The bus drove away from the Manhattan skyline, and I started to cry. I was in the middle of a semi-empty bus, surrounded by college students like myself. But it was dark, and I let the tears flow. No one heard me. I’ve become awfully good at that.
I realized that I love that annoying, busy city. That, as much as I miss home, I somehow belong in those subway stations at four in the morning, those abandoned sidewalks in Times Square on Sunday nights, those “scary” suburbs in Brooklyn at midnight.
That’s right. I think I’m in love.
There are a few issues that I want to put to rest, while I have your attention over this beautiful (green) holiday season.
The first involves my transfer. I was so certain that I wanted to leave New York City. I didn’t question it, and I didn’t think about it. I wanted to go home and be with my family, because I know them and I know Michigan. It’s familiar, and it’s easy, and I know I can do well there.
I don’t want to say that I was necessarily wrong. I love my family more than anything in the world. And I absolutely feel that family is the most important thing in the world.
But that’s why I have to stay. I want to be the kind of person that my little brother looks at and thinks, “Wow. I want to be like her.” I want to be the kind of daughter that my parents can brag about at dinner parties (even if I don’t get to be there to hear). I want to be the kind of woman that can provide for my family when they need it later down the road.
And I don’t want to be the kind of woman that gives up on her dreams, packs up, and goes home because she misses familiarity. Maybe that’s not all of it, but it sure is a big chunk of it. I worked my entire life to get here. And I’m just not ready to give it all up.
Besides, how would I keep writing to all of you? How would I keep you interested? I wouldn’t have any crazy stories to tell you.
It’s been a while since I’ve really updated this blog, because I feel like I’ve let you all down somehow. Like, even though it’s my decision, I’ve brought you all along on this journey and I’ve stopped it short on you. I don’t want to feel like that. If you can’t be proud of me, it’s because I’m doing something wrong. And if there’s a nagging voice in the back of my mind telling me I’m doing something wrong, then I probably am.
Freshman year is about letting go of everything you’ve ever known. It’s about entering the real world, exploring, and trying new things that used to be way out of your comfort zone. And, while I’ve been trying to do all of that, I’ve still been struggling to figure out who I am. I feel like this semester has been a test to see if I can do the right thing, no matter what life throws at me. Can I stay on the path that’s right for me? And do I even know what that is?
I pride myself in strength. To me, it’s more important than looks, ambition, academics, and work. To me, it’s more important than kindness, integrity, or respect (though all of those are part of my core values). To me, strength is the most important thing you can have. Because it means you know how to keep going, even when it gets difficult. Even when you have no idea what your future looks like. Even when you don’t know anyone, and you don’t like anyone, and you don’t feel like you fit in. Strength is what keeps me going.
I’m not willing to let that go.
My senior year in high school, I became the type of person that I’d like to think a younger version of myself would be proud of. I really figured out who I needed to be and what I wanted to do with my life.
And then college happened, and I got scared. I got lonely and tired and frustrated. I was taking four classes that I didn’t necessarily like, I was stuck around people that I had nothing in common with, and I got involved with people who didn’t care about me. So, naturally, I wanted to give up and get out. Pack up and go home.
But I can’t. It’s not time yet. This is the only opportunity I will ever have to live in Manhattan and explore. This is it. And I can’t, and won’t, just give it all up because a few people have been mean to me. I know I’m stronger than that. I know I have to be.
That all being said, I’m staying. And I want to thank all of the followers that I still have for standing behind me on my decisions, even when they don’t make much sense. My life is a bit of a roller coaster. I change my mind. This is the first time many of you have really gotten to see and experience that. It won’t be the last. Just have faith that I know what I’m doing. Or, at least, that I will know what I’m doing eventually.
The second thing I would like to share with you is my first semester grades. You all watched me struggle with my classes (especially French), and you know how scared I was that I was going to fail.
I ended up with a 3.4 GPA (rumor has it that the average GPA at NYU is a 2.8). I received a B+ in Writing the Essay (English), a B in Statistics, a B+ in French, and an A in my Freshman Seminar.
Let me put those grades into perspective.
Statistics came last on my priority list for several reasons. First of all, I’d already taken AP Stat in high school and knew the material extremely well. Second of all, it was a required math class that no hiring committee will ever look at. And thirdly, it had a recitation on Friday mornings at 8am. You do the math. So, I had the opportunity to put all of my other classes first. In other words, a B was about the grade that I expected.
Writing the Essay was a difficult class. It wasn’t as awful as everyone made it sound to begin with, but it was one of those writing classes that I’m not very fond of. I felt that everything was over-analyzed, and I didn’t care for the coursework or the required readings. It was also a required course, so I had no choice but to take it. I’m pretty happy with a B+. Mostly because I know that the grading is subjective and I did the best that I could with the time that I had.
We all know that I hated and struggled with French. I was 97% sure that I was going to fail the final, no matter how hard I studied. I spent hours on Quizlet, trying to memorize grammar rules and vocabulary. And, low and behold, I managed to get a B on the final. I don’t know that you’ll ever understand how much of a miracle that really was for me. But I worked hard to get there. I won’t be taking French again (I’m switching to Sign Language, which I’ll take my junior and senior years), but this will count as a successful elective. And a part of my life that I never want to relive. That B+ was both a miracle and a representation of seriously hard work.
And then there was my Freshman Lecture, also known as History, Memory, and the Quest for Social Justice in the United States. It was listed as an Honors Seminar, because all of the enrolled students had to obtain at least a 4 on their AP US History tests in high school. There were other lectures that would have been less challenging (I considered this to be my hardest academic class, by far), but I wanted to take something in which I had a genuine interest. We had four papers to write for that class, and I managed an A on the majority of them. But I worked extremely hard for that grade. Some weeks, we were required to read a novel and multiple lengthy articles. Other weeks, we had a research paper to write and a book to review. It was difficult, but the type of challenge that I enjoyed (which explains the grade).
I’m proud of the 3.4 GPA that I earned. Mostly because the rule of thumb in college is to take your high school GPA and lower it one whole point. That would mean I’m expected to graduate with a 2.82 (maybe a little higher, if we don’t include AP classes). Not to mention NYU classes are more academically challenging than an average 4-year institution (that’s completely not a bash on anyone going to an in-state school, it’s just part of the package. I’d expect classes at Columbia or Yale to be extremely more difficult than mine).
There’s no way I’m letting a 2.82 happen. I will graduate with at least a 3.0. Besides, I’ll be taking courses that I actually enjoy next semester (and hopefully all of the semesters following that). As shown by the only A I received this semester, I do better when I have an interest in my coursework.
That all being said, I don’t expect a steady flow of A’s in college. I will be more than happy to graduate and say that I never got below a B. To me, that’s a pretty impressive accomplishment. So I may never make Dean’s List. But that doesn’t mean I’m not working hard.
I know you’ve had enough of my ranting at this point. This article is already well over 1500 words, and I’m not even done yet. So I’ll ask that you stay with me for just a few more minutes.
I’ll probably make a separate post about this later next week, but I had a wonderful Christmas, and I hope you all did too. I went into the red to get my family presents because I couldn’t make it without buying them something (but earning the money back just gives me something to do over the next month). I asked for clothes, and that’s pretty much what I got. It’s funny how our idea of presents changes over time.
I’m also working on caring a little more about fashion…but now that I have all of these brand new over-sized sweatshirts, I’m not sure how long that’s going to last.
The recall language for the Howell School Board has also been approved. I’m not sure how much time I’ll have to devote to the project, but I wanted to let you all know that the committee will be collecting signatures next month. They need a total of 5700 to put the matter on the ballot. I think I’m going to try to phase all of that off of Misadventures, though. I’ve received some amount of criticism for my accuracy (though I can promise you all that you won’t find a more accurate source on the matter), and I don’t want to have any major effect on the outcome. Even more importantly, though, I think it’s more important for my followers to hear about New York City.
It is called Misadventures in the Big Apple, after all.
Love you all, miss you all, and please comment below. I want to know that you’re still there!