The Truth About Studying Abroad

That phrase “studying abroad” is actually one I hate to use, I gag at the sound of it inside my head (gagging right now, actually). Going abroad to study is obviously something to admire, something people hope for, and something people work for. But what I’ve seen, for a lot of people (NOT ALL, but a lot) is that it’s really nothing special. Yes, you move to a new country – likely Europe because most aren’t really wise enough to do beyond that – and you live in this foreign land and attend classes at this foreign school, which may sound like some “brave” stuff. It’s so funny to me how people throw that word around to study abroad students. I went to this nail salon in London and the lady doing my nails kept telling me how, “brave” I was to be living far from home and how “brave” I was to be so far away from my parents. I’m not brave, I never have been and probably never will be. I’m just lucky. Lucky that I had the money to buy plane tickets to the UK and Europe, lucky to have parents who supported my decision and backed my finances, LUCKY to even attend a college.


Let’s face it – the only people studying abroad are the ones who can afford it. Whether it’s your parents, a loan, a scholarship, etc. That money, time, and support are things so many people in this world don’t have and never will have. It upsets me when I see how mainstream studying abroad has become. I’m obviously happy for myself and those who were blessed with the opportunity to attend school in a different country, but I can’t help but feel for those who haven’t. A friendly reminder when you’re listing the names of cities and countries you visited on that “Study Abroad” Facebook albums of yours, think of those who aren’t as lucky. You’re lucky a college accepted you, you’re lucky you had a credit card on file to enter into that airline’s website, you’re lucky you had a job to save up for the funds, and you’re lucky that loan went through. Just remember that, because – and I hate to sound like a cliche, but – there are people in this world who aren’t even lucky enough to eat.

And one more thing, because my rant is not yet over and I’d like to draw everyone’s attention (specifically those who have NOT studied abroad) to one honest fact – it’s not what you think it is. It’s not what your Facebook friends crack it up to be, there’s far more crying, frustration, and emptiness to it than that. A common trend I found while abroad, specifically in the lovely city of Florence, was how similarly it was treated like home for most students. Let me explain – you go abroad, you’re honored and applauded for your “bravery,” you live with a friend from home (likely the same sorority as you because that’s just what you do), you hangout with your friends from home, you eat the same foods as you would at home (they sell Pringles and PopTarts in Europe too), and you hangout at bars that remind you of home (often with American names such as, “Red Garter” — if you lived in Florence then you just know). AND THAT’S IT. THAT’S ALL YOU DO. I mean maybe, again if you’re lucky, you take a trip to Munich for Oktoberfest, or you get on a 10 hour bus ride to some new country through a traveling service likely ran by Americans. But what you don’t do is dare to ever exit your comfort zone, you don’t get to know new people from new cultures, and you definitely don’t dare venture anywhere on your own. How can you truly experience a country without trying their food, talking to their people, and exploring new places? You can’t, you simply can’t. Maybe it’s fear for some people, foreign things and foreign places can sometimes be scary, but it may just as easily be ignorance. Not knowing that there’s an entire world out there filled with people, places, and foods that can teach you so much will 100% warrant a study abroad student who returns home with nothing more to show for his/her time abroad than a Facebook album full of photos…& A BUNCH OF LIES.


More Than Meets The Eye

I’ve only been around 20 years, which isn’t a very long time considering how many years I have to come, but regardless of my short while on this earth I know that when it comes to people – there’s always more than meets the eye. 

La Menagere Flowers

I’m sure we’ve all heard it before – “don’t judge a book by its cover,” “you never know what someone may be going through,” and the list goes on. It’s true though, we are very quick to judge people based on a very underdeveloped opinion we form about them. These opinions often happen in seconds with first impressions and things like that. But why? Why are we so quick to judge when we barely know a person? Well, I’m no sociologist/psychologist/scientist, I’m actually just a pretty naive college student when it comes to most things, but I think in this case I’ve figured it out.

Yes, part of it may be human nature, we pass almost all judgement based on personal observations but there may be more to it than that. I think, as we all walk through life, we find the need to categorize people and in the simplest way we do this between people we “like” and people we “don’t like.” Then, consider this – think about how quick the majority of your interactions are with people in a day. Chances are, the people who you interact with over long periods of time are generally people you “like,” and then with the people you “don’t like” the interaction are kept short to keep you from wasting your time with someone who you simply don’t believe you can get along with.

So going back to what I said in the beginning, there is always more to a person than we think there is, or than they choose to share with you. Though because we’re quick to pass judgement we don’t truly get to know a person past the first impression, especially if that first impression ends up as a “don’t like” situation. This is where we may want to offer some people the benefit of the doubt – if you’ve decided not to like someone, you may be simply deciding not to like the first impression you received from them, and quite frankly that first impression may be wrong. I suggest we give it a try (me included) and get to know those people on a deeper level, not so deep that you’re digging up skeletons in the closet, but I think you get what I mean. Maybe your first impression of this person you quickly decided you “hated” was made on a day this person was going through something really difficult. Or, in my case, maybe this person really hates small talk and simply fails miserably at every initial interaction with a person. Theres more to people than that, and if you take it upon yourself to discover what that “more” is, then your judgement of these people very well may change. 



I Call Bullshit: Coterie Edition

My mom told me not to publish this because it may compromise my chances of getting a job in the near future. I mean I can’t argue, I would never want to lower my chances of getting a job (especially in today’s day and age). But quite honestly, for the time being, I find the truth more important. I would rather spread honesty than higher my chances of getting a job. And if I’m being really REALLY honest with you all, I’d rather be hired under the circumstances of honesty than a “perfect” exterior I impress on the world. SO LET’S GET STARTED…


Above picture taken before my second day of work at Coterie 2015 when I quickly realized I’d need an IV drip of caffeine to handle the zoo they call the “fashion industry.” 

I just find it funny how much we find the need to glamorize things in this incredibly shallow industry – that is, the fashion industry. My fashion friends will know that Coterie was this past week in NYC, and as someone who worked at Coterie last year I have a few very honest things to say.

For those who don’t know what Coterie is, it’s basically a giant fashion trade-show held at the Jacob Javitz Center in NYC twice a year.

So I made up this list after Coterie, probably on my train ride home from one of the worst experiences of my career, and it was titled “Things I Learned From Coterie” and it goes a little something like this:

  1. The coat check ladies are always the nicest.
  2. If someone doesn’t know your name they’ll call you by a pet name – usually something along the lines of “honey” or “baby.”
  3. The bigger the job title, the bigger the asshole (except for designers, they’re incredibly humble!).
  4. No matter how much you smile at a person, they will not smile back at you.
  5. People are still wearing sunglasses inside (sadly).
  6. All sales people hate each other, even especially if they work for the same brand.
  7. For ten hours a day nobody eats, they just drink coffee – cream, no sugar.
  8. You will also stand for ten hours everyday – there will be NO sitting JUST STANDING.
  9. And for every minute of everyday you will contemplate faking the flu and asking to go home early, because at the end of the day you aren’t even getting paid for this.

This is the list my mom said would get me fired, but this is also the list I feel most important to share with my fellow deeply superficial members of the fashion industry. I know, superficial is quite the strong word, but then again I can explain.

Let me give you an example – it’s a little like the people who go on those special diets where you basically starve yourself for weeks on end (I’m totally guilty of this) and then report back to their friends with “OH MY GOD I FEEL SO GREAT.” Stop. Please just stop. You don’t feel great – actually, you feel pretty close to death but because you can’t admit to your friends that you’re actually suffering, you simply lie instead. So go ahead and post that selfie smiling next to your bottle of dirt water, but just know that I know – and many other people know – that you’re dying on the inside.

Same thing goes for Coterie – I can’t help but LAUGH at your pictures inside the Javits Center where you so desperately want people to think you’re having a good time. You know, the ones where you throw on your most uncomfortable heels just to look good while you walk around from booth to booth where no one pays attention to you. Or when you stood in line to take a picture in front of that really great #instawall located right next to the hour-long lunch line where you bought a banana that cost nearly as much as the designer sunglasses you refuse to take off. It’s ok, I get it – you want people to think you spent even a minute of your time in NYC when you really spent it in a giant warehouse full of shitty people, and quite honestly some shitty clothing too.

And in case you don’t hate me yet, I have one last thing to say – I know that you know that Coterie sucks and so do you.


Ok just one last thing – I would like to acknowledge that everyone’s experience at Coterie may not and will not be the same as mine was. These are simply conclusions I drew from my own personal experiences and observations. So, if you did happen to have a truly pleasant experience then good for you. And if you didn’t then don’t worry, because nor did I or all the people I spoke with. 

London: When Hard Work Doesn’t Pay Off

“It was a good effort,” my Styling Professor assured me after tearing my hours and HOURS of hard work apart.

BTS PR Project

A behind-the-scenes look of a separate project I did for PR class, which was slightly more successful.

I’m coming to terms with the things I am good at whilst also coming to terms with the things I suck at.

I am good at writing. At least I like to think I am good at writing. Shit, if I suck at writing than what am I even doing here? Or better yet, what are YOU even doing here? JK, you’re prob here because you’re my mom and sometimes (i.e. all of the time) I think she is honestly the only one who reads these things. *Insert painful laughing/crying face here*

I suck at fashion. And that totally sucks for me because after all, I am in the process of earning a degree in FASHION Communications. I mean I like fashion and all but am discovering that I am simply not good at it.

And this brings me (finally) to my entire point of this post — you know when you put a lot of hard work and effort into something just to find out that someone hates it? In my case that “something” was my styling project and that “someone” was my styling professor. So I’m studying at this school called “London College of Fashion” which sounds totally legit which it totally is because they totally take fashion SO seriously here, but the one teeny tiny problem I have is that I (as previously stated) suck at fashion. I probably shouldn’t have been surprised that my Professor didn’t like the way I “styled” (“styled” is in quotes because you can hardly call what I do “styling”) a floral print peplum top with a not-matching pair of floral print Dr Martens. I get it, I suck at fashion – but it still sucks knowing that no matter what I do I will always (probably) suck.

Though I’ve decided to take this as a life lesson. That lesson being, maybe I shouldn’t pursue a career in fashion. I know what you’re thinking – one bad grade and you’re already giving up? No, I promise that’s not the case. This is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now, maybe fashion isn’t my thing. It’s fun for now, and I’ll by no means be changing my major this late in the game, but there’s only so much effort I can put into something before realizing that something simply wasn’t meant to be. Fashion and I? Well we’re just not meant to be, I guess.


A Look Back At My Teenage Years

…because what a disaster they were.

Teenage Years

I think I was the only 12 year old in the history of 12 year olds who genuinely wanted to stay 12 forever. 13 was just an odd number and I didn’t like it, I guess that was the first sign of some really awful teenage years to come.

Then I was a freshman in high school, and as anyone who has ever been a freshman knows – the worst year of your life is spent as a high school freshman. I spent my fourteenth year of life trying to be someone I wasn’t, but then again who didn’t?

I turned 15 with a lot fewer friends than my teenage years prior. That was rough, but with that I made better friendships. This was also the year i became a “blogger.” I’ll link my 15 year old I-don’t-know-anything-about-anything-but-I-think-I-know-something-about-everything blog HERE. Seriously go read it, it’ll tell you everything you need to know about 15 year old Samantha.

At 16 I got reckless, like really REALLY reckless. 16 was supposed to be great and it wasn’t. My sixteenth year of life was spent f-cking up. We’ll get into details at another time, but just know that 16 year old Samantha came in like a wrecking ball, successfully destroying everything in her path.

I honestly can’t tell you what 17 looked like, as I spent much of it under the influence.

And all of a sudden I was starting college and things took a major turn ..for the better? I began caring again – not just about the people around me but myself as well. Starting college was SO exciting, but that spark burned quickly and things got boring. I became obsessed with this idea of being “happy” though struggled so hard to figure out what made me wholly happy.

And that brings me to where I am today, still trying to figure this whole life thing out. An interesting (for lack of better words) past behind me, I truly believe it’s only uphill from here. And in this very moment, writing these very words while sitting on a train in London, I feel happy.  I don’t want to speak too soon but I have this crazy feeling that the 20s are going to be something special – FINGERS CROSSED!


Your Blog Is Bullshit

My Professor brought up a good point when discussing blogs the other day; “I SIMPLY DON’T CARE.”

%22Boring%22 Street Art

Now if you’re reading this, I am almost certain that this thought has crossed your mind at least once when either reading my blog, another blog, or simply perusing the internet for interesting content. There are so many platforms nowadays for us to share things with the world, and more often than not people have literally nothing to say. Though despite having LITERALLY NOTHING to say, people say it anyway – publishing their mindless thoughts for the world to see in hopes that someone will “like” their awful writing (both literally and figuratively). We live in a “like” obsessed world, and that my friends is just the sad truth. But I digress, back to this whole blogging thing – allow me to explain to you why your blog sucks so fuh-reaking bad:

  1. Is your content even RELEVANT?
  2. You’re probably a liar and/or a truth-stretcher (a new word I am in the process of legitimizing to Merriam-Webster, as we speak).
  3. Do YOU even care?

Point number one is probably the most obvious when it comes to your shitty blog – if you’re writing about what the sky looked like from your apartment window yesterday morning, do you really expect anyone to care? Let’s be honest here, that “amazing” sky of yours is one that everyone else lives under as well (i.e. one that everyone else can see with their OWN two eyes). So there you have it, either instagram a picture of “your” sky you basic you-know-what or just forget about it altogether because truth is NO ONE CARES.

Secondly, we all know your life isn’t half as glamorous as you make it out to be on your bullshit blog. This one really gets to me, especially when I know the person personally and can call them out on their shit writing as I read it. I’ve got some prime examples of this truth-stretching blogging and I would kill to share it with you, but I don’t have a whole lot of friends as it is so I’m not looking to decrease those numbers anytime soon. But just know that I know that you didn’t “attend” blah-blah-blah fashion show, but merely skimmed through it on a day after the collection showed and then decided to publish your less-than-mediocre summary of it on the internet – LIAR!

And lastly, I can spot a phony from a mile away (and so can everyone else). There are many times in our lives where we prefer the idea of something more than we actually prefer that thing. It’s sort of like I really like the idea of drinking iced coffee in the summer but I can’t stomach the taste of watered-down dirt and honestly I sometimes order it anyway because I like the way I look walking around with an iced coffee on a hot summer day. So if you read a blog and think “wow, I really like this!” don’t automatically jump to “I should start a blog too!” Trust me, it’s OK not to blog – especially if your blog is bullshit.

Hope no one was too offended by this. But if you were, then chances are your blog is actual bullshit.


P.S. Yes mom, I’m done using the word “bullshit” …for now.

London: A Man Called Me “Fat” …To My Face


%22London%22 Street Art

It was Saturday night and I just wanted to go home. My roommate and I made our way out of the club and as soon as we stepped foot on the sidewalk, it all began. One guy in line asked us where we were headed, to which we responded, “home,” another group of old (and I’m talking like my dad age old) men asked us where they should go, to which we responded, “we don’t know,” to which they continued to ask until we walked away. In our mini-skirts and high-heels we searched so desperately for our bus and just couldn’t seem to find it. Then, another man, a very nice man actually, asked us again where we were going – and despite asking us if we wanted to hangout with him and his friends – helped us find our bus even after we said we’d rather head home. So finally, we’re walking in the right direction when two men (again, older) stop dead in their tracks, causing me to stop as well, when one exclaims, “I’ve found my soulmate!” (referring to me, I suppose). I smiled, being the RESPECTFUL and CIVIL person that I am (boys, take notes!) when I feel one grab my arm from behind me and say, “I can tell you’re a little fat, but I’ll let it slide.” It took me a second to realize what had just happened as I continued to walk away from them, and when I did all I could do was laugh. I distinctly remember saying (and sorry mom for the swearing, I know you hate it when I swear but an old man called me fat so I get a pass here), “What the fuck! Did he just call me fat? No one’s ever called me fat to my face before!” I broke out in laughter as I found it SO hilarious that someone had just called me FAT. I mean it was/still is funny that someone would call me fat to my face in such a matter-of-fact way. I mean he didn’t say it in a mean way or anything, and after all he did say he’d let my chubbiness “slide.” It wasn’t until this morning though, almost two days later, that I took a step back and looked at the bigger picture. A drunk man calling me fat is not something that offends me, but the way in which I get treated as a young female in the city of London is something I find offensive.

I don’t really know how else to say this, so I’ll just go ahead and be honest – a number of English men I have encountered in my three short weeks of living in London have turned out to be complete PIGS. Don’t get me wrong, I love London and all, just not the majority of their male population (which is a total bummer because I had high-hopes of finding me a nice English husband – JK – except not really). Coming from the New York City streets (I sound so hardcore, I know) where I’ve spent ample amount of time ignoring any and all forms of harassment as a young person my age would encounter. I like to think I’ve developed quite a thick skin to such annoyance – just keep walking, avoid eye-contact, and whatever you do, DO NOT react. So coming to London I thought I had it all figured out, but (and that’s a very big BUT) I quickly found myself fighting back and reacting. I couldn’t, and still can’t help myself – I don’t think I can walk a single block here without a stare that lasts too long, an “I see you baby” from a man in his car, or even an air kiss from the pervert walking past me. It’s so annoying. Like SO F—ING ANNOYING. I tell myself I can deal with it, because I know I can, but I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t sometimes drive me crazy. I honestly don’t know what else to say here other than, THIS NEEDS TO STOP.


London: The Columbia Road Flower Market

I hope this is what heaven looks like.

Columbia Road Flower Market Columbia Road Flower Market 2

In my Fashion Forecasting class on Thursday, my Professor (aka “Tutor” as the Brits like to call them) recommended my classmates and I take a trip to the East End of London. She (my Professor) had this presentation put together on where to go and what to do while in the East End. Though she sped through it quite quickly, as class was almost over, I was able to pick up on one very important (well, important to me at least) recommendation, and that was the Columbia Road Flower Market held every Sunday from 8am-1pm. “You’ll want to go early, as it gets pretty crowded!” she advised, and I am so happy that she did because she turned out to be so right (as it turns out, I’m not the only one who enjoys flowers around here).

Columbia Road Flower Market 5 Columbia Road Flower Market 9Columbia Road Flower Market 22Columbia Road Flower Market 20

I set my alarm for 7am, though after being up until 2am, I slept through it and instead woke up closer to 8. No one was awake yet since we all went out for a drink the night before (and I am the only person crazy enough to get up early on a Sunday for flowers). I didn’t mind the emptiness though, I’ll even tell you a little secret – it’s actually my favorite, getting up early and having the entire flat to myself. So let’s skip to the part where I quickly got dressed and headed out to the Columbia Road Flower Market – all alone – just the way I like to be.

Columbia Road Flower Market 7  Columbia Road Flower Market 15

It’s hard to explain the feeling I get when I see a flower. It’s just like the most satisfying feeling in the world when I can see and smell and experience a beautiful living organism. Flowers simply blow my mind, it’s like, how do they do it? How do they transform from something so small and basic into something so much bigger and more magnificent? How do they manage to be so beautiful? How do they smell so damn good? And how are they all so entirely unique and special in their own individual way????

Columbia Road Flower Market 18 Columbia Road Flower Market 23

Columbia Road Flower Market 12

Now I’m not entirely sure, actually scratch that – I am positive that no one thinks of flowers the way that I do. Not saying that’s a bad thing, because I’m sure there’s something in this world that fascinates everyone as much as a silly little flower blows my mind. But whatever it is, that thing that makes you light up inside and sparks an abundance of curiosity within you, please understand that that is how flowers make me feel. Pretty amazing, huh?

Columbia Road Juice and CardsColumbia Road Orange CatColumbia Road White Cat

Oh and there was also a beet juice, the purchasing of flower-decorated cards, the purchasing of a bouquet of flowers, and pictures taken of cats lying on top of cars involved in this morning as well. Pretty great morning, guys – PRETTY FREAKIN’ GREAT.

Columbia Road Sign


London: I’d Rather Be Alone

I ventured out into a new part of London yesterday, I had no rhyme or reason, I just kind of wanted to go. So I woke up early (too early) after a late night out with friends, ate some breakfast, got dressed, and walked out the door before many of my flatmates had even left their beds. From the second I woke up I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go, but doubted myself for a second in thinking, should I wait for everyone else to wake up before I leave? Should I ask if anyone wants to come with me? Deep down I knew that I’d be happiest if I ventured out alone and it bothered me that I second-guessed myself, so it got me thinking…

It is pretty abnormal for a girl my age to prefer doing things on her own than in the company of other people, especially in discovering a new city which she knows barely anything about. Now I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t scared, after all my phone is pretty much useless in this country so getting lost in London is quite easy for me to do and finding my way home can be quite difficult. Despite this though, the fear that accompanies being a young female alone in a foreign city, I still wanted and greatly preferred being alone yesterday. Now, a big misconception people have about me (and others like me?) is that I am shy and/or do not enjoy the company of other people – but let me tell you right now, neither one of those beliefs are true. I’m not shy and I thoroughly enjoy the company of my friends, I guess I just enjoy my own company a little bit more sometimes. Honestly, I can’t tell you why this is – why I enjoy spending time alone – and I wish I could because I ask myself why? every single day. I wish I knew why, or could at least explain why, I really do. Especially when I’m talking to two of my friends and one of them goes, “I’m not yet brave enough to be alone in London” to which the other replies, “Oh yeah, definitely not! I feel like I would get so lonely.” at which point I just sit in silence. This quality I possess, the quality of a natural tendency to alienate myself from others, makes me different. And because this makes me different, I’ve spent a lot of time wishing and trying to change it. But I’m learning that I can’t change, and probably shouldn’t change, because at the end of the day being alone is what makes me happy.

St Paul's

Picture of Saint Paul’s Cathedral taken on yesterday’s lonely excursion.


London: I Love You

So it’s officially been one week since I moved to London. I don’t really know how else to explain how I feel about this city other than, I LOVE IT. Instead of boring with you how wonderful I think London is and how my classes are amazing and the beer here is exceptional, I would instead like to tell you a story. That story being, the moment I fell in love with the city of London:


It wasn’t love at first sight. It wasn’t until yesterday actually that I felt that sort of warm and fuzzy feeling, that feeling you get when all is right in the world – you know that feeling? Yeah, it’s great. So back to yesterday, I had just finished day two of orientation (*cue snoring* because orientation is b-o-r-i-n-g) and ventured out with my fellow flatmates (they call apartments “flats” here – so cool, I know!) to find the nearest Primark (basically London’s version of an even cheaper Forever 21). We got off the tube station (the subway is referred to as the “tube”) and started walking, walking in what turned out to be the wrong direction. But I’m getting ahead of myself – so we were walking, and walking some more when all of a sudden I felt it. I felt wholesome and happy and downright content with where I was and where I was going. Now mind you, it was raining this sort of slow on-and-off drizzle, the sun wasn’t shining by any means, and I was being pushed and shoved by the rush-hour pedestrian traffic. But despite all of those things, the things that often make me angry or annoyed, I could not have been happier. I think that’s what true love means anyway – when someone or something’s most irritable traits don’t even bother you anymore. Then, to add to it, we (my flatmates and I) discovered we had in fact been walking in the exact opposite direction of Primark the entire time. But let me tell you, and believe me when I say this, I could not care one bit! I had my love-goggles on and could not have been happier in my new home. I love you London, I LOVE YOU SO MUCH.


This picture was taken shortly after the moment I fell in love.