Rahul Kothari ’17 finds an empire state of mind.

Photo by Michael Nagin

My first day of work in New York City could have been the opening scene of a romantic comedy — I got on the uptown train instead of the downtown train, a taxi drove through a puddle and splashed me with muddy water, and I went on the worst Tinder date I’ve ever been on later that evening. 

Before my move, my friends kept telling me that living in New York City wasn’t going to be like the movies. As I sat in bed that night, glass of wine in hand, I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of how that first day played out. 

 Having spent my entire life up to that point in Texas, New York City felt like a whole new world. I traded in my car for a MetroCard and H-E-B for corner bodegas. I also consistently had to answer the question, “Is everything really bigger in Texas?” I was completely out of my element, but despite the challenges of navigating a massive metropolis, I felt an immediate magnetic energy — one of empowerment and opportunity. The drive and ambition of everyone around me was inspirational, and it didn’t take long for this concrete jungle to feel like home.  

I work at BuzzFeed’s headquarters in New York City, heading up a division of our marketing team. In between munching on leftovers from the Tasty kitchen and being accidentally elbowed by Stephen Colbert, I get to work in one of the world’s largest media hubs with some of the most creative minds in the industry to build our company’s marketing strategy. I also serve as one of the leads of Out@BuzzFeed, a culture and resource group for LGBTQ+ employees. Much like my time at Rice, I’m surrounded by a rich diversity of people, ideas and resources, all working toward a common set of goals. 

My life has changed a great deal during these last few years in New York City. For starters, I figured out which train platform was uptown and which was downtown, I avoid waiting on the sidewalk near puddles, and I now have a long list of exit strategies to get out of bad dates. The only thing that remains from that first day is the magnetic energy that inspired me — the one that keeps me here.