Traveling is quite the ordeal for me. There I was, pacing back and forth between Dunkin Donuts and the newspaper stand in Reagan International Airport. Fellow travelers were whizzing by, only adding to my growing anxiety. Caught up in my own thoughts, I whipped around when I heard my name, “Carly?”
A girl around my age was smiling and waving. In my head, I ran through all of the places that I would know her from, but nothing came to mind. Just as my confusion set in, she eagerly said, “Hi! I read your blog!”
I started my blog in December of 2008. It amazes me that, two years later, someone recognized me for it in an airport. I don’t know how I got here, but I do know it was only because of The College Prepster.
My first semester at Georgetown University probably could not have gone any worse. By the time finals rolled around, I was failing classes, completely naïve, and hopelessly homesick; I was ready to drop out and literally work as a tollbooth operator. Taking a break from studying one day, I found myself completely exasperated. A floormate and I were considering all the reasons why I didn’t need to know accounting, and what I would rather do with my life. As I seriously considered the tollbooth again, he suggested that I start a blog instead.
The only blogs I was familiar with were politics or sports-related, so when he suggested this, I wondered, what would I possibly write about, and who would ever want to read what I had to say. Despite my hesitation, I decided to sign up for one. My friends thought I was crazy, and maybe I was. Nonetheless, College Prep was born.
Fourteen hundred followers, thousands of daily hits, 12,000 tweets, a Tumblr, and 500-plus posts later, I’m recognized not as Carly, but as The College Prepster.
I’m the first to admit, it’s crazy. It’s weird. It still doesn’t seem real. Thanks to my blog, I have developed relationships with the public relations departments of brands like Kate Spade, Vineyard Vines, and Lilly Pulitzer. I get numerous emails each day from followers asking for advice, guest posts, and general support. Questions flood my Tumblr inbox.
This feels great, but when I sit down and think about what College Prep has become and see how The College Prepster has developed, I realize that blogging has changed me for the better. At the birth of College Prep, I was struggling and, frankly, depressed. My experience at Georgetown had thus far been nothing like the grand expectations I had built up as an anxious high school senior waiting for college to start. I ached to be back home, when only months before I had ached to leave. I created The College Prepster as my pseudo-alter ego; she was the epitome of who I wanted to be.
I was young and nervous about everything, but The College Prepster was mature and confident.
I was floundering in school, while The College Prepster was intelligent and a hard worker.
The College Prepster took full advantage of everything Georgetown had to offer, while I remained isolated from the larger community.
I was apprehensive about going to parties on the weekends, but The College Prepster was the life of the party.
I didn’t have many friends, but The College Prepster could talk to anyone she found interesting.
Starting this blog helped me mitigate the mounting anxiety I’d felt my freshman year. Knowing that there was more to my personality and responsibilities than my accounting grade furnished me with a unique sense of self-esteem. It kept me from leaving, and more importantly, kept me from being a character in a Jules Feiffer children’s book. Most importantly, it is something I strongly recommend to other students.
Writing College Prep has helped me become The College Prepster, and allowed me to realize my Georgetown expectations. But, though I thought she was who I wanted to be, I now realize I have always been her. I am The College Prepster.