SDSU student freshens pages of Seventeen

by Stephanie Schauer

antonio zaragoza, photo editor
antonio zaragoza, photo editor

San Diego State freshman, Rebecca Romero, anticipated the start of a new chapter in her life: college. However, the exciting wake-up call she received during the summer from the New York City offices of the popular teen magazine, Seventeen, gave this new chapter an even more exciting introduction.

“I was waking up and then I (saw) a New York missed call number. I’m like ‘New York? Oh my gosh,’” Romero said.

Calling her a second time, a Seventeen intern delivered the exciting news: After two rounds of applications, which included a questionnaire to test her writing ability and a one-minute video to showcase her video skills, she was one of the 15 soon-to-be college freshmen chosen to serve on Seventeen’s Freshman 15 panel for this year’s academic school year.

“I have always been interested in journalism and Seventeen. I always secretly wanted an internship (there),” she said.

The Freshman 15 is not focused on the ins and outs of freshmen who gain an additional 15 pounds of happy-weight during their first year of college. Instead, it’s focused on a panel of 15 young women, documenting their first-year college experiences. Their sole responsibility is to detail everyday college life by either video or photo blogging on Seventeen’s website. This includes an occasional article in the magazine itself as well.

Soon after Romero heard the good news, she took her excitement to the great outdoors; one of her many passions. While setting out on a Jet Ski to have a little fun and enjoy the salty sea air, her moment of happiness came to a staggering halt. She broke her leg.

Despite what could have been a major setback, she remained strong and positive as she looked forward to a new beginning at her first-choice university, SDSU.

She bravely documented the adjustment from living at home in El Centro to being a college freshman with a broken leg and a power scooter, which she used to travel to and from classes.

Now, cast and scooter free, Romero is fulfilling her role as a Freshman 15 panelist, in which she is expected to post online once a week about a topic of her choice. However, the magazine likes to assign specific topics, primarily about college guys and relationships.

Recently single, this will be a relatively fresh perspective for her, although she has a lot to look forward to working on some of the magazine’s special assignments.

Romero recently went to Tempe, Ariz. for the Chegg Concert, where she interviewed MTV Video Music Awards Best New Artist nominee, Kreayshawn.

When choosing her own topic, she takes a thoughtful and heartfelt, yet spontaneous approach.

“(It’s) just something you see, something you are going through and you want to help people with,” she said.

Romero is working on a story for her blog about the recent campus protests regarding budget cuts and tuition hikes she noticed as she was walking on campus after class. She recorded video footage and talked to several people on the scene.

No matter the topic, Romero is happy to help others any way she can, especially with more serious topics, such as dating violence.

“It’s nice to know that I am helping someone too. I am saying be strong (to myself) but I am also telling it to other girls … ‘You are worth more than if someone treats you badly or does something (negative) to you,’” she said.

As for herself, she said she hopes this unique experience, which has helped her relate to other college females and hone her writing skills will prove to be valuable and lead to even better opportunities in the future.

As a hospitality and tourism management pre-major with an emphasis in meetings and events operations management, Romero plans to do it all. And her ambitions do not stop there.

“I want to do a lot of different things in life. I don’t just want to do one thing. If I want to do something in journalism or if I want to write, I’ll write too and do something else,” she said.

Through broken legs and heartache, Romero’s firm belief in the saying “everything happens for a reason” promises a fresh perspective.