We're so excited to feature Jen Glantz of blog The Things I Learned From today – not only is she the witty and relevant mastermind behind the blog, but she's also loaned her expertise and words to USA Today College and The New York Times. Jen is also the author of book "All My Friends Are Engaged." Read on to learn more about Jen's path to success, and what's next for the accomplished writer!
Q: What sparked you to start your blog, and how do your day-to-day experiences affect your content?
A: I started my website, The Things I Learned From, over two years ago after having a conversation with my 92-year-old aunt. She was hugging me goodbye at her birthday party and whispered in my ear, “Jennifer, it’s no fun getting old.” Her words were unforgettable and that evening I came home, started a brand new WordPress blog and wrote my first post on The Things I Learned from My 92-year-old Great Aunt. The site has grown with me as I moved to new cities, started new jobs, and experienced some awkward and hilarious encounters. It has become my outlet to inspire and remind others that it’s okay to be awkward, or make mistakes, or not know what the heck you want to be when you grow up – as long as you learn from all your experiences. It makes me live my life with a bit more passion. I’m very thankful for that.
Q: You live in New York – something that many, many 20-something dream of! For those of us looking to make the big move, what's your best advice for surviving and thriving in the Big Apple?
A: Here’s the one thing about New York City that no one will tell you. Though it seems like everyone who lives here is looking down and everyone who doesn’t, is looking up. There’s always someone, somewhere remembering to watch the middle. Nobody will greet you with flowers and a map of how to survive you’re first night in the city, but if you stay here long enough, if you make it through your first winter, your first public ugly cry outside a Jamba Juice, the first time you take the Subway up to Harlem when you meant to go to the Lower East Side. If you make it through it all and you're still brave enough to stay, you’ll learn the one thing that no one will ever tell you, here: You matter.
Q: What are your favorite topics to write about, and why?
A: I love to write about the everyday issues and experiences a lost 20-something may find themselves smack down in the middle of. What I write is raw, real, and honest. I put myself and my heart in every single thing that I post and I do that for one reason. I’m desperate to relate to people. I find that type of human connection to be spectacular.
Q: Have you had your iconic "New York Moment" yet? If so, what was it?
A: This May, I received a phone call from a website, that i have wanted to write for for over two years, asking if I’d contribute to them regularly. I was standing in the middle of Herald Square (the second biggest section of the city after Times Square) and I lost it. I was laughing louder than I was crying and my arms were dangling in the air. I was moments away from hugging strangers – I high-fived a police officer. All of my hard work and my persistence was finally being recognized, and whether or not NYC played a part in it, I felt as though the city and the strangers around me were willing to celebrate. I felt like I was in a giant mosh pit of happiness standing in the center of that chaos, bringing some of my own into it.
Q: If you could narrow it down, what would your single most important advice be for 20-somethings trying to wade their way through the ups and downs that life throws at us?
A: If I could tell you one thing it would be: Never give up. Even when your friends, or your boss, or some stranger from an HR department tells you that you’re not good enough, thank them and channel your energy into proving them wrong. Just don’t give up.