Wednesday, March 14

What better way to end a fantastic trip to one of the most well-known cities in the world than visiting one of the most famous streets in the world. Folks, you definitely do not need Google Maps to recognize this one because Wall Street is not just your typical street– it is a street filled with many people in suits, a lot of energy, and of course, lots of money.

Our first stop on Wall Street was the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE). Walking into the NYSE for the first time is similar to visiting Disney World for the first time, and let me tell you, there is some sort of magic in the air. With a countless number of screens, live reporters, numbers everywhere, the names of business after business, the NYSE is truly the Disney World of the financial district. Even if you have no idea what any number or graph means, this experience was one that truly captured the essence of New York City. In one room, there were what seemed like a million things happening at once, yet everyone seemed to handle everything with ease, as if they fed off of one another’s energy.

As if witnessing the money in the NYSE wasn’t enough, following the NYSE we had the chance to visit the Federal Reserve Bank. Not only is the Fed the hub of money for banks, it also looks like money with its classic architecture and vaulted ceilings that make you feel as if you are in another era. Along with receiving our own personal bag of shredded money from the Fed, we had a chance to visit the gold vaults that lie in the basement, and are worth hundreds of billions of dollars. After witnessing all this gold, I must say, there truly was some “24 karat magic in the air” (–Bruno Mars).

All this money in one day and it was time to take some selfies with the famous bull on Wall Street. After all, if you didn’t take a picture with the bull did you really visit New York city? A few selfies, some amazing authentic Chinese food for lunch, and my top purchase of a hat that says New York all over it to flaunt my tourist self, and that’s all we needed to wrap up our trip to the Big Apple.

On the flight back to Chicago, I realized just how inspired I felt after leaving this city. New York showed me that although there are tons of career paths that exist, no path is easy, yet there is a road to success within each one that can be found with hard work and determination. In New York, I saw people who were driven, motivated, and successful, and many of these people were our very own Illinois Wesleyan alumni.

It is incredibly inspiring to see people who started off just like us, taking the same courses with the same professors, who were involved in the same organizations on campus, achieve such success. The CIE is a networking trip, but in the end, I realized it is so much more than that. Not only did I strengthen my networking skills, I also strengthened my knowledge about life in general.

Life can be hard at times. It can mean hating your first job, losing your path and then rediscovering it, living in a tiny apartment with fake walls, or dropping everything to make a change and begin working in another city or country. But within each struggle is a lesson learned and success that follows, and after this trip, I have proof of that.

Thank you to everyone who made this trip truly life changing. What an unforgettable experience! New York, that’s a wrap, see you soon, and hopefully I’ll be working in this city by that time!

– Vi Kakares ’20

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