While I'm technically 'from' the Big Apple, I didn't grow up there. I grew up in one of the smallest towns on the shoreline of CT. My high school graduating class had 68 people. I just knew as graduation was nearing close, I was not going to be one of those kids that stayed in their hometown. When it came to applying for colleges, I knew I needed to get out of there. I ended up completing my B.S. in Communications Media at Fitchburg State in Massachusetts. Not a huge city but the perfect size for a girl coming from a small town. While I was there, I think the total amount of undergrads was about 3,500-4,000. The reason I know about SALT is because of Fitchburg State. They generously provided all graduating seniors with an account to the site. Let's be real here. It's rare that any college student is very good with budgeting their money. I've been out of school for almost three years now and I still struggle with this on a daily basis!
I come from a family of five siblings - three of which my mother had already put through college before it was my turn. My parents divorced when I was just entering high school and my father wasn't the nicest when it came to providing child support for my mother who took on single handedly supporting the six of us. Growing up you don't realize how much things cost. It isn't until you're out in the 'real world' where you truly realize you are now responsible for scheduling your own medical appointments, making sure you're not late for work, paying rent, buying groceries, etc. I was very lucky to have somebody like my mother who raised my siblings and I to be incredibly hard working and independent individuals. I knew I didn't want her to worry about me because I was aware of everything else she had going on. Going into college, I knew that the only way I was ever going to be achieve my dreams were to work hard both in school and in any part time/work study jobs I could get my hands on so I could save money for the long road.
I've known for as long as I could remember I wanted to be working in the music and entertainment industry. It became very clear that NYC or LA were my two best options. In between school sessions, I was constantly working at either Dunkin Donuts and various retail stores to save money to help pay for school and save towards the big move. By my second semester senior year, you guessed it - this girl was making her big move to the capital of the world - NYC (with a little help from a loan of course - NYC is expensive!!). I had moved out to the city for a nonpaid internship to complete the remainder of credits I would need in order to graduate. Man, was it tough to support myself out here with no income. As a means to live, I babysat as much as I could for a very wealthy family on the UWS (they were very generous) and did everything I could to make the utmost best impression at my internship. It was nearing graduation and naturally I was freaking out. It was either find a job in NYC or move back home to suburbia. With 10% luck and 90% hard work, I ended up getting a job with my internship. I ended up sleeping on a friend's couch for three months in Brooklyn in order to continue saving money until I could afford my own apartment that Fall.
Fast forward to today, I've been living out in NYC for almost three years now with a job in the music/tech industry. Still working on building up my savings and paying off my school loans though (shhhh!) But hey because we're startup, I've been able to wear many hats that also get me to work closely with the editorial/press side of the industry. I can't even count the amount of free shows and festivals I've been able to experience thanks to this incredibly opportunity. It just goes to show determination goes a long way. Always dream too big because anything is possible. Trust me.