Victoria Finnegan

Victoria Finnegan endures the Long Island Railroad daily in her commute from her family home on Long Island to New York University in Manhattan. However, as the 22-year-old journalism and English major embarks on her senior year, she faces questions far greater than how to keep busy during the hour-long train ride. And like most 20-somethings, her future presents exciting, yet undefined possibilities.

Life before NYU
I went to the Maryland Institute College of Art – or “fart” because someone spray-painted an “F” on the sign – for two years but then I decided that I didn’t want to graduate with an art degree because I would like to have a job at some point in my life. Not to be obnoxious, but I just wanted it to be easier for myself, so I transferred to NYU. I wanted to go to art school really badly and I would have loved to stay [at MICA] and graduate, but I really love NYU and I think I should have just came here in the first place.

Learning to fend for herself
I really felt like I grew up while I was in Baltimore. And I’m happy I got to live away for a while, I don’t think I would have matured as much if I lived at home the whole time I was in college. In Baltimore, I had to do everything on my own, and I didn’t have my parents to fall back on.

Falling in love with NYU
I just love New York. I love being in Manhattan every day. I’ve had some really great professors here, and I’ve learned so much, and have learned to think in a different way. I’m not really sure how else to explain that. And this is obnoxious, but I said I was competitive, [and] I love that I go to a better school than my friend from high school. She is the worst; we are so competitive with each other. We’re still friends. If you’ve ever seen “Gilmore Girls,” she is exactly like the character Paris.

Reining in her competitive edge
I’m super competitive sometimes, but I try to remind myself that’s not the most important thing. I mean, I like my competitive side, and I think it’s helpful. But I think I realized, after years of migraines and stress, that being happy is more important than winning. So I think being happy with yourself is the best thing, the most important thing. And all the rest can go to hell.

Exploring a passion for photography
I [photograph] a lot of concerts for LIB Magazine, the online magazine I work for. I [photographed] Snoop Dogg’s concert in July. I wouldn’t have gone to see Snoop Dog on my own so it was kind of cool. I did Warped Tour [in the summer], which was a pain because it was really hot. I think I’m doing Jimmy Eat World coming up. It’s fun because I like music, so I like concert photography a lot. I don’t know if I want to professionally pursue it because obviously that’s really hard and a lot of people would like to do that, but it’s a nice hobby.

Art without the pressure
Since I left MICA, I was worried that I would regress in photography. Like the skills and things I learned there, since I wouldn’t be constantly in art classes, would go away. So I like having a creative outlet. When I take a particularly good photograph, I feel a weird sense of comfort, that I haven’t forgotten everything, even though I’m not getting a critique once a week. It makes my art-school anxiety go away.

Figuring out a post-graduation plan
I’m probably going to go to grad school because I don’t really know what I’m doing and I think you have to have a graduate degree at this point since everyone goes to college. I think my parents probably want me to go to law school because that’s a little safer, but I’ll probably go to journalism school.

Ambitions down south
I want to move to the South because I’ve never been there. I would obviously visit before I decided, but I want to go to Austin, Texas or Nashville, Tennessee. Austin has a lot of music festivals and Nashville is obviously big in music and country music has gained a lot of ground. I don’t really like country music, but I want to do music journalism or photojournalism, which is why I went to art school at first. I have no idea though. I’m essentially just going to figure it out as I go along and if I have to work as a waitress that’s fine. I’ll figure it out.

By DEBORAH LUBANGA