This blog documented my adventures in NYC and Rome and now I’m about to GRAUDATE?! I feel like I just moved in to my tiny dorm. Recapping my 4 years at Iowa State is a MUST before I graduate… so here goes nothing:
4 years ago in August, I remember the day I moved in to ISU. I was excited for this new chapter in my life but SO nervous. I had never been away from my parents for more than a week and I was moving 2 hours away to live with a complete stranger. Eeeek. Alysha, my roommate, was very quiet (like me) and it took a while for us to open up but soon we could talk about absolutely everything and ate every meal together at the dining center. Hello weight gain, can you say unlimited soft serve ice cream?! Alysha and I would stay up late laying in our lofted beds having “bed talk”, jamming out to music in the morning while getting ready for 8am class, and enjoying our occasional beef jerky parties. Freshmen year was hands down the best year. I met SO many people, people I had no idea that would mean so much to me and turn out to be some of my greatest friends.
Freshmen year also became the kickoff for design-all-nighters. This year I had started the CORE Design Program (aka the year I got an ass-kicking to the face). Nothing in high school could prepare you for how tough the College of Design is. When I was 14 I knew exactly what I wanted to be when I grew up. A graphic designer. My teacher always told me I had the best PowerPoints in my class (I was a bit obsessed with WordArt, PowerPoint, and ‘Paint’ back in the day… haha). My teacher told me she knew exactly what I was going to be when I grew up— a graphic designer. At the age of 14 I said, “What—- designing graphs?!” I went home and looked up “graphic designer” on my computer and I realized that that was me to a tee. Ever since that day, I’ve never changed my mind. Graphic Design has always been my dream.
The CORE is basically ass-kicking classes for an entire year and then you have to create an amazing portfolio and “apply” to get in the college of your choice (Graphic Design, Architecture, Landscape Architecture, Interior Design, etc.) I think only 30% of students get in? I was beyond scared that I wouldn’t get in to Graphic Design but had I knew I tried my absolute hardest. Those all-nighters had to be worth SOMETHING. The second I got the email where I had been accepted into Graphic Design, I cried. Bawled in fact. Happiest moment of my life.
Sophomore year I finally began taking classes focused around my major (I finally got my hands on Photoshop and Illustrator) so that was extremely exciting. Alysha and I had decided to live together again, except this time we moved from Helser to Friley (taking a step up in the world). Basically we just moved to a slightly bigger dorm across the street ha. Sophomore year was just as fun. This year I started drinking… one year underage.. (uh oh) and I will never forget the first night I drank with all of my friends in our tiny dorm. Let’s just say I didn’t know having 7 shots of Smirnoff within 20 minutes was a bad thing?! I’ll never forget all of us puking in the same tiny trashcan. Our friend Becca knocked on our door (who was a CA at the time) and said “CA ON DUTY” and we all hid our alcohol fast and attempted to sit up straight and look sober and innocent. I about had a heart attack but soon realized it was Becca, and not our CA. Thankfully no arrests were made during my entire 4 years at Iowa State ;)
Junior year I moved into an apartment in Frederiksen Court with 3 of my friends: Abby, Kelly, and Carlie. Having my very own room was so neat. However, cooking… let’s just say I had to have someone TEACH me to make Hamburger Helper (so pathetic I know). I still have a lot to learn in the cooking department. Being a design student requires one kitchen tool (a microwave). Ain’t nobody got time for cooking anything but ramen noodles, Am I right?
Junior year was one of the hardest years because I felt the pressure to get a kick-ass internship. I spent really late nights in my room working on my portfolio and applying for jobs all over the United States. I’m pretty sure I applied to over 80 internships (desperate, I know). It was always my dream to live in New York City and work for a magazine. And when Andrea has a dream, she doesn’t let it out of her head! I had so many interviews (so many failed interviews, might I add). So many rejection letters. 2 weeks before school got out last year I had an interview with Robert Newman, the creative director of Reader’s Digest magazine. I was awestruck to even be SPEAKING with him. He was the creative director for countless famous magazines in my lifetime. A few hours later, I had gotten a job offer in NYC with Reader’s Digest Magazine. Pretty sure I cried that day too. I had 2 weeks to move to the big city (and find an apartment). Talk about stressful.
Moving to NYC was hard. I cried a lot. It was very hard to get used to such a change (moving from Iowa to the big NYC is not the easiest transition). Soon I made friends and got situated with my job. After a month of living there, my hatred toward the city turned into love. I miss NYC everyday and I can’t wait to go back again and visit. I learned so much from that summer. My biggest takeaway from NYC is that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. Don’t give up. Applying for over 80 jobs was so worth it.
As soon as I got back from living in NYC for 3 months I went straight to Rome for 4 months. That was hard. All I wanted to do was be home and relax. I wanted to see my friends and my family. Nope— I got to go on another experience of a lifetime— Rome, Italy. (This is the part in my life where I sound like world-traveling-celebrity). Rome was so beautiful and such an amazing experience. I learned some Italian, ate pasta and cornettos everyday (weight gain again ha) and created some life-lasting friendships. Rome definitely put me out of my comfort zone and I’m so glad I made the decision to study abroad.
Another (important) side note: my boyfriend, Jarrod, and I had started dating right before I left for NYC and Rome. Talk about great timing. Jarrod and I met 4 years ago when my best friend, Laura, had met her future husband, Eric. Eric’s best friend is Jarrod. My best friend is Laura. I think you see where this is going. When Jarrod and I first met I wanted to run the other way. He is the complete opposite of me (bad boy, redneck, motorcyclist, dangerous, mud everywhere… you get the picture). Jarrod was always trying to get me to go on a date with him. I never gave him the time of day until a week before I moved to New York City. We went on our 1st date. It was magical. Not. Read on and you’ll see why…
I was dressed up nice. I had no idea what we were doing (I am a control freak and he is spontaneous so he didn’t give me an agenda of what was “happening” on this date). He picked me up in his filthy old 1991 Ranger. Soon we went to the lake and I realized we were going out on his boat. I was excited because I love fishing and it was a perfect night for it. We were crusing on the boat pretty fast until ….WHACK. I went flying out the boat. My knee caught the side of the boat and I got a huge gash in my shin. Blood everywhere. I still have a scar to prove it. My cell phone almost went into the water. (I would’ve killed him). I tried to hold back the tears of the pain by biting my lip. Ouch. He apologized a million times. Soon enough, he caught a fish and let me reel it in. I had a lot of fun that night because he wasn’t “pushy” with me. We were simply friends. Just talking (and banging up my knee). He thought he would never hear from me again. But he did. And the rest is history.
Being in NYC and Rome while we were dating definitely put a test to our relationship. We survived though. And right now we’re surviving long distance again while I’m finishing School. After countless failed relationships in high school and college, I am so happy to have found the boy of my dreams (even though I thought the complete opposite when I first met him). :)
After I got back from Rome, I had some culture-shock. Hearing people speak in English was probably the scariest thing. Ah people can hear what I’m saying?! As I am finishing up my last semester at Iowa State, I have realized how fast time has gone, how much I’ve grown as a person, and how many amazing opportunities I’ve had.
I’ll be honest, most of my days I wake up tired and angry contemplating if I should skip class or not. But we can’t think negative like that all the time. It’s time to enjoy life and do things that are small but memorable (like having coffee dates every week with a friend, kissing your loved one under the campanile during Veishea, winning a canoe race around Lake Laverne, staying up way too late just to finish a drawing assignment, peeing your pants from laughing so hard with your roommate, and drinking too much on Mug night). College has taught me to enjoy every moment, good and bad.
All those failed interviews taught me that something better is coming my way. And the same goes for all my failed relationships. Someday everything will make perfect sense. Right now, I look back on my 4 years here at Iowa State and I realize that I wouldn’t change a thing. As for the future, I have no idea what will come (I also have no idea where I’ll be working) but I’m okay with that. I trust that everything will work out. So for now, I’m laughing through the confusion, smiling through the tears, and reminding myself that everything (absolutely everything) happens for a reason.