In my first semester at NYU Abu Dhabi, I realized that the biology major I’d planned on was not for me, and suddenly I was faced with countless different classes to choose from. Exploring new areas of study is one of the best parts about studying at a liberal arts college like NYU Abu Dhabi. Sure, I felt a little directionless and unsure of my passions, but my freshman year gave me the space to explore that and find what I truly care about. Here are two of the classes that had the biggest impact on me as a freshman:
Before I got here, there were a million things about NYU that I couldn’t wait for—how exciting and event-filled the city would be around the clock, amazing food on every corner, incredible professional opportunities, intellectually stimulating classes, celebrity sightings, free Broadway shows—the list goes on. However, the things that nobody told me about beforehand have ended up becoming some of my favorite parts of my college experience. Who doesn’t love a good surprise?
1. NYU does have a campus—and it really feels like a college community!
As everyone knows, NYU is in and of the city, and as such, I worried about how easy it might be to get lost in the mix. However, I quickly learned that our lack of walls does not mean that we don’t have a campus. The Washington Square Park area (and beyond) is unofficially-yet-pretty-much-officially NYU territory, through and through. Walking to class, you are bound to see dozens of people that you know every single day. Through clubs, classes, jobs, and events, you organically build a sense of community and college spirit—New York City just happens to be the backdrop.
As you can likely imagine, New York is a star-studded city. It isn’t uncommon to see the likes of Aziz Ansari and Nick Kroll strolling through Washington Square Park. So, you’ll most likely hear your friends saying they saw Maisie Williams at Starbucks that morning. And if you’re anything like me, you’re so bad at names that you just sit there blankly nodding.
I’ve got to make sure that I know the faces and names of all of the ~cool~ TV and Movie stars, so I can catch my chance to point them out to my friends and be the #star that I am. I find that the best way to do that is to watch as much film and TV as I can reasonably fit into my schedule. That being said, the cost of movie theaters, cable, HBO Go, and Amazon prime start to build up. Unless, of course, you’re a student here at NYU. We have access to all of the aforementioned services for free or reduced costs, and oh boy do we use ‘em!
NYU and Theaters:
I come from a town in Connecticut where, thank goodness, movies are 12 dollars (6 on Tuesdays!), so I was devastated to find that I was paying 17 dollars to see Trolls. I got in the theater and made myself all comfy in the seat clutching my popcorn and a large slushie. Pretty much as expected, the next 90 minutes of my life are minutes I can never get back.
Completely annoyed that I willingly spent 17 dollars (which is a MEAL) on something I knew I’d hate, I did what any rational person does: whine and complain to my friends.
Quickly, they shut me up and told me about our first little NYU treat: The NYU Box Office, Ticket Central.
Ticket Central: NYU Ticket Central is a way of connecting students to everything NYC has to offer, be that movies, concerts, or even Broadway shows. I’ve had opportunities to see Broadway shows like the very first preview of Miss Saigon’s newest run for absolutely free, but I use it primarily to get 9 dollar movie tickets! You just show up at the location inside the Skirball Center for Performing Arts and they’ll help you out right away! These tickets do not expire (although some require you wait two weeks after the film’s release) and can be used at a large number of theaters.
You may ask “But Philip! What if the film I want to see isn’t supported by Ticket Central?” Well my young friend, this isn’t the only way to reduce your costs.
Regular Student Discounts: Your NYU id is your key to the city, it has the innate power to make things ~cost less~ I recommend you ask everywhere you go if they offer a student discount (the worst they can say is “no”). I’ve found that nearly every movie theater I’ve been to offers some sort of discount, that includes theaters like the AMC right across the street from the Third Avenue North Residence hall (which has reclining seats)! It doesn’t just apply to traditional theaters though, events like the New York Film Festival offer much cheaper tickets to students. I was able to see an early screening of Manchester By The Sea for almost nothing within my first month here at NYU. It was unreal to see that first bright, full frame on a MASSIVE movie screen, completely surreal.
MAX GO: This one is the least known NYU Service, by FAR! It is an extension of HBO GO (we’ll talk about that later) that allows us to stream HD movies right to our computer! From Deadpool to Casablanca, it’s all there and it’s all free for NYU students. All you have to do is log in with your NYU credentials and you’re good to go. I bet your favorite movie is already on there!
Clearly, I’m not lying when I say NYU gives students the opportunity to see as many movies as they like without totally breaking the bank
BONUS TIP: There is a service called Movie Pass, which is currently 10 dollars a month, that gives you unlimited movies tickets to most major theaters in the area. As long as you see one movie a month, you effectively make 7 dollars!
NYU and TV:
Listen, I love movies, but it’s not hard to say that people these days sometimes prefer a nice night in with a LUSH face mask, a hot tea, and the newest episode of Broad City. However, that show premieres live, like, on cable, which we don’t have. Or DO WE?!
Campus Cable: So long as you’re living on campus, NYU is gonna hook you up with what we call “Campus Cable,” so you can do some maxin’ and relaxin’ in the comfort of your own room! I am a big fan of How to Get Away With Murder (If you’re reading this, I love you Viola Davis) on ABC and lucky for this guy, ABC HD is one of the 94 channels offered on campus. All you have to do is get yourself a coax cord for your TV and you’re good to go. However, if you’re not totally tech savvy, you can put in a tech request or visit the guide on the NYU website and it’ll walk you through the process!
Now this is where you would chime in again, saying “I can’t binge watch Game of Thrones on Cable without HBO, Philip” To which I would respond:
HBO GO: NYU Students living in a residence hall get free access to HBO Go, HBO’s premium streaming service! Just like MAX GO, you just log in via your NYU credentials and you can be watching the Red Wedding in no time at all! Also, did I mention? IT’S FREE!
Amazon Prime: We all love prime, it’s the best and that free two-day shipping is incredible. What few people take advantage of is the movie and TV streaming that it offers to its members. In the mood for SpongeBob? Stream it. Sopranos? Stream it! Indiana Jones? S T R E A M I T! It’s a great service and NYU students get it free for 6 months, and then after that, it is 50% off a regular subscription, which is incredible. I owe many good movie and TV nights to this service, it’s fabulous.
NYC connects us to the city and entertainment world in a lot of ways and sometimes those ways are FAR from inexpensive. Luckily, for NYU students our school allows us to afford the things we have interests in, which I find to be fully representative of their efforts to support student passion and develop our skills for the future.
I hope to see you all streaming your favorite shows soon!
We very much understand and empathize with the reality that many high school seniors have been impacted by recent hurricanes in the United States and surrounding territories. We understand families have lost homes and possessions and many folks are still without power. We are thinking of you and hopeful that your lives return to normal as soon as possible.
On a case-by-case basis, we will consider application extensions for those impacted, especially those applying from Puerto Rico and surrounding islands in the Caribbean. If you intended to apply Early Decision I, please be in touch with your respective admission officer with your request for an extension before our November 1 application deadline.
- Puerto Rico & the U.S. Virgin Islands: William Sichel at email@example.com
- Caribbean: Celeste Suris-Roselli at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Texas: Phoebe Kingsak at email@example.com
- South Florida & the Keys: Michael Durant at firstname.lastname@example.org
Please know that our application fee should never be a barrier to applying for admission. If our application fee would be a financial hardship for your family, simply request an application fee waiver on the Common Application and we will waive your fee.
We will also be as flexible as possible on waiting for supporting application materials (e.g. transcripts, test scores, teacher evaluations, etc.), but please understand in advance that certain credentials (e.g. school transcripts) will be required to matriculate at NYU.
Going to college in a big city can be scary. There is no doubt that it’s a complete 180 from the typical college campus life portrayed on TV– big grassy campuses filled with students walking around with backpacks (and the occasional skater). However, after a year of living in New York, I’m here to tell you what I actually turned out to be true about a move to the Big Apple.
Myth #1. There are so many streets and places in the city, I’m never going to know my way around.
While NYC is only a few miles long, it’s home to thousands of restaurants, stores, and bodegas (yes, I learned that term here). It can be intimidating in the beginning when you’re trying to learn how to navigate from place to place, but this doesn’t mean you’ll end up wandering the streets. Definitely take advantage of Google Maps and city transit apps (my favorite is CityMapper). Thinking of the city streets as a grid can also be incredibly helpful at times. We’ve all been there, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Soon enough, you’ll be able to navigate the streets like a pro and maybe even giving directions to newcomers!
Myth #2. New York is going to break the bank.
Living in any metropolitan area is going to be expensive, but it is definitely possible to have an amazing day without emptying your bank account. The typical touristy destinations are usually free, such as the infamous Brooklyn Bridge and High Line, and planning a day ahead of time can really help with keeping spending at bay. There’s also always something going on in New York, so you can always search for free events or discounted student tickets. Parks are also a great place to go to hang out with friends, eat, and even dogwatch.
Myth #3. It’s a glamorous city.
As a high schooler, I always thought of New York with beautiful skyscrapers and lights. The way that it’s portrayed in movies made the city seem like a whole other world. However, in reality, it can be quite gross at times. The subway is not going to be spotless and there is usually construction going on somewhere. You’ll encounter large bugs, cockroaches, and mice but each experience is guaranteed to make you tougher and more immune to future pests. However, I’ve come to realize that when I’m sitting in my residence hall looking at the breathtaking view I have, the ugly parts of the city are what make the beautiful parts all the more special.
One of the first things I realized about living on 14th street my first year at NYU was how disturbingly congested the street it. Shoppers shoving their way towards Trader Joe’s and Forever 21, commuters hustling into the Union Square subway station, college students attempting to access any one of four residence halls in the area, along with countless others all competed for space on that highway of a street. Immediate parallels can be drawn between the crowded sidewalk and a high school hallway from a classic 80s movie right after the bell rings. It was one of the only things I was constantly irritated by my first year as I attempted to maneuver my way to class. For my first month or so in New York, the air was still and hot, heat and ambiguous smells rose from food carts, and sweaty bodies knocked around as every person on the sidewalk hurried to get where they were going.
And then the seasons began to change. The stifling summer air gained a crisp fall edge and the few green leaves turned orange. Vendors at the Union Square Farmers Market started selling homemade apple cider, dried lavender, and pumpkins. While the street maintained its heavy human traffic, the people seemed more content wrapped in stylish fall layers, leaving behind the smothering work appropriate summer outfits. Despite all this, I still avoided walking down 14th street.
One particularly interesting aspect of 14th street are the vendors. People set up on the street selling everything from jewelry, socks, mango slices, and cats. Opposite the corporate storefronts, stalls with hundreds of sunglasses displayed in meticulous rows advertise low prices on handwritten cardboard signs. The merchandise changes from day to day, up and down the street, peppered between carts selling halal and hot dogs.
One fall day, walking back from the farmer’s market, my roommate and I happened upon a mob of people clustered around a particular street vendor. As I attempted to push through, my roommate pulled me back. They were selling sweaters for two dollars, each one bundled in a plastic cellophane wrapping. Unable to discern much about the sweater other than the color, we both pulled one out of the giant box and exchanged our money for a sweater off the street.
I still have my caramel colored sweater, a button-up reminiscent of Mr. Rodgers. It has a last name stitched into the back just above the tag. I’m not sure what kind of life my sweater lead before I picked it out of the box on the street, but I beam with pride whenever I get a compliment. “I got this off the street,” I burst out, in my mind a quintessential New York experience that needs to be shared, regardless of whether they care or not. It’s a reminder that I will probably never be able to live on Union Square ever again, and I was only able to because NYU afforded me that kind of opportunity. The chance to walk around the city and gain the confidence to shove my way to the grocery store or scurry down the subway stairs in a sea of people, all just trying to make their way. I may not ever like walking down 14th street, just as I never truly enjoy the smell of hot garbage. But every year when fall rolls in and I get to sit in the park with a book, wearing my sweater, and drinking a chai tea, I realize that sometimes you have to first experience the hot, sticky summer to truly appreciate the lyrical fall the follows.
One of my favorite little things about Greenwich Village, the neighborhood NYU calls home, is that almost every sunny day, a couple of older men set up a few tables along a sidewalk near Washington Square Park and lay out all manner of old, used, and well-loved books for sale. There’s everything from picture books to the classics, to old diaries, and everything in between, all for just a few dollars, if not less. These books have a history to them that the bibliophile in me can’t resist. As a first year on campus, I found it so charming that even in New York City, there was still space for something like this. And so every day, I would peruse their volumes, looking for something to catch my eye.
Being the recent city-transplant that I was, however, I never carried cash, so I always walked away vowing to one day leave the stand a few dollars lighter, but with something a little extra in my bag. I never did, however, mostly because I never learned my lesson to always have a buck or two in my wallet. (I still haven’t learned that lesson by the way, I never have cash).
Now, as I begin my senior year at NYU, I still see the old men peddling their books, and it still warms my heart. It never fails to bring a smile to my face to see that even the busiest of New Yorkers—in between running from class or work or a lunch date or a yoga class—have a minute to catch their breath and look through the collection.
The other day, however, as I spent my usual five minutes reading the inner jackets of a few of the books, I realized that, by some miracle of fate, I had $3 in my wallet. Empowered by my discovery, I took the first book I found in my price range that had a nice cover (yes, I know, I’m that person™ who judges books by their covers—I’m aware of my problem) and brought it to one of the men to buy. As I put the book away in my bag, the man laughed and told me that he seen me at his stand countless times before over the years, and he never thought I’d ever buy a book. And then in a weird, fatherly-type tone that I still can’t determine as endearing or creepy, he told me that I had grown a lot since I first started looking at his books. Despite what my nervous laugh and subsequent scurrying away may suggest, it made me happy that he said that. I couldn’t help but feel that little, 17-year-old Anthony would be proud of me for finally getting my act together and buying a book. I had finally accomplished something that was virtually a three year goal in the works.
Being a senior in college, there’s a lot of sentimentality attached to things, particularly as the year comes to an end (a time that is, thankfully, somewhat far off). This is my last first day of school, this is the last “summer break” I’ll have, this might be the last time I walk along the Hudson river, sorts of stuff like that. So as I kick off my final year at NYU, I’m glad that I was able to do something for the first time. I may have lived here for three years, but there are still countless firsts for me to check off my list.
Freshman year of college is the year that you have been building up to ever since you decided to go to university. From the moment you step foot on campus it becomes a reality and sometimes your expectations don’t become reality. Truthfully, you are going to have doubts about where you are sometimes. These doubts are normal and everyone has been there.
One of the worst feelings in the world is feeling like you do not belong in a place that you can’t necessarily escape from. Coming to college, especially one like NYU in a large city, is daunting and the expectations you layout can be so magical and over the top that when they aren’t reached you feel like you made a huge mistake in even coming. I remember, after one tough day of classes and a sad FaceTime call with my parents I just felt super lonely. Loneliness in a big city full of people can sound stupid but in fact it’s so real. New York can be an isolating place, so feeling alone is real and normal. I remember questioning my choice to come to NYU and questioning whether I should move residence halls or even transfer out to another college.
After speaking to my friends they have all experienced things extremely similar. However, it’s the way you deal with these feelings and use them to your advantage that is the most vital thing.
Freshman year is fleeting, scarily so. I’m writing this now as a sophomore wondering where all that time went. Although not all my days were fantastic, as I’ve just said, I don’t look back on my first year with bad memories. In fact, I always say how that year has been the best year of my life and I would not change a single thing. Lonely memories get erased by fun ones, sad FaceTime calls get replaced by ones where you can’t wait to tell everyone at home that you saw Joe Jonas in a pizza shop and his security guard shouted at you for taking a photo. I always like to say, whenever I’m feeling down, that I am living in New York City. NEW YORK CITY. There are millions of people who dreamt of this university, of this city, of this life and I am living it. Yes, school can get you down but just know there is a support system for you and knowing how privileged you are is something that will bring you straight back down to Earth and give that motivation to push through.
I’m not saying that these times aren’t tough. It was this toughness that taught me to ‘look up’ every time I’m feeling bad. Look up at the skyscrapers that scatter New York to remind you where you are and these experiences you are living, look up to your RA who will be there for you when you need to talk, look up at those photos on your bedroom wall of your friends and family who support you, look up at your professors who will try their hardest to accommodate you and your mental health. Your mental health is important and so is your happiness which is why it is more than okay to admit that you need a little bit more help to get you going again.
So here are some NYU resources for those kind of times:
Wellness Exchange – (212)-443-9999
Join me in this quick #tbt to senior year and observe this real life footage of me in my prime:
Wow. College applications are coming up and eh… you’re freaking out. Probably shouldn’t have pushed off touring ‘till senior year (yikes #classicBella).
Some quick context: Like a lot of the Admissions Ambassadors, I’m a fairly outgoing person. There’s a constant stream of chatter flowing from me and meeting people on my way across campus and stopping to catch up is probably one of the best parts of my days. Senior year however, I totally shut down and bubbly Bella stopped being bubbly altogether. I freaked out and stopped being the outgoing self I am as I tried to piece together far too many college applications in far too little time. College tours were just another stop on this Hot Mess Express and the thought of even interacting with these ~college kids~ that were inevitably cooler, better and smarter than me was unthinkable. I toured schools in total silence and got to the point where I would make my parents ask questions – which is fine, but…not really the point. I was so incredibly nervous to make this next step towards independence that I didn’t get to enjoy my school visits as much as I could have.
So in lieu of open house season, here are few tips that’ll help you make the most out of your visit:
Sending in your documents before you submit your application can actually lead to it taking longer for your file to complete.
But don’t wait too long…
Every year applications are still incomplete on decision day because people wait too long to send in materials. Your best bet is to submit your application on or before the deadline and send all your supporting materials within one week of submitting.