All my life I’ve occupied small places, and being 5-foot-1, I’ve never felt claustrophobic, but I felt there was more out there for me. I’m from the peanut-sized town Abington, Massachusetts, and I’m a senior at Stonehill College, a pretty small school. I knew going abroad wasn’t for me. I’ve only visited a few other states and hadn't had the urge to travel, so I knew something on a smaller scale would be perfect, but would still be a challenge for me. Manhattan is about four hours driving distance from Massachusetts, and that was the farthest I’ve been away from home and family for so long.
As far as college experiences go, living and interning in Manhattan for four months was one of the best I’ve had thus far. It's no doubt one of the best decisions I’ve made. I’m not going to say I left and came back a different person, but I definitely learned some things and parts of me have changed, for the better I think. Now, being home for the summer, my heart aches to be back in that giant, bustling city. Confidence, friends and adventures were part of the trip.
I considered myself pretty confident to begin with, but being in a city where nobody cares, puts you on a higher shelf. Ever read Humans of New York? People wear what they want, do what they want and no one really cares. It’s a “judgement-free zone” as my friends, and I liked to say while we were there, and it’s pretty accurate. I never felt pressured to play a certain part or that I had to be something other than myself, which was a relief.
I became friends with other Stonehill students in my program, and surprisingly, I initially only knew a few of them. We went out together, always together, and we were our own invincible little team. Nothing quite stopped us from doing whatever we wanted, except for work, sometimes.
I interned at a small art-book publishing company, Glitterati Incorporated. The women I worked with were incredible. I wasn’t just the intern, but I was actually a valuable member of the seven-person office. They befriended me, offered support, and we went out to dinner and drinks on some weekends (the perks of turning 21 in the city). I have them to thank for all they taught me.
Working in New York; meeting artists; riding bikes in Central Park; going to the year-round haunted house, Times Scare, with coworkers; Broadway plays and taking pictures with the performers; being a tourist; drag queens; and watching Paul Rudd play football with his son at Chelsea Piers — there’s no end to what you can do in the city. Then, there’s Brooklyn which is a whole other world full of hipsters and interesting characters. There’s a million things to do and even more personalities to meet; anyone can find something there.
While there was a ton of excitement, there were 40 hours a week of work, then grocery shopping at Trader Joe’s on weekends and cooking dinner after an eight-hour day. We were real-life adulting in the city for a while, but it was absolutely worth it. Was it hard? Yes. Did I cry sometimes from being stressed? Yes, I did, but now I know what it’s like to be out on my own (for the most part). I know how to act in a professional setting and talk to colleagues at events. While this may seem basic, you’d be surprised that when you get out there, you sometimes have these Eek, what do I do? moments. You might get things thrown at you at a job or you might sit there, begging people to throw things at you while you make a smiley face on a spread sheet and watch more BuzzFeed videos. Whatever happens, it’ll be another experience to learn from, and you’ll be glad you did it.
All of that brings me to this moment and hopefully a rockin’ job that I’ll have post-grad in the Boston or New York area. When I first came home for the summer I thought I might have made a mistake in not staying in the city when I had some trouble finding a summer job. In a strange way, The Odyssey found me, and I’m glad it did because I’m happy to write for this growing publication and serve as Editor-in-Chief for Stonehill’s edition that’s launching now. I’m happy someone believed in me, and I believed in myself to organize this for the Stonehill community. It’s all about the people and experiences that bring you to where you're meant to be.