UT Student Contributes to Seventeen Magazine as One of the Freshman 15

Published: Oct 22, 2012
Rowland, who was hired for the Freshman 15 year-long gig, is responsible for writing a blog or vlog (video blog) once a week, posting to Twitter throughout the week and, later in the semester, hosting live Q-and-A chats.
Rowland, who was hired for the Freshman 15 year-long gig, is responsible for writing a blog or vlog (video blog) once a week, posting to Twitter throughout the week and, later in the semester, hosting live Q-and-A chats.

It doesn’t matter to Lesley Rowland ’16 that she is 19. She still loves reading Seventeen magazine.

She likes the articles and the feature, Freshman 15, a series of blogs, videos and tips from 15 college freshmen on what it’s like during their first year in college. Rowland is now one of those 15.

“I actually came across the application on Seventeen's Facebook page and remembered reading about the previous Freshman 15ers from years ago,” said Rowland, who applied with more than 6,000 other girls, all vying for one of 15 spots on the Freshman 15 panel.

The application included short answers, giving answers in 140-character Twitter format and writing a sample blog. When she found out she made it to round two, she had to make a 60-second video.

“When I submitted my application, I didn’t think I’d hear back about it,” said Rowland, who is from Dallas, TX.

But she did, and in round three was asked about her goals for her freshman year and a plan for the content about which she would blog.

“They actually asked for a lot, but I was thrilled by that,” Rowland said.  

Rowland, who was hired for the Freshman 15 year-long gig, is responsible for writing a blog or vlog (video blog) once a week, posting to Twitter throughout the week and, later in the semester, hosting live Q-and-A chats. She also submits photos of UT campus life for use in the magazine as well as stories based on the issue’s theme.

She said the task has been a challenge as she writes honestly about her first-year experiences. While she might submit a page worth of commentary, only snippets are used.  She has posted a video on the Busch Gardens trip offered to UT freshmen in August, and written about the pros and cons of living in a single room on campus, a necessity for Rowland who was diagnosed with Cystic Fibrosis when she was 10 years old.

The Freshman 15, who hail from universities like Harvard University, Savannah College of Art and Design and Bucknell University, were introduced in the October issue and will be published through June.

“Before I had one person following my blog and they never commented,” said Rowland. “Now, it feels like there is a better likelihood that I’m being heard. I’m developing a love of writing as well, and am trying not to sound too cliché in my posts. It’s definitely a challenge.”

Writing for a major magazine will look great on Rowland’s resume, but it also is giving her lots of practice writing in this style.

“I think it has helped me get a boost on my studies here at UT,” said Rowland, a communication major who is now considering a minor in journalism.


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