When I was nine years old we did a project in school where we filled out a real application to our dream college. At the time I chose Harvard (funny enough I would end up just across the river instead) because I really only knew that one and Stanford. Harvard seemed like an exciting far away place where I could do anything I wanted. A year later my favorite cousin at the time moved to New York City and my new dream college became NYU.
Fast forward a couple years to the end of middle school and my parents already in full college mode. They brought me to the Big Apple as a graduation gift and a way to motivate me to do well for the next four years. Before I knew it I was really applying for college, entering in real SAT scores (which I’m proud to say the ones I made up when I was nine were much lower) and almost a decade later NYU was still my number one school. I was set on busting out of my small town and into the big city.
After months of stressing out and rewriting my application, I got wait listed. Weeks later it felt like my dream had died in that email they sent telling me their final decision. I was rejected. Since then New York once again felt like a far away dream. I’ve had professors, parents, and friends give me all the same response when I say I want to move to New York; good luck trying to make it there. Of course that’s always followed up with an “I believe in you!” or “You’re great, so it’ll work out!” I can’t say I blame them for their reaction. But recently there’s a voice in the back of my mind telling me something different.
Maybe, New York isn’t the dream anymore.
I’ve spent the past four months living abroad in the beautiful (and very expensive) city of London where I tried my best to explore every market, cider brand and afternoon tea deal. I’ve traveled to fifteen different cities, ten different countries and learned how to pack for a weekend trip like a pro. I’ve seen the Stonehenge from less than ten feet away and climbed 500 steps for a view of Florence that made it look like it was a tiny model built for a snow globe. For the first time I was on my own creating whatever adventure it was I wanted. It felt like I had all of Europe in my hands and it was incredible.
Funny enough the only other experience I could remotely compare it to would be the first time I set foot in New York City when I was twelve. Being abroad gave me back that same wonder I felt about being somewhere new and busy with life. I thrive off the chaos of cities that hustles and bustles, where I can be anyone and no one all at once. For so long I’ve thought the next destination would be New York City but of course with graduation less than a year away, it’s no longer clear where my next adventure will lead.
Bloody hell and best wishes,