May 032012
Authors: Erin Eastburn

In five years, where do you hope to be? For those who are graduating next week, do you have an answer?

I thought I had the perfect answer to this question when I left everything in Fort Collins and moved my life to New York. By moving, I simply thought life would work out — that I would be at the top of my game and would be able to quickly adjust to the New York culture and be successful.

I rapidly discovered success takes much more time and patience than I imagined. By moving, I was forced outside of my comfort zone, which tested my values, self-confidence, goals and passion for the fashion industry on a daily basis.

As my time here has quickly passed, I have started to discover pure bliss, but it took months of complete loneliness to reach my happiness here.

As graduation will shortly come and go, I hope that all my fellow graduates will push themselves outside of their comfort zones as well. Life is so much more than the familiar. If you step outside your level of comfort, you can always retreat to safety when needed.

I often retreat to the familiar. Whenever I walk the mile from my work in New York’s Union Square to my apartment in the East Village, I call a friend from Colorado or a family member. Moving away from these people has made me appreciate, love and cherish them so much more. By getting away from my familiar life, I have opened a completely new door for my future life.

Discovering the unknown within me has been a huge accomplishment. By distancing myself from everything I knew, I have been able to truly understand who I am as a person and what I want from my life. I have been able to focus my passions, relationships and skills to advance myself.

Sure, this may sound a little selfish, but, in my opinion, it would be stupid not to be selfish at this time in my life. I urge you to do the same.

I realized that having an answer to the “five-year” question might be great for an interview –– but it’s no way to live. For every internship I have taken, friendship I have made and date I have been on in New York, I have learned unexpected characteristics about myself. I find new interests on a daily basis urging me to go back to school, and I’ve realized the life I am living is already beautifully amazing and full of success.

By moving here, I know that I can reach my higher career goals. My professional and personal goals are constantly transforming and being put into action. I sincerely believe everything happens for a reason as long as you truly know yourself and what makes you happy.

My goals scare me and make me want to give up whenever I think of how much effort I will have to put in to reach them –– but I have never given up on anything that mattered to me. By stepping out of my Colorado comfort zone, I have created a larger window of opportunity for myself.

I don’t think I could have reached my current level of success and strength if it weren’t for the people I’ve met throughout my time in Fort Collins. Colorado State University has given me great friends, mistakes that have turned into lessons and successes that will push me into my future. I hope my fellow graduates can look back at their time at CSU and be as thankful as I am for the total package it has developed us into and the experiences it has graciously given us.

Walking through the charming streets of my East Village neighborhood, I find myself smiling at literally everything. Now that the cherry blossom trees are blooming back to life, I feel my spirit is too.

Erin Eastburn is a senior apparel and merchandising major who is currently working at Victoria’s Secret and living in New York City.

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