Around one year ago, I was literally freaking about the whole concept of living in New York for college – and it wasn’t really a good freaking out either. I was scared, worried, and concerned in one massive emotion. But, New York seems to be such a cornerstone for every dream possible, which is largely why I wanted to live there.
For the first few weeks, it was tough. Really tough. I missed my family and my friends back home, and it seemed like every time I tried to make a new friend, I would never see that same person again. But after a while, I found a group of people that shared the same interests as me (surprise, surprise – it was a Spoon chapter), and it was around that time that I began to realize truly how fortunate I was to have the entire city of New York at my hunger’s disposal.
It was everything a college foodie could ask for in a single area: outrageous desserts, bagel shops around every corner, and the guarantee that at least one place was open during my late night taco cravings. I immersed myself in the food and culture that Manhattan had to offer, but ultimately, my first year of college there ended up being my last year. While it was a difficult decision to come to, I chose to move over a thousand miles away from the city of my foodie dreams to Orlando, Florida.
Sure, New York city is everything I’ve ever wanted and more, but when all is said and done, I came to the city to pursue a degree that would help me own my own restaurant. And while my old food studies program didn’t necessarily offer that, my new school does, with a program for food service and restaurant management (AKA, career #goals). I wanted to learn how to start up and maintain my own business, rather than learn about food in general, so I figured a transition was necessary.
As with any major change in life, I was definitely met with some external confusion and tons of concern. After all, it made sense to live in New York if you really wanted to own a food spot. My close friends questioned my intentions, and others wondered if anything bad happened. I even had some try and convince me that what I was doing was wrong, that living in New York was the dream, not my restaurant ambition. But still, I persisted and told them I knew what I was doing, deep down inside.
It’s not going to be easy, and it has so much potential to go completely south, but owning a dessert bar was my biggest goal for the longest time, and it will always be. And really, nobody but yourself will understand what or how much your dream means to you, so don’t let anyone tell you that you’re pursuing the wrong thing. You are the sole baker of your own cookies.
In no way am I saying that New York isn’t the right place to pursue your ambitions because it’s a pretty amazing place to do that. But it really isn’t for everyone to thrive and prosper in, and with my end goal in mind, it wasn’t the place for me – at least not at the moment. I will miss my impromptu vegan sushi runs and casual walks to Dough, though. Hell, I’ll miss every little thing about Manhattan – even the annoying sirens that kept me up past midnight on Union Square – but all good things certainly have to come to an end.
I’ll forever call New York my home (sorry, J-ville), and perhaps I’ll be able to live there once more in the future. But for now, my foodie dreams have manifested in a path that’s different from where I previously expected myself to be, and I’m going along with it. Transferring and moving away was one of the scariest decisions I’ve made, but how else are you supposed to grow if you don’t do something that scares you?