The Cadre | UPEI

2017 Grad Spends Fall Working in NYC

By: Allison O’Brien

Do you ever wonder if your undergrad will open up any exciting doors for the future? Or are you part of the growing opinion that undergrads are the new high school diploma, and without going to grad school, you’ll still be working in retail after convocation?

We spoke with Taylor Walsh, a recent UPEI grad who spent part of last year living and working in New York City.

What was your major/minor at UPEI?
My major was psychology, and I took a lot of random, interesting courses on the side instead of choosing a specific minor.

When did you graduate, and what kind of degree did you get?
I graduated in May of 2017 with a BA.

Where are you working now?
Last month I completed a three-month internship with the World Youth Alliance in the heart of New York City.

What kind of work do you do/what kind of projects are you working on?
In a nutshell, the World Youth Alliance (or WYA, as we like to say) is a global coalition of young people promoting human dignity through education, policy, and culture. My projects ranged, as I mainly assisted the staff with whatever they had on the go. We put on a conference at UPEI in November, so I helped a lot to prepare for that. I’ve also written blog posts, spoken at school assemblies, helped with research, and done a bit of graphic design.

How did your degree at UPEI prepare you for where you are at now?
My interest in the human person was definitely shaped during my time at UPEI. Courses on developmental psychology, social psychology, existential phenomenology, and bioethics all culminated in this curiosity of what it means to be a person, and what our purpose is in the world. The opportunity to do my third year abroad in Australia was another eye-opening experience that has given me the confidence to travel and to be independent and open to connecting with other people from all different walks of life.

Where do you think your future will take you? One year from now? Five?
My family and friends can testify that my approach to life is very open. I have a tendency to let life surprise me, and I try not to let my own plans tangle the unravelling of the future. For next year, I am applying to do a Masters of Counselling, with which I would love to eventually integrate spirituality and art too. Five years is certainly too far ahead for me to have any real idea, but hopefully the years will be full of joy, travel, and the reassurance that I am exactly where I need to be.

What TV show are you currently loving?
I have loved New Girl from the beginning, and I’m looking forward to the bittersweet final season that’s coming out this year.

What’s the most typical NYC thing to have happened to you so far?
As far as NYC experiences go, I believe that the subway could be the most random and raw of them all. As soon as you go down those stairs, everything changes. Suddenly life is set to the soundtrack of the saxophone player or the violinist or the drummer sitting in the corner. People walk faster and talk louder. I love overhearing bits of people’s conversations. The best was on a full train the other day when I was on my way home.

“Ya gotta try this pizza. This is the best pizza in the city. Wanna slice?”

“Uh, that’s alright thanks.”

“No kid, ya gotta try it. Here, this piece is for you.” (I turn and see a slightly dishevelled middle-aged man with a huge open box of pizza in his hands, talking to a boy who was maybe 17 or so. The boy was kind of smiling and looking at his friends, as if to get approval before he made his next move.)

“Best pizza in the city. From 33rd and Lex. Here, take your piece.”

“Uh, sure. Thanks.” (I turn again and see chunks of cheese and tomato-sauce soaked pepperoni on the floor of the train around the pizza man. He bends down to pick them up, mumbling about the mess he made while nearly tipping over the pizza box with 2/3 of the pizza still in it.)

(Photo submitted by Taylor Walsh)