By GEO CABRAL
Blogging is a big part of this new age of social media. It’s all about creating content that you like or want to create, and sharing that with other people. People usually like to blog about food, travel, lifestyle, arts, etc. Bloggers, mostly those who achieve great following, also known as “social media influencers”. And The Border Collective is no different. Well, almost.
The Border Collective is a blog that provides information about internships, and employment. They answer some of the most frequently asked questions about interning, as well as feature the internship experiences of other people. They also feature stories of people who are already employed, who then give advice and talk about their life story and the industry they work in. Their most popular post is about the “14.5 Things You Didn’t Realize Had Resume Value.”
The blog headed by Justine Chua and Betina Ong, two college seniors currently studying in the Ateneo de Manila University, who have quite a lot of experience with internships.
They both started interning in their sophomore year of college. Since then, Justine has interned for Citibank Philippines, Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corp. (twice), worked part-time with Blogapalooza, and has been doing some freelance writing and consulting.
Betina, on the other hand, has interned for Rogue Magazine, Coca Cola PH, Petron, a headhunting firm, and is also working with YouthHack Manila and CAMP Philippines. This is just a glimpse into what they’ve been up to for the past thee years. Here, they talk about blogging, interning and growing up.
GIST: How did the blog start?
JUSTINE: Ok, so it was December 2015, I got a bunch of my friends and we were going to start a magazine. It was going to be us just talking about random stuff, they were all very creative, they liked to write, and so I was like, “Okay well I have a management background I can probably be editor-in-chief, you can do the creative stuff and I can handle the financials and operations of it.” But it was one of those things where you plan something with friends and nothing ever happens, so I thought, “Well okay, I’ll write something then.” Happening concurrently at that time, there were people who would small talk me for 20-30 minutes, then all of a sudden launch into a full blown questioning session about internships. So then I thought that I should just write about it so that people would stop asking me so much. But then I was like “I’m not the expert on this, Betina is” and so we just asked people to submit their questions via Google Form, then we looked through it and got the 15 most frequently asked questions, we wrote about it, posted it, and went to sleep. The next day we had like 500 hits and we didn’t know what the hell was happening.
How much has your content changed since then?
JUSTINE: The content has changed because we’ve changed. We’re not the same girls that we were in January 2015. Now we’re a lot older and wiser.
BETINA: I think I was a lot nicer; I had a lot more patience. And now I really just don’t. And I can think you can see that also; I’m very straight to the point. When I write, it’s so much shorter. I think it’s also because we’re seniors now. So yeah I think it used to be a little informal. Now it’s a lot more formal. We used to have more time before. We got an intern during the summer because we had no time. We also have the section called Intern-views; that’s probably how we evolved the most. Because we were like “Ok let’s bring in other people who don’t have the same experiences as us.”
JUSTINE: The most important thing though, was that they had to enjoy the experience.
BETINA: Basically, the idea behind that was “Let’s show other perspectives on this.”
Are all your articles based on what people ask for?
BETINA: No. I think some people don’t know what to ask, and that’s where we step in and we say “these are things we feel they should know.”
Has starting this blog in particular changed your life? How?
BETINA: Recognition wise, yeah. It helps with interviews as well. Every single boss I’ve had since then has liked that I’m doing something like this. Because lots of people are bloggers, but that doesn’t mean that they have an audience, or an outlet, or an advocacy in the same way that we do, and I think it’s allowed me to reach and help a lot of people. For example, during Unilever Business Week, there were a couple of people I met from the province who said, “You know I applied to this because I read your blog,” which to me, it feels really nice knowing that I’m able to make a positive impact. I think sometimes it’s a very thankless job; we get thousands of hits a day, and it’s very rare for somebody to actually tell us that in person or in an email, so it’s really nice hearing it every now and then. We get invited to do stuff now too, like we get invited to give talks a lot.
What do you think is the biggest fear people have about interning?
JUSTINE: That they don’t get an internship. That they’re un-hireable.
Who are some of your own work-life goals?
BETINA: Mine is Emily Weiss, and she’s amazing. Right now, she’s the CEO of Glossier. She started as an intern for all sorts of like fashion and magazines, all these really big names like Vogue, etc. She started a beauty blog called Into the Gloss, where she basically interviews models, beauty editors, and she asks them “What’s in your cabinet? What do you use? What do you believe in? What are the col things that you do?” Then she started Glossier and she made what her, and her readers, would consider their dream products. And I like that she went from blogger, to businesswoman, and the reason her business is so successful is grounded in the fact that because of her blogging, she knows how to listen, and she knows how to communicate.
JUSTINE: My work-life goal is Nate Brown, and he is like the secret creative director of DONDA, Kanye West’s giant think tank thing. He never went to college; he never did any of this. And you know I really like that he lives a life of complete secrecy, but you can feel his work everywhere. And he’s the kind of person whose work is inspiring. I saw an article about before I saw the blog, and that really impacted how I would write, because I then started trying to figure out “Who is the Justine that I want to project to people?”
What’s the future of The Border Collective? What’s in store for this year?
JUSTINE: Hopefully we post more.
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Check out the Border Collective at http://thebordercollective.com/. Follow them on their social media accounts: