I dreamt of going to NYU since I was a sophomore in high school and went on my first tour. My room was plastered with photos and words cut from admissions brochures–I went to bed every night under a map of campus, the place I knew I’d end up one day.
Fast forward to move-in day, the most exciting-and-simultaneously-nerve-wracking day of my life. That night, the Inter-Residence Hall Council put on an event, as they do every year, called “Bed Bath & Beyond After Dark,” in which shuttles picked up us NYU freshmen from campus and took us to get some shopping done for our new residence hall rooms, along with music and free NYU swag. I was excited to kick off Welcome Week by attending this event, and when my mom asked me if she should come with, I almost shuddered. How embarrassing, I thought, to bring your mommy to the first college event there is! I left for Bed Bath & Beyond alone, ready to embark on my first “independent college kid” adventure.
The choice to leave my mom behind that night became, as I see it now, one of the worst choices I made my first semester of college. The event was loud, crowded, and all-around overwhelming, and I, a generally anxious person, was not at all prepared. I didn’t even know where to start–I’d never lived alone before! What did I know about setting up my room?! Do I get twin sized bedding or “extra-long” twin? What the heck is the difference? Is $20 a lot for a pillow? Beats me! There were hundreds of new students running around the store, carts piled high, and I’d been wandering for about a half an hour without making one decision. How did people have friends already? Should I have come with my roommates? Worst thing of all–I saw lots and lots of people with their moms. Why did I tell her to stay home? What was I thinking?
I quickly walked into the bathroom, locked the door, and called my mom in tears. “I wish you’d come with me,” I said quietly, “I just want to go home.”
I tell you this story not to scare you, or to recommend that you skip Bed Bath & Beyond After Dark, which is an awesome program at which everyone but me apparently had fun (something I’ve learned since telling this story to about everyone I know). I tell you this story to let you know how it worked out in the end–a week later, I had made several friends (many of whom are still my best friends to this day!), gotten close with my roommates, gone to many other wonderful Welcome Week events, set up my room, and was completely ready to start classes. Compare that to when I left that event: horrified, thoughts swirling through my sad, traumatized head–what if NYU wasn’t what I wanted after all? What if I couldn’t handle it? What if I should have stayed home in California?! Looking back, it’s ridiculous I could have even had those thoughts, and I feel quite embarrassed to have been so scared that night.
But leaving for college is a scary thing, there’s no denying it. For the most part, though, we focus on the amazing things about it, because overall, it really is just that–amazing. I’m here to say that despite how we all act, it’s so, so okay to be scared. I was, I promise. We all were, at some point. You have to remember, though, that no matter what, you’re coming to NYU for a reason. You chose this school because you know it’s where you belong, and even at those times when you’re nervous and questioning everything–think back to this story, and say to yourself, “Hey, at least I’m not calling my mom crying in a Bed Bath & Beyond bathroom stall like a sucker.” Or, if you do end up doing the same thing, I hope you feel some sort of solace in knowing you’re not the only one. You’re really, really not–I promise. If it does happen, know that there will come a time that you look back and laugh at every single doubt you ever had about NYU. And if you don’t, well…your mom sure will. You did call her, after all.