It’s 2014 and I am entering my last and final semester of college. Panic ensues. Now what?
This December marked a year since I graduated college. I said goodbye to my friends, goodbye to a place that has been home for three years, goodbye to familiarity, comfort, and norm, and goodbye to a chapter. I entered 2014 twenty-two and stressed. I was living back at home in my bedroom that was frozen in time. I was back in my childhood town that housed everything that I so desperately ran away from three years ago.
In the wise words of Frank Sinatra, “I faced it all and stood tall and did it my way.” I was twenty-two, my adult life was finally beginning. It was the time in my life I’ve been fawning over in movies growing up that I had been so desperately waiting to attain. The freedom and youth of being in my 20s was finally here. I cleaned out my room and threw out the bad energy. I glued myself to the computer and began bookmarking any and every job that I could even slightly relate. I came on full force.
I joined my old team at Michael Kors in the Galleria and I had a job [yay retail]. I was shaken back into the work force with guidance from my manager who gave me the tough love I needed. I applied for job after job until finally I had to succumb to looking at internships. [NOTE to all my college friends, intern as much as you can even if it’s unpaid, any experience is good experience.]
I gave myself goals, if I had not heard back from at least one company I applied for then I had to apply for 5 more. In what seemed like a never ending process I finally heard back from someone. Northern Virginia Magazine, a small regional magazine in Chantilly, emailed me regarding a Fashion and Beauty internship I applied for. I was on cloud nine. FINALLY a response.
I didn’t realize it at the time but this internship opened all the doors I needed. In May I returned to Charleston to graduate. White dresses, white tuxes, and a red rose, why would anyone choose to graduate anywhere else?
When I transferred to the College of Charleston I wouldn’t have expected the changes I ended up experiencing. It was the first time I moved away from home. I surprised even myself by uprooting my life and moving to a culture the complete opposite of what I knew. Returning for graduation I knew I had to continue that frame of mind, constantly be taking on new and frightening challenges because if it does not challenge you then, it wont change you.
I began my internship at NoVA Mag and grew my portfolio from an eclectic group of samples to multiple online and print pieces. There are a lot of benefits to working with a small company, one being in the week I started I was already working on a print piece, and I had a blog post up on the website by Friday. I got to work one on one with my editor who gave me honest feedback directly. Downside, it was unpaid. Plus side, I can now say I have pieces published in over 6 print issues of the magazine.
When my term was over at the magazine a marketing position opened up. With guidance from our previous admin and support from editorial I applied and became the new Marketing Specialist and Event Coordinator. I was finally in the big leagues.
I had a desk, a company pass, and a business card. It was a great start. I looked for ways to brand the magazine and took over the Instagram growing our followers from 84 to 438. I discovered my passion for social media, branding, and promotion. I got to work closely with editorial, design, and sales broadening my understanding of the how a small company functions. After 5 months I had learned all I needed and was ready for my next challenge.
I’m entering 2015 twenty-three and unemployed. But, surprisingly content with the fact. If you are unhappy with your life change it, you are in charge of your own success. I’m ready for all 2015 has to offer because 2014 brought a lot more than I expected but has shaped and molded every decision I made. I had the opportunity to move back home, to save money, to travel back to Charleston a few times, visit New York a few times, visit family a few times, I wrote, I loved, and I lost. I look to constantly be facing forward and learning from the past, if you’re not learning then are you truly living?
“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.”