Down that red dirt road: reflections on 1 year in NYC

It’s fierce, tough, and competitive. It’s a city that doesn’t lend itself to forgiveness. All the pictures and the photos, like the one across my bed, that feature the magnificent skyscrapers grazing the drifting clouds which shelter one of the world’s greatest cities, speak the glory of it. But they don’t speak the unified struggle or the heartbreak or the collective triumph of its pulsing, throbbing humanity. So on my 364th day in this city, I’m going to try here.

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I wouldn’t dream of characterizing my year here as the hallmark of fun, but these 12 months have certainly been a life-altering, wonderful adventure, filled with magnificent ups, the best of my life, high on cloud 9 and simply gazing down at the world. And the lowest points too, which I don’t particularly care to remember. I’ve learned valuable lessons and have acquired a fierce, steadfast independence. I’m f–kin’ proud of what I’ve accomplished.

Tulip Garden

^tulip garden in the UWS, circa April 2015

And I’ve learned this too, beautifully put by a friend on Facebook a month ago: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that when one part of your life starts going okay, another falls spectacularly to pieces.” I’ve been witness to this circumstance, and with every emotion amplified in NYC, it makes for a remarkable, emotionally charged life. The intensity of life here drives everything home so much harder. You’re forced to…feel. I don’t consider myself an emotional person, but some of that has changed in the past year. And it makes the tough times tougher and the good times better. And the past 12 months were full of a whole lot of both.

But it’s not about the past; it’s about the present and the future. Darius Rucker sums it up well: “For every stoplight I didn’t make, every chance I did or I didn’t take; all the nights I went too far, all the girls that broke my heart; all the doors that I had to close; everything I knew but I didn’t know…thank G-d for all I missed, cuz it led me here to this.” Hard to believe it’s been a year, and I’m proud of the person I am today and how much I’ve grown in 12 months.

Highlights of the year:

  • The Stanley Cup playoffs (summer 2014): I arrived in NYC when the Washington Capitals had narrowly missed the playoffs in April 2014. Jumping on the bandwagon, I was pumped about landing in a hockey town, (reluctantly) rooting for the New York Rangers as they advanced to the final round of the playoffs.
  • The Stanley Cup playoffs (summer 2015): The tables have turned. Wearing my jersey and rooting for the Washington Capitals in two phenomenal rounds — first against the New York Islanders and then against the New York Rangers, both series going to spectacular, nail-biter game 7s. You’ve never lived until you’re rooting for your home team in enemy territory in game 7 overtime.
  • Watching Grease on the beach in Coney Island
  • Spending weekends at my cousins because of the newfound close proximity
  • The entirety of summer 2014
  • Traveling to SF for the company’s holiday week in December
  • Spending 70% of my weekends in my friends’ Queens apartment
  • Listening to music on the subway that I knew would make me cry during two rough months because I’m a glutton for punishment
  • Going to bars alone. Highly recommended.
  • Learning to work hard for something you really, really want.

Elton John, it may be true that rose trees never grow in NYC, but we were never promised a rose garden. And the tulips that explode in magnificent bursts of painted streaks across the city in late April? I wouldn’t trade that for anything.

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I’ll make a brand new start of it…New York, New York

Hello dear blog followers!

LaunchSquadI know I haven’t updated in a little while, so I thought I would share some updates on my life. So, I just finished the last of my finals today. The last final EVER! I will never, ever have to study again for a test in my life. And that’s pretty awesome.

I’ll be graduating this Friday from the University of Maryland with a degree in communication and a concentration in public relations. Next Sunday, I’m headed off to New York City to start as an account associate at LaunchSquad, a tech PR agency. They’re an up and coming firm and work with many different tech startups to help create buzz and to “disrupt”. And I’m THRILLED about it! They seem like a great agency to work with, and everyone seems to genuinely enjoy working there.

Here’s some of what I’ll be doing:

Associates work on three to four client accounts and learn from LaunchSquad’s senior staff who teach and train Associates through day-to-day execution of client work. From the start, Associates work closely with clients on a daily basis and contribute to PR programs in significant ways, including media and analyst relations, research, writing, managing speaking and awards programs, and tracking and reporting client results for teams. 

Over the course of year one at LaunchSquad, an Associate can expect the following from the experience:

  • Position with increasing responsibilities and learning opportunities;
  • Growth opportunities within each team role, including transitions and shifts in responsibilities;
  • Regular performance acknowledgement, feedback and merit increases for outstanding work;
  • Ability to develop skills and knowledge that will accelerate career advancement and future professional growth opportunities.

I’ll update in a few more days with graduation pictures. Stay tuned! And follow me on Twitter at @abigailjaffe to stay updated on my adventures in the Big Apple.