When I turned the calendar to September, it felt like a tangible shift of seasons. July to August… it doesn’t feel that monumental. But August to September… there’s something very different about it. It feels so fresh, almost like January in a way. I suppose it’s because it always signaled the beginning of a new school year growing up – new classes, new opportunities, new friends, new challenges.
And somehow, at 26, I find myself in that same state of mind all over again, ready to start school. It’s so funny how life works out. When I was in high school, I looked at attending UNC and NYU for undergrad. I ultimately decided UNC was the best fit for what I wanted in an undergrad experience, but I thought that maybe I could go to NYU for grad school later in life. Then life took off in an exciting way, and I didn’t think grad school was going to fit into my plan. But when we decided to move back to NYC for Rob’s job after graduating from business school, he became my biggest cheerleader to pursue grad school at NYU and something that invigorated me professionally.
To be frank, I was very unsure about the idea by that time. I had been out of school for a few years and didn’t know if I could even get into grad school, let alone excel. I tend to be an optimist in life, but this had me paralyzed in pessimism. I had so many negative thoughts in my head, trying to talk myself out of even applying for fear of rejection. Rob continued to challenge me to explore opportunities and helped feed positive thoughts into my mind. When I kept telling myself, “What if I fail?” he pressed on with “What if you fly?” After a very long process of decision-making, I accepted admission and decided to enroll in the Masters in Publishing: Digital and Print Media at New York University – and I start tomorrow! I still have to pinch myself that this decade-old dream is coming true.
While I know this is an exciting opportunity, I wish I could say that all the negative thoughts in my head have vanished and I have no fears or reservations going into this, but that’s just not the reality. I have fears of finding friends and someone to partner with on group projects. I have fears of being new to the industry. I have fears of not impressing my professors. I do believe that those fears are normal and natural, but I’m practicing a new mantra after airing my concerns, and it all goes back to the way my husband encouraged me when applying to school:
“What if I fall? Oh, but my darling, what if you fly?”
What if I meet my best friend in class? What if I am a breath of fresh air to people who have worked for years in publishing? What if I make such an impression on a professor that he connects me to the job of my dreams (ahem, Condé Nast Traveler)? What if I fly?
Repeating this mantra in my head literally brings a smile to my face as I’m about to begin an exciting and challenging new chapter. For everyone beginning a new chapter this Fall, you, too, can fly – you just have to go for it! Take the risk, embrace opportunities, and enjoy the ride :).