A love letter to Her Campus KU:
First off, I am not a writer. I have never been a writer nor do I have any plans to become a writer in the future. I make videos alone in my room, and then edit them together in an attempt to make myself laugh, and hopefully others. If this letter turns out even remotely legible, it’ll be because of the Her Campus editors. Which is kind of why I’m writing this, to tell you (whoever you are) how amazing Her Campus is.
I don’t do extracurriculars. I was in marching band in high school for a while, but that was mainly because I liked being in parades during the summer. When I got to KU, I told myself I was going to join every single club possible. I signed up for every newsletter and email list I could get my hands on and while I still get the emails from about half of them, I never actually joined anything. Then, my junior year, second semester, I filled out a random application for a club I had never heard of. I genuinely don’t even remember how I found it. I filled it out quickly and applied to be a vlogger, a new position at the time. I sent in a quick video I had made with a friend of the two of us exploring Lawrence. I had no idea what I was signing up for, but for some reason, I just felt like I needed to do it.
When I found out I had been “chosen” to be a vlogger, I was stupidly excited. I called my mom immediately, even though I still had no clue what I was doing. I started as one of the first vloggers to come onto the HCKU team. For my first meeting with Her Campus KU, I planned my outfit very strategically: Minnesota bro tank to not-so-subtly show where I’m from, denim button up shirt to look like I attempted to look sort of cute, and then white converse because you can never go wrong with white converse. I walked in with my notebook in hand and was ready to make friends. Like I literally texted my friend back home, “I’m going to make friends tonight if it kills me.” I was on a mission.
When I walked into the room, I sat down in the first chair I saw, nervous and sweating. The girl next to me could tell I was nervous, either because of her excellent intuition or, you know, because of the sweating. Either way she immediately started talking to me, introducing herself and asking questions about what my position was. I don’t know if she was doing it on purpose, but she made me feel so much more comfortable. Side note, that girl was Callie Byrnes and she is now one of our co-presidents and a literal human Sweet Tart. Since that first meeting, I’ve looked forward to Sundays when I get to hang out with a group of amazingly talented and genuine humans. I’ve found myself telling my parents that I feel the most like myself on these Sundays.
I’ve since been put in charge of the HCKU YouTube channel and get to work with the other vloggers to create whatever awesome content we want. HCKU has allowed me to not only gain confidence in myself but to develop leadership skills that I didn’t know I had in me. It also made me realize that I enjoy being in charge and that I really do have an inner #girlboss just waiting to come out.
Not everyone knows this about me, and until recently I didn’t really know it about myself but I, just like countless other people, suffer from a fun cocktail of depression and anxiety. Having both anxiety and depression for me meant a vicious cycle of not being able to get out of bed and then panicking because I don’t want to fail my classes. It meant wanting to go out and hang out with my friends but staying home because if I didn’t go out, the possibility of embarrassing myself greatly decreased. What does this have to do with Her Campus? A lot, actually, because even when I was at my low points, I would come to meetings or events, and felt good. Not just good though — I felt supported, by girls who saw me maybe once a week and didn’t want anything from me other than what I had to give. They weren’t telling me they loved my videos because they’re my mom and they have to or because they knew I was having a rough day. They just genuinely enjoyed the content I was creating and wanted to let me know. The feeling of knowing someone enjoyed something you made is addicting, and every video I put out, I put out hoping I could make someone smile.
Her Campus is a group of extremely talented and diverse individuals. From the moment I walked into the group, all I have ever felt has been support and kindness from a genuinely amazing group of people. This group has given me a lot of things in the two years I’ve been a part of it. I’ve gained confidence, a #girlboss attitude and best of all I’ve gained an undying appreciation of what a confident group of women can do when given a platform as amazing as Her Campus.
I should end this with something clever and witty, but like I said at the beginning, I’m not a writer, so a thank you will just have to do. Thank you to all of the amazing people I’ve met, and to an organization that helped me truly see how strong a group of women (and a few men now!) can be.
– Hannah Hartzler