On May 14th I walked across the stage at the High Point Stadium behind my best friend, Leslie, and became a Rutgers University graduate (which I’m still having a hard time grasping)! As many of you may know, I grew up in Barbados with my parents and my mom’s side of the family. But since I was born in New Jersey, the plan, from as early as I can remember, was to come back to America to go to school (and specifically New Jersey, because I could potentially pay state fees). So when it was time for me to come at 16, I was going to complete my junior and senior year of high school in Jersey and re-establish my residency here. Butttt my parents got divorced just before I was to leave and, as you can imagine, it got a little complicated… so I stayed for an extra year and studied at the Barbados Community College, studying English Literature and Spanish. Literature was my absolute favorite subject during high school, so it was only fitting that I studied it there. I did Spanish because, you know, you should have a language (so my parents told me). I wasn’t thatttt great at Spanish and later realized, in my senior year at Rutgers, that I love French soooo much more.
After that year I was finally able to move to Jersey and lived with a host family, who were friends with my god-sister. Although that year was one of the most difficult that I’ve experienced, I have always been so grateful for the family that took me in. That year was truly dedicated to my own self growth during the transition into a completely new environment, so I wrote quite a lot and that fueled an interest in Journalism. From the beginning of my time at Rutgers, I knew that I wanted to be a Journalism and Media Studies major. My freshman year was quite hectic, mainly because I grew up on an extremely small island and the population at Rutgers was a good percentage of what the population was in Barbados. But that’s what I wanted. I wanted to be surrounded by a large amount of incredible people with diverse lifestyles, backgrounds, fashion and opinions. I wanted to be finally able to express myself through my style because, in Barbados, we had to wear uniforms everyday to school.
It was in my sophomore year that I decided to create my style blog since after modeling for a couple of years in Barbados, I was starting to conform to the beauty standards that were set there and became extremely sick and insecure about my body. I realized that I was following quite a few blogs and they inspired me to create my own standards of beauty. My friends would also always tell me that I should document my outfits so I figured that this platform would be the best way to do that. My blog and social media accounts have truly provided me with so many unexpected and amazing opportunities and I am so appreciative of all of the people who supported me when I first started and to those who have continued to read and watch my growth.
By far, my senior year at Rutgers was the most eventful, productive and positive. I began working at Hidden Grounds Coffee shop at the end of my junior year and it saved me on so many levels. I didn’t go into the barista position looking to make money at all, but needed an excuse to get out of my apartment because I had become somewhat of a recluse. So by the time my senior year came around, I was so much more comfortable going out with the inspiring people that I met through working there. This year was also my thesis year (WHICH WAS INSANEEEE!). I don’t think that I have ever done something as challenging, but fulfilling, as a senior honors thesis. It was a good 65 pages on the influence of social media on the fast-fashion revolution! I used theories that I learnt in my Disruption Technology and Innovation class and my Fashion Journalism class, which were taught by my two advisors for the thesis. By the end of the year, I won an award and was given an internship after completing the thesis and receiving high honors :)
This summer I’m going to continue working at Hidden Grounds (as a shift supervisor, event manager and barista), as well as working on growing my blog! This fall I’m going to start my year off of travels all over the world AND I CAN’T WAIT!!!!!!!
~ btw, this was my grad outfit for my School of Communication and Information ceremony. I loved it so much and needed to document it :)
Photos taken by Maria Alba, of course.