If You're Not Investing In Your Future, What Are You Investing In?

If You're Not Investing In Your Future, What Are You Investing In?

Your friends don't create your future, so why base every move around them?

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Things have been put in perspective for me recently. With a year left in my college career, it's incredibly overwhelming to think about where I will be in a year. As a college student, you always have people giving you contradictory advice. Hell, the reason we go to college is to create a future for ourselves. However, when you get into college, people always tell you "live in the moment, man."

What the hell does this mean? Live in the moment? It's kind of impossible not to. I'm kidding of course, but when people say live in the moment this usually insinuates that you shouldn't be obsessed with the little things that plague your free time. Things like stressing about finding an internship, worrying about your test grades, and the various other habits of students are probably things that these "live in the moment" people are talking about.

This is fine and dandy. I completely agree now, in hindsight, that the stress I've caused myself worrying about a grade that does not reflect my capability as a student was not worth it. But far too often, these "live in the moment" people mistake meticulousness for being absent-minded in the present. Concerning yourself with your future can bring you down two roads (bear with me here).

There is the first road, the road that those "live in the moment" people warn you about. For example, skipping on going out with friends because you're worried that giving up two hours of your time is going to ruin your grades. The way those in-the-moment people see it, if you actually prepared for the future like you say you do, you would already be prepared for the test instead of studying last minute.

These people are right — if you remove yourself from the moment because you are constantly stressing out and scrambling to get your shit together, sorry, you're not a futuristic thinker.

Then there's the second road, the holy grail of now and then. Planning every move that you do now to be worth your time, whether that's an investment in yourself now or in the future. To counteract those "live in the moment" people, no, every minute of our time doesn't have to be absent from the moment. Living with your future in mind means shifting your perspective from an "Oh man I'm just living day-to-day and taking life as it comes, bro" to "every single day I wake up is an opportunity to make the "me" 10 years from now a very happy person."

I feel that a lot of college students are where I am right now, struggling with a year left in this little bubble that we have immersed ourselves in to find our sense of identity in the real world. College sucks in that way, especially where I am because it is so far removed from the ebb and flow of the real world. It's hard to plan for your future and invest in yourself when the other 99% of people are studying and working for the weekend.

You get to this point, hopefully, where you realize you should NEVER base what you are going to do for the day based around what your friends are doing. If you plan to even have a future, you must realize that your friends in the moment are not going to create that future for you. So, why plan your every move around what THEY are doing? Changing your mindset with this in mind is living for the future.

It's 2018 and the world is constantly changing; this not a cliche, this is the truth. If your moves aren't strategic, get ready to fall behind.

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To High School Seniors In Their Last Semester

Senior year moves pretty fast; if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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Dammit, you made it. The final semester of your senior year. You’re at the top of the food chain of high school, and it feels so good. You’re probably praying this last semester flies by, that you get out of town as soon as possible.

At this point, you’re calling teachers by their first names, the entire staff knows you by name, and you’re walking around school standing tall, owning those hallways. You’re convinced you’re ready to leave and move on to the next chapter in your life.

You’ve already experienced your last football game, standing in the cold in the front row of the student section all season long, decked out in your school colors and cheering loud and proud. That is, until they lost, and you realized you will never have that experience again. Never again.

SEE ALSO: What I Wish I Knew As A Second-Semester High School Senior

You already had your last winter break. Preparing and celebrating the holidays with your family, ice skating and sledding with your best friends. Those quiet nights alone in your room watching Netflix, taking for granted your loved ones just a few rooms away. Never again.

If you’re an athlete, you may have already played in your last game or ran your last race. The crowd cheering, proudly wearing your school’s name across your chest, giving it your all. For some, it may be the end of your athletic career. Before you knew it, you were standing in an empty gym, staring up at the banners and thinking about the mark you left on your school, wondering where on earth the time went. Never again.

I’m telling you right now, you’re going to miss it all. Everything you’ve ever known. Those early mornings when you debate going to first hour because you really need those McDonald’s hash browns. The late nights driving home from practice, stopping for ice cream of course, ready for a late night of homework. Getting food on a whim with your friends. Endless fights with your siblings. Your favorite chips in the pantry. A fridge full of food. Coming home to and getting tackled by your dog. Driving around your hometown, passing the same sights you’ve seen every day for as long as you can remember. Hugs from your mom after a long day. Laughs with your dad. And that best friend of yours? You’re going to miss them more than anything. I’m telling you right now, nothing will ever be the same. Never again.

SEE ALSO: I'm The Girl That Enjoyed High School

Before you start packing your bags, slow down, take a deep breath, and look around. You’ve got it pretty good here. The end of your senior year can be the time of your life; it’s truly amazing. So go to the winter dance, go to Prom, spend Senior Skip Day with your classmates, go to every sporting event you can, while you still can. College is pretty great, but it’s the little things you’re gonna miss the most. Don’t take it for granted because soon, you’ll be standing in a packed gym in your cap and gown, wondering where the heck the time went. You’ve got a long, beautiful life ahead of you, full of joy but also full of challenges. You’re going to meet so many wonderful people, people who will treat you right and people who won’t.


So, take it all in. Be excited for the future and look forward to it, but be mindful of the present. You’ve got this.
Cover Image Credit: Hartford Courant

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Yes, I’m A Fashion Major, No, It’s Not Glamorous Or Easy

While there are certainly outrageously excessive aspects of the fashion industry, like a Chanel or Dior Haute Couture show, the majority of the industry involves small, day-to-day behind the scenes work.

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I think I was about 10 years old when I discovered what I wanted to do with my life. It was my birthday, and my grandmother gave me a children's fashion sketching kit. Equipped with a small lightbox and pre-designed garment templates, I was set. While it probably seemed like a fun arts and crafts activity to keep me busy, the small, unsuspecting kit changed the course of my life.

Prior to receiving the gift, I had been introduced to sewing by my grandmother and had attended my first sewing camp at age 8. I think she tried to acquaint all the girls in the family with sewing, but I was the only one to take any real interest. I'd spend my summers sewing Simplicity patterns here and there with her. And while I always enjoyed our time together, none of those experiences sparked an interest in me like the design kit she gave to me.

By the time I got to middle school, I'd doodle and sketch designs in the back of notebooks or on scrap paper. Even though I didn't know how to produce them, I just loved to think of new looks. I'd always imagine what it would be like to have one of my designs make it to the red carpet. So much so, that I used to joke with my friends saying that I'd dress them when they finally became famous. (If you're reading this, that offer still stands).

As I moved onto high school, I decided it was time to get more serious about sewing. I enrolled in a sewing class my sophomore year of high school and discovered that I had much to learn. I initially assumed that I'd learn all the tricks of the trade, but I was quickly set straight by coming to terms with my beginner status. Although I enjoyed the projects, they felt like a chore on top of my schoolwork. I stopped by junior year, but the classes hadn't entirely killed my passion for design.

By the time senior year rolled around, and it was time to choose a college, a major, and everything else about the rest of my life, I didn't have to think very long. I also didn't have to make very many decisions. During my senior year, I came to the realization that I'd never actually considered different career paths. Nothing else ever caught my interest- nothing. With ease and little concern, I chose to enroll at LSU in apparel design. I didn't know anything about the competitiveness of the industry, starting salaries, or relocating for potential jobs- I just went with it. There was nothing else I wanted to pursue a degree in.

The reality of this choice starts once I got to college. As a freshman, I didn't take many classes related to my major, but I still loved the idea of being a "fashion major." Cue the "oohs" and "ahhs." To work in the fashion industry?!? It was 10-year-old me's dream come true.

What 19-year-old me quickly realized, though, is that it wasn't going to be quite the dream I'd imagined.

When sophomore year rolled around and the six-hour sewing labs and six-hour illustration labs followed, I started to see my future for what it was really going to be. It wasn't going to be "The Devil Wears Prada" and rubbing elbows with celebrities. It was work — lots and lots of work. It was 8 extra hours a week in the sewing lab, it was staying up till 3 a.m. to finish illustrations, and it was anything but glamorous.

Gone was the false notion of a mysteriously fabulous life as a leading industry designer. My reality of the fashion industry shaped up to be a bit lackluster and mundane compared to the cinematic stereotypes people often think of. And yet, I still wouldn't trade it for the world. To me, my major has been a true "labor of love." The tedious, time-consuming work is what has made pursuing design such a worthy choice for me. Nothing brings me a greater sense of accomplishment than to create.

I've made quite a few garments during my time at LSU, I've illustrated a handful of mini collections, and I've even signed up for an elective couture technique class. As much frustration, impatience, and doubt as my major has brought me, it has also brought an equal amount of pride, excitement, and motivation.

As American radio host Earl Nightingale thoughtfully said, "never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway." Yes, this "dream" of mine has been a long time coming, and it's also been an extensive amount of work, but I wouldn't have wanted to spend my time any other way. From churning out lightbox sketches at 10 years old to be able to produce the patterns for original designs at 21 years old, my dream of designing has continued to live on.

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