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Around this time of year, I get a little misty. Along with picnics and concerts in Central Park and lingering sunsets over the Hudson River, summer also means graduation when we cheer our interns to go out into the world — but also lament that we can’t hold on to them for a little while longer. I’m always heartened to hear that they leave DPA with new skill sets that they can add to their resumes. As Peyton Tiblier, our latest graduating intern told me: “I definitely learned what’s expected in the work place. I found things I was good at and excelled in as well as what I needed to work a little harder to get better at.” We’ve loved the creative energy and enthusiasm Peyton brought to the office every single day. And we loved how when we gave her an assignment she’d never done before, she not only embraced it — she nailed it! We predict that Peyton will soar high in her career. Right now she is pursuing opportunities in marketing in her hometown of New Orleans. But before she leaves DPA, we asked her to write about how she feels about ending college life and going out into the world. — Sue Perry


Life lessons Learned from Tommy Hilfiger

By Peyton Tiblier

Like most college students, my recent graduation scared the absolute heck out of me. Perhaps it was the reality of the real world coming towards me at full speed, or maybe the pressure I placed on myself because I’m a first-generation college graduate. Whatever the cause, my stress levels were at an all-time high. So high, in fact, that when I left my hotel room in pursuit of Radio City Music Hall on graduation day I left both of my honor cords. (Thanks, Mom, for running back and grabbing them for me!)

Once I made it to my seat I looked out at the audience in complete awe. I was sitting on the stage of one of New York’s most beautiful venues, graduating from one of the most prestigious fashion universities in the world. This was the moment I had waited for, for what felt like forever.

Moving to the city had always been my dream. I (luckily) grew up in an incredibly encouraging family. From the moment I applied, my parents fully supported my decision to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, despite the fact we lived over 1,000 miles away from New York. Even with my parents continued support, the need to be successful post-graduation proved to be daunting and I so badly wanted to prove to my parents that all of the sacrifices they made for me had been worth it.

As the ceremony began, my nerves blossomed into excitement. The speeches proved hard to pay attention to as I soaked in every second of being on stage at Radio City. Daydreaming that I was a star on stage, the introduction of our guest speaker, Tommy Hilfiger, is what snapped my attention back to the stand.

A name that everyone seemingly knows, Hilfiger introduced himself and his brand to the audience. He explained that it was his love for rock and roll music that began his career in fashion at the young age of 18. With no money or connections, Hilfiger said that his determined optimism and passion for his dream is what made him as successful as he is today.

Hilfiger encouraged the graduating class to find the things we are passionate about as we introduce our dreams to the rest of the world and to never take no for an answer. Noting that we live in a new age where change is the only constant, he urged us to embrace the change and to push the boundaries- and to give it everything we had. He encouraged students to take risks, even if they turned sour, and to always follow our instincts as they will never let us down.

“In the journey ahead of you, you will find that the best lessons will come in the most unexpected ways,” said Hilfiger. He explained that failure is a part of success, referencing when he filed bankruptcy at the age of 23 – the biggest challenge of his life – but that these failures are just another lesson to learn from. “Success cannot be measured by money and fame,” he continued, “but rather what you give back to the world.”

These words of advice are the ones I have kept in mind the weeks following my graduation. The stress I experienced leading up to graduation is still there, but Hilfiger’s encouragement has put most of it at ease. This next chapter of my life, while a little scary, is exciting and I can’t wait to see what lies ahead for me. Maybe I don’t know what is next, but in the words of Tommy Hilfiger, “here’s to following your dreams and never giving up!”