New York University Top Questions

What should every freshman at New York University know before they start?


My high school senior self was sitting in cars on Friday nights being bored out of my mind and more than ready to get off of the island of Oahu. But I never saw my college transition to be the way it was: I impulsively went abroad to Paris for the year with NYU's Liberal Studies Program. Not only was I thrown from the slow island life into the city rush, but it was a foreign city at that. It was also the most incredible experience, and I've matured greatly from that year. If I could go back in time and over a hot latte, give myself advice on life in college, I would tell myself, as my mother told me over the phone during nervous breakdowns in Paris and also New York, and even Ghana from this summer - "cross that bridge when you come to it". I could never plan going to Paris as I took the SAT's, or interning at Seventeen Magazine in NYC, from my high school perspective. There's no point in freaking out over the future - chase opportunities and you'll make the best out of college.


Hey Jill! I know you're probably waiting for the results of which colleges will accept and reject you, and you're probably freaking out. That's ok. I promise, you'll get accepted to one of them. In the mean time, go do something fun! You won't get to see your friends for a long, long time once summer starts, so go make the best of the time you have left. Stop spending all your time at Starbucks, even though you love your coworkers. And please, please break up with your boyfriend. He's a great guy but you're bored and miserable and we both know it. So yeah. Go have fun! See you in a year. :) Love, Future Jill


My time at NYU has been great; I've met and made wonderful new friends, had unforgettable experiences abroad in Shanghai and spontaneous adventures through NYC, had access to the entire city as my "campus" (hello, free museum visits!), thrust into a fast-paced, yet incredibly tolerant and open-minded environment, had the opportunity to intern and to work while attending classes, and knowing all this, my advice to my high school senior self (I imagine opening and finding this in a fortune cookie) would be: "There is a consequence to every action, every decision - so make yours wisely. Be confident in your choice and be confident in yourself." My stubborn decision to attend NYU comes at the painstakingly heavy cost of debt and sometimes, I wonder if I made the right choice. I don't regret it at all; if anything, a lesson in making decisions is learned - but my family is not well-off and I worry for them and for myself. It is important, I think, at times like these to believe and to be confident in oneself, to be positive, and to know that yes, you can do it and it will work out.


Hey. You know what? You're right. You -are- about to go through the most terrifying and lonely period of your entire life to date. You've hit the nail on the head. You're screwed. But you know what else, little miss crystal-gazer? You've already shot yourself in the foot. I know you're trying. I know how hard it is to get that expectation out of the back of your mind given your history of being shy, no matter how much you try to keep a positive attitude. But the thing is, and what you'll find if you keep this up, is that you can't let your own fear keep you from moving forward from an attitude adjustment to real action. You have to fake it. You have to put yourself out there. It's -work.- Please don't go into this expecting to be lonely and silent. Please prepare yourself to work hard for the opposite outcome. By the way. Saying goodbye to Mom? It's like getting a shot. Don't even stress. Last thing. Seriously listen up to this. I don't care how arbitrary and easy that class is. Go.


To my younger self: Never stop fighting to reach your dream. There will be times you'll want to throw in the towel, but success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm or drive. Don't be afraid of all the things that could go wrong; instead, be hopeful about all the things that could go right. Not everything is meant to last. Some things are only meant to be temporary enjoyable experiences---even friendships. Be yourself, believe in your convictions and true friends will follow. Remember that life is a journey, not a destination. We all have different paths, and no one can do a better job of being you than you. Have confidence in yourself, and stop comparing your journey to others'. Don't hesitate to put yourself out there and step outside of your comfort zone. If you don't take the risk ,you may never get the opportunity. Continue to be strong, but not rude, kind, but not weak, thoughtful, but not lazy, and humble, but not timid. Work hard, but do not forget to have fun in life and really enjoy it; your time in college will go by incredibly quickly!!!


You're scared. I remember that well. Newsflash: Everyone is. But you have a chance here, a chance to work towards your dreams and start to change the world. You want my advice? Don't let yourself be overwhelmed. You're more than the broken hearted boy from Junior year now. You've worked hard to get here and you've changed so much. I'm proud of you. Ya hear that? Your future self is proud of what you've become. Now New York's a different place than the Poconos. It's kinda like an Open World Video Game where there are more activities to do as the game's story progresses. Continue your story while pacing out the side quests. You're going to make friends, receive awards, travel the world; all in a matter of months. That small town didn't prepare you for this. But always remember what Robin Williams said to Matt Damon in Good Will Hunting. He says that Will could tell him everything about art but "I'll bet you can't tell me what it smells like in the Sistine Chapel." You're gonna smell the Sistine Chapel. Be good.


The advice I would give myself as a high school senior would be to get involved in as many activities as possible. Getting involved is probably the best way to get to know people and feel more connected to the school community, and I wish I had done this when I first got to school. Transitioning to college wasn't that difficult for me, but I didn't take advantage of all the opportunities available in my freshman year. I would also suggest exploring your environment, or city where the college is located. Finally, I would advise my high school self to take advantage of all the study abroad experiences possible, as study abroad has been life changing, and I wish I could do it more.


You grew up with a strong sense of who you were. Never forget that. You may move off to the city and to college and think that the rules of your youth are gone. You are wrong. All of the decisions you make are going to change you for the bad or for the good. Be responsible and know what you came to college to complete. Do not sacrifice your academics so that you can go to a party, because that party will happen every weekend. Do not tear apart your self-image because you think this is a time to rebuild yourself. Most importantly, do not let your soul become a martyr so others will appreciate you. Yet this is a time to grow and change. You will go on to find what you think is your soul mate, and you will feel heartbreak for the first time because of this. It will only make you stronger. You will look like a fool because of your decisions. It will only make your wiser. It will seem as if you have no way out of situations, keep struggling. It will make you be who you wanted to be all along.


Knowing what I know now, I would tell myself to be more open-minded. Coming from high school, there is no way to know how big and diverse the world is. I would tell my younger self, to be more daring and to explore more. I would also tell my younger self to love more and take bigger risks. The world is waiting to be explored, don't hesitate!


Not everyones freshman experience is the same. You will have completely different experiences than all your friends and even your family members because every school and every student is different. If I could go back in time to my senior year self I would have told myself that. I spent so much of freshman year at college feeling like I was doing something wrong because I couldn't relate to what my high school friends were doing at their schools during their first year there. I couldn't seem to get it through my head that we wouldn't be doing the same thing because we were no longer at the same school in the same town, surrounded by the same people. I would have liked to tell myself that there is beauty to having differences come into your life because they teach you about yourself. I do not think I would have learned half as much about myself if I was still experiencing the same things as my friends in high school. In college you cannot be afraid to be different from everyone else because it is those difference that made you stand out in the first place.