A common theme at NYU graduation ceremonies is the anecdote of that infamous first week: the wide-eyed freshman moving into their dorm in the big city, exploring the bustling Washington Square Park with wonder, meeting everyone on their freshman dorm floor and immediately becoming friends only to never speak again after Welcome Week.
I don’t have the same memory.
Looking back on my first week at NYU I see instead a vision of me, sweatily dragging two huge suitcases through Gare de Nord in Paris with a kind stranger from Iceland, waiting in a long line for taxis behind a group of British tourists, walking back and forth on rue Oberkampf in Paris’ 11th arrondissement trying to find the entrance to my building, hungrily eating the tiny cookies left for me on the desk in my studio room, and then collapsing on my new bed, excited but overwhelmed.
Reading my first blog post from Paris, I am astonished at Younger Lily’s ability to jump into that life with such… flexibility.
“Today marks my first full day in Paris and already, it has been a little adventure,” I wrote. “Having awoken with no food in my kitchen, I wandered out onto rue Oberkampf and found a boulangerie to get a croissant.”
I remember this morning so well. The street was quiet. The sky was a blush color. The croissant was perfection. I felt a little sad, a little scared, but the walk I took that morning was peaceful enough to make me more excited than anything else.
It took a bit of time, but I eventually went from walking around the streets of Paris alone, to exploring with the friends I have kept throughout my college career.
And while I’m so sad to be saying goodbye to some of those people, I feel like I am in a similar headspace as I was when I first flew to Paris: a bit scared, but ready to start new. Also props to NYU, for helping me make friends from around the world. I now have places to stay (or friendly tour guides) in several countries if I ever visit.
Here’s a few photos from the crazy, exhausting, but fun graduation week: