What New York teaches me   

Published December 15, 2018, 12:05 AM

by Charissa Luci-Atienza & Bernie Cahiles-Magkilat



Alex M. Eduque
Alex M. Eduque

Every trip back to the city I once called home brings me back to a most transformative and experimental time of my life. My college years were undoubtedly some of the toughest. Clouded with uncertainty, multiple episodes of trial and error, adjustment like no other, and walking on eggshells quite a bit, I traversed one of the most intoxicating, yet vibrant cities. It was my playground, and a laboratory of sorts for me. Not always easy, but in retrospect, a very rewarding four years which indeed played a big role on where and what I am today. Each time I return, this indescribable rush of emotions come about me once again. I am instantly zapped back by the energy that was once my everyday – draining and exhausting, but invigorating and exhilarating nonetheless. And in the seldom quiet time that I find in between activities and errands these days, I seem to always think back to what it is this city has taught me (and what it continues to teach me with every trip back). Here are my top five:

First, to make the most out of every minute – ever heard of the term New York minute? It is essentially the same sixty seconds, but perhaps the most packed and productive of your life. Definitely a pace not for everyone, every moment in this city seems like rush hour. Everyone always seems like they’re in a hurry, and though it can definitely be stressful to most (it once was for me until I got properly assimilated and acclimated), I have come to respect it for the discipline it instills, the efficiency it yields, and the focus it requires. If there is anything ever so valuable my New York years have taught me, it is how to effectively and efficiently multi-task – an asset I can truly count on to this very day.

Second, that the time is now – quite closely related to my first point, essentially the notion of not procrastinating and waiting till the last minute. Why wait till tomorrow when something can be accomplished now? In the same light, this also can test your patience. In a city that thrives on competition, and that always seems rushed, the system at times may seem to favor a certain few. It is all about finding your place and your niche, cultivating relationships, and taking care of friendships. Isn’t that the same wherever else in the world anyway?

Third, that you need to work [hard] for what you want – and though reality is that some of us may be more favored, well-connected and blessed than others, there really are no shortcuts. This essentially translates to sixteen-hour work days as the norm, and finding ways to stand out amidst the bureaucracy of things by constantly producing stellar work. In a place as cosmopolitan as New York, the competition is even greater, and it is easy to get lost, and intimidated in the bubble of it all. Having said that though, no success is sweeter than one that is attained by sheer hard work.

Fourth, that there is something for everyone – and though we might not instantly figure it out, trying different things and ridding ourselves of our fears and anxieties will ultimately lead you to where you should be.

And lastly, that “If you make it [there], you’ll make it anywhere…” – the lyrics of Frank Sinatra could not be more true, and as one who has experienced New York in all its glory, these words resonate with me all the more. It’s totally “up to you [in] New York, New York…”