Also known as: My Official STEP Reflection
This trip to New York City was funded by the OSU STEP Program which provides a grant to second-year students to do a Signature Experience. My STEP project was a ten day trip to NYC where I interviewed artists about their work and its connection to emotion, and I traveled around the city experiencing different kinds of art.
The point of the trip was to be transformative. More than anything, I felt that I grew up a lot. This was the first trip I had ever taken alone. The organizational stuff was nothing new, but it was the first time I had to find my way through the airport, arrange transportation, travel alone, etc. For a young woman, there was definitely a lot of fear of the unknown. Eight million people within only a few miles radius is intimidating.
Aside from the maturation that came with the trip planning and execution, I felt really transformed in the way I viewed art. I did the typical things like go to the Met, see a ballet, attend a (bunch of) Broadway show(s). You know. The things people normally regard as art. But I also walked through the parks and admired the gardens. I walked through the buildings and admired the architecture. I did things I wouldn’t normally think of as “art”, even though they provide beauty, provoke thought, and take work to make.
It’s hard to pinpoint only a few things I did on the trip that led to my “transformation” because I did so many things.
So instead of a write a bunch of paragraphs describing how they all fit together, here’s a few key moments that really taught me a lot about the way I view art:
- I took a tour of NBC Studios at 30 Rockefeller Plaza and accidentally ended up seeing a live taping of Late Night with Seth Meyers. I had never been to a live taping of a TV show before and getting to see the background work that goes on and how many people are involved in every step of the process while taking the tour, and then getting to see it put into action at the live taping was incredible.
- I walked through the Metropolitan Museum of Art which is HUGE. But what got me more than the beautiful canvases and sculptures was that there was a whole section of the museum where you got to see bedrooms and living rooms with original antique furniture and decor, which had never before been presented to me as art.
- I walked a park called the Highline, which used to be an elevated rail track that never got used. But now it’s a gorgeous park which still featured some of the rail but now is a garden. It made me think of my mom because she likes trains and gardens.
- I SAW HAMILTON
These are just a few of the amazing things I did while in New York and they don’t even begin to feature the people.
While in the city I talked to four artists who all live (or lived) in the city and do very different kinds of art. I asked them the same questions: in your words, what do you do for a living? How does art convey emotion? etc.
All their answers were different, which makes sense because they were all different people who have different arts that they approach in their own way. It was fascinating to hear about their work and how they process emotion through it and how the type of art they do affects their process.
The last question for the reflection is “how does this change affect my life?” That’s kind of hard to put into words, but I’ll try.
I work in the healthcare field and I study social work. I have an interest in politics. In short, everything I do has the potential for burnout. But I love it and I do it anyways because I love it and because I want to help people.
When May came around and the trip came nearer and nearer, I was reaching my limit. Class had just ended, but I had started a new one during May term for a history credit. I had finished all my classwork and increased my work hours without really giving myself a break, because I knew I had one coming.
Everything was getting overwhelming and I was reaching a breaking point.
But then I went to New York. With the exception of my online Russian history class, I didn’t have any obligations. I could make my own schedule, eat whatever I wanted in one of the top culinary cities in the world, and best of all I got to go experience art. I got to see musicals and listen to music and do everything that I had not been doing in Columbus i.e. doing self-care.
Self-care is vital to people in the profession(s) I seek to enter, and pushing myself to the limit the way I had before the trip is the kind of thing that leads people to quit. Getting to take an amazing trip where I allowed myself to just be was a God send. It allowed me to return to Columbus (straight into a conference) and feel refreshed and energized so I could do my very best.
That was the most transformational part that directly impacts my life, because that’s the reminder I have to give mysef. Self-care is rarely an all-expense paid trip to New York City where I get to see the smash-hit musical Hamilton with 95% of the original Broadway cast. It’s the reminder that I can take an afternoon and walk through a museum, or go to the library and just sit and read. The people who live in the city could take part in what I did any time they wanted to. So why can’t I take part in what my city has to offer?
Answer: I can.
And I will.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art on the Upper East Side
The 2016 Best Musical Tony Award winner Hamilton at the Richard Rodgers Theatre
My wristband from Late Night with Seth Meyers on NBC
Upright Citizens Brigade-Chelsea (where many Saturday Night Live members train)