Andrea... Anywhere.

Graduation Sob Story

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.

"The Secret" is my favorite book and my favorite movie. Today (and yesterday) was a day filled with homework. So I decided to cheer myself up with the best movie on earth, The Secret. It’s actually a documentary but it’s changed my life. If you haven’t watched it or read it, you probably should.

"The Secret" is my favorite book and my favorite movie. Today (and yesterday) was a day filled with homework. So I decided to cheer myself up with the best movie on earth, The Secret. It’s actually a documentary but it’s changed my life. If you haven’t watched it or read it, you probably should.

I really suck at updating this. It’s been like 20 days since I’ve posted last. I’m thinking about updating my blog daily instead of weekly, so I can actually remember what I did each day. We’ll see how that goes.

I’ll do a quick recap of the week…

Monday: Homework. Bleh.
Tuesday: Class, visited the creepy bone church, ate lunch at the delicious Hard Rock Cafe (love me some American food), and had Art History lecture at night. 
Wednesday: Studio, more studio, guest lecture, worked on my Art History paper, and finished my typography project. (This week sucked… it was filled with deadlines). 
Thursday: Visited St. Peter’s Basillica in the morning! Soooo soo beautiful. Had class the rest of the day, came home and had a roommate dinner and watched Mean Girls.
Friday: Studio for 3 hours, nap time, lazy friday night. Skyped a lot of people.

Today I did some errands with my roommate (visited the Vespa store, had some chinese for dinner, and basically walked around Rome for 5 miles… yes we actually calculated the distance when we got home). I also revamped my portfolio website a bit. (I look for jobs everyday, It’s so scary to be graduating so soon!)

I register for classes on Monday and I’m really excited about that. I hope my senior year is my easiest since I know I’ll be busy with finding a job… (and soaking in all the fun during my last semester at ISU) :)

Sorry I haven’t updated in so long! Last week has been a total whirlwind and I had to recover from my weekend in paradise and adjust to school again, bleh.

Let me tell you about the most amazing weekend! Thursday morning we woke up super early and headed to the train station and off we went to Naples, Italy. Naples sounds gorgeous but boy was I wrong, it was filled with trash and thieves everywhere you looked. I will never go back to that city! In Naples we went the archeological museum and took tons of pictures and sketched statues and admired the fresco paintings. Later we took a train to Sorrento and checked into our hotels. That night we had a romantic 4 course dinner with everyone in Interior and Graphic Design.

On Friday we strolled through the ancient city of Pompeii, where I experienced near heat stroke for 4 hours and walked a gazillion miles. It was amazing to see the ancient architecture but so exhausting, to say to least. That night we checked into our cabin hostel back in Sorrento. Ants covered the floor, we slept in a 3 bedroom bunk with no room to move. It was luxury at it’s finest. I didn’t care though since Sorrento is the most gorgeous city. Friday night we had dinner at a fancy restaurant, drank wine, and laughed by the beach.

Saturday morning we woke up early and went on a boat for eight hours. It was honestly a day I will never forget; we lounged on a luxurious boat to and around Capri. We experienced heaven on earth as we swam in the electric blue waters of the Blue Grotto, and the bright waters of the Green and White Grottos. Capri was gorgeous. We saw the Amalfi coast. It was like looking at a postcard, pure beauty.

Sunday morning we woke up, left the ants behind in our cabin, and off we went from Sorrento to Naples and back home to ROME! It felt amazing to be home again, but I miss Sorrento’s beautiful scenery so sooo much. 

This week has been filled with doing laundry, grocery shopping, schoolwork, and we’re currently doing a workshop in class with Primo Angeli. He’s designed for Guinness beer, Ben and Jerry’s, Postage stamps, Levi jeans, the Olympics, and sooo much more. It’s truly amazing to listen to him talk and I feel so honored we get to design with his help!

I’ll update you on how the rest of the week/weekend goes :)

Much love—


Monday: Homework,

Tuesday: Today in Mixed Media we worked on our books the full 7 hours—we are instructed to create a book that shows our time here in Rome. Almost like a scrapbook, but “better” as our Teacher says ha. I’m excited we’re doing this because now I have a keepsake of Rome with me when I leave. I’ve started collecting take-out menu’s, anything written in Italian, business cards, basically anything I can get my hands on so I can put it in my book! The rest of the day I had Italian class and Art History. 10 hours of class on Tuesday’s kill me.

Wednesday: Worked with my group on our powerpoint presentation and our paper on the neighborhood we are assigned (Tridente), went home and made a pizza and took a quick nap, went back to class for 3 more hours for Advanced Typography. We finally started transferring our sketches to the computer so I’m excited to be designing again!

Thursday: This morning in Art History we went to 3 different churches. I would attempt to spell the names for you but I’d probably fail and I don’t feel like looking them up ha. They were so beautiful and I learned a lot about the history of these amazing buildings. I really want to go to mass here a few times before I leave since I’m catholic and Rome would be the best place to go! After visiting the churches, I had Advanced Typography for the rest of the afternoon.

Friday: Studio in the morning, then last day of Italian class!!! YAHOO! We made Tiramisu and some amazing Carbonara. I will be an Italian chef once I get back to America :) I just have to study for our Italian quiz and then I will forever be done with Italian, so happy ha.

Friday night my roommates and I went to an American restaurant (best decision ever) I ordered a BBQ cheeseburger and fries and I ate it sooo fast. So worth it. Pasta and pizza everyday get old fast! After we ate, we went to the Fire Water festival on the Tiber River. It was basically what it sounds like: Fire on the river haha. Italian music was playing and it was a gorgeous sight to see! Muy romantico! ;)

The rest of the weekend I didn’t do much, went to the market, did homework, went shopping with some of my roommates, and just kind of relaxed. In less than 3 days I will be on a train to Sorrento, Pompeii, Naples, and Capri! I am soooo excited for our school field trip; it will be absolutely beautiful.

Stay tuned for pictures!



After a month in Italy!

Time is going by fast! Only 3 months left in the beautiful ROMA! Friday through Monday is my weekend so it’s nice that I have time to relax and do homework! Absolutely love having no classes on Mondays.

Tuesday - Walked around for literally 7 hours with our Mixed Media teacher. She showed us so many cool markets, shops, restaurants, churches, etc. It was very fun but exhausting to say the least! After that I had Italian and Art History class, such a long day.

Wednesday - Researched in studio with my group in the morning, came home and took a nap, went back to class for Italian. Nothing too exciting! I feel like I take naps everyday. Why am I so lazy? I really need to cut back on my sleeping ha… or drink more coffee.

Thursday - For Art History this week we went to The National Museum of Rome! A group of us started our day out with some McDonalds. They have a completely different menu than the one in the U.S! The museum was full of statues the Romans recreated from the original Greek statues. It was truly amazing to see stuff we learn in class in real life!

Friday - Holy Rain. It poured buckets Friday morning. The tram was packed so we couldn’t fit on it and were late to class, we hopped on some bus and then walked the rest of the way. We were about a half hour late. Great morning haha. Worked in studio with my group some more, almost done with our huge research paper, yay! Then went home and ate and studied Italian vocab, then went back to studio for Italian class. Came home after class again and just relaxed and went to bed early to prepare for Florence in the morning!

Saturday - Woke up around 5:30am! Not too fun ha. Went on a 2hr train ride that morning, it made me miss NYC so much. I absolutely love trains. I wish I could take one everyday! On the way to Florence I slept most of the ride. Florence was beautiful and so relaxing. I love how different it was than the crazy city life of Rome. We went exploring a bit, went into so many leather shops (Florence is the heart of where leather is made!) and then ate some yummy pizza. In the afternoon we went to the Uffci Art Museum and then went to Academia and saw Michelangelo’s David, it was huge and amazing! I spent the remainder of my day shopping and my roommate Stacie and I found some amazing leather boots! She got black and I got brown. I’m so excited to wear them, all the time ha. I also got a leather purse and she got a smokin’ hot black leather jacket! Overall it was a great day and we were so happy to come back “home to rome” after a long exhausting day filled with Art Museums, Shopping, and Italian Waiter’s hitting on us lol.

Sunday - Went to the market (bought some Ray Ban’s for my brother!), went grocery shopping, did laundry, and did homework. Typical sunday :)

Next week is just school all week and then the week after we head to Naples, Pompeii, and Capri!!!! I am beyond excited! Xoxo — Andrea

2nd week in Italy! Boy is time flying! Last week I was having some troubles getting used to things here but now I feel a lot more into the groove of things. I’m much less homesick and the crying has gone way down ha :)

This week was our first full week of classes and it was exhausting to say the least. In all our classes we mainly just walk around Rome. I love it, it’s nice to get familiar with the area, but walking around Rome for 5 or more hours in the blazing heat is SO tiring. I kind of miss sitting on my ass in studio like we do in Ames!

I think it’s good that we walk around though— (I have absolutely no sense of direction, everyone who knows me knows that I could get lost in my hometown…My sense of direction is definitely my greatest weakness) So walking around really helps me get familiar with the area. I bought a map this week! I bring it with me everywhere I go in case of emergency ha.

The homework is starting to roll in, makes me happy actually, it helps to stay busy! The classes I’m taking this semester are: Mixed Media (mainly a drawing/painting class), Graphic Design studio, Italian (Ughhh I hate it, but it’s helping me get used to the culture here!), Advanced Typography (Love this class), and Art History (I hate hate hate history, but it’s pretty neat to walk around Rome and see the art/architecture in real life instead of just sitting in a lecture looking at pictures like we did in Ames!)

This weekend I didn’t do too much; mainly relaxed from the long school week. Friday night did nothing really, Saturday went shopping all day with my friends (very interesting to see the fashion here!) then got home at night and got ready to go to Scholars Pub where we watched the ISU vs IOWA game. AMAZING time and soooo proud of my Cyclones! I missed Ames a lot when I was watching it on the big screen, but It’s a moment I’ll never forget to say I watched Iowa State beat Iowa at a bar in Rome with my ISU loves :)

Yesterday went to the flea market, I look forward to it every week! Then just did homework and relaxed the rest of the night. I have no classes today so it’s homework all day for me. I need to study Italian and read some Art History readings. Fun stuff! Later tonight I’m meeting up with my group to research more on our Rome neighborhood (Tridente— the beautiful high fashion area of Rome) We need to take night life pictures and do more research on our area.

Next week I’m going on a day trip to Florence so I’m excited about that! It will be my first trip outside of Rome :)

I’ll update more next week! Xoxo - Andrea