Move-in day is over and it’s your first night in the city as a first year. You’re really excited to start attending classes, exploring New York City, and learning from the best of the best in your field. However, having just said bye to your family, you’re also a little homesick. You miss the feel of your pillows back home. You miss the ease of blindly navigating familiar hallways. And, of course, you miss your best friend since middle school with whom you’ve shared all your wildest experiences.
That’s natural; college is a big step. It is a brand new experience in an alien environment! So how can you start making college feel like home? How do you find community at NYU?
Here Are the Top 5 Ways to Find Community at NYU…
#1 Welcome Week
First-year students curate their own experience of Welcome Week by choosing from over 500 events. There are events that will help familiarize you with on-campus resources and programs that offer tips about life in the city. Most importantly, these events present an opportunity for you to find your community! You’ll attend exciting activities—from drag karaoke to boba tours—and meet people who have similar interests. You might meet your future roommate while standing in line for a free concert or find a gym buddy at one of Welcome Week’s fitness sessions. You never know!
I’m still in touch with plenty of Violets I met during my first week at NYU!
#2 Club Fest
If you happen to be shy, do not worry—Club Fest brings community to you! More than 300 student-run clubs are represented at the event, where you can talk to current members and sign up to learn more about their activities and gatherings. Whatever your interest, be it dance, student government, athletics, or Greek life, there is a club for you.
First-year students aren’t the only ones looking to join groups. At Club Fest you’ll see sophomores, juniors, and seniors collecting free merch (and LOTS of candy!) from their favorite organizations.
Finding friends in clubs is a great way to build community at NYU. You’ll work closely and consistently with people who share your interests. However, make sure you do not spread yourself too thin! Dedicate yourself to the few groups you’re actually interested in or you won’t get to know your fellow club members as well.
My involvement in clubs like the Dancers/Choreographers Alliance and the United Nations Initiative fostered some of my closest friendships to date.
#3 Your Everyday Communities
You don’t have to go out of your way to find your people. You can meet others who share your interests in your own residence hall! Each hall has multiple resident assistants (RAs) who organize movie nights, baking sessions, and other community-building events to help residents get to know their floor and building mates. One of my favorite traditions is the All-University Games, an event in which residence halls and other communities across NYU compete in athletic competitions!
You will also find community in the classroom. You will pursue your academic interests alongside other students who share your passion and curiosity. Start a conversation before you settle into lecture—or walk to the subway with a classmate after studio—and you could end up with a friend for life.
#4 Study Away
Students also find community while studying away at one of NYU’s 12 global sites or two other degree-granting campuses. Sometimes, students get busy at their home campus, and it can be difficult to attend events, keep up with clubs, and meet friends alongside academics. The study abroad experience can place you in a less busy environment that helps cultivate strong friendships.
For example, I studied away in Madrid, Spain. There, I explored a brand new city, traveled around Europe, and immersed myself in a completely different culture while making new friends who are now my roommates!
#5 Remember: The City Is Your Campus Too!
There’s always something going on in New York City. Exploring the Big Apple can help you meet interesting people and learn about the exciting new work they are doing. Some of my most memorable experiences, where I met wonderful New Yorkers, include picnic-movie nights in Bryant Park, dance performances at MoMA, and live tapings at 30 Rockefeller Plaza—and it was all free!
With all of this in mind, if you are starting college this August and are worried about finding community at NYU, I hope this article has helped allay some of your worries. College will truly be the experience of a lifetime!