Posted On Jun 3, 2021
Fall of 2009, I arrived in my dream city for college. I was so green to the city, I lived in Brooklyn in the dorms that the school offered. The dorm was actually in Brooklyn Heights and was an old hotel they renovated and turned into dorms. The Hotel St. George was a dorm for The Art Institute Students and some from PACE University if I remember correctly. It was a 15 minute ride to school - which was located in Soho at the time. At first, I would only go to school and back to the dorm. After a while, I began to explore my neighborhood and eventually learned my way around Brooklyn. I had no family out there, but I was well prepared to live on my own at 18. I can remember on a few occasions in the shared kitchens there people watching me cook and asking me questions like, " Did you just make that gravy from SCRATCH!?". I refused to survive off of microwavable meals and processed foods. Living in the dorm was an amazing experience- I met wonderful roomies that I am still in touch with until today, lifelong friends, and a lot of creatives that are blossoming in their own rites. After a while, I realized, my neighborhood Brooklyn Heights was really overpriced and the dorms was eating away at my scholarship. Plus I was paying at least $1500 a month for a shared space, so I opted out to get my own place with a roomie and split the rent. My first apartment was in Bushwick just off of Myrtle Ave, which may now be called East Williamsburg or something. It was a railroad style apartment, newly renovated, and TILL THIS DAY I wish I made a way to stay in that apartment. It wasn't until I moved here that I started working at Levi's in Times Square. I was going to be finished with school and I wanted to have a source of income or at least some experience under my belt. After a while at Levi's and learning the ins and outs of how they operated, I left Levi's to do Visuals at Aeropostale in Times Square. Aero didn't last long and I should've known that it wasn't going to because my manager from Aero literally walked into Levi's one day and gave me a better offer. Eventually, my hours dried up and I was in a bind until a friend of mine referred me to a place called Accessorize. For some reason, I never and I mean never have had a problem getting a job and I've been working since I was old enough to get a work permit. Once I was hired at Accessorize as a sales lead, it wasn't too much longer until I was promoted to key holder. Accessorize was demanding with their sales goals, procedures, overnights ect. I found myself in my final semester of college with final projects ect due whilst having a demanding position. I still don't know how I made it through my LAST finals week, but I remember praying A LOT. I Prayers got me through because I sure wasn't sleeping a lot those days. It was all worth it once I had my degree and I decided to stay in New York. The Art Institute made a lot of empty promises on the things they said they would provide their graduates with. I do remember being selected once through an administrator to help with the casting of the T.V. network Bravo! second season of their show "The Fashion Show". That was when project runway first left Bravo! and went to Lifetime ( I believe that was the shade) because they tried to replace Project Runway with the new show. Anyhoo a team of students came together, strategized out marketing scheme to get the flyers out( yes people still printed flyers in 2011), and we went out to find the talent. I went to some of my favorite fabric stores and made sure to give flyers to people that I knew were designers. One of the local designers I knew wound up on the show. I stayed at the Art Institute of New York City and I didn't transfer to Parsons or FIT because all of our professors also worked at those schools. I felt that I took full advantage of my scholarship and my time in the city.
My mom really prepared me to be out on my own by doing things I didn't always want to do. Like making dinner every Thursday after I was a certain age. It paid off when I noticed by comparison to my peers in the dorm in MANY WAYS.
Always have a plan even if things don't go as planned. Planning ahead to leave the dorms after doing the math because I paid attention to where my money was going. I also was following my intuition to leave the dorm because I kept getting sick after a while and I knew intuitively that it was coming from being there somehow.
It pays to have good friends! I thought I was doing the right thing by leaving Levi's for a competitor doing visual merchandising, but I only cheated myself in the end. As Aeropostale didn't work out, I thank god I had a friend that referred me to another place of employment. Accessorize combined my learned skills from Levi's in Times Sq. , Aeropostale, and was a better fit in the end.
Make the best out of every situation and always see how you can grow, learn, or angle things to your advantage.
Original Article : https://mcodelux.com/blog/f/brooklyn-2009