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Project Style: Former Intern Spotlight

Newsletter/The Thread Spotlight -- Celeste Xiong

Tell us about the International Student of the Year Award you received.

I was nominated for the 2020 Student Employee of the Year Award by my supervisor at Columbia College Chicago Career Center for my dedication, enthusiasm, and initiative as a Peer Advisor at Columbia helping students with their resumes, cover letter, portfolio, and other career questions.

As an international student providing career advice for students, I tried my best to conquer the language barrier and articulate my recommendations to students fluently and logically. I was also honored to lead the Graphic Design project for career advice handouts and posters, support special projects, including Social Media and Blog updates. I practiced my professional and interpersonal skills in this job and I really appreciate this opportunity of improving myself and offering a hand to others, which makes me feel rewarding.

How did you get interested in fashion?

I’ve always been a fashion enthusiast since I was a little girl. I refused to go out if I’m wearing an outfit that doesn’t satisfy my appetite when I was little. As I grew up, I gained more understanding of the fashion industry, I found out that fashion isn’t just about appearance, it also involves confidence, self-consciousness, and environmental issues, etc. There’s something deeper than how you look, there’re the hidden factors of how you feel about yourself and what impact might occur because the clothes you choose to wear. I am definitely an advocator of sustainable fashion and willing to contribute my innovative and forward-thinking spirits to the fashion industry.

Who were your role models growing up? And why?

My mom is my role model when I was growing up. She is the oldest daughter of her family and has two sisters in her home. Growing up in a family in which there wasn’t too much money and when faced with a lot of obstacles as a girl, she didn’t have many resources to change her life. However, she never lowered her head towards difficulties. She put a lot of effort into studying and overcame a lot of challenges until she finished her graduate studies in Finance. Now she’s working in Shanghai Pudong Development Bank, a fortune global 500 banking company. I really admire her determination to chasing the life she wants rather than only listening to others’ guidance.

You’re an advocate for body positivity and encouraged girls in Project Style workshops. Did you ever think you would be the one to be a role model to others?

One of my goals in life is to make others feel good about themselves. I wish I could be a person with positive spirits and helpful resources and then inspire and influence others.

I always wanted to find something meaningful to do and never wanted to waste my life. I like to do research on the topics I’m interested in and I’m always willing to have conversations about the information that many people might not have access to. I also wanted to be an activist to bring awareness and social justice about Feminism, Black Lives Matter Movement, LGBTQ+ Rights whenever I go.

What made you choose Columbia College?

Columbia is full of creatives and welcoming vibe. The professors are dedicated to their field of study and willing to go extra miles to assist students in their personal development. Students in Columbia are really creative and I could always find inspiration on them. There are also many on-campus resources we could utilize, which is really helpful for our study and life.

What do you do in moments of self-doubt?

I feel like a lot of self-doubts come from comparison and other people’s comments on ourselves. I try to minimize my intention to compare to others and not to take other’s negative opinions personally. I have moments when I feel lost and do not know where I’m heading. There are times you have to push, but it’s very important to know when to pause and take a moment to yourself to figure out what really matters. When you are self-doubting, pause, and stop comparing yourself to others. Tell yourself that you are good enough, take your time because the best things in life worth waiting for.

What advice can you give to someone trying to follow in your footsteps?

I wanted to say you could be inspired by other people or refer to their stories when stuck, but you are the one who determines your path, and please trust your estimation and intuition. In addition, passion is very important for your choice of career and study. When you are passionate about your job or major, you are way more motivated to improve yourself. While you are striving for a better future, don’t forget to relax and pick up your hobbies.

What’s your next goal?

I’m in the process of applying for graduate schools both in the U.S. and England for Economics, Media, and Fashion Management majors. I also wanted to get an ACE certificate to be a personal trainer in the future.

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