.


4. who’s benefitting?


If the organisation is benefitting, likely worker is part of organisation & part of relationship…
Note – this for me is a bit silly. If you work/volunteer for someone or a company – doesn’t both parties benefit?
My experience:


Okay let’s be clear. I wanted do volunteer and help contribute to the work they do with the community (environmental programs/events).


I emailed the council after attending an environmental event and pictured myself helping them temporarily with one-off events like giving a tour on sustainable housing.


Hmm, I was surprised that I got a call by the sustainability coordinator telling me she was unclear about what tasks I wanted to help with… I was oblivious about my lack of communication and INTENT during that time.


Hmm, all I wanted was to help with the council – to meet other sustainability-minded people, help run/facilitate environmental programs to see whether I could work for the council.



– Maybe the head coordinator thought I was seeking unpaid ‘work’ when I said I wanted to volunteer as I was a recent graduate (I didn’t picture actually working in their office!)
– They were also happy to have me onboard with being a ‘volunteer’ because maybe I was seen as an ‘observer’ more than a worker? I approached them with a cold call, they didn’t advertise this position. There was no formal application or recruiting process – I only turned up to a short meeting with the coordinator and some of her team mates with a short induction process.
^ Is this right?


I feel the right to use an ‘intern’ instead of a ‘volunteer…’


In the job description the coordinator wrote on the day of my induction process (note – formal legal contract document), she wrote my position as an ‘intern’ SLASH ‘volunteer.’ Does this person think these terms are the same? Personally, I deem intern as a more worthy term who works hard to contribute work for the organisation whilst also learning about its work culture/environment.


I am pleased they shortened my work arrangement to 3 months instead of 6 months. I can make the decision soon to tell them I would like to work hear part time and be paid (I’m hoping this is guaranteed).




In the first week, I realised the employees give me the tasks that are small but tedious and arduous – I do them to free up time for them to focus on bigger tasks.


Hmm, but its not directly aligned to my skills I want to develop and learn in relation to my architectural studies. Should I speak up and ask when I shall start on this kind of work soon?!


What I would like…


To be treated more with VALUE – compliments are great for starters. Compensated for public transport would be good to but I only come in for two days so that’s alright. I would of liked to have a pass and my own desk instead of borrowing other workers but that’s okay too.


The main problem beginning to rise is that the work I should do should be more relevant to my GOALS (is that selfish?)…
Doubting questions:


What’s the difference between ‘work experience’ and ‘interning?’


And is ‘interning’ the same as ‘volunteering?’


Has ‘internship’ become a buzzword? Are recruiters using this term to make it look more appealing to graduates?


Notes for graduates!


This is what you need to think and talk about in the beginning of the agreement/interview:


“Manage expectations by clarifying whether the internship is paid/unpaid from the beginning of the relationship. Include whether the position is paid or unpaid in the job posting and written job description.”


“Speak to your manager about whether there is a job available; never let your employer string you along with vague promises of paid work in the future… Say you understand and that you’ve loved working there, but you feel it’s time to move on to somewhere that can offer a real chance of a paid job. Choose a date and tell them that’s when you’re leaving. Then apply for every job under the sun, so you have something lined up (even if it’s another internship).
If they counter-offer with paid work before you go, you’ll have two options. If they don’t, they never had any intention of hiring you, so you’ve lost nothing. Interns often make the mistake of hanging around too long – three months should be your maximum stay in one place. Any longer and they’ll think you don’t value your own work.”


How do i spot a good internship?


“Good quality internships will be advertised publicly and candidates will be required to interview. You should have a designated manager, a variety of tasks – and the placement should be structured to give you a proper taste of the workplace. They should also give you feedback and a reference at the end. If you’re sorting the post and nobody knows your name, get out of there. It’s a bad internship and a waste of your time.” – UNDERSTAND YOUR RIGHTS


The internship program is structured on the intern’s objectives and what they’d like to achieve out of the program.  An internship is the missing link between academic studies and work experience.  A professional internship program is unpaid as the main aim is for the intern to achieve their objectives.
I’ve learnt that we need to maintain our own limitations and have defined goals, not just companies and organisations.
What do you think?
Do you have an intern experience you like to share that was fair or unfair?
Signing off now. Working later this week…
References & for your further perusal: