I was nervous to walk into a school referred to as “the party school.” Little did I know, God had big plans in store for me when he brought me to Chico State.
To start, I immediately got involved in the campus organization, Cru. This organization and movement brought me both friends and adventure. I developed a deep and intentional relationship with God.
As freshmen year continued, I searched for a job to occupy my time. I honestly had way too much free time. After receiving no feedback from the jobs I had applied to, for some CRAZY reason, I decided to create an Instagram and Facebook page for my photography. Within weeks, I had many grads lining up to take portraits with me. I was not ready for the workload ahead, but I loved every minute. I had no idea what I was doing, but I faked it until I made it.
Within the same month, I came across a photographer on Facebook in Chico whom I loved, Katelyn Owens Photography, who just happened to be hosting a workshop at the end of the month. I told my mom about the workshop and she offered to pay for it because she thought it would be a good opportunity for me. I learned so much and began implementing my newfound knowledge to sessions.
I was then asked to shoot my first wedding. Mind you, this was two, yes TWO months after I started my business pages. I was shocked and said no, for I didn’t believe I could do it. After they asked again, I thought about it and said yes. I ended up asking Katelyn Owens Photography if I could assist her to learn from her before shooting my first wedding. We ended up hitting it off as a team and I became her official second shooter. That Fall, I shot a few weddings on my own and shot many with her. Yet again, I learned a ton.
After changing my major from Video Productions to Event Management to Business Management, I finally stopped at Public Relations. Why you ask? Well, I was watching the Disney Channel Original Movie, Zenon: Girl of the 21st Century, when the bubbly main character is told she would be good at PR. Because I found myself to be similar, I then looked up PR and realized that it was everything I had been looking for. It incorporated photo, video, social media, networking, event planning, crisis management, and media coverage.
When my sophomore year began, I met my college besties and also got a job at the Office of Admissions as a tour guide! This was such a dream come true, for I always wanted to lead tours around campus and considering the competitiveness of the job, I was definitely not expecting to get it. I also interned at 103.5 The Blaze, working with the marketing department. I loved working at the community events and preparing for the morning show. I also became a leader in the Cru community, by preparing for weekly meetings. My photography business fluctuated depending on the month, but I primarily booked graduates in April and May. At the end of the day, I always looked forward to weekly Cru events, Movie Tuesday (Discounts at the movie theater) and Trash TV Thursday with friends! These traditions were some of my absolute favorite parts of college and stayed consistent until graduation.
Moving onto my junior year and senior year
I lived in the Golden Palace, the Girls Cru House, in which I got to have people over often and host events with 7 fun, loving roommates. I continued to tour with the Admissions Office, and I also interned at the on-campus PR firm Tehama Group Communications, serving as the Assistant PR Director. My job was to connect the students with one another and connect the students with alum in the industry by planning events and site visits. I took over 70 grad portraits that spring and shot many weddings. And in my free time, I went on sunrise hikes, lake trips, and danced with friends!
At the end of junior year, I went to San Diego to tour a few public relations firms, hoping and planning to move there to work post-graduation. I got so excited as I envisioned my future. I then worked for a PR firm for the summer and realized that I would rather be doing photography than public relations. I also booked so many weddings for 2019 that I realized that it would be unrealistic to move so far away from a majority of my clients. I then decided to put my everything into my photography business. I took an online photography class specifically tailored for wedding photographers and made many investments. I saw my clientele and the following increase over time. Fall of my senior year, I no longer worked for the Admissions Office and moved into an apartment with two close friends. Senior year was definitely a change of pace. I spent more time discovering my hobbies. I discovered my love for painting, dancing, and aerial yoga. And to top it all off, by the spring of 2019 (my last semester of college), I worked over 40 hours a week. This makes graduating feel so much sweeter. Balancing a full-time job and being a full-time student, results in a lack of sleep and not eating enough.
I will miss living in Chico. I will miss my jam sessions on my scooter on the way to class, de-stress walks in Bidwell Park, happy hours after class, racing to the movies on Movie Tuesdays after community group, watching Trash TV on Thursday nights with the girls, getting dressed up to buy flowers at the Farmers Market, and spontaneous group game nights or hangs at The Commons.
But the thing I will miss the most about college and Chico is my Cru community. Cru was the consistent backbone of my college experience. Cru caused me to grow as a person, grow closer with others and in my relationship with God. God had such big plans for me when he brought me to Chico. I feel truly blessed for the people and experiences He brought into my life.
Although I am receiving my Bachelors in Public Relations and minor in Psychology, I will be doing Full Time photography. I am planning to work (A LOT) in the Chico/Santa Cruz area until my brother's wedding at the end of June, in which I will be a bridesmaid and celebrate with friends and family! Two days later, I will hop on a plane to Europe for a month of travel! A few days after I get back, I will be moving to a new place in the Rocklin/Roseville area. Wish me luck on this hectic new adventure of life!
Although natural disasters, health issues, major car issues, tearful technical difficulties, and too many bad haircuts to count played a role in my college experience, I’m going to exclude them from this college recap. :)