Camille Aké posing against a brick wall.

Dear High School Camille,

Your favorite hotel is The Plaza and your favorite social media platform is Tumblr, right? The cool news is you’ll end up interning for both! At NYU, you’ll discover that you love food and hotels, but what’s more, your old fear of talking to people ends up affecting your hospitality career. Yes, those worries you have about reading and speaking in front of your peers is still an issue for you. In your sophomore year, you’ll finally seek help, and it turns out your hunch was right: you do have social anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and while they’re not fun, you use this discovery to continue to motivate yourself and make the most of NYU.

You’ll be so involved and have so many communities at NYU. You will take up track, cross-country, and marching band. You’ll become a Martin Luther King Jr. Scholar, a Dean’s Scholar, a resident assistant, the vice president of a hospitality society, a global peer mentor, and a sorority little sister and big sister. You’ll have internships, run three half marathons, and run one full marathon—and yet you’ll still be OK. Your friends and family continue to support you throughout all the cries, laughs, screams, and naps. You also go global. No, not the “Camille Aké” brand you thought would make you Twitter famous or anything like that, but you do go abroad to Madrid. You’ll fall in love (and please stop thinking your first kiss will happen in high school because it definitely won’t). You’ll make more forever friends, and learn Spanish. Yes, you finally learn Spanish!

Oh, high school self, I know it can feel lonely, overwhelming, and bittersweet to think about moving to the city, but you’re never alone. You find community and you find inspiration in your professors and friends. Your presence reaches across the world, far beyond NYU, and you’ll look back during your senior year of college and be amazed at what you accomplished. And that will be the greatest feeling ever.


College Camille