This past year? In a word - crazy.
The past 12 months have been an utterly unpredictable and unforgettable whirlwind of new experiences. I went to seven different countries (five of them I’d never been to before) and spent way too much time on Photoshop and airplanes. I started considering my business as a photographer and designer more seriously. I also like to think that I broke free of the groupthink that pervades a preprofessional Ivy League institution like Penn. Became more spiritually in touch. Most importantly, though, I travelled a lot, met many great new people, experienced new cultures, and took lots of photos.
Most of these are taken with Instagram.
The beginning: a quiet, introspective summer in Seattle that saw an internship at Microsoft, great mentors, and the exploration of many new things (ie. long boarding! break dancing - don’t laugh, my super cute coach was on ABDC!).
Here, at Ally Hilfiger’s NYFW presentation, was the first time I realized that I could actually seriously pursue a career in photography after graduation. That I could actually do it. That I could, with my existing skills, my equipment, and hard work, produce magazine-level photographs despite “just” being 19 years old. (Also I stood four feet away from Tommy Hilfiger (and took photos of him too, naturally))
Foursquare, where I learned an unbelievable amount. It was a better education than I could have ever formally received at a place like Penn.
Ethiopia. A humbling experience. Stories over photos; people above all.
Back to school, but I didn’t stop learning.
The start of the Dear Instagram madness.
Actually getting to experience Silicon Valley for the tech capital that it is, after spending 18 years growing up there.
And now: the confidence to experiment independently, seek feedback from mentors, and habitually try new things.
Looking back, here’s what I’ve taken away from the last 12 months:
- Traveling is so underrated on the collegiate level. Traveling as in - doing non-touristy things, actually getting to know locals who live a totally different life than you, going the off-beat track, etc.
- If you don’t ask, you’ll never get what you want. JFDI.
- Trust intuition, don’t be afraid. And it’s okay to admit that you might be, too.
- As long as you are honest, genuine, and sincere, good things generally will come your way. If you allow yourself to open up to what serendipity might bring about, people will surprise you in many ways.
- School is boring.
Tomorrow, I’m leaving to Hong Kong and Shanghai. I’ll be with a group of marketing students with Wharton on a retail and fashion trip through both cities, and we’ll be attending tours of corporate offices, factories, and universities while exploring the city and markets by night. Personally - I’m excited for the LVMH tour the most. :)
It’s been a crazy year. (that I basically epically chronicled on my old blog like a total Teenage Girl)
I can’t wait for the next.