Moving to a new city is hard enough. Moving to New York City is harder. Moving to a city to attend a school with 25,000 undergraduates — and one that is not necessarily known for a vibrant campus community — is possibly the hardest.
For a few incoming students, like Tisch sophomore Jared Youmans, NYU’s noticeable lack of community drew them to apply to the FACES of Welcome Week program, an annual webseries that follows the lives of selected first year students as they transition to college life.
“Being an active member of my community is something really important to me, and someone I knew from high school told me that community at NYU was virtually nonexistent,” Youmans, who participated in the program in the fall of 2016, said. “FACES seemed like fun and a pretty low-key deal.”
Steinhardt sophomore Yean Franco-Martin, who was also a FACE in Fall 2016, said he felt the same way. For him, FACES was a way to start making friends almost immediately at NYU.
“It helped me begin socializing with people but definitely taught me not to push friendships and let things grow organically,” Franco-Martin said.
The program is intended to provide a diverse array of incoming students from different NYU schools and programs as an effort to showcase their backgrounds and their transition experiences. In a way, it provides other first year students — and future first-year students, who can look back at previous web series — a common experience. Youmans said that watching the videos of previous FACES equipped him with the best advice.
But what stuck out most to these past FACES was the people they met during the program. Tisch junior Isabel Neves, a 2015 participant, said she initially applied because she loved documenting her experiences for family and friends around the world, but what she benefited from most were the friends she made through FACES.
“I felt part of a community immediately, and loved getting to know everyone involved in the project, a lot of whom I still talk to today,” Neves explained.
For all three, though, the FACES program helped jumpstart their experiences at NYU. Youmans thought he would be more involved in clubs on campus, and though he is a member of the improv team Home Improvment, and serves as the Outreach Ambassador for Broke People Theatre, he is looking towards a possible future role in another Welcome Week tradition — the NYU Reality Show.
Franco-Martin also said he thought he would be more involved on campus. But he found that he needed to slow down.
“You learn that a few passions is better than many side hobbies,” Franco-Martin explained.
And though Youmans admits that he didn’t find the school spirit connection with NYU he was originally searching for with FACES, he still felt the experience was beneficial.
“The best part about the FACES program by far is the people,” Youmans said.
A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, Aug. 27 print edition. Email Kaitlyn Wang at [email protected]