Inspired by...Accomplishments

First exam: CHECK!  I survived my Islamic Empires exam with only some minor pain in my fingers (anyone up to give me a hand massage???) and the majority of my sanity, so I am feeling quite accomplished this evening.  Speaking of that, here are a few more accomplishments for Day 19 of #BlogEverydayInMay!

1. Smart Mail: When I got the Operations Intern position with Smart Girls Group, I never imagined that I would get to create something like Smart Mail, and run it a year and a half later!   With support and advice from the lovely Smart Starter of SGG herself, Emily Raleigh, I started a weekly newsletter with a tiny little staff that showcased what was going on in Smart Girls Group.  The staff grew…and then outgrew our weekly spot, so I designed and relaunched the all-new Smart Mail to span four days and give you a little dose of SGG in your inbox in the morning, Monday through Thursday.  Today, we number 22 amazingly dedicated team-members and it has been a privilege to work with them.  (Want to sign up?  Head to newsletter.smartgirlsgroup.com!)

2. My study abroad year at the London School of Economics: 2 weeks premature, but I am on the other side of my study abroad adventure year!  Between all of the preparations to come here (the visa process was quite a hassle), and everything I’ve experienced and learned throughout the year, this is a huge accomplishment that I will remember forever.

3. My 17-day, 9-city EuRail tour of Europe!: Years of dreaming, months of planning, and weeks of preparation came down to my massive inter-rail tour of Europe, which I successfully executed and survived in one piece.  I got to see and experience cities and sights I have been dreaming of, and I got to have an adventure all on my own.  If I can tour Europe for two and a half weeks mainly on my own, I think I can do anything :)

4. Publishing 2 articles to the Fordham Political Review: This was really big for me, because I am not always eager to put myself out there.  I had had ideas for articles ever since I started working for FPR, but I just couldn’t get myself to actually write something.  Writing and submitting an article meant leaving myself vulnerable to so many people — my fellow editors, my friends, readers, the internet, etc. — so it took me a while before I was finally able to write and submit my first article on microfinance opportunities for women.  I remember how relieved I was when it finally went live…and then how I felt when some random reader felt the need to email me a diatribe about how wrong I was.  I was a little stung at the time, but if that’s the worst that can happen, who cares?  My friend Dave actually took it positively when I told him — he said I had started an academic dialogue (!) — so looking back, it’s not that bad.  I published my second article on the aftermath of the Arab Spring a few months ago, and I am pleased to say that it is one of the articles listed on the cover of this semester’s edition!  I’m already gearing up for round three, so wish me luck! (Articles can be found here and here!)

5. Learning to eat healthy on a student budget: London is anything but cheap, so let’s just lead with that.  I am responsible for all of my own cooking, so I had to learn quickly how to eat on a relatively small budget, while still eating healthy (it does wonders for my anxiety!).  I discovered the beauty of soup and how I can make a huge pot for around $12 and have dinner for a week.  Sweet potatoes became the ultimate breakfast and quick meal/snack/anything.  Carrots and celery with hummus are relatively inexpensive and are the perfect lunch.  I can buy a container of soup from Sainsbury’s and use it as a sauce for steamed vegetables and lentils or rice and have that make two meals.  It’s been quite the adventure learning how to really fend for myself (kind of; my parents help me out with groceries #ThanksMomAndDad), but I love the feeling!

And finally...

6. KatherInspired: I had wanted to start a blog and have a little corner of the internet for myself and my thoughts for a while, but it took some time before I was finally able to do it.  I think I came up with the name late one night last year and all of a sudden, tag-lines and logos were popping into my head and I had to do something about it.  Next Sunday (the 24th of May) is KatherInspired’s first birthday — it all started during a weekend shift in the Fordham Security Office when I just gritted my teeth and did it, but I am so happy I started this blog.  It’s been so much fun to muse and record my year in London and I can’t wait to see what comes next!

Inspired to be,

Katherine

 

Thanks to www.foundlovenowwhat.com for the challenge! :)

 

Inspired by...A Cause I Support

I’ve already blogged about Smart Girls Group, and what I do as part of the Smart Girls Sisterhood, but let me explain exactly why I am so obsessed with any and all things SGG:

Smart Girls Group is something that, had it existed back then, would have made my entire middle school and high school experience so much better.  I felt so fundamentally different during those long six years, and while I’ve struggled with feeling this way for most of my life, it became most profound during this lovely point in my life.  Some of it had to do with being an introvert and not liking what apparently everyone else liked.  In middle school, I was the girl who could spend hours in her room reading and not think twice about it, wore skirts and dresses all of the time, swam instead of playing soccer, hated sleepovers, and listened to the Annie and The Sound of Music soundtracks instead of the Jonas Brothers (#2008Life).  In high school, material-wise, I wasn’t quite as different from everyone else, but I was still this old soul introvert-type, and I constantly felt on the fringe of the general population that was my age.  Add that to being smart and nerdy, and you’ve got a recipe for a social disaster.  Mind you, things have gotten so much better as I’ve gotten older, but something that made it all click has been Smart Girls Group.

 

Smart Girls Group’s mission is to unite and empower ambitious young women, but for me, it goes so far beyond this.  It is such a positive community of bright and engaged women who are spreading sunshine and smarts wherever they go.  Smart Girls Group encourages you to live your best life and be smart in whatever it is you are smart in.  The way I’ve conceptualised it is that in Smart Girls Group, everyone is unique, but no one is “different.”  I was the girl who was different and liked what no one else liked, but that doesn’t matter with Smart Girls Group, because everyone is different and it’s encouraged and celebrated.

Their various social media platforms make my day so much brighter whenever I come across a post or a tweet or a picture, the website is full of articles and content from girls who want to help you live your best life, the newsletters that I put together not only give me something fun and non-academic to do, but getting them in my email inbox is just as fun as putting them together is.  Not only have I made some incredible friends from being a part of Smart Girls Group, but I am learning to be the Smart Girl that I wish I had been years ago: one who is different, smart, unique, whatever she is, embraces it, and shares it.

Inspired to be,

Katherine 

Inspired by...Blog Everyday in May Challenge Days 1, 2, 3

I am so excited to announce that I will be participating in the “Blog Every Day in May” challenge, organised by Belinda at FoundLoveNowWhat.com.  My friend Alex at AlexGoesToEurope.com (with whom I also go to school at LSE!) told me about the challenge and I think it will be a great way to escape from the stress of revision and give my blog a little TLC.  I really want to grow this blog, so in order to do that, I need to put some serious work into its content, hence this challenge!  I am, admittedly, starting a little late (it’s been a crazy weekend) so I am combining days 1, 2, and 3, but tomorrow we will be back on track!

Day 1: Introduce Yourself

For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Katie (I also go by Kate and Katherine)!  I am a 20-year-old student at Fordham University and the London School of Economics where I am studying Political Science, Middle East Studies, and Theology, with a bit of international history.  This year, I’ve developed a concentration for my studies in democratic transitions in the Middle East and North Africa.  I am also passionate about international politics and development, women’s issues, and foreign affairs.  My dream is to work in the foreign service and eventually become Secretary of State.  I am an introvert, meaning I value my “me time” and am generally more reserved in unfamiliar situations and large groups, but I can connect with people on a very deep level, once I get to know them well.  I love to read and can spend hours in a bookstore, flipping through books, adding to my list of books to read, and soaking up the sounds of pages turning.  I am originally from Connecticut, but I go to school in New York, and have been living in London since September.  This year has been an incredible adventure for me — I’ve gotten to travel around Europe, study at one of the world’s best universities for social science, explore a beautiful city, and learn so much about myself.  Since living in London, I’ve developed a deep love for cappuccinos, though not for the caffeine boost.  Other things on my “love” list include museums, Pinterest, yoga, cooking and baking, The West Wing, blogging, chocolate, TED talks and podcasts, magazines, organising (especially with my Erin Condren planner!), and tea.

 


5 Photos That Tell My Story:

Where would we be without family?  This is me and my brother at Thanksgiving 2013, which is also the last Thanksgiving I spent with my family (I was gone for 2014!).  [Ignore the ridiculously long fringe :)].  My brother and I were very close growing up — we went to the same summer camps, made our stuffed animals go “bungee jumping” off the knee wall in our family room, and made up stories on the swings in the backyard.  Now that we’re older, we bond by driving around at night while we listen to music and talk a little.  He goes to boarding school and I’m here, so it’s hard to stay close, but I think we’ve done a pretty good job.  Also, he graduates high school in exactly 35 days and I get to be home to be there as an obnoxiously proud big sister. 

 

Smart Girls Group has changed my life.  I wish something like this had existed when I was in high school because having a sisterhood of ambitious and kind girls would have been a total game-changer.  I have had the opportunity to connect with amazing women and girls and being involved in all the ways that I am makes each day brighter.

 

This is my classic “inspired” pose and also part of my KatherInspired logo!  This was me back in October on my second trip to Paris and my friends and I had a lot of fun taking pictures in front of the Eiffel Tower :).  To me, this is my ultimate expression of joy — throwing your arms up in the air because you’re so happy and excited and inspired that there’s no other way to describe it.  I am constantly inspired by the world and throw myself into everything that inspires me, and this pose pretty much sums it up.

 

This picture was taken my third week in London when my friend Claire and I went to tea at Harrods.  What could be more English than tea with scones with clotted cream and jam?  Few things, in my opinion.  This was one of those afternoons that the sheer reality of where I was — London— really hit me.  I was in a brand new city and exploring as much as I could, I had a new friend, and we had tea with amazing scones, so life for me was complete.  I look back at the girl in this picture and I can’t believe it’s been almost 8 months since it was taken.  I have grown and changed so much in the past 8 months and it is one of the best feelings in the world.

 

This was me in Scotland when we were driving through the Highlands and we stopped to take pictures at the Three Sisters mountains.  It was rainy and freezing and the wind almost knocked you off your feet, but I was still laughing, whether it be because of how beautiful the mountains (and Scotland in general!) were, or because the whole setup here was just so ridiculous.  

 


 

My Travel Bucket List:

As you’ve seen throughout my year in London, I’ve been to 11 countries and more cities than I want to count right now, so I’d say I’ve checked quite a few places off of my travel bucket list!  I do have some places left, however:

 

Morocco:

I would love to see the sand dunes in the desert, ride a camel, and eat hummus and turmeric on pita bread while sitting on a pouf.  I’ve been fascinated by Arabic culture since high school and I can’t wait until I get to see it for myself.  I also need to learn Arabic at some point, so Morocco will be a great place to practice!

 

Italy:

I didn’t make it to Italy this year, but as a huge fan of art history, architecture, food, and Eat, Pray, Love, I will definitely be visiting Italy at some point in the future!

 

Istanbul:

I mean, how could you not want to visit the Hagia Sophia and eat Turkish food?  I’ve taken two classes on Ottoman history and even more on the Middle East, so it would be incredible to see it come to life.

 

India:

Yoga has been a big part of my life for the past two years, so I would love to study it at an ashram in India.  Also, elephants are really cool so riding one would be amazing!

 

Peru:

I took Spanish in high school and at Fordham, and while I’m not fluent, Spanish still comes pretty naturally to me.  I love the way it sounds and the way it feels to speak it!  Machu Picchu has always fascinated me, so I would really love to climb it and practice my Spanish.  

 

Southwestern USA:

My neighbour is currently living in Arizona and I can’t get over how beautiful that part of the United States is!  I want to see wide open sky, the sun shining on the desert sand, and, of course, the Grand Canyon.  

 

Stay tuned for Day 4 tomorrow!

Inspired to be,

Katherine 

[Always] Inspired by...Smart Girls Group

A lot of new things are happening with Smart Girls Group right now and I am so excited to share them with you!

 

SGG recently kicked off its Smart Girls School program, so they are offering three online classes this term: Writing Training, College Prep, and Social Media Basics.  Obviously, the College Prep class doesn’t apply to me, but I still signed up for the Writing and Social Media classes and they look fascinating!  I’m hoping the Social Media class will help me grow KatherInspired (our first assignment is to create a Facebook page for our blogs, so stay tuned!), and it’s always helpful to get a little extra help with writing, especially now that I’m doing a lot of it.

 

I also recently became a part of the Smart Girls Media Sisters program, which is aimed at “bloggers, v-loggers, and social media gurus” looking to grow their digital voice and their personal brands.  We’ll be working on improving readership and digital visibility through seminars, networking opportunities, and design workshops, so I was so excited when I got accepted!  We had our first seminar this week, but as it was 8:00 EST (1am for me), I had to miss it.  They recorded it, though, so it’s on my list to watch this weekend).

 

SGG also started its new Mentorship program!  Thanks to the hard work of the lovely Maggie Royce, the smarts of the whole operation, we were all paired up with either a Big Sister or a Little Sister who we would work with.  I have a little sister who is a freshman in college, who also shares my love of writing and blogging, so I can’t wait to get to know her!

 

And of course, there’s the relaunch of Smart Mail!  I can’t believe it’s been almost a year since I got the Operations Intern position with SGG and Emily and I started working on the very first issue of Smart Mail.  Our staff has grown enormously, and now we will be producing four newsletters a week, featuring original content from all 20+ of us: Monday Motivation, Style Tuesday, Wellness Wednesday, and Smart Girls in the World (Thursday).  Emily and I are putting the finishing touches on the new design templates and I have finally nailed down my staff and everyone, so things are finally taking off!  Also, I love my new title: Executive Editor for Smart Mail :)

Whew!  I hope that didn’t come across as bragging, because I always get turned off by people who are just so impressed with “all they do.”  For me, I feel like I’ve hit my stride and tapped into that “inspired” feeling I always talk about.  I love what I do and I only wish I didn’t have to sleep.  This was less about bragging, and simply sharing what is inspiring me right now.  I suppose it’s what comes with being a “twenty-something” - exploring what you love and throwing yourself into it.