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My Her Conference Experience: Career Goals, NYC, and Living in the Moment

When I first stepped off the plane in New York City, I have to admit that I was pretty terrified for a couple of reasons. For starters, I had never been to this city before and was worried about it being dangerous. But, even more so, it was that I had never been on a trip before that didn’t have an older, wiser adult looking out for me. This trip was just me and my fellow Her Campus member, Corinne. And neither of us really knew what we were doing.

But now, looking back, that was the best possible way to feel. Because, as we later learned at Her Conference, feeling fear and choosing to go anyway means you are getting out of your comfort zone. As Michelle Poler told a packed room full of brave young women at the conference, “fear helps you grow.” And I grew tremendously this weekend.

Being chosen to attend Her Conference taught me a zillion new things. These skills range from the practical (exactly what steps I need to take in order to get my novel published) to the personal (how to feel confident in the face of rejection.) Her Conference isn’t just about empowering college women to succeed in their careers, it’s about teaching them to share their strength and positivity with everyone else, even after the conference is over.

New York City itself taught me a lot of things, too. Although I was terrified at first, I quickly relaxed and learned to just live in the moment. Corinne and I did a lot of wandering around the city without knowing where we were going, but that mindset ended up taking us to the best places. We accidentally wandered to a bunch of the city’s most popular landmarks, and a few hidden gems, too.

While there’s not enough time in the world to share everything I am taking away from this Her Conference weekend, I will share one highlight. It started in a panel where authors were sharing their advice on how to get your first book published. This is a topic extremely relevant to me, but I have always felt there was so much competition involved. I thought that if my writer friends were successful, that I couldn’t be. However, one quote changed my life. An author on the panel said, “there is enough room in every bookstore for all of you to write a book.”

This singular quote changed my entire perspective. My whole life, I’d been taught to be competitive. That if I wanted to be successful, I could only think about myself and never cheer on anyone else. However, I don’t see it that way anymore. There’s room for all of us, and fighting for my writer friends to be successful will benefit everyone. There’s no more room in my heart for negativity and pettiness.

Overall, I can’t say enough great things about my first Her Conference experience. If you have the opportunity to take the risk, feel the fear, and live in the moment at Her Conference, I highly suggest you do it. I certainly did, and now I can’t wait to go back.

Marie Osuna

Gustavus '21

Always drinking coffee and writing.
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