Impact

A strong, confident effort: Alumna's first book helps others and the author, too

Alumna Kelsey Buckholtz published her first book, designed to help women learn to “love themselves again and start living a more authentic, happy life.” Credit: Photo ProvidedAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — After spending most of her life working to please others, performing almost, as she sought perfection, Penn State alumna Kelsey Bukholtz stepped off that never-ending treadmill.

She published her first book, and that accomplishment was the key to breaking free from a cycle she believes pressures women to “do it all” and be all things to all people.

Credit: Image ProvidedAll Rights Reserved.

“Once I broke free from the cycle, I realized the women around me were struggling, too,” Buckholtz said.

Inside the book — “Strong Calm Confident You” — she shares personal stories, detailed exercises and journal prompts designed to help women learn to “love themselves again and start living a more authentic, happy life.”

For Buckholtz, who earned her bachelor’s degree in advertising/public relations in 2012 and works as a senior manager, product communication, for the Janssen Pharmaceutical Companies of Johnson & Johnson in New Jersey, working from home during the pandemic provided a necessary schedule and structural change that allowed the book to become a reality.

Still, it was not simply a matter of having more time in the mornings before work to put her thoughts on paper.

She had personal hurdles to overcome, including a lifelong battle with anxiety (she was diagnosed in her mid-20s). Plus, her ingrained perfection and planning traits nudged her to hire a writing coach to help ensure success with the project.

As Buckholtz prepared and started, she also confirmed something she already knew — she was not alone.

“Women around me were complaining about many of the same things,” she said. “For me, my job and relationship were great and I should’ve been happy but it felt like I was on a hamster wheel. I was never really happy.”

Buckholtz had always wanted to write a book, although potential topics had changed through the years. This one felt like the right one at the right time, and she consciously worked hard to celebrate milestones in the process — from daily word counts at first to chapter completions and, most recently, the book’s completion.

Her success provided affirmation that helped offset her concerns.

“I was really, really nervous about people at work seeing the book, for example — because you try to put on this face of confidence and you don’t want anyone to see your weaknesses,” Buckholtz said. “Every time I shared though, I felt good about it. I never regretted telling anyone about the book or my anxiety.”

She has no regrets about enjoying the book’s completion, and she maintains a website (www.strongcalmkelsey.com) as well as a presences on Facebook and Instagram.

“I’m allowing myself to enjoy this book and I’m exploring and I’m open to what’s next,” she said. “A big goal was just getting it out there to help other women. That’s a goal achieved.”

The views expressed in this article are Buckholtz's personal views and are not reflective of her employer. 

Last Updated June 02, 2021