I am honored today to introduce you to Kaleigh Somers who founded of HUGstronger to help empower college students and reassure them that they are not alone in their struggles, be those personal, professional, academic, or athletic, she developed HUGstronger, a content-driven blog community that operates on the belief that honest, authentic storytelling can change the world. The site categorizes posts into relationship struggles, being away from home, health issues, fitting in, academics, and letters to undergraduates in the same field of study. Kaleigh thought that my blog readers might enjoy knowing about and sharing in the HUGstronger journey. I couldn’t have agreed more so I asked her to guest post today. Enjoy (and then go check out HUGstronger)!
I am a project lover.
I am betting those are no radical words for a woman with a heart the size of Texas. Because for me, and you, and thousands of our closest friends, projects are not just a way to fill the crevices of time between grocery shopping and snuggling up for a movie on a Sunday night. They are a chance to change something big and radical and fundamental.
Committing yourself to a project is much better than, say, committing to spending an hour toiling over a quilt you’ll never finish or a half-finished scrapbook you’ll shove under your bed for years.
The minute the quilt and the scrapbook and tackling the living room wallpaper become a project, it gets a little extra punch packed into it.
Don’t you think?
That’s why I spent ten months scraping the insides of my brain for a project that would last beyond my initial motivation to make something better.
In two months, I’ll tuck my college paraphernalia in cardboard boxes and plastic Rubbermaid containers and haul all of it out to my car for one last time. One last travel between the home that holds my heartbeat in its palm and the one I hung onto for four years, between brushing away tears of laughter and joy.
That’s where my story began: a lonely, quiet girl who learned, through years of blogging to better the lives of women around the world, that you must stop standing in place and yapping.
You must take your heart and let it pulse through your fingertips and create something magical. My something magical was HUGstronger, a website launched at beginning of 2012 to create a community of voices around the college experience.
Because let’s face it—it’s not like the movies.
There are boys who don’t want to commit to something past tonight and girls who haven’t outgrown high school power trips and siblings who forget to call and check in every once in a while. There are periods of depression and eating disorders and panic attacks and alcoholism. Every ounce of self-doubt seems to magnify on that campus.
I have a feeling you’ve been there. You’ve stood on the edge of a cliff and looked down at the world below, wondering how control slipped away from you.
I created HUGstronger to change that. To give girls a voice when they felt alone and sure they were the only ones tucking their problems behind their headboards and brushing away tears in loud shower stalls.
And I hope you’ll join us. Enter the conversation. Break the barrier between the things we don’t talk about and the safe topics.
Whether you’re in college or graduated four decades ago, I hope you’ll help us piece together a world where women don’t have to accept the pain and heartbreak. A world where hope is lurking just behind the next corner.
We believe storytelling can change the world. I hope you do too.