I cannot believe I am writing this. It feels too soon to be leaving this part of me behind. Although a new adventure awaits me upon graduation this week, it pains me to say goodbye to Her Campus. Her Campus Kent State was the organization that did so much for me in the five years I attended Kent State University. This organization really made Kent State feel like home to me and I will always be grateful for being a part of it.
Let’s start at the beginning. My freshman year of college was fun, do not get me wrong, but I did not feel like I really belonged anywhere. I coasted through attending classes, working out at the gym and hanging out with my close friends. Shortly, into my first year I was not happy with my major choice. I had gone into Kent State with a concentration in Fashion Merchandising, but found myself in love with storytelling and writing. I explained my feelings to my cousin who attended Michigan State University and she told me about an organization called Her Campus. She explained to me that it was all about empowering women and giving them a voice. She told me if I loved to write I should apply.
I ended up getting an email from the listserv on campus about applications being open for the following semester for Her Campus Kent State writers. I immediately filled out the application and I anxiously waited to hear back. Eventually, I got the acceptance email to be a writer and I was ecstatic! I couldn’t wait to head back to campus in the fall to begin my time at Her Campus Kent State. I remember before the meetings began I posted my first article; “Steal Her Style; Vanessa Hudgens.” When I got to the first meeting our Senior Editor at the time introduced herself and applauded me for how good my first article was and said she was looking forward to what else I would contribute. I knew then that I was going to like it there. From that moment my writing focused mainly on fashion, but slowly I started to write about lifestyle topics and more personal stories. Everyone in Her Campus Kent State was so welcoming and kind. I felt that I could open up and be myself. I knew that they would never judge me. It was like my cousin had said; Her Campus is an organization about empowering women. I began to get a top article for every week that I posted and I finally felt like I was good at something. I have always loved to write and being in the top articles made me feel like I was enough. That something I was passionate about I was actually good at and I could not be more proud of myself.
My editors were so encouraging and trusting in me for content that I began to get comfortable and pitched an article close to my heart. I based my article on one of my favorite book series, “To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before” by Jenny Han. I decided to write to three boys. Two boys I thought I loved and to the boy I would love in the future. I was so scared to post something so raw and vulnerable online but everyone was so supportive and proud of me. I got so much positive feedback and many girls reached out to me to let me know how much they loved reading the article. One of my favorite parts about the article was that Jenny Han herself responded to my post about it on Twitter! I woke up to the notification and screamed! My cousin even texted me freaking out. It was definitely one of my favorite memories of Her Campus.
Another reason HCKSU felt like home to me was because of the events we had. I remember going to a pumpkin patch and painting pumpkins with the girls, and I made so many friends that day. All of the members were so outgoing and nice to one another. We had a lot of events like this. We just got to be with each other and get to know one another. I finally felt like I was a part of something.
HCKSU brought me my best friends. I reached out to our Social Media Director at the time, Lexi Marco, because we followed each other on Twitter. She was always liking my posts and she tweeted so many things that I felt the same way about. I asked her if she wanted to grab lunch together and we went out for breakfast that week. After this we started to become closer. One day we went to grab coffee and I mentioned how I was going to be studying abroad my junior year and needed a place to stay. She brought up that her friend was going in the spring and needed to find someone to sublease. At this point I was desperate and trusted Lexi. Little did I know that this sublease would lead me to find two of my best friends. I am entirely thankful I reached out to Lexi and everything fell into place.
This brings me to my next point, when I began my time at Kent State I was one of the most shy and anxious people ever. I could not even go to the dining hall alone when my roommate was gone because I was afraid. I believe that Her Campus Kent State helped me grow into a more confident woman. When I started going to meetings and events I was so afraid to be going alone, but once I got there everyone was so friendly and I loved it. Eventually I reached out to Lexi and our former president, Sammy. I was starting to get more comfortable and passionate about this organization and it was showing. I applied for the open positions in the spring of 2018 and when I returned from Italy I was on the executive board as the Publicity and Marketing Director. I was so nervous to take on a role like this. I have never been in a position of leadership and I did not know if I could talk in front of all the members. The first meeting was a little shaky but I started to get the hang of it and I was doing well! I was spending more time with Sammy and going to events when Sammy offered me the president position when she graduated. I was so happy that Sammy, someone I looked up to saw something in me to take over this role. I always looked up to her as a mentor and was honored to take the position. I did not want to let her down.
I have been president for the past couple years and it has looked a bit different recently but it has been an amazing journey. At the beginning of it I honestly could not believe I could do it. How could I be the president of such a well known organization? How could someone like me be a leader? How could someone like me be a mentor like Sammy? I have a hard time talking to new people. There is no way! But guess what, I did it. I did it and I have grown so much. Her Campus Kent State has helped me grow into the confident leader I am today. Without this organization I do not think I would be the woman I am today. I believe I would have gone through college without taking risks and learning through the mistakes. This organization helped morph me into a stronger, independent person and I feel ready to enter the real world because of it.
To all my members, I hope that Her Campus Kent State makes Kent feel like home to you and I hope it helps you grow into a powerful woman, like it did for me. I will miss Her Campus everyday and all the people and memories I have made. So thank you again.