A Small-Town Big City | Student Blog

Thursday, Oct 17, 2019
Mei Stone
Admissions Blog
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A view of New York from an airplane window

I was quite excited that this year is the first year since middle school that I haven’t had to totally move out!

Because I’ve been living in dorms since high school, every year I would have to pack up all my worldly possessions and start anew in the fall. Last year, I moved into an apartment in the city, so this year, for the first time, I didn’t have to go through the hassle of moving in again! Instead, I’ve spent this fall working on moving into my neighborhood even more. There are so many hidden treasures I’ve yet to stumble upon, even after an entire year here. I’m becoming enough of a local to know the fastest route to the train, the peak rush hours at Trader Joe's, and some of the better local chains in the area, but there’s still so much exploring to do!

The neighborhood vibe in New York City is very, very different from the small-town communities many of us are used to. In my neighborhood, instead of an elderly couple sitting on their front porch in the evenings, there are the hip third-floor roommates in the building next door smoking on their fire escape. As I leave for school in the mornings, I’ll run into Mr. 2B taking his corgi out for a walk and Ms. 5C taking her giant laundry bag out for a wash. When I come home at the end of the day, I can smell what each household is cooking for dinner as I trudge up the stairs; second floor is Indian today, and fourth floor is a suspicious combination of Korean and Five Guys takeout.

I like to take inspiration from all the different lives that surround me every day. It’s easy to forget how unusual it is to encounter four different languages on the way out the door or to unknowingly share a subway car with a breakdancer, a journalist, and possibly two or three semi-famous people on my morning commute. Though it can be exhausting and disorienting at times to be living in a city that seems to be constantly shifting and evolving, it means I get to see something brand-new every day while finding extra-special the moments that do stay constant, like my super waving a friendly hello in the hallway. The fast-paced variety provides constant creative inspiration that I can apply to my music-making. And carving my own niche in a bustling, tunnel-vision-filled city encourages me to be my most authentic and open-minded self. I wonder if to my neighbors I am “that flute player who always practices with the windows open” or “that girl who always forgets her headphones at the gym,” but I like that I can be somebody in my neighborhood. After a year in my apartment, I think that I’m finally earning my badge as a local! I never thought I would be living in my own little shoebox in New York City in my early 20s, but it’s an exciting and fulfilling experience every day.

College applications for fall 2020 are now open.