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  • A Senior Year Wrap-Up

    I graduate in a week. That's beyond weird.

    These past two semesters came and went before I could really process them, and here we are, staring "adulthood" and "the real world" straight in the face. The good news is I have a handful of work and more than a handful of lessons to show after of this school business is said and done. Let me explain:

    In the fall, I split my efforts between Web Design for Storytelling, Retail Management and Creative Nonfiction Writing.

    By the end of Andy Boyle's must-take course, I built a website from scratch. After learning some CSS, HTML and JavaScript basics—not to mention assessing how I approached telling stories digitally—I felt at ease when looking at applications that required coding experience. (Also, Andy just published a book and he's pretty funny. You should buy it.)

    Retail Management was a course I was super excited to take—one, because it ran concurrent to my development at LUSH and two, because we were able to create a brand from scratch and explore all of the facets of what makes a successful business plan throughout the course of 15 weeks.

    And Creative Nonfiction Writing took me by surprise, too. We started class every week sharing journal entries, and by the end of the semester, I had an eight-page piece that detailed some familial patterns I've needed to explore. After a lot of careful editing, it was published in the second edition of Habitat Magazine.

    Then, the last hurrah. Echo Magazine. This project was one that I had been looking forward to since my first semester at Columbia four years ago. Our editorial advisor Sharon Bloyd-Peshkin got the ball rolling the week we signed up for the course, asking us to prepare a pre-class assignment that would allow us to pick a theme for our issue by the end of the first day of class.

    One of my more colorful memories of the process was working on this assignment before I had met the team or fully immersed myself in the project—I was sitting in the smallest New York coffee shop during their first big January snow storm, paging through the Fantasy issue as a guide to understanding what I wanted our book to be like.

    The momentum our team established that first day of class didn't stop until today, when we did our last round of proofreading and packaged all of our files for the printer. As the Managing Editor, I learned how to establish and maintain leadership, be a friend and voice of reason in tricky editorial situations, and how to think of plan B's and C's early on in the process as to not overwhelm myself too close to deadlines. This list is awfully brief; the tools (and comrades) I'm taking away from Echo are invaluable to me. Have a print copy sent to you, free of charge, and read about our process on our website.

    Throughout all of the above goodness, I managed inventory, loss prevention, ordering and receiving as the Store Operations specialist at LUSH Armitage. Last week marked the end of training my coworker Ro into that role, and I will admit—I'm going to miss waking up at 4:45 most days of the week. (I'm mostly kidding because my daughter Pearl likes to eat her wet food at 4 and I don't have the heart to tell her no.)

    About a week ago, I accepted a writing position at One Design. The majority of the work on their newsletter and social media (two bits that I've been brought on to work on) can be done remotely, allowing me to continue my development at LUSH.

    A lot has changed since we've talked last, and that used to scare me beyond belief. But I can proudly say that I'm really trying to embrace the uncertainty that lies ahead. Thank you for reading all of this—I'll be keeping you posted on any new endeavors I explore. Until next time!

    -Bianca