It wasn’t the first time I’d been to New York City, nor the first time I had been there on my own. While I studied at Yale I’d occasionally hop on Metro North and land in Grand Central. A $14 ticket that took me to the center of the universe, it seemed. But that particular day was shortly before I graduated, and this would be my last solo trip to The City. As I walked the streets, I honestly can’t remember much of what I did. The city has a strange stillness when you’re lost in your own thoughts. As my feet hit the pavement in steady rhythm I pondered how God took this girl from Idaho, planted her at a university that was a perfect fit for her, and watched her grow. When my wanderings took me to Fifth Avenue, I gazed up at that famous building, considered the scene for a moment, and snapped a single picture.
I had been there four years earlier with my father – my first trip to the east coast, with the sole purpose of checking out two colleges: Yale and Columbia. It took me about ten minutes on Columbia’s campus to realize it wasn’t a good fit for me. It took me less than five to determine that Yale was my dream school. So my father and I packed up and spent the rest of the time checking out NYC. I remember my high school giddiness of seeing the shiny skyscraper that had graced so many silver screens right there in front of me. Four years later, I stood in front of the same building, about to graduate from that dream school that I had never believed I’d make it into.
This image means a lot to me, and I don’t know why. I’m not from New York. I’m not even a city girl. I never went to the top of the Empire State building, though I walked in it several times. But this photo tells me that you can do anything you want. You can. You may have to wait. You may have to work until your eyelids droop. Until your mind is exhausted. Until your feet are blistered. But anything is possible.
This photo is on my About Me section right now. That’s because I think it does say something about me – my belief in dreams and hard work to attain them, a refusal to accept tough odds as a reason for not achieving, and a total disregard for fear. I am excited about what my immediate future holds. I’m conjuring up some serious dreams. Real skyscrapers, in fact. Can’t wait to stand in front of them.