By Student Blogger Stephanie Kirkland..
On a recent train ride back to the Hudson Valley, I began to wonder how often I had ridden the hour and a half journey to and from New York City in the time I have been at college; a location that is so near to the metropolis as it is. I don’t have an exact number by any means, but I can say that I know Penn Station like the back of my kitchen-scarred, left hand.
For the most part, students come from all over the country, and the world as a matter of fact, to attend classes at The Culinary Institute of America. To be able to go to the city as often as you’d like and to be exposed to all of the different food and culture that the rest of the country doesn’t get to experience on a regular basis is a remarkable opportunity that I can say I have taken advantage of.
I even took the train for the first time to attend the career discovery program, a couple day course that gave me an introduction into the foodservice and hospitality industry. At the time, the program was available to sophomore and junior students in high school who believed they have an interest in cooking and making food a career. By the end of the program, I had not only connected with a variety of high school students with my same interests, but was forever exposed to what could be available to me if I chose to attend. I remember with every meal I ate in the dining hall, solidification of my further education was laid to rest, most memorable being venison and a sweet potato puree for lunch and that was probably five years ago.
The train, complete with its sights and smells, is the vessel in which I travel home, to visit friends, to make connections, and the perfect way to travel all around. I have time to actually think in relative silence. And it is my most preferred place to write,
next to the comfort of my bed. I find that my emotions and thoughts are so clear and precise, and that I am able to capture those as best as I can through words as the train continues to pass through smaller and smaller towns and flashing yellow railroad crossings. And I never have a bad thought, I am never discouraged, and I am always uplifted by the end of whatever journey I find myself on.