In a strange story that went viral earlier this month, a Columbia University student, Nayla Kidd, was reported missing only to be found hiding out in a Brooklyn apartment two weeks later. She is now featured in an article, explaining why she decided to leave without a trace, leaving an entire city looking for her, and worried family and friends. Her reasoning still leaves quite a lot of questions left unanswered.
In full article Nayla told the New York Post that she left her school campus, changed her bank account number, and changed her phone number because she "needed a break from my old life of high pressure and unreasonable expectations."
She goes on to explain that Columbia University, and New York City had been her goal since highschool. But once she arrived she was underwhelmed by the education and experience she was getting at Columbia. To Kidd, it did not compare to the intimate learning experience she was used to after attending "Thacher, a highly competitive prep school in Ojai.'" she said.
She goes on to say that she was inspired by a friend to take more risks during her first summer break from school, but when her sophomore year began, she became even more miserable in her studies. So she began plotting her escape in an "olive-green notebook - the same color as my birthstone."
She sold unused clothes and school supplies, and even worked a job recording Columbia lectures to save up for what she calls her "escape." In April, she found an apartment in trendy Williamsburg where she said, "Art covers the walls, everyone looks interesting and there's a fun vibe in the air."
In other words, she moved downtown to assume the identity of a Brooklyn hipster.
She moved into her new place and started deleting her social media profiles, attempting to disconnect completely. But quickly, concerned family and friends attempted to contact her. "At the worst point, my new phone was buzzing off the hook every 30 minutes. Eventually, a friend must have given my new number to my mom because she started calling, too," she said. "I was constantly worrying, and the more they tried to contact me, the more I didn’t feel ready to tell them. The longer I ignored them, the worse it got."
She said even when Mother's Day came around; she could not face her mother.
Not until three detectives found her and came to her apartment did she know, "I needed to face my reality," she said.
She was driving to Upper West Side station house and reunited with her mother. She says her mother's only concern was that her daughter was okay.
Kidd now has a new point of view on life. "It’s now been over three weeks since I went off the grid, and I’ve learned a lot from my experience," she said. "I realize now that I don’t need to prove anything to anyone else or myself. School isn’t for me, and I’m OK with that."
She goes on to explain that she has no plans of going back to school and is going to "continue my modeling career" and wants to "make and produce music and work of my writing." Adding, "I finally broke down because I was living a life I thought I should be living instead of living the life I want."
While it is good news that Kidd has been safely found, and seems to be on a path to a more gratifying life, it does seem that her attempt at "going off the grid" was very ill-informed. She had family and friends fearing the worse, and had the city spending money on their search effort, when a simple phone call could have saved many people quite a lot of grief.
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(Photo: Columbia University Department of Public Safety)