With the start of a new school year coming up, there are definitely prospective NYU freshmen more than ready to start a new chapter of their lives. I’m no different, and moving across the country from my humble abode in northern California to the dynamic New York City is something that excites and scares me at the same time. Regardless, I’ve compiled a bucket list for everything I hope to experience in the Big Apple, so if you’re ever in in the city, here are some must-do’s to add to your own list.

1. Watch Broadway shows.

I saw my first Broadway show, Frozen, in April of this year, when I first visited the city. Although I chose a children’s story that I knew very well, watching the tale performed through the intricate choreography and special effects at St. James Theater was magical, giving the popular movie a different perspective. I definitely plan to take advantage of student discounts and get more of the breathtaking performances. Whether they are movies you’ve seen before or brand new shows, be sure to check out Broadway.

2) Eat $1 pizza and drink boba.

New York City is known for its expensive restaurants and high price of living, so $1 pizza is definitely an experience I hope to try. I’m a simple girl; give me some pizza and boba and I’m happy, so I’m not the type to splurge on gourmet restaurants. You really can’t mess up pizza, so bring on the $1 slices! Boba is a specific drink I’m keen to try in New York City, because I firmly believe that nothing can top California boba. East coast is welcome to try, though.

3) Travel and study abroad.

Here’s a bucket list item more specific to NYU; the school is known for its travel abroad program, and for my major, a semester abroad is part of the many requirements to graduate. I’m not complaining though; there are so many places in the world I haven’t been to yet, and what better way to experience abroad than through getting your degree at the same time? Because my parents are both Chinese, I’m leaning towards studying in Shanghai to connect with my roots, but London and Prague are enticing choices too, for someone who hasn’t been to Europe before. There are so many options, I’m sure anyone will be able to find a good program that suits him or her.

4) Explore Central Park.

Although university life is stressful and busy, I hope to make some time to rewind at Central Park, a giant expanse of nature in the middle of the city. I briefly visited the park when I visited earlier this year, but a short ten minute walk is nowhere near exploring the entire park. From biker friendly paths to views of lakes and ponds, you can find yourself relaxing at the park for an entire day. I hope to enjoy a picnic or simply stroll through the paths and forget my worries.

5) Visit the museums.

Besides the famous Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York City is home to many museums, from the Museum of Modern Art to the Museum of Ice Cream to the Museum of Natural History. There’s a countless myriad of exhibitions to visit, and you can bet that I’m going to take advantage of those discounts once again. As I’ve grown up in a mostly suburban area, I hope to become more cultured and educated through not only my classes, but the museums New York City has to offer as well.

6) Take a class unrelated to my major.

The beauty of private schools, despite the higher tuition, is more flexibility with classes. I’m definitely hoping to take advantage of this and take a class completely unrelated to my major. It’s a great opportunity to try new things. Living in a new city is a perfect chance to try new things, such as photography, art or drama. Sometimes, when you’re caught up in all your stressful courses, it’s important to take time to do something that gets you excited.

7) Join a protest.

Located at the center of political and social activity, New York City hosts protests throughout the year. There are constantly people standing up for what they believe in. Other than seeing all the signs they come up with, which are creative, witty, and fiercely incendiary, I would love to join in on a movement I believe in as well. Joining a protest is yet another way to help myself become more aware of current events and societal issues.

8) Watch the crowd passing by in Washington Square Park.

It’s commonly known that NYU has no official campus, and Washington Square Park is the “quad” of the school. Without a proper campus, that means there are countless other people who pass through the park, not just students. And because it’s in the city, Washington Square Park is always crowded with tourists, natives, students, and pigeons. Just enjoying a cup of coffee and watching the crowd passing by is an interesting pastime that I can’t get anywhere but at NYU.

9) Go ice skating in the Rockefeller Center.

Although this is more of a tourist attraction, I have personally never skated outdoors before, and what better way to get into the holidays spirit before finals than to ice skate under the city lights? As a Californian, I’m already dreading the cold weather that will force me to put on more than the two layers I’m used to, but it’s all worth it when I’m gliding in the giant rink with my friends and just appreciating the city lights and sights.

10) Enjoy being a new student with the most unique college experience ever!

Last but not least, I want to simply enjoy being a freshman at NYU. You only get this experience once, and once school picks up, being a university student may not seem so fun anymore. However, I want to preserve the feeling I had when I first opened that acceptance letter by fully enjoying my freshman experience. Even if I don’t complete some of the things on this bucket list, I know I’ll keep this last item in mind and make my first year of college memorable.

Chelsea Li

Hello! I'm Chelsea and I will be a freshman starting at New York University this fall, majoring in Media, Culture, and Communication at Steinhardt. I love dancing, exploring, and meeting new people, and I'm excited to share my university experiences!

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