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Highlights of Summer 2017

Hey, collegiettes! Summer 2017 is officially over, and we’re back on our grind again. Summer 2017 is one that I will never forget.

Shortly after my junior year concluded back in May, I hopped on a plane for the first time, and I went to New York by myself. It’s my second time in New York, and I reunited with my cousin, on this trip, who I haven’t seen in almost fifteen years. We picked up right where we left off, and she showed me around her city. My favorite part was walking near and on top of the, iconic, Brooklyn Bridge. While she was at work, I also took a trip to Manhattan and Flushing’s Chinatown all by myself – the only mistake I made was once on the Metropolitan Transit Authority (MTA). It was one of the best weeks of my life, I finally saw all that New York has to offer, and I was away from my parents for once.

Shirley Toy was at the Brooklyn Bridge in New York

Shortly after I returned from New York, Her Conference 2017 was about to take place in Midtown Manhattan.

Her Campus UIC members: Shirley Toy (L), Kimberly Camacho (C), and Daniela Reyes (R) on Day 1 of Her Conference 2017

I am proud to say that the two-day conference was one of the highlights of my experience with Her Campus thus far, and this experience reassured me that joining Her Campus is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Because of Her Campus, I was in a room with some of the most successful women ever: Troian Bellisario from Pretty Little Liars, Aja Naomi King from How to Get Away with Murder, Lisa Sugar from Pop Sugar, Amani Al-Khatahtbeh from muslimgirl.com, Gretchen Carlson, and the national co-chairs of the Women’s March on WashingtonCarmen Perez and Linda Sarsour.

Troian Bellisario (L), keynote speaker, pictured with Stephanie Kaplan Lewis (R) on Day 1 of Her Conference 2017
Aja Naomi King (L), keynote speaker, with Stephanie Kaplan Lewis (R) on Day 2 of Her Conference 2017

It was amazing to learn about each women’s experience, what they overcame to get to where they are today, and their advice was both empowering and necessary for a college girl like me who look up to and aspire to be like them someday.

Aside from learning from some of the best women out there, we were given the opportunity to attend sessions pertaining to doing blogging and social media for a living, successful YouTubers, like Brooke Miccio, were invited to talk about vlogging and content creating, Ann Shoket came to talk about her book The Big Life, and many more.

Brooke Miccio (L), speaker at the vlogging session, with Shirley Toy (R) on Day 2 of Her Conference 2017

Of course, it was the best being there with our very own chapter gals here at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). I can’t express how thankful and grateful I am to have so many familiar faces to go through this process and experience with me. After the conference, we went sightseeing, and since I went to New York two months ago, I kind of lead the way. Her Conference 2017 brought the four of us closer. We tried new foods together, we experienced what New York has to offer, and we were just spontaneous girls having fun and living life. 

Her Campus UIC members: Kimberly Camacho (L1), Daniela Reyes (L2), Shirley Toy (R1), and Esmeralda Medina (R2) by the Manhattan Bridge at Chinatown

For the week of my 21st birthday, I went to Allstate Arena to see Shawn Mendes and Charlie Puth perform for the Illuminate World Tour with my best friend. Charlie Puth’s voice is just as amazing as the album, and I loved how he told a story about each song before he serenade us. Also, Chicago was the first concert to sing the first line of Attention. Shawn Mendes was amazing as well; he performed at the front and the back of the venue, and he even sang Castle on the Hill by Ed Sheeran!

Shawn Mendes performs at the Allstate Arena
Charlie Puth performs at the Allstate Arena

Last but not least, summer 2017 will always be special to me because I finally turned 21 on August 5th. Shout out to my fellow Leos. Cheers to being legal, to adulting, and to all that life has to offer!

Hello, everyone, my name is Shirley Toy. I am a graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC) with a Bachelor's in English, concentrating in Professional Writing and double minors in Spanish and Communication. I am an alum of Her Campus at UIC, where I served as a writer, Co-Campus Correspondent, and Editor-in-Chief. At the National level, I served as a Chapter Advisor for the 2017-2018 academic year. These opportunities are perfect because I get to merge my passions for writing, leadership, and technology together. Follow & Tweet me on Twitter @_shirleyst!
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