We have such an incredible opportunity in undergrad to take on new ventures in unfamiliar cities each summer to experience different cultures, the city buzz, and hopefully, find our soon to be "home."
Here's the deal: Last summer, I found myself living in a dream, a fairytale you could even say. I would wake up to the horns of taxis and then hop on a sweaty subway where I would watch men and women read the newspaper, put their work heels on, and get ready to face why they came to New York City. I found so much inspiration in this aspect of the city. I remember the feeling like it was yesterday when I would get off the subway at 59th St—Columbus Circle. I would quickly walk (sometimes run if I was late) amongst crowds of workers wearing all black and walking in every which direction. I felt like I was a part of something huge. I was a part of this culture that worked all day and all night to find success in their careers and make something for themselves.
After coming out of the subway, I would spot the Hearst Tower, and immediately felt a sense of pride, thankfulness you could even say. But, then my day would come to an end, it would be time to go home, and this was where I sometimes would be left feeling a bit empty. Of course, the city had ample amounts of things to do. It's hard to explain, but I didn't feel like I had a home there. With everyone living such individualistic lives, it was hard to find a sense of belonging. I was confident that if an opportunity brought me there in the future that this feeling would go away when I had an actual place to call mine, instead of living in an Airbnb, but it worried me.
This summer has been a complete 180. I am working for the largest magazine publisher in the nation and am in a disbelief every day. I am stunned by the fact that this incredible opportunity is literally in my "backyard," and that seems way too good to be true. The best part yet? I love every second of my job like last summer, but even more. At this young of an age, I never thought my ideas would turn into published writing for such massive platforms. At this company, I have been challenged to push outside my pre-developed comfort zones to do more, learn more.
So, I have been in a turvy for quite some time now trying to figure out why I feel so at home here in DSM.
When I was in the big apple last summer, I, a lot of the time, felt alone. I had made incredible friends that I still talk to weekly, and my employees were so fun and beyond friendly. But, I missed that sense of community and feeling of love. I didn't realize how vital love meant to me until I was away from it. Love for my family, friends, and significant others. My energy feeds off of love and being around people who understand why I am the way I am and who allow me to be my true and most authentic self! In New York, I couldn't decipher between what I was doing for me vs. what I was doing because I thought I should be doing it.
I also missed the sense of community and familiarity. I have always taken such pride in my hometown and the community that was built there. I want to be in a home where I feel a sense of belonging to a bigger picture.
When I drive each morning to Meredith, I smile thinking about my job, and my team members. I leave work knowing I am coming back to this great place the next day.
The secret of this life? To push past all your familiar boundaries and try new things. You can't find a sense of belonging if you never challenge where you came from.
I cannot predict the future and where I will be next year is unsure, but, I have never felt so at home. I feel like the job is right, the area is fitting, and my heart is happy. What else matters?