The fall semester is about to start and many new students are going to be joining the NYU community! If you’re about to become one of those new students, there are a few things you should know. Here are some things I wish had known from the get-go about NYU that will help you transition to this university in the city:
1) Professors are EVERYTHING
When I chose my first classes at NYU, I made sure to look at ratemyprofessor.com, but I didn’t know exactly what was important to note about the professors and what wasn’t. Luckily, in one of my four classes in my first semester, I had the most amazing writing professor. She taught me so much and really had an impact on me. It’s important to form a connection with at least one professor at your time at NYU. These are people who are highly accomplished in their fields and are there to teach you for a reason. They are there to help you and to guide you, so make sure that you go to their office hours if you ever have a question. Some require an appointment, but that’s really the only obstacle – if you can even call it that. The first time I went to a professor’s office hours, I was really nervous for some reason. I didn’t know what to expect, how to start the conversation. You just have to remember that they truly do want you to succeed.
2) Meeting people in the first few weeks is very important
Welcome Week at NYU is a great way to meet people with similar interests as you. Go to as many events as possible! I regret not going to some events because I didn’t know anyone who was going. But in hindsight, that’s the reason I should have gone. Another important event to take part in is the Club Fair. It can be very overwhelming, but you might just find a group of people who love what you love! (If that didn’t convince you to go, you should know that almost every club will give you a bunch of free stuff).
3) Go to your classes!
You may not like all your classes (especially in your first year when most of your classes will be the required core classes), but you need to keep going to them! A lot of the time, professors will say things in lectures that aren’t in the textbook or powerpoints. To be fair, some professors will stick to the textbook and only test you on that, but many of them aren’t like that. So it’s better to go to your classes, especially at the beginning of the semester, if only to get to know how your professor is going to teach you.
4) Your advisor may not be the most helpful
If you know what you want to major in from the start, that’s amazing! And if you don’t, that’s completely normal! I didn’t know what I wanted for most of my first year, and even now things could change. Usually, you will have up to the end of your second year to decide on your major. In high school, my counselor was great; he helped me with applications and anything I needed him for, so when I got to NYU I expected a similar relationship. However, this was not the case. You will need to be on top of your classes, filling your requirements, and trying to manage all the things you’re doing by yourself. If you ever need help or advice, the best people to turn to are your peers; they are going through the same things you are and could have very interesting insight in how to deal with certain situations.
5) You’re going to grow up very quickly (the city does that to you)
If you’re not used to getting your own groceries, doing your own laundry, basically making sure you’re actually taking care of yourself, you’ll quickly learn how (hopefully). That’s the case with college in general, but living in the city is a big adjustment for anyone who hasn’t lived in a place like it before. Becoming a resident of New York calls for someone who is independent, or at least is trying to be, someone who can give directions when a tourist asks them how to get to a random location. This won’t happen immediately, of course, but it will happen and you won’t even realize it. One day someone will stop you on the street and give you a very vague destination and you’ll spew out something that you think is the right way to go and it may or may not be right. Regardless, if they’re asking you for directions, that means you don’t look like them; a confused tourist.
6) USE. YOUR. RESOURCES.
Speaking of getting help, NYU has endless resources for us to take advantage of. From the library with thousands of books to the Wasserman career center where you can get help with resumes and applying for jobs to the hundreds of clubs on campus that cover basically every activity you could think of – and if there isn’t a club for something you enjoy, you can start one yourself! The most useful resource for me, personally, was the Writing Center at NYU. College writing is very different from high school writing. Different professors require different things and when you get stuck, the best place to go is the writing center. Tip: Just make sure to bring a copy of whatever you’re working on to the writing center.
7) You’re going to see celebrities all over the place
Given that NYU is in New York City, you can imagine how many celebrities you’ll see in the most random places. I’ve found that Alec Baldwin is someone you’ll most likely run in to. A friend of mine has seen him twice at the same spot (on the corner of Waverly Pl. and Washington Sq. East). Another time, I saw Gina Rodriguez and Lakeith Stanfield filming a scene in Washington Sq. Park. You should know, however, seeing celebrities can start to get really old. After being in New York a while, getting starstruck stops being a thing and you realize that they’re just people. It can be a great conversation starter, though. Or, if New York doesn’t change you, you’ll get really excited every time and want to follow them and try to catch up with them. Either way, they’ll be there and you’ll see them.
8) Housing really isn’t all that bad
I lived in a dorm my first year at NYU and I have to say, it was actually a pretty good experience. Contrary to some people’s’ opinions, I found NYU housing to be great! I lived in a suite in Third Avenue North Residence Hall. The majority of my roommates were some of the nicest people I met at NYU. Whether you get along with your roommates or not is entirely dependent on what you do and don’t allow to happen in your room/suite. Living with someone new can be very difficult if you don’t set up ground rules. I got along very well with the girl I shared a room with my first year — we had very similar personalities so it was easy to become really close. One of my suitmates, however, wasn’t as lucky. She shared a room with a girl who was not at all similar to her. After one semester the other girl moved out. Problems like these can be solved with solutions NYU has introduced, like bed-for-bed, where people who are in housing can swap rooms if they have problems with their roommates. With regards to the amenities NYU has to offer, there is laundry in every building, as well as communal spaces. I was lucky to have a dining hall in my residence hall, but not all have them. Overall, housing at NYU is more comfortable than I had expected it to be.
9) Your friends are (most likely) going to be from places very different from you
If you know anything about NYU, you know that it’s very, very diverse. That means that most people you will interact with will be from completely different backgrounds than you. For some people, that can be a scary thing, especially if you’ve been in the same place with the same people your entire life. It’s actually such an amazing experience. Meeting people who are vastly different from you is such a great way to grow as a person, take in new opinions, appreciate other cultures. NYU is an incredible place to meet all sorts of people and learn more things than you could imagine.
10) Be yourself!
This might be the most important point, and most difficult. As cliché as it sounds, college is a place where you find yourself. It’s easy to just find a group of people and start acting like them to fit in, but that’s not how you’re gonna find your people. It can be hard but it’s well worth it to stay true to yourself. In as a big a school as NYU, there are bound to be people just like you, you just have to find them.
If you’re joining the NYU community this fall, you’re going to love it! It really is the most amazing place to learn and grow and there’s no place like it.