Do it yourself.
It’s that simple, and now it’s more important than ever.
I learned this when I started college. Lehigh is mainly known for its engineering and business programs, with no clubs or publications related to fashion. As a journalism student who wants to work in the fashion media industry, I quickly realized it would be hard to build experience in this field at Lehigh, and I would have to do it myself.
I knew that if I wanted to build my portfolio, I had to create something of my own. Something that could show employers my skills and something I was passionate about.
So, as most writers do, I started a blog my freshman year, on fashion, of course. I wrote about news and reviews, even fashion in entertainment. But I wasn’t proud enough of that work, and I knew I could do more.
So that’s what I did. Knowing I was passionate about fashion and female empowerment, I decided to write a book about it.
Less than a year later, I became a published author.
In the middle of that process, during my sophomore year, COVID-19 hit. We had to leave school and quarantine in our homes for the remainder of the spring semester. I, along with five other Lehigh women, knew this was the perfect opportunity to create something bigger.
We wanted to create a platform where students, at Lehigh and beyond, could build their portfolios however they wanted–from editorial to visuals and marketing. Together, we founded an online college magazine, The FIT. We have since expanded our staff to 16 universities across the country.
Creating something yourself, doesn’t necessarily mean doing it alone. In fact, working with people in different majors can help maximize the capabilities of the business or project. For the magazine, us founders are a mix of journalism, marketing, finance, psychology and graphic design majors. While we make all of our executive decisions together, we each have our own skill sets to contribute.
We launched the magazine during quarantine, when people were at home and in need of something to entertain themselves with. Because of this, many people joined our staff, contributed work and, most importantly, read our content.
When I wrote my book, I conducted research and interviews for insights and content. I interviewed CEOs, VPs, stylists, influencers and designers. I now have a larger network of connections who taught me invaluable information throughout the process.
While it can be challenging to create something in college while also taking many classes and balancing extracurriculars, there are benefits to taking initiative while you are still a student. There is access to professors and mentors. There are entrepreneurship courses that can be taken as electives. There are programs that allow students to apply for fundraising.
Oftentimes, students view college as a monotonous step and are waiting to fulfill their passions until they are working in their dream career. But why wait when you can work on something you are passionate about now? Enjoy the work you do, you might even find your dream job.
Don’t wait. Do it yourself.