One year ago today, I began my countdown to college graduation; I began applying for the 2010 NYU Summer Publishing Institute; and I handed in my final draft of the start to my memoir, Concentrated Breathing, which ended with a standing ovation from my writing mentor Benjamin Percy. It started there. It started with a New Year’s resolution of “When in doubt, go for it!” My future was foggy, my mind filled with questions, and my patience withering away from auditorium seating, 8 a.m. geology tests, and a full academic agenda.
The sleepless nights of studying became sleepless nights praying to God to have NYU accept me and for me to finally live in the city of my dreams. My stereo only captured positive and inspirational music like Jordan Sparks’ “One Step At A Time“, Miley Cyrus’ “The Climb“, and Demi Lovato’s “Me, Myself, and Time” to keep me going. (Yes, they are all young artists… and yes, I do like their stuff. Boo yah!) The day came and the email was sent and with one high-pitched scream, two hands cupping over my mouth, and three months of gasping in disbelief and excitement, I was on my way to New York City.
I graduated Iowa State on May 8th and 27 of my family members attended. Now, that’s what I call the best family ever! Not that I’m bragging or anything. 😉 Then on June 6th I started at NYU.
The NYU six-week program opened my eyes to an entirely new world. It inspired me, it pushed me, and it introduced me to important people, important media, and important parts of myself. Children’s book publishing pinpointed my heart and struck… hard and deep. I knew it was my calling. And after so long of testing every aspect of the journalism world, I found my place in the middle of a Barnes and Noble children’s section. With my running record of caring and playing with children, and acting like a child myself, I felt confident I knew the market. I can’t count how many times I’ve said, “Why didn’t I think of this before?” It’s just a perfect fit.
After New York, I came back home to Iowa and started applying for jobs everywhere and anywhere with the thought, “I’ll move anywhere.” Well as I was moving out to Cincinnati to build a life in a bigger city that wasn’t made up of 10,000 people (cough cough Carroll, Iowa), my phone rang… well, more like sang… and on the other end was Sterling Publishing in New York. After about five minutes, I had a phone interview for a paid internship in the children’s educational book imprint Flash Kids. Two weeks later, I was accepting it and looking on CraigsList and Rent.com frantic and clueless for housing. This is how I explain the finding-housing-experience: AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!! CRY CRY CRY… SCREAM… CALL MOM… SLEEP ON FRIEND’S COUCH… BREAK DOWN… DEAD END. Two weeks later, I got a phone call from my current roommate Lindsay and I move to Astoria October 1. Let’s all take a sigh of relief. (Pause for sigh…)
October 2010 was the most emotional, unstable, erratic month of my entire 23 years of life. I transitioned from holding my mother’s hand to buttoning my big girl pants. Mix that with eight million strangers, a new company, no money, barely any friends, no family east of Ohio and you find yourself in a black hole of doubt, fear, anxiety, and skyping your mom for two hours each night. Once Halloween hit, I was finally standing on solid ground with a routine and a packed November of family, plane trips home, and increasingly amazing projects at work.
And so… right now, at the end of 2010, I find myself with an extended internship with high hopes of a full-time job come May with Sterling Publishing’s Flash Kids imprint. I find myself growing more comfortable with a future in New York City; I find myself falling more in love with Flash Kids, Sterling, Barnes and Noble, Astoria, my growing mass of friends, and slowly but surely accepting that for the next few years I will not have any extra spending money. I still find myself with new questions, the occasional doubt, and daily calls to Mom, BUT… and this is a big but (kind of like my amazing friend Alexis’ butt ;0) ) … BUT the questions, doubts, teary calls, anxiety, and all the other craziness of transition are decreasing… they are slipping away, overtaken by the confidence I wear everyday as I board the “Manhattan-bound Q train” to work.
And if I can say at the end of two-thousand-ten that I am “somewhat” employed, loving what I do, living in one of the biggest cities in the world, fulfilling my dream all after graduating seven months ago? I call that pretty damn good. I’m blessed. Thank you all for supporting me, holding my hand, and always believing that I can conquer the world… one misspelled word at a time.
Look out for my 2011 New Year’s resolutions… God only knows what He’s got cooked up for me. Two-thousand-ten, it’s been real.