Pre-Summer Musings: Lessons I learned this semester and why I can’t wait for these next few months

Wowzers.

That’s the only appropriate word I can come up with to begin this blog post because this past semester has been a whirlwind of the following:

1. Internship-related emotional breakdowns (Boy oh boy is the journalism industry competitive…)
2. A whole month of 21st birthday shenanigans (I mean, #YOT21O—You Only Turn 21 Once—amirite?)
3. Exciting adventures in and around my college town of Gainesville (Gorgeous freshwater springs only 20 minutes away from campus?! Sign me up!)
4. Excessive consumption of caramel iced coffees from Starbucks (I may or may not have become certifiably reliant on caffeine… oops.)
5. Enormous growth both inside and outside of the classroom (With a team of 50 gals looking up to you for guidance, you really have no choice but to suck it up and take the reigns.)
6. One heck of a Spring Break adventure (I lost my voice halfway through my week-long cruise… #worthit.)

And that’s only half of it in convenient Spark Notes form.

Through the craziness and sleepless nights, I’ve definitely learned some lessons, and I’m here to impart my fledgling “wisdom” on the rest of the WordPress blogosphere.

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1. You are your own worst critic.
I’m always hard on myself, thinking that whatever I do, say or write isn’t good enough. If you’re currently nodding in agreement, I’m here to say that it’s time to let go of those self-criticisms. It’s one thing to have high expectations for yourself, but it’s a whole other story if you find yourself unhappy with everything you do. I learned the need to loosen up a bit on my self-expectations this semester when I submitted one of my stories for a local news website, WUFT News. I was completely unhappy with the final product and was later pleasantly surprised when my editors raved over the story. I realized that I needed to step back and look at the big picture of how much work and effort I had put into it to see that maybe my work wasn’t too shabby. Cut yourself some slack every now and then.

2. FOMO is all in your head… get over it now.
This semester, I had a lot on my plate (and I’m not just talking about the fact that I always got the guacamole at Chipotle, even though it’s $1.95 extra…). I took over my school’s chapter of Her Campus as the Campus Correspondent, which is basically a fancy term for president, and I was enrolled in the most difficult upper-level journalism course at the University of Florida. Plus, I was writing weekly articles for CollegeFashionista and was lost in a flurry of cover letters and applications while trying to land the perfect summer internship. Needless to say, my social life was put on the back burner of the stove of life this semester. And you know what? I realized that it was okay. It was okay to miss my sorority’s party to perfect my internship cover letter. It was okay to skip out on another Friday night of drunken debauchery to transcribe an interview for a story. There will always be another party or night out. Sure, FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) will get the best of you at first; but that feeling of productivity is far better than that hungover feeling you’ll experience the next morning.

3. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.
In high school, I was your typical gawky, awkward teenager who lacked self-confidence and poise. But upon entering college, and most prominently this past year, I’ve truly gained the confidence to put myself out there, and I urge you to do the same. Case in point, let’s discuss the struggle that is landing a journalism internship. It’s nearly impossible to find the contact information of magazine employees anywhere on the Internet, so you want to know my little secret? I straight up tweeted one the magazine editors I wanted to speak with. Yes, it was an untraditional route, but it paid off because she happily provided me with her email via Twitter. It’s okay to choose the road not taken (shout out to Robert Frost, the OG) because it’ll usually pay off and get you noticed. Muster up a little confidence, be yourself, and don’t be afraid to wade into the great unknown. Hell, just dive on in.

4. Take a little break every now and then.
I may or may not be a certified workaholic. I thrive under pressure and feel empty without a tinge of stress in my life. But this semester, I learned the importance of vacation and time away from my work. I took a weeklong cruise for Spring Break and had the time of my life. Here’s the real shocker, though: I left all of my notes, books and laptop at home for the duration of the cruise, so I took a mental vacation from my work as well. At first, I was nervous about all I had to accomplish before returning to school after the break, but I realized that the break was absolutely necessary. I had tirelessly studied, written, researched and interviewed all semester, and a break was much needed. Sometimes taking a step back from your work is exactly what you need to return to it once again with a renewed and refreshed outlook.

5. Don’t doubt yourself; confidence is key.
Nervous doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt when I led the first meeting of the semester for my whole chapter of Her Campus UFL. It was the first time I was on my own at the helm of the 50-member group, and I was terrified. But, like I said, I somehow manage to thrive under pressure and made it through in one piece. Somewhere between leading weekly meetings and organizing campus events, I found that I had (somewhat) started to fill the shoes of the former Campus Correspondent. I discovered the importance of 1.) going with my gut in sticky situations, 2.) staying calm, cool and collected under pressure and 3.) making a choice and sticking to it no matter what. Even when it seems like you have size-15 shoes to fill, that size will seemingly shrink over time as you gain confidence from within.

Somewhere among the glorious hot ass mess that was my semester, I managed to land an equally as glorious internship. I’m psyched to say that in two weeks, I’ll be moving to the Big Apple to be an editorial intern for SheKnows Media. Excited doesn’t even begin to cover it. I’ve already made a list of adventures to go on in the city, and I can’t wait to get in touch with my inner Carrie Bradshaw (minus the “Big” obsession or petty reliance on men, that is).

This summer, I’ll also continue writing articles for CollegeFashionista, and I can’t wait to document the fashion trends of New York City’s finest Fashionistas/os. I’ll also be trying to keep up with blogging this summer, as I totally fell off the radar this semester. So keep your eyes peeled for more “outfits of the day” and fashion-related tips and advice from yours truly. Here’s to a great summer!

As always, thanks for reading!

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2 thoughts on “Pre-Summer Musings: Lessons I learned this semester and why I can’t wait for these next few months

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