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I remember getting that email from NYU, it was after midnight and everything was a blur, I didn’t even read the whole thing but I remember seeing “congratulations” somewhere in the email and just freaking out! So congratulations!! Are you kidding me? You’re starting NYU this fall? That’s huge. You’re amazing! Good job!!
So, I received that email more than 3 years ago, and a lot happened since that night including a pandemic, a post grad depression, a breakup, an existential crisis lol. But I absolutely fell in love with New York, and NYU, the culture, the classes, the professors, so I want to share with you some of the things that made my experience so amazing, so you have an even more amazing one!
To have an incredible time at NYU I feel like you need to feel as comfortable as you can be around money, because it’s no secret that this is an expensive school in an expensive city. But, there is a way to go about it and to live as low cost as possible.
Obviously, the best money-saving hack would be not to pay for NYU. And the good news is that, even if you’re not granted a scholarship upon admission, you can still get one after starting school. You just need to show that you deserve it! Easy.
I’ll get into the details of how to increase your chances of getting a scholarship as well as other money-saving tips during your NYU time on a separate blog post, which will be linked here if it’s already out, but here’s a quick overview for you:
Your biggest cost other than the school fee will most probably be your rent, and it is true that New Yorkers tend to pay ridiculous amounts to tiniest spaces, but you don’t have to! You can be smart about the neighborhood you live in and reduce your living cost as much as possible. You don’t have to live in West Village, you can live in Brooklyn and still be at NYU in 20 mins. Think outside of what you know of New York as a tourist, New York is not all about Manhattan.
Besides these two, you can absolutely spend less on food because you are an NYU student! The departments organize a lot of events and workshops where they serve delicious food so you can enjoy a lot of free food that way. Also there’s discounts at some restaurants around the school for NYU students and good deals around the city for students in general.
Aside from spending less, making money would be an incredible way to feel comfortable around money during your NYU time. If you are interested in finding an on campus job, you cannot wait until the semester begins, you need to inquire way before that. That was a mistake I made, I thought I could just start school and ask about working at the library but usually all spots are filled very quickly, so you snooze you lose. And finding a job outside school is awesome if you have no troubles around work authorization, but for international students that’s usually a pain in the ass but it’s not impossible. You need your job to be relevant to your field of study.
Find your people
Money is necessary to stay alive, but it’s not enough to live. To have an amazing NYU experience you also need to find your people and your community, because life is good when you share it with people you love. It doesn’t matter where you are, you need people. Ugh.
And luckily, you’ll be in a city filled with cool people! People come from all around the world to live their dreams here. So naturally, they tend to be motivated, driven, smart, hopeful, resourceful. Even if you don’t like someone here, you’ll probably respect them.
School may seem to be the easy and obvious place to make new friends, but that honestly wasn’t the case for me. I needed to make friends outside of my NYU bubble because first, I didn’t really click with a lot of NYU people, but most importantly, all of my classes turned online halfway into my program so I was separated from the few cool people I clicked with. Everyone went back home or just stayed home so we couldn’t meet up or have before and after class chats, which is the foundation of a school friendship.
But you will be luckier than I was, they now do a lot of in person classes and activities, so you’ll be meeting a lot of NYU people. How to meet people outside NYU and make friends in New York is subject for another post, but just keep in mind that you do need to get out of your room and to meet people to actually enjoy NYC. There’s a million cool things to do here and you need people to do them with! Why move to the greatest city in the world if you’ll spend your whole day in your room?
Also, I just watched the new Minions movie yesterday, and the message was the importance of your tribe: how we all need to find our tribe and stick to them. Wherever you are and at whatever stage of your life you’re at, this is true. And especially when you’re an international student at NYU, you need to find your family in this city. You can FaceTime your old tribe as much as you want but moving to a new city and a new country forces you to find a new tribe. ASAP!
So the make-shift families you see on sitcoms will become your reality once you move to NYC!
Make the absolute best of NYU
To have an amazing NYU experience, I also believe that you need to feel like you’re making the best of the education you get and of what the school offers you. We pay A LOT for this school so use every single NYU facility there is!
For instance, the gym. There is an NYU gym on Lafayette street and they have group classes for kickboxing and yoga and such as well as regular fitness equipment. They have showers and everything. And remember that you’ve already paid for these services, so why not use them?
Make good use of the library, as well. Obviously, you can find your course books and any other book in the library, but if they don’t have the book you’re looking for, they buy them for you if you request it. They also have an incredible movie collection, check them out.
Join an NYU club because that’s how you learn something new, for free, plus meet new people who you share an interest with. Does it get better than that?
Probably the biggest thing NYU offers you is the name, the brand value, almost everyone knows NYU. You can be the most disengaged student who does not learn one thing in class, but once you attach NYU to your name whenever you meet someone, they get the idea that you’re smart and hardworking, even if you’re not. Heads up- they also get the idea that you’re a snob, even if you’re not, it is what it is.
So make use of the brand value of NYU! Whenever you’re applying for an internship, a job, let them know that you’re highly engaged with the NYU community and the alumni group and your professors and other super accomplished NYU students. This will show that you can provide value aside from just you, but you can be their connection to NYU, which is usually valuable to people.
Since you made it this far, I have to admit that I lied to you earlier. I know I said here’s everything you need to know, but there’s a million more things I wanna share with you about how to make the most of NYU and life in New York and I can’t fit them in one post!
But if this is where we are leaving things, I’m telling you that it’s gonna be awesome! It’s gonna be challenging from time to time but you’ll love it. You’ll be living in New York, are you kidding me? Let that sink in for a minute.
I feel incredibly lucky to have studied at NYU and to be calling this city my home, and I hope you will too.