In the weeks leading up to my move to New York, my friends were happy for me. "It's where you're supposed to be," they said.
My parents agreed to help me front the costs. "It's where you're supposed to be," they said.
My relatives were supportive, sending me well wishes and sometimes handing me a 20-dollar bill. "It's where you're supposed to be," they said.
Every time I got this line, I nodded my head in affirmation and delivered some cliché "I know, I can feel it in my heart," emphatically placing my hand across my chest. I'm not sure if I was attempting to confirm their predictions or reassure myself, but those six words began to feel like a death wish. "It's where you're supposed to be."
Well, what if it's not?
When I finally touched down at LaGuardia in May, I still wasn't sure. I had just paid $150 at check-in at Southwest Airlines because my bags were 85 pounds overweight. What if that was a sign? My landlord at my new apartment in Austin had cashed my security deposit check, while I was on the plane. Down another $200. What if that was a sign? My phone died before I could get my new address up on my phone for the taxi driver. What if that was a sign? The taxi driver wiped me out of another $60. What if that was a sign? When I showed up to my dorm, I realized I was going to be living out of cardboard box for the next two months. OH GOD, THESE ARE DEFINITELY SIGNS.
That type of thinking defined my first couple of days in the city. I was nervous, excited, ready for new things, but most of all wondering if coming to New York was even a good idea at all.
Two months later, I'm glad I ignored the signs (if anything, those incidents only made me recognize the true discrepancy between New York's definition and my own understanding of the word "broke"). I have settled in at my internship, made music in living rooms, laughed with friends over some good pizza, drank my share of wine, eaten plenty of good food, biked the streets of Manhattan, and danced with hippies on the beach, to name a few.
But mostly, I've just spent all of my money.
I'm still not sure where I'll end up when I graduate. If anything, New York has made that all the more confusing, because I've come to find out that passion plants seeds no matter its final destination.
So here's to temporary, heart-wrenching investments, ice cream trucks at every corner in Midtown, and the final two weeks of this program. May my final days continue to elusively glimmer at the end of my summer subway tunnel.
Because I'm where I'm supposed to be.
—Written by Jane Claire Hervey, University of Texas at Austin, Reader's Digest
—Edited by Lindsey Murray, Temple University, Real Simple