Upon choosing a college for Fall 2009 to apply to, I knew that I wanted to get into an art school. I have a love for theater and a passion for the stage. I applied to Columbia College Chicago, and was accepted. Before coming here for Orientation on June 30, I had never been to Chicago, IL. I was bracing myself for encountering a lot of people, easier public transportation, taxis, and a lot more homeless people. My expectations were far less that what I encountered.
When I came for orientation, I woke up early for the event. My sister, who had traveled with me, stayed behind in the Hyatt Regency near Union Station. She said, “If you’re going to school here, you’d better get used to being here by yourself.”
Catching a taxi was the first task, and it wasn’t as hard as I expected. I hailed one in front of the hotel easily, and was dropped off quickly in front of my destination, 1104 S. Wabash. When orientation was over, I decided to walk for a while. I wanted to get a feel for the city by myself, and what I saw put my mind at ease a little.
I saw a slew of young adults like myself walking with purpose down the sidewalk. I saw Grant Park, Lake Michigan, and of course the beautiful architecture of each building I passed. I felt comfortable, normal, a little at ease. These feelings never possessed me back at home in Detroit, MI.
In Detroit I always felt like the city was dying, or had already been dead. I was never comfortable in Detroit, and was always afraid to be there at night. Now that I’m here in Chicago for my first semester of college, I’m happier living here than I ever was. Although, there seems to be more racial tension between people here. The sales tax is higher than Michigan tax. Despite those two bad things, here’s something better: there are tons of museums, exhibits, festivals, music shows, theaters, activities, and restaurants.
I could never say I’m bored here, because there’s always something to do. I’m not too sure about there being as many jobs as there are things to do because of our economic state. But, my ambition to stay here and my goal of graduating from Columbia should take me far, and bring me ample opportunity in the near future. I’ve had to grow up fast.
I quickly became aware of how to budget my money. I focused a lot more on scholarships, and staying on top of my school work. I look out for myself, which is something that is still challenging since I’ve been quiet most of my life so far. I have the feeling that being right in Downtown Chicago, with so many other college students with me, helps me keep my focus on school in such a big city. I’m glad that staying scholarly is rubbing off on me.
I like to think of my stay here as a trip. You never stay in one place forever. Each place I live is only temporary, because I intend to move on to bigger and greater things. While here I’ve met so many young adults who have been out of the country to places like Fiji, Ireland, London, and China. They probably had enough of an experience there to blow mine right out of the water. But to me, it’s what you get out of the experience, not just the place you visited.
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