When I was given the opportunity to travel to New York City last week for a finance conference, I’ll admit, I was a bit hesitant. Take the fact that, after a two-year-long struggle, I dropped the finance major in favor of marketing and communications. Add “never traveled alone” to the list and you’ve got a recipe for uncertainty. Nonetheless, I agreed.
I’d been to New York before – an overwhelming plunge into Times Square, Broadway (naturally) and the 2 million souls that walk the dirty, busy streets every day – not to mention the countless tourists that pour in each year.
This time, I just knew I was about to experience something completely different.
The city was loud – that part was the same – full of people from all walks of life, filling the garbage-lined streets with languages, and smells. Oh, the smells.
I found myself walking alone, one solitary afternoon, down 5th Avenue – home to the ever-famous Tiffany and Co., blocked in on all sides by absolutely strangers. Tourists, locals, business owners, children, homeless souls – I felt small – just one of many trying to navigate the streets of New York.
What I didn’t expect, in that moment, was to feel an overwhelming sense of unity. To be honest, it was rather off-putting. It was off-putting and yet, it was eye-opening.
I saw only unfamiliar faces pass by – something I had yet to experience back home. As one of not even 4,000 undergrad at UP, I know I’m not the only one that can walk through the quad and recognize countless friends and acquaintances. At UP, even strangers look familiar.
And just like that, it clicked. We get so caught up in this bubble we form for ourselves on this campus: our friends, family, school. Life on the bluff can become so routine.
If my short time in New York taught me anything, it would be this: life is too short to let familiarity become routine.
I encourage you to take a moment to reflect on the life you’ve built for yourself here. Do you ever step out of your comfort zone? Are you reaching for those experiences that only appear when you take a chance?
Regret nothing, live now.