Guest author Christine Barba is a blogging queen. Over the past summer she started a blog called Project Light to Life and has been busy producing content, interviewing people, and editing guest posts. What is her blog about? Bucket lists and her journey to cross items off of them.
She crossed paths with AfterCollege when we wrote a post about a bucket list for seniors and she introduced herself as a fellow bucket list blogger. We asked Christine to share what skills blogging has helped her develop and how it has shaped her plans for life post-graduation.
Swimming with dolphins, riding and then falling off a Segway scooter (though this part was not on my list), driving a quad, visiting an indoor trampoline park, leaving flowers on a stranger’s doorstep, and putting inspirational sticky notes in public places are among some of the items I crossed off my bucket list this summer.
A little over four months ago I developed Project Light to Life, a blog in which I document my journey to cross items off my bucket lists while also doing kind acts for others.
As a senior in college, I am often asked, “So, what are your plans after graduation?” While I have lists of hundreds of things I would like to do, I’m unsure how to answer that question. I wonder if it’s acceptable for me to say, “That is a very good question because although I am a senior, the job search still sounds foreign to me.”
Even so, starting a blog has taught me valuable information I believe will be useful when I begin my job search; I am having a blast pursuing and editing my writing each day, setting deadlines for myself, and most importantly, networking—meeting a wide range of inspiring people.
1 (and 2): Writing and Editing
As someone who has always enjoyed writing, I find the opportunity to write and edit my own posts along with others’ work each day ideal; I also hope this constant practice will be useful for a career in writing or publishing.
Along with the posts I write after completing a bucket list activity or a kind act, I have also created both a “Reader of the Month” and an “Interview” section on my blog. In the former section, inspirational people send their stories to me which I then share on the blog. In the latter, I interview inspirational people.
While most of the articles I receive are already error free, I enjoy reading through everyone’s work and making minor changes that will make the pieces even better. As I begin my job search, I hope that eventually I will end up somewhere I can apply this editing and publishing practice. Either way, blogging has only further substantiated how enthusiastic I am about writing and editing.
3: Time Management
Another helpful aspect of blogging is that it has shown me that I am able to set deadlines for myself, even when they are not required for an assignment. I believe carrying self-discipline outside of the world of academia and into the real world is crucial. Last month, I hosted seven inspirational people’s articles in the “Reader of the Month” series and made sure to publish one of their articles every couple of days leaving enough time for their pieces to get a substantial amount of views.
I also just began a new “Bucket Listory” series. For this series, every day I ask a stranger the number one item he or she wants to cross off his or her bucket list and the best thing they believe they have ever accomplished in life. No matter what my workload is, I push myself to interview someone each day. I have noticed that since I began these sections on my blog, more people email me offering exciting opportunities, and in turn, I am gaining the confidence required to ask others if they are interested in doing interviews and more; blogging is one of the best networking tools I have found.
Going off this idea though at the risk of sounding cliché, one of the most rewarding aspects of blogging has been the incredible people I talk to on a daily basis:
• An author who started a pay it forward movement across part of the United States.
• A mesothelioma survivor who writes for The Huffington Post and has begun her own campaign to raise awareness about this rare and deadly disease.
• A college student who began a suicide prevention movement that became 14,000+ members strong after just a year.
And these are only some of the inspiring people I have worked with.
Blogging has shown me that I love interacting with other writers or people who enjoy helping others and I know that the parameters of my job search will include a career that shares these qualities.
So, what do I plan on doing once I graduate? The honest answer is that I do not have a specific plan just yet. Even so, I really look forward to finding a job that reflects the projects I am currently pursuing. Starting Project Light to Life has taught me that no matter what I do, I already know I have found something I love.
Homework time! Starting a blog really helped Christine develop a skill set and get some insight into where she wants to go with her job search. Try starting a blog of your own. Set goals for yourself and practice your time management and networking skills. Gear it toward something you’re interested in and enjoy yourself. If blogging really isn’t your thing, maybe try a vlog (video blog) or just work on a project outside of school that will be both fun and challenging at the same time.
P.S. Already have a blog? Leave a comment below telling us how has it benefited you. What have you gained from the experience of blogging?
Christine Barba is a senior in college at the University of Delaware, who studies English and Communication and has minors in History and Journalism. Her poems, short stories, and non-fiction pieces have appeared in over a dozen literary magazines. She loves spending time with family and friends and is one of the most uncoordinated people you will ever meet. She runs a bucket list blog called Project Light to Life, which also has a Facebook and Twitter page.