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Instagram Influencer Jomely Breton on College, Inspiration, and Achieving Your Dreams
In our new podcast called Student Influencers, we interview current and former university and college students about their lives during and post-graduation. We speak with students from across the world who have created a side-hustle working as social media influencers while attending classes and achieving their dreams. On the first episode of Student Influencers, we had the opportunity to speak with an inspiring young woman who has a penchant for planning, a passion for photography, and a desire to make the world a better place.
Believe You Can and You’re Halfway There
“Believe you can and you’re halfway there.” – Theodore Roosevelt
These words frame Jomely Breton’s high school yearbook picture, and she continues to live by them two years later. Throughout her life, she has believed in herself, and it shows. She is a young, vibrant woman on a mission to achieve her goals and to inspire everyone around her to do the same. When I spoke with her on the phone, her upbeat energy was contagious, and I left the call with a renewed sense of empowerment.
Jomely describes her life as a ‘long story’ despite her age. Though I got the sense that she had experienced some difficulties in her life, her positivity was unwavering. When I asked about her life story, she said, “I was a little girl in a foreign country with big dreams that never gave up. To this day that little girl has accomplished all of her goals, and there are many other goals she hopes to achieve. She believes she can do it.”
In her young life, Jomely has moved around many times. She grew up in the Dominican Republic and moved to the United States when she was 11 years old. Following some time in NYC, Jomely completed her high school years in Boston, Massachusetts. Now, she attends college in Florida at the University of Tampa. She cites two of the primary reasons for choosing U of T as the warm weather and their prestigious business program.
Achieving Dreams Through Practical Means
Jomely is not just an inspiring woman; she is also high achieving and intelligent. So far she has reached her goal of getting straight A’s in all her courses in her junior year as a marketing major. Jomely’s success is partly due to her strict study schedule and the lessons she’s learned along the way as a student. Jomely says that she lives by a “planner, calendar, and alerts.” She even has her friends send an electronic invitation to spend time with her so that she can maximize downtime while maintaining productivity on days where school is the priority. She tells me that she learned to time manage so well because she quickly realized that procrastination would not get her anywhere. Jomely reminds other students, “One thing is: do the homework before it piles up. Don’t procrastinate, do your homework because you’re going to end up with no sleep, bags under your eyes, and a lot of caffeine in your system if you don’t.”
When she isn’t spending scheduled time with friends, or studying in advance for upcoming tests, Jomely can be found providing support for students on campus as a Resident’s Assistant. Jomely takes pride in being able to share her experiences and be a supportive person for new students. For someone who once considered themselves an introvert, Jomely has developed her extroverted side and now finds strength in being there for others. “I consider myself an extrovert now. I love making connections. I go up to strangers. If I see somebody walking around with a camera or talking about photography, if I see someone with a specific book, I ask about it. If I’m sitting in a coffee shop and I see you struggling with homework, I ask: do you need help?”
Using an Instagram to Inspire
Jomely extends her warmth and caring personality in the online world as well through her Instagram account which she has grown to 19.2K followers from around the world. She developed her interest in social media through her passion for modeling and photography,
“That’s how it all got started, I was having fun with my camera, and then a local brand reached out to me while I was walking in the park. They asked me to do a photo shoot, and that’s how the whole Instagram modeling kind of started for me.”
When she first began modeling online, she did not consider herself an influencer, however, now Jomely recognizes that she can use her platform for social change by creating connections with others. While her account once focused primarily on fashion and clothing, Jomely has shifted her focus towards socially relevant content. She fuels important discussions for young women related to scars on her body. After posting an image about her scars, Jomely says many people reached out to her saying they had a similar experience. As a woman of color, Jomely has naturally curly, textured hair. She wears her hair naturally intentionally because she knows she has an influence. She hopes to demonstrate the beauty of natural hair and empower other women of color to embrace their appearance.
A Favorite College Memory: Red Bull Can You Make It
Jomely did not disappoint when asked to share one of her favorite memories from college so far.
“My favorite memory in college was when I had the opportunity to go to Europe for a full week to compete with other college students.”
Jomely had the chance to participate in an incredible backpacking trip hosted by Red Bull called Red Bull Can You Make It. The contest aimed to team up with other college students to navigate a series of challenges without the use of phones or cash. Cans of Red Bull were the only form of currency the teams were permitted to use to secure everything from lodging to transportation and food. After winning a local contest, Jomely’s group, Young Dreamerz, went on to compete with teams of young people from across the world. She calls the experience, “humbling” as she said it taught her to use her skills and the power of story to navigate the challenges. She says that she feels her team was effective because they were able to put all their skills together. They even managed to stay a few nights in 5-Star hotels!
College is a Learning Experience
Jomely is conscious that life is a learning process. She sees the bigger picture when it comes to college and suggests that it is an opportunity for learning and growth. She tells other students to enjoy their time in college, “I highly recommend enjoying the little things. Enjoy every moment, enjoy all the friends you make because college only happens for four years. For a lot of people just once. It’s a once in a lifetime experience.” Jomely’s enthusiasm can only truly be captured in audio format, so if you’re interested in hearing her speak about her journey, make sure to check out our podcast here on Anchor.
Like Jomely, we truly feel that university is an experience, a part of life’s journey that can teach you about yourself and give your life meaning. We believe that storytelling is a means to help like-minded people to connect across distance and difference. The conversation with Jomely was inspiring and uplifting, and just before we ended our talk, she offered her support to any students out there who are experiencing challenges of any kind. This is what we hope to do with this new podcast, Student Influencers. We will talk to successful student influencers who will tell their stories of struggle and triumph and then share these insights with you! To follow along please visit our Anchor site and stay tuned for future episodes.Share: