I Believe the experience itself is more important than the ending result. I grew up in beautiful Santa Barbara, California. One of the greatest places to be in the world. Yet, I was not contempt. Since I was a kid, my parents have told me that no matter what I had, no matter what I was given, I always wanted more. I find that to be very true.
I was only in my sophomore year of college and I was raking in about $2200 a month, while I was living at home. Life was good. I had my 1996 Jeep Grand Cherokee, that I tricked out, free rent and food and yet I was not happy. I always felt as if there was more out there for me to get and experience. Ever since I was a kid, all I had ever known was Santa Barbara. I visited places here and there, but nothing major. So, one day I was sitting at my house playing on the computer, like always. And I stumbled upon a New York school that caught my eye. It was the BMCC, the Borough of Manhattan Community College. I thought, wow, what a better place to go and study business. I browsed around the website for a bit, looking at pictures, curriculums and courses. The more I browsed, the more and more I began convincing myself that it was the place for me to go.
What an extreme move! To go from my cozy nest in Santa Barbara to being alone in New York was as extreme as it could get. But, I went for it. I applied for the school, without telling anyone and before you know it I was a few signatures away from being a registered student. The next step was convincing my dad that it was the smartest thing for me to do. Luckily, I’m good at convincing people and before I knew it, me and my dad were on flight to go visit the city and take a look at the campus. The first two days we did the whole tourist thing, we visited Times Square, Ground Zero, Wall St and Central Park. I fell in love with the city. For some strange reason I knew, that even though I probably wouldn’t make this a permanent stay, I had to experience it. I spent the last day of our visit taking an assessment test and signing paperwork. I was now an official student at BMCC of CUNY.
I came home and automatically told everyone. I was so excited to move to the Big Apple. It was something not too many people have done or will do. And yet I was doing it. I did not know what to expect. I was moving to New York without knowing a single person. To be honest, I was excited, but pretty scared.
When I arrived to JFK my first night I was just ecstatic, that was until I saw my room in the dorms. Well, for one nobody was in the dorms yet. I was a week early. The halls and all the rooms were empty. I felt as if I was in solitary confinement. I stayed up all night second guessing what I had just done. Was is the right move? Did I really just leave all my friends and family to be alone? What am I doing here? I kept asking myself these questions repeatedly.
That next morning I was awoken by the sounds of horns from people honking. Not the alarm clock I expected, but it did the job and got me out of bed. That day I walked all through the city. I people watched for awhile and was in complete aww. The lifestyle was completely different here than Santa Barbara. People are constantly on the move. And different kinds of people was the most stunning to me. People of all walks of life were interacting with each other. To some that it is not a big deal, but when you grew up in Santa Barbara and you do not see too many different people of race or color, it is a completely culture shock. But it was a culture shock I needed. I was able to see a life outside of Santa Barbara.
When I walked back to my dorm that day, I once again asked myself each question from the previous night and still had no definite answers for them.
Time passed and after the first week I had decided I was going to indulge myself in this lifestyle. Because regardless if I stayed only a few more months or permanently, I wanted to get the full experience. I saw and met people I would have not never had the chance to meet if I stayed in Santa Barbara. The experience of being alone and independent only made me stronger. And although school didn’t quite work out the way I planned, the experience was better than anything I could ever imagine. It made me believe that the experience itself is more important that the ending result.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.