Summer in the city


Kristina Bornholtz, News Editor of The Spectator, in New York City where she spent her summer as an intern.

When you ask me why I chose to transfer to UW-Eau Claire my sophomore year, I will always say it is because it feels like home. There is something so comfortable about my little house off campus, the friends who have become like family, and the sight of the river running through it all.

So if you had told me on New Year’s Day I would spend my summer in New York City, I wouldn’t have believed you. I had already planned my summer in Eau Claire, complete with lazy afternoons floating and celebrating my birthday on Water Street. I was perfectly happy in my comfort zone.

Instead, after interviewing for an opportunity I thought was a long shot, I was offered an internship with Women’s Health magazine in Midtown, Manhattan. Just like that, everything changed. Suddenly I was packing up my room, making arrangements for housing at New York University, and ultimately hopping  on a plane taking flight for right out of my comfort zone. I had never been to New York before moving there.

New York City is an amazing place, especially in the summer. There is an unmistakable vibrancy, even through the sluggish haze coming off the burning-hot pavement. The city is alive at all moments of every day, and it often feels like the 1.6 million people living in Manhattan are all on the streets at once. Why, then, did I feel so alone those first two weeks?

I knew one person in New York. I loved my job as beauty intern at Women’s Health, but I was so excited to be there, I often felt paralyzed by the fear of messing up. My roommate at NYU didn’t move in until two weeks after I did, so when I got home at 7:45 each night, I was alone. As I lay in bed, wondering what my friends in Eau Claire were doing, I yelled at myself for leaving my comfort zone.

That is, until June 1. I remember the day very clearly – it was sunny, 78 degrees, and my roommate was finally moving in. Suddenly, inspiration hit me. I was wasting this amazing opportunity worrying about doing things alone. I took a notebook to a nearby park and drew up a bucket list of things I wanted to do with my summer and vowed I would do them, with company or without.

The bucket list shattered my comfort zone. I decided to try foods I never tried before, and when I invited my roommate, she was thrilled to go with me. I asked my fellow interns to explore after work, and, together we went to museums, parks, and even Coney Island. And when no one wanted to go with me, I went on adventures alone. My work began to flourish and my editor took notice, saying how much I had grown. After weeks of feeling alone and anxious in my own skin, I finally started to feel comfortable outside my comfort zone.

The person I was in May feels like an old friend now. I thought I knew myself so well then, but I only knew the half of it.

In New York I discovered my true love of magazine journalism, so much so that I plan to go back after graduation. I discovered I really love Chinese sesame pancakes. And perhaps most importantly, I discovered three new best friends who helped me cultivate my personal style, my aesthetic, and most of all, my voice.

Confidence is a matter of just swallowing your fears and deciding to do it. It’s not easy, and at first, it’s definitely not fun. But in the end, you will be thankful you did get our of your comfort zone, for better or for worse. I certainly am.