First Semester = Check!

It feels like it was just yesterday that I moved into my apartment in Chicago, but today was the last day of my first semester of college.  To say I learned a lot in this first three months of school would be a huge understatement.  I have learned how to be completely independent, how to share my living space with three other girls and how to manage my time about eight hundred times better than I did in high school.  I have also had to adjust to having no income, having to do my own grocery shopping and being all alone in one of the largest cities in all of America.  And as I look back, I can proudly say that these past three months have made me a better person than I was when I first came to Chicago.  

Columbia College Chicago had been my dream school since I was a sophomore so to be here is almost a bit surreal.  I worked really hard to get to where I am, and though the school basically accepts anyone who graduated high school, my hard work in high school paid off and resulted in a pretty decent scholarship which is quite frankly the only way I can afford to be at this (overpriced) institution.  But as I have gone through a couple classes, I've kind of starting to get this feeling that college isn't meant for me.  This is kind of hard for me to come to terms with, since there's this whole idea promoted in society today where you have to go to college to get a job.  I know that it's not 100% necessary to graduate from college to get a decent job in the music industry, where I want to work, so sometimes I have found myself second guessing furthering my education.  The opportunities here are too great for me to pass up, though, so in college in Chicago I will stay unless something I absolutely can't pass up comes along (fingers crossed)!

School aside, Chicago has been great to me during the past three and a half months.  I was able to get an internship during my first semester of freshman year -- something that is pretty rare.  I got to work with a really neat company called LiveOne and their new venture CrowdSurfing, which is basically a live streaming application that shows concerts and sporting events with a chat function so that fans can discuss what is going on during the event.  I met some really great people and learned new things about an up and coming entertainment form, which was a great experience.  

In the past three and a half months of living here, Beyond The Stage became a magazine, which was perhaps the most genius idea Gabi Talisman has ever had.  Maybe.  I don't want to undermine any other great ideas she has had, but this one was huge.  Because of the format change, I have been able to photograph more shows that ever before.  Since moving here, I have photographed Charli XCX, St. Lucia, Echosmith, Yellowcard, Bleachers, Boyce Avenue and Kris Allen at small venues and 5 Seconds of Summer (!!!!), Ariana Grande, MKTO, Rixton, Lil' Jon and Martin Garrix at an arena.  I've been photographing shows for a short five months so to shoot my first arena show so fast was a really cool experience that I honestly don't know how to put into words.  We released our first issue that has reached over 6,000 people and our second is on the way.  Running and working on a magazine is one of the most time consuming and challenging projects I have ever worked on but I love it to pieces.

I was also chosen as an ambassador for Live Nation's Ones To Watch blog this past month, which is an incredible opportunity, as they picked just ten throughout the country and Live Nation is the largest concert promoter in the country.  I have yet to cover a show for Live Nation yet, but my job there is to take photographs, write show reviews and sometimes interview artists, which is essentially what we do with the magazine, but for a different, bigger outlet.  Having this experience will be HUGE for a resume and will hopefully make me even more credible when it comes to music journalism and photography.

In other related news, I was approved to photograph one of my favorite bands, The 1975, in Pittsburgh on Monday.  I saw their Chicago show and it completely blew my mind, so to get to witness some of it from the photo pit and to see the entire show a second time will be INCREDIBLE.  It also may be my last show of 2014 and it is the best possible show to end such an incredible year with.

Basically, I felt like writing a blog just to update whoever decides to read this on my life for the past few months.  It's been an interesting time and I know that the spring semester will bring around even more adventure.  

Your friend,
Allison

(If you know me at all, you probably saw the "your friend" part coming.)