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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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!