The Skyline I Know

As my family was passing over the Whitestone Bridge last week, I noticed how beautiful the New York City skyline was. I have seen the skyline quite a bit in my lifetime, yet every time I see the city, I can’t help but be amazed by it.

Whenever New York City is depicted on TV or in a movie, my mom always refers to it as “her city.” After all, she spent her whole life there before getting married and moving Upstate with my dad. Anytime the skyline was featured on screen we’d hear “oh there’s my city!”

And this is the sentiment of every New Yorker. After spending a couple months there this summer, I get it. It’s the sentiment of anyone when they see an image of their home–whether a giant metropolis or small farm town.

It is pride. And New York pride is like no other.

The skyline of my “mom’s city” was a skyline defined by the Twin Towers.


As we were crossing over that Whitestone Bridge, I realized that the skyline I have come to know, however, is with One World Trade Center. The skyline that I may one day refer to as “my city” is not the same one that my mom thinks of when she closes her eyes to remember her home.


And this got me thinking, remembering, reflecting.

With this time passing forward, we cannot forget – and I say this as someone who was just a child in 2001.

With a world that has become the world it is today – one that has seen horrific terror attacks, mass shootings, natural disasters – it’s hard to remember a time when tragedy was not on loop in the 24/7 news cycle, when tragedy wasn’t the norm. As a child in the early 2000’s, this is the norm to us.

But we have to remember September 11, 2001 – really remember what it means.

Every time I look to see the skyline and see One World, I’m reminded that the city my mom called home was devastated sixteen years ago.

More importantly, I’m reminded of the city’s strength sixteen years ago when faced with this devastation. This entire country was defined by its strength sixteen years ago – by every hero whose life was put on the line that day, and on the days and years following.

And for that I am so proud and grateful to live here.

I love the 2017 skyline because that is the city I know, but the history of New York City is not lost on the beauty of how it stands today.

The skyline I know is one that was rebuilt without fear. It is one that I can look at and know just how resilient New York is.

Sixteen years ago, our country was attacked. And sixteen years ago our country proved how strong and beautiful it is – and still is today.

– Rachel

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World Poetry Day

On my final night of spring break before heading back to my last block of college, I couldn’t sleep. Instead of sleeping, I found myself putting words together in my head: a poem. I haven’t written a poem in years. This is why it’s so strange that the night I wrote a poem was just a couple days before today’s World Poetry Day.

I was a child who loved words. I even received a collection of poems one early Christmas because of my interest in poetry. I was one of the few students who adored the chapters in high school English when we analyzed poems; however, since attending college I have lost touch with my love of poetry. My mind has been so focused on research papers, social media writing, blogging, writing for professional communications. I forgot that I once admired creative writing, embracing imagery in my words, sharing emotion with a reader.

Now let me get one thing straight–I was no young Maya Angelou; however, I did enjoy the challenge that poetry brought with it. The vulnerability you must have to put emotions into words and find the right word that feels perfect for every line.

I wrote the following poem while sleepy, emotional, and desperate to put words to paper (or my phone, which I probably need to stop sleeping so close to). Again, I’m not saying I’m a poet, but that’s not going to stop me from writing. Just like being on the verge of tone deaf doesn’t stop my love of showtunes.

This is what those words became.

Titled: “We Overcome”

Children play
In fields of freedom.
With innocence
And superficial fears.

Time passes,
As it does too fast.
Play lessens,
Fears deepen.

Dark clouds,
Halt children at play.
Storm looms near,
Air thins.

Or so it seems.

Time passes,
As it does too fast.
Play lessens,
Fears Deepen.

Clouds part,
Light emerges.
Storm distances,
Air is plentiful.

We overcome
Our loss of innocence.
Freedom is near,
Angels at our sides.

-Rachel

My Next Move

Today marked the first day of my final semester of my undergraduate career. After eighteen years of education, I am down to my last four months. It is a little surreal to think about how structured my life has been up until now, and that my world is unknown in four months. No more summer vacations, week-long breaks, or winter recesses. Currently I have jumped right into the job application process, applying to agencies left and right, hoping that I will have some idea of my short-term future by May.

As I began my day this morning, returning from a five-week long hiatus from Ithaca College, my focus was not exclusively on classes. Last night I returned to Ithaca with bittersweet feelings. This winter break was filled with a lot of heartache and emotions, but I was able to experience the heartache around my family—my rock. Now I must revert to my routine, group projects, work, applications, gym sessions, and time with my good friends who I will be parting from in a just a few months.

Not only has my personal life been filled with emotions, but I also cannot seem to go on social media without a sense of stress and sadness over the divisive rhetoric of my newsfeed, nationwide. Although it is hard to remove myself from social media, I seem to close out of these applications feeling more agitated than I ever have before.

With this being said, I have found myself thinking a lot about my next moves in life—mentally, emotionally and physically—over the course of my final semester and post graduation.

The past six or so years have not been easy. I know what some of you may be thinking, I am 21 years old, how hard could my life have been? To a certain extent, you are correct. I have been surrounded by people who I love and who love me. My college experience has been difficult, but I had the opportunity to attend two amazing institutions to learn about communications and have only benefitted from the networking, education, and of course the friends I have gained at both of these schools. Additionally, I am a healthy individual. My mental and emotional health may have taken some hits with the events that have occurred over the past few years; however, I have been able to continue working, going to school, sharing my voice with you all, exercising, laughing with friends, and loving my family.

It is easy to get sucked into the negativity surrounding our lives right now, but my next move is this: I choose my path, and I choose positivity. Those who know me have seen all my sides, but recently my closest network of loved ones may have seen a lot more pessimism than optimism in the past few years. That changes now.

Life is by no means going to get easier. Negativity will continue to surround me; however I want to do my best to be positive in the moments I have left in college, in my job search and the start of my career, with my friends, and with passing strangers or followers on social media. We are so blessed with the ability to share our voices. What power that holds.

The voice you share may hold a different opinion than the person beside you. I know mine has at times, but I try my best to remain positive even when sharing a different opinion. We should never hold back our opinions, while making sure we do so respectively. How else will we bring positive change to the world and society without sharing these voices respectively.

At this particular moment in life my positive contributions may be small ones, but they still matter, such as listening to friends in need, successfully completing my part of a school project, complimenting or acknowledging someone, calling family members, reaching out, and facilitating open conversations with those around me.

My next move for 2017 is to practice positivity, what is yours?

-Rachel

And Then I Remember My Memories

I’m jealous of the girls whose fathers will walk them down the aisle.
I’m jealous of the girls whose dads will see them graduate college.
I’m jealous of the girls who got to crack open a beer with their dads when they turned 21.
I’m jealous of the girls who get to introduce the man of their dreams to their dads.
I’m jealous of the girls whose children will grow up with grandpas.
I’m jealous of the girls whose relationship with their dads didn’t change at age 16 after a disease stole that relationship from them.

And then I remember my memories. 

I remember looking over at the sidelines and seeing my dad at every single game after a long day of work.
I remember the ice skating trips, and my dad skating up behind me and lifting me in the air.
I remember the vacations—all the vacations with the five of us.
I remember the car rides and the hours stuck in traffic, testing every member of our family’s patience.
I remember my favorite movies being interrupted by a man on a mission with a vacuum cleaner.
I remember the bike rides around our hometown and being scared to ride down the big hills.
I remember the long, very long drives around that same hometown.
I remember going to church every Sunday and never missing breakfast right after.
I remember the Christmases where I was spoiled with gifts because my dad worked hard each and every day to give our family a comfortable life.
I remember the laugh.

And then I am no longer jealous.

I am sad, yes.
But I was blessed with a dad who placed his wife up on a pedestal and tucked his kids away in his heart with immense pride.

My dad was everything a girl could dream her dad to be.

Although he was taken from us far too soon, and the effects of an awful disease took pieces of him years earlier, he was and always will be the strongest, best man I will ever know.

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Father’s Day, 2014

-Rachel

Two Weeks Into Senior Year–Okay, What’s Next?

A little over two weeks into senior year and I’m already having the “what am I doing with my life next year” moment. It’s not as much from fear this time around, but rather I’m excited for the possibilities. For the first time in a while (well besides that whole transfer situation), I have absolutely no idea what I will be doing. Undergrad will be over. Eighteen years of structured education will be complete, which leads the next stage in my life wide open. What city will I be in? What state or country will I call home a year from now?

Yes, I said country. That’s because more than anything, I want to travel. I missed the opportunity to travel abroad in my college career, but that does not mean I missed my opportunity to travel. I have such a need to see the world. I am tired of reading about cultures–I want to experience them. There’s a strong part of me that wants to just get out of this state and go anywhere. Not that I don’t love New York. Of course I heart NY. But so many places around the world reside on my bucket list–both inside and outside of the United States–and it’s about time I start checking them off.

The wanderlust is real.

In addition to this travel fever, I also have the question of higher education. Do I get my Master’s degree? What do I get my Master’s in? Do I wait and apply to jobs first? Ahh the questions of an early senior.

Everyone says that I have to just enjoy the present, but as I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I can never stop planning. It’s in my communications-major blood to always be a fan of the details, always be prepared for what comes next.

My options for post-graduation may not be considered endless, but there sure are plenty to choose from. And we know my track record with life decisions–that two-year limit before I like to shake things up again. The place I choose to call home next May might not be my home two years after that. The best part is that I can do that at my age. I’ll be in my early twenties and get to fill my life with memories, experiences, mistakes, laughs…you get the picture.

So as I sit here contemplating life decisions on a Saturday afternoon when I should be doing homework, I’m not in fear of the future. I’m in anticipation, but not fear.

Updates on my decisions will continue, and changes to those decisions will surely come shortly after. For now though, I just have to decide where to travel to this afternoon, and an Ithaca hiking trail is definitely calling my name.

-Rachel

“Work Where Your Passion Is”

I know what you’re thinking — long time no blog, huh? My last post dated back to May 13th. For someone who used to love writing constantly, it is sad to see that I didn’t find time this summer to do so. Between work, family, and personal times, it just did not cross my mind to put my thoughts down into words.

What did I do this summer that kept me so busy? I had a rewarding internship working on the corporate communications team for a company that only reaffirmed my career goals. It made me positive that I can find a solid job in the communications field, I can work extremely hard doing what I love, and yet still enjoy life outside of work as well.

I cannot begin to explain everything I learned the past few months, but I can focus on a couple things.

Work where your passion is.”

This summer, I followed my passion. Those that follow me on social media know I worked for Constellation Brands Inc., a company that produces, sells and markets alcohol. Is my passion alcohol? Not by any means.

My passion is communicating. My passion is people. My passion is laughing. And my passion is learning.

My summer involved all of this, and that is why I am not worried about my life come graduation (now a short nine months away). I know that my future will be rewarding because I do not intend to settle for a job, a life, or a career I am not passionate about.

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“Working.”

Throughout the internship, as I began building relationships with several people, there were moments when I did not necessarily feel confident in who I am. What I’ve come to realize though, is that my personality is what contributes to the work I produce. I am a communicator who creates projects. Along with this personality, I am sometimes too loud, I am sometimes too clumsy, and I sometimes go on tangents. However, as long as who I am allows me to continue to work passionately and remain professional—then there is nothing to worry about, and no reason to second guess myself.

Truth be told, I’m learning who I am. I am building the confidence to make it through life without losing my self-assurance. It is so easy to focus on your own misfortunes or insecurities when in reality life is whole lot happier after you accept each piece of your personality, your body, and your intelligence for what it is, and make the most of the life you’ve been blessed to live.

The past few months have not been an easy time in my personal life; however, working at my internship has been such a bright light in those rougher times. I met amazing people, laughed a lot, built new relationships, and of course worked harder than ever to create and design several communications projects. If I did not enjoy coming into work each day, then I’m not sure how I would’ve handled this summer. I learned that if you love what you do, it can become a creative outlet to focus your attention on producing high-quality work, rather than focusing on things in life you just cannot control.

I encourage everyone to find a job, a hobby, exercise, or an activity that allows you to do the same. It really makes all the difference. I know moving forward in my final year of college, I’m going to remember to find those creative outlets that allow me to decompress and to relax in between all the serious moments life sends my way.

-Rachel

Don’t Plan the Memories, Go Make Them

Two months later and I finally have time to write again. To say it’s been a busy semester would be an understatement. One of the reasons I haven’t blogged is because I just haven’t had the energy to put life into words right now. There hasn’t been anything exciting happening. Nothing new, fun or interesting. And definitely nothing worth mentioning to the world.

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t wanted to. I haven’t wanted to even try to put any part of my life into words for the public to read.

And to be honest, I still don’t really want to. I do, however, feel like I always return to blogging because it’s what frees me from keeping everything inside, the way I would if I didn’t have the written word.

My close friends and family know that I’m really good at creating unnecessary stress for myself because I tend to put pressure on everything I do. I like to plan and prepare for my future, and I take steps in my personal and professional life in order to follow through on those plans. I study hard to keep up in college. I try to maintain a healthy and fit lifestyle. I’m about to start working an internship to prepare for post-grad. And most importantly, I make plans to spend time with friends and family.

However, there are some things in life you just cannot plan for.

You cannot plan for the adversities life hits you with. And sometimes, life hits you hard.

I haven’t written in a while because I haven’t wanted to talk about everything that has occurred the last few months–the last few years if I’m really being honest.

This last month, I’ve dealt with the typical finals season that every college student goes through. These are the weeks that keep you up into the early hours of the morning. The weeks that make you feel like your future actually depends on getting an A.

Simultaneously, I’ve been witnessing the detrimental effects of an awful disease. I’ve been stressing far too much over getting good grades, yet at the same time learning just how precious life is. I’ve been learning how you don’t know what the future holds, so you shouldn’t worry about the things that don’t actually matter–like getting an A.

What should you worry about? Making the trip to see your relatives. Waking up a few hours earlier to make breakfast for your parents. Calling up your best friends, or the friends you might have lost touch with, just to say hello. You should worry about going on the vacation you’ve always wanted to. Work can wait, memories can’t. Life cannot wait. 

What new lesson has the past few months brought to me? Don’t plan the memories you want to make–instead, go out and actually make them.

-Rachel