Summer in the City: I’m Leaving, but I’ll be Back!
[This summer a dream internship with Lucky magazine moved me from Austin, Texas, where I’ve spent all 21 years of my life, to New York City for the summer. Come along for the ride and follow me through this column as I take on all that the city has in store for me. I’ll share tips I’ve picked up along the way about everything from how to pack (stop, drop and roll people!) to dating to fitting in (or standing out) and so much more.]
My summer in the city had officially come to an end and by the time you’re reading this, I will be back in my hometown, probably eating a home-cooked meal and driving my car with reckless abandon on the highway. (God, I missed driving.) Though I’m excited to be home, I couldn’t help but feel a rush of sadness as my cab led me out of the city, toward LaGuardia airport and toward life after New York.
Since I go to college in my hometown, I’m never more than a 30-minute car ride from my parents’ place, my childhood friends and as far as I was concerned, I lived in the greatest city on Earth. While my loyalty to Austin will never die, after this summer I know that I can see myself living in New York too.
Never having lived away from home before, I expected to crack under the pressure of trying to navigate the city on my own. I surprised myself in the best ways. In just three months, I devoted myself to understanding the subway system, seeing all of the museums and attractions I could afford and trying new restaurants. As an unpaid intern, there were definitely times that I knew having more money would’ve made my time in the city a lot easier. But looking back, my unpaid status forced me to really experience living in New York, as opposed to just shopping or going clubbing in New York. Upon leaving, I knew that if I could do New York without a paying job, that doing it with a paying job would only be that much more exciting.
As a writer, New York is sort of a Mecca. On any given day you could walk into a Starbucks and see aspiring playwrights and undercover bloggers alongside the world-renowned writers for household name publications like The New York Times and Vanity Fair. I went to lectures at The Strand, a class at The New York Public Library and read more books in three months than I had all school year. As a writer, I felt a sense of belonging in the city. That in itself is more than enough justification to go back after graduation. I’ve never been one to believe in “energies” or “vibes” but there really is no rush like the one of being on deadline in the city. Just knowing the tremendous amount of creative talent that surrounds you in the city, is inspiration enough to get you to your worst writers’ block.
New York is a tough place and that’s what I love about it. It doesn’t apologize for itself. The city can kick you when you’re down, get you crying on the subway, and that same week can take you to places you’d never thought you’d ever see, like the office of the editor-in-chief of one of the biggest magazines in the world.
I learned so much about myself this summer by living in a new place. If you have the means to move away for a while for an internship or job opportunity, I highly recommend it. Moving away is a lot like eating vegetables, even if you hate it, it still affects you positively. Because even if it sucks, at least you’ll have an excuse never to stray again and you wont have to regret never having given yourself the chance.