Written by Taylor Jordan
Taylor Jordan is an Atlanta native who turned a favorite pastime into a creative platform. Her Instagram food blog, @TayStarEats, is not only a place for her to showcase all the cool restaurants she frequents but also a place for fellowship and community in the name of food! When’s she’s not exploring New York City and taking pics for her blog, she’s studying at Columbia University where she’s pursuing her Masters in Health Administration. Professionally, her focus is leveraging technology to improve operations and the patient experience as well as developing culturally competent organizations. Prior to Columbia she worked at Emory Healthcare as operations analyst.
When Naome asked me to share my story about how I achieved all my dreams, I initially thought, “little ole me?!” and then shortly after, I realized I could share a few lessons I’ve learned and insights I’ve gained along the way.
While my story about my journey to living in New York City and attending one of the top universities in the world is one of triumph, it is just as equally one of failure, doubt and hard work.
This story really begins with me falling in love with New York after visiting for the first time to celebrate my 21st birthday.
After that trip, I began dreaming of living in New York.
This was around my junior year of college so I was beginning to think about grad school and began looking up schools in New York City and found Columbia University. So, I applied my senior year and didn’t get in. And while I had an opportunity to return to my Alma Mater for graduate school, it was not what I really wanted to do, so I began looking for alternatives. Through God’s grace, I landed a dream job at Emory Healthcare where I worked for two years as an Operations Analyst focusing on leveraging technology to improve operations. About a year after working, I began thinking about graduate school again.
However, things were different this time.
I had a good job, lived at home with my parents (saving up) and was living my very social, young black, professional life in Atlanta. Things were great, why mess it up? I had this mentality for a little while. I thought about going to school in state, applying to schools that wouldn’t be hard to get in or complete, maybe going to school part-time etc. All these thoughts were very comfortable and pragmatic. But deep down, a part of me wanted to take a second chance at my dream again. So, I began seeking counsel from my village; friends, family, coworkers, mentors and most importantly God, to really guide my decision. Some people told me to take the safe route and not chase my dream, because it was… well… safe. Who wouldn’t advise someone to keep living at home, make money and avoid massive debt? It made sense, but I took all the advice I received with a grain of salt.
Normally, I’m a very CALCULATED PERSON who listened way more to their head than their heart. This dream was on my heart so I had to ignore the naysayers and go for it.
However, if I were going to try my dream again, there were things I needed to do and changes I needed to make. So, I began studying (hard) for the GRE, thinking about my essay, plotting on how to improve my performance so my boss would write a strong letter of recommendation, getting certifications, taking skill-building classes, and participating in extracurricular activities that I knew would make my resume and application stand out this time around. I’d like to add that I think a large part of my success was asking for help and leveraging my resources and connections to get where I wanted. I happened to know people at Columbia to give me advice on how to get in, I knew someone who knew someone in a high position in admissions (whether that worked or not, who knows), I asked my old mentor to look over my application and edit my essays, and maintained relationships with people I knew would write me strong letters of recommendations.
As you can see, this took a lot of work. I was in savage mode. I didn’t just proclaim a dream and then hope that the universe would work things out. I worked so hard for about a year to make sure I was doing everything on my part to make this dream a reality. The saying, “prayer without works is dead” is real.
When you want something, you need to be working everyday towards that goal in some way. Every single day. Your dream requires it and DESERVES that attention.
After submitting my application, then came the waiting game. Even though I felt confident about my application, during that time, I was worried sick. I was so stressed and just anxious. I wanted this so bad and had one shot. But then good news, I got an interview! A couple of months went by, and then the big day came, and I found out I got in! I cried and cried, I couldn’t believe it. I, got into Columbia! All my hard work paid off.
BUt what I quickly realized was that God’s timing is impeccable and when you trust Him, He will make all your wildest dreams come true.
Two years earlier, I would not have been prepared to go to Columbia mentally, spiritually, financially, or socially…. or maybe I would have been. But this time around I had perfect work experience that made me an ideal candidate and would later supplement my education. Many of my closest friends moved to New York. I saved up 2 years of living at home so I could afford to not work during school. I received $50,000 in scholarships and my faith was stronger than ever before. All of these circumstances were vital to the success of this huge life transition.
While I was worried, stressed and anxious during my waiting period, my coworker gave me a great book to read called “The Alchemist”. I recommend you read the book no matter what journey you are going through because it provides great insight into self-discovery and how dreams come to fruition. A quote from the book that really stuck with me goes, “When you want something, the whole universe will conspire to make it happen.” Remember that, believe that.
What is for you will never pass you by. Never. You can never mess up God’s plan for you. Trust me.
Coupled with my faith, I also wrote out all my dreams and put them in a little prayer box I received for my birthday the previous year. I wrote out everything from high GRE score to get into Columbia, get into Columbia and receive scholarships to pay for Columbia…very specific prayers and they all came true. It was incredible to see me checking off the things in my prayer box. Literally everything! I think sometimes you need to physically see your goals and dreams because it makes them seem achievable.
Leaving my job, my family and my friends was hard and risky, but the reward of living out my dream was worth it. God always provides. I still sometimes step back and think, “wow I really live in New York freaking city!” and attend my dream school. It still amazes me that I’m here in this very moment. I am so thankful and take none of it for granted. And while last semester was challenging and I know there are ups and downs to come, this is still the best decision I’ve ever made. It was a once in a lifetime opportunity. I look forward to continuing growing, learning, and loving during this new chapter of my life.
I’m truly happy.
Now that I’ve rambled on about my story, I want to leave you with tips to make the impossible, possible:
- Believe in yourself for you are capable.
- Take a leap of faith. You may fall, but you may fly.
- Work towards your dreams, I mean really work. After all, you want them to come true right?
- Seek and value the opinions of others but in the end, do what’s best for you. You will always know the right answer.
- Surround yourself with like-minded people, people who believe in you, and people who will be honest with you. You will need their support.
- Sometimes, worry about the logistics later. It will all work itself out.
- Just because something doesn’t happen when you want it to, doesn’t mean it will never happen, it may just look different, or come at a different time. Be patient.
- Trust God. He will never leave or fail you.
Hope this helps. Keep Going. #BlackGirlMagic
Make sure to check out Taylor’s Food Blog on Instagram @Taystareats.