College Essay: Believing in 2nd Chances

Amy Anderson
Amy Anderson

I sat in the taxi on the way to the LaGuardia Airport in Queens with tears streaming down my face. Through the glass, I said goodbye to the streets where I walked with my friends. I saw the Nordstrom on the corner of West 57th and Broadway and the cafe where we got our morning iced lattes. For 12 days I explored the city, made new friends and learned about the art world. If I hadn’t given New York a second chance, I never would have found my home. I believe in second chances.

The first time I went to New York, I felt trapped. The streets smelled horrible, construction was everywhere and there seemed to be nothing to do. Ever since middle school, I dreamed of a New York that was picture-perfect with beautiful skylines, diverse styles and subways where celebrities go unnoticed. I begged my mom to take me, but when she finally gave in, I didn’t see the beautiful apartments that I had imagined in my 14-year-old mind. I didn’t meet Timothée Chalamet on the subway. I didn’t feel at home. My first trip made me feel hopeless and stuck. I never thought I would go to New York again. I didn’t believe in second chances.

It wasn’t until I spotted a pamphlet in my drawing class for an art internship at Sotheby’s Institute in New York that I started to think about second chances. With a few months left of my freshman year, I applied. As excited as I was about being accepted, part of me was unsure about being alone in a large city that had left me so disappointed. Twelve days later I was transformed. I saw how the city was beautiful in its imperfections. 

After giving New York a second chance, I found that second chances allow me to be happier with my life and help me grow. Giving my dad a second chance was one of the best decisions I have made. For the first 14 years of my life, my dad wasn’t the parent I had hoped for. He was an alcoholic who mistreated his family, which led to my parents’ divorce. Eventually, his liver began to fail, and my family was told he had a 5% chance of living. I could either go back and say my goodbyes or stay in Florida, where I was on vacation. I chose not to go home because I felt he deserved what he got. For all the hurt and pain he caused, he deserved this. I didn’t believe he deserved a second chance.

A few months later, he was released from the hospital; for the past two years, he has been sober. Despite my hatred for him, I decided to give our relationship a second chance. Unlike my sister, who is still not on speaking terms with our dad, my relationship with him has become strong and special over the past two years. My dad had many problems that, with time, I have forgiven him for. By giving him a second chance, I have built a strong relationship with my dad, whom I love. New York, like my dad, has many problems, but my new beginning there made me love it more, despite the flaws I initially saw.

 Second chances have proved valuable, not only in significant situations like relationships or life goals, but also in everyday things like completing my homework or remaking my burnt bagel. Everyone makes mistakes, and I believe in giving people, including myself, the opportunity to try again. No matter how big or small a relationship or problem is for me, through healing and trying to mend the problem, I have and still can learn so much about myself. Without falling in love with New York, I might not have had the realization about second chances.