#LiveAvantur Guest Editor: Roxy Dinh
“Are you sure that’s what you want?”
“That’s not how you do it!”
“Don’t do THAT!”
We grow up listening to these phrases again and again. Sometimes we accept the prescribed way to do things; it’s the path of least resistance. But other times, we fight back.
Since first grade, I’ve been the girl dressed like a boy, wearing thick round glasses (before Normcore made them cool), ignoring my math teacher’s lecture and going out of my way to teach myself new equations or shortcuts.
Has the way I’ve handled things made my life easier? Not really.
Is it satisfying to take a different path and figure things out in my own way? Hell yes.
When I turned 17, of course I picked a university 9,000 miles away from my hometown and from the comfort of all my family and friends. I wasn’t going to settle for what was easy or what was safe. Instead, I chose to live in the busiest, craziest, and most hellish city in the world – New York City.
The unexpected choice has brought with it some unexpected (and meaningful) experiences. I saw snow for the first time (and then got sick of it). I worked one job and two internships while overloading courses and serving as president of an organization in college. I got into intense catfights… but also made true friendships with people from different backgrounds and different worlds. I couch surfed, on my own, from one city to another. I traveled to 16 different states and 13 countries. I fell in love—and then fell out of love. I finally ate chicken and waffles on the same plate. I added, changed, and dropped my majors multiple times until I graduated with honors. I chose to be part of the media industry—not finance—because I wanted to follow my passions, even though job prospects in media in the U.S. would ultimately be tougher for my work visa requirement.
And now here I am: 22, living in Queens and commuting to Flatiron every day to work with a group of sharp, kind, and clever people at my social agency. Yes, I will still curse someone out if they touch my butt on the crowded subway. Yes, I refuse to look at my rent each month, knowing that it’s draining my bank account. But these are the small things. I step back, and I know that I’m truly happy: I’m doing what I love, and nothing can stop me.
Taking the unusual path can be damn scary. But if you never step outside your comfort zone, then how will you find the unexpected moments, people, and places that will shape you into a newer, stronger self?