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Figuring Myself Out While In School

Updated: Jun 8, 2023

By: Abby Rozens

When I first started modeling, I had no idea how fast this industry goes. I was getting job offer after job offer, and of course I wanted to take every opportunity that was given to me. But at the time I was a sophomore in high school, and I didn’t understand the balance that I had to give between school and my dream job.

I started my career when I was 16 and had no clue about anything revolving around this business. I didn’t have a lot of free time. Not only that, I was getting offers from big brands, but was also on track for a scholarship that awarded two years of free college if you met certain standards for the rest of high school. My scholarship consisted of only having a certain number of days missed, no grades of D or F, and doing volunteer work to help with the community. This opportunity was an amazing way to get a free college education, and I worked very hard to maintain good grades. I didn’t want to risk my future education or my new modeling job, so I had to learn quickly how to maintain balance and be time efficient. I quickly learned that it is so important that your schedule is flexible, and that you manage your free time well.

With this being my first job, my parents set up a schedule for me to take advantage of the days I have off, especially breaks. I’m very thankful that my parents have been very supportive of me throughout my whole journey. They would make sure to have weekends off to 100% drive me to any modeling gig that was offered to me, which was extremely helpful as I didn’t have a car until I turned 18.

It’s always been important for me to learn how to make the things that I have work, and if I couldn’t fully commit to one job, because y’know life,that was OKAY. My agency was extremely supportive about finishing school, and there are plenty of other opportunities.

That leads me to something else I learned while balancing school, which was creating a healthy work and school life. Meaning not feeling pressured, or guilty. It means having a balance between the two, and understanding the people you want to surround yourself with who want to watch you move forward and grow – and recognizing those who don’t. Throughout my years of modeling, I feel very blessed that I work with people who are understanding and respect my values.

I didn’t have a stressful time finishing high school, but it gets trickier when you enter college.In the fall of 2021, I had no idea what would hit me. My classes were so difficult, and my grades were declining. Classes had to be taken more seriously. Life was hitting me quickly, and I felt that it was already too late to fix it. Sadly, I didn’t teach myself the importance of taking time to study properly high-drop-out classes, and at the same time, I wanted to work! It was an absolute mess for me, and I couldn’t bear to tell my parents that my grades and mental health were declining. Looking back, that year was a year of lessons that would motivate me not to go back to that state again.

I wanted to improve myself and plan my life more accordingly. Classes were starting again in spring, and I had to start changing how I managed my life with modeling and school. That’s when I started to realize how life can change when you treat it responsibly.

Photographer: Alex Callejo

My ultimate career goal is becoming the best I can be.

As of 2023, I am a sophomore in college studying for my associate’s in science. Also, I am in year 2 of my scholarship (which is absolutely amazing)! From what I said earlier about time management, I feel that now it is so crucial to use my time wisely. The classes are getting harder, I spend more time studying, and going back and forth from the city can be a little busy.

I find it so helpful to think ahead and mark everything on a calendar. The value of your time, effort, and work should be understood.Making a list of what matters most to you in your job and personal life can help you prioritize what needs to be done first. Now, since I go to class twice a week in the morning, I take advantage of the weekends and days that I have off. With the start of the new month, I mark the days that I have work, as well as my free days – meaning “possible work” days. It’s nice having days where I can commit to something that I love doing, and every time that I am there to work, I always feel very happy.It reminds me of how I managed to make this all work without having to feel like I am missing out on school!

Without having to feel too busy, I do take advantage of mental health days. I feel that society really guilts people for having lazy, or unproductive days. Having rest is needed so we can recharge ourselves! These days make the utmost difference, especially in college where exams and quizzes seem to go by quickly. So when all the tasks are done, I reward myself by taking a day of rest and spend some time planning ahead again on what I’ll be doing the next few weeks.It’s okay to spoil yourself once in a while (:

It is possible to do many things, and you can do so much without feeling burnt out if you know how to manage yourself. Not to forget but I am human, and school isn’t always the most fun, nor do I always feel excited. But I do know that hard work is lots of consistency within what you see yourself doing. My ultimate career goal is becoming the best I can be. I never would have learned everything I have about this amazing world we live in if it weren’t for modeling, and ultimately doing this while working towards your degree is possible!

And with pride, I have no plans to slow down.

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