Grace Pankey Takes On New York

Josie Morss, Editor-In-Chief

Aspiring journalist, Grace Pankey, ventured outside her familiar bubble of Lakeville, MN this past summer by further exploring her dream career, of writing. The elite New York Times Summer Academy program quickly became her home for the short time of two weeks. Friends, relationships, and roommates blossomed into family. Writing, immediately became her life.

The New York lights preyed upon her tender curiosity aboard an annual Pankey spring trip. Although, fascinated by the idea of New York, the freezing winds and cold weather distracted her from completely loving the bustling Big Apple.

“Now after going there and practically living there,” Pankey says, “I’m in love with it. I want to live there after college and get a job if I can.”

After deadlines and due dates had passed for acceptable applications, Pankey underwent the greatest torture of life, waiting. Weeks had passed with no word. Her emails dry of communication lacked any association with The New York Times. Serial refreshing had now become habit until a friendly “Congratulations, Grace,” greeted her surprisingly.

“Okay I’m just going to check my email,” Pankey told close friends as she was headed out the door, “and then I got it. I literally screamed. I was like no way! I got in!”

The shock eventually settled pushing independence to dominate Pankey’s mental agenda. The first three days were met with self consciousness based on personal performance which wasn’t aided by the great luxury of being trapped behind a perfect postcard New York City view.

“The first three days I was really homesick. But also the first three days we weren’t allowed into the city,” said Pankey in talking about her evolution within the program, “I kind of just came out of my shell. I’m here. This is going to be great.”

Her cultural studies course, her main focus admitted within the program, highlighted the importance of the people’s perspective. Pankey’s interest sparked immensely when guest speakers, professionals within the art of writing, novelists, poets, reporters, revealed a candid interpretation of their life and careers. Even her teacher, validated her career choice of becoming a traveling journalist.

“Literally everything he said was so interesting to me. I think that’s amazing,” said Pankey as she expressed her love for journalism, “Every single day for a whole two weeks. There wasn’t a time where I was falling asleep. It was just like a dream.”

In her own disbelief, Pankey found her personality doppelgänger. In an unexpected, emotionally attached friendship, the two girls bonded over scary similarities between their lives. The two even finish each other’s sentences. Although goodbyes have separated the two since New York, Grace still looks to her friend for advice, comfort, and friendship.

“I’ve never met anyone so much like me,” says Pankey as she dishes out the crazy truth about her new friend, “‍shes literally me.”

Pankey, a strong young writer, ventured across the country in hopes to explore the hidden world of journalism. One day she’ll make it her own. She made it to New York. Now, she can do anything.