As anyone who follows me on Twitter or Instagram could probably tell, I traveled to New York last weekend for the annual Her Campus event, Her Conference. Now I knew that this was going to be an all-out extravaganza for a magazine-obsessed writer like myself, but I never could've imagined how much I would take away from the experience of meeting a myriad of strong females making it happen in the industry.
Whether I was hearing from the editors of my favorite women's magazines or entry-level writers who are taking over the digital landscape, I was in awe of the wisdom each of these ladies had to share. Which is why I couldn't help but pass it on. Below you'll find 5 life lessons Her Conference taught me.
1. Trust what got you here.
Michelle Tan, the lovely and outright hilarious editor-in-chief of Seventeen, was a huge hit with Her Conference attendees. But the thing she said that really stuck with me was this nugget on being confident. When you're doubting yourself and your ability to succeed, you have to trust what got you to where you are now. And know that everything you've done up until this moment was right because it got you here!
2. You can start anywhere.
I think we all leave college thinking that we'll land right in our dream job. But it's totally okay if that doesn't happen immediately. Refinery29's Neha Gandhi emphasized that you don't have to be where you ultimately want to end up on Day 1. You just need to be somewhere that is teaching you and helping you grow in whatever your passion is. You've got time to bounce around and figure things out. Remember: dream big, start small.
This was definitely the go-to word from nearly every speaker. You have to work really hard and prove your worth to the people who can help move you forward. That requires a whole lot of passion, drive, and most of all hustle! Be tenacious and don't let the struggle get you down.
4. You are the only person who brings what you bring to the table.
I think it's easy to forget that we all have unique talents to share with the world. Lisa Arbetter from People Stylewatch made this point, and it really hit home for me. Especially when you are trying to achieve in a creative discipline, it seems like everyone else in your field is exactly the same as--or better than--you. But we have to remember that we each offer something different and special to the world outside ourselves. And rather than tear down those people who share our aspirations, let's support and look out for them because we're in the same boat.
5. Actually I can.
There were so many wonderful feminist role models at this conference that it's hard to even explain how my heart was exploding. Cosmopolitan's Laura Brounstein spoke on behalf of the Actually She Can campaign and inspired this large crowd of women to go for it. In her own brilliant words, "It's okay to put yourself forward. Guys do it. Smart girls do it." And in that moment, I found my new life goal. If you're like me, you tend to waste opportunities by being the shy and, perhaps polite, contender. Not anymore! You can currently find me cheering myself on as I attempt to conquer this thing called adulting.