This week I was finally reunited with my favorite city, New York. I was so excited to be back in the Big Apple, especially since the trip was going to be different than my usual NYC shopping & site seeing past adventures. This time I was in New York for a leadership summit called the “Makers of Good Summit” which was about overcoming social isolation in schools. The trip was organized through my school, so it was my first time in the city without my parents. Instead, I was with some of my classmates and two of my fav teachers. I came back from the trip happy as can be, so I thought why not share my experience on my blog. To get started though I have to go back to when the trip began… the morning of June 19th.
The trip started at my high school, where we all met to ride in a school van to the train station. When we arrived at the train station that’s when the fun began… That day it was supposed to rain & not be super hot, so we all dressed in layers. Little did we know that is was gonna be so darn HUMID, all of us were laughing at how sweaty we were to start off the trip. Some of us even pulled out our “rain” umbrellas to shade us from the sun. After a short wait, our train arrived to take us to the city. I struggled to get my suitcase on the train because I’m a huge over packer which makes carrying my suitcase a real workout. On the train I sat with my friend/roommate for the trip, Kathryn. She and I spent the whole ride watching Gossip Girl ( this was fitting for where we were going lol), listening to some bops, and making TikToks. We were being a little bit loud, but luckily we weren’t in the quiet car so people weren’t bothered. Around 3 hours later we arrived to the big apple.
Our first stop was the subway! We all put some money on metro cards & then took the next subway to the World Trade Center. The World Trade Center was right near our hotel, so it made it an easy walk to where we were staying. When we arrived at the hotel I saw it went up pretty high, so I was holding high hopes for a good view. My hopes came true because my room ended up being on the 27th floor. When Kathryn and I entered our room it felt like I was in an episode of Gossip Girl. Our rooms view was the coolest thing literally ever. We had this gorgeous old gothic building with gargoyle’s on it, skyscrapers galore, a view of boats on the Hudson River, taxi’s driving by, and people walking the streets. We were so high up that the people looked like ants. The room overall was a 10/10 because it was adorable. After we were done freaking out over the view, we got ready for our night out.
Earlier we had seen a sign for Eataly in the World Trade Center. I had eaten there before but @ the location next to the Flat Iron building, so I told my group the food was delicious. Another kid in my group also recommended it too so we decided to eat there. We walked around the market at first, but then sat down for dinner. Almost all of us ordered spaghetti and we all were highly satisfied and loved our meal. During dinner I asked if any one had been to Kith before, an aesthetic store & ice cream shop my brother introduced me to when we went to New York last summer. This conversation brought up the idea of heading to Soho. Our teachers accepted our request so we headed to Soho after having a funny conversation about how I ordered gelato at Eataly even though I suggested getting ice cream @ Kith lol.
Bringing a group of teenagers to Soho, Manhattan means you can guess that one thing will occur… a photoshoot. We all took so may photos whether it was in Kith or on the streets of Soho. Even our teacher was being my photographer for the night taking a bunch of pics for me, we were having a great time. Make sure to check out my Insta if you wanna see more pics from our night in Soho. After some of us took pics, got ice cream, or shopped/browsed in Kith we then headed to the subway to get back to the hotel to rest up for our long day ahead.
The next day we had our main event, the Makers of Good summit! I got dressed & did my makeup sitting on the ledge of my window, so I could take in the view for as long as I could before we had to say goodbye to the room. By 8 a.m. it was time to leave our room which meant a couple more pics and a sad dramatic exit. Kathryn and I headed to the lobby to get Starbucks, I got an iced passion tango tea aka my fav Starbs drink. After Starbucks we went to the summit building. When we walked in it was super exciting because the building was so cute. Every area was set up for picture taking and had such cute backgrounds. We ate a really good breakfast and checked out the gift backpacks we got filled with goodies from the sponsors of the event including stuff from the Hershey Company, Google, WE, etc. Post breakfast, the event began where we first heard opening remarks from people from the Hershey Company and Ziad Ahmed a Yale student who founded the organization Redify which works to further equality. Then, Lauren Jauregui, a singer from the old girl group 5th Harmony, had a conversation on Self Love and social media in todays society. She had a lot of similar view points that I have, like you have to love yourself before you can love others & social media in today’s society has a lot of pros but also many cons as well. I really enjoyed hearing someone who agrees with these ideas since they play a big part of my life. Our last speakers of the event were people involved in organizations from the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Buddy Project, and Beyond differences who shared how they got into mental health awareness, bullying, etc. All the speakers were very inspirational and got you excited for the day ahead.
Now it was time to break up into smaller groups, this was my favorite part because I met a bunch of new people from places like Seattle, New York, and Florida. We learned a lot about each others comfort zones, how empathy and compassion go together to make people make a difference, and created action plans on what individually we would do to stop social isolation or help there not be a stigma on mental health in schools. While we did all this, my new friends and I listened to music, sang, and danced ~ woah~ this just overall made the room full of good vibes.
In the end, everyone met up again in the main conference room. Some people shared what their action plans were, and a few students and I went on the stage and talked about the day as a whole @ the summit. It was a good way to end off the day with a recap, but now that the events were over it was PARTY TIME woohoo. Charlie Puth’s brother, Stephen, sang a couple songs to start it off. Since the Hershey company was running the event, they had a S’mores area set up beside a photo area where you could take pictures with the Reeses cup man and a Jolly Rancher dude. Also, we got free candy that you could put in snapchat backpacks because snapchat was another sponsor of the event. By this time though it was time to say our goodbyes to our new friends and head to Penn Station.
When we got on the train to head home I was sad my trip was over, but so happy with all the things I got to experience. The train was full though so my group all had to sit next to someone they didn’t know, this caused an unexpected twist to my day. I complimented the Louis Vuitton purse the lady beside me had & we got to talkin. She ended telling me a lot about her life and her inspiring story of how she got to where she was today. Throughout the story she gave me a lot of good life advice for how to be successful in the future. I had no idea that this conversation was gonna happen, but it ended up being an inspiring conclusion to and overall inspiring day.
Even though this trip wasn’t a usual NYC trip for me, it ended up being one of my favorites. It’s interesting because I would say it’s tied with my Radio City Rockettes summer intensive experience which was one of my first blog posts. Both of these trips weren’t about all the New York sites or stores, they were inspiring experiences that I will never forgot with many new & old friends by my side. I would have never had the opportunity to go to either of these trips if I would have let my anxiousness get in the way of my Rockette audition, or not put the work into writing my essay entry for the summit. I know I usually don’t end my blog posts with life lessons but the lady on the trains advice inspired me to give some advice of my own. I know some things may be nerve racking in life and you may be afraid to fail, but as Nike would say just do it! You only have one life so why not live it to the fullest, and also remember to enjoy every experience in the moment because time fly’s by when you’re having fun. I know this was a long blog post so congrats on making it to the end, hope y’all enjoyed!
ps. thx again to all the sponsors & makers of the summit and ofc my teachers and friends who made the trip so much fun
xoxo- Ashlyn Kate