One of the best parts about being an Apparel Merchandise and Product Development major at the University of Arkansas is that you are required to take a study tour to complete your undergraduate degree. This year I was lucky enough to be eligible to go on the New York study tour trip. The New York trip is usually only about 20 kids, but this year they let 44 of us go, which probably wasn't the easiest time for our professors who were chaperoning, but it was a blast for all of us kids haha. The AMPD major is a fairly new/small program compared to others at the YOU of A, but that just means we treat each other like family. I made so many new friends on this trip and I am super excited to show you some of my favorite memories. Even though most days were jam packed with company meetings and homework assignments, the trip was a blast and one I will never forget.
Some of my favorite company meetings included Sweaty Betty, Trunk Club, Weatherproof, Luciano Barbera, Eleventy and the Wall Street Journal. In these meetings we would learn more about the company and what they look for in future employees. These meetings were a great way to network and find new businesses to maybe one day work for. We were able to give the companies our resumes and business cards which made it really easy to put our foot in the door.
Also, the whole time we were there we had to keep a journal and write about 5 pages a day on what we were learning, what companies we met with, what sites we saw, stores we went into and so on. This seemed super tedious at the time, but now I am really glad that I got to keep up with my all whole trip. Some of my favorite places that we went were Central Park, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Rosa Mexicana (which has a really awesome pomegranate margarita), Lincoln Center, Time Warner Building, Grand Central Station, Radio City Music Hall, Times Square, Mood, Macy's on Harold Square and so much more.
New York was honestly everything I had dreamed of, but I sort of wish someone would have given me a little heads up on what to expect, so below I have shared some helpful tips for first time New York travelers.
1. BRING COMFORTABLE SHOES: I know that your favorite pair of pumps match your outfit perfectly, but if you expect to walk 10 blocks in your favorite Louis Vuitton's your dead wrong. Also, converse my seem comfortable at first, but you must have something with good support if you are going to survive. I suggest a cute pair of New Balance walking shoes. I wore mine almost everyday and would carry my high heels in my purse to change into when I got to my destination.
2. BRING CASH: I know that seems really obvious, but if you want to be able to eat dinner with your friends then you will need it. New York is really bad about splitting checks at restaurants, so having cash is an easy way to split up meal tabs at the end of your dinner. One night in NYC we had a group of 7 and our waiter put the bill on one tab and it was a DISASTER trying to figure out who owed what. Debit cards are handy for shopping, but when it comes to tipping and food expenses stick to cash.
3. BUDGET TIME/MONEY: I know it can be overwhelming when you first get to NYC, and you will probably want to spend all of your money the first day shopping, but I learned fairly quickly that spending your money on the experience, like going to a Broadway play or having a fantastic dinner, is the way to go! I shopped my first day and my last which was a good game plan because it made me feel like I didn't waste all of my money on the first day. If you are going to shop I suggest the 3 story Urban Outfitters in Chelsea as well as Zara by Bryant Park.
4. DRINKS ARE EXPENSIVE AND SHOPPING ISN'T: Drink prices in the great state of New York are EXTREMELY high. I was outraged when I realized I spent $15 on a half glass of their house pinot grigio (which would probably cost me about $7 for a full glass in Fayetteville). But, one amazing thing about New York is that they do not charge sales tax on clothing items, which of course was a huge plus for me! They do however charge sales tax on accessory items.
5. DRINK WATER: After my 4th day in New York I was starting to run on fumes. I would wake up at the crack of dawn to get ready for our 7:30 meeting time and I would down a huge venti cup of coffee from Starbucks to wake me up. We never really had time to grab a bite to eat for breakfast and since their are no free public restrooms in New York drinking water seemed to be the worst idea ever. But, when I fainted from being so dehydrated on the 5th day of our trip, I realized that I needed to drink about a gallon a day to keep up. Starbucks are on every corner of NYC and if you buy something cheap off of their menu they will give your their bathroom code.
Those are some of the most important things I learned while I was in New York. Below are some of my favorite photos that I took during my stay, but even these pictures can't even describe how wonderful and crazy New York really is.