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I Spent a Full Year Doing College From 7,000km Away & Here’s My Experience

After more than a hundred zoom links shared, log in for classes from every room in my house, eating fantastic comfort food, hanging out with my friends and family, here I am to say: I did my full Junior year of college 7,000km away from my university. 

At first, when the Fall semester started, I saw it as an opportunity to live a different experience. The funny thing is that, before COVID-19 hit, I had planned to spend a year abroad, and look how that turned out! I really did and didn’t even see it. 

As I realized now, I had to spend this time doing school from home. I think this moment would be a lot harder if I was apart from my family and friends. Knowing that we’re all here, even not in the same city as most of my friends live in different states like me, just knowing we are in the same country made my heart warmer. Being in Brazil for a year during college, after many years living abroad, completely changed my mindset, and I’m so grateful for all that I lived here during this time. 

Among all the challenges this situation brought, I saw myself prospering. I came back home in March 2020, the same month in which I received an invitation to publish my first book. I didn’t know if I would stay home the whole process, but I was excited about it. I really wanted to do this here in my home.

Calm environment with desk set up for studying
Photo by Arnel Hasanovic from Unsplash

I started working on Brand You around June, so I stayed my summer between doing extra courses, studying, researching, and interviewing professionals for my book. The summer of 2020, or the winter of 2020 in Brazil, was a life-changing moment for me. I changed my routine and lifestyle entirely. As I started seeing myself as a more mature and responsible person, I decided to seek activities and hobbies to improve myself and feel fulfilled. I exercise every day now, and I really miss it when I don’t. I started meditating, and it improved my concentration and writing skills. I could just list the many things that I did to change my lifestyle and improve myself, but that’s a story for another article. 

The thing is that when August came, everything seemed the start of a new season that, for me, just seems to be close to the finale now. I officially started writing Brand You. I had to meet very tiny deadlines throughout the Fall semester while managing being a full-time remote student, building my brand around the book, and doing an internship in Brazil. I occupied myself so much that I didn’t even see the month of September go by! 

October was definitely a milestone with the deadline for my first draft manuscript submission. There I was trying to get my book done in two months for the first round of revisions. I had no idea what the whole process would look like. 

After that, I had to work towards the pre-launch campaign of my book while still having college classes. The pre-launch campaign was the most challenging thing I’ve ever been through, and it was a game-changer for me. 

Once December came, I was so relieved that the book was on the right path, and my first semester of Junior year got off a good start and an increase in my GPA. The month of December was so much fun for me because it’s my birthday month! It’s usually when I’d travel back home for the holidays and celebrate my day, but being here already changed this experience completely. I spent Christmas with my family and New Year’s Eve at a beach house with my friends from here that I haven’t seen in so long as everyone lives in a different place in the world. 

Two men and two women wearing backpacks laughing in front of mountains
Photo by Felix Rostig from Unsplash

As I started the Spring semester, I was more confident that I could do it. I knew I could do good in college and maximize my experience as much as I’d love to. I became the Editor-In-Chief and President of Her Campus at Lynn, and it has been amazing

I could finish up all my book process at home, just like I pictured the perfect place to do this unique project in my life. I was able to live a college routine life living with my family and seeing my best friends. Most of all, I changed how I look at challenging situations like the one we’re living. The main thing this moment reinforced in me is that everything comes with a good and not-so-good side. But it’s your choice which one you’re going to focus on. I chose the good. 

As I come to the end of my Junior year and this phase of my life, I can say that I wasn’t expecting this experience. I was afraid to not keep up with school, not being able to participate in college experiences, but I could do this and so much more. The moments I lived here will be forever with me. 

Cheers to a new chapter, and let’s make it a memorable one. 

If you’d like to know more about my book, please follow @brandyouby on Instagram or visit the website. 

Giuliana is the Editor-In-Chief and President at Her Campus at Lynn. She is a Senior at Lynn University, studying Marketing with a double minor in Fashion & Retail and International Business Management. Among a lot of passions, Giuliana shows a high interest in the Publishing and the Marketing Industry. She is the author of the latest book "Brand You: How to Achieve Success through Personal Branding," which was published in May 2021. The book provides a new perspective on personal branding and personal marketing. One of her biggest dreams is to continue growing her own brand and help other people achieve success through their uniqueness. Giuliana is also a sister of Sigma Sigma Sigma sorority, and member of Golden Key International Honour Society and Sigma Beta Delta International Honor Society for Business, Management and Administration.
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