One of my proudest moments of 2015 was being selected as a member of University of Central Florida‘s inaugural class of 30 under 30. I wanted this so badly, mainly because when I graduated college, I had a whole lot of nothing and I’ve worked (almost obsessively) ever since to figure out how to change that.
I’ve had success, but i’ve also smooched hello more failure than I ever expected…rejections, almosts, unexpected goodbyes from jobs and opportunities.
But one thing I have tirelessly learned in my 5 years since graduating college is that nobody is going to ever give you the kind of opportunities you deserve in this world. You must make them yourself. You must vow, promise, pinky swear to never give up.

It was such a proud moment going back to college this past week and shaking hands with a place that gave me so much when I had so little. Here’s a recap of my adventure, back home, at UCF:

They had to kick me out of this place, crying and screaming in May of 2010. My time was up but I didn’t have anywhere else to go. I didn’t have a resume that made sense. I didn’t have a career that made my heart tickle. I had 6 garbage of clothes and a whole lot of nothing. Year 1, I moved to LA to work a job that had me living on floors, out of suitcases. Year 2, I moved back to the upper east side of my parents house to work part time as an assistant to a lady who made cruella deville look nice. Year 3, I emptied my savings account and bought a one way ticket to New York City. Year 4, I begged someone to let me write a book and after 43 rejections, I got one yes. Year 5, I had a crazy little idea called @bridesmaidforhire and believed in it so much that I shared it with any ears that would listen. I’m back. I’m finally back. And all I can say is I’m grateful to you, #UCF for giving me everything at age 18, for letting me go at age 22, and for this gigantic honor at age 27. I love you with every black and gold sparkle forever on my heart. #30under30 #ucf30under30

A photo posted by @jenglantz on

I’m Jen Glantz. I’ve been a published writer for over 13 years, spilling my words into magazines (ranging from style to scuba diving), newspapers, websites and even this one time, a speech, for someone who didn’t speak a word of English. What drives my words, my site, my writing, is the power of relating to people. I find that many people, especially young girls, feel so alone and quite often they feel embarrassed. I want to shatter those feelings! I want them to read what I write and understand that it’s okay to be a little outside of the box, but most importantly, that it is okay to just be who they are.

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