WSN’s Features Desk is investigating the lives of transfer students in a new series we’re calling “New Kids on Campus.” Each piece will feature a Q&A with a transfer student at NYU about their past and present college experiences and how they’ve adjusted to New York City.
This week, WSN talked to Tisch student Cass Jacoby. Originally from Littleton, Colorado, Jacoby transferred from the University of Colorado at Boulder to NYU in January and plans to major in cinema studies.
WSN: Talk about where you’re originally from and how it compares to New York.
CJ: I hail from Littleton, Colorado, which is this huge suburb like, 30 minutes away from Denver. The weather never commits in Colorado. If it snows, it’ll snow for five inches and in the afternoon it’ll be melted. But New York commits to weather. If it’s raining, it’s going to be raining all day. If it snows, it’s going to be Hurricane Jonas. I think, culturally, there’s a lot more drive and motivation. In Colorado, that impulse of being active is channeled into things like skiing or biking or something along those lines.
WSN: What was your previous college experience like and how did it compare to NYU?
CJ: I went to the University of Colorado in Boulder. Quite honestly, I did not have a great experience there. It’s a state school, and I think that I’m not, by any means, the kind of person who interacts well at a state school. That being said, it was a really great springboard to get me to where I needed to be. NYU has always been my dream school, and I had the idea of going to a state school and getting all of my basic credits out of the way and then transfer.
I think everyone here is very academically focused. It’s expected that you spend time in the library and that you’re going to go to your classes and work very hard, where it used to be classes are a thing on Tuesdays and Wednesdays [at CU]. There’s this huge binge drinking culture. By Thursday nights, you’re pretty much not doing anything. New York’s not a college town where you’re just walking around. You really need to know what you’re doing in New York.
WSN: How and why did you decide to apply and come to NYU? You mentioned it was your dream school.
CJ: It was a dream school. I went to this storytelling event in Denver and it was about how transferring wasn’t a way to get out of a situation, but because you found somewhere better. I like to tell people I transferred because I found somewhere better. I was in experiential film and philosophy. They didn’t have a screenwriting program or cinema studies program, and I’m really infatuated with the ideas of movies and creating ideas for movies. I’m not very good at wrangling the camera necessarily. This program was a lot more suited to those ideas.
WSN: How did you adjust academically when you came to NYU?
CJ: I have significantly fewer classes and they’re all things I really care about. The combination of being very happy and interested and invested in what I’m learning has been not only mentally good for me, but I’m able to spend more time on work that matters.
WSN: Even though you’ve only been at NYU for a few months, how has it been trying to make new friends?
CJ: I transferred a lot in high school, so I’m used to making new friends. I’ve become a very independent person in that respect. I have a friend — she’s my best friend from Colorado and she is a visiting student currently. It was really funny, one day, we sat down and I was like, “I have to tell you something. I’m transferring. I’m trying to.” And she was like, “Well, I’m trying to do that, too.” I try to get involved. I do a lot of dorm activities. There’s so much going on, I think it’s really hard to be bored.
WSN: What’s been the biggest adjustment you’ve had to make?
CJ: The hardest thing is the amount of sacrifices my family has had to make and I’ve had to make to come here. Like, having to call my mom a lot. I’m the first person in my family to leave Colorado or go to a non-state school.
WSN: What’s one thing you’d advise other transfer students to do?
CJ: It’s important to know the difference between being alone and lonely. Being alone is a very strong characteristic. When you’re transferring in, you just have to have a very open mind. Know that you’re going to have to work harder, but it’s going to pay off, just like you do academically. It’s not if it’ll happen, it’s when.
Note: the questions and answers in this interview have been edited for length and clarity purposes.
Email Jessica Martinez at [email protected]