I was born and raised in “The City that Never Sleeps,” more commonly known as New York City. As its nickname would suggest, there was never a dull moment growing up. There’s always a memory waiting to be made in the streets of New York.
Subsequent to graduating high school, I had no desire to leave the bustling city I called home. Waking up early, grabbing a cup of coffee, running to the trains: this was the city routine and for a long time, I was happy to be a part of it. After the first few semesters of college came and went, I realized there was something missing in my life. I had already grown jaded with the city routine which made me feel like I was constantly rushing to something without reward.
While I was succeeding academically, I was not passionate about my studies. College was beginning to feel like more of an obligation than a once-in-a-lifetime experience. I had heard that “college is the time of your life,” myriad times growing up but had never paid much attention to it – now it began eating away at me. I certainly was not having the time of my life and the city skyline which had always been a source of pride and awe for me merely became a backdrop in my daily routine. I realized that my passion for life was giving way to practicality.
I did not want to settle for life at only 20 years old; I wanted to live it. It was after this realization that the idea began to creep in my head that perhaps I should have left New York for college, but the cramped dorms located upstate in the middle of nowhere held no appeal to me. During this fraction-life existential crisis, I thought back on my past twenty years and the experiences I’d had. Certain memories shined more vividly than others: the smiles of my best friends, the decadent taste of my favorite chocolate lava cake, my mother’s laugh, the weight of my dog after falling asleep on me… and the way the sun set behind the voluptuous green mountains of Sorrento, Italy.
Years after a 9-day high school trip, I had never been able to forget my experience in Italy and, strangely, reminiscing about my past made me feel confident about my future. I thought back to the beauty of the Italian countryside, the beauty of the people, and the beauty of the culture. I remembered how effortless life had felt, almost as if I was always meant to be there. As an Irish/Puerto Rican mutt who grew up in the giant melting pot that is New York City, I had never before or since felt the same sense of belonging as I did in Italy. That life-changing trip had triggered what I thought would be a lifetime of longing to return, but then the light bulb went off in my head… I could earn my degree abroad!
Once I made this realization, that fervor for life that had recently eluded me came rushing back, and the prospect of college finally felt like more than just an obligation but an opportunity to gain that “time of your life” experience. John Cabot University’s reputation precedes itself and proved to be the perfect college for me, with extensive courses in business and communications and a location in Rome.
It has been said that if you love what you do, you will never work a day in your life. I think this is also true for one’s education. If you love what you learn, every day becomes a new day to gain insight and knowledge, as opposed to a day spent memorizing and cramming. At John Cabot, I know I will be receiving more than an education; I will be receiving the experience of a lifetime. While my excitement for this move is not without some sadness about leaving my home, “The City That Never Sleeps”, for “The Eternal City,” I at least know I’ll still be able to get a good cup of coffee and a good slice of pizza.