Neeha was born in India, but grew up in Dubai and Istanbul. In 2008, she found herself at New York University getting a bachelor’s in Media, Culture, and Communication. She currently works in digital analytics at a PR agency and dreams of making her next big move. You can follow her on Twitter @NeehaMujeeb.
Tea and Sitcoms
I live in New York and New York can get lonely at times. There’s one kind of loneliness where you are lonely because you don’t have people around you and there is the second kind of loneliness where you are surrounded by people but still feel lonely. You meet a lot of people but somehow things don’t go past that first interesting conversation where you think ‘wow – this person is so cool’. New York is that kind of lonely, a place with a lot of firsts, a lot of moments but which stay just that – passing moments.
I’ve had a few of my own; one of my most endearing memories involves tea and sitcoms. I was living in the Lower East Side at the time with a French family who went to bed really early. To save them the trouble and myself the guilt of waking them up, I roamed the streets of New York until I was ready to just go home and crash. One on such Wednesday night I found myself at my favorite tea shop – Teany – on Rivington. I often went there as they had free wi-fi, lots of tea and great cheesecake. It was close to 11 and I sat down to enjoy my tea with the latest from Ted and the gang on How I Met Your Mother.
There was no one else in the café and the lone waitress was starting to clean up. Obviously bored, the waitress sat down quietly a few chairs away from me straightening her apron. Through the corner of my eye I saw her peeking at my screen. I took my headphones out and asked, ‘Would you like to watch?’ A minute later we were laughing together and discussing the intricacies of Ted and Robin’s relationship as if we had known each other for ages.
At this point you are probably thinking ‘Great, that’s a warm and fuzzy story but what does it have to do with college?’ College – like New York – is one of those places where there are a lot of people around you but it gets lonely. There are three key lessons to be learnt from this story.
1. When you see that someone is interested in something you are doing, invite them in. Yes, it is much more convenient to do things yourself, but it is much more fun to share experiences. Give people a chance to add to your life.
2. When invited don’t hesitate. We miss out on so many experiences because we are too scared we might be inconveniencing someone else. Say yes more often, take a chance.
3. And most importantly, don’t make the mistake I made, follow up. I left the café without her name and haven’t been there in ages. If you had a good time, find out how you can keep in touch. Too many moments are fleeting in college; make an effort to sustain the ones you enjoyed.
Of course, do all this with responsibility and keeping safety first but make sure that in college you do not let go of opportunities to involve those around you because of convenience, insecurity or just pure laziness.