A year ago today, a brick was lifted off my chest when I graduated from college with a B.S. in Fashion Merchandising & Management. I worked all four years I was in school because for as long as I can remember I hated depending on other people. I had bills that needed to be paid and I had a shopping addiction that needed to be fed. Iced coffees and Redbull were my Bestfriends; I studied a lot because, 1) I knew I would be using the information later on in life 2) I wanted to get good grades, of course, and lastly 3) since the government wanted to be stingy with giving me money, I knew my family would kill me if I was slacking off. But, I’m also a very social person so I went out a lot, especially to other schools. Let’s just say, sleep was something so foreign to me. I enjoyed college though and sometimes miss undergraduate school but I’ve learned a few important life lessons after graduation.
1. Do what you want to do. I decided to move to NY two months after graduation. A lot of people thought I was crazy. I was moving to an expensive city, with no money, and without a job in my career yet. My whole life I told myself I was going to live in NYC, so why not right now? The timing seemed perfect to me. At the time, I was in Philly working in retail and that’s definitely not what I was planning to do forever but I knew if I could get my job to transfer me to their store in NYC I would make it work; that’s exactly what happened and I made it work. I can’t imagine still being in Philly. Don’t get me wrong, I love my city, but it was time for me to go! I say that to say this, don’t let anyone stop you from making your dreams come true. There will be people who discourage you, don’t pay them any mind. It’s your life, you live it how you want to!
2. Stay in contact with professors and peers. By having roommates and being in classes with the same people for 15 weeks, it’s only natural that you click with certain people. My school was big on group projects/assignments, which at the time I hated, but now I realize how important it is to have those teamwork skills. I ended up becoming friends with a lot of people I had to do projects with. You never know who or what someone knows that could be helpful to you and your future. A bunch of my professors worked in the fashion industry before and we were able to give a lot of useful insight on so many parts of fashion. I also had professors who may not have ever worked in fashion but were knowledgeable on other topics and were just cool, down to Earth people! I made sure through email, LinkedIn, or some form of communication, I stayed in contact with them.
3. Do not give up. 6 months into living in NYC, I found myself ready to give up. Every single day I came home from work, even on my days off and would apply, apply, and apply some more to any job I could find that would help me get my foot in the door into the world of fashion. Working in retail was cool. I learned a lot, met a bunch of great people, and my discount was amazing but retail business was terrible. People are shopping online more than going into stores. Most retail stores in NYC pay their employees commission, so you know what that means; I wasn’t making any money. It really wasn’t a fun time, money wise, and I questioned if I had made the right decision by moving to NYC without a good-paying job. But optimism always wins and I realized I came too far to give ever up that easily. Finally in January, a day before my 23rd birthday, I was offered a job that would put me exactly where I needed to be. I remember feeling extremely happy and telling myself to never even have that thought about giving up again.
4. Get a planner, write down your goals and see what happens. I use to be that person who thought they could remember everything without having to write it down. What an epic fail that turned out to be. I learned this in school with taking notes. Take down as many notes as you possibly can. With all the things I want to do in my life, on top of phone calls, text messages, and emails I get throughout the day, I had no choice but to go get a cute planner from Target so I could write things down. I also have sticky notes in my room and on the first day of every month, I write out ten goals I want to achieve within that month. I like doing this because I motivate and challenge myself to do or try new things. When you write something you want to happen down and work hard to make sure it’s done before that “deadline”, it may not be immediate but you’ll definitely see it come to light sooner than you think.