I hate to be a cliché in my own life, but I believe that running away to NYC actually taught me a lot about Seattle. I came out of high school with a fully formed desire to escape that place. Suburban, middle class, mostly white high school taught me – in some strange ways – that nothing I wanted was going to be easy to get. We had the academic standing, but the culture of our school was restrictive. While administration wanted us to perform well on standardized tests, they barred us from creative endeavors like theater programs and newspapers. And, unless it made the school look good, philanthropic and cultural clubs were also out.
That atmosphere left me, the motivated do-gooder with a creative bent, completely despondent.