One of my most eye-opening, self-discovering experiences took place less than two hours away from my hometown; I felt the distance sorely nonetheless. I was accepted into an acting program at the New York Conservatory for Dramatic Arts in Manhattan, and I was to spend a month in New York while I took classes. My dorm was in Brooklyn Heights, a short subway ride away from the Big Apple, and I loved the differences the two sections of the city displayed. Brooklyn Heights was tidy and charming, with bright green trees and brownstone steps, and a wealth of small businesses with great products to offer. Manhattan was busy, bustling, filled with everybody going everywhere at every speed, it seemed. But instead of feeling swamped or overwhelmed, I felt…alive, and excited!
What really made the trip a learning experience was the large amount of students who came from all over America–and in some cases, outside of America! My roommate was from Holland, and there were a few people in my classes who were from England. I was surrounded by differences, which meant that there was never a dull conversation. I made some great friends–I also spent a lot of money. New York is a great place to visit, but you have to watch out when you start buying things. You go into a sort of trance that I like to call “Shopper’s Amnesia.” You spend the day in a whirlwind of fun and laughter, only to return home with three more bags than you remember.
“When did I buy this?” you desperately ask everyone around you. You remember, vaguely, but you think that if you pretend you’ve forgotten, then it’s not so bad when you have to call you mom and ask for the third addition to your now-empty bank account.
One of my greatest accomplishments in New York was overcoming my fear of nighttime. I had this irrational fear of being out at night, and it kept me from many a household chore back at home, much to my parents’ chagrin. I always imagined murderers and monsters creeping around in the darkness, and it terrified me. But in Brooklyn Heights, I found this weird peacefulness that I hadn’t noticed before, being with friends or alone. It was like daytime had just taken a break, and I could relax. In Manhattan, I couldn’t even tell that it was night, the lights were so bright!
I changed and grew as a person, learned valuable lessons, and made many unforgettable friends during my stay in New York. So what if it was only an hour and a half away from Philadelphia? (On a good day). It was still a completely different world, and I loved it.
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