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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SBU chapter.

I experienced staying in a hostel for the first time. A hostel in New York City of all places.

In a bed smaller than a coffin, I spent four nights freezing and in pain on a mattress made of stone. My hips, my back, my shoulders; they’re all screwed up from that “pod” bed. The rooms were definitely smaller than advertised and after eight hours on a crammed train, it was not a sight for sore eyes.

The bathrooms were an even bigger disaster! Not only were they small and kind of gross, but they were CO-ED! Hurray for sharing showers and toilets with male strangers.

After getting over the initial shock of that, my trip seemed to smoothen out.

So, what did I spend five days and four nights in a hostel in New York City for?

I was there to compete in the District 2 National Student Advertising Competition for the American Advertising Federation (we won, by the way).

Before the actual competition, we were able to visit a few ad agencies and hear from some Bonaventure alumni.

I’m not personally that interested in advertising, but it was really cool to see former students from Bonaventure be so comfortable in a real workplace.

We also got to have some free time in the city to explore. Of course, I explored food.

A great thing about the city is that there are a million different options within a mile radius of you. You basically have your choice of every cuisine imaginable.

During our first ad agency visit, I couldn’t help but look out the window and admire the city view. So many historic and unique buildings and oh my god there was a Shake Shack right outside the agency. As soon as the alumni finished their speech and waved us goodbye, I was out the door racing to that Shake Shack. I hadn’t had real food for like 20 hours at that point. I was ravenous.

The line to order went by in a flash and as soon as I had that first bite, Shake Shack became my new favorite fast-food place for burgers. Unfortunately, there are zero in my area, at home or at school. But I will never forget that burger.

We had pizza a few days later at Joe’s Pizza, famously featured in Spider Man. It was really good, and I enjoyed eating a few slices while looking at all the pictures on the walls of celebrities who had visited.

Don’t worry, I won’t blab on about food the whole time.

Nightlife in the city is a lot of fun too, but the absolute best part about it? 24-HOUR FOOD.

After dancing at the club for approximately five hours, you work up quite an appetite. The McDonald’s across the street from the club was like heaven.

But seriously, the nightlife there was a lot of fun. There are so many places to go that are right next to each other, so if you’re in need of a change of scenery, it’s pretty easy to skip around.

We had time to go to a Yankee’s game before we went home. Although they lost and it was a relatively short game, it was still cool to be in the stadium and get on an overpacked subway with other disappointed and sweaty fans after the game.

After the game we headed to Central Park for some much-needed peace at the turtle pond. We were serenaded by a man and his violin while we watched the turtles poke their heads in and out of the water. The violinist played a medley of sad songs often found in sad TikTok edits. It was a weird experience.

Of course, the subway rides were always eventful. Whether someone was preaching about the end of the world or violently vomiting in the corner, the subway rides always gave us a story. A few times though, when the subway was less busy, there was a peaceful feeling about being on the subway. Everyone was silently doing their own thing which was a nice change of pace from the noisy streets above us.

The train ride from New York back to Buffalo was really rough. It was a sold-out train so we had to sit next to someone the whole time. I was scrunched up in a little seat while strange scents from different people attacked me on all sides.

I’m not particularly fond of going back to campus. Typically, I’d like to be anywhere else. But after that eight-hour train ride to Buffalo, the hour and a half drive back to campus was excruciating. For the first time ever, I couldn’t wait to get back to campus and into my dorm room.

Once I finally got back, I simultaneously unpacked my clothes and unpacked the whole trip with my roommate. Overall, the trip was great. Yes, it was hectic and there were a few unexpected twists, but is the longest consecutive time I’ve gotten to spend in a big city like that. It gave me a taste of what it would be like to live there and I honestly didn’t hate it. With the right job, right friends and right living situation, I could see myself living there in the near future.

Delainey Muscato is a junior journalism major with philosophy and sociology minors. This year she is excited to be the brand deal manager, assistant events planner, and senior editor for the SBU chapter of Her Campus. In her weekly article for Her Campus, she usually writes about her personal experiences at college, as an intern, or just in life. Delainey is excited for her second year as a member of Her Campus and can’t wait to help new members be just as engaged in the club as her. Outside of Her Campus, Delainey is a very active journalist. She writes for a newspaper in Ellicottville, The Villager. These articles typically detail local events or highlight people in the area. She also just began writing for Tap into Greater Olean. This news site covers stories directly rooted in the Olean and Allegany area. This summer, Delainey spent five weeks studying abroad is Sorrento, Italy. In her free time, Delainey loves to spend time with her friends and family. She spends a lot of time reading on her porch at home. Delainey also loves to take her dog Nella on walks. Her favorite TV shows are The Office and Friends. Her favorite movie is Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. She also loves music and spends a lot of time discovering new music and perfecting her playlists. www.linkedin.com/in/delainey-muscato-b10134282