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Public eye: Mia Pixley, 30

New York street interviews: Stories from the sidewalk as told by real New Yorkers about their lives in the city that never sleeps.

Photograph: Allison Michael Orenstein
Public eye: Mia Pixley, 30

Vanderbilt Ave between Bergen St and St Marks Ave, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn

What do you do? I’m getting my Ph.D. in clinical psychology at CUNY Graduate Center City College. I also work as a psychology fellow at Hunter, a school for gifted kids, which is amazing and mind-blowing.

Do you want to focus on kids long-term? Definitely. Kids and parents.

And how much they ruin each other’s lives? [Laughs] Right. No, sadly it’s not as simple as blaming it all on the parents.

How do you possibly manufacture enough patience to do kid therapy? Well, the sessions are only 45 minutes. Then you can collect yourself—or lose yourself—and be a person. So you really only have to be fantastic for 45 minutes at a time.

How do you feel being on the other end of the question-asking right now? Uh, I’m a little bit uncomfortable. I like to ask questions.

I clearly have the easier job. You do!

Where are you from? Austin, Texas. I came here ten years ago for college and never left. Though I have my eye on moving back lately. I think I want to slow down a bit.

What would you be leaving behind if you went? Oh, Brooklyn summers and springs. I love that feeling of relief in New York when it starts to turn sunny and a little warmer. And I’ll be leaving my good friends. Oh, and I’m in a band right now that I’d potentially be leaving behind, too.

What kind of band? A quirky three-piece vaudevillian cabaret humor act called the Debutante Hour. We all sing and play instruments. I play the cello.

I’m trying to make a generalization about cello players. Are you the calm backbone of the band who holds it all together? I’m definitely not calm, but I do play a lot of basslines.

How are you not calm? I wear my heart on my sleeve and my reactions are not filtered.

Does that cause problems in therapy? [Laughs] Working with kids it’s okay, but with parents I really have to keep it on a tight leash. I’m like, What is my face saying right now?! Keep a straight face

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