The New York Arts Program has flown by like a whirlwind. This whole experience felt like just a couple of weeks even though it was four months of living in the city. From the slightly chaotic start of figuring out my new life to settling into the city culture, NY has equipped me with new tools and perspectives. Below I wanted to share two main takeaways from my experience in NY, and its impact on me.
LEARNING TO TAKE INITIATIVE
Over the past few months, I had the opportunity to make many new relationships and get to know some great individuals. Although this added a lot to my experience there, it also pushed me out of my comfort zone. As I began reaching out to small groups from different churches and meeting up with people for coffee or outings, I constantly found myself in spaces where I didn’t know anyone and had to initiate relationships. These moments pushed me to adapt, and live beyond my feelings of doubt and nervousness. Of course, I wasn’t always successful in that and failed many times, but each moment was one that has shaped me to become more confident when venturing out of my comfort zone.
Doing these things showed me how rewarding the other side of fear can be but also how to pick myself back up when things dont turn out the way I expect.
Pushing myself to initiate new relationships outside my usual friend group has grown my confidence and independence in creating community around me. It has given me the tools to face similar situations in the future, and has taught me how to be comfortable with the uncomfortable.
LEARNING TO ENJOY MY OWN COMPANY
The first few weeks in NY, my mind was occupied with being in a hurry to create a community in the city and make new memories with friends; spending time alone was definitely not on my radar. But as soon as everyone slipped into their daily schedules, I found myself with a lot of time on my hands. Seeing this rare opportunity, I decided to try to go on small adventures on my own. This mostly consisted of long walks in central park, window shopping, and exploring more of NY. Although these things are simple, they created a space where I could begin to grow the relationship I have with myself, and learn to enjoy my own company.
Doing this showed me how easy it is to forget to steward the relationship I have with myself and get caught up in other relationships around me. But by setting aside time to spend alone, I learned that the time I invest for myself is just as valuable as the time and energy I pour into others.