On Friday I had the amazing privilege of taking part in a panel of educators to talk to NYU students about different paths you can take with an education degree. It was so exciting to be back at the school where I spent my undergrad and got my masters degree and feel like I was giving back to kids who will probably follow a similar path to me. I gave out business cards and offered my support and left there absolutely bursting with pride at having spent so much time at NYU. I started thinking about how different NYU is when you’re in it and also when you leave it.
I had a very different college experience than most of my friends. Since NYU’s “campus” is actually greenwich village, I was hanging out all over New York City while most of my friends from high school were out in the middle of no where. When they got to NYC after graduation and fell in love with the bar scene and the awesomeness of the city, I already had my local bar and knew the subway map by heart. My college friends and I were ahead of the game. Instead of frat parties we went did shots in our dorm room and went out in search of bars that wouldn’t card. On the weekends we went to the park or a museum or to see Rent for the third time that year. My best friends were the people on my hall Freshmen year, but by junior year I didn’t even know my neighbors. I met people senior year that I had never seen before. I had my community at NYU but NYU itself is not a community the way that campus schools can be a community. I wouldn’t trade my college experience for anything. I absolutely loved my time there and the sense of independence I had right out of high school.
On the flip side, going to a school without a real unifying factor, no campus, no sport’s team, makes it hard to show your pride as an alum. There are no football games or homecoming or reunions. I hadn’t really thought about any of this before going back there on Friday, but NYU grads are a quieter bunch. My friends and I haven’t stayed in touch with alumni networks and I don’t know many people who have. Because you have so much independence there as a student, you don’t necessarily feel the same pull to stay in touch. But, I can say, that after leaving the panel on Friday all I wanted to do was go to the NYU bookstore and buy an NYU Alum shirt to wear all the time.
Even though we’re not a loud and exuberant bunch, I like we share a quiet and unconditional love for the school. A love that means you can praise it and trash talk it in equal measure. That’s why I went back and got my Masters degree there. And sometimes my friends and I (still the same people who lived on the 12th Floor of Rubin with me Freshman year) will walk about Washington Square and remember. Our college campus is right there. We walk the same streets now that we did when we were in college. We forget what the city gave us then because of all the city gives us now. But I am proud and grateful to be an NYU graduate.
New York City in other places: I ::Heart:: Times Square