Home Sweet Harrisburg

It’s been half a decade since I moved to Pennsylvania’s capital, a place that has given me so much joy, happiness, opportunity, and memories over the past 5 years.


I personally love to reflect on pivotal moments in my life. So much so that this blog, while it shares all the pretty things, has also turned into a place for me to document moments in my life that I can look back on years from now.


As I near the end of my 20s I often find myself falling into a mindset that my life isn’t moving at the pace I hoped or that I haven’t accomplished enough at this point – and I’m sure many of you can relate to that feeling too. But for just a moment I want to pause. I want to stop dreaming (or worrying) about the future and reflect on how the past five years have gotten me to where I am today.



Looking back, moving to Central Pennsylvania was the moment I truly stepped into adulthood - and I didn’t even realize it at the time. One of my first memories is of me sitting alone in my one-bedroom apartment, on my little light pink couch and wondering where this new place would take me.


At 23 years old I took a huge risk leaving home, moving a few hours away from all family and friends (other than Andrew), taking an entry level marketing job I was not entirely sure about, and deciding to take on the challenge of living entirely alone and being 100% financially independent.


But now, I could say it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life so far.




Why I Moved


Unlike most of my college peers, I didn’t land a job quickly after graduating. In fact, it took me nearly 2 years. Despite several internships, clubs and extra curriculars I had on my resume, I struggled to land interviews, let alone offers. I applied to over 125 positions all over Pennsylvania and NYC. I even have the craziest story about a 90-minute interview I had in Manhattan…maybe one day I’ll share lol.


I majored in Advertising/PR and it was very competitive. Always having a love for beauty and fashion my expectations were set high and I dreamed of working for a magazine or ad agency in a city. Constantly hearing no or never receiving a response honestly drained me. I felt like I wanted to work in an industry that I loved but it didn’t love me back.


After 20 months I was truly about to give up when a marketing job near Andrew popped up on my LinkedIn. I was reluctant to apply. All I could think is “here is #126 on the failed job application list.” But then one day in late 2015 I got a call from a tiny software company in Camp Hill, PA. By tiny I mean 12 people total.


It wasn’t the beauty magazine in New York City or a marketing firm in Philadelphia – but it was a legitimate role for my degree that paid okay and just so happened to be in the same exact place as Andrew, who up until this point lived hours away from me.


So, on December 23, 2015 I accepted my very first corporate position as a marketing assistant. 1 week later I found a place to live, 2 weeks later I started my career…and now 5 years in I work for a global software company managing a demand generation marketing team of my own.


…and I get to do the fashion and beauty part on my own terms now through my blog.


Missing Home


I’ll be honest, moving away from all your family and friends is really hard, especially in the beginning. You know they love, care, and miss you, but you can’t help but feeling left out from all the activities at home. I would have moments where I would feel like maybe I made the wrong decision. Would I miss out on too much, would anyone come to visit, would I still be able to be there for my family? But over time you learn to accept your new normal. You learn new ways to connect and stay in touch.


Truthfully the most important thing I learned is to not let the fear of missing home hold you back from doing something that could enhance your life. If you are afraid of losing friends or family from moving somewhere new, taking that risk might help you see who is truly there for you in life.



Finding Friends


Finding friends after moving somewhere new can be just as hard as landing that first job. The social parties or hangout spots that were once abundant in college are few and far between in the 'real world.' I felt like Andrew was my only 'friend' here for at least 2 years and I leaned on him a lot in the beginning.


I'm actually not one to go up to people and introduce myself, but at some point I knew I needed to step outside my comfort zone. I joined a gym, started saying hello to more people, joined some work happy hours and over time I slowly started to build a group of friends. I'll never forget the first time I was out in public and someone said my name. I stopped dead in my tracks and it was in that moment that I finally felt like I was beginning to call this place home.


Another channel that helped me branch out: this blog and Instagram! Once I started to shift my social media into a place for fashion, beauty, and travels, people started reaching out. I learned that tagging locations and local businesses I visited helped me connect with people in my area. From there I launched the blog and then started getting invited to blogger events. From those experiences many of my followers have become real life friends who share the same interests as me!



Gratefulness & Growth


From my experience, I think everyone should try to move somewhere new at least once in their life if the opportunity presents itself. You will learn a lot about yourself. You will be forced to figure big things out like where you will live or how to grow in your career, and little things like where the closest post office is or how to navigate across town.


I know moving a few hours from home isn't the same as some of my closest friends who have moved to different countries, but I can promise that even the smallest move can still completely rejuvenate your life.


Honestly I could keep going, but for the sake of this blog post I just need to say how grateful I am for all the people and opportunities I've gained since moving here...


- For my family and friends back home for supporting me, checking in, and visiting me.

- For Andrew and his family welcoming me and being there for me when I can't be near my own family.

- For the friendships that have been created and all the fun memories and adventures we've had together.

- For my jobs, both in corporate marketing, and as a fitness instructor at my gym.

- For my blog that has created some many connections and given me the opportunity to be creative.


and lastly, for everyone who has made the past 5 years living in Central Pennsylvania a positive life experience for me.


-Samantha

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