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The year of, like, realizing stuff

Updated: Mar 22, 2022

“I feel like this year is really about, like, the year of just realizing stuff.” - Kylie Jenner

In 2016, Kylie Jenner posted a video talking about her New Year’s resolutions and these words launched a thousand memes.

It’s almost a year into the COVID-19 pandemic, and while I laughed with the rest of the internet and chalked up Ky’s statement as the typical, vapid Kardashian/Jenner clan comment, I realized something myself: K-Jen was right.

It’s 2021 and I, like Kylie Jenner, have found myself feeling that this, no, THIS is the year of just realizing stuff. I’ve realized that even though my senior year isn’t what I thought it would look like, doesn’t mean that it’s any less special. I’ve realized the self-care isn’t always face masks and mani-pedis. Sometimes it’s doing laundry and making tough decisions about friendships, living situations, and the future.

I’ve also realized how great it is to wear pajamas to work. I know... not as groundbreaking as the other realizations, but HEY! Let me have this.

Most importantly, however, is that I've realized what I want to do in my life.

Last summer, after months of confinement, isolation, and Zoom frustrations, I hit that dark day. Disconnected. Despondent. I was uncertain of the world’s future and my own.

But then, a social media post took me to a familiar place: the banks of the Seine, where I could watch models dressed in Balmain’s latest fashion line float by on a barge. I couldn’t stop smiling. Watching clips of the event on repeat, I realized the exhibition was a bold celebration in the face of this year’s adversity. “Balmain Sur Seine” was more than a publicity stunt powered by a social media campaign: it was joy and hope.

The post instantly took me back to my semester studying abroad in Paris, France, and when I had (you guessed it!) another realization.

In 2019, I was interning for the Paris-based journalism agency Worldcrunch and writing stories on events like Web Summit, translating articles from their French partners into English, and developing social media content for clients. The experience was challenging and different, but I didn’t feel like I was building the kind of relationships or seeing the tangible impact that I was craving in a career. My experience with Worldcrunch helped me realize that rather than being a reporter on trends, ­I want to be a social influencer. This epiphany was a revelation of what a meaningful career looks like to me: one that cultivates culture and creates tangible impact.

I have always been intrigued by the way words and storytelling devices can be leveraged to connect with people. Finding myself at UNC-Chapel Hill in 2017, this fascination led me to study journalism at the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.

With a fresh perspective from my time abroad, I redirected my career goals to advertising and public relations –– diving into coursework to explore the field and build a marketing skillset. I enjoyed studying these subjects so much that I have spent the entirety of my senior year working for Clairemont Communications in Raleigh, NC as a marketing and public relations intern.

Hosting a fashion show on the water was innovative and beautiful, but the exhibition was also the first to be streamed on the TikTok social media platform. “Balmain Sur Seine” was a groundbreaking venture in new media and connectivity –– connectivity that moves beyond physical borders and the limitations of a pandemic to reach global audiences.

I instantly knew that I wanted to be a part of something so special, so I set my sights on a new career objective: becoming an advertising creative.

While I have built a solid foundation in media through my professional experiences and studies in journalism, I know enough now to realize what I have yet to learn and what I could accomplish by continuing my education. After finishing my studies at UNC in May, I hope to return to France and attend graduate school in Paris. As you will soon find out from my posts, I am obsessed with all things French, fashion, food, celebrity, and entertainment.

And there are sure to be more Kardashian/Jenner references. I'm obsessed.

As new media continues to integrate perspectives from around the world, a multicultural learning environment is crucial. To create innovative campaigns like “Balmain Sur Seine,” I must leave the social bubble of the United States and cross new borders myself. I have gotten a first-hand look into the world of marketing and storytelling through my coursework, volunteer involvement, and work experience. I hope to continue honing these skills and learning along the way.

This blog is a look into my realizations, lessons learned, and lived experiences. I hope you’ll follow my journey, and who knows? Maybe you’ll realize some things yourself.


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