Anonymous asked: this may sound silly, but how did you stay motivated throughout college? how did you stay confident? i always feel like i'm not good enough, so why even try. i feel like even if i do, nothing will change. i know that nothing will be given to me, but i just don't know where to find that confidence to get out there and go. i'm asking you because you seem focused and you're working in the industry that i would like to in the future. i appreciate any advice that you may have for me. thank you.

So I honestly attempted to start a response to this three different times. Here’s my fourth (and hopefully final one)…

I’m not sure if I was actually that motivated WITH college now looking back. It’s a big blur of going out and being in the library and somehow pulling off getting a degree. That said, what I think separated me from ~the rest of the pack~ was the fact that I knew I was smart, that I worked hard and more importantly what I saw myself (at that time) doing after college. So ultimately I had planned out what I needed—and actually wanted—to do to follow along that path. And, I guess that somewhat implies that I was motivated during college to have the job that I wanted. I knew that internships, hard work and building relationships would be more valuable to me than what grade I got in X, Y, Z class. My grades weren’t horrible, but they definitely could have been better. haha

That said, I think the biggest motivation throughout college was that I knew that absolutely no one could help me, but me. My parents didn’t know anyone in fashion/editorial or anything along the lines and Lehigh isn’t particularly breeding fashionistas so their Career Services wasn’t a good resource. I majored in Supply Chain Management because I wanted to do fashion buying and after interning at Bergorf Goodman, I thought this was my path. I was excited and passionate because I love the entire concept of business retail from design to production to marketing, etc and thought “WHY THE HELL NOT ME?” Plus, I think my resume was a welcome “mix” from everyone who was at FIT, Parsons, etc.

Mentally is another thing. I just WANTED to do it. I interned for free while my friends were getting paid $25/hr at KPMG, E&Y or Boeing and the main realization I had was that I was perfectly content working “for free” because it was exciting and fun. Everyone thought I was on crack, but I loved it. I truly liked what I did and that showed whenever I talked to someone about it (during interviews) and through my actual work.

It is after I graduated college and started working that I started comparing myself to people who had the jobs/titles I wanted and then that lead to a downwards spiral. I joined Twitter when I started interning at Conde Nast and immediately started following everyone in the “industry” who I respected and honestly “wanted to be”. So I didn’t follow Britney Spears, Beyonce or celebrities, it was me pretty much just getting a feel for what these “real life people” were like and what they talked about/how they interacted with each other, etc. Kinda creepy now that I actually am writing/admitting to this.

So okay, that was a tangent, but as these people who were “far from me” started becoming my friends or professional acquaintances when I started working, I had this constant feeling of “Hmm, Jess, so you’re here and this person is this title and at this place, why are you not as good?” It was a weird time for me and I was getting really down on myself but it just finally clicked and I realized that I was only 22, 23, 24 and these people were late 20’s, early 30’s. “DUH JESSICA THEY HAVE BEEN IN THE WORK FORCE FOR LONGER.” So that’s how I got over that.

It honestly comes down to believing in yourself and really wanting to work in the industry and make this your career. It’s hard, it’s long hours and the pay sucks (for the most part). Never say no to an opportunity and always be polite, humble, and pass it along. If you want to talk to someone REACH OUT. The worst thing that can happen is an email is unanswered. I started my Tumblr writing about my internship experience and got TONS of emails from people who were Googling about fashion internships and my blog came up. That said, I’ve made a point to help out anyone who I can because I never had that and know that it’s all makes a difference, PLUS you never know where he/she may end up!

Be passionate, work hard and smile… everything else will come to you.

Hopefully this helps, but feel free to send another anonymous note or just email me at jesksa@gmail.com if you don’t think I covered exactly what you were asking.

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