Stop 4.5: An Introduction to NYC

I still remember the first time I stepped onto to New York City pavement.

It was April of 2015. I was seventeen, a junior in high school, and a young girl with big dreams of making it to the city one day to work in the fashion industry. Picturing that I was Carrie Bradshaw, I twirled down the streets of Manhattan envisioning a bright future. I am sure everyone else walking down the street was just wondering who the  crazy, twirling girl was.

I had plans of attending the Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT) for college. My dream school to attend. My senior year of high school I worked meticulously on college applications to several schools in New York, but FIT was constantly on my mind.

However, I was still applying to schools in the Midwest.

My counselor, who I owe endless thanks to for the rest of my life, found Mount Mary University through an article written about alum, Donna Rico’s, dress that Michelle Obama wore. He suggested that I apply to Mount Mary and apply for the Caroline Scholars program. A full ride scholarship to college.

I applied, not thinking I would ever receive the scholarship, but I remember the day I received the flowers and phone call that I was one of the six freshmen recipients. I was blown away with appreciation and thankfulness, but a part of me was so torn on the inside.

The day my financial aid reward arrived in the mail in late March from Mount Mary, was the same day my acceptance letter from FIT arrived. The once starry-eyed and twirling girl with dreams of going to NYC for university was suddenly hit with the toughest decision of her life thus far. Accept the scholarship and give up my dreams of studying fashion in NYC at my dream school, or go to my dream school and carry a large financial burden for the rest of my adult life.

I ultimately chose going to Mount Mary University. Looking back now, it was the right decision. Although I have been through a lot both mentally and emotionally with making that decision and constantly wondering if I made the right choice, I always just look around me and I see all the strong, wonderful, encouraging women I am surrounded by, especially my best friends Ashley, Carlie, and Sarah, and then I know that I made the right choice for myself at this point in my life.

Going to NYC always holds a special place in my heart because no matter how busy, how intimidating, or how competitive it all may seem, I always remember that seventeen year old girl who did not care about any of that noise, but rather about the opportunities, diversity, culture, and excitement the city has to offer.

This past October right before my twentieth birthday, I had the opportunity to travel to NYC again with the Fashion Department at Mount Mary. My adventures will be highlighted in the next two posts.

I will also be posting college information for other students seeking to study fashion, and I will go further into my own experiences, triumphs, and failures in high school and thus far through college.

Until then, please enjoy the beauty that NYC has to offer through my photos and personal accounts.

Lots of Love,

Nina

Third Stop: Chicago, IL (Downtown)

Growing up in Lisle, Illinois, a west suburb of Chicago, I constantly wanted to go downtown. My small and peaceful suburb was great to grow up in, but my heart was always yearning for a more upbeat and exciting environment.

I grew up going downtown quite often with my parents or cousins, but when I began to get older, I took it upon myself to take advantage of the opportunities that my beautiful city has to offer.

The summer before my freshman year of college, I enrolled in a fashion trend forecasting class at Columbia College Chicago as a part of their High School Summer Institute. I wanted to have a preview of what my fashion classes in college would look and feel like. Taking this class was probably one of the most beneficial and important steps I have taken in my educational career. I learned about what the city of Chicago has to offer fashion wise, and what people in different parts of the city are wearing.

I realized that Chicago in its entirety is much too large in highlighting trends because what people are wearing in Downtown Chicago is different from what people are wearing in Pilsen or Wicker Park.

So, to start of part of my Chicago series, I will start with downtown fashion.

When I head downtown on the train, most of the time there is me with my periwinkle Dr. Martens and my blue and white striped t-shirt dress, while surrounded by business men and women all wearing different variations of the same combination of a dress with a statement necklace, or slacks and a collared shirt.

Immediately when you go downtown the sea of business people emerge from their offices and hangout at the trendy food trucks near Union Station. Whereas the youth in downtown all have their own style. I would say the trend for youth in downtown is being an individual. Being your own person makes you interesting, and that is what I tend to find people are most interested in. Every person I see has a different style, and that is the new trend.

I will always wear my periwinkle Dr. Martens with pride when I sit next to the businessman on the train with his earphones in, drinking his Starbucks latte, and looking at his computer screen wishing he never had to see another Excel spreadsheet  ever again.