I learned a lot during my visit to some media outlets in New York City (because I’m a journalism student), and here’s what I’d like to share with you.
It’s about attachment.
When asked what’s the best thing to do for a college graduate, or as in my case, a graduate student who wants to begin a career in magazine, an editor told me this: “Pack your bag and move to New York.”
She then explained that New York would be the perfect place to get started if I wanted to get to the top of the business. She continued: “I know you might want to start at some place small that you are familiar with, planning to work slowly to big media in big cities, but before you know it, you’ll have friends there; you’ll develop your little social circle there and it’ll be too hard for you to leave.”
She added that if you’re going to get attached to a place, you might as well get attached to the place that has the most opportunities.
She had a point there.
I always find attachment a magical feeling. It’s seldom about how wonderful a place or a person is according to common standards, but about the time you, personally, have spent with it.
In fact, I remember starting my life in a new environment with tons of complaints, but by the time I’m forced to leave, I can’t help looking back to nothing but the great memories, the friends I made there and a comfortable life pattern I sorted out for myself over time.
As a big-city person, I was full of doubts of whether or not I would have any fun before coming to Athens for graduate school.
Now that I’ve been here for half a year already, and have gotten familiar with all the roads, the good restaurants and the friendly people you don’t usually find in big cities and everything, I’m actually starting to see myself working and living in Athens in the future.
That was until my one-week trip to New York. I got myself blended into the New Yorkers who seem to be rushing all the time. Coming back to Athens, the tranquility and the peacefulness, which I loved so much a week ago, began to seem unbearable and irritating. But I’m sure this feeling will disappear in no time, when I get back to my daily routine and see my friends coming back to school.
After all, human beings are pretty adaptive. So my point is, attachment is a wonderful feeling. It makes life more enjoyable to live, but don’t let it hold you back. It is true that continuing to live your old life pattern seems a much easier way to go. But on choosing so you will probably find yourself one day wondering why on earth that girl or boy who is much less talented than you are ends up with such a well-paid and exciting job, and you yourself, with so much to offer, end up being the old you, same as you were years ago.
It is never easy to embrace changes; it is more difficult to choose changes voluntarily. But while you are still young and, let’s face it, do not have much to lose at this moment, why not push it a little, and much more?
Always remember the people you loved so much, the place you lived for so long, and the memories you treasured so deeply, but don’t let the old self drag you back from moving forward.
You should know that there is also a life as such in another place, a place that can better prepare you to succeed in your career or any other aspects of your life.
I’m certainly not saying, however, that one should never settle for attachment.
Even the most successful and ambitious person has to stop at some point. But young and inexperienced as we are, this is probably a time more about pushing forward than settling for good.
I hope I still remember this impulse of pushing forward when I graduate.
Bixi Tian is a graduate student studying journalism and a columnist for The Post. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.