I lived in New York City for 120 days, and I can’t even begin to tell you how fast it went by. Every day was so different, an adventure all on its own. It was magical. It was whimsical. A dream in itself. I’m still in awe of the diversity in its neighborhoods, streets and never ending concrete jungle. During my time on the East Coast I lived through a lot. I learned so much about my favorite city, and I learned so much about myself.
7 things I leaned about New York City
- Your desire to be there is most important
If you don’t make a point to live every day in the same state of awe you were in during your first visit, the hustle and bustle of New York City’s chaos can get annoying, even overwhelming. You have to really want to be there to truly enjoy it every day, day in and day out. For me, it was taking the time to look up and remember where I was. To look at the endless sea of skyscrapers and allow myself to get consumed by those butterflies, reminding myself that wow, I’m actually in New York City living out my dreams.
- “The city that never sleeps” title is no exaggerationLights are always on. Taxis are always running. The city thrives after 9p.m. and everything is open late. Seriously. Restaurants are open til well after midnight, bars til 4 a.m. and some places around Times Square and Midtown are open 24 hours. In my apartment in Lower Manhattan, I lived in the Financial District near Wall Street and the Brooklyn Bridge, and while that area seemed to quiet down after work hours, there were still endless amounts of sirens to be heard during all hours of the night and day… you learn very quickly how to tune out meaningless noise.
- Commuting is an adventure of its ownIf you do living in New York City right, you can make everything an adventure–including commuting. I loved the subway transit systems (and miss them already). There was nothing like the rush of adrenaline that came the first couple times of trying to navigate the subways solo. Then once I got it down (recognizing different trains, their stops and locations), it was finding the fun and beauty in its culture–the subway systems are they’re own little world full of so many different kinds of people from all walks of life and work. It’s simply so New York. I love how the trains literally run everywhere, you could hop on one and end up in a completely new place (whether intended or not).Then there was commuting in the streets. I didn’t have a car in New York, and there was no need for it whatsoever. New Yorkers walk everywhere. I logged over 2 million steps just being there. I loved commuting through the streets during the work rush–there’s nothing like owning the streets in heels with all the business people of Wall Street and Times Square (my internship route). The people were fascinating and the men beautiful.I could go on and on… commuting is a whole story in its own. I might have to do another blog post to come ;)
- There’s always something to do and something going on, somewhereMy adventure loving soul was in heaven. My concert heart was full. There was always something to do, something going on, music to be heard somewhere and I loved it. New York City is the city of endless opportunities, and of course, endless entertainment. As a blogger and journalist, it was the perfect place to be. I love writing about my experiences and reviews of things I’ve done, and in NYC, there was so much life to live… even the little moments were spectacular. There was never a chance to be bored because there was always some place new to explore. I heard from a friend that if you had brunch every day in the city, at the end of your life you still wouldn’t have tried every place. There’s just simply so much.
- New Yorkers are a lot nicer than they get credit forEver heard the phrase “New Yorkers are rude”? The stigma isn’t true. That is, unless you’re getting in the way or being absolutely ridiculous during rush hour commute (or any commute, for that matter) in the streets on the sidewalks or in the subways. If you’re not giving them a reason to be rude, New Yorkers can be really genuinely nice. Yes, they are typically in a hurry and might not give you the time of day if they are moving quickly, but not all New Yorkers are like this. Living there, you pick up on this and find the people you might meet, especially outside of the touristy spots (like Times Square or Midtown), are some of the most interesting and nicest people you will come across.
- You’ve never had pizza, bagels or brunch until you’ve had it in New YorkNew York City is on a whole different level, especially when it comes to their pizza and bagels. And brunch? Amazing. The food is a world of its own. I miss it already.
- On the island of many fashions, anything goes
Manhattan is the world of individuality–and that uniqueness really shines through people’s wardrobe choices. In this city, anything and everything goes. While it’s cool to be super put together, it’s also cool not to be. I’m not sure if it’s because there’s simply so many people that come in and out of the city daily that there’s never any set fashion trends or maybe people are in too big of a hurry to care, but regardless, New York City is a fashion hub full of culture diversity. If you wear it and own it confidently, it works. I loved walking down the streets and simply observing.
7 things I learned about myself
- I love living in New YorkThe question I’ve been asked the most since my time in New York is whether or not I see myself moving out there long-term. While yes, I absolutely love NYC and city life, the answer is up in the air. I would love to return and explore it again during all seasons, so we’ll see. I don’t think it’s a place I could spend my whole life, but for a season of life or two, it might be really fun. We’ll see where God takes me next. If you would’ve asked me a year ago if I would’ve been spending my fall semester in NYC, I would’ve probably been in disbelief. There’s no telling what the future holds–especially when it comes to me and traveling. You never know.. I might just be continuing my education next in Australia:)
- If you can make it in New York, you can make it anywhereWorking in New York takes some serious drive and motivation. Especially when it comes to the news industry and journalism. NYC is home to some of the most brilliant journalists, and making a name for yourself there can be difficult. I was so beyond blessed to land an internship at the New York Post. The connections I made there and through The Kings College are invaluable. I know this is an experience that will continue to benefit my career, resume and education all throughout my life.
- Living far from home can be challenging, but rewarding
Prior to my trip, the farthest I’ve ever lived from home was 40 minutes (which of course was on a college campus where everyone went home on the weekends). Moving to New York City for my semester at Kings was like my first real college experience. I was somewhere completely new, surrounded by people I’ve never met before and in a school I’d never taken classes at. It was refreshing. It was exhilarating. I made the most of every moment.
Yes, I missed my family and was blessed to visit home twice, but I also was so incredibly lucky to be chosen as 1 of 15 in a program that allowed me to live in New York City. It was all surreal, and still is. I grew even more in my independence and overall “adultness.”
- New friends, getting out and exploring is so importantNew York City is never boring, unless you make it. In a busy city with a busy schedule, it can take effort to go out and get together with friends–but it’s so worth it. Time management was key. My surroundings made motivation for tackling homework and projects a lot easier because I knew there was all kinds of fun waiting to happen and be rewarded with.I love all the friends I made in NYC and I miss them and the adventures we had already. I think this New York experience was the most social I’ve ever been, which is saying a lot because I’m typically a pretty outgoing person who loves hanging out with friends. New York City was an abundance of fun–I still can’t believe how much I got to see and do and the people I was surrounded with made it all the more worthwhile. Those four months were some of the most filling life experiences I’ve ever had, and I managed to get good grades and stay on top of internship stuff at the same time.
- I love internshipsIf there’s one thing I can advocate for and give endless praise in college–it’s the benefits and practicality of internships. Seriously, if you don’t have one while you’re in college I don’t think you can really know what you’re getting yourself into when it comes to your career and major. My NYCJ semester was the first internship I’ve ever had, and man did it teach me a lot. Getting to work in a big-scale newsroom was HUGE. I learned so much about what I hope to pursue in journalism, and what aspects of it I don’t really like. Getting to work on the video desk of the New York Post and with Page Six showed me how much I truly enjoy entertainment news, being on set, video shoots, helping with casting calls and picking talent, interacting with celebrities and more. Some of these things I never would’ve known by experience until I got to try it out, so how awesome to get that find that out in college so I can go right into the work field knowing what kind of specific jobs to look for.If I could do another internship, I most definitely would. If you ever have questions about more details on what mine was like, please leave a comment or shoot me a message on social media (@fearlesseyes97 on twitter and instagram). I love talking about it.
- Hillsong Church is so important to meI would move to New York just to be able to attend Hillsong regularly again. There was nothing like their worship experiences and sitting under Pastor Carl’s teachings. It was also a great place to meet up with friends and seek God, especially in a city that so desperately needs Him and his grace. I would love to in the future get more plugged in with them and maybe even attend their college–they have a crazy awesome department for media production. You can read more about why I enjoyed Hillsong NYC and their mission so much here.
- Fear can only grow if you feed itMoving to New York City and halfway across the country by myself was scary. Starting an internship at the country’s oldest continuously published newspaper was even scarier. But what scared me most was not tackling these opportunities head on and making the most of them or succeeding in them. I believe God had laid out this path before me, so why not walk confidently in it? I love trying new things, I love exploring new places–I’ve always tried to push myself out of my fears by jumping into the unknown, and my New York City experience was all of that. Fear can only grow by the energy you give it, and I made an effort every day in NYC to take this energy and turn it into motivation–motivation to accomplish great things, pursue excellence and walk in faith. Fear had many chances to make itself a home, especially during the terror attacks and threats in Manhattan I lived through, but if there is any place to learn how to live fearlessly, it’s New York City. There’s a resilience that’s in the air that’s all consuming, and it taught me so much about living and life.
If you read through my short novel, I hope you leave a comment or find me on social media to share your thoughts or New York experiences. If you ever have any questions about my college experiences or journey, please reach out:)
3 thoughts on “7 things I learned about the city and myself while living in NYC”
Wonderful writing as always Ashley. You really made me miss NYC. I just may have to go visit!
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This was SO good!! I love NYC too and plan on hopefully moving out there one day- loved reading this.
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Thanks Reece! Glad you enjoyed it! NYC is the best, such a fun place to live. I’d love if you subscribed to my blog or find me on social media @fearlesseyes97 :)