Life after college

The hardest part of starting a blog: coming up with a name. No question. I have put off blogging for a long time, and I think that was the main reason. I spent hours this past weekend brainstorming blog names. I texted friends. I sent follow-up texts when they took too long to respond the first time. After much pestering, they came up with some clever ideas. (Book of Jenesis and The Tormonator, both plays on my name, cracked me up.) Anyway, for now I’m going to use That’s What Jenn Said because it ties into “The Office” classic line, “That’s what she said.” The title is very subject to change later.

I’m Jennifer, the associate editor for Gulfstream Media Group’s lifestyle magazines. This is a quick replay of the last year of my life.

This was me a (nearly) a year ago.

Jennifer Tormo, graduate of the University of Florida

The day I graduated from the journalism school at the University of Florida, I had three things on my mind. The first was how unbearably hot that black gown was in 90-something degree weather, but that’s less significant for this post. The two more important thoughts that preoccupied me were, what was I supposed to do with my life now? And how could I have as much fun as possible until I figured it out?

As it turned out, I figured things out much quicker than I expected. Sometime during my great two-month break from responsibility, which included traveling all over Florida, lounging by the pool, and going out almost every single night with friends, I applied for jobs. I found many that I thought I could live with, but none that I really could see myself doing for a long time.

I never felt truly pumped about anything until I saw the Gulfstream Media Group’s Associate Editor position. It seemed too good to be true: a journalism job in South Florida, which is where I’m from and where I hoped to work. A magazine job, at that. Even better, a lifestyle magazine, where I could write about everything that I’d always wanted to write about. I would get to take pictures. I would get to meet, interview and profile interesting people. I could spend the rest of the time researching the latest in health, beauty and style trends. I met Managing Editor Nila Do for an interview, and the rest is history.

Some of the highlights of my post-college career so far have been:

Interviewing Paula Deen

Jennifer Tormo with Paula Deen

Overseeing a fashion shoot

Model Sonja Ewy at PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla.

Test driving a BMW hardtop convertible for two days

Jennifer Tormo test drives a BMW Z4 hardtop convertible

Jet skiing in Key West

Jennifer Tormo jet skiing in Key West

Honorable mentions: Interviewing such notables as Giuseppe Zanotti, Tory Burch, and Roberto Coin, sampling dozens of beauty products, and dining all over South Florida in search of the best restaurants.

My job challenges me every single day (it’s particularly tough during deadline, when I read every word of every editorial page in all our magazines multiple times, hunting for mistakes) but it’s worth it. I recently interviewed Stefan Holt, a reporter and news anchor for WPBF News 25 and a fellow recent grad, and he gave me a fresh perspective on journalism. I have never met somebody so humble about his place in the media. Every time I expressed that I was impressed with his experiences (like going to the Bahamas to cover a murder, acting as a firefighter for a day and flying in a stunt plane), he would deflect the attention from himself and remind me that it was all about his audience. “It’s neat to give folks a little glimpse of what it’s like to be a journalist,” he said, and I could tell he genuinely meant it.

I have loved writing since I learned to read. For me, the joy of journalism was discovering a gateway to incredible experiences because I could write about them. But interviewing Holt reminded me that great journalists are selfless. For them, sharing the truth with the audience comes before almost anything else. With that thought in mind, I finally sat down to create this blog. Perfect name or not, I don’t want to wait another minute to share my journalistic experiences with readers.

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