It's officially the first blog post of 2021, and I thought I would switch it up a little bit. Just like everyone else, I set goals for myself in 2021. A lot of them are the basics, and a few are a little bit more personal. One of my biggest goals for 2021 was to make sure that the content I am producing for Just Gingerly and my Instagram bring some sort of value to my little community here.
There are so many, and I mean SO MANY other bloggers/influencers out there. Most of us are sharing the same sales and brands but what sets us all apart is the actual person behind the blog. In order for an influencer to bring anyone any sort of value, their audience really needs to know who they are following. I mean why else would you choose to hang around and support someone you don't know and can't relate to. This brings me to the reason behind this post. Yes of course if you have been following along with me for any amount of time you have picked up on the basics about who I am, but let's really get to know each other and build the Just Gingerly community a little here!
After I chatted about this on stories I left a few topics on stories for you all to vote on. I honestly didn't expect the response I got from you all, so this might get a tad lengthy. So grab you a cup of coffee and buckle up because if you haven't noticed by now, I write a whole lot better than I talk. But really though, if you ever want good advice from me, don't call me. Text me because I process thoughts way better on paper than I do through my mouth.
Okkk, so I know most of you might know all of these but just in case. I was born and raised in a small town in upstate South Carolina. I am an only child and I've lived in the same house my entire life. I have a pet cat and my favorite color is pink. I'm 23 years old and I'm a natural redhead. I'm engaged to my best friend Chris and we are getting married on October 24th, 2021! I also have a post on our engagement story if ya wanna read that one too!
I started my first blog in 2015, The Classy Redhead. I blogged there for about 2 years. I have more on that in my post, My Why. Obviously, I have always loved fashion. In my senior year of high school, I remember making an effort to dress up every day. I've always been asked by friends where I shop and how I do things, so I knew making a blog based on my favorite fashion and beauty would be something that my friends would love! I've also always loved photography, editing, and content creation. Even before blogging, I was always crafting! I literally have a closet packed full of paint, beads, monogramming supplies, and more.
I mean this was peak fashion in 2015/2016. Am I right?
So to start, I went to Lander University in Greenwood, SC. I truly loved all four years there and wouldn't trade my experience there for the world. I graduated with a BS in Biology. So yes, I did the dissections, mixed the chemicals, and performed all kinds of experiments. My original career plan was to become a genetic counselor. Which is the reason I got a Biology degree. I also have a minor in psychology for the counseling aspect. I really do love science and genetics, but God had a different plan for my life. Which I will get into next!
While I was at Lander I was also in Gamma Phi Beta, which if you ask me was the highlight of my college experience. Cheesy as it is, I really did find my life long best friends and my bridesmaids. While I was a collegian, I ran our chapters social media and was Public Relations VP. Holding these positions taught me a ton about branding and marketing (which I used to my advantage after college to get a small consulting job for a local photographer). I also got to travel to Dallas for the Convention which was one of my favorite memories.
Why I didn't Go to Grad School
So this is a question I think a lot of people in my life have wondered. It's not something I talk about too much because I was embarrassed at first. If you knew me in college you know I was dead set on my plan of genetic counseling and to get there, you have to go to grad school. It's also the only plan I had ever had for myself. Literally no backup plan. Like... at all. Everything I did in college I did in hopes of getting into grad school. Again even my degree was solely for genetic counseling. I had no desire to pursue anything else in the biology field so my eggs were all in one basket. I took classes and labs I reallyyyy hated just to get my degree. Which looking back really did teach me a lot. Now I couldn't tell you one thing about organic chemistry or tell you what muscle or vein you are pointing at, but I learned a lot about growing up. This is what I think the biggest thing that college teaches you, how to learn, and do hard things.
But back to why I didn't go to grad school. I think most people would think I didn't go is because I didn't get in, which is true. I didn't get into grad school. But not because I didn't have the grades. While you are in undergrad they tell you to be involved and make good grades and you'll get into grad school. Which isn't always true. I graduated top 10% of my academic college. I was in two honors societies for leadership, and I was in leadership positions in my sorority all three years. What no one told me was how many students genetic counseling programs actually took. When I applied for my top program, I was one out of 300 applicants. They took 7. My second choice program took 10. So let's just say the chances I had to actually get into a program were tiny.
Now you are probably thinking, why didn't you reapply? Good question. It was about the beginning of my senior year that I started to have second thoughts about my plans. I was really hating my classes. They were insanely hard and I knew that if I didn't get into grad school I had no backup plan with biology. At that point, it was too late to change my major because I honestly didn't want to live in Greenwood any longer than I had to. So I pushed through with the thought of, if this is God's plan for my life then it will happen. But if it's not, what He has in store is way better than this.
So after two rejection letters without interviews, I wasn't getting into grad school. I panicked. I met with both of my advisors and started to look for back up programs in other counseling fields. I applied for Clinical Counseling and I got an interview, my first and only grad school interview.
It was about a week after the interview and I was helping host an event for my sorority when I checked my email. Rejected. I remember sitting there in the student center with all of my sorority sisters around me. It was like in the movies where it's zoned out and everyone is passing by. I had been rejected by three grad schools for two different programs. I had no backup plan.
Looking back now, I'm so glad I didn't go to grad school. I know I wouldn't have been happy in the profession. I also know that because I didn't have to move hours away from home, my relationship with Chris wouldn't be where we are. I wouldn't have started my blog again, which is something I dreamed about while I was hating biology. And I for sure wouldn't be blessed with the job I have now.
My Real Job
As I said, if I would have gone to grad school I wouldn't have had the opportunity that I've had over this past year and a half. While I'm not blogging, I work through a healthcare company as a personal care aid for my cousin that is special needs. Olivia is 11 years old and has a genetic disorder call Cri Du Chat. So every day I get her off the school bus and watch her until my aunt gets off work. However, with 2020, I kept her all day every day doing all the virtual school and just hanging out this summer. I absolutely love spending my days with her which is why I am so thankful that I was able to be there for her this past year.
Will this be my job forever, probably not. Do I know what I want to do with my life? Nope, not one bit.
I also serve on my sorority's international philanthropy team. I advise 13 chapters on the west coast and Canada for all of their philanthropy events. I make sure they are following all of the brand and international rules for their events and I also track all of their funds raised! I also am the Public Relations Advisor for my chapter at Lander!
My Goals for 2021
To wrap up this novel I've written here, let's end with where I started. My goals for 2021. For my personal goals, I really do have the basic ones. First to get back in shape. Mostly because I have a wedding dress to fit into and we don't need to be looking like a busted can of biscuits. (Thanks to quarantine for that.)
To save more money. That's an obvious one. Running a fashion blog can (and does) get expensive. Like I mentioned earlier in this post, I am definitely taking a different approach to my content this year so I can save more money. Chris and I are starting the process of looking/ possibly building a house, so saving money is super important right now. Also, obviously planning a wedding is expensive too so there's that.
Lastly, I want to grow more in my faith. Last year I set out to read the whole Bible in a year, which didn't happen. I will say I made it to April which is better than not at all. This year I am taking a different approach and I'm already seeing myself grow so much. Its also helped me changed my perspective around on so many things this past year, which I'm super thankful for. Especially with all that's going on in the world.
If you've made it this far you deserve a prize honestly. I tell you all of this about my life for one reason, to let you know you are welcome here. Just Gingerly isn't just a fashion blog. It's a community. A community of like-minded women who are real. Who want real tips, real connections, and real life. I share all of this to remind you that there is a real person just like you behind this blog. I am so happy you are here and I thank YOU for following along and supporting this little dream of mine.
PS. there are so many more questions that I couldn't fit into this post! So I might make these life updates a thing!