Am I a Walking Cliché, Striving to Make it in NYC as a Lifestyle Columnist?

I have this distinct memory in eighth grade when I realized that I wanted to be a writer. It wasn’t anything revolutionary, nor was it a wise recommendation from one of my teachers, who probably would steer me towards law instead. No, this realization happened in lieu of an assignment my eighth grade English teacher gave us one week: to create our own blog where we posted our weekly reflections for the rest of the school year. The blog no longer exists (I took it down for professional reasons), but this assignment opened me to the world of online blogging and journalism. Since then, I have dabbled in WordPress, school newspapers, social media, and of course, writing for Her Campus. 

These experiences bring me to the present, where every other day I have an existential crisis about my future: who am I? Where am I going? What do I want to do with my life? Where did I put my camel card? All very important questions, may I add.

Yet, my mind continuously returns to the prospect of pulling a Carrie Bradshaw and having my own column in a newspaper or magazine where I can write about the politics of avocado toast and why scrunchies are more than a hair accessory (they are a lifestyle #VSCOgirl). I want to be the next Harling Ross of Man Repeller, yet even typing out this dream fills me with paranoia because I am highly superstitious.

Last year, a Connecticut College alumnus published an article about how the female protagonist in the romantic comedy genre is often a publicist, seller of books, writer, or connected to the literature sphere in some way or another (see: About Time, You’ve Got Mail, Someone Great, and the list goes on). The fictional world of movies and books makes this field of work seem attainable and regards the work required to get there with a flippant attitude. I am not saying that being a writer isn’t attainable, but so many regard journalism as a dying profession and never lose the chance to inform you that there is little money in writing and that you will probably be living off of Cheerios and spinach leaves for the next five years as an entry level contributor. 

And I know this. Conn requires students to attend career workshops and lectures where I am bombarded with facts and statistics about finances that only reinforce my strong belief that I will never work on Wall Street (note to future self: if this somehow becomes a reality, get up from your desk and LEAVE). Yet, I still want to live in New York City with my best friend (who also happens to want to enter the world of journalism) where we will live with four other roommates all sharing the same bed in a tiny cubicle of a studio apartment, rationing our electricity bill so we can still check our LinkedIn for freelance job updates. 

I have spoken with various alumni who have made it in the journalism world, some whom are still writing, and others who have left the field for marketing, consulting, or public relations. I am not ruling out these fields, since they often have more money attached to their titles. And even though I try to tell myself that I don’t care about money, I also own a $60 face mask from Sephora that would not fit my new budget. However, my passion still lies with writing. I want to make a career of writing articles like this one, to which readers can hopefully relate, and, most importantly, laugh out loud at my either very poor, or highly thoughtful humor. I want to wake up on Mondays, pull out a chic blazer I thrifted, order an oat milk latte from my favorite coffee shop around the corner from my apartment, and take the subway downtown to SoHo where I work at a lifestyle magazine writing satirical articles about the absurdity of Generation X life. Even writing out these sentences fills me with goosebumps and excitement because ,even though I love Conn and am so grateful to have access to a wonderful education, I am ready for what comes next. I know that leaving the bubble of college will force me to confront real responsibilities, but I am ready. 

If my mom were to read this, she would probably tell me to slow down, I am only a junior in college! And she’s right, but I also feel like I have to do everything I possibly can to pursue this dream. I don’t consider myself a competitive person given my history with being on the worst soccer team in middle school -- which I really just joined for the orange slices -- but in the career world, I have become more aware of office competitiveness and the brutal fight we are all in to work at huge newspapers like The Boston Globe and The New York Times

I sometimes wonder if I could handle this title. Could I manage the chaotic atmosphere and immense pressure within these work environments where I would be surrounded by insanely established writers who have been published in The New Yorker and are currently working on a poetry collection to come out next November? I don’t know. I do know that my answer should be yes because it’s a dog-eat-dog world out there and I need to be willing to fight for what I want. But what if what I want is to work in a more welcoming environment, at a publication that fosters growth and creativity? Does this even exist? 

When I was applying to colleges, I dreamed of studying in New York City, or at least in the state -- even if I was surrounded by cows and chickens in upstate New York. Yet, this dream of mine was set aside when I was waitlisted at my top school, only to be accepted for the spring semester with pennies of financial aid. It was hard to be happy at Conn during my freshman year because I felt this huge hole in my heart that I wasn’t where I wanted, or needed, to be. Now, I can say that I am happy that I chose to Conn and the campus finally feels like home. But that doesn’t mean that NYC still isn’t my dream. I hope that I can make it there at some point, whether or not I meet my prince charming in the next Netflix drama or not.