What a Year in NYC Has Taught Me: Sarah Z.

Sarah Z Photo Edited

By Kaitlin Tang - Campus2City Team Member

August 11, 2020

Sarah moved to New York City in 2019 shortly after graduating from George Mason University with a Bachelors of Fine Arts in Dance. As a professional freelance dancer, Sarah quickly found a supportive and inspirational community amongst fellow dancers in the city. Maintaining an open mind has allowed Sarah to navigate through the nuances of New York City while also discovering new job interests and a definition of success. 

Pizza, halal cart, or bagels?

Halal cart at Union Square near Petco.

What were you most excited for when moving to New York? Did it live up to your expectations?

The potential for constant surprises. I love spontaneity and New York is such an easy place to be spontaneous.

What were you most afraid of, if anything, when moving to New York? How do you feel now?

I moved here with three of my best friends/college roommates who were also dance majors. I was scared that the transition from college life in Virginia to real life in NYC would have an effect on our relationships. It definitely did! Navigating the nuanced situation of still being roommates but each now having separate schedules, jobs, social circles, lives, has been challenging. We've found that the best thing we can do is to stay open about communicating our feelings with one another. Our relationships are in a new phase and this can sometimes feel tricky and confusing, but alas this is just part of life, and I am still so grateful that we moved here together. Otherwise, I probably wouldn't have moved here at all! (Thank you, roommates!)

What’s an NYC myth you have found to be true?

If you are using public transportation and you only give yourself the amount of time that google maps suggests to get to your destination, you will probably be late or at least stressed on the subway! Always give yourself extra time for those unexpected delays so that you can have a peaceful commute.

What’s an NYC myth you have found to be false?

At least in the dance community - a sense of competition. I moved here thinking that it would be dreadful and painful to compete with all of the other talented dance artists here, but actually I have found incredible support and inspiration among dancers in NYC rather than competition.

What’s your favorite thing to do in the city during your free time?

Dance somewhere outside or read a book in a park.

What’s something you have to compensate for by living in New York?

There is not so much nature in NYC. I am originally from Maine where there is nature all over the place. Sometimes when I am in New York, I really miss wide open spaces.

What makes NYC unique to you?

I have been introduced to so many new foods since living here and I LOVE IT!!

Do you have any “only in New York” moments/stories you’d like to share?

One time I was taking a photo of my friends eating a pretzel from a cart on the street. As I was taking the photo, a ruggedly kind-looking man with huge bushy eyebrows and a mustache posed near them with a smile and a thumbs up. So I took a photo of him too. This moment made me so happy that I set the picture as my lock screen on my phone, and now whenever I pick up my phone I am always reminded of the random joy that is living throughout the city.

What’s the biggest lesson you’ve learned since moving to New York?

Becoming comfortable in the unknown is probably the greatest lesson I have learned since moving to NYC. I have found that the less I resist uncertainty, the more I am able embrace the opportunity that the unknown provides. When I first moved here, I had no idea what I was doing, but I managed to stay open-minded, changeable, and compassionate towards my situation. Through listening and following the gentle cues that I never could have planned, I gained so much insight about myself like jobs I didn't know I would love and maybe a definition of success that I didn't have before.

What would you say to a recent graduate who’s interested in moving to New York?

If you have the means and the urge to move here, even if it is just a tiny little spark surrounded by questions, doubts, and worries, take the risk and move. You will figure out all the answers to your questions through living it, and the lessons you will learn are part of the magic of living here.