The Day I Left For NYU
For many the move to college is a family affair, complete with parental support and advice as you navigate your new surroundings. But what happens when you must make this momentous transition alone, embarking on the journey solo?
That was my reality as an international student bound to major in Drama at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, leaving the cozy familiarity of Melbourne. Due to Australia’s strict lockdown rules, my family’s travel plans to accompany me to New York were dashed. I had no option but to take this adventure by myself.
I can still recall the silence in the almost deserted Melbourne airport. My footsteps echoed in the vast departure lounge. As I boarded one of the last flights out of the country, my life was contained in two suitcases. Anticipation and uncertainty were my only travel companions. By the time I got on my connecting flight, I already felt like the warmth of my goodbye hugs with family slowly leaving me and retracing their steps back home.
Culture Shock and Figuring Things Out
Landing in the bustling heart of New York City, the learning curve was similar to the city’s towering skyline: steep and intimidating. The initial weeks were a mix of triumphs and comedic failures. My first solo run to Target for dorm supplies? Picture me wrestling with oversized boxes on a packed Manhattan subway, inciting laughter and sympathetic nods.
Packing for New York? Remember winter. Melbourne winters did nothing to prep me for the icy cold of a New York winter. So pack those gloves, scarves, and snow boots!
Resourcefulness quickly became my middle name. The Office of Student Success was my lifeline for budgeting and decoding the cost of living in the city. I found gold in NYU forums, with tips on everything from preordering bedding to the best phone plans for international students.
Navigating the intricate web of the subway system was a rite of passage, as were the occasional tear-filled nights. But during the ups and downs, I found solace in long walks and in the charming French cafes scattered across the city where I could flex my French skills.
Amidst the discomfort, the growth was exponential. Every misstep, laughable moment, and self-doubt transformed into building blocks for resilience and independence.
Most importantly I found my New York family—a group of incredible adults who took me under their wing and taught me the ropes of this sprawling city. Without their support, guidance, and enduring friendship, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
My solo leap to NYU was more than just a geographic shift, it was a stepping-stone to personal transformation. The nervous anticipation of that first day has morphed into assured self-reliance and the mental glow-up is as striking as the New York City skyline.
So, embrace the chaos, take that leap, and remember: you grow through what you go through.