By: Dana Baardsen
When I was seventeen I never would have dreamed of my life going in the direction it so effortlessly did. I was so naive and reluctantly I am now admitting that amidst the knowledge I have gained over the past years I still remain just as naive as I was, at seventeen.
See the more you know, the more you realize you don’t know. The more people you meet, the more you realize you have no idea who you are and what your place in this world really is. It’s kind of startling and sad to watch years sneak past you…and people move in and out of your life.
So this photo was taken on a little road trip I took, at the know-it-all age of seventeen. I was sure I wanted to attend Marist University and study Child Psychology. Since I was in the area I made stops at other schools like Vassar College, and the Culinary Institute of America. I never would have imagined I would have no choice but to attend a state school. That was unheard of in my high school, especially for an honors student.
But of course like other things in life I had swallowed my pride and entered my first state school with the same hopes: Child Psychology. This is how I would somehow change the world…or so I thought.
Did I mention I loved that little road trip I took? Talk about freedom. Driving hours and hours from where you live to discover something so incredibly fresh and new…and beautiful. But how foolish was I to ignore the fact that the most inspired I felt was actually at the Culinary Institute of America.
That’s right. The Culinary Institute of America, and I had never taken a cooking class in my life! It’s been years since and I remember it just like it was yesterday. I must comment on how beautiful the actual campus itself is. If you are a reader in the Greater New York Area I would absolutely recommend taking a trip to the CIA.
At the CIA, gorgeous fountains and plants rest upon the exterior of the main building. But you can’t admire the scenery for too long, as the fragrant breeze toying with the sensitivities of your nostrils will draw you inside one of the most magnificent buildings in our country. Once you enter-forget the world. Just breathe, observe, indulge, and laugh.
The CIA has some of the most amazing food concoctions you may ever run into in your life. I may have shed just a single tear for the french pastries which sat snuggling perfectly together in flawless display arrangements. How beautiful were they! But the pastries were just the beginning. You see anything you could imagine was here, right in this building.
And what was I to eat in this amazing museum of food? I must have spent nearly ten minutes gawking at the menu. Finally a decision was made, I was going to order something I wasn’t even sure if I could pronounce it and when the young waiter with an accent asked me my selection I naturally said: Mac n’ Cheese. Yep…Mac n’ freakin Cheese. Well I guess my nerves got to me and I blew it but, common now. What do you expect of a naive seventeen year old girl? I didn’t know what half the stuff on the menu even meant, and even if I knew what it meant I had never tried it and certainly wasn’t about to.
Off I went to Marist, staring out of the car window at one of the most beautiful places I had ever known. It kept getting smaller and smaller, until it vanished. Haven’t seen it since. Marist was lovely, just like the pictures I had seen online of it.
Here I am, a junior in college with all the naivety in the world yet harboring just a little more direction. I know my passions now. They lay within the ever wonderful realms of food. Everything from the science and nutrition behind food, to the craft and creativity in inventing dishes, to educating others about the power of food through journalism. This is my dream-along with graduating with an associates from the CIA.
Sometimes, I have little voices inside of me screaming their lungs out at me-but I still ignore them. I quiet them for what I think is right. Had I listened to those voices inside of myself on my teenage road trip, I may of evaluated my decisions at the time. But honestly I’m thankful I didn’t rush into anything. I made amazing friends at the first school I attended and had the experience of a lifetime. I have no regrets, only a reminder to follow my heart and listen those damn little voices when they are screaming violently at me. NB