Deciding to spend a semester in New York was not an easy decision. I spent a lot of last semester stressing over it, in addition to all the regular stress of classes and homework. What I’m trying to say is, I spent a lot of time crying. I met with so many different people in the Hope Art Department trying to figure out a way to allow me to attend the New York Arts Program my senior year instead of this semester, and I’m so grateful for their help and their time spent, but I eventually just said “screw it.” I was worried about going this semester because I thought the craziness of COVID would be too overwhelming, in addition to moving to a new state for four months. Trying to rearrange my entire senior year schedule was just getting too complicated and I came to the realization that COVID will most likely still be here my senior year anyway. So, why not just pull the trigger? And that’s what I did. My parents and I packed up our SUV to the brim (literally we couldn’t see out the back window) and we drove 14 hours from Illinois to New York City.
Now, I’m someone that does not do very well with change at all. In fact, my mother told me this many times within the last week that I was home, specifically whenever I randomly burst into tears. At this point you might be asking yourself why someone who deals so terribly with change might decide to go to New York City for a semester, and that my dear friends is because I simply enjoy keeping myself on my toes. Why stay in your comfort zone where it’s safe and familiar and full of people who love and support you, when you can just dive head first into the terrifying real world, you know? I’m only kidding (not really), but let’s move on.
All this being said, I’ve been in New York for about 3 weeks now and it has been tough, I will not deny it. I had to spend my 21st birthday in quarantine. I miss my family and friends, my bed, and my dog, but what keeps me going are the moments when I’m walking around the city and it just hits me like a brick: I’m actually in New York City. I’m living in New York City.
I know it sounds cheesy and cliché, but I seriously get these moments where I realize where I am and what I’m doing. As an artist, this city is a dream come true and getting the chance to actually live here is insane. If I could live here for the rest of my life I would, but realistically I’m not sure if that’ll happen so I want to make this semester count. I want to fit in as much art seeing and sight seeing as possible while I’m here. I want to try so many different restaurants and coffee shops. I want to make new and lasting relationships, and I want to leave feeling like I did the best possible work at my internships. All the stress and tears that it took to get here is worth it because for the next 4 months, I’m a New Yorker, baby!