Redefining Dropouts from NYU

While NYU students flock to NYU from all corners of the world, they also leave for a myriad of reasons, from financial constraints to pursuing other life objectives. WSN reached out to three former NYU students now located all around the globe to learn about their new trajectories.

Karla Leon

Former Tisch Drama student Karla Leon now resides in Monterrey, Mexico, but during her first semester at NYU she faced a few economic difficulties due to the fluctuating exchange rate between Mexican pesos and American dollars.

“As I saw the news and began seeing the situation of my country and family, I began foreseeing [having to leave],” Leon said.

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She said it was necessary to leave in the middle of her first semester because of these external circumstances. However, Leon now studies International Relations, which caught her attention when she returned to study back home in Mexico. With this new passion she hopes to foster her passion for travelling and cultures in her studies.

Leon said that during her time at NYU it exceeded her expectations as an academic institution, but that financial aid needed to improve.

“A college that prides itself in being international should grant more financial support to international students,” Leon said.

She said that especially since NYU has a large international student body it should be more understanding with the difficulty of obtaining financial help. Leon also said that due to her international status, she does not have access to federal aid and scholarship options are limited.

Marissa Elizondo

Marissa Elizondo shared a similar story from when she attended NYU during Fall 2013. She left after her first semester due to many economic constraints. Her father underwent surgery for cancer, so he was out of work, and the combination of scholarships with her private and federal loans could not fully cover her expenses. She said that her parents sat her down near the end of winter break to tell her the news.

“I definitely felt like a failure when I dropped out,” Elizondo said. “I had no idea what to do next.”

Elizondo said that she commutes to Pasadena City College every single day to study, and even though she plans to transfer to a public university to finish her film degree, Elizondo said that the stigma attached to dropping out of a college still follows her.

“Even though I’ve accomplished a lot in the past three years since leaving NYU, I am still dealing with feeling that way,” Elizondo said.

Patricia Nicolas

Patricia Nicolas attended Stern for one year, and she now studies business in culinary arts at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris.

“My transition to studying at Le Cordon Bleu has definitely not been easy,” Nicolas said. “It’s a completely different city and culture, and the language barrier is strong.”

However, she believes these difficulties are worth it, since she did not enjoy her studies at Stern and would even frequently skip class and copy assignments from friends.

“One day I realized, ‘Why am I wasting my time and money?’” Nicolas said. “I did not want to simply fly-by my remaining three years of college.”

She realized that the traditional college education mold does not always work for everyone. Nicolas said that she realized a liberal arts education — the basis of the NYU curriculum — is more beneficial for people who are beginning to explore career prospects. However, she believes that after this experience, if people feel strongly about other career paths, they should not be afraid of making changes to pursue their passions.

She now does not want to miss a single chef’s demonstration.

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