College Corner: New York University (Featuring Cindy Lee)

“With over 40,000 students, NYU's campus buildings are spread throughout New York City, from midtown Manhattan to the heart of Greenwich Village, and even downtown Brooklyn. One of the United State's most creative and energetic cities, New York City's historic neighborhoods have attracted generations of writers, musicians, artists, and intellectuals.”

Cindy Lee is a quirky individual present on both Twitter and Instagram. She is overflowed with passion and is one of the most lively people I’ve ever talked to. If I am ever fortunate enough to attend New York University for MCC, Cindy’s comforting words of encouragement will definitely be in mind. For this month's College Corner, we talked with Cindy about her experience at NYU and the true college experience.

Tell us about what you're studying!
I am in NYU Steinhardt majoring in MCC (media, culture, and communications). It's essentially for people interested [in] learning how to integrate forms of media into communicative practices. It's a very broad program but there [are] so many specific studies and fields within MCC that it accommodates everyone's interests, and there [are so] many overlapping teachings and readings [that] everything seems to connect. I’m focusing on the advertising/marketing aspect of communication through media, so hopefully, you’ll see my billboard campaign on the streets in the future!!   

What's the best part of studying at NYU?
You get the best of both worlds: the city life and your college career. You’re surrounded by culture, diversity, and opportunities. You grow with the city, and it's an unexplainable feeling of give and take. Your learning isn't confined by walls because the city provides so many resources and opportunities that it's essentially up to you how to effectively utilize them. And you can practice and apply what you learn outside [of] the city. You can switch [between] student and citizen. Studying at NYU is definitely not the typical college experience; the whole city is your classroom. 

New York City, let's talk about it-- What's the best and worst part of the city?
New York is just a great place to utilize your youth and find your passion. There [are] so many opportunities, places, and people to see that you’re never bored. It’s always hard on Friday nights to choose where to eat or what to do, but without a doubt, the endless number of possibilities will always keep life interesting. Seriously, you’ll never know where [you'll] end up that night. And I love it. The downside about the city could be that there’s this unspeakable social pressure to utilize every [moment] in New York; the idea [is] that if you’re staying in during the weekends, then you’re essentially doing something wrong. But I think everyone eventually learns to find a balance between the city and oneself.

Was the whole process of getting into NYU pain-free?
I applied to NYU for ED (early decision), so NYU was my number one choice. And I was definitely that student who stressed over whether my application was good enough and different from others. I didn’t even get a definitive essay idea that I was confident and passionate about until a few weeks before the due date, so I really had to push through the remaining days [and figure out] how I wanted to describe and represent myself within my writing. My results came out within a month, but I was always stressing, looking at statistics, watching NYU videos; I’m that type of person. I think I made the process more painful than I needed to, honestly. 

How is the social scene at NYU? Was it easy to adjust and make friends?
Making friends can be daunting at NYU. There’s no confined campus and no definitive student community space, but there [are so] many events and clubs throughout the school year that there’s no pressure to find your friend group automatically. My dorm floor is also really close [to my friend's]; I go into my guy friend’s room all the time and we all occasionally meet in the hallway to chat and finish homework. There [are] no typical college parties, but I feel like that doesn’t heavily influence how or when we make friends. It’s mostly subjective and [depends on] how open-minded and willing we are to [meeting] new people. In a way, I was lucky to find my solid group of friends within the first few months. Always blessed to have them. 

What do you want to say to the students that may be applying to NYU?
Let your personality shine through. Don't worry about fitting that common bracket of acceptable scores and activities, but just focus on saying what you contribute, your strengths, goals, aspirations. Don’t be afraid of change and learn to adapt to your new surroundings. And be ready for the fast-paced city life. 

What do you think is a stereotype for NYU students?

There's a common misconception that all NYU students are privileged, rich, or maybe even ungrateful, but in reality, everyone has worked his/her hardest to be where they are today. Maybe it’s because we have a huge community of international students within our school, but even they work hard and usually have more pressure on them. Overall, a lot of us rely on scholarships, make sacrifices academically and socially, and study endless amounts of hours at Bobst (our library) because we don’t take our education for granted. From the outside, NYU may seem like endless city adventures but [the] competition here is also intense. Everyone here has a goal and in the end, you ultimately have to fight for your place within the city. 

By Wen Hsiao

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