More Than “One Way”: Reflections from HerConference 2017

As some of you may know, this past weekend I was lucky enough to attend HerCampus’s 6th annual HerConference. It was my second year in attendance, and I am happy to report that round two did not disappoint (read about my experience last summer here). Although I was exhausted at the end of each day, I was also incredibly inspired by the diversity of peers, speakers, panelists, and dreams that I met and ran across. From senior editors to debut authors, to former Condé Nast editors to fashion students, actresses, and activitists, the experience was nothing if not a testament to the unlimited options that await those who search.

For all their differences, however, everyone I met at HerConference had a few things in common. Yes, they were all interested in feminism, empowerment, and using media to engage with the world at large. But there was something else, too, a through line that echoed in the speeches of the speakers and attendees alike. That cohesive thread?

There is no “one way” to success.

That’s right. Every speaker I listened to, from former Seventeen EIC Ann Shoket to actress Aja Naomi King attribute their happiness and success to the moment they rejected the idea of the one “right way” to go about things. By following unconventional— some might say risky— journeys, these women found their passions and built the careers and personal lives they are lauded for today. These words resonated with everyone listening, me, in particular, because I spent the last week stressing over my college schedule. Between trying to choose classes that sounded interesting, were relevant to my potential major, and made my parents happy (sorry, no Econ, dad), I was starting to worry that my less structured vision of the next four years would be detrimental down that line. My weekend at HerConference, then, restored my confidence that following my gut and pursuing my interests is, well, in my best interest.

In other words, in the process of becoming yourself, you shouldn’t be afraid to skip a few boxes, or merge lanes.

Do you ever find yourself bogged down by the “one way” mindset? How do you snap out of it?

xx

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