Happy Birthday, GS&NS! Love, Emily.

In early May of last year I returned home from my first year of college dragging my feet with disappointment. The school that had once been so fun and so liberating had suddenly become confining and, well, boring. I was unhappy and uninspired by the time I drove back, car packed to max capacity, winding through Tennessee, to Memphis.

    At home, I forced myself to think hard about what I wanted. Writing had, for a large span of my life, been my outlet and my therapy, but I no longer looked forward to poetry classes and novel writing seminars. Chattanooga had been so welcoming, surrounded by mountains and the promise of excitement, but the appeal of the great outdoors wore off the longer I was in a lecture hall fighting my nocturnal sleep schedule. I did not like the idea of going back, but coming home felt like a failure. Even my drive to create was gone.

    Then, my dad gave me a book. This book, which I highly recommend to everyone, is So Good They Can’t Ignore You. It’s a career advice book, it’s an encouraging book, it’s a get out there and do it right now book. After finishing it, my motivation to get myself on the track I wanted to be on returned in a tidal wave.

    I bought myself a Nikon DSLR.

    I reached out to several families for a nanny job.

    I applied for an internship.

    I went to a casting call for extras on a TV show.

    I enrolled in a drawing class.

    My new camera became a companion that travels with me almost everywhere, slung over a shoulder. I nabbed a job with a family that helped me save enough money to help fund my overseas studies. I landed the extra gig at a local film shoot where I met my boyfriend and got a tiny amount of experience in the movie magic world. I was delighted to buy new paint brushes, charcoal, ink, ebony pencils, and giant pads of thick paper in anticipation of the art I was going to make in the fall.


    On my birthday, I was contacted by one of the editors of GirlSense & NonSense magazine with good news: I was the new intern who would run their Instagram account.

    My tasks were straightforward, creating content for social media and interacting with girls all over the world. The organization was about art, writing, photography, videos, creative women, encouragement for the voices of young girls, awareness for current events, and a healthy dose of feminism.

    Because of this internship I have interacted with countless other artists, pushed myself to learn more about the crafts I am interested, and worked with some truly talented and inspiring people. I have entered some of my own work in local exhibitions, taken more art classes, branched out in my photography, and started my own website. It is amazing what being in a small community of artists can do for you, and I believe I have come out of this past year as a more empowered and happier person.

    I did not have an ounce of an idea how much I needed this internship when I applied for it. I hope whoever takes this position next needs it as well, and will take full advantage of this awesome little organization and all of the talent and inspiration that can be found within it.

Emily Swan