Never Let Anyone Tell You That You’re Not Good Enough

“Suffering ceases to be suffering the moment it finds meaning.” — Viktor E. Frankl

It’s very, very rare that I end up in the hospital, until that fateful night, where my life changed forever, yet for the better. I’ve always been fascinated with science, and prior to my scary diagnosis, I even did research intermittent fasting and what it does to the body. It didn’t fully come to me until I was in a therapy session when I realized that my regret-free life… isn’t exactly regret-free.

Be prepared for a lot of quotes. #quotequeen

There’s this one quote by Albert Einstein: “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.” When I was in high school, I was indirectly told that I wouldn’t do well at an Ivy League institution because they’re “too stressful.” I found this out days ago. Since I found out, I was furious — with a passion in my heart to finish what I started in college.

It’s almost similar to how Elle Woods proved EVERYBODY wrong after Warner told her she wasn’t smart enough for law school. We all know that Warner was full of poop. Elle ALWAYS had it in her, it just took the right people realize it (e.g., Emmett, her professors, and eventually Vivian).

What I find even more infuriating is that I let the wrong people (person) distract me in my freshman year of college. I told said person, after I had chosen to go back to chemistry, that I wanted to minor in English and History and he said, “no.” What? Why? Probably because he either a.) wanted to be better than me and b.) didn’t think I could do it.

I felt, on some level that I took “the easy way out.” But did I? No. I wouldn’t be the writer I am today nor would I have the superb communication skills to master any job.

I told my boyfriend the other day, “it’s funny how a life-altering illness can make you do a complete 180.” He told me, “I love how you’re turning things around for yourself.” THAT is the support that every girl/everyone needs in a relationship, btw, regardless how you identify.

On the topic of turning my life around, I decided to go back into healthcare, which for some reason I was oddly scared to share publicly in fear of judgment. But here’s the thing: who really gives a crap, as long as you have faith in yourself? When I shared the news that I’m going to earn my second masters degree in Applied Nutrition – Dietetics (APN), I received a mixed bag of “reviews.”

“You’re not going into publishing?”

“Work and school is hard, though.”

“What about writing?”

My responses?

I’m working on a book right now.

I’ve worked throughout my coursework at Emerson.

Writing is a part of any profession.

Yes, I am still going to write like it’s nobody’s business. It’s like Carrie Bradshaw once said, “Why is it that we only seem to believe the negative things people say about us, no matter how much evidence there is to the contrary? […] Odd, but when it comes to life and love, why do we believe our worst reviews?” But the truth is, I stopped caring about what people thought of my path, regardless of their “reviews.” It is like what I said in Girl Meets (Real) World, “a lion does not lose sleep over the opinion of sheep.”

Bottom line and moral of the story: never let anyone tell you that you’re not good enough.

I leave you with one last quote: “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” — Eleanor Roosevelt.

Be well, my loves. 💕

xoxo,

April

Imposter Syndrome After Graduation

As of May 7, 2022, I am a master of publishing and writing from Emerson College. I miss it already, but at the same time, I am ready for the next chapter of my life. The whole world is wide open and I love it. But I’m not going to lie when I say I had a prolonged moment of imposter syndrome for the last week. I felt like I didn’t deserve anything I’ve ever gotten to this point in my life. But why would that statement be true? I felt like Elle Woods when she first started law school at Harvard. The truth is, no one EVER told me I was “not smart enough for my masters degree.” Even I know that’s total B.S. even if someone were to actually say that to me.

Immediately after I got home, ate McDonald’s (yes, I can still eat that, as a diabetic), I started looking at PhD programs… as if I have any idea of what I want to be a “doctor” or “philosopher” in. Right now, as I write this, I enjoy being a philosopher of life and writing. I remember the words of the keynote speaker, Kim McLarin, “you are now masters and teachers of your field.” As I was nearly passing out of starvation central, that didn’t stop me from wondering, “my therapist was right; it was hard to complete this masters degree, but I did it.”

Then later on Sunday night, I got to thinking about all the trials and tribulations I went through in the last year alone. I had an unfortunate COVID breakthrough in October, moved to the city (which was hell on its own), and the following semester? You guessed it. Diabetes. All of these events made me feel like I didn’t deserve my masters. My therapist asked me today, “what sacrifices did you make for your masters?” And I said, “I don’t feel like I made any.” The only other thing I could say was “time.”

It’s true, I didn’t feel like I made any actual sacrifices. All I know is that I felt like I didn’t deserve a moment like I did when I crossed the stage to have my hood put on, close my eyes, and bask in the spotlight when my name was called. I felt like I deserved none of it, which is upsetting to me. I can’t help but wonder, is it a lack of validation? Or is it what I think people think of me? Do people think that getting my masters was a waste? Or do I think it was a waste? Personally, I think not. I’m almost 26 years old. I was 23 when I committed to Emerson. I was 24 when I started with unfortunate technical difficulties. And now, it’s just a matter of “what are you doing, April?”

Imposter Syndrome can stem from many forms, such as lack of empathy from people, anxiety, and trauma. A million people can have faith in you, but you have to have faith in yourself. You deserve a day in the sun. Life is not going to be “sunshine and rainbows” all the time, but life doesn’t have to suck. After all, your thoughts create your reality.

And by all means, if someone thinks you “can’t do it,” do it twice, maybe even a third, and take pictures.

“Where Do You See Yourself In 10 Years?”

I remember answering this question when transitioning to fifth grade. I said, “I am taking a cruise to Australia” because Australia was where I wanted to go, being the animal-lover that I am. Little did I realize that my teacher knew I was going to be a writer and not the next American Idol (the fact that I had a plan to audition when I turned seventeen makes me LOL).

I didn’t think this question would be relevant until this very day. I am sitting in my bedroom, in a completely different state, and things are certainly better than they were ten years ago. I had gone to a Catholic high school. I had gone to college to earn a bachelor of fine arts in creative writing. I am now in my final semester of my masters program in publishing and writing. All of this did not take place in Australia. I’ve never even been. But I have been to Paris and Barcelona and I can say they are my two favorite cities in the world.

I had finished the book, Rules For Being A Girl by Candace Bushnell, whose life story I discovered recently because she birthed my bible, Sex And The City. I thusly created a “Feminist Book Club.” We held our first meeting on a January afternoon on Zoom, while a blizzard was blanketing the ground with a heresy of snow and the wind blowing our air conditioner cover off. Little did I know the topics of gender and feminism would be imperative in my writing career. Speaking of my writing career, I published two books thus far: Resilience, The Disappearing Act, and the brand new Whispers of Daydreams which you can purchase here.

There were an additional three things I didn’t know would happen: 1) I would have two blog brands: The April Diaries and Gals Gotta Eat; 2) I would develop a chronic illness; 3) my writing career would also manifest into a corporate environment, working as a digital content writer for the oldest insurance company in the USA.

You can say I’m reaching a height in my career, but as my fifth grade idol, Miley Cyrus once sang, “it’s all about the climb.” I’ve met Vogue editors who said they haven’t even had that “I made it” moment yet (which I find odd considering it’s Vogue).

Moral of the story: life has its twists and turns, but everything happens for a reason. Yes, I am aware there are countless debates on that. I’m not sure if I believe that everyone has a “destiny,” per se, but there are some people who always have a certain inkling that they “know” what they’re supposed to do in life. For me? That’s to own a publication that inspires people. Now, at twenty-five-years-old-going-on-twenty-six, I am proud to say I have two of those.

Happy International Women’s Day to all my readers. You can aspire to be anything and achieve it, too. 💗

xoxo,

April

What To Do When You Feel “Stuck” In A Funk

I just got out of my weekly writer’s meeting with my internship site for the semester, and honestly, I feel more motivated than ever to cross the finish line. I am grateful to my boss and everyone else around me for being so flexible. If you don’t know what’s going on, you can read my last post here.

Since my diagnosis, I’ve sought out help in support groups and been to therapy. Therapy was also a good “kick in the butt” (in a gentle way, of course). Also, watching How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days is a great motivator, since the plot is centered around journalism. Reaching out to friends helps, too. I also put my new planner into use and I used my notes section to write down everything I’m grateful for, and everything that I know I am (a.k.a my “best traits”).

Don’t get me wrong, sometimes you need to take breaks. February was a total blur for me, but in a nontraditional sense (I was in the ICU for Pete’s sake!). Believe me, in the beginning of February, I thought I was suffering from burnout, but the fatigue and severe acid reflux only manifested into diabetes. I even go back to my full-time job next week and I could not be more stoked to actually have a real start at a place whose employees actually care about their fellow employees. And this is a simple fact of life: flexibility is the sign of intelligence.

With that being said, you should probably be more flexible with yourself, too. This also means communicating how you feel to others so they’re not left “high and dry.” You’d be surprised at how many people can actually be understanding and try to help you out. I’ll admit that I’m stubborn and had this carefree lifestyle once upon a time and thought I was invincible. FYI: no one is. My internship boss said to the staff last week, “everyone takes a sh*t. Some people get it out easier than others.” The same goes if you’re stuck in a funk. For some people it’s easier to get out of than others, depending on who you are. Everyone has different ways of doing it. I was talking to my publisher today, and we concluded that people deal with anxiety differently. That was no underlying secret to me, to begin with. As Mrs. Incredible says, “you need to learn how to be more flexible” (she said in her seductive voice LOL).

BLOG-MAS: What’s Your ‘Why?’ The Purpose Statement

I write this after completing my second-to-last semester at Emerson College’s MA in Publishing and Writing program. Wow. What a milestone! I feel an overwhelming spurt of emotions, mostly happy and I’m not fearing the future quite yet. It’s all about living in the moment, and I couldn’t be happier with where I am in life. But hey, I don’t have that degree in my hand quite yet as I embrace my boyfriend and my family.

I remember when I was taking part in virtual orientation prior to starting classes, and the vice president of the college was talking about what we had written for our purpose statements. I hardly remember my purpose statement, but I do remember it having to do with inspiring others, along with a few mentions of my undergraduate career and how I got here. Essentially, it also incorporated resilience (which is coincidentally the title of my first poetry book). It didn’t take me long to write mine, but it did require some thought.

The statement of purpose isn’t necessarily autobiographical, but it should highlight your greatest strengths and some of the activities you’ve done that would (hopefully) benefit your career at your school of choice. For example, I was a part of RWU’s literary magazine, Mount Hope and I was additionally the Editor-in-Chief of the English and Creative Writing Department’s online zine, Voices. I also had two internships under my belt at the time, one of which was at Rhode Island Monthly, which was a great asset and leg-up to have. This is also a great opportunity for your grad school to see how well you write. I can also add that having a little personal something-something (without belaboring it) in your statement is beneficial because schools also want to imagine you outside of school.

Not only that, but schools also want to know your literal purpose for completing a master’s or PhD. What is your “why?” What you eventually put on paper and send to your school might change as you’re in your program. This world is crazy and so is life. But still, why [insert school here]? Why [insert program here]? You could also incorporate, why now?

Consider this a part two of BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School. Also, one “don’t” I’ve learned from a professor doing my recs was to not include the location of the school because it’s considered insulting. So yeah, don’t do that! That shouldn’t even be a reason or a part of your “why.”

BLOG-MAS: Reasons To Go To Graduate School

I can hear Taylor Swift’s “…Ready for it?” playing in my head as I write this.

I knew wayyy before I was a senior in college that I wanted to go to graduate school. I had a reason behind it. I knew I wanted to go to graduate school because I knew it would give me a “leg up” in my professional career. The question was, where would I go? What would I do? If you read previous posts, you’d know that I had it narrowed down to law and publishing. I then knew I had to go into publishing for my love of writing and aspirations to one day create my own magazine. I couldn’t let that go to waste! I’ve had people express their preference for me to go into law because I could be successful. But guess what? I’m 25 with a heck of a resume that was possible due to my publishing program at Emerson College.

Some people could have totally wrong reasons to pursue a graduate degree. Yet, at the same time, there are better reasons to go to graduate school.

DO go to graduate school to advance your career.

DON’T go to graduate school just because “it sounds cool.”

DO go to graduate school because you know what you want to do.

DON’T go to graduate school because something like business or law “sound glamorous.”

DO go to graduate school because you want to.

DON’T go to graduate school as a “last resort.”

For some people it’s a quicker decision than others. There’s the ever-popular argument that “everyone is doing it.” Newsflash: not a lot of people do it, and it takes time for some people. You needn’t know what you want to do right when you get out of college. I know people who get their MBA even after getting their first master’s degree, or even their PhD! Whomever said it’s not okay to change your mind clearly doesn’t know this process.

What I Wish I Knew As A First Semester Senior

Chances are you were a first semester senior this past semester, or you’re about to be, depending on where you are in your college career. I remember when I was a first semester senior in college; and I wasn’t completely sure of what I wanted. I didn’t fully know what I wanted until I was a second-semester senior and I was accepted at Emerson College for my MA in Publishing and Writing. For the first semester senior, I’m sorry I took so long writing this post, but even as winter break comes, these are some things you should know now:

  1. Early bird gets the worm for graduate school.
  2. Early bird also gets the worm for law school. So, start early.
  3. It’s okay to dabble in different area of extra curricular.
  4. It’s okay if you don’t do well in math, especially if it’s algebra that you decide to take. Math is hard!
  5. Ask and you shall receive!
  6. You can do anything with a humanities (arts, writing, history, etc.) degree.
  7. It’s okay if you don’t have a secure plan right after college, but make sure you have a job! (No matter if it’s retail, etc.)
  8. You should have an internship secured for your last semester.
  9. Don’t beat yourself up if you thought you were in ostensibly “the wrong major,” no one is in the “wrong major,” so embrace what you know. Everything you learned comes in handy.
  10. You don’t have to make highest honors.
  11. You don’t have to go to graduate school.
  12. Save your money early.
  13. Not everyone will like what you choose to do after college. But in the end, it’s up to you.

Merry Blog-Mas everyone! (:

xoxo,

April

The Truth About Self-Esteem

It was Wednesday morning and I don’t know if it was the Opalite around my neck but my self-worth kicked in. Though I can’t describe exactly what happened, I knew that I had to stand up for myself and to be treated better. (Disclaimer: this was not a boyfriend situation — he and I are very much still together and things are going great!)

But riddle me this: when did self-respect translate into being rude? When did doing this for the sake of building your own future make you selfish? Why do people get mad when you are just trying to make yourself happy? Don’t people want you to be happy?

Oddly enough, I had a therapy session that same morning. I had to say to him (my therapist) that I instantly felt regret standing up for myself, but why was that? He told me that when you haven’t stood up for yourself in a long time, that feeling of regret tends to occur. It seems sad that it happens. However, I think it’s growth.

The last time I remember this happening, I was called a “petulant child” by a professor and accused of disrespect, which only made me cry harder after sticking up for myself to another professor. I wish I could say to her now that self-respect does not equal disrespect for another individual. Respect is earned, not given freely. And just because you’re an older adult, that doesn’t mean that you have ultimate authority. #SorryNotSorry

With self-worth comes self-esteem. Psychologist, Melanie Fennell concluded the following:

• Throughout your life you form negative beliefs about yourself as a result of the way you have been treated. Psychologists call this your ‘bottom line’ or ‘core belief ’. Your core belief is how you feel about yourself deep down, for example “I’m worthless” or “I’m no good”.


• Confronting core beliefs feels unpleasant, so we all develop rules for living that protect us from our core beliefs. These rules guide how you live your life, and as long as your rules don’t get broken, your core belief stays dormant. People with low self-esteem often have rules that are demanding and rigid, such as “I must always please other people”, or “As long as I don’t get criticized then I’m OK”.


• It can feel very anxiety provoking when it seems like one of your rules might be broken. If one of your rules is “I’m OK as long as everyone is happy”, it might be anxiety provoking if people around you are not happy – you might feel that you have failed.


• When there is a danger that rules might be broken, you might make anxious predictions about what might happen and fear the worst (e.g. “I’ll be rejected if I can’t do everything that is expected of me”), or you might speak to yourself in a critical way, or avoid tricky situations and use strategies to cope.

There’s no doubt that I, and everyone else have had these experiences. I’ve mentioned before that I’ve striven to be perfect to the point of sickness. When I was being bullied severely, I felt like I had to “bow down” to some higher power of what was right versus wrong. I can’t help but wonder now, was that society? Or just simply the place I grew up? I swear, that town had 10 Commandments of being ostensibly cool.

I remember the first day of eighth grade, I had health class at the end of the day and my teacher said to the class, “if you don’t have self-esteem by now, you’re on your own!” Comically enough, I didn’t have any self-esteem. I could have been in a room full of people and still be lonely AF (no pun intended — those are my initials).

I remember crying to my mom, and I choke up as I write this, that whenever I tried to talk, I got laughed and snickered at. When I tried to stand up for myself, I was called mean. Another truth about self-esteem is that is affects every aspect of your life.

My therapist said I had this sort of glow after I stood up for myself. I’ve been constantly worried about telling people what I wanted to do and what I was going to do with my life, but I shouldn’t let that terrify me because what I do is ultimately my choice. You’re the author of your own life. Write your own story without people telling you that what you’re writing is wrong.

The truth about second-guessing yourself | End of my first year of grad school reflection

I’ve watched Legally Blonde more times than I can count on both hands. There’s that poignant scene where Elle is venting to Paulette (Jennifer Coolidge also happens to be an Emerson alum… just saying). Before Professor Stromwell hits her with that famous “if you’re going to let that stupid prick ruin your life…” quote, Elle tells Paulette, “it’s the first time in my life that people expected me to become more than just a Victoria’s Secret model.”

In my first year at Emerson, I learned, I worked, I wanted to cry (but didn’t), and I persevered. In my many years in academia, I wanted to give up. Again, I never did. But I feel as though this is the first year I actually didn’t want to give up because I felt purposeful in my career. By career, I don’t mean academia. I mean journalism and magazine publishing.

I tried my hand at book publishing — in the marketing realm to be more specific. Of course, that wasn’t for me. So, why would I try to diverge into another field of publishing? As much as I love to read, I could never market a book for a living. That’s not to say that magazine publishing is any easier.

Moreover, I not only feel but I know that I haven’t second-guessed myself completely. It wasn’t long until I left said book publishing gig when I came face-to-face with the reality it just wasn’t for me! I’ve been committed to magazine publishing since I was reading fan magazines in second grade — everything from J-14 to Tiger Beat.

I write all of this after a fantastic day. I got my first freelance check; I found out that I’m getting an A the best class I’ve taken thus far; and I scored my first “big girl job” in the world of editing. Everything comes in threes.

Another thing about second-guessing yourself is that you’re always left with uncertainty. You can feel this in a relationship, in your course of study, or even in a decision that you made. However, with every decision you make comes a lesson and a blessing in disguise. But don’t get me wrong, you can make the best decision of your life. Years later you’ll be able to say either that was the best decision at the time, or again, of your life. Those lessons can help you in the future.

The thing about uncertainty is that you’re stuck with the mentality that something won’t work out. It can thusly make you physically sick or emotionally exhausted. For example, if you’re “stuck” in what you think is a dead-end job, you’re really not. It’s just a means to an end! And in the end, you’ll always feel grateful. So be grateful no matter what happens!

To the Roger Williams University Class of 2020

On August 5, 2019, which seems like forever ago at this point in time, (given the turbulence 2020 brought us already before this very moment), the literary world and the world at large, lost an icon: Beloved author, Toni Morrison. Toni Morrison earned her B.A. at Howard University and her M.A. at Cornell University. She taught at multiple universities before finally retiring from Princeton. Just like any other author, she was full of quotes. One quote that I found while perusing the internet, struck a chord of truth within me: “I tell my students, ‘When you get these jobs that you have been so brilliantly trained for, just remember that your real job is that if you are free, you need to free somebody else. If you have some power, then your job is to empower somebody else.’”

I began to reflect on this quote and my experience at RWU, which all of you might be doing right this very second — on the day of our graduation. The thing about English Literature, that I have come to know when fulfilling my requirements for my Creative Writing degree, is that all characters struggle with an internal and/or external conflict. Most of the time, we focus on the external conflict surrounding the character, but no one pays attention to how and what the character is feeling – what is going on in their heads. That is, until we analyze or “pick apart,” as some of us said in Dr. Scheinberg’s “The Other Victorians” class. Why do authors even write these stories? The simple answer that I can give you, is to not only educate, but to inspire, or in Toni Morrison’s words, empower. As I listened to a Katy Bellotte podcast, I remembered that I randomly brought up my blog to a friend of mine in my art history class. One thing she asked me is if I ever get “Imposter Syndrome,” to which I said, “yes and no,” and went on to say that I used to want to be an influencer and promote all of these brands that I knew would never give me the time of day. But really, in a world where the universe relies on technology and overly edited photographs, I realized I want to influence people to be the best version of themselves. I want to be real, and not only say, “my name is April Federico, and I am a writer.”

I’m convinced that we all knew what we wanted to be when we grew up when we were at least eight years old, if not infants. For me, this was shown in a photograph of myself as a baby “reading” a plush book about farm animals, which I proudly showed to Mrs. Green’s Kindergarten class in a “Me Magazine” that we all got to fill out and show our peers when we were each the “special person” of the week. Let’s just say the “Me Magazine” is how I began to love the art of producing magazines. When I was finally able to actually read, I picked up a copy of J-14 magazine. That copy of J-14 turned into a heaping pile sitting on a bookshelf in my room, comprised of M, Popstar!, Tiger Beat, and BOP. I would only go grocery shopping with my mom simply to pick up a magazine. And on the topic of being “real,” my mom (whom most of you may know as adjunct professor Melissa Macaulay Federico of marketing) called me out one time for reading the embarrassing stories sections. As much as I loved learning facts about the Sprouse twins, Jesse McCartney, Hilary Duff, Avril Lavigne, amongst so many others, it was the humiliating, yet raw and earthly stories from people. Why do you think that we love to read the captions of Humans of New York? Put simply, they’re real. And because I loved to read, not just magazines I promise, I learned that I loved to write my own stories, which prompted my second-grade teacher to say when giving an example of a spelling word, “April loves to write.” It did take some trial and error in my college career to figure that out for myself, but it’s been true all along.

The funny thing about all that is that some of us, if not all of us, may have been struggling, too – to find ourselves and our true life’s purposes. On this day, when we glance down at our degrees (who knows if we’re doing that or not, today), no matter if it’s a BS, BA, or BFA, remember not so much about the numerous cups of Caramel Macchiatos, Nitro Cold Brews, or Venti Iced White Mocha Lattes purchased at Starbucks, or the tears, sweat, (and hopefully not blood) that have been shed trying to complete an essay or project, but realize that you did, in fact, find your purpose at RWU. For some of you, it may have been to give your power to those who may feel powerless or estranged from society, thus you took a trip with Habitat for Humanity, joined the Women’s Collective, or even took an international trip with FIMRC. For some of you, it may have been the urging need for something to be done for the student body, thus you joined Student Senate or Inter-Class Council. For some of you, it may have been to share your extensive knowledge of math, science, foreign languages, and/or the art of writing with students needing that extra reassurance in the tutoring center. For some of you, it may have been the ability to carry your athletic team across that finish line or shoot that winning shot in basketball. No matter where you take your “superpowers,” I encourage you to keep Toni Morrison’s words not only in your minds but also in your hearts. Also, no matter where you go, just do the right thing.

Thank you, Roger Williams University, for creating a nest that we, hawks, will all miss dearly. And thank you for everything. Congratulations and good luck to the Roger Williams University and University College Class of 2020. I’ll see you all a year from now in 2021 when we WILL have our chance to walk across the stage.

xoxoxo,

April 💕