Nicole Scallan has been a part of Her Campus at American University since her freshman year of college (fall 2018) starting out as a feature writer and a year later becoming a section editor. She is graduating from American University this semester with a degree in Political Science. I was lucky to sit down with her—virtually of course—and reflect about her college experiences and her time at HCAU.
How would you describe yourself in three words?
“I would describe myself as hardworking, compassionate, and nice.”
Also, I might add very humble.
What is your favorite college memory?
Nicole studied abroad in Paris, France for a year through AU’s study abroad program.
“I would say when I went abroad that was really amazing. The whole experience of both being abroad, which was a very new experience for me—it was really cool to be out of the country—while still studying my major. I just enjoyed my time and after I got back, I really grew as a person there, which defined a lot of my college experience.”
How are you feeling about graduation?
“I am on the one hand I am really excited about graduating. I feel like this is a really big achievement for me, something I have been working towards for a while. I am also pretty scared to be honest. Being out of school after being in school, for pretty much, my whole life is going to be a very new experience. I’m a little scared but just ready for this new chapter in my life.”
I asked her about her feelings towards graduation during the coronavirus pandemic and she was very optimistic about it.
“I had always dreamed about having a big graduation, with my whole family there. I was hoping that AU was going to have some kind of in-person commencement but when they said that no guests were allowed it could only be the student. I talked to my parents and I ultimately decided that I didn’t want to do that. It’s really important for me to be with my family that has been supporting me for all these years. I really want to celebrate this achievement with them instead of being by myself. I am looking at the bright side of it, I am still seeing my family and we’re going to have our own little graduation together. Even though there is that disappointment of not having a traditional graduation, I feel very lucky to able to be with my family”
What are your plans for after graduation?
“Ooo that’s a good question. I have been going back and forth for a while on what I want to do, I have not been sure.”
Nicole has been working as a manager at the Wegmans and she plans to keep that job the time being as she plans her next steps, “There is so much going on between school, graduation, personal stuff and covid. I just have not been job searching.”
“I have pretty high hopes about the future and the next few months. I am feeling very optimistic that I will be able to figure things out and find what I want to do. I don’t want to be rushing into the first job opportunity I get or overworking myself. I want to take time for myself and figure what exactly I need to do. I’ve been working so hard these past few years. I graduated college in three years, I just need a moment to take a breath.”
What has being a part of HCAU meant to you?
She said that from the start of college she wanted to be a part of a media organization, HCAU has given her the opportunity to do so many different things, “It was the one organization I was drawn to and immediately stuck with throughout all of college.”
“For me Her Campus has given me a sense of community at AU. Especially being an organization that really celebrates diversity, women empowerment and just has a great community of very hardworking, creative, smart and compassionate people. It has given me a safe space to let out my creative side and be who I am.”
Along that same line Nicole said her favorite HCAU memory is the in-person meetings before covid. When all the members could get together once a week and do bonding activities, “I loved at the end of the meetings being able to get together with my writers and talk about whatever they wanted whether that was their articles, pitches or just personal things going on in their lives. I really miss that”
What do you love about being a section editor for HCAU?
“One thing I love about being an editor is getting to reading everyone’s articles. Just the amount of really cool and interesting ideas that writers come to me with. I am always so amazed by how creative and well thought out these ideas are and how passionate writers are. I love seeing the articles come to life from those ideas.”
Favorite HCAU article you’ve written?
When I asked her about her favorite Her Campus article she said it is hard to choose. She said two really stand out in her mind, the first being, The Truth About PMS.
“I wrote one on PMDD, Premenstrual Dysmorphic Disorder. That’s a disorder that has affected a lot of people in my life and isn’t talked about that much. I think there isn’t that much awareness about menstrual health in general and that’s a topic that is near and dear to my heart.”
Her other favorite is on body size standards in “real life” versus the modeling world titled, What “Plus-Size” Means in the Fashion Industry. “It goes over what it means to be plus size as a model versus day to day life and how these definitions get really warped because of our beauty standards and the way we treat women’s bodies.”
“Mrs Dalloway by Virginia Wolfe. I really enjoy that book, Virginia Wolfe is an amazing writer. I think it is an interesting take on a woman’s quote on quote role in society in 20th England. Anything by Virginia Wolfe is going to be a good read.”
Favorite late night snack?
“Lately I have been eating a lot of pringles. They hit different.”
What is one piece of advice you want to give to all other future AU graduates and HCAU members?
Nicole’s advice would be to “Just take care of yourself.”
She said at the beginning of her college career she was worried about catching up to her peers who were doing “the most” as AU campus culture can feel like at times, “I would say, AU encourages students to work really hard and that’s definitely a good thing, but I would say it is also important to take breaks and take time for yourself. You shouldn’t feel pressured by your own standards or by what the people around you are doing. Take things at your own pace.”
“Now graduating I realized I have made my college experience what I’ve wanted it to be for myself and not what I felt like it should be, or what other people said it should be and I think that’s what’s important.”
Thank you so much Nicole for all the hard work and talent that you have brought to HCAU. We are going to miss your creativity, compassion and optimism. We wish you the best of luck and look forward to seeing all of the incredible things you do! XO HCAU