47. Senaida Ng | Managing Life as an International Student, Startup Founder, Musician and Content Creator
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About This Episode

Senaida Ng (@senaidaxoxo) joins the Student Loan Podcast to share how she manages life as an international student, startup founder, musician, and content creator. If you wanted to learn how such a mover and shaker gets this all done and so much more, then this episode is for you.

She is currently studying at New York University’s Clive Davis Institute for Recorded Music at the Tisch School for the Arts, where she is a recipient of the Tisch Scholarship. She is also a 2020 Horatio Alger Canadian Scholar, Toronto Hakka Conference 2020 Luo Shui Hap Scholar, recipient of the Jean Lumb Foundation Chung-Kotcheff Arts Award, NSHSS Performing Arts: Music Scholarship, and Notes for the Future Scholarship.

Outside of her creative work, Senaida is a strong advocate for mental health awareness, gender equality and representation in the music industry. She is the founder of the NYU Womxn in Music Club, and the co-host of “Classy & Sassy” on WNYU 89.1 FM as well as the station’s Associate Music Director. She has appeared on Salt+Light TV as a guest performer and actress, given talks and workshops in Canada and the US, and has been interviewed by numerous podcasts and channels.

In addition to making music, she loves geocaching, travelling and making YouTube videos about her college experience. Her channel currently has over 400,000 views. She also has a music review blog, Tea n’ Tunes, where she writes music and bubble tea reviews.

THIS EPISODE COVERS:

  • Ways that she has financed her education as an international student;
  • Creative ways that you can make money as a student to help with your expenses; 
  • How she manages her many responsibilities; and
  • much, much more…

GET CONNECTED WITH OUR GUEST, Senaida

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Senaida Ng (00:00): For sure, like college is expensive and you have to realize like what you're paying for, especially for example, NYU, like a lot of us say you're paying for the city, you're paying for the resources, the professors, the network. And so a lot of it is like, sure, you could take these classes anywhere, but you get so much more out of like talking to people. And so even if you're not like you're not able to attend college, I feel like having the skills to know how to learn and know how to talk to people and connect with people is the most important thing. And that's the most important thing you're going to take out of college. Honestly,

The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:39): Welcome to the student loan podcast here. You'll find practical advice on tackling student loan debt, paying down your higher education expenses

The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:48): And inspiring stories about paying off student loans, where your host Daphne Vanessa

The Student Loan Podcast Intro (00:55): Rodriguez.

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Shamil Rodriguez (01:08): This is not professional advice. And we speak from our own personal views and opinion.

Daphné Vanessa (01:14): The student loan podcast is brought to you by start new, where you can serve your community and get rewarded with tuition and student loan payments to check out of start new is on your campus. Visit start new.com. Hello everyone. And welcome back to the student loan podcast. Today's guest is none other than Shanita, Ang, and she is going to be sharing with you students, NYU students, potentially, but really students attending any college or university really cool tips and tricks on the truth about attending school and what it means for your college financing. So with that, let's get started. Tell us about yourself.

Senaida Ng (01:56): Yeah. Hi everyone. Um, thank you so much for having me. I'm really excited to be here and speaking to you guys. So, um, again, um, my name is Shanita and I am currently a sophomore at the Clive Davis Institute of recorded music at New York university. Um, I originally was from Toronto, Canada. I was born and raised there and I just really, really love to make, um, music and YouTube videos as you know, um, I am a content creator. Um, and recently I actually started my own business. Um, and we're currently working, um, with the university to launch, uh, the startup and it's called my synth. So yeah, so really busy time, especially with like the school year, just starting. Um, but yeah,

Daphné Vanessa (02:51): Crazy. So how are you balancing all of this? Like while you're in school?

Senaida Ng (02:56): Honestly, it is tricky. Um, especially this year back in person has been really, really weird transition. Um, like, you know, we've been on like online school for over a year and a half. Um, I graduated high school and started college during COVID craziest time. Right. And so it was weird going back in person. Um, I personally actually really liked, um, on online classes, um, just because I didn't need to leave my house. I didn't need to look good. Like, um, as you can see, my room is like very cozy. I'm here in Brooklyn right now and it's so nice being here. So kind of like going out again, I have classes in Manhattan and Brooklyn, so I commute back and forth all the time and it's just a lot of time spent like traveling and going places. So that is tricky, but, um, I've been doing all right. Mainly like scheduling and just making sure I still have time for myself. Um, which is like really, really important. So self-care yeah, for sure.

Daphné Vanessa (04:10): Awesome. I love that you are just hitting the ground running, you started school and you were like, Nope, this is exactly what I'm doing. Talk to us about some of the realities of being a student while starting a startup.

Senaida Ng (04:24): Yeah. So one of the biggest challenges that I'm facing right now is like really just balancing, um, the whole thing, obviously, like I want my startup to be my first priority. Um, just because it's more of like a way out for me. Um, I see like a career path there and so I really want to try my best and put a lot of my time and energy into that. But at the same time, um, like my responsibility as a student still is a thing, so I have to go to class and do homework. Um, so yeah, like I'm glad that the school has a lot of resources to give us. Like I, um, spend a lot of the time at the entrepreneurship lab at NYU, which is a really, really helpful resource. Like I am so grateful that they have all these different programs and funding and advising that they can give to students for free. And I also have like my professors who also serve as advisors, um, for my company. So all in all, it's still good that I'm in school. Um, but you know, like kind of just thinking outside of what I want to do and what I want to do after school is, um, kind of tricky

Daphné Vanessa (05:40): For sure. You have so many options. So I, I think, I feel like I've watched a lot of your content, so let's like update the audience. Right. So that everybody's aware of like who you are, how you got to where you are and what the path forward is. So let's just start with like your background and where you're from personally.

Senaida Ng (05:58): Yeah, for sure. Um, it's funny cause I actually just took a break from like creating videos. So it's everything going on. It's so busy, but I, um, started playing piano at the age of four. Um, and I always wanted to be a musician. So I worked really, really hard in high school to get into like a good music school. Um, and originally I had been looking at Berkeley college of music in Boston, um, and that was like all of high school. I really wanted to go to Berkeley. And then I ended up going to a summer program in Valencia hosted by Berkeley. And I realized that it's not the place for me personally. Um, just because the environment and the people were just very different than what I was hoping for in my college experience. Um, I was looking for more of like a collaborative community and, um, everyone was just really focused on music and music performance there.

Senaida Ng (06:56): So I applied to NYU instead, um, after hearing about the program from a friend and it was like a dream come true when I got in it, like, yeah, it was just the most incredible thing that I really didn't think I was going to get in. So to be here now is like a blessing. Um, and yeah, so I am now studying here. Um, I went to high school and Toronto, I went to Havergal college, which is an all-girls private school. Um, you know, like just imagine you're like really stereotypical all girl school. Like that's kind of what I tell people is, um, the movies are pretty

Daphné Vanessa (07:43): Accurate,

Senaida Ng (07:45): Which is scary to think about. Um, yeah, so that's kinda my background. Um, I also did like a nonprofit w N G in high school. So I started the youth showcase concert series, which was a music festival that featured youth musicians and artists, um, from all over Canada. And we would run every month in August. So, um, our last one ended up being virtual because of COVID, but we got to have some really cool performers from all across the country. It's was really cool.

Daphné Vanessa (08:21): Yeah. That is amazing. So basically virtual forced you to almost become global in a sense.

Senaida Ng (08:28): Yeah. And it honestly made me think of like a lot more of the things I could do, like even with my company now, like we hire people from all across the states and it's like, not as much of a barrier where you are, because you know, like everyone's used to working virtually now. So I really do think it's like improving our collaboration and our sense of like connectivity to each other.

Daphné Vanessa (08:51): Absolutely. Absolutely. So thank you for sharing your journey. Talk to us a little bit about your startup. What, what's the name of it, you know, sorta tell the audience what you're working on and like what the benefit is for them.

Senaida Ng (09:05): Yeah. So the startup is called my synth and it's a revolutionary music software plugin that will allow musicians, songwriters, and artists to synthesize sounds with their imagination. So essentially we're taking the brainwaves and analyzing your mental state, um, and turning that into sounds that you can then like listen to and use to write music. Um, and we're really focused on helping musicians who have accessibility needs, or they don't have the time or the money to spend on music creation, but still want to be able to create music. And so a lot of that is just trying to make tools that are actually helpful to people who want to create music, because I think everyone should have access to and be able to create art. Um, just like how we can all draw if we want to, we just have to pick up a piece of paper and like a pen. So we want to do the same thing with music.

Daphné Vanessa (10:08): Nice. And so I just have a question about like the medium that it ends up in. So you translate a thought essentially into sound and does that translate then to sheet music so that it's transferable to other musicians or like what's the next step after the audio?

Senaida Ng (10:27): Yeah. So once we get the audio, it's turned into a mini instrument, which is, um, essentially a software instrument that's inside of a musician's digital audio workstation, um, which is like, uh, for example, like garage band. Um, so you're able to then like record yourself, playing notes, um, or melodies with the instrument that you created.

Daphné Vanessa (10:52): I have to say, I wish this existed when I was in a music school, because back in the old days you had to like, you know, and, uh, I'm just really jealous about all of this technology out here, helping people create from thinking. I mean the beautiful, so cool. Yeah. Um, so what got you to think about that? Like where did you get that idea from?

Senaida Ng (11:18): So I was taking a class in freshman year, um, called our friends electric. Um, it was part of my major and it was taught by professor [inaudible] and I was just so fascinated by that class. It was, it was like one of the things that I had looked on the school's website before I applied. And I was like, oh, what classes would I want to take here? And this one class had really stood out to me. So I put it on my application. I was like, yeah, I really want to take this class. And that's why I want to go here. Um, and so first semester they were offering the class. I was like, I have to take it like, this is it. So I took the class and it was just incredible. We learned about all these different emerging technologies and we had discussions about like how they could be applied.

Senaida Ng (12:00): And so for our final project, we had to come up with a fictional business proposal. And I remember our professor literally told us, like, anything you can imagine, like, if you want to do a proposal on like doing a performance on the moon, like go for it. So he really encouraged us to just push the boundaries. He was like, you don't have to actually make it, you know, like it's a fictional business proposal. So I came up with this after learning about neural link. Um, and as I was doing more research, I realized that a lot of the pieces were already in place. And it's just that nobody has taken those pieces and put them together into a commercial product. So I was like, oh, I could just take those steps and do that. And so sort of like launched me into this big spiral that has turned into this company.

Daphné Vanessa (12:50): That's amazing. So basically you're an example of how, you know, college from the beginning. I mean, you're right at the beginning of your college career, like you're not even a junior and you have already created a company, you know, like sort of helping other people, right. With the impact that your software, your technology is going to give. You're already making a difference at such a young age. What do you think your message is to people who are sort of hesitant towards attending college or concerned about the expenses?

Senaida Ng (13:27): For sure. Like college is expensive and you have to realize like what you're paying for, especially for example, NYU, like a lot of us say you're paying for the city, you're paying for the resources, the professors, the network. Um, and so a lot of it is like, sure, you could take these classes anywhere, but, um, you get so much more out of like talking to people. Um, and so even if you're not like, like you're not able to attend college, I feel like, um, having the skills to know how to learn and know how to talk to people and connect with people is the most important thing. And that's the most important thing you're going to take out of college, honestly,

Daphné Vanessa (14:09): For sure. That's, that's a great message. Um, so we spoke a little bit about the cost of college. This is the student loan podcast. So I'm going to be asking you about your student loans and college tuition journey and just sort of sharing with the audience, what your package looks like and what you've been able to finagle.

Senaida Ng (14:30): Yeah, for sure. Um, so the program that I'm in is in the Tisch school of the arts at NYU. And so it's the most expensive college in NYU. So just keep that in mind. Um, I think this year it's around like $79,000 for the whole year.

Daphné Vanessa (14:51): Oh my God.

Senaida Ng (14:53): It's, it's an insane, insane number. Um, but with like, even just living in New York city is generally very expensive. Um, everything here from the like rent to the food, uh, is like really, really expensive. So, um, I, since I have my own place now, um, I try to cook a lot, um, and buying groceries from like local, uh, grocery stores. We have one downstairs, which is like super convenient. Yeah. I don't even have to leave the block. I love

Daphné Vanessa (15:28): It go New York. Um,

Senaida Ng (15:31): But I did get, um, a scholarship when I entered NYU. So I got $24,100 that's per year. Um, and it's renewable every year, so that's kind of been helping. Um, but obviously it's like, not quite enough. So I also have applied to the Ontario student assistance program or oh, SAP, um, which is our government, uh, student loan program. And then,

Daphné Vanessa (16:02): And they do it even if you're studying outside of Canada.

Senaida Ng (16:05): Yeah. Yeah. And as long as you're a Canadian citizen, um, it doesn't really matter where you're studying. Um, but they do tend to give you less money if you're studying outside of Canada. Um, yeah,

Daphné Vanessa (16:17): We have a whole episode on why people should consider becoming Canadian citizen to save money. Another good example.

Senaida Ng (16:28): I mean, I wish I was an American citizen. Like there's just so many more scholarships that you can apply for in the U S especially if you're planning on studying here. And I think I talked a bit about this in my scholarship video, but like the biggest challenge that I found when I was applying for scholarships was that they aren't like transferable across the border. So I could apply for Canadian scholarships because I was a Canadian citizen, but then they would be like, oh, you have to use it at a Canadian university. Whereas when I was trying to apply for ones that could be applied to NYU, um, they were like, oh, you have to be an American citizen in order to apply for this. And so it's sort of tricky. Um, and I just kind of found scholarships that like fell in the gray area where they didn't say where you had to be from. Um, but usually the scholarships would be going to, um, U S universities.

Daphné Vanessa (17:18): Yeah. Which is a challenge. Right. As an international student, you're doing double, triple, quadruple the research as a non-international student.

Senaida Ng (17:29): Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (17:29): So share some more sort of hurdles that you've overcome or had to face as an international student at NYU.

Senaida Ng (17:38): Um, applying for the visa is so useful, and I'm really glad that NYU has like one of the largest international student populations. Um, I think the largest, so in the states, so we have a really good international student office and they're like really, really helpful. Um, they had all these workshops, um, before we came about how to apply, how to do the interview. Um, since I was Canadian, I didn't have to do an interview, but still like the application and the application fees are just really confusing to navigate. Um, and, uh, getting like a work permit, um, for like internships and also on campus jobs. Like that is also just so confusing. I remember when I, um, applied for an on-campus job and then I got it and they were like, oh, you have to go get a social security number. I was like, okay. Yeah. And I went through all the steps and then you have to go to like the office and like apply. And I sat there for like two hours waiting, even though like, they gave you an appointment time. So you go at the appointment and then you still have to wait. Of course.

Daphné Vanessa (18:52): Yes. Yes. Welcome to us immigration. Absolutely.

Senaida Ng (18:55): Yes. Um, I wonder why they can't just do it online, but that's a whole other thing.

Daphné Vanessa (19:01): So we've been preaching this for years, but hopefully COVID will, one positive will be that people will sort of migrate online for processes like that. That shouldn't just be yeah,

Senaida Ng (19:12): Exactly. Yeah. Um, but yeah, like that was really interesting. And now, um, with like working, um, while I was interning this past summer and now working on this project, um, there's a lot of like things I have to consider in terms of like what my visa allows me to do and what I can't do. Um, so it's just like a lot more extra work in the research and just figuring out, um, how I can like go around it and stuff. So, yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (19:44): So you're basically also becoming an attorney while your business and studying music totally makes sense. That makes a lot of sense.

Senaida Ng (19:52): I have attorney, I have legal advisors. Thanks.

Daphné Vanessa (19:57): That's what the immigration world will do to you. Um, I feel like I've been hogging this interview. Chanel, do you have a question? I'm so sorry.

Shamil Rodriguez (20:05): That's all good. I've been enjoying it. You know, I D I definitely have questions. Um, I wanted a Shanita to share some of her background, or if you don't mind on, like, you have an album that you came out with, you know, you've won awards. You've been like national finals. I was like, oh my gosh, there's so much here. I was like, I hope that the audience gets to hear some of this, your story. I mean, you're amazing. And you should highlight that for sure.

Senaida Ng (20:28): It feels like a different life now, honestly. Um, but yeah, like, as I mentioned earlier, I started playing piano at the age of four. I did, um, like classical piano and I trained at the Royal conservatory of music, which is, um, like Canada's biggest, um, conservatory. And so, um, it put a piano for many years. And then I started doing concert band in school where I did French horn for a year. And then my mom said I wasn't allowed to play the French horn anymore because it sounded like farts [inaudible],

Senaida Ng (21:04): I'm like, she's fine. I love my mom too. Um, yeah, so then my dad really liked the saxophone, so I started playing the saxophone instead. And so I played that like all through high school. Um, I was in the Toronto youth wind orchestra. Um, and during my final year with them, we traveled to Spain to do a tour, um, which was like the most incredible trip ever. Um, yeah. And then, so in high school, I also started writing and producing music. Um, you know, I just kind of got bored of playing old, dead white people's music.

Senaida Ng (21:45): Yeah. So I was like, well, what if I just like, created my own music? So I started like writing songs. Um, and then I learned production through YouTube videos and I just like explored garage band. And then I got logic and I just like really dove into it. And, you know, I still produce now. It's like one of my favorite things to do, because I feel like it's so similar to kind of just like creating something from the ground it's like arranging and picking the instruments and picking of the sounds like I just love all of that. Yeah. Um, yeah. So then I released my first single in 2019, it was called t-shirt. Um, and then following that, I released my debut album first love in the summer of 2020, which was last year. Um,

Shamil Rodriguez (22:35): It goes by fast. Yeah. Oh my God.

Senaida Ng (22:37): That's, that's crazy. Um, and after that I sort of was on a creative block. Um, I didn't write for like, probably like half a year or like nine months. Um, and sort of just like working on other stuff, like finishing school. Um, and I, like when I got here, I just felt so inspired because it was like change of environment, meeting all these new people. Um, obviously I'm in a music program, so I'm surrounded by musicians who are making

Daphné Vanessa (23:10): It's just, the vibes are just

Senaida Ng (23:12): Love it. I know, like it's, it was just so incredible because everyone is making such, such good music. I had a friend who just released an album and he had his own billboard in times, square, crazy stuff like that.

Daphné Vanessa (23:29): I mean, so many,

Senaida Ng (23:30): It's a great school. It's crazy. So I started writing when I got here and I ended up, um, writing a whole bunch of songs. I actually had just, I was dating someone last summer when, uh, right before I moved here and I like knew I was leaving, but we were still like, oh, we'll see where it goes. But obviously we broke up cause like, why would I do long distance?

Daphné Vanessa (23:54): I love it.

Senaida Ng (23:56): Yeah. I just want to live like my life. Yeah. Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (23:59): And if it's meant to me it'll happen. But like, I love that. I love that. Yeah. No, you got to focus on you.

Senaida Ng (24:04): I wrote a bunch of songs about him. Um, my, my Bumble profile is, um, uh, I'm like Taylor swift, if we break up, I'll probably write a song about you. And I met that guy on Bumble. So, you know, I wrote a whole album about him,

Daphné Vanessa (24:22): What famous,

Senaida Ng (24:24): He knows what he signed up for.

Senaida Ng (24:28): Um, and so at least that, um, this past summer it's called last night was the last night of my past life. Um, probably one of my favorite albums that I've put out so far. And now I'm working on completely different genre. I'm switching to like experimental electronic, um, ambient music. Um, I dunno, like I kind of got bored from like writing lyrics and melodies. So right now I'm working on an album it's untitled, but the concept behind it is like the future and like what potentially could happen in the future. So a lot of it is like surrounding philosophy, um, Yeah. And like consciousness, um, AI, and like one of the songs is called bloodbath and it's about like AI drones that turn into killing machines and like kill everyone. Um, but expressed in like electronic music. So it's like, now

Daphné Vanessa (25:28): It hasn't been done. I love that. You're sort of thinking out of like, everybody does a love song, you know, everybody does sort of like emotional pieces, but there aren't a lot of seances anymore where somebody's singing about a storyline, you know, and I got,

Senaida Ng (25:42): I want this album to be like very abstract. I'm actually not singing on it. It's all instrumental. So that's going to be really, really interesting. And yeah, I'm really excited for that.

Daphné Vanessa (25:51): That sounds fun. So stay on my favorite of your songs, which, which album was that a part of? I feel like that's the last album.

Senaida Ng (26:00): Yeah. Stay on was on last night was the last night of my past life. Um, it was something that I wrote for, um, one of my professors actually like during my first semester, we had to take a sort of like a music theory, musicianship class. And then, um, he also encouraged us to like write songs based on prompts just to like explore our musical voice. Um, and so one of the prompts he gave me was to like, I think it was like take a song that I really liked and then sort of turn it into my own. Um, and at the time I was listening to Dua Lipa is future nostalgia because that had just come out really, really good albums

Daphné Vanessa (26:40): And listen to the album. I love that so many people now have switched to just listening to individual pieces, but you went through her whole album.

Senaida Ng (26:50): I have to listen, you know, like there's a reason artists put their songs in albums. Like we listened together. So I was listening to do a Lipa. And then I was like, okay, I'm going to like try this out. Um, I came up with like a little piano riff and like a baseline. Um, and then I wrote, stay on, which was about like staying on the path of your goals and, um, you know, like just finding your own creative voice, which is what I was going through at the time. Um, and then I handed it to someone else to sing actually. Um, I met Angelique, she over Instagram, she's also a student at the Clive Davis Institute. She's a few years older than me. Um, and I reached out to her because I really liked her voice. And I was like, oh, I think she would sound really good on the album. And she just like, did such a good job. Like, it's insane. I love her voice. Um, it's my favorite song as well that I've ever had. So I'm just really, really happy with how it turned out.

Daphné Vanessa (27:50): Yeah, no, I mean, congrats. It's amazing. I know this is not the music podcasts, but we guys, because that's where this is going. Um, so that is super helpful. So do you have any thoughts on leveraging the revenue that maybe your business makes we're starting to generate more revenue on your influencer profiles to pay for school? Is that in the works for you?

Senaida Ng (28:17): I mean, for school, not necessarily. I'm still very lucky where my parents are supporting me. And so, um, our deal is kind of like, they pay for my tuition and my housing and then everything else I have to make for myself. So it's like, um, right now I have a job at Tandon school of engineering at NYU. Um, and I worked there as a website administrator, but not the best job in the world. It's not glamorous, it's like pretty boring, but you know, like it's something and I'm making money. Um, and all

Daphné Vanessa (28:51): Of that print shop.

Senaida Ng (28:53): Yeah. That's true. Um, is that where you worked?

Daphné Vanessa (28:58): Yes. That is

Shamil Rodriguez (29:01): Deputies that work in the print shop. Yeah,

Daphné Vanessa (29:04): That was my work study, but you know what, in all fairness, shout out to Barb, we had a great time. We video games when nobody was paying attention. I had a great time. So I'll say

Senaida Ng (29:16): That's good. Yeah. Um, I mean working remotely is a

Daphné Vanessa (29:20): Plus. Oh, for sure. Yeah. Yeah. It must be awesome.

Senaida Ng (29:23): Yeah. So I do that. And so most of the, like all of the money that I spend ends up coming from there. Um, and then I try to also like do some stuff on the influencer side. Um, I get like usually partnerships or collaborations. Um, I got a lot of free stuff. Yeah. Um, yeah, so that plus, and then my business currently isn't generating any revenue yet. Um, we are doing fundraising, but I think it'll be a while before I take a salary from that. Sure. Absolutely. So, yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (30:01): Nice. And so for your business, are you thinking path forward, make revenue first or get fundraising first? What's your priority?

Senaida Ng (30:10): We're going to do fundraising first just because, um, in order to launch our software, we have to have the hardware component and, um, essentially we don't actually make the hardware component, um, where basically an application for commercial brain computer interfaces to use, um, just like how, like your smartphone has like apps. And so we imagine, or we foresee in the future that like, everyone's going to have a brain computer interface of some sort. Um, and there'll be able to then use our application, but those, um, like interfaces don't get released until like next year, a lot of companies are releasing next year and beyond. And so we want to wait for that, um, to kind of, uh, get adopted by the public before we launch our product.

Daphné Vanessa (31:00): Smart. Very good idea.

Shamil Rodriguez (31:03): Yeah, no. So I was going to say, what is, what does that process been like? Um, cause I know that, um, some folks like Elon Musk and some others are, you know, in that space and try to do their own versions of, uh, playing, uh, what, you're, what, you know, the, I guess the neural, uh, link is like. Uh, so can you just give us a little background on that because I feel like it's such an interesting topic and it's such a future facing, uh, uh, prospect.

Senaida Ng (31:27): Yeah. So right now our technology is going to be using EEG, which is, um, uh, like a type of wave that comes out from your brain. Um, I don't know the exact neuro science tech, I'm a music person, so we have people for that. Um, but essentially we, uh, take the raw data that is collected by these hardware, um, interfaces. And then we analyze them with machine learning and we generate like a sound using our algorithm. Um, but in the future we're hoping, um, stuff like neural link or synchrotron or, um, there's BlackRock. Um, neurotech right now they're all doing some sort of like implant into the brain, um, to like measure more accurately the electrodes that are firing and the neurons that are firing. And so, um, hopefully in the future we'll be able to work with them and, um, build something and like expand our software.

Shamil Rodriguez (32:27): Nice. That's amazing. No, great, great, great job. And I love that you took a classroom project and then turn that into something that is literally going to impact your life in the future as well. So seriously. Good, good for you on that. Uh, but you know what, I know that there was one topic, one of your videos that you did on YouTube that I wanted to make sure we discussed because it doesn't suit alone podcasts and I'm really enjoying how we're, you know, where we're going with this. So when it comes to some of the creative ways that students can try to pay for school, or like even just cover the cost, like you said, your parents are covering tuition and housing, but everything else like being in New York city is not cheap. Uh, you know, as alumni from New York schools ourselves, we understand, uh, what, uh, what are some of those creative ways now that, that you think that students should know that they'll listen to those podcasts they can take advantage of?

Senaida Ng (33:14): Um, well, I did a partnership recently with campus clipper. I'm not sure if I can promote other

Shamil Rodriguez (33:21): No, no, yeah. We'll put it in the show notes. Yeah. This is about your story.

Senaida Ng (33:25): Yeah. So I think campus clipper is doing some incredible stuff. Um, like I am really good friends with, um, Cassandra who runs that, um, and they give coupons to students at, um, many, many restaurants across New York. Um, and also I think they're in Boston as well now. So, um, they have a lot of like different coupons for like restaurants, um, hair salon spas, and like grocery stores. Um, so that's a really useful resource. Um, also like getting free stuff or like doing free activities. Like New York just has so much going on all the time. It's really easy to find like free activities to do. Um, so that's like a really great way to save some money. Um, but still have fun also just I have a novelty blog called T and tunes.

Shamil Rodriguez (34:18): Oh, you're right. Yes. I'm so sorry. I didn't ask you about that.

Daphné Vanessa (34:22): And I love bubble tea. I did not find that no way.

Senaida Ng (34:26): So I started that in 2016. Um, and I love to tell people the reason I started that was because I wanted to get free bubble tea as a reviewer. And so

Daphné Vanessa (34:36): I love that. What a great idea. I need to start an ice cream blogs.

Senaida Ng (34:42): I tell people that all the time, I'm like, if you love a certain food, like just start a tech talk, start a blog about it. And like you email, you like to reach out to places that you want to go to. Yeah. Reach out to places you want to go to. And then you're like, oh, I have this blog. Like, I want to do our view and feature your, um, your shop. And then they usually say yes, and then you can get like free drinks or free food, whatever.

Shamil Rodriguez (35:07): That's great. That's a good one guys. I think we're going to highlight that one on the show notes for sure.

Daphné Vanessa (35:13): Clips on social media.

Senaida Ng (35:14): And then now we're going to see like an abundance of food blogs,

Daphné Vanessa (35:20): Food globs are making a comeback ladies.

Shamil Rodriguez (35:21): Yeah. Like, well, there was this certain, this surge in food blogs, September, 2021 guys. And what was it? It was Shanita his interview on the seasonal and podcast.

Daphné Vanessa (35:31): Love that. What a great idea. So sort of using creative online resources to get things for free so that you don't have to pay for them. That's genius. Great idea. I love that you are thinking outside of the box that you sort of take in your college experience by the horn and already are making it profitable, to be honest, like you may not be making revenue yet, but you're on the beginning phases of what will be sort of your life's journey, which pat yourself on the back, you know, for doing that at such a young age,

Senaida Ng (36:06): I'm impressed.

Shamil Rodriguez (36:09): I had a quick question for you. Um, if you had a message for some students, and I know a mental health awareness as a, as a topic that you're an advocate for, um, if you had a message that you wanted to share with people that might be listening to this podcast as school to starting to get back into session and people are going back on campus and acclimating with what the new normal is, is there a message that you would want to send after, you know, going through your transition and trying to juggle all the different possibilities that you have that you'd want to share with people that are listening?

Senaida Ng (36:35): Yeah. Actually I was talking to a friend this morning exactly about this. Um, my first tip is go to therapy. I think everyone should have a therapist, especially if you're in school, your student insurance probably covers it. Um, so that's super helpful. Um, but if you can't go to therapy for whatever reason, just even meditating, um, I know this is like a big, big thing that everyone says now, but it's true, like meditating being in tune with your body and just feeling like you being in the moment and like being present. That's something that my therapist is always telling me, and that really takes you out of your head space and into your body. Um, and I find that to be really calming. Um, but the other thing that I was talking to my friend about today was just evaluating what things that you have to do.

Senaida Ng (37:26): Like, what are your priorities, um, and what you can let go of. So like both me and my friend that I was talking to this morning, we are the type of people who like, grab onto everything. Like can't say no. Um, we just like commit to all these things. And then we figured out that we have no time. Yeah. Um, and I was always like this, um, growing up and until literally like this year, I realized that I really just don't have the time to do everything that I want to. Um, like last year I started a club at NYU. It was the women in music club. So I started the women in music club at NYU. And it was something that I was very passionate about. Cause I wanted to coming from an all girls school. Like I really wanted to create a space of women because I knew from experience how empowering and how important that was.

Senaida Ng (38:18): Um, and this year I was looking over my schedule and I was like, what can I take out? And then that was the first thing I was like, this has to go, like, somebody else can continue this. Like I think the space is really important, but I don't think I have the capacity or the energy to take it on anymore. And it was like my baby too. So I kind of had to like, let it go, hand it off to someone, but the new president is doing a great job. So I'm really glad. And um, I recently also dropped a class, um, cause I was like, you know, I have always been like, oh, full workload. You know, I got to take advantage of all the credits that I'm paying for. Um, so I maxed out my credits for every semester and this semester I was like, you know, maybe I should like kind of take it back a bit. Um, I got to focus on my business. So it's hard to saying no is really hard. And like letting things go, you just have to like really think about what can I live with, what do I have to do? And then what do I want to do?

Daphné Vanessa (39:18): And I mean, those are such wise words. I think they apply just even beyond college, but Chanel, I'm sorry. I, you were going to say something.

Shamil Rodriguez (39:27): I was going to just jump on with what you were saying there and I guess on that same, uh, in that same vein, uh, Shanita, are you still, uh, co-hosting the show with the radio, uh, for your school radio show. Can you talk a little bit about that as well? I know you're just doing so many amazing things of wonder what was I doing and cool.

Senaida Ng (39:43): Yeah. It's because I have a hard time saying no. Um, yeah, I am still, co-hosting classy and sassy with Jackson waters. Um, it's on WNYU 89.1 FM, which is the college radio station. And our show airs every Thursday from seven 30 to 9:00 PM. And you can listen on wnyu.org. Um, and I'm also the associate music director this year of the radio stations. Big big responsibilities.

Shamil Rodriguez (40:12): Absolutely. Absolutely. Yeah. None whatsoever. No, no, no. Thank you so much. Shanita, Daphne, I'll sort of read, I don't know if we're going to do a lightning round or you wanted to go. Yeah.

Daphné Vanessa (40:23): I mean, I feel like we've done so much. I don't even know that a lightening round would do this episode justice. So instead of a lightening round, I'm actually going to ask you, what are your next steps in life? Like you've accomplished so much startup check, you know, like you've done it, music album out, like you've done everything. Some people spend their entire lifetimes not accomplishing what you've already done. What's next for you?

Senaida Ng (40:49): I mean, I always tell people if before I get into that, like I always tell people if you want to do something, like just go for it. I wanted to start this company. And I just didn't like, I just followed through with the steps and like really, it's not that hard for anyone to take those steps, sequentially find good advisors, um, and just plan it out. Um, and same with like releasing music. Like don't think about it too much. Just follow the steps. Um, and eventually you'll get there. Um, so for me next steps, um, obviously this company I'm gonna keep working on it, hopefully it'll grow and it'll become something that I can be proud of. Um, I'm also working on that experimental album, which I'm hoping, uh, should be done by next year. Um, know, yeah, it's going to be my first full length album. So I think I'm going to have 12 songs on it. Um, that's really exciting. Um, and yeah, I mean, I honestly, like my life goal is really just to be comfortable enough where I can do nothing. I've been telling people that a lot recently, You know, all I want to do is like buy an island in Europe, like in Spain and like my own private island, me and my boyfriend can like live there. I can make music and be with nature every day, all day and not have to worry about people or anything like no stress. Like that's my goal. And people ask me why I'm working so hard. I'm like, I'm working hard because I want to get there. I want to do nothing. Yes,

Daphné Vanessa (42:25): Yes. I think he's laughing because you literally just said what?

Shamil Rodriguez (42:31): Yes. Yeah, no seriously. I'm like, wow. It must be a, I don't know what it is. Musicians and loving dad has literally said the same thing.

Daphné Vanessa (42:41): It's actually my goal in life. Um, so I am so impressed that you accelerated right competition. Your goal. You'll be able to do this before. You're 30, you know? And I mean, no, I, I, I can close the guarantee if I was a betting person, I would put money on it. Um, so yeah, congratulations. You're really on the right path. I think you're such a great example for so many students, current students, but even people who have just graduated, who may not be doing sort of what they want to do. I think your story is really inspirational to just remind people that school exists for a reason. Yes. You're taking out student loans, but look at all that you can accomplish from being in the right place. And look what NYU has, has offered you already. I have a feeling you would have made this happen wherever you are, but let's give NYU some credit just because the student loans.

Shamil Rodriguez (43:36): Thank you so much for sharing your story with us. Is there anything else you wanted to say before we go?

Senaida Ng (43:41): Thank you again so much for having me. It's been so fun talking to you guys. And, um, I really hope students can take something out of this and, uh, you know, if anyone wants to reach out to me, um, my Instagram, my DMS are always open it's ActionAid at XO XO and that's S E N a I D a X O XO. I also have a YouTube channel, which we mentioned. Um, and that's just my name Shanita. And you can also find me on all streaming platforms, um, and streamline new album last night was the last night of my past life. So yeah, that's it for me.

Daphné Vanessa (44:16): And we will include all of those links in the show notes. Thank you so much to NATO. We really enjoyed this conversation and when your next album comes out, we will share it with the entire world.

Senaida Ng (44:28): Yeah. Thank you so much.

Shamil Rodriguez (44:30): Awesome. All right. For more information on today's episode, visit the suit alone podcast.com/episode 47. That's the suit alone podcast.com/episode 47.

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