“That New York state of mind”

“That New York state of mind”

About a month ago, I had a reunion with some of my middle school friends. It was the first time that a middle school friend had come back to New York City since her senior year of high school. It’s crazy to see how so much could happen within two years. Drastic changes?—from my perspective, no. But for others, maybe? When they asked me what I had been up to these past two years, I told them “Nothing much, I’m still studying Human Biology and Chinese”. They raised their eyebrows at me once they heard me say the word “Chinese”. “As a major???” they continued to ask. I nodded and gave them a partial smile. They also ask about my summer plans in which I told them I am studying abroad to learn Chinese in Taiwan. Three whole months of being immersed in a completely new environment. So exciting yet so nerve-wracking. They also asked about the previous summer’s plans. I briefly recounted my memory of Lithuania. Their confused looks on their faces were so similar to mine when I found out about Lithuania last year. I casually stated, “Oh I shadowed surgeons abroad and watched a whole bunch of surgeries in bumblefuck Europe”. It’s obvious that if I had heard that from someone else, I would be so impressed with the real-life Greys Anatomy experience.

This all goes back to being distracted and losing focus on what is currently happening. We are all so focused on what will happen 10 years from now that we fail to really appreciate all the little successes. But when we actually get a chance to put all of these little successes down on paper, it’s incredible to see everything seem more “real”. Within the span of two years, I learned (still learning) a new language to reconnect with my Chinese heritage. This was something that I have always dreamt about doing but never did it because I was “always busy”. I had the opportunity to travel abroad while casually watching surgeries every day in Lithuania. I also discovered so many things that I am passionate about and surrounded myself with people that are willing to support me throughout this journey. I knew that I was passionate about healthcare after Lithuania but the lifestyle that I wanted in the medical and dental field did not correlate with how I ideally want to live 10 years from now. I didn’t want to just learn about it in school. I wanted to apply it. I want to actually make a change as opposed to learning about how to do so. Not many people get the chance to say that they have done these things, let alone even dreaming about turning those into reality. It’s important to not get distracted by stress. Do not get distracted by someone else’s agenda. Remember why you began doing what you love in the first place and keep that in mind every time your vision gets blurry.

During the reunion, she was telling me about her experiences these past two years. She hasn’t been in school since high school but this summer she is applying to community colleges to study education. I admire her willingness to break the status quo about going from high school to college immediately. She did what was best for her and didn’t let anyone else’s agenda distract her from what she wanted to do. She didn’t follow someone else’s or society’s stereotypical agenda. Because she lived in New York City most of her life, she said that her “New York state of mind” told her that she could do better. When you grow up in this city it is extremely hard not to adapt to have a competitive nature and feel the need to be on top with the “best of the best”. This city and its people push everyone to surpass their limit by raising the bar with every new experience. With this mentality, it is hard to readapt to another environment especially one that has never experienced the meaning behind the “hustle and bustle”. It’s important to really take advantage of this competitive drive to propel yourself forward. Being in community college do not have any correlation to ones’ capabilities. Instead, it is your drive, your motivation, your passion that will drive you towards your goals and ambitions.

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