Martin Luther King Jr.

It’s no surprise that Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was an advocate for higher learning. However, King’s many speeches often remind us that education is greater than one individual’s aspirations. Much like the movement he believed in, King revered education as a tool for progress, constructive appraisal of worldviews, and an opportunity to find common ground.

At New York University, we not only share this outlook but also put it into practice. In honor of King’s legacy, here are five inspirational quotes that reveal how NYU can help you navigate college and discover your passions.

“The function of education is to teach one to think intensively and to think critically. Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”

Engage in Real-World Learning

Academia might appear to be the sole purpose of a college education, but at NYU, students are encouraged to learn from the real world, too. Whether through internships or on-campus employment, you’ll be in and of the city, discovering your passions, leveraging stepping stones, and overcoming obstacles.

Straight A’s might have contributed to your admission, but it’s your drive to evolve that will shape your degree and your character. So go out there and find your voice! Whether it’s over the WNYU Radio airwaves, through a student organization, or by casting your vote as a member of NYU’s Student Government, your experiences will mold you at every turn.

“Be a bush if you canʼt be a tree. If you canʼt be a highway, just be a trail. If you canʼt be a sun, be a star. For it isnʼt by size that you win or fail. Be the best of whatever you are.”

Invest in You

During the admissions process, you might have measured your achievements against statistics. But it’s important to note that college has never been about comparing yourself to others. You’re here to learn from your peers, but ultimately you’re here to pave your own path. This is your chance to delve into your talents and discover new passions.

Leadership is often rooted in effort, patience, and the occasional bump in the road. Take the time to learn about immersive leadership programs and available awards, scholarships, and grants. Growth is always the goal. So remember, when you invest in yourself, you invest in your future success.

“I have the audacity to believe that peoples everywhere can have three meals a day for their bodies, education and culture for their minds, and dignity, equality, and freedom for their spirits.”

Become a Global Citizen

MLK said it best—it’s important to cultivate all kinds of learning! You might have heard it before, but we operate beyond borders. We pride ourselves on being a global network and a community that actively supports the equitable exchange of perspectives and beliefs from all backgrounds.

New York City is a mecca for revolutionary development across movements and industries, and that energy is reflected on campus. Whether you explore research opportunities or consider NYU study abroad programs, you’ll be immersed in a plethora of viewpoints to mull over and discern. Consider it a by-product of being citizens, and collegiate comrades, of the world.

“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.”

Lean On Others

Whether you’re the first or fifth person to attend college in your family, this journey is solely yours. We know balancing academics, a social life, and extracurricular activities might feel daunting. That’s why it’s important that you seek advice.

Need help for an ambitious interview, spearheading a cause on campus, or just picking the right class? NYU’s professors, faculty, and staff continuously perfect their craft in order to share what they’ve learned with you. Consider mentorship programs or consult with NYU academic advisers who can help you discover your passions and achieve your aspirations at every level.

“Rarely do we find men who willingly engage in hard, solid thinking. There is an almost universal quest for easy answers and half-baked solutions. Nothing pains some people more than having to think.”

Embrace Critical Thinking

While this last quote might seem like a criticism, it’s what college challenges you to do most—think! From university-wide service projects to sustainability efforts to entrepreneurship, thinking critically and creatively is what makes NYU so unique.

College will challenge how you approach life—and discover your passions in the process. And it will encourage you to assess the chain reaction of your choices and the impact you want to make. Just know, when inspiration strikes, NYU will help turn your thoughts, ideas, and words into action. And like Martin Luther King Jr., those actions can certainly lead to remarkable change.

Legacy in Action: NYU’s MLK Week

Feeling inspired? Join us for NYU’s 16th Annual MLK Week. This year’s planning committee, in collaboration with the Office of Global Inclusion, Diversity, and Strategic Innovation, invites all members of the NYU community to deepen their understanding of MLK and his legacy by attending this year’s events.

Dashka Gabriel, called Dash by most, is one of the Assistant Directors of Special Events and Visitor Relations in the Office of Enrollment Management. An alumna of NYU’s Public Relations M.S. program, she’s passionate about creating experiences that bring people of all backgrounds to the greatest city in the world. When she’s not running around behind the scenes, she enjoys exploring her Brooklyn neighborhood, playing (and winning!) Broadway musical lotteries, and having a solo movie night at the Alamo Drafthouse.