When I came to NYU, I didn’t know a single person here. I’m from a pretty small town in Florida, north of Tampa. I drove past cow farms every day on my way to high school. Only one or two students from my high school left the state for college, and only about half of every graduating class went to a university at all. Getting into NYU wasn’t just an accomplishment– it also posed some big questions for me. I remember hovering my cursor over the accept button on Albert. Was I really ready to throw myself into a whole new world?
In the weeks leading up to move-in day, I was still scared. Excited, but also terrified. It’s not that I wanted to come to NYU and totally reinvent myself as a new person, but the fact that I could have if I wanted to, was really world-changing. As I packed my bags on my last night in Florida, I wondered– who would I become in New York?
I’ve always believed that your friends reflect who you are–and since coming to NYU, I’ve made some of the greatest friends imaginable. The first group of friends I made was in my residence hall.
Last year on the second floor of Goddard Hall, I met some truly incredible people. We would leave our doors open so we could just wander around the floor at night, procrastinating this or that assignment, and just walk into each other’s rooms and sit and talk and eat snacks and laugh. We would also go to tons of Goddard events together to see shows, discuss social issues, and explore New York, all paid for by our amazing RA Jen, or by the hall. I’m so grateful to Goddard for providing that home for me as I transitioned into NYU and I’m happy to say that I still talk to almost everyone from my floor freshman year.
But my residence hall wasn’t the only place I made friends. Over the last year and a half I’ve made an unbelievable amount of friends in places ranging from my program of study, to my job, and all my other extracurricular activities. As a Percussion Performance major, I am always meeting fellow art students and playing gigs and shows with them, so my social network is always growing. Just this past January I teamed up with 28 Drama majors–most of whom I didn’t know–and we wrote and performed a new musical! Now I’m glad to call all of those people my friends.
I was really afraid of changing before I came to New York, and what that would mean both for me and for my loved ones back home. But now, I’ve learned to embrace growth and meeting new people. I’m not a radically different person, but I am different. I’m more outgoing, and I’m more excited to meet new people than I was before.
But I’m still the same Declan, and I’m still very close with my best friends back in Florida. Coming to NYU didn’t change who I was fundamentally; it just showed me new parts of myself that I didn’t know existed, and I’m so grateful for that.