How She Hustles: Samantha Czekanski

As you may have noticed my senioritis is definitely still kicking considering I didn't actually write a blog post update about my attempts to beat it this week. So I'm going to nix my original idea and instead start something fun that has been in the works for a few weeks.

I'm starting a blog series called "How He/She Hustles" focusing on different people I am fortunate enough to know who are hustling and making their dreams come true. These individuals are an inspiration to me and I hope they will be able to inspire you too.

First up is Samantha, my wonderful friend and business partner. We met on Twitter 2 years ago and have maintained a great friendship ever since. Samantha is always encouraging me to listen to my gut and follow my dreams. This Minnesotan has developed a serious case of wanderlust and has taken her goals across the globe.

Before starting her grand adventure, Samantha lived in a "little cocoon of Midwestern monotony" that made her feel safe and predictable, where she was unhappily "hopping from boring job to boring job." However, life began to change for her when she embraced her "dreamer/weirdo" nature and repeatedly popped the movie About Time into her DVD player, which inspired the first step in her journey.

Samantha left me in complete awe this past summer when she chose to give up her life in the States and go to graduate school in England, where she knew no one. Naturally, this lovely woman flourished in England and is already planning amazing things for her future. She is currently in the process of launching a Youtube Channel and has a new branding process in the works. Together we're working on a start-up called The Polished Network, which will act as an online community connecting classy, authentic woman of all backgrounds and financial brackets.

Samantha isn't the type to let completing one dream stop her. "I went from living at home with no direction to traveling Europe, studying for my Masters in Oxford, England, and starting my own business. It’s an odd feeling, but good, of course, knowing that you’ve accomplished what you set out to do and then some. Suddenly you find yourself asking ‘now what?’ I didn’t have to wait long before my next dream materialized in my head. Two words: Los Angeles," said Samantha.

Advice from Samantha: 

  • Make sure you are doing what you love: I’m not one for cliches, but really, life is too short to waste it doing something you hate. I always hear the excuses of time, energy, resources, money. If you want it, it’s up to you. YOU. Your fairy godmother took the next decade off so it’s up to you and how well you hustle. You will find the time, the energy, you will network your ass off until you have the resources and the money. There’s a reason GoFundMe exists. Just start. A bit every day.  And if you’re already doing what you love? Take your profession to the next level by taking chances. Learn to love being different. You cannot be afraid of the critics, because when you start to stand out, to challenge the status quo, or simply wear a dress on casual Friday, they will multiply like you have never seen and try to tear you down will all means of ridiculousness. . Eyes on the prize and one hand on the troll whip, you’ll get there. 
  • Stop listening to the what ifs: It seems like what ifs are a constant companion to dreams, and they seem to come from the most unlikely of places, the people you thought would be so happy to see you set goals are the ones asking ‘are you sure?..but what if...?" It’ll drive you mad. There will never be a perfect time. You’ll die waiting for the most opportune moment. Gather your courage, compile your resources, say a prayer to the dream gods, and jump. 
  • Be prepared to do paperwork and research: Lots of it. Seriously, have you seen the time it takes to get a visa and US loans for another country? I studied the UK Boarder Agency website until I had fellow expats coming to me with their questions. I budgeted until I thought I was good at math (at a 8th grade level). I read every site written for expats and students, talked with those who had been there, done that, and bugged the crap out of my university’s student relations department so much I though they were going to revoke my acceptance. But as educated as I thought I was, I had curve balls come at me left and right, things I didn’t even think about. Know what you're getting yourself into, but always be ready to turn around and jump off the proverbial cliff of "but actually, who knows" at a moment’s notice. In the end, it’s nothing if not a good story, which the world always needs more of. 
Sarah Walsh