If you would have told me two years ago I was going to get recognized on the streets of New York City by NYU students, I would have never believed you. I knew the traditional ambassador role brought a certain degree of fame and recognition within the NYU community. And, when the opportunity to become a digital ambassador arose, I didn’t think of it as any different. Yet, little did I know that I was going to be recognized more than I ever expected. Whether it is on campus by fellow students or on tours by prospective ones, the digital ambassador role comes with a mild “campus celebrity” status. Or so I would like to make myself believe. But there are other reasons, at least for me, why I became a digital ambassador.
I Thought All Student Ambassadors Were the Same, What’s the Difference?
If you are an applicant to NYU, you most likely know about our Admissions Ambassadors. Our iconic violet track jackets make us very hard to miss as we are giving tours of our urban campus. Not only that, but these friendly ambassadors staff any sort of campus visit or experience (either in person or virtual). When you call our admissions hotline, they answer the other end. In a way, you get the most authentic student experience as an applicant. Now, the digital ambassador role is different. While engaging and informing prospective students stays the same, the medium changes. We interact with any comments, questions, and DMs we get from any of Meet NYU’s social platforms. So, no, there is no point in commenting“LET ME IN!!” when no admissions counselor will read it. It’s just a small group of current NYU students wanting to tell you more about our school :).
You Seem Familiar, Where Do I Know You From?
As a reader of this blog, you already have an idea of what we do as digital ambassadors. How meta, right? Apart from writing blogs about the student experience, we takeover Instagram, make TikTok videos, and sometimes handle Twitter. Curating Spotify playlists is our newest responsibility. (Go and play them while you’re studying or working on college applications.)
It begs the question: “Neyl, do you have to spend time on TikTok as part of your job?” And “Yes!” is the answer. How else can other digital ambassadors and I make NYU go viral? And while we all know Duolingo takes the top spot for most viral TikTok content, I’d like to believe we aren’t that far behind.
In addition, we are responsible for bringing the on-campus experience to you. We try to help you navigate the application process in the virtual space. When COVID-19 hit and all in-person events came to a halt, we were the only student link for prospective students. We were the only ones who could show what going to college during a pandemic is like. We provide the much needed visual representation to make a college decision. No plane ticket to New York City required.
If Not for the Fame, Then Why Else?
While the added fame and recognition on campus is a perk and sparks conversations, there is one big reason I decided to become a digital ambassador. When I was applying to NYU, I would always go to Instagram and watch the takeovers to try and get more information. Yet, there was very little to no international student representation on the takeover team. I couldn’t get an international student perspective when I desperately needed it. I personally relied on this nine-minute campus tour to make my decision. Former international ambassador Keiarn funnily used Google to make hers. That was shocking to me.
So, flash forward to me receiving the opportunity to become a digital ambassador. In my application I mentioned the story above and how I wanted to impact representation. I wanted to be an international student voice of reason for people like me in high school. That voice of relief helping international students decide if NYU is the right campus for them. I do it for you, my fellow international students.
Now, in the hybrid space, we have this added responsibility to show the campus as candidly as possible. More people rely on us. Which is why I am honored to share my international student perspective. The feeling I get when I can help people come to NYU through Instagram is a feeling not even the label “micro-influencer” can achieve. While Zoom often brings much negativity, more virtual opportunities exist now. I’m relieved they exist. Although it remains something my senior year of high school self wished for, we have advanced, and that’s what matters.
TO REITERATE, virtual events are something I wished I had during my application process. But, I’m glad I get to take part in bringing the international student experience to applicants across the world now. I became the thing I longed for. I became the person prospective students saw themselves in. Me, along with many others. And, that is why I am a digital ambassador.