New York University Top Questions

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


If I could talk to myself as a high school senior, I would say "you're doing GREAT. Keep it up, and don't forget to enjoy the ride." Too often, people waste time thinking about all the things they wish they could change or even worse, complain about having to be in high school in the first place. That's when you pause, and think about how lucky you really are. There's so many children in the world who can't go to school, either because it's not safe for them or because they need to support their families. I loved high school. The one thing I would say to my senior self would be to keep on being safe and smart, but don't forget to let yourself have fun! You can be the nerd girl, but nerd girl can let loose sometimes, too. Even today as a college student at NYU, I sometimes am way too hard on myself. But I'm working on it. Maybe in a few years, 20-something year-old me will be able to give me some advice.


You need to take college seriously. It might not seem all that great when you first start out, but you will realize how much you need it. Keep track of what you need to get done and do it prior to when the deadline comes around. The best advice I could give to myself as a high school senior is to not procrastinate as much as and as much as you think your parents are annoying and need to get off your back about college, they just want you to get on your own feet.


I would tell myself that life does not give you chances and luck does not fix your mistakes. As a freshman, I spent a lot of money on things that I thought would be fun or make me look better to my friends. I realize now that all I did was waste my parents money which was meant for my education and wasted the time I needed to study. College is fun and I love it a lot, but I should always focus first before I let loose. In my acting class, they say leap before you look, and that's the way I want to be. I need to be that way but in that class only. Outside, I need to do the opposite and see things as thet are. I am a poor college student who needs to see that life is not your parents, it does not give you opportunities, you have to earn it.


No one is staring at you. No one is going to make fun of you. Focus on doing things teenagers do. You've done enough studying. Have fun with it. Fix your problems with your self-esteem--you will have an easier time making friends if you are comfortable in your own skin. People are attracted to that. Your idea of hard work in college is only a foundation; you must build up on that. You will meet people the same age as you who have accomplished so much. However, don't compare your accomplishments to theirs. Instead, let them inspire you. If you want to be less fazed by this, surround yourself by people who inspire you right now, and continue the cycle. Take chances. Apply for that internship, even if you don't quite fit the requirements. Remember that failure is completely normal, and also remember the people that constantly have your back. Don't be afraid to ask questions in class; you'll end up learning a lot more, and your professors will remember you. Ask yourself if you really need to buy that ten dollar salad when you have the same ingredients at home. Smile.


The next four years are going to be strange and difficult. You will be introduced to your new best friends. You will laugh with them a lot and sometimes cry with them. You will have to face death in a new way, and it will be the hardest thing you have ever done. You will have your heart broken and you will fall in love, deeply. You aren't ready now, and you won't be ready when these things happen either. Keep learning, keep trying. Have fun.


As a high school senior I was eager to run as far away from home as possible. I didn't visit as many of those distant colleges as I could have. Today, I would go back and tell myself to check those campuses out before I make hasty decisions. I ended up living from home and commuting to NYU, and it has made me much more comfortable during the whole high-school-to-college transition. I would have told myself not to procrastinate my essays and to have them proofread by 10 people who could give me helpful advice. I wouldn't have changed the excitement I felt back then to be advancing to a new life in college. I would give myself a pat on the back by challenging myself with the work load, and tell myself not to give up. Because that has helped me deal with the college assignments all the better. Finally, I would express more gratitude to my parents, who really helped me with the financial/tax/legal portions of the transition. Without them, who knows where I would be.


I don’t want to lie to you… I mean, me… NYC is terrifying. A homeless person will chase you down the street. A car will be set on fire in front of your work. You will live during hurricane Sandy without power. The one time you walk home alone at night, will be awful. Not because you are in any eminent danger, but because you will convince yourself you are. Your roommate is a kleptomaniac. Your old friend will start doing drugs.You will not complain when it is 15 degrees outside even though you are from California. Stop pretending you know how to study for Italian. Your teacher will refer you to a tutor and you will eventually get an A-. The city is tempting, but you will stay grounded in your ways. Don’t stop loving board games and Sherlock Holmes.You will be better for this. You’ll finally conquer the subway and you’ll enjoy walking. Essays will become fun and the library is a safe place. Your new friends will inspire you. You will learn everything you expected and things you never knew existed.It will be a grand ole time.


Be honest with yourself. Don't play a part or put on a persona to please people. Please yourself. There's so much pressure about friends, grades, and college that it's easy to lose your footing when trying to understand who you actually are. This is precious time in high school, time for you to figure out what YOU want, what YOU are about. Not the type of person that others try to thrust upon you. I came out of the closet at the end of my senior year, seeing that I had reached a point where I could be comfortable with myself without the imagined social persecution from my classmates. It was an amazing experience, as if this huge burden was lifted off me and I was allowed to be happy again. And my biggest regret? That I didn't come out sooner. I feel new at this, like I'm just starting my actual life, that everything in high school wasn't real. I struggle to adjust, especially with the stresses of college weighing down. I wish I could have seen the type of growth I'd accomplish if I had just been honest with myself sooner.


I was lucky to have been raised as a first-generation American by 2 amazing Vietnamese parents. I grew up just south of Boston - in a beautiful, idyllic New England town. I had very little troubles growing up - I was active in extracurriculars (Editor of the HS newspaper, National Honors Society) and in sports. I breezed through with a 4.2 GPA, easily acing AP exams & honors classes. It was with this mentality that I entered New York University. If I could go back, I would shake my 18-year-old self & encourage her to not stay merely content with her achievements. NYC attracts incredibly bright & talented people from all over the world - what had been exceptional in my small suburban town is hardly average here. I want her to hit the ground running freshman year - explore to her heart's content, meet as many people as she can, and never stop questioning. New York City is both an incredible playground & classroom, and 18-year-old Kim has the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn, play, and work there. I would tell her that she has no room for complacency or stagnancy - hustle never sleeps in New York City :)


"Be open-minded towards every opportunity," is the first piece of advice I'd give. There's so many roads to success, and as a high school senior it's easy to not realize it. Don't settle for what others are insisting on. Secondly, I would advice myself to take classes I enjoy. A quote that demonstrates this perfectly is, "Do something you enjoy, and you'll never work a day in your life." College is a breeze if you look forward to learning each day.