Learn how a former art therapy major is rejecting the American dream
Growing up, many of us may believe we must follow the traditional path that society or parents neatly lay out for us: Graduate from high school, go to college for four years, graduate with a job, work at said job for x amount of years, get married, buy a house, have kids. It’s the American dream, right?
Perhaps not anymore. More and more people are bucking this trend and taking unconventional paths to their educations and careers, and mindsets are shifting. It’s becoming more common to hear of people veering off the main road and creating their own paths. Tiffany Schmoyer, a travel blogger and content manager, is an inspiring example of this. She is a recent graduate of Seton Hill University who didn’t have the classic “college” experience and had to face and overcome multiple bumps in the road in order to become who she is now. Without these bumps in the road, she may not have found her calling in the blogging and social media world in which she now thrives.
Tiffany is the gal behind the incredibly informative blog, Breakfast at Tiffany Marie’s, and she shares her beautiful images with her audience of over 28,000 on Instagram. Tiffany tells us below about her non-traditional path to find where she belongs and how it is never too late to start over:
What was your college experience like? How did it help you to achieve your dreams and follow your passions?
My college experience has been anything but rainbows and butterflies. From a crazy roommate to professors that didn’t have my best interest to realizing I was in the wrong major, I have had to rally for myself from day one. This pushed me to be even more independent than I already am, and even after many bumps, it led me to creative outlets I wouldn’t have found otherwise. My long college journey really helped me to hone my strengths in new ways that I wouldn’t have found if I had graduated in four years.
Tell us about your journey from studying Art Therapy to working for a social media agency.
Art Therapy at my university was hard; I had visions of helping people through art, but my professors treated us like we were all going on to be artists. Something that used to be my creative outlet became the thing I hated most. This allowed me to face rejection head-on in critiques, but it also pushed me into my Psychology major. At the time, I switched because honestly, it was the easy route. But at one point I got bored and lost my happiness. When you are going to classes every day on subjects you don’t love or simply cannot understand, it leaves you yearning for a creative release. My release was social media, which then turned into blogging, and it is what led me to realize I wanted my future to be in social media marketing.
What challenges did you face in school and how did you grow from them?
I have always been an EXTREMELY independent person, so much so that it has been a double-edged sword. I packed up and moved four hours away to be independent and basically start my life over when I left for college. What I didn’t anticipate was how hard it would be to throw myself into an extremely social atmosphere at a crucial and emotional age. I gravitated towards some of the wrong people, hated living on campus, and gave up early on in my college career to the point of academic probation. It was a lot at once.
This led me to believe moving off of campus by myself at 19 was the best decision, but nothing really changed. It was all just happening while living alone. Then came changing majors, a bad study abroad trip, and more. Truthfully, my reasons to drop out and throw in the towel were never ending, but I knew eventually I’d find the light at the end of the tunnel. I held onto that for dear life. I always tell myself if I wouldn’t have made these mistakes and gone through all of these hard years, I wouldn’t have a wonderful boyfriend (who helps so much with my blog!) with a loving family, a place to call home, my blog which brings me so much joy, and my dream job.
How do you manage your blog and Instagram while going to school full-time?
At first I didn’t… All through college I have worked part-time, full-time, two jobs at once, you name it – to make sure I was surviving outside of college. So when I added blogging and social media to the mix, it was like I had set fire to my college career. I had this flourishing outlet and a good job, so those always came first. A few years ago, I was invited to my first New York Fashion Week, and I couldn’t say no. However, my professors weren’t as on board with the idea. I missed so much right at the beginning of a crucial semester that I made the decision to take a leave of absence. It wasn’t easy, but I honed in on my blog and created a plan to help me leave my day job. I knew I wouldn’t be able to do all three at once if I wanted to graduate in the (near) future. This was my “aha moment.” When I got back to school after my year away, I knew I HAD to make it work, and I knew I could find ways to keep both going. This resulted in lots of weekend trips, working on school work or blogs late at night, and figuring out when to step away from my blog and Instagram and put school first.
Your story is an inspiring example of following your passions and never being afraid to start over. What advice would you give to those who may feel that they are stuck in their current path or who are considering a new major/school/job etc?
I would tell anyone that is feeling stuck or wanting to start over to just do it. Don’t overthink it, throw out the pros and cons list, follow your gut. If you want a change or feel stuck now, that is a huge sign of what is to come if you stay on the same path. Looking back, I realized that I started over many times in my college career, and each time it showed me more of what I wanted in my future. The best part is that it showed me more of who I am and what I am capable of.