Connecting the Dots

I probably talk to my mom a few times a day… not sure if that’s normal or not, but I hate going a few hours without talking to her because, oh I don’t know, things happen that I don’t want to forget to tell her or something. (I call her when I’m walking from one place to another most of the time and we almost always have a text conversation going on.)
The other day, she mentioned that one of her friends (who reads my blog religiously) mentioned that she thought I seemed different. And truth be told, I feel different. I’ve been feeling it for a while, probably about six weeks or so– not quite two months– but it’s a good different.
One of my favorite parts about blogging is that I get to talk to girls who are younger than me. There are so many things that I wish I could tell that based on where I’ve been and what’s happened and changed with me. I met a couple of college girls for breakfast one morning the other week and her mom was there too. (The whole group was super cute and sweet!) The mom said, “Will you tell her to relax about grades a little bit!?” Instantly, I was brought back to my own freshman year of college when I got back a midterm with 12% written at the top of it. 
TWELVE. Twelve percent. Aka a big fat F. As far as I was concerned, the world would absolutely stop. In fact, my own insecurities and fears and psyche basically brought my own world to a halting stop. I spun wildly out of control. (It’s truly nothing short of a miracle that I got through the semester without dropping out or being kicked out.)
Looking back though, that twelve percent was quite literally the beginning, not the end, of my life. Through a million little events that would follow, I am where I am now. I started this tiny little blog with a pink background and offensively lime green accents. I wrote about my favorite shoes and my life and little happenings here and there. Never, never, never in a million years would I have ever believed that this is where I would be today.
Traveling, working with my favorite brands, connecting with thousands of girls… All because I failed a stupid accounting midterm. (Don’t worry, I have an accounting firm I work with for my corporate and personal taxes now… ha!)
I graduated from college four years later with incredible connections and unique experiences under my belt, ready to take on NYC. (Like so many graduates, starry-eyed about what the city would provide.) I loved my job for a while and then struggled with choices as I tried to find better balance in my life. I wanted to be in this working environment, learning from other women… but I also wanted to take a risk and see what could happen if I quit to take this College Prepster thing even bigger. Definitely was naive in that I thought it would happen overnight (hahaha, nope), but there were small stepping stones followed by big leaps of faith and I can kind of sort, maybe if I squint my eyes, see where it’s all heading.
But it’s not “the end goal” that has created this “difference” that others and myself have noticed within me recently. It’s that I’ve really changed my outlook on, well, so much. It’s not about a final point of success, I’ve just decided to enjoy the ride. Life is volatile. And a positive attitude can go a long way.
I simply felt like I just massively exhaled.
Released all these horrible thoughts that were eating away at me and causing these debilitating meltdowns and anxiety attacks. I let go of my fears. I let go of my insecurities. I’ve tried just about everything to get rid of my anxiety over the years (medication, therapy, exercise, diet,  unhealthy coping mechanisms) and while some may have provided relief, they didn’t last. Deciding to let go and to feel this physical release of wasted energy is amazing… finally.
Things that have helped me have been my dog (honestly, that little guy really helps me put things in perspective), figuring out a schedule that works for me but also allows me to spend enough time away from my computer/phone, and allowing myself (really allowing without an ounce of guilt) to veg and do nothing if I feel like it…. and reminding myself that things work out and that even what seems like the end of the world (like a 12%) can actually be the start of an incredible experience.
I really do feel different. In a million and a half ways. For maybe the first time in my life, I’m not freaked out by what the future holds. (How many times have I thought…. I’m never going to succeed… only to find a way or somehow?) Whereas before I would let the fear of the unknown hold me back, now it’s just making me work harder to propel forward in a positive direction.

PS Rereading Zen and the Art of Happiness never hurts. (I will say this until I’m blue in the face!!!!)

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Shannon H

Ahhh you're too sweet! The week I got back from break I found out I didn't do too hot on a midterm as well! I kept reminding myself what you mentioned at breakfast and have made it my goal to stress a little less about grades I know won't dictate my future! It was so fun have breakfast and hopefully we can do it again the next time I'm in the city!


Shannon 🙂

Lauren Rose

My grades just came out for winter quarter and they weren't the best 🙁 But it's ok and I'm not letting it get to me too much. Thanks for this post! I've realized grades aren't everything – they don't define a person. I just did a post about job interview tips – check it out!

Fiona Heath

Your honesty is amazing, as a reader it is really appreciated. I am currently struggling on my MSc, so just a quiet reminder that it is not the end of the world is nice to have.

Could you possibly do a reader poll, just to find out how old everyone is and where they are from.

Fie xx


Oh Carly, you are always so spot on! My mother has been telling me the same thing for a few months now. "Natasha, your father and I keep talking about how different you seem. You seem to be happier than ever."

I have definitely had to take really calculated steps to get here (my anxiety lies with friends getting married/having babies) but once I really truly let go of it I became so much happier with where my life is at this exact moment.

Also, I can not recommend "The Power of Now" enough!!



This is just too perfect with graduation on the horizon and speeding toward grad school. Thank you for the always wise words =)

Rachel Medlock

Love this! Just the dose of inspiration I needed today, as someone who has also thought "What if I never succeed" countless times.

You can tell such a difference in your writing in the last few months! Puppies can work wonders, and so can embracing what you once feared.

Suppose Anything Goes


I wonder if Garrett has anything to do with it, too? Not saying you haven't made big strides, obviously, but in my experience, having a loving partner makes a big difference in the happiness level of my life and my ability to handle things! It's good to learn those lessons while you have a partner's support — can teach you how to move forward, even if something happens with that partner.

Lanie W.

As a longtime reader it's been beyond incredible to see your entire mentality change over the past year. I know I'm just a reader, but I think I speak for others as well when I say I'm so proud of the healthy, happy, balanced life you've developed! You've come so far from the posts when you would say that weekends were your "crank out work" time. It's amazing how your entire outlook has made a 180, and I'm so thankful you've been so honest and taken us along on this beautiful, real journey! Blogging can seem like smoke and mirrors sometimes, but you're so authentic and it makes such a big impact. You're an absolute inspiration and I hope things will only continue to get even more wonderful for you & College Prepster in general! xoxo

-Lanie @ Southern Preppy Chic

Jessica Joyce

Thanks so much for posting this. Right now as I'm in college, I'm lucky enough to be majoring in Journalism where the worst that can happen is my professor telling me my writing sucks. Luckily, that hasn't happened yet, but starting my own blog where I write whatever the hell I want is my form of zen. Double-majoring in Economics, though, can be tough especially when taking tough classes that a writer like me ought not to take.
I'm happy for you and can't wait to see where your happiness takes you from here.
Your Friend, Jess

Jessica Randall

Yeah I knew I was in a bad way when I was literally in tears over a B-. Not a C,not an F, a B-. With it I lost my 4.0 but saw the opportunity to let myself off the hook with numbers and focus on developing relationships and myself as a person instead of ticking off things I saw as qualifications for being a good student and being employable after graduation.

Really, all I hear is "networking" when it comes to landing a job in "the real world" so it seems like a better investment of my time than stressing over grades….not that I won't still have earned Summa Cum Laude that is hahaha


Very honest post, I have noticed a change in your posts as well. It seems you are coming into your own, much more sure of yourself which is awesome to see. I think that quote is important, you sometimes need to remember that everything will work out.


I used to talk to my mom all of the time as well. Calling her on my walks between places just to pass the time. Moms are definitely good for that kind of thing. 🙂


I love this post because I have gotten exams back with bad grades on them so many times and it's really hard not to feel discouraged. It's really reassuring to hear that someone who is as successful as you are started a point similar to mine. You're definitely someone I look up to 🙂

Patience Hertz

I'm so happy I read this post because I've been dealing with so much anxiety about the future lately…this is just what I needed to hear! BTW thanks for replying to my email this week..your advice was so thoughtful! I'm glad your outlook on life and your future have changed & I wish you the best!!