So how did a Northern California girl end up on the North Shore of Staten Island? I field this question on an almost weekly basis, so one would think I’d have a quick answer by now.
I always planned on college in Southern California. I never planned on college in Staten Island. But if there’s one thing I’ve learned from the way my life has panned out thus far, it’s that even if I think I have a plan, it will always without a doubt change.
I grew up a “classic” Californian, spending summers at the beach with a tan all year long. My childhood was spent playing every sport from softball to track and field to basketball, but my heart always resided in swimming. It wasn’t until 8th grade that I discovered water polo. I played my way through high school and was lucky enough to be offered an athletic scholarship that would bring me all the way out to New York City to attend the school up on the hill—Wagner College.
When I was presented with the opportunity to attend Wagner, my whole thought process changed. Could I really move so far from home? Could I really be an athlete who would perform at a Division I level? Could I really take such a large leap of faith with no guaranteed success?
My plans were up in the air, and everything I imagined for my future seemed wrong. I knew if I didn’t take a chance on the little liberal arts college in Staten Island, I would forever regret it. So, I finished my senior year of high school and moved all the way across the country. Unfortunately, I had to hang up my cap after two years of playing due to health issues, but I am forever grateful to water polo because it got me out to New York City.
Since my water polo career ended, I have never looked back. My whole world opened up after that point. I was able to meet people and have experiences I never could have had if I had still been on the team.
As I just started my position as the Communications Coordinator with the Office of the Borough President a mere two weeks post-graduation, I can whole-heartedly say that making that leap of faith was worth every minute of homesick phone calls and late night study sessions.
Being almost 3,000 miles from my family can be rough at times, but I know this is the right path for me. Watching the sun set across the New York City skyline, whether on the Staten Island Ferry or while on the roof deck of my apartment in St. George, puts everything in perspective. I am so lucky to call one of the greatest cities in the world my home. I’m excited for the opportunity to further explore Staten Island and to understand what it is that makes this island tick.