Moving to Shanghai
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I studied away at NYU Shanghai for my first semester at NYU. The University had a special program that allowed students to study at a local campus. So, while I was planning to go straight to NYU’s New York City campus for college, as a Taiwanese citizen, my plans changed a little. Even though I didn’t get to take classes at my home campus that first year, as an NYU senior, I’m now grateful that I started my college journey in Shanghai. Read my article “What You Need to Know About Life in Shanghai” to learn more about my experience and how I fell in love with the city.
What I learned: Things will not always go as planned. Did I cry a little bit? Yes. But did I end up enjoying it? Also, yes. There have been a million little moments in college where I felt like something wasn’t going the way I planned. Course registration, a bad grade, or even forgetting to submit homework. In the moment it can feel like everything in your life is going wrong. But I promise it’s not. Things will get better, and in some situations, you might even learn a thing or two from it.
Transferring to Rory Meyers
I’m no longer a nursing major (more on that later!). However, in retrospect, transferring from the NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development to the NYU Rory Meyers College of Nursing was still a significant change for me because I learned a lot! I still value my time at Meyers. Check out these Meet NYU articles to learn more about what an amazing school it is.
What I learned: Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics–heavy nursing classes really encouraged me to develop a better work ethic. Additionally, being a Nursing major helped me realize that I wasn’t interested in the clinical aspect of health care. Rather, I love examining health at a societal level and, specifically, understanding the different factors influencing illness. Without switching my major to nursing, I don’t think I would have understood my true interests. So this was an important moment in my college journey. And, just because Nursing isn’t for me, doesn’t mean it isn’t a great major for you!
Finally Living in The Big Apple (and Meeting One of My Best Friends)
This was the year that I felt like my college journey actually began. Sometimes, I genuinely forget and tell people that I started college in 2021. During my sophomore year, I moved to New York City and started living on campus (shoutout to Alumni Hall!). This was also when I met one of my best friends/roommates, whom I still room with to this day. I really got into the groove of things as I explored New York City as my home for the first time.
What I learned: Independence! I cannot emphasize this enough. I grew up so much being an international student so far from home. That isn’t to say it was an easy process, but I do believe I am a stronger and more resilient person because of it. Not many people can say they moved halfway across the world alone and filed taxes all by themselves! Also, I wish I could tell my past self to be less nervous about making friends. Everyone feels that way! Social networks at NYU are so different from high school. I found making friends and connecting with diverse groups of people much easier.
Becoming an Admissions Ambassador
On paper, being an Admissions Ambassador is just an on-campus job, but it really created a sense of community for me. We had many group events, and I was glad to connect with a new group of people. I met some of my closest friends through this job. Plus, I learned so many things while developing professionally.
What I learned: I learned a lot about confidence and public speaking through leading tours and answering calls. I also learned a lot about higher education admissions, particularly through my role as supervisor for digital ambassadors. Even though higher education isn’t necessarily the field I want enter in the future, I learned so many useful technical skills! For instance, I never touched WordPress before becoming an ambassador. Now I feel like a savvy published writer. Additionally, I’ve learned so much about social media analytics through our monthly training. Regardless of where I end up in the future, I know that having social media skills will be beneficial.
Diving into Research
This is when I really fell in love with public health research, specifically women’s health. Read my article “Public Health Research at NYU Is Advocacy” to learn more about my experience conducting public health research at NYU’s Empower Lab. Joining a lab might not seem that influential. But it persuaded me to make my next big decision.
What I learned: Try something even if you think you might not enjoy it. Before college I shuddered at the thought of research. It seemed monotonous. Now, after spending a year and a half in the lab, it is something I want to do for the rest of my life!
Switching My Major (Again)
Junior year was an absolute whirlwind because I internally transferred to the College of Arts and Science as a Psychology major and Public Health minor. Don’t do what I did. NYU doesn’t usually allow students to transfer internally this late, except in extenuating circumstances. (The deadline is usually during sophomore year.) So while it’s OK to change your academic field, try to do it within the timeline NYU allows. Trust me; the number of phone calls I had to make was a challenge. Plus, in many cases, your current major can still be useful even if you want to pursue another field in the future. However, for me, because nursing is such a specific and technical field, transferring made a lot of sense. Now, as an NYU senior, I know I made the right choice for myself.
What I learned: It’s never too late to pursue something you’re truly passionate about at NYU. Honestly, transferring so late made me feel so behind, but I’d rather be behind in something I truly love than commit to something I know I don’t have a future in. I want to reiterate though that I am not advocating for internally transferring so late. There are so many ways for you to explore your other interests without changing your major (for example, extracurriculars, internships, or research).
Applying to Grad School
All these influential moments led up to this. As an NYU senior, I’m applying for a Master of Public Health. I know going to graduate school right out of college isn’t for everyone, so I’ll briefly share my goals and aspirations. I fell in love with public health research, with a focus on women’s health and sexual violence research. Now I know that sexual violence prevention research and advocacy is what I want to do for a career. To do so, I feel like I need more technical skills. I’m so excited for the next chapter of school, especially because I know it will help build a foundation for my career. (But I still can’t believe I’m going to spend basically 18 years in school nonstop!)
What I learned: Everyone’s postgraduation plans are so different. You might be persuaded to do something because everyone else within your field is doing it. But that isn’t the direction you want to go. Instead, talk to people and really think about your future goals (five years down the road even), and then start planning! There isn’t a right answer. I cannot count the number of times I’ve heard people tell me not to go to graduate school straight out of undergrad, only to then hear someone say it was the best choice they made for their career. You know you best. And if you need a little help getting to know you, set up a meeting with the Wasserman Center for Career Development.
Graduation (Ending My NYU Senior Year)
Now, this technically hasn’t happened yet, since I still need to get through the spring semester. However, as an NYU senior, I couldn’t leave graduation off the list. Graduation is such a bittersweet moment, and I’m excited to spend my last semester taking some interesting classes, hanging out with my friends, and enjoying my last months at NYU. A little fun fact about NYU graduation is that students attend multiple graduation ceremonies. Generally, it’s one ceremony alongside your specific college (for me, the College of Arts and Science) as well as the All-University Commencement and some smaller identity-based ceremonies, such as first-generation students and Asian American Pacific Islander students.
What I learned: Four years go by so fast. I can’t believe I’m about to graduate. In my mind I’m still a sophomore, with two more years to go. Reflecting on my college experience, the only regret I have is not spending more time doing things I love with new friends. I wish I had said yes to more nights exploring New York City or going to that a cappella show. College is such a special period; you’re surrounded by people your own age, all hoping to connect. While it’s so important to keep up with your schoolwork and extracurriculars, it’s almost as important to have fun.