Today I’m celebrating one week of living in New York. I am currently sitting in my apartment, sipping tea in bed and enjoying a much needed, relaxing Sunday afternoon. I have a huge window with the view of skyscrapers as my backyard, and my room is slowing growing and morphing with character, as the sparkly pink pillow next to me would probably suggest. It has yet to feel like my “space,” but it will get there soon enough. I am calling this status “#blissfullyoverwhelmed” : I am finally living my dream, but there is so. much. to. do. and. learn…In short, it’s truly been a week of mini triumphs, epic fails, connecting and reconnecting, relearning the subway, and appreciating my new home. It has also been a week of spending a lot of money, but let’s just not remind me of my dwindling bank balance, right? Maybe I’m also #bllissfullyunaware.

Last week was NYLS’ summer intensive program, a session where students can come to get a leg up and preview to their upcoming legal education. To say my brain hurt is an understatement. It was empowering, challenging, refreshing, and so much more than that, but it was also draining. It was a really big wakeup call. I fully expected it, yet I am particularly grateful that I participated in the program because it reminded me to be human. It showed that I am going to need to practice disciplined strategies to maintain balance and health, something that might seem almost impossible for a 1L. But as we all know, I’m not one to let impossibilities limit me.

Despite the chaos, I was certain to take some time to breathe and think. I went to Battery Park and had a thought while I was contemplating my gratitudes. Whether you write them down or simply take a moment to ponder them, acknowledging what you are grateful for is a very calming practice. The thought on that day was “What If.” What if New York didn’t exist? 

When that thought came to mind, something in me stopped. It’s the same kind of feeling that occurs when I pass by the World Trade Center memorial every day. I have no explanation for why that particular question came to mind, but it really took my breath away. If New York didn’t exist, I don’t know where I would be or what I would be doing. Truly. I don’t even think I would be getting myself to Paris. I can’t imagine myself anywhere else, and it’s not even about the theatre industry, the people, or even the high rises. It’s just New York and there’s really no other way to describe it unless you have experienced it for yourself.

Starting at the age of 13, I had a dream to become an attorney in New York – It was really that specific. Since then, I haven’t stopped. If New York didn’t exist, I don’t think I would be who I am today. I can bet that I wouldn’t be as ambitious or passionate about what I do. There is something about these streets and this environment that makes you want to achieve greatness and make your mark on this world, and for me, I feel like I am surrounded by people who understand this and want to be just as great. You don’t just move to New York to move to New York. It’s not easy and we all have a reason. I never thought I would label New York as a community, given its size and massive tourist draw, but now I get it. I 100% understand why we are all here, and it is the most gratifying feeling I have ever experienced.

Tomorrow marks the start of orientation week for 1L’s, and I’ve never felt more alive. My brain is experiencing a quantum shift, my heart is exploding, and I am transforming into the person I have always wanted to be. I’m home.

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