By Buyana Ulzii (Mongolia)
Early morning in February: New York City. It is really cold outside. The frost bites bitterly. The cheek tingles in a winter breeze and the guilt lingers in my troubled mind. I was running to a conference for the Social Network Week… having a hard time finding the place, and I was 30 minutes late! In fact, I knew there was nobody timing my arrival; nobody was monitoring punctuality. The conference was an open access and drop-in type. But I felt bad and guilty for being late, as New York always urges you to seek harder, strive higher, and do better. It seems that external surveillance is not the one that pushes you forward; rather it is the internal impulse that pulls your personal limits.
In fact, the city offers information to learn from and grow with – the brightest and the biggest ideas are shared everywhere: networking events, cultural fairs and group meet-ups. In return, it exerts pressure on you to digest well and develop further, and to find your own voice among its diverse population. In the sea of talent, those who speak almost 170 different languages and share rich minds, one should learn to be assertive and confident in order to get heard and recognized.
A journey to New York for me turned out into a journey to rediscover myself. It came in the form of an opportunity hunt as America greeted me with all its promises and hopes; an identity crisis as I wondered about my strengths and weaknesses, while seeking to fit into the society; a self-recognition as the confidence gradually builds up. The process of self-discovery is ongoing, and the answer remains uncertain as to whether I am confident enough and assertive enough to stand firm and fight rigorously for my dreams. The only thing certain is that I get stronger everyday with the opportunities and challenges New York City puts in front of me.