Why College is One of the Most Crucial Times in Your Creative Career
This past weekend, I had the opportunity to represent TRESemmé at the TeenVogue x HerCampus.com #CollegeFashionWeek show in New York City, and the entire experience not only inspired me to continue doing what I love – it also got me thinking about how college was the most crucial time in my own creative career. I realized that it’s important to not merely think of college as four years of learning, but also four years of your life that will pass you by. How are you going to spend these four years of your life? What will you have to show for it besides a GPA and a few lines on your resume about the major you chose?
If you’re looking to create a career for yourself, college cannot just be about the classes that you take – classes don’t give you a career. You have to be proactive and use this time to find out what it is that you love and learn to CREATE ways to showcase your skills.
So here’s a little recap on the event, along with a few thoughts on how #CollegeFashionWeek gave me a few pointers on how to take advantage of these four wonderful years.
1. College is the time to figure it out what you love to do.
I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life when I entered college, and I was forced to choose a major that seemed like it would fit me and give me a shot at a real job after graduation. I was 17 years old and completely clueless. I knew I loved to write, draw, dance, talk and take photos, but what creative young teen didn’t? I chose to major in Communication, which gave me the option to explore the many facets of media – journalism, public relations, marketing and literature – but it wasn’t my major that helped me figure out what I loved to do. The time I spent after class ended up being more rewarding than the time I spent in class.
I wasn’t satisfied reading from a textbook or listening to a lecture – I wanted to create something. So I started a blog on a whim – with no specific direction, just an idea and a few hours googling ‘how to start a blog’ on the internet.
Fast-forward four years, and I’m invited as the official blogger for TRESemmé to cover #CollegeFashionWeek, a night of celebrating fashion and college women. #CollgeFashionWeek was started by HerCampus.com by three students while they were undergrads at Harvard University – Stephanie Kaplan ‘10, Windsor Hanger ‘10, and Annie Wang ‘11.
These women didn’t sit through their classes to pass tests. They used what they learned by sitting in those classes, took the time outside of class to create something, and that something happened to become the #1 global community for college women.
2. College is the time to learn how to use your resources.
I knew I loved to take photographs, but I didn’t have an expensive camera. My digital point-and-shoot wasn’t cutting it for me, so I asked around and found out that all Communication majors were able to rent camera equipment during the week. I sent out an email and asked about the details, showed up to sign my first DSLR camera out and asked my friend Melanie to explore and go shoot some photos around campus. I ended up putting these photos onto a poorly-built blogspot page to create my first three posts on my very first blog. It wasn’t even called Grease & Glamour. It was bad, just bad. But it was a start.
Fast-forward four years, and I’m sitting in the TRESemmé hair salon, getting my hair styled by Johnny, a TRESemmé stylist, and covering #CollegeFashionWeek as the official blogger for TeenVogue and HerCampus.com.
If I had never sent out that email or asked around about renting digital media equipment, I never would have started my blog. I would have let the excuses (I don’t have enough money to buy an expensive camera. I don’t know what I want to write about. I don’t have anything interesting to say.) prevent me from creating anything at all.
You don’t have to have all of the answers to the questions that will come along the way. You just have to start, and college is the perfect time to use your resources to help you do just that.
3. College is the the time to practice.
When you figure out what it is that you love to do, you take the time to practice. Spend a few hours each day studying for that test next week, but don’t forget to spend another few hours practicing on your craft because that’s exactly what will help build your career.
Before the show, I got a behind-the-scenes look at TRESemmé stylist Tyler Laswell creating the looks for the runway. A native of Louisville, Kentucky, he was inspired by a colleague who encouraged him to use his talents and pursue a career in the big city. He started by enrolling at The School of Hair Design by L’Oreal, where he practiced on perfecting his craft as much as possible.
Three weeks after he graduated, he left his hometown to chase his dream in New York City. He has since styled some of the biggest shows during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, including Marissa Webb, Clover Canyon, Rebecca Minkoff and Jenny Packham. Tyler also leads Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Miami SWIM for shows like Beach Bunny, Agua Bendita and Gottex. His work has been featured in Italian Vogue, Lucky, Martha Stewart and In Style Magazines. So the TRESemmé team took some of that inspiration and created three hair looks for the fashion show – this one below was my absolute favorite:
Love to play the guitar, but scared it’s not a “guaranteed” path to success? Practice anyway. Do what you love and do what makes you happy – always. Want to become a fashion designer but have no idea where to start? Spend your free time researching, reading the stories of those before you, google everything until you get an idea of where you want to begin. Spend these next four years practicing on your craft – whatever it may be.
4. College is the time to find like-minded people and participate.
The four years you spend in college can become the years that you form the best relationships and participate in the events that will help build your career.
Every single model walking the runway at #CollegeFashionWeek was a college student. Every musical guest performing on a stage in an awesome venue in New York City was a college student with a dream. Every person there took initiative to find like-minded people and participate in something that allowed them to do something that they’ve always wanted to do.
“I think people who are creative are the luckiest people on earth. I know that there are no shortcuts, but you must keep your faith in something greater than you, and keep doing what you love. Do what you love, and you will find the way to get it out to the world.”
Here’s a big thank you to the TRESemmé and HerCampus.com team for inviting me to be inspired by both the college students following their dreams, the creative, successful career women/men doing what they love and motivating me to continue chasing my own dreams.