inspiration

Carly the Prepster

Have you guys noticed the new changes around here? I recently underwent a mini rebrand. I didn’t want to make a big deal about it because, in a lot of ways, it’s not a big deal. My goal for the rebrand was to make it feel very seamless because nothing was really changing except for the name. Same content, same routine of posting. Just a new header image and a new URL.

Carly the Prepster

At the same time though, it is a huge change for me. I hate change and definitely clung to “The College Prepster” for too long. Frankly, I didn’t want to let the name go for selfish reasons. If you’ve been here from the very, very beginning, then you’ll know that I named my blog “College Prep” and called myself The College Prepster. Eventually, it just became The College Prepster.

Starting my blog was such a huge, life-changing event for me in more ways than I can list. Yes, it eventually became something that I’m so proud of and a career that I feel incredibly fortunate to be able to do and unimaginably changed my life. But it also (and I don’t say this lightly) probably saved my life. I always tell people that I started my blog as a creative outlet because I was struggling in school. There’s so much more to that story, and I’m not (even nine years later) ready to talk about the depths of it.

Next month, we’re coming up on the nine-year anniversary of me sitting down on my white MacBook, creating a Gmail account, and starting a Blogspot blog. If I had known it would be something I was still doing nine years later, I definitely (duh) would have chosen a different name. I think that’s half the fun of it though. I had no idea it’d be something I might do for the next semester, let alone the next decade!

The College Prepster was this lifeline I had created for myself, and I didn’t want to let the name go.

At the same time, this is something I do for a career, and everyone (literally everyone) had an opinion on what to do about my name situation. It would have been so much easier had everyone been on the same page, but I got so much unsolicited and all-over-the-place advice about it over the years that it left me more confused than anything. So I erred on the side of keeping it, mostly for sentimental reasons.

Carly Heitlinger Georgetown

Then I had this one meeting that I thought was going just to be a 15 minute introduce myself kind of thing this spring and it turned into an impromptu brand… consultation? I don’t even want to call it that because I was caught so off guard by everything that she said I felt like I had the wind knocked out of me. It was intense, and I held it together until I got into the elevator and then cried for two hours because I was so overwhelmed. More than feeling like I needed to change my blog name, I felt like the whole Internet was doomed based on what she was saying. I learned from a few friends that she was going through some personal stuff and that explained the craziness of that meeting. BUT, it did get the gears turning in my head about what I should do.

Sometimes I think the best solutions come when you least expect them. In my case, I have been contemplating what to do about my blog name since the fall semester of my senior year. Should I have made the change then? Maybe. I hate playing the “what if” game, but I have a feeling my blog wouldn’t be what it is today if I did something different. Maybe for the better, but also maybe for the worst.

But, five years out of college, almost exactly to the day, strangely enough, I was sitting in Mickey Drexler’s office*. I’m sitting down to meet with him after emailing back and forth. He gets on the office-wide intercom he was downright famous for and announced that “Carly the Prepster” was in the office today. First, I was freaking out in general for sitting in HIS office. And then I heard him announce my arrival and it sounded so right. I’m sure over the years I had considered it, but it never felt right for whatever reason. Hearing it over the intercom though made it feel like a no-brainer decision. It felt right.

*Talk about a pinch-me moment

After that, there was no question at all in my head. On the train ride home, I started buying URLs and locking down handles left and right. I texted my manager letting her know what I was thinking and then emailed my designer to ask for a few updates. Of course, it took a while to get everything squared away, but I felt ready for the change from the minute I heard Mickey say it!

I love it for so many reasons. The first being that it’s not a huge departure from what it was originally. More like a tiny skip than a huge leap. It doesn’t feel like a stretch. I was also excited to pull my name back into play. When I started my blog, I did use nicknames for everyone, including myself. Having the @carly handle on Instagram made the transition even smoother. It feels like the blog name and my name are perfectly intertwined. I also like that it’s an easy explanation, especially from a business perspective. I won’t have to say over and over again or even reintroduce myself to brands since it’s common sense.

Carly the Prepster Georgetown

While the change had been in the works for about half a year, it didn’t start feeling real until the week it was happening. It went from feeling like an idea to, bam!, “okay people it’s happening.” I couldn’t really believe it, honestly. For something that’s been a part of your life for nine years, it’s hard to imagine that the next chapter is about to start.

Of course, and maybe serendipitously, I was in Georgetown the week it was all happening. (Captured in a vlog!) I was fielding emails from my manager and developer the whole time I was visiting, and all the emotions were hitting me. I got a little choked up while on campus one afternoon, but the next day I was sitting down with the Tuckernuck team and said that it was the last day as “The College Prepster” and I broke down. I had, obviously, talked about my brand changing, but it had all been focused on the new change not necessarily on the fact that the change meant that the TCP chapter was closing. Saying it out loud felt so final.

The College Prepster

The next day I was back in Connecticut, and that’s when the site transfer was really underway. I started getting messages about my site being down, which I knew meant we were only about 30 minutes away from the big change. Again, I was caught off guard by the emotion! I had to walk away from my computer and get into a cold shower because I was crying and, honestly, felt sick to my stomach.

I can’t even describe the emotion I felt on Friday and then again on Saturday. It was a mix of sadness of leaving behind one chapter and fear about starting a new one. And a whole lot of gratitude for being fortunate enough to stumble into this little space on the internet. It pulled me from the darkest period of my life and opened doors I didn’t even know existed!

But then, the site was back up. And, just as I’d felt when Mickey Drexler said “Carly the Prepster” over the intercom, I knew it was right. Now it feels like it’s been this way this whole time.

Carly Heitlinger

PS Mickey called me out of the blue two weeks before the site transfer happened and I got to fill him in on how he helped me. It felt like it came full circle! 

PPS I’m wearing this skirt (on sale), this sweater, these shoes, and a similar bracelet to this.

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47 Comments

Beth

Carly, great name change. Coming from someone in Digital Communications, it was a great re-fresh, but stays true to who you are (or who we read about on your blog). Change is hard, but this is a good one!

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Dana

I’ve been following you since I was in college too and I always thought it was cool how I went to school in Arlington. You’ve definitely impacted me in terms of starting my blog (just hit my 5 year mark!). So thank you! I think this transition was seamless, and makes total sense. Your “pinch me” moment with Mickey definitely wasn’t just a coincidence — this was supposed to happen!

Congrats on everything and I look forward to continuing to follow along! xx

Pink Champagne Problems

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Diana Pearl

Huge congrats on the change Carly! So exciting and I agree, it’s a perfect, seamless transition. I’ve been reading your blog for so long that it’s still listed as “College Prep” in my Feedly, and it’s so cool to see how the brand has grown. Can’t wait to see what’s next for you.

x Diana // Pearl Girl

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Mia Spicer

This is such a powerful blog post. I can feel all the emotion that went into this. Thank you so much for sharing with your readers the bare reality and your personal identity behind the scenes of the pretty pictures and faces.

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Briana

WHY AM I CRYING. The College Prepster was the first blog that I stumbled upon 5 years ago, and you are the person who inspired me to start my own blog. I cannot thank you for being TCP but I am so excited for this new chapter!! You are someone who has remained true to you for years and years, and as a reader, I can honestly appreciate that. THANK YOU AND GOOD LUCK!!!

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Courtney

Congratulations, Carly! I’m a very new reader (I just discovered your blog yesterday while researching other local bloggers in CT) so I didn’t know your site before, but I agree, the new site looks absolutely “right” for you. Your blog is lovely, easy to navigate, and has a distinct look that is completely you. I am a wedding photographer that expanded into blogging just this past Spring. It is amazing how quickly the blog becomes an extension of yourself. I just redesigned parts of my blog last week (it is still a work in progress: http://livelovelyphotograohy.com). Wishing you the best, Courtney.

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Emily

Such a great name! It’s you! It’s always been you now it’s just a more direct way of getting to you. Instead of someone asking whose the “The College Prepster” ?, it’s more like we’ll its “Carly…the Prepster!”

On a side note, I especially love the new header! Such a fun font!

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Anne

“There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so” – Hamlet. Honestly YOU GO GIRL, do what you feel and think is good and right for your blog, and it shall be so! Love the new name!

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Kristen

As I mentioned on Instagram earlier this week I’ll say it here too, CONGRATS!! From a viewers perspective the update has truly appeared to be seamless. I am so sorry it cause you such turmoil behind the scenes!! You story about Mickey is priceless and one of the best I’ve heard to date. It’s a great story for your brand and one you will tell for years to come.

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Francesca

What a beautiful post, Carly! The name change is perfect, congratulations! I cannot wait to continue to read, just like I have for the past five years. <3

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Jen

I was wondering when we were going to talk about this. So excited for you, Carly! You deserve it.

P.S. Cutest moment was the video you shared while you were at Tuckernuck. Your hard work definitely shows!

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Katie

Whoa!!! Intense story. I had no idea there was more to it than just wanting a creative outlet. I adore following your blog and I think the name suits you so well. So crazy how much of a tie you have to your blog but there must be so much blood, sweat and tears poured into it behind th scenes that it was that intense of a feeling. Excited for you and the wonderful blessings to come to you!

Katie | http://www.sunshinestyleblog.com

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Jessie

I love this! The rebrand seems perfect. You are actually the first blog I’ve ever followed and the main reason I started my own blog 🙂

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Becky

I have been patiently waiting for a post about the change, which I love! I was so excited to see it got live, it feels like the blog is growing up with you! Congratulations!

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Sarah

I LOVE the new name. It may be a little selfish of me personally, but being around the same age as you, it feels like your blog has been growing with me as well. I’ve been a reader through the last two years of my college days, my first “big girl” job and transitioning into my early 20’s, and even now as I enter my later 20’s. The content has always been relevant to my stage in life and now the name is too. 🙂 Thanks again, Carly!

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Tânia Sequinho

I loved your post and the new name. This post made me smile and feel more secure of what I’m thinking since the beginning of the year, which is to do the same. I have my blog for 5 years now and started changing his name to his translation to portuguese (since I write in that language and it makes a lot more sense when sharing it out loud to someone – a lot of people in Portugal didn’t understood my blog’s name at first and it’s normal). But even that didn’t sound right. I started looking for my favourite bloggers and thinking about the possibility of changing it to my name but I felt worried to do that since I have a career away from blogging. But your post made me realize that if I can’t take that from my mind, maybe it’s the right thing to go for. I want that feeling, the feeling that “it’s been this way this whole time”.
Best wishes for you, Carly, and congrats on this new chapter. I’ll continue being around here to follow it. ^^

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carly

I’ve heard that happening with a few people. The theory is that it’s being blocked because of a first name? So weird!

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Meera

I love the new name! (I love the old name too tbh) lovely post, and such beautiful photos. I’m so in love with the plaid skirt, I literally gravitate towards plaid aha x

LoneTeenTraveller | Travel Fashion Lifestyle

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Melissa Faye

I feel like I relate so much to this. I have been blogging for about 11 years and I had a blog in college as well. It was how I expressed my emotions and the events happening in my life. I then got married and created a new blog all about being a wife and twenty-something woman. When I got divorced three years later, yet another blog. That was a hard transition. I didn’t know if I should start a new blog, or just change the name and keep blogging, but I knew it was right to start with a clean slate. I feel like I had to start all over, luckily, you haven’t had to do that! I love the name, the blog, and all of the things you and your brand represent. I hope to be reading this blog (or something else you’ve created) for many years to come!

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Sarah

I think the rebrand is fantastic!

I’ve been having a lot of emotions about my career right now. I’ve decided to make a pretty big change, and even though I have the support of my management (my company is good with suporting internal moves) and I’m confident that things will work out… I’ve been having ALL the emotions about it! And it’s been weird and puzzling how upsetting I’ve been finding random things, so it’s really conforting to hear that someone else is having all the feelings about career related changes that are all about moving forward!

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Sandy

Congratulations, Carly (the Prepster)! Love the rebrand…it’s the perfect homage to your roots. What a fantastic way to close out 2017. Cheers to many more years of blogging & success!

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Ashley

I LOVE the new name. I think its so perfect and the best transition. I am so happy for you!!!

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