I learned something amazing today.

Ever feel like you’re about to just give up and quit? Like you have been busting your ass at work and the boss never noticed. But, finally, one day you got that compliment that you were looking for? Well that’s what happened today.

Today, after realizing years ago that I wanted to have a writing career, after submitting countless pieces to Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul years ago and receiving nothing but thank yous instead of congratulations, after 2 years of college writing classes that I thought were dead ends, I got what I was searching for.

Before walking out of the door at the end of class, my professor turned to me and said, “You know, I never got to say this but you’re good. You seem to know what you want and you’re on the right track to getting it”.

And yes, I’m about to toot my horn even more. My professor just happens to be the former editor-in-chief of Essence Magazine. In the 70s and 80s, Marcia Gillespie was at the highest point she’s ever been and living the life I could now see myself living, not only hoping to live. She got to interview and make friends with celebrities and some of the most influential people of that time. She got to manage and edit a leading New York magazine that was nationally circulated and that today, can reach anyone anywhere with a simple search on the Internet or click of an app. She got to attend parties, social events and press releases. And most importantly, she got the job she worked hard to get at the young age of 27.

Today, she is a professor at the SUNY College at Old Westbury teaching media and feature writing classes. She teaches with personal experience; something many students and young adults don’t receive at their colleges. And that is what makes her important. After so much success in her life she is passing on her knowledge so that someone else, someone as regular as me, can be lead down the same path.

Now I’m not saying I will get anywhere with just that compliment alone. But it definitely put things into perspective.

At 20 years old, I am a senior in college who has been trying to be noticed professionally for years. And today, I got the push I needed to keep going.

To be that regular girl who made it out of that small town of Valley Stream, Long Island that seems to lock people in. Who used her own personal experiences to light a fire under her ass to get up and make something of herself. And to give back to her family, who has been nothing but supportive and her own personal guidance counselors when things just didn’t seem to be working out right.

And maybe I won’t be a big time magazine editor in the future. Maybe I will be. But, at the end of the day, if I can do what my professor did for me today, to light a fire under someone’s ass with just a few words without even knowing they were waiting to hear them, I will be as successful as I could
ever be.

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5 thoughts on “I learned something amazing today.”

  1. Woo hoo way to girl Danielle. I must say that I’m very impressed and very proud of you. You are going to make it and go very far in your career. All you have to do is believe in yourself and shoot for the stars. You write in your own voice and what you’re passionate about. It shows! We believe in you! Go for it! Love ya kiddo, Titi Michelle
    ❤

  2. I thought it was well written and your professor was right, you got some skills Ms. Menke. Never give up on your dream cause you never know when someone is reading. Getting your words out there to the masses is the perfect way to start. Best of luck (and dont forget the little people on your way to the top)

  3. Congrats to you, this is very well deserved. You were always a go getter and finally have been recognized for it, even if you feel its a small recognition – it is a Very Good one!. I know your potential and only wait for it to materialize and get you where you want to go. You are your father’s child in this area, and I know with all my heart that he has a Kool-aid smile on right now. This Blog was very nicely written and I will continue to say, go for it with all you’ve got! Not only your mom but your biggest supporter! ♥

  4. Woo hoo that was awesome. You are talented. I would love to read some more stuff. We know how special you are and soon the whole world will know it. Just remember I hold one of the first pieces you’ve ever written.

  5. There is inside of you the potential to be everything and more that you ever wanted to be. All you have to do is believe and invest in yourself and you will have the tools to succeed. I’m so happy to hear you have been inspired. All the best in your quest to conquer !

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