Follow that Gut Instinct: My First Summer Home from College

Upon entering college a year ago, the common questions I was asked was always about my major and my hometown and my plans for the year, but upon returning back to school for my sophomore year I seem to be getting asked about my summer more than anything else. Don't get me wrong, this is not a bad thing! I personally, have asked many people this as a way of catching up with people I haven't seen in three months. Nonetheless, I began thinking about what to tell people about my summer, and it got me thinking about and reflecting upon my first summer as a college student.

Although I didn't have an internship or go to a foreign country or different state for the majority of my summer, I have realized I was very fortunate in the experiences I came in contact with this summer. 

I am a firm believer and follower in what I like to casually call "gut instinct." I also know this gut instinct does not actually come from me, but from God. 

Last semester as summer was approaching, many of my friends were nailing down their summer plans, jobs and activities, but I still had nothing on my agenda. I started to feel like maybe I was doing something wrong, but I still had not had that gut feeling about what I was suppose to do. 

One day at the end of the spring semester I was in the Student Publications office, where I work while at school, when one of my friends asked me to counsel Honors Symposium Media and Culture with him. Although it was only about a three-week commitment, there it was. My gut feeling kicked in. I applied for one of the two female counselor positions and got the job, but before the end of the semester the session had to be canceled due to a lack of received applications. 

At the time, my initial reaction was that of bitterness and disappointment. Not only had my gut instinct led me in what I thought was the wrong direction, but I was also back at square one with nothing on my summer schedule. 

With the semester coming to a close, I decided to just reach out to several contacts I already had back home to see what might cross my path. Although it seemed like a last option effort, I ended having a lot of very valuable opportunities this summer.

I worked as a Gallery Assistant at Art on the Green where I interviewed and wrote about 35 artists for new artist biographies that will soon be on their updated website ( In addition to the writing experience and meeting nearly every artist active with the gallery, I also got to meet several people from various groups such as At Home Magazine and Arkansas Women Bloggers. If that wasn't enough, by the end of the summer, I wrote my own artist biography along with others as I hung five of my own gallery wrapped photographs in the gallery. 

In addition to working at Art on the Green, I was also a freelance contributor for 501 LIFE Magazine. While I contribute to the magazine, mostly with photographs of Searcy events during the school year, this summer I was given the opportunity to photograph the Opening Ceremony of the Special Olympics, which were held at Harding, and write five feature pieces which I will share as the are published over the next several months.

In addition to these opportunities, being home allowed me to go to Disney World with my family, attend and work at a church camp in south Arkansas for a week, get a few credit hours out of the way and do a few client photoshoots.

Although I thought I started behind and had missed an entire summer of opportunities, it turned out that God still had a few more opportunities for me at home in Conway. Always follow that gut instinct. You never know where it might take you. 


The following pictures were taken for 501 LIFE Magazine at the 2016 Special Olympics Opening Ceremony in May. These and other images can be seen on pages 80-81 of the September issue.