The Black Crow was very different than anywhere else. I was instantly drawn to the sketchbooks containing dozens of drawings people started and others continued. This collaboration was indicative of those not afraid to speak their minds or of artistically connecting with others. The other patrons were the most non-judgemental people I have ever encountered, so easy to talk to. As I continued to take in my surroundings, I realized how many people in the world are blinded by the idea of validation. Many of my friends (myself included) were constantly striving to fit a cookie-cutter mold of something that is actually non-existent. At Black Crow, people were just being themselves, willing to connect with others regardless of perceived dissimilarities. On my way home, my brain sought to process feelings of being surrounded by things so foreign, including my new friend Anastasia. I found that I truly did enjoy my time surrounded by other creative people. As time went on, I drifted away from my my previous group of friends and became more involved with the other students in my AP Art class. Our bond was forged over experiences like roller skating, visiting obscure diners and coffee shops, finding new spaces to sketch and discover, and simply enjoying both our similarities and differences. They are not concerned with conformity, but rather with pursuing their true interests, whether it be studying literature in New York, or opening a gallery showcasing local artists. I could not have predicted how much my decision to take an AP Art class would affect my reality. It set me on the path of self-realization and awareness, revealing my love of creating and of materializing my inner thoughts. This choice and the manifestation of my own artistic abilities and interests has led me to pursue a future in which art will always be present.