Adjusting From California to New York | Student Blog

Wednesday, Oct 23, 2019
Amy Sze
Admissions Blog
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A New York City building

Moving from California to New York has been a big adjustment for me.

My hometown and the location of my bedroom—assuming my parents haven’t Airbnb’d it—is in the teeny-tiny town of Pismo Beach (pop. 8,237) on the California Central Coast. I did go to high school in Los Angeles and spent summers traveling to festivals alone, so I wasn't as completely, unprepared for as I might have been if I'd been a Pismo Beach lifer.

If you've ever been to or seen Pismo Beach, you'll know that the beaches, the weather, the locale, in general, is beautiful. The lifestyle invites meditation and luxuriating in the beauty of nature. We patiently bask in the sun for the bounty of our year-round gardens.  

On the other hand, living in NYC feels like living on borrowed time. There are so many things to do that every choice to do something is choosing simultaneously not to do 10 other things. Every moment is spoken for. This is true even for walking! One thing that really caught me off guard about New York vs. Pismo Beach—and even Los Angeles—is its extremely fast pace. I’ve been occasionally encouraged by fellow pedestrians to consider existing a little faster. You can't just expect to peacefully walk through a crowded street without perhaps being bumped. I’ve learned that now though, although, my legs utterly hate me now. Oops.

My hometown area is so small that I could always count on seeing familiar faces even at the Thursday farmer’s market in San Luis Obispo, 15 miles away, and I'd run into at least two people I know every day. Nicely, Juilliard is similarly homey in its smallness. Often, I still find myself feeling homesick and missing the familiarity of family, friends, and places. But gradually I've been learning that Juilliard is slowly transforming into my new home. I am fortunate to have made wonderful friends here in the past month who make this city and school feel more like home. The community at Juilliard truly does feel like a community of people who support each other.

I am still adjusting to the little quirks and unwritten rules of the city each day. Thanks to a supportive group of friends and calls back home, it's been a pretty good transition. It’s been helpful that Los Angeles isn't tremendously different from New York City. Cocooned in the hectic noises encompassing the city, it's rather calming to know that no matter what, you are never alone. The night lights of New York City from my bunk bed remind me of the lights of downtown Los Angeles where I sometimes practiced during the wee hours of the night. I am reminded that I’ve gone through transitions before, and once, my last home was also a new unfamiliar place. Unlike high school, this time, I am not the only one adjusting to living in a new city. I have the camaraderie and support of my colleagues from all over the world and together we will thrive.

College applications for fall 2020 are now open.