New York University
BackgroundInterview Date:November 2018
Gender Identity: Female
Sexual Orientation: Gay
Graduation Year: 2021
High School Experience: Public school in Massachusetts with a graduating class of about 400 students. There was a culture of going to college.
First-Generation College Student: No
Major: I’m in the Gallatin School that lets you create your own major. I thinking of making my concentration Computer Science with a focus on Data Ethics
Extracurricular Activities: I just joined a sorority this fall.
What impact has joining a sorority had on your experience so far?
My entire life I’ve been super outgoing and I consider myself very social and I need that element of having people around me constantly. With the culture of New York everyone, especially the student body, is so spread out and spread thin that it’s really difficult to meet people in general just because you never see the same face on campus twice. Joining a sorority, in my opinion, is the most effective and efficient way of meeting people. I was never interested in sororities and I don’t think I would have joined one if I didn’t go here.
How far into your major are you?
I just transferred into Gallatin. I decided to do Computer Science over the summer term. Last year I was in a dual major with Global Public Health and Social Work. I’m not that far into the academics of Computer Science, but I’m really interested in it.
What has been your favorite class so far?
Introduction to Computer Science, which is basically learning Java. My other favorite might be Writing the Essay, which is a mandatory English class for freshmen. I like that class because it was a rigorous writing program that makes you self-reflect on your entire life. You learn a lot about yourself and how the structure of society works and how you work in it. I liked the takeaway of the class.
What has been a class you did not like?
I took Nutrition freshman year. That class was so boring. I thought it was going to be learning what food to eat and how it impacts your body, but it felt like biochemistry which I don’t really like.
Is there anything that you feel NYU has done especially well or poorly so far academically?
I feel that the selection of courses it has is unbelievable. I go through the course catalog and see so many classes I want to take. Also, the reason why I’m switching to Gallatin is that you can take classes from any school, so I could take classes in the Tisch School of the Arts, which is such a bonus because it’s one of the best art schools in the country. They also have a lot of really interesting course descriptions. No matter what, you won’t get bored with the classes here, or at least with the electives.
How would you describe the learning environment? Do you think it’s particularly competitive or collaborative?
I think it depends on the class. Everyone wants to collaborate and help each other because, like, why wouldn’t you want somebody else in your class that you can talk to. I also feel that all the classes are very rigorous, so there is an element of competition. NYU also focuses on doing a lot of small seminar classes, so given that it’s such a huge school you don’t have just huge lecture classes. [The student-faculty ratio is 10:1.]
On and Around Campus
Where have you lived on and around campus?
Freshman: Brittany Hall with two roommates. In my opinion, Brittany Hall is the best hall because it has the nicest rooms and is a really cozy residence hall. It’s surprising how nice the dorms here are. Everybody has a good amount of space, especially for New York City.
Sophomore: I live off campus in the East Village with my best friend from last year. We didn’t wasn’t to do summer housing and then yearly housing and then summer housing again, so it’s just more convenient to have your own place.
How was transitioning from your hometown in Massachusetts to Manhattan?
Honestly, when I was going through it I didn’t think it was that difficult because I used to work in Boston. It’s not New York, but it’s still a city, so that helped me a little bit. When I look back on transitioning now, I think it was a really hard time for me because I was so used to my suburb and knowing every single face that I grew up with. Then, all of a sudden, you’re in New York and you don’t know anyone. You really, really have to put yourself out there to make connections and maintain connections because it’s not like you see someone on the street. You have to make a huge effort to get to know people. That was the main adjustment for me.
Can you describe the level of safety you’ve experienced on and around campus?
I actually think NYU is really, really safe. There is public safety everywhere. I also think Greenwich Village is one of the safest neighborhoods in Manhattan. [Between September 2017 and September 2018 there were about 26 crimes per 1,000 residents.] The neighborhood’s really cute and pretty safe. There are some areas that are grimier and you see some weird stuff on the street, but you get used to it.
What is your favorite off-campus restaurant around campus?
Oh God, I have so many. There are so many vegan places around here. I am a vegan, and my favorite one is probably The Butcher’s Daughter. For non-vegans, a lot of people like Bar Pitti, which is a pasta place.
What is your favorite place to get away from campus?
I really like SoHo or the West Village-Chelsea area. They’re both close to campus so I go there a lot. I feel like every neighborhood in New York is really different and Chelsea is really charming and upbeat.
How is going to a school that is so ingrained in the city affected your experience?
When I was growing up in my town every person was basically from the same background and had the same story, it was very homogenous. Coming to the city you meet so many people from different backgrounds and I think that is a really important way of gaining a larger perspective on the world. Meeting different people and hearing their stories makes you think more progressively and forces you to open your mind, and I am so grateful for that.
Do you feel that you are less so a student and more so a resident of New York City?
Pros and cons of being in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York, NY?
Pros: I think the pros outweigh the cons so much.
(1) The networking here is amazing. I was in an Uber Pool one time and a CEO heard that I went to NYU and gave me his card to reach out to me about an internship. The most random things like that will happen to you. Also, every major company is in New York. You have so many opportunities.
(2) The people you’ll meet. You’ll meet very interesting and cool people who are very passionate about whatever they do.
(3) You can do whatever you want in the city.
(4) Culture. There is amazing food, amazing nightlife, and there’s almost always something to do.
Cons: (1) Going to NYU comes with the subculture of how everybody is so busy in New York and that you’re not going to have someone with you 24/7. I know a lot of people were stuck together with their best friends in high school, but in New York it’s not like that because everyone has their side thing or they have to [travel around the city]. You’re going to be alone a lot and that is because the city is very fast paced. You’ll meet a lot of people, but maintaining relationships with those people is very difficult. Everyone who I’ve talked to at NYU says that they [at some point] get only because it’s hard to develop really strong relationships at such a fast pace. Once you come to college you expect to have your best friend in like a month, but it’s not going to happen like that.
(2) Transportation. You’re going to have to walk everywhere, and if it’s bad weather you’re going to have to splurge on Ubers or something, so that can get expensive.
(3) Manhattan is just very expensive in general.
What kind of nightlife or weekend activities do you like to participate in?
The thing about going out in New York is if you’re a girl it’s way easier to get in to places. People go out here way later – until 4 or 5 in the morning – because the clubs don’t close until 4, so people will leave their house around midnight. A lot of people will do dinners before going out. Being a guy and trying to get into certain places is kind of subjective, but it’s much easier to get in if you’re a girl.
What nights of the week do you regularly go out?
Thursday is a big night, and then Friday and Saturday night are the standard nights to go out. If you want to go out on any day of the week, you can definitely find something [because you’re in New York].
What have been some of your favorite times at NYU?
I love when the Union Square Market is set up. It’s basically the holiday market. It’s really, really cute. Also, when it’s starting to turn to spring Central Park is so pretty. I hate the winter, it’s terrible, but that’s my favorite part of the winter. I think that New York is so different all the time that I constantly love being here.
How happy are you with the nightlife at NYU? Is there anything you would change if you could?
I’m really happy about it. There’s definitely an absence of Greek life in general at NYU but I don’t mind it. If there was one thing, I don’t think it’s realistic, but I’d like to have big frat parties and have a frat row with big houses like at Syracuse or Alabama. I think that’d be really fun because at the club you’re with random people and whatever friends you came with. You never really get to know people at parties and see the same people regularly. You’re out with a bunch of random New Yorkers.
Has being a person who identifies as LGBT influenced your nightlife at all?
Not really. Whenever a guy tries to [talk to me] or whatever I just act like I’m not interested and it’s fine.
How did you meet your closest friends?
My closest friends I met through different people. That’s kind of the dynamic of how you’re going to make friends in New York. My best friend from last year was my roommate. All my other friends I met through people.
How would you describe the overall social scene?
I think it’s so different from other schools because no one really cares about sports here. There’s a lack of a community, which I think contributes to the social scene because everyone is interested in their own things and has their friends who are interested in the same things. That’s why I joined a sorority because it’s so hard to find people with different interests.
To what extent do you feel people of different races and sexual orientations mix socially?
They’re very intertwined. Everyone is very open to each other. Being racist, sexist, or homophobic is looked down upon. I don’t think anyone really expects people to be like that. It’s very accepting.
What is the impact of Greek life on social life?
I’ve only been in it for a couple of months, but I’ve met so many people who I think are really cool that I wouldn’t have met otherwise. I spend most of my time with people in Greek life now, so I think it should be considered if you’re feeling that you need some social stimulus.
Do you think people are generally happy with their choice of NYU by senior year?
Yeah, almost everyone I’ve talked to say they couldn’t picture themselves going anywhere else. I have a few friends who were a little upset because NYU wasn’t their first choice so they didn’t like it. I feel that so much happens here and there’s so much opportunity for different experiences that New York can cater to pretty much anyone that can tolerate the city.
How would you describe the student body?
Very progressive and very diverse. [NYU has the highest number of international students in America and 29% of the class of 2020 is Caucasian.] Everyone’s pretty cool and you never really find the same person or the same personality.
Has the alumni network helped you find internships or jobs?
I have a part-time job right now that I’m trying to focus on, so I haven’t really utilized it. There are a lot of resources here for internships or jobs though.
Have you learned any computer programs that will be helpful to you professionally?
Advice for Prospective Freshmen
What is something you wish you knew about NYU before entering as a freshman?
How difficult it would be to meet people here. You think that there are so many people in the city that you’re bound to meet people. It’s more like you’re surrounded by so many people but you don’t really know anyone.
What is something a prospective LGBT student may want to know that we haven’t touched on?
This is one of the most accepting schools in the country. That’s one of the reasons why I applied. If you’re an LGBT boy here, there are so many of them that you will find your friends and people. For LGBT girls, there are way less compared to boys, but everyone is still so accepting.
What is something a prospective student may miss on a visit that’s worth checking out?
Maybe the piers along the Hudson River and then going around the park is nice. There’s a lot of niche things that are around campus. Even if you live here your entire life, you will never be able to experience every single thing there is to do in Manhattan.
Reasons to attend NYU:
1) The networking opportunities are incredible. So many spontaneous things are going to happen to you that you’re not going to expect. Being in the city alone can open so many doors for you.
2) You grow so much as a person. The city forces you to become independent and grow up fast. You become more mature and understand how life and society works.
3) Diversity. Especially since in New York you’re always around different cultures.
4) New York City is different from anywhere else in the world. It’s so unique.
5) It’s a good school. The professors are amazing.
6) There are pretty nice residence halls.
Reasons to not attend NYU:
1) The price is insane. It’s very, very expensive to go to this school and living in Manhattan is expensive.
2) The winter, but you can deal with that if you get a good jacket.
3) The campus is huge. It can take 20-25 minutes to walk from one class to another.
4) There are so many distractions in New York that will distract you from schoolwork.
5) Not being able to have your close, close group of friends. Most of the people I know, including myself, we always say that we have our friends but none of them know each other. It’s more one on one hangouts. It’s hard to really gather a group of people together and have it not feel awkward, at least at first, because no one knows each other.