Pick Up Your Pen


She called me into her office after English 101. My adjunct professor taught in the Psychology department, but was assigned a freshman writing seminar and I numbly sat in a desk on the first day. I dreamed of being an English major, but as weeks turned into months, I felt myself becoming a shell of the writer I imagined I’d become. Desperate for an A in the class, I wrote my midterm paper two weeks early and submitted it for an early critique so I could make changes before the official deadline.

I pulled up an orange chair to her desk and saw red ink. Everywhere. Her notes filled the margins and I dreaded the oncoming conversation. She asked if I was a first generation college student…if I had taken proper english courses in high school…if my parents were immigrants. I silently nodded. She said she suspected as much and went on to say I’d have a hard time majoring in English because, well, writing seems to be difficult for you, Jasmine.

The weight of her words crushed me.

At the end of the semester, I decided to major in Business Administration and never took another writing course because I believed writing was difficult for me. I believed her red ink.

There are days when her words haunt me, but I decided to share my stories online (typos, errors, and made up words included) that later opened doors for me to publish EXPOSED Magazine. Yes, this first-generation college student and daughter of immigrants wrote a book about photography. Boom.

I’m thankful for every experience, especially this one. My professor said I couldn’t do something and I believed her. And there might be people who say you can’t do something. Well, you can choose to believe them and waste years of your life and talent on mere suspicion. A hypothesis. Or you can pick up your pen and write. Your camera and shoot. Your bike and ride. Your voice and sing.

You hold the proverbial pen…make mistakes, struggle, and write. Your story is waiting to be told.

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  1. yadira richards

    December 28th, 2011 at 2:32 pm

    Boo ya in her face :)!!! We love you Jasmine, gramatical errors and all!!

  2. jessica vidmar photography

    December 28th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    Thanks for the encouragement Jasmine…you are awesome!

  3. Terri

    December 28th, 2011 at 2:34 pm

    I’ve been following your blog for so long, but have never commented until now. I’m disgusted by this professor’s actions. It’s sad how those words could potentially crush someone’s dream. I’m SO glad you rose above that. You are amazing and inspiring! Keep those made up words coming! 🙂

  4. vera

    December 28th, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    thank you Jasmine!!! you are sunch an encouragement!!!

  5. JENN

    December 28th, 2011 at 2:58 pm

    Much needed read today. Thank you.

  6. Lance B.

    December 28th, 2011 at 3:05 pm

    A person once said to me that they didn’t care if some people like me or connect with me because that’s ok. Either I’m going to attract or repeal someone but I’m fine with that.

    You have to be the most creative writers and your blog is one of my favorite blogs to read. Your story telling abilities are amazing. I told you that you should sell all of your camera equipment and give it all up because … Girl… you can write.

    We are all influenced by what people. You have a gift to write. Don’t let anyone ever say that you can’t.

    BTW, the person who told me about attracting and repealing, was YOU.

  7. jae

    December 28th, 2011 at 3:38 pm

    oh boy, i love when teachers put people down instead of helping them out. it incenses me to no end! i love that you proved that teacher wrong – you are inspirational and AWESOME and that’s what counts. keep writing with that proverbial pen!!!

  8. aurelia

    December 28th, 2011 at 3:52 pm

    The same thing happens to me. My art teacher said to me when I was 15 years old that I was to shy to become a lawyer and I did believed her. Now I regret I should have tried.

  9. Nancy

    December 28th, 2011 at 3:56 pm


  10. Claire Garrett

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:01 pm

    Bet she’s spewin now 😉 Good on you Jasmine x

  11. Nicky Chadwick-Buckley

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    Great article Jasmine – very true, all too often people are quick to tell us what we can’t do – and we are quick to believe them – it took me 10 years to follow my dream – and now after several successful years photographing weddings – all I can say is why did I wait so long? 🙂

  12. Eileen

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:04 pm

    Ahhhhh if she could only see you now!

  13. Jessi D

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Going to put on my shoes and run today. Maybe next I’ll spread my wings and fly. <3

  14. Crys Perkins

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Thank you for your transparency. You are an incredible inspiration to many. Congratulations on overcoming…and please keep it coming 🙂

  15. Taryn

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:07 pm

    LOVE THIS!!!

  16. tori

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    I hope you sent her a copy, Jasmine! Not out of spite, but as a thank you for the encouragement (albeit a bit backwards). I hope for her that she found the courage to have even 1/1000th the determination you have and share on a daily basis to help others in a very positive way. Her impact could be so much different!

  17. Monica

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    If I read this enough, maybe it will break down the wall of "no" and "can’t" and "not good enough." I, for one, love your words.

  18. Catie

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    I have the same problem, but in my math classes right now. No matter how much I study, how many sessions of tutoring I attend a week, and how many times I stare at each annoying little flash card so that the concept is burned into my brain. Last semester my math professor wrote on my test "You have made this somewhat of a joke!"….not gonna lie, I cried lol.

  19. Jessica Williams

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:10 pm

    Wow! Great post and very encouraging! You’re doing amazing things and inspiring so many. Thanks for continuing to encourage us all to reach for our dreams! xo

  20. Alexis

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    beautiful post J*!

    Thanks for sharing your story and speaking truth into the situations in life that can make or break you (such as a person in power, in your case- a professor-trying to kill your dreams).

    I’m glad you didn’t listen to the negativity and chose to pursue your dreams anyway!

    Clearly you were born for this! 😉

  21. s. fierce

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    I too was told I wasn’t a writer and have believed this for many years. It’s why I don’t blog.
    I am a loyal fan of yours because I think you are an amazing writer. Thanks for sharing all your "typos, errors, and made up words"! 🙂

  22. Gloria

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:11 pm

    Wow! Beautiful story, Jasmine. Just beautiful..

  23. Bekah Powell

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:12 pm

    I have loved reading your blogs and EXPOSED. You write beautiful descriptions with such honesty and passion.Thank you for reminding all of us that *she believed she could so she did* I am personally glad you believe. . . and write about it!

  24. Brenda Perez

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    THis is such a fantastic story. I certainly am thankful that you didn’t gave up. I Enjoy your blogs everyday. You are and outstanding inspiration to many of us, Specially ME!

  25. Ashley Terry

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:15 pm

    Jasmine, you’re so much more than a photographer (as if that isn’t fabulous enough). You’re a friend, a teacher, and a mentor to so many of us whom you have never met. Thank you for always saying what I always seem to need to hear. Headed to WPPI in February for the first time because I’m telling myself I CAN do this. Hoping I get to meet you there; it’ll be a dream come true.

  26. April

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    Thank you for this. Really. Thank you.

  27. Kristin

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:17 pm

    Once again, such an inspiration! F-up is always finding it’s way across my brain, my dreams, my life but I know that that is not what my God says about me and it is once again that He reminds me of that. You’re only a failure when you quite. Thank you for being such a beautiful woman!!!

  28. Bernadine

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:19 pm

    I’m a long time lurker but first time commenter. Thank you so much for sharing this. It’s just the encouragement I needed today. I’m glad you didn’t believe the red ink or let it stop you.

  29. Robert

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:22 pm

    Great story! Don’t quit on your dreams…ever.

  30. Stephanie

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I’m a first-generation college grad, too, and senior partners at my law firm come to me to edit their writing. That red ink only has the power you give to it. I’m glad you decided not to let it control your writing dreams.

  31. Adriana Morett

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:24 pm

    I don’t think I could love this blog any more… or love YOUR WRITING any more. THANK YOU for picking up your laptop and writing, every day, with made up words and all. Please never stop.

  32. Life with Kaishon

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:29 pm

    Can you look her up and send her a link to this post? : )

  33. Stacey - Total City Girl

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:36 pm

    Wow – teachers can be so cruel but I don’t even think they realize what they are doing. Did you send her a copy of your magazine?? 🙂

  34. ronnie

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:38 pm

    Wow! These type of comments made by this teacher p*** me off! But it was good you studied business since you obviously have writing talent and a business background helps you launch it!

  35. Darrel

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:43 pm

    "Others say you can’t, but you try, and find you can.
    -Henry David Thoreau

  36. Aisha Mujib Khan

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:46 pm

    I just saw this video before reading your post. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7X38PCf7kao To me, they are saying the same thing. I thought you would enjoy it.

  37. April Cenora

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:54 pm

    What a beautiful story. Thank you for always being so open about your life and struggles.

  38. Casey

    December 28th, 2011 at 4:56 pm

    I am JEALOUS of your writing! Sometimes…I have to use a thesaurus when I read your blog, lol. Makes me so envious! Thanks for taking the time to write this!

  39. Kayla Whittinghill

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:13 pm

    J* – (That’s how me and my friend always refer to you…as If you’re our other bff.) I never have commented on your blog before, but I’ve been reading it since about 2009 probably. Just last week my friend mailed me her copy of "exposed" and I haven’t been able to put it down. I have looked up to you and admired your work so much, and your magazine has been so encouraging because I realized that you started out just like I am. I read the part about when you first got your camera and walked into the room and told my husband, "J* didn’t even know how to use a digital camera when she first got one!!" I have been so inspired by your honesty and drive and it makes me want to learn all I can and be the best I can be. Thanks so much.

  40. Stacey

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:15 pm

    Sooo needed to hear this. I got my first ‘your blog makes a bad first impression because of your grammar. You sound un-professional’. I almost let them define me. I almost took down my blog. I almost let a part of me die because of one person. One comment. Not gonna lie, I spent a few days in bed over it and shed a few tears but getting past the fear and not letting someone define you or your life is so important. When I blog posted about the incident the loyal readers and fans rallied around me. Thank you Jasmine for keeping it REAL. For not just sharing your highs, but also sharing your lows.

  41. Craig Stilson

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Your work and your words are inspiring!

  42. Krysta

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    Aww. I love you, Jas. You’re awesome!

  43. Stephanie Stewart

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:28 pm

    I’m sitting here cheering at this post! Just what I needed to hear today! Thank you!

  44. Christa

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Boom! Love it 🙂

  45. Stephanie

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:36 pm

    I’m so happy that you chose to not believe her – it may have taken a while but you rose above it. Yours is a beautiful story of inspiration. Thanks for sharing. All the best in the New Year to you, JD, Polo, and all you hold dear.

  46. susan

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    English Major vs Photographer hmm i think it worked out okay 🙂


    December 28th, 2011 at 5:52 pm

    I am a teacher. I will never tell a student that they can not achieve their dreams. Furthermore.. I tell them they better pick me up in their limos and take me out to lunch… (And yes…it already happened.) Love you Jasmine! Thank you for the inspiration.

  48. Elizabeth

    December 28th, 2011 at 5:55 pm

    thank you for this post!!! you are so inspiring!!!!

  49. Jana Long

    December 28th, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    Are you kidding me?! I LOVE your writing, every blog post, every status update via fb/twitter, every gramatical error, typo, and made up word! Yours words make me 🙂
    This is so encouraging! Thank you for sharing your heart! I was told I can’t be a photographer and run a business because I’m a single mom of three, and it would be too hard. Well, I’m glad that I stuck to it!!!! xoxo

  50. Becca Lund

    December 28th, 2011 at 6:14 pm

    Jasmine, I’ve never commented on your blog before, since you’re famous and intimidating and whatnot… but you are inspiring! And amazing! And I think you’re an amazing writer! (but then again, I do start my sentences with "and" — I think that is a no-no) Love.

  51. Abby

    December 28th, 2011 at 6:27 pm

    Jasmine, you inspire me…you have for a long time through your blog and what you write. Thank you. Thank you for saying NO to what others say is impossible.

  52. Ashley Goodwin

    December 28th, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    Well THAT TEACHER MUST NOT BE ABLE TO READ because you’re an amazing writer. Xo

  53. Tanja

    December 28th, 2011 at 6:55 pm

    It is all about what your message is, right? Grammar is nice, but people should forgive a few flaws here and there. 🙂 I am not a native English speaking person, but I will try and keep writing…
    Thank you for sharing! I love your blog and what you have to say. 🙂

  54. Stephanie

    December 28th, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Sometimes, God asks us to do things for different reasons, but I’m convinced that your transparency, though difficult to maintain, has encouraged so many others to follow their dreams. 🙂 You keep shining, girl.

  55. carmen

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:17 pm

    I think u r amazing! I’m super interested in subscribing to your magazine – can u tell me how to go about doing that? I thiink you are doing what u were meant to do – and with your personality amd ambition you will be able to do whatever else your heart desires! You have been such an inspiration to me! THANK YOU!

  56. Kate Douthwright

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:24 pm

    LOVE this! I think we’ve all been down that path before. I know I definitely have and I’m trying to weed my way out. One blog post at a time, one client at a time, one doubt set aside at a time…

  57. sarah danaher

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    amen. thanks for writing, Jasmine.

  58. Brianna K

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:37 pm

    I need this right now. Feeling like I don’t know ONE thing about photography but I want to know EVERYTHING about photography. Hitting a lull and I have to believe I will bouce out of if with great energy to keep fightin forward! Thanks for your words!

  59. Brandi

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:40 pm

    Thank you so much for this post Jasmine! It’s just what I needed today. 🙂

  60. Renee

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:41 pm

    Thank you, Jasmine, for your honesty and for following your dreams. I can’t imagine that you even know how much you inspire so many people!!

  61. Mark Andrew

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:52 pm

    I grew up in rural Maine and my dad was the first person to ever go to college. He became a teacher and a high school principal. One of the best lessons he taught me is the "mental middle finger" and to imagine myself giving it to anyone who tells me I can’t do anything and to then go work my butt off to prove to myself more than that person that I CAN do it. (and a little so I can tell that person I told you so)

  62. emily

    December 28th, 2011 at 7:58 pm

    i was in the same boat my first semester of college, having a professor asking me how i even managed to pass high school english. so very glad i didn’t let that professor run my life – or convince me to drop out of the class. SUPER glad you didn’t give up. EXPOSED is one of the best things I have read this year. Ranks right up there with Harry Potter 🙂

  63. Lucy Munoz

    December 28th, 2011 at 8:08 pm

    Jasmine I hope that people understand that lesson. Sometimes there is a gnawing that tells you it’s not over. My mom says that gnawing stays with you until you’re old. I don’t know about y’all, but I don’t want my insides gnawed at 😉

  64. Rob Cincinnati

    December 28th, 2011 at 8:40 pm

    J* you inspire me more than words can say. Thank you!
    Happy New Year!

  65. Mari

    December 28th, 2011 at 8:55 pm

    You go girl!!!

  66. Renee

    December 28th, 2011 at 9:05 pm

    Send her a copy. Autographed. In red ink. 😉

  67. Amy Jo

    December 28th, 2011 at 9:14 pm

    My husband had an art teacher who told him to stop drawing houses. When he was thinking of studying architecture I know he thought about that. I love this message, especially when I think about picking up the pen and writing, and picking up the camera and shooting. Thanks Jasmine!

  68. Annetta

    December 28th, 2011 at 9:26 pm

    I love your posts! You write like you talk. And I think you did a wonderful job on EXPOSED.

  69. Stacia

    December 28th, 2011 at 9:35 pm

    Love it!! I especially love anyone who uses the word "Boom" as it’s own sentence. Perfect!

    Congratulations on your book!

  70. Steffi

    December 28th, 2011 at 9:39 pm

    Thank you for that post. I had a quite similar experience at university and proofed my professor wrong too. But when it comes to photography I often doubt if I can make it. Its good to be reminded that you have to believe in yourself!

  71. Jamie

    December 28th, 2011 at 9:48 pm

    Ummmm…R U kidding me?? You… difficulty writing??? Wow, I just can’t believe how wrong she was…I’ve always thought you were so eloquent and succinct. Guess I wouldn’t have succeeded in her class either….
    I JUST finished reading EXPOSED…. I mean every. single. word… including credits! I can’t even begin to describe all the awesomeness contained on those pages!!!!!
    God truly given you many talents… photography, writing, authenticity and the ability to connect. Blessings on your family…

  72. Harris Shepherd

    December 28th, 2011 at 10:02 pm

    I’m no english major or professor but I think your an awesome writer and I always enjoy reading what you have to say on your blog.

  73. Shefali Lindsey

    December 28th, 2011 at 10:03 pm

    This is amazing. Seriously amazing. And, quite possibly one of my favorite posts! Thank you thank you thank you!

  74. gem

    December 28th, 2011 at 10:34 pm

    when they closed off all photography classes in a community college i was attending for "desgin" {i also have a BA and now have a MA} i was really frustrated..they were also dropping a lot of design courses…so i exclaimed, "well i guess i will go out in the world and get real experience"…the head of the photography department said, "good luck"…"hope your portfolio is smashing"…with a snide tone…and 2 weeks later i landed an internship for one of the most "acclaimed design firms in denver"…and only weeks later started working with a photographer charing 20,000 a wedding…the following year i laned 7 different destination weddings & shoots and now work for "MUWAH"…so i always encourage people to "FOLLOW YOUR HEART"…never let someone pave your path with "words"….YOU CREATE YOUR PATH…NO MATTER. GOOD ON YOU JASMINE..AND GOOD ON EVERYONE ELSE WHO LISTENS TO THEMSELVES…tenacity + passion = anything you visualize… happy new year and much love to anyone courageous enough to follow your dream…SEIZE YOUR WORTH…

  75. Karen

    December 28th, 2011 at 10:46 pm

    I just recently graduate from college with a degree in biology. Several advisers and professors told me I should change my major because I was having a difficult time doing well. I stuck with it, but I’m still unsure sometimes. Your blog definitely gives me the inspiration and encouragement to keep going (to med school, that is.).

  76. Teri Knowles

    December 28th, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I read your blog every day and never post. But I have to say, this is so good. So many of us believe the negative words spoken over us. It’s time to break those words off of us and fly. Good word, Jasmine!

  77. Cheryl

    December 28th, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    I, too, have followed your blog posts for over a year now and never commented. Until now. This was a beautifully written, heartfelt post that means a lot to me as a photographer. I actually did major in English in college, and I think your blog is wonderful. Oh, and I own a copy of EXPOSED…thank you for writing it all!

  78. Michael Fowler

    December 28th, 2011 at 11:33 pm

    I could not agree more with your post. Fundamentally a teacher at any level is there to make students better, not traumatized. So often professors see themselves the arbiters of power rather than education.

  79. Erin Oveis Brant

    December 28th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    A few weeks ago I would’ve read this, felt inspired, and moved on with my day. But our dear Tim King roped me into a blog challenge that has changed how I feel about this writing thing. I feel self-conscious, but I have stories that need to be told. I have a love/hate relationship with writing, but the love wins over a little more of the hate each day. Thank you for this post. We have the power to define what we become, if only we can look past how others perceive us…

  80. Wedding Photography Melbourne

    December 28th, 2011 at 11:51 pm

    You have to believe in yourself! Easy to say, difficult to do sometimes.

  81. Jenika

    December 29th, 2011 at 12:13 am

    It’s incredible what a few damaging words from a perceived authority figure can do. My husband was told he wouldn’t make it as an undergraduate music major. Today? He holds a doctorate in music, is a published composer, and a university professor. In MUSIC. Bam, baby. You are an outstanding writer. Please keep lighting up my Google Reader with your words and life. xoxo Jenika

  82. Cezanne

    December 29th, 2011 at 1:15 am

    Yes, Jasmine. It is because of your blog that I started mine. (It’s nothing about photography even though it does showcase a lot of pictures that my husband takes.) But I appreciate that you express your beautiful, honest, pure words about your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. Your words are you. Beautiful, honest and pure!

  83. Feather

    December 29th, 2011 at 1:20 am

    What do you do when the person with the red ink is you?

  84. Janel KG

    December 29th, 2011 at 1:31 am

    You go, girl!!! I love the way you tell YOUR story 🙂

  85. Marie Richards NZ

    December 29th, 2011 at 1:34 am

    Stunningly brilliant Jasmine. Many are the dream stealers in this world and how wonderful it is when we learn to dream and believe in ourselves once again. Thank you for today’s heartfelt post. Marie

  86. Tony Belmont

    December 29th, 2011 at 3:10 am

    If anyone should have known better than to say something like that, a professor who taught in the Psychology department should have. How much better if she had just added, "but I have no doubt that if you dedicate yourself to this, you will excel." As you most definitely have. I am so glad you overcame that person’s comments, and from what I read here, I imagine a few thousand others are happy as well. That you were Exposed to that, and Excelled, is Fabulous!!!!!!

  87. Haley Johnston

    December 29th, 2011 at 3:15 am

    The way you share you experiences and struggles is something that I love. It just shows that life hasn’t always been perfect and you have struggled like the rest of us! Thank you for inspiring me! 🙂

  88. Amanda Key

    December 29th, 2011 at 3:34 am

    You’re an amazing writer!

    I think you would love to know that I don’t grade my students papers with a red pen — purple, green, etc.

  89. *S*

    December 29th, 2011 at 3:37 am

    I love the way you write. I love the way you can feel your personality jump out of the words. I look at a lot of blogs, but I will sit and read yours. Thank you for all your inspiration and encouragement.

  90. Joni- Denver Wedding Photographer

    December 29th, 2011 at 4:26 am

    Wow, thanks for sharing your story. I’ve definitely let the words of others change what I thought I could do with myself. At least you kept writing! Congratulations on the book.

  91. Megan Alvarez

    December 29th, 2011 at 4:42 am

    Shut the front door! I think this post was written just for me. Seriously. I am a photographer and also a high school English teacher. I’m not kidding when I tell you that I have actually used your writing as examples for my students, especially when I try to encourage them to take risks and embrace their own unique voice as you do so eloquently. You got mad skills, woman! Ironically, this is something that I and so many others struggle with constantly in writing. But all there is to do is continually pick up the pen, dive in, swim around with words, and see what happens. The best stuff is in the risks, in writing, in photography, and in life. Thank you for this post today. It made my evening. Cheers! =)

  92. Jill Samter Photography

    December 29th, 2011 at 4:50 am

    AMEN! these are the words we tell all of our children – especially those who were adopted. You are more than what anyone has ever told you – more than you can ever imagine – it is up to you to believe that and become what God created you to be! Keep pressing on and in Jasmine – it looks good on you!
    xoxo Jill

  93. Aimee

    December 29th, 2011 at 4:50 am

    Kind of makes you think she needed her head checked! (Awe, couldn’t help it!) My first papers in the weed out classes as an English major were filled with red as well. I still remember dreading my TA – Rebecca Leaper – and her red pen! But, in the end, she kicked out butts into gear and didn’t kill our desire to be English majors. I’m glad you came around to one of your true talents! Good for you!

  94. ashley barnett

    December 29th, 2011 at 5:30 am

    You should send her one of your magazines and say thanks pushing me to prove you wrong 🙂 You’re an amazing writer, and your typos and made up words make you YOU, which is the best part of all!

  95. Amanda Couch

    December 29th, 2011 at 5:37 am

    As a teacher it makes me so sad to hear the first part of your story. There is being realistic with students bu there is also a responsibility to teach. I LOVE your posts because of the way you write and I often find myself wishing I could as good at it you! That teacher was crazy and I am so glad you did not really listen to her. You are a wonderful writer.

  96. Carmen Whittaker

    December 29th, 2011 at 7:47 am

    Your words brought tears to my eyes. We and our children of immigrants have belived so many pypothesis. Love your photography but love your writings just as much.

  97. Irene

    December 29th, 2011 at 8:07 am

    Jasmine, thank you for sharing your struggles, your heart, your comedy,
    and your encouragement. God is so good. I see how He has blessed your life. May you and Jd continue to achieve your dreams and have an awesome New Year!!!!!!

  98. Kym

    December 29th, 2011 at 8:18 am

    Tom Cruise had a great line in the movie "Cocktail" – he was sitting in a college class where the professor was berating his business idea/plan. Cruise’s character says – "those who dream, do and those who can’t hack it in the real world, teach here."

  99. Jaye Cole

    December 29th, 2011 at 8:39 am

    I think this story is such an important lesson about why it is soooo important to be kind to new photographers who are just entering the business. It is far too easy to scoff, nit pick, complain about recessions and moan about flooded markets. It is much harder to encourage, guide and teach.

  100. Gino DeMaio

    December 29th, 2011 at 9:44 am

    It’s not what happens that matters, it’s what you do that really matters. Thank’s for not giving up Jasmine!

  101. Nicole Evans

    December 29th, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Ditto on Megan Alvarez! I, too, am a high school English teacher/photographer and definitely echo her sentiments, especially the "mad skills" part. I also have used your writing as examples for my students which has really helped them find and use their own voices. Keep doing YOU because it’s, well, FABULOUS!

  102. Susan Evans

    December 29th, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    That is very sad, but I’m so glad you didn’t believe her. Some teachers have no idea the impact their words can have on a student. I was a day-dreamer as a kid (ok, probably still am) and I will never forget my school’s open house in 3rd grade when my teacher told my mom (with me standing there) "sometimes we have to light a firecracker under Susan’s chair". I was so hurt and humiliated. Your writing is much more fun to read than some stuffy, proper-English article. Obviously TONS of others agree!

  103. Susan Evans

    December 29th, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Sorry, I just had to leave a 2nd comment…have you ever read "Breaking Night" by Liz Murray. She went from being a homeless daughter of drug-addicted parents to a Harvard grad. There was also a movie based on her story called "Homeless to Harvard". You should totally read it if you haven’t!!! Talk about overcoming life’s obstacles!

  104. Rick

    December 29th, 2011 at 2:37 pm

    An inspirational post thank you for sharing. Your words have life and people relate to them.

  105. Gail

    December 29th, 2011 at 2:42 pm

    I love this for so many reasons but No. 1 is how proud of you I am. Mwwahhh! 🙂

  106. Amy

    December 29th, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    I think you should send that professor a copy of Exposed and put a note (in red pen) that says "BOOM"!

  107. Tiffany Angulo

    December 29th, 2011 at 4:39 pm

    Oh how you your words inspire me so! Haters gonna hate..haha. Like you said, fortunately YOU get to write your own story…others don’t get to write if for you=)

  108. Whitney (Utah)

    December 29th, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Thank you for giving this kind of encouragement. I’ve always hated my writing, so I had my husband write my blog. But this is the perfect kick in the pants to get me going. I’ve now written 4 of the blog posts and feel like my readers can actually get to know me. I have something to say and I am good enough.

  109. Tina

    December 29th, 2011 at 5:29 pm

    Just finished reading your magazine and now this post. As always, you are such an encourager. I believe that is one of your "spiritual gifts":) Thanks for sharing and showing us just what can be done with our lives if we set our minds to it!

  110. LEOLAK

    December 29th, 2011 at 6:33 pm

    FANTASTIC!!!! I connect with this big time..I can’t even put all the thoughts and specifics into words it’s hitting me that much right now, but I can say I also overcame a lot of negative things said to me as a child (and even today as an adult – will some ever get it?). Great to see you stand proud of how far you’ve come….and I’m soooo grateful to read your wonderful words every day. Talk about success being the greatest revenge! Boom indeed J*! =)

  111. Tarah

    December 29th, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    Chills. Thank you Jasmine for being so refreshingly honest. And thank you for taking risks.

  112. Laura Collins

    December 29th, 2011 at 8:00 pm

    Wow!……Inspired as always.

  113. Tiffany

    December 29th, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    Thanks for this Jasmine. I definitley have had a moment like this too but not about writing… I was in high school AP painting class and I told my teacher I was thinking about being an art major in college. He said maybe I should think about my other options because being an art major is difficult. Pshh… so glad I didn’t listen to him! I was a studio art major with a 3.8 GPA and now I have my own photog business!! Take that silly dream-smaching teachers! WHy to go on your magazing Jas!! I don’t have a copy yet, but from what I’ve seen… you knocked it out of the park!! So proud of you and how far you have come! Yo go girl!

  114. Michelle Feeney

    December 29th, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    🙂 As always, thank you!

  115. Kevin

    December 30th, 2011 at 5:16 am

    No better fuel for success than those that tell you you can’t do something. I heard something similar in law school from an adjunct proffessor who never practiced law in his life. I currently have what I consider to be a successful law practice and my wife and I are working hard on the photography business. Like they say in a favorite movie of mine (Back to the Future), If you put your mind to it, you can accomplish anything! Thank you Jasmine for being so honest and awesome! Your writing encourages so many people to succeed in life!

  116. Jenn

    December 30th, 2011 at 6:20 am

    I am an English major and can honestly say that your writing is phenomenal. You are witty, engaging and an excellent story teller. I love your honesty and transparency. Thank you for sharing.

  117. Anna

    December 30th, 2011 at 8:03 am

    This is so true. I was told this many times when I was younger so I held back when I should have taken the plunge. It’s only now that I’m realising that it may take some effort and a bit of hard work but nothing is out of reach!

  118. Eddie Sanchez

    December 30th, 2011 at 3:26 pm

    deep. real deep.

  119. Christna Juleson

    December 30th, 2011 at 5:59 pm

    Dang it Jasmine! Did you major in "Inspiring People"? Golly, I’m sitting here crying AGAIN. U – R – so RIGHT!

  120. Belinda

    December 30th, 2011 at 6:55 pm


  121. Mireya

    December 30th, 2011 at 11:53 pm

    You almost make me cry and I am not even in my sensitive days. Just like that you take me and others I am sure from laughter to inspiration and awe (and maybe a little bit of the good kind of envy because you are soo AWESOME :P). Thank you for the encouragement even though it wasn’t specifically written for me 🙂

  122. Jessica Becklenberg

    January 1st, 2012 at 5:44 pm


    I want to thank you for your encouragement to all of followers. When I start to get down on myself, then comes a post like this from you. THANK YOU! You inspire me to become a better photographer even though I have some obstacles in my way. Have a great 2012, you deserve it.

  123. Myla Gonzalez

    January 1st, 2012 at 9:08 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing! That is really inspirational 🙂

  124. Tricia

    January 2nd, 2012 at 2:04 am

    That sounds like a perfect motto for 2012! Thank you Jasmine for this wonderful blog filled with great wisdom and funny stories! I just wish I knew you IRL.

  125. ali

    January 2nd, 2012 at 2:18 am

    I’m so angry that that professor treated you like that! Thank you so much for picking up your pen and inspiring and educating us every day.

  126. Oksana Schippers

    January 2nd, 2012 at 1:25 pm

    Hi Jasmine, you are such an inspiration! I know exactly how it feels, every word of it, that r-e-d on my paper… saying I can’t learn any foreign language and yet I somehow write in English, Dutch and Russian about things I love: weddings, film and photography and Life…
    I guess we all need that first, others tell us what we can’t do, that’s the whole little secret to success.
    Lots of love,

  127. Anthony Brown

    January 2nd, 2012 at 8:20 pm

    Thanks for posting this story. I can’t place in words how much it means to me to read it. I have simular stories and it’s good to know that even though haters are out there angels are also.

  128. Elise

    January 3rd, 2012 at 2:17 am

    Thanks so much for posting this.
    I am all tears after reading this. I have failed so many times and faced so much rejection in trying to reach my goals over the past few months. I have hope and determination after reading this.

  129. Cyndi

    January 3rd, 2012 at 5:00 am

    I am one of many comments to this, and you’ll probably never read this, but WOW! Thanks for this post. It really hit home for me. Maybe one day I’ll get a chance to tell you how you have impacted my dream of photography. God Bless you and yours, Jasmine! Rock on with your bad self!

  130. Jessica

    January 4th, 2012 at 3:55 am

    Ha! Did you send that professor a signed copy? Perhaps your writing isn’t always grammatically correct..but it’s real. It’s always real. And usually? The papers they make you write in college suck. Because they are NOT real, but staged and dry. Love this post. I so needed to hear this today.

  131. James Lloyd

    January 4th, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    My final English report said "James has struggled with this subject and I can confidently say he will not have a profession involving the english language". Some years later I returned to the same school and the same teacher smugly asked: "So what what area did you eventually end up working as Mr Lloyd?" I replied "Publishing." Sometimes one word says it all.

  132. Meissa Trevino

    January 5th, 2012 at 7:36 am

    You are truly an inspiration!!! I needed to hear this today!!!

  133. Michelle Guzman

    January 7th, 2012 at 2:43 am

    Imagining college student Jasmine hearing this made me tear up. Wow, it’s funny to hear this story since your words and writing style are something that we all seem to REALLY admire about you. Thanks for being so inspiring and encouraging!

  134. Julie

    January 8th, 2012 at 11:48 pm

    Although I love photography, it was one of your writing posts that I viewed first!! It was so good I passed your post to my daughter….an english major!! Laughing! ;).

  135. Regina M. Foreman

    January 11th, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    I, too was told by a coach in college that didn’t have what it took to be on the team. Two years later, that very same coach presented me my MVP award.

    Don’t tell me I can’t do something because then it becomes my greatest challenge to prove you wrong!

  136. Brittney

    January 18th, 2012 at 4:24 am

    You have no idea how much I needed to read this today. Thank you. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m 23 and decided I wanted to be a photographer at 13. I started my business a few years ago and now I’m questioning everything. I’ve been using the proverbial red pen on myself. Maybe it isn’t time for me to give up. Maybe it is just time for me to struggle, to learn, and to push myself. I’ll be at WPPI, I think I need it more this year than ever. I’ll be in the audience for your class, I’m so looking forward to it. And thank you again for reminding me that it is ok to struggle.

  137. Tosha

    January 19th, 2012 at 1:22 am

    Thank you for this post today. You are awesomesauce. That is all. Carry on. xo

  138. Charlotte

    January 21st, 2012 at 1:21 am

    I’m definitely late to game reading this post and catching up on your blog, but I need to remember this one. I’ve been feeling stuck lately and the thought of photography keeps moving further and further from the front of my mind. Nevertheless, each time I read a post of yours – most recently, this one – I am reminded that I am the master of my destiny (corny!) and just need to put pen to paper to map out my goals, the steps to get there and the places I really want to go in my life. Our paths are similar (starting with the law route – I’m a paralegal – but craving a creative outlet) so I like to think that if you can do it, I can do it, too. I’ll definitely be bookmarking this one… if I can figure it out. Thanks, J*.

  139. Avaleen Morris

    January 25th, 2012 at 8:29 pm

    She couldn’t have been more WRONG! You’re a damn good writer if I may say so myself. Your writing style is so engaging, and I enjoy reading your writing. Yours is one of the few blogs I actually READ. You didn’t need her stupid class, I think you did great by picking up your pen and proving her wrong. I am an immigrant as well, and it makes me sooooo HOT when people throw around their pithy assumptions fueled by nothing but a bunch of sterotypes! Rock on girlfriend! Write on girlfriend! Thank you for picking up your pen and also for being an inspiration. I’m not a photographer and doubt I will ever be one, but I just love your work and I’m growing quite an admiration for your heart as well. Thanks!

  140. Hans

    January 26th, 2012 at 7:50 am

    Jasmin, your adjunct prof should look for another job. Especially teaching in the Psychology department, like you mentioned. Teachers are meant to lead and to help you to find your way, not to put you down. I’m glad that you picked up the pieces (in the end) and did what you actually liked to do :-).
    Besides, I see so often mistakes written in sentences by people who are U.S, citizens for many generations and not immigrants. So, don’t worry, be proud of what you achieved and go on with it 🙂
    BTW, I’m a ‘foreigner’ myself. Not even an immigrant. I lived and worked in the States for about a decade before my wife and I left, to live in Europe where I was born and raised.

  141. Angela Benavides

    January 26th, 2012 at 6:18 pm

    Wow! It is amazing how many so called "authorities" do this to kids/adults. My high school counselor said I should forget college because I wasn’t smart enough. No, I was just bored with that school. I now have my Masters in Business. And recently a co-worker told me I would never be a photographer. I will show him! Good for you for following your dreams! You are an inspiration to us all.

  142. Becky

    June 11th, 2012 at 6:41 pm

    I can’t stop reading your blogs because I think they are so informative and well written! This is probably one of my favorite posts, especially since I am a college student and getting ready to launch a side photography business. I love the fact that you go beyond photography….you inspire!