5 Things I Learned From NYC College Fashion Week

1.) Just the right amount of champagne (or wine) will do the trick.

Well ladies, Blair Waldorf did say it best: “Have a little faith, and if that doesn’t work, have a lot of mimosas.” But in reality, walking at College Fashion Week and exploring New York helped me realize how important self-confidence is, and how empowering it can be. And the best confidence is achieved through finding that happiness within yourself, within your friends and within your surroundings. The Real Runway aspect of College Fashion Week told me to embrace who I am and what makes me unique, and then other people will too. And hey, if the butterflies are still taking over your body, just the right amount of champagne (or some rosé) will do the trick.

2.) Girls empowering other girls is the single greatest thing in the world.

I was so overwhelmed and overjoyed by the amount of love and support I received during College Fashion Week. And beyond that, I was able to see the impact of supporting other girls and striving to achieve excellence as a whole gender. I watched around 20 young women radiate beauty and happiness from a few poses on a runway to not only every single person in the crowd, but also to every other model participating in the event. As someone who grew up with three biological older brothers, and about 100 others that weren’t blood-related, I never was able to experience the true miracle of having a strong female support system. Her Campus allowed me to find girls on my own campus that make me strive to be better every single day, but also a support system around the nation that is constantly encouraging me and pushing me to be my very best. FIND YOUR GIRL GANG: I promise, it’ll be the best thing you ever do.

3.) Women who walk around in heels all day are so BADASS.

I spent about 11 hours exploring New York City in a pair of thigh-high, black heeled boots. I also returned to our Air-bnb that same night with bruises on my toes and bottoms of my feet. So, to all the women who are walking around New York (or any city in the world) in any type of heel: you are a badass and you can do anything in the world. Yes, obviously you look like a total killer strutting around the streets of the Big Apple in heels, but you also can without a doubt to anything you set your mind to.

4.) Take every opportunity you are handed.

How did I get to walk College Fashion Week in New York? I took an opportunity and ran with it. When our Executive Board received word of College Fashion Week wanting models, each of us decided we would submit an application, because why not, right? From there, we made successfully organized a school-funded trip to New York City for six Her Campus girls to walk the runway. Initially, only two of the six of us were supposed to model, but by chance the other four were offered a spot and also took the opportunity. We had the most amazing trip ever, topped off with a beautiful fashion show filled with incredible people and fabulous clothes. I urge you to take any chance you get in life to do something crazy or fun or frightening. It may turn out to be one of the best experiences of your entire life.

5.) Live in the moment.

Life moves pretty fast, especially as a young, college girl, and it can be pretty hard to stop and enjoy your surroundings. STOP AND ENJOY YOUR SURROUNDINGS. Take note of all the amazing things going on in your life and all the opportunities you are being handed. Be grateful for them. I was not only able to explore New York City for four days with my best friends, but also walk in a real fashion show. As someone who struggles with anxiety and depression, I was having a very hard time being happy and appreciating the gift I was being handed. I felt like I didn’t deserve something this amazing and I wouldn’t be able to truly enjoy it like someone else would. Once I got to New York and allowed all the negative thoughts to be replaced with positive ones, I could stop and enjoy everything go on around me. Smell the flowers, ladies.

Xo, Maddy