I’ve only been in Manhattan a couple of days and I’ve already learned quite a few lessons. Surprisingly however, none of them have to do with writing. But for the price I’m paying to be here, I better keep learning things (any sorts of things) at this rate.
1. Not every apartment (or in my case, dorm room) has a beautiful view onto the New York City skyline.
2. The closet in my dorm room has a light that beeps like a fire alarm if I forget to turn it off. I guess this is the university’s way to conserve energy. By saving wattage…in closets…can you tell I’m rolling my eyes?
3. Dorm room mattresses are very uncomfortable. I’ve never slept in a dorm before so I highly suggest purchasing a mattress cover for anyone heading off to college in the fall!
4. You can’t go outside to see what the weather is like when you live nine stories up. This was particularly problematic for me yesterday morning when I was trying to get dressed but couldn’t really tell what the weather was actually like (rainy? hot? humid?)
5. Which leads you to learning that umbrellas (which you bring with you in the event it actually does rain) really do turn inside out. I was that girl yesterday in the rain who was fighting with the damn thing.
6. Don’t talk to people on the street who wave you down like airplanes. They’re most likely trying to sell you something (a material item or an idea) and will waste precious time out of your walk to class (which you don’t have to spare) trying to convince you to purchase something or join a cause that you will decline at the end of the fifteen minute monologue they somehow manage to engage you in.
This happened to me already while I was walking to get my student ID. I had my headphones in (which you would think would automatically signal to oncoming salespeople/activists that I am clearly NOT INTERESTED—but alas, some people are quite persistent. They like a challenge.) and some guy waved me down and commented that he liked the color of my cardigan (green) because it meant I liked the Earth. This was news to me since I thought wearing green just signified you liked the color green but hey, I’ll let him off the hook. Then he complimented my nose pin (which is in the shape of a flower—which I’m now realizing probably also encouraged him to thinking I love the Earth—which I do, I’m just not an environmental activist, which turns out is what he wanted me to 1) Sign up to be 2) Donate to and 3) Well, actually I can’t remember the third thing he wanted because after he said the word “donate” my broke-college-student-mind tuned out. I politely told him I’d think about joining his activist group (lie) and continued on my way. On my walk back to my building I got lucky as he had trapped another poor unfortunate soul in his monologue and couldn’t devote his full attention to me except to say, “I’m still waiting for you!” in a sing-song voice, in which I sang back “I’m still thinking!” and continued walking, head down.
7. Food is painfully expensive. So expensive that you don’t want to buy it. I now understand why most people in this neighborhood are skinny. Also, the term “starving artist.”
8. You should really exchange phone numbers with your suitemate. Because when their alarm clock goes off at 8PM instead of AM and continues beeping for the next half hour because they aren’t in their room to turn it off and you can’t turn it off because they locked their door, communication would be helpful.
9. There are other places in the world besides America. And people actually live there. Yes, people live in Canada, Singapore, the Netherlands, Colombia (besides Shakira), India, and China. And yes, I met people yesterday from each of these places so I have real live evidence.
10. These people are crazy enough (like me) to want to pursue a career as a writer (just like me). It’s amazing to be in a room with people who all share your passion. It’s terrifying and slightly intimidating, but it’s also inspiring and somehow feels like home.
11. Tony Bennett lives next door to the building where I have classes and Daniel Day Lewis lives across the street. The lesson learned here: Celebrities exist in real life. Who knew?
12. However, the best lesson I’ve learned so far has nothing to do with living in New York or my classes at NYU. Quite the contrary actually. It’s that nothing can make me happier than knowing the person you wrote a piece for actually read it and enjoyed it. Especially when that person does work that you not only admire, but are inspired by. It turns out you don’t need a fancy school name under your belt or be part of a “prestigious” program to have your writing give you pure unadulterated happiness by having others enjoy it.
Check out the picture below to see the reply I got from Andrew Jenks after sending him the piece I wrote about his show (https://abbeygallagher.wordpress.com/2013/05/22/world-of-jenks-and-why-its-awesome/). It’s short and simple, but it’s all I need to know I did well by him and his show. It’s an amazing feeling 🙂