Learning to Treat Her Campus Like I Treat Life

Becoming a writer for Her Campus has definitely been a new experience for me--I’m not going into journalism or any field in which extensive writing is required. So, it was very easy for me to make myself feel left out or uneducated at times regarding the latest trends and styles when it comes to media. The other part of me would feel as if becoming a writer wasn’t worth my time because it wasn’t a beneficial resume builder to the immediate eye. (Why would a future speech pathologist want to write for a college blog?)

When starting my time as a writer, all I knew was that I loved topics such as personal development, women’s empowerment, and leadership. BIG topics. Part of me felt like if I could gather my thoughts enough in these areas and somehow articulate them to the public I would be able to gain a deeper understanding that could be applied to my own, personal life. In other words, I had hoped that by writing about these skills and sharing my work with a greater audience, I would somehow be coerced enough to implement these habits into my daily life. Did it work? Yes, and no. 

I would always receive some sort of positive feedback on what I was writing, but it wasn’t really enough for me to experience whatever big revelation I was hoping for. My problem was that these topics were exactly as I had described them--big. Too big, in fact, for me to feel like I could ever thoroughly cover all that I had to say. Because of this, I went through a phase of Her Campus writing where I felt like I was coming up short of my aspirations as a writer. Surfing through other campus chapters and articles, I noticed one common trend: the majority of articles focus on small events, ideas, or short-lived pop culture. Not small in the sense of being inadequate or unimportant, but rather small in the fact that these writers had not chosen to tackle the existential meaning of life in one article. Part of me (probably the non-journalism major part) couldn’t imagine how these articles about exposing Jordyn Woods and the latest tea on Ariana Grande’s newest album are so successful as they are.

I then realized that Her Campus and life have a lot in common.

I don’t need to figure out nor explain the meaning of life, especially at 19 years old. There are people that dedicate their entire lives to these “big” topics, so I can’t expect myself to fully understand everything at such an early part of my life. If I try to portray this intense, philosophical image, my readers and peers won’t be exposed to my most authentic self, which is what Her Campus is all about.

What excites me may not excite others, and that’s okay. I am learning to respect passion and wholeheartedness over content. I’m trying this thing where I'm focusing on seeing judgement as black and white in all parts of my life: if it’s in my mind at all and to any degree it needs to be erased, period. We are all on our own, distinct path to success and success to others looks completely different than it does to me. Do I catch myself being judgemental at times? Of course. But I’m hoping by letting it be known, I can hold myself accountable to better both myself and the experiences that I have with others as a result.

There is significance and beauty in the little things. It’s okay to stay on the small scale. I really think that there is this stigma that if you don’t go 110% all day, every day, you won’t make it to the top in life. Let me tell you, those are the people that crash and burn a month in and fall behind everyone they thought they were flying past.

Everyone has something to contribute. I’ve really learned this by being in Her Campus, especially within my chapter. So often I get the question, “You’re not going into journalism, why are you posting articles every week?” (Okay, Susan mind your own business.) And they’re right--I’m not, but I enjoy every second of it. I feel included. I feel like my opinion matters and that I add my own, unique perspective to an already diverse and beautiful team. Make sure that you surround yourself with these types of people all throughout your life--your best friends, family, future partner, and future children should all be in your circle and aware of how their backgrounds can be complementary to yours.

Collaboration over competition. I get it, I was an athlete (back in high school, lol) once. Competition is what drives some to do their best and succeed; however, I wholeheartedly believe that there must be collaboration first and foremost before competition. A support system is essential (I repeat, essential) to moving up any chain in any field, don’t try to change my mind. Not only is having collaborative skills a vital component to any team setting, but choosing to be independent to such a degree that you see everyone and everything as a competition will burn you out faster than anything else.

So, I’m taking a break from writing “big” things for Her Campus, just as I’m taking a break from worrying about “big” things in life. And I’m perfectly okay--no, happy--with that.