Nicole Brown, CAS, Journalism & Politics

My favorite thing about New York is the skyline. Whether I’m riding the N train across the Manhattan Bridge, walking across Wyckoff Avenue in Bushwick or sitting on a Greyhound bus to visit my family in Pennsylvania, I always look toward the Manhattan skyline.

I’m sure I’m not unique in doing this, and I can’t say there is much meaning behind it, but it’s often a nice reminder of why I came to New York.

The skyline is a symbol of opportunity. So many people, like many of us at NYU, come to New York hoping to achieve their goals and make something of themselves.

It’s also a symbol of pride. There’s no doubt that most New Yorkers agree they are living in the greatest city in the world, one that has experienced triumph and tragedy and stands tall no matter what.

But it is also a materialistic symbol. It’s put on postcards, calendars, clothing, even jewelry, and anyone who has ever come to New York is bound to have a picture of the skyline on their Instagram or Facebook accounts. Ultimately, it serves as an advertisement for the city, encouraging millions of people to visit or move to New York.

I am thankful that NYU gave me the opportunity to be one of those people.

There are many things I don’t love about NYU — I question some of the decisions the administration has made and whether the cost is actually worth it — but I can’t deny that NYU gave me the city.

It gave me the chance to meet people from all over the world, learn from some of the brightest minds, write for publications I never thought I’d write for and do things I definitely didn’t expect to do. And now, after four years of studying, interning, working in a restaurant, moving four times and often sleeping very little, I’m not sure what I’m going to do next.

The challenges of living in New York are much clearer now that I have graduated. The rent, incredibly competitive job market, weird smells and a transit system that can drive me crazy were always there, but they weren’t as prominent with the excitement and stress of being a student.

Lately I have been questioning whether I should stay in New York. It may be better for my career to move away and potentially work my way back to the city, but that isn’t something I truly want to do. New York is where I found my best friends, fell in love and established a home. While I came here thinking it would give me the best chance at reaching my career goals, I have gotten much more from the city.

I’m not sure where my first real job will end up being. As much as I hope it will be in New York, I know there is a chance it won’t. And maybe that’s not a bad thing. Maybe some time away would be good. Or maybe I just need to be more patient and accept that this search takes time.

Whatever happens, I know I’ll always have the image of the skyline to remind me not to give up on my goals, no matter how far away they may seem.