To the Girl Who Controls Everything

A girl close to our hearts here at Her Campus U Wyoming is Ericka Patten. This last summer, she traveled to New York for an internship with HBO. We asked her to share her experience going from small town Wyoming to New York and we love what she said. Sail away from your shore, collegiettes.

Once upon a time, I was in your shoes. Everything was a plan. Ask what I would be doing in the next three years, and I could give you a roadmap to exactly where I would be. Then I decided to spend a summer in New York.

I have never been truly alone in my entire life, so a summer away in a foreign city held terror and excitement all in one. I packed up my suitcase and moved myself into a one-bedroom apartment in Manhattan. I was alone. How could a city that was filled by four million people feel so empty? When you pass the faces on the streets and all they give you are blank stares, how was this a part of my plan? I was supposed to make it in this city of dreams, but I felt like I was failing myself.

After one extremely teary-eyed phone call home, my mom gave me an ultimatum. We set a date that if I was still this depressed, I would buy a plane ticket home and that would be it. That’s the crazy thing though, when people give you a challenge and you try to overcome whatever they had given you.

There is this quote that reads, “20 years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowline, sail away from your safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sales. Explore. Dream. Discover.” The thing with harbors is they are safe. They are comfortable, and most importantly they will always be there. So why was I still clutching to my harbor?

I realized that it was up to me to make the choice whether or not I was going to enjoy my adventure in New York or be completely and utterly miserable. I was so caught in holding onto the past that I was missing out on the life that I was living. I was more concerned about what people back home were doing than living in the moments that I was creating. I could have set a timeline and counted down the days until I returned home or I could just throw caution to the wind and enjoy the experience.

It takes a long time for a person to become their own best friend, but I promise you that when that moment happens, it will be worth it. All of the tears I cried in New York were because I was trying to control everything in my life. Sometimes it takes being completely out of your element to realize your true purpose in life. New York taught me many lessons, but the most important is that, if you invest in yourself then you will be successful. A new city, place, environment can be daunting. Take it in baby steps and celebrate your little wins. Know that you control nothing except for your perspective on your situation. Sometimes it is okay to let go and have a little bit of faith that you will end up exactly where you are supposed to be.