I never thought I would ever call New York home. Growing up on the sun-soaked shores of Miami, I had decided at an early age that the city with its crowded streets and endless concrete jungle would be a place in which I would only consider myself a tourist. The idea of home itself is interesting. Some people might say it can only be the place where you grew up, another group might contend that it is the place you have your permanent home in, or the place where you have lived the longest. This summer, MSBA has challenged all of those previous thoughts, and for me that was never clearer than after spending time away from the program.
As much as I have strived to squeeze every second of experience out of my time in New York this summer, I can’t lie, I was looking forward to a change of pace. It was the week of the Fourth of July, and I was eager to board my flight from JFK to my hometown of Miami, FL. I was lucky to be one of the few who was able to make a long weekend out of the holiday and planned to take full advantage of the time off to switch up my scenery for a few days. That being said, the MSBA experience is an immersive one, and so the day of my flight seemingly came out of nowhere. With my head still spinning with thoughts of exciting work projects and unique memories with newfound friends, I journeyed back to South Florida eager to share all I had done so far with loved ones and reflect on my own.
“The development was what I had always hoped for, and maybe even somewhat expected from a program like MSBA, but what I didn’t expect was the attachment I had formed with the program.”
It was on a beach chair around 5:00pm on Saturday evening that a lightbulb moment of my own began to take shape. This might sound like a luxurious or Hollywood-esque setting to some people, but after being raised on the water, the beach has become the place where I do my best thinking. It’s hard for me to fully describe to anyone how my process of reflection works; I think we’re all somewhat different, but I always like to find what I can take from the past and bring into the future. MSBA’s Co-Founder David Oestreicher once told me to “use this summer as your workshop … find out what works, what doesn’t, and then apply it.” I’ve taken that advice to heart, and in terms of my personal development, I know I’m already not the same person who arrived in New York last month.
The development was what I had always hoped for, and maybe even somewhat expected from a program like MSBA, but what I didn’t expect was the attachment I had formed with the program. Sitting in a place that I had always considered my true “home”, I found myself prickling with anticipation at the thought of returning to New York. This was strange. I’ve always been the type of person that never likes to stay in one place for too long. With Miami as my home base, I’ve been fortunate enough to spend time all over the country, as well as internationally, but have never been drawn back anywhere as strongly as I was to New York.
I’ve come to understand that while the city of New York itself is incredible, what I was drawn back to was the uniqueness of the MSBA program. Our class has grown extremely close, and the tight knit nature of our group is something I’ll never forget about this summer. When you combine that aspect with the idea of going to work every day and truly LOVING your craft, as well as being surrounded by industry leaders with their own unique stories to tell, you come close to understanding the experience that MSBA creates. It’s a formula of sorts, one that Lorne and Bailey have perfected with whatever “secret sauce” they must use to bring us all together, but in the end it all combines to form something you can’t put a price on.
Now it’s 9:00pm and I’ve just joined my classmates at a restaurant near MSBA Housing so we can all retell our holiday adventures over good food, drinks, and a few inside jokes. As I look around, I see people I only met a month ago but who I feel like I’ve known my entire life. They’ve become my family, and this environment has become my home.
I’ve formed my own definition of what a home is. Home is not about where you’re from, it’s about the places and people that make you feel like you’re always at your best. Here, between the race of full workdays, enlightening programing, and the challenges of always being better tomorrow than you were today, I feel alive, and I’m just getting started. That feeling is what MSBA has given me, and why I can finally say that I consider New York my home.