A Letter to my 18 Year Old Self

Do you remember what you were like at 18 years old? If you could write a letter to yourself then from the age you are now, what would you say?

I feel like I have come into my own these past few years and I found the need to pen a letter to my 18-year-old self about what to expect, things to not worry about and that you will make mistakes.

Dear 18-year-old Shannon,

Greetings from your 24-year-old self! Didn’t think you would ever survive 18 huh? Well you do so suck it up. I am going to give you some helpful advice that might make the next 6 years make some sense.

You are going to make a lot of mistakes: whether it be flunking a college algebra class your first semester or dating a complete a-hole(which you will do), you will screw up. You’re human and we are not perfect. You will get bored like you always do and find something to fill your time-i.e. how you failed math. You may feel terrible about it at first but trust me, you will learn to appreciate the stupid mistakes you made. They made you a better person.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to work and save money. Pick up extra hours, stay in on weekends, don’t drive to Orlando every other day. When you start paying off those student loans, you are going to need that extra money. It’s not cheap!

Indulge in your photography classes. Shoot so many rolls of fill, work in the darkroom from open to close and don’t get intimidated when people don’t like your work. One day you will have a full-time job unrelated to photography and you will miss the crap out of photo school. So quit bitching about having to print your entire portfolio the night before it’s due. Enjoy it!

Spend more time with you parents. Go ahead, roll your eyes but one day when you live 2 hours away from them it won’t be so easy to just walk into the living room and have great conversations with them. Spend more time with your brother too. Sure you think you are bigger and better because you are older but one day he will be your age and want to have nothing to do with you. (Because older sisters are lame..) Work on your sibling relationship instead of fighting over who’s going to drive to the mall.

Take time to enjoy your friends. That means your high school friends, photo classmates and coworkers. One day you all will live in opposite areas of the country-heck even Europe! Don’t take the time you spend with them for granted. You will miss them!

Don’t be so hard on yourself. You are a great person with wonderful qualities. You probably won’t believe this until you are at the lowest point of your life but it will happen and you will be grateful. Just keep your head up and know that everything has an outcome, it will all turn out alright!


Your wiser, 24-year-old self.

P.S. You will meet a great guy and he will propose. So stop telling yourself he doesn’t exist. He is real. :)


18 Year-Old Me.


Love Where You Are


Last week Judd and I went to 5 Points Jacksonville. As much as I can’t wait to leave Jacksonville for bigger things I still love being here!

Five Years, 3 Schools & 3 Degrees

After 17 years of homework, tests and paper writing…my educational career has come to an end. I capped it off with a final campaign’s presentation on Friday in which my class competed with another class for a real client. We pitched her our campaign and she loved it! In fact, she chose our group as the winners. It was a very neat experience! As hard and as time consuming as this class has been over the last semester, I have really enjoyed working with my classmates. It was well worth the pay off!

Friday is graduation day. I’ve waited 5 long years for this day. My announcements have been sent, my cap is decorated and my gown is ready to be worn. My parents will be here Thursday and other family members will be here on Friday including my brother. Friday also happens to be his birthday. :)

I cannot wait to close this chapter of my life. I have achieved a lot in the last 5 years. It hasn’t always been easy but it’s been worth it! I am eager to see what the future brings me. I have a lot to look forward to.

In the mean time, I plan on taking the summer to enjoy myself and not stress out too badly about finding a job. I have my part time job and photography on the side. Traveling opportunities have come up for the summer and I plan on seeing some close friends out of state. It’s going to be a great summer!

After 5 years…I’ve gone to 3 different schools: Brevard Community College, Daytona State College, University of North Florida and I’ve  earned 3 degrees: Associate’s of Arts, Associate’s of Science in Photographic Technology, Bachelor’s of Science in Communication & Advertising.

What an exciting and eventful 5 years it has been!

So here is to the next chapter of my life and the years to come! May I never forget where I came from and how I got here today!

My campaign's class celebrating a successful semester!

A Countdown Begins.

Tell me when to panic. I have 2 months left of college and still have no clue where I will be come July. I am excited but freaking out that I will end up stuck. I consider myself very motivated and driven to find a job. I’m afraid I will have a hard time finding a job. I refuse to move back to where I came from, it screams failure to me. I always wanted to get out and now that I am, I plan to stay that way.

I’m not one to conform nor settle. I’ve never followed in the foot steps of my peers, I’ve always gone and done something different. Most of my friends moved away and went to big Universities, I drove an hour 4 days a week to go to photo school for 2 and a half years.  Some chose to get married and have kids, I chose to focus on my education and a career. Some moved back to Brevard, I chose to leave and never go back. (At least not in the next 20 years!)

I’ve been looking at jobs for the last few months but really can’t apply until after graduation.  I countdown the months/weeks/days remaining of my college career yet hold on to the days in an attempt to stall the future. It’s going to be stressful. I’m going to be dirt poor. I probably won’t enjoy the job hunt process/apartment hunt process. (Luckily, I have Judd for the apartment process!) That’s another thing.

Judd applied for 8 internships to hospitals for internships, which would lead him to become a registered dietitian. The application process makes you wait until April 1st for a final decision on where you will be going. It’s a waiting game. Almost a whole month from now until he finds out. Granted there’s only one internship in Jacksonville and the rest scattered around Florida. So we wait and wait to hear if and where he will be going. It’s scary. We’ve been together for a year and a few months and I’d pretty much bend over backwards to make it work even if I had to work and live at a distance from him. (Not ideal but his internship is only 9 months, it’s manageable.)

So I countdown. I sit and wait as patiently as I possible. And I lose sleep at night. Especially tonight.


Revelations of Options.

Two weeks ago I stood at the turn basin at Kennedy Space Center to witness history. I spent 6 hours there talking to my father about his job and his coworkers. I photographed the final launch that morning and shared with everyone at the basin the emotion of an ending era. What I didn’t think would happen was to drive through the gates while leaving and think, “I could work for NASA one day, doing media, and I could drive through these gates every day. Like my dad, I could work for the nations space exploration headquarters.”

After 2 weeks of wondering why I felt so split down the middle about something I had no clue about I came to a revelation. I graduate in May. (hopefully) The new manned space flight program Orion is due to start testing liftoffs at the end of 2012. Granted jobs for direct affiliation with the program are few and far between with recent lay offs but I am sure by the fall of next year, there will be plenty of media jobs out at NASA.

If I am so passionate about my love for space and photography with a degree in Communications, why don’t I try and get a media job with them? It’s one in a few options for after college…but it would mean moving back to Brevard. That…is not what I wanted to do. But it certainly is an option.