On a June afternoon, shortly after my high school graduation, I was scrolling through the blogosphere and stumbled upon an entry about an event called “Her Conference”. I was intrigued, primarily because Troian Bellisario spoke at the event, and all I wanted to be (and still want to be, if I am being honest) was Spencer Hastings. After reading about the event, I decided to do a quick Google search for “Her Campus” to see what it was all about, and four years later, I consider that to be one of the most serendipitous moments of my life.
Upon my discovery of this community of writers, I instantly became so excited to join a group like this at my school, Marymount Manhattan College. I was excited to see that Marymount had an established chapter, and was set on HC when I found my way to the MMM page, which was filled with articles about how to tackle college like Rory Gilmore, or guides to the best Broadway shows of the season. I knew I had found my people before even arriving on campus.
My first year with Her Campus still sticks out in my mind as a bit of a dream come true. For an otherwise lost college freshman who did not have friends outside her roommates, our biweekly Her Campus meetings in the fancy conference room on campus made me feel connected to something big. I reveled in the words of our CCs, who were seniors, and who gave me insight on all things Marymount and journalism. Needless to say, between being able to attend these meetings with the most experienced writers on campus, and the piles of free products I would walk out of each meeting with, I felt pretty darn cool. No moment however, could match my excitement at seeing my name in print on the Her Campus website for the first time, for an article that I wrote about self care in the big city, and shared to every social media platform known to man. After only about a month of college, I had been published, and my collection grew from there.
Instantly, Her Campus became an integral part of my life, and the memories that I have shared with my fellow writers, now turned closest friends, are experiences that I will remember for the rest of my life. We ate guacamole at the New York Times building on a school night as we waited to hear from Elaine Welteroth, former Editor-in chief of Teen Vogue. The highlight of our fall became our girl’s night out at College Fashion Week, where we left with our hands filled with high end goodies and our hearts filled with laughter and smiles. Our Sunday mornings were filled with teamwork as we attended countless community service events, or an Instagram worthy brunch to feel official as we shared our goals for the chapter each month. But aside from all the glitz and glamour, we were there for each other during trying college moments. Our E-board brunches were not just moments to plan for Her Campus events, but to share our personal woes from the week, as we all tried our hardest to navigate life in the big city and come out on top. With our last year and a half going virtual, these friendships have become even more integral, as we stayed connected throughout this tumultuous time over Zoom. Recently, us seniors have come together to mourn the very untraditional nature of our graduation, and celebrate together in ways that are still meaningful. The friendships that I have gained have made such a profound impact on my college journey, in all of its seasons. Though this city is big, it never felt lonely because of my Her Campus crew.
While I think I had an inkling that I would gain friendship and experience from my involvement with HC, what I did not expect upon joining freshman year was that one day, I would be the one to lead this group. I do not think that the thought even crossed my mind, as in high school, I had never considered myself to be a leader. However, as I gained confidence in my writing and voice in my first year with the group, I decided to apply for a Senior Editor position in my sophomore year. This experience was invaluable, as I also began taking more journalism classes, and the experience as editor enriched my writing in these classes tremendously. When the opportunity to be CC arose at the end of that year, it was not even a question in my mind- I was applying. Until writing this article, I never really considered what a huge leap that was for me personally, but I think the fact that I jumped into this role without any consideration really attests to the way that Her Campus fostered my confidence. After two years of events like Her Conference which connected me to like minded women throughout the country, and being given countless opportunities to hear from women at the top of the media industry, I had no doubts that I could accomplish big things too.
I am still so humbled to have been able to lead this group of dynamic and brilliant women. The long days of editing articles and orchestrating responsibilities amongst our E-board are instantly worth it when I see our members’ voices and confidence begin to develop as they rise through the E-board ranks, or even take on new angles in their writing. All of the lessons in editorial work, time management and organization were worthwhile of course, but watching our chapter collectively soar has been the most rewarding part of the job.
As I prepare to leave our chapter and transition into my next journey, I have realized how truly indebted I am to Her Campus for all of the opportunities it has provided me with. I can say with confidence that I would not be the person I am today without this experience. While I am proud to join the incredible group of Her Campus Alumni, who work in every industry, across the country, I do wish that there was time for just a few more articles, one more Pink Party to kick off the year with a new team, or one more fancy night out with this group writers that have become a family. Like all the best parts in life, my time with HC and HC MMM have flown by entirely too fast. While I don’t want to let go, I leave with confidence from the skills that I have gained throughout my four years, and the assurance that I will be connected to the Her Campus network for the rest of my life. With that, I guess all that is left is one final “HCXO” to the group that brought me more than my eighteen year old self, scrolling through the blogosphere, could have possibly imagined.