As a first-year away student at NYU Washington, D.C., I found the FYA program to be a mixed bag of experiences. While it did provide great opportunities, it didn’t provide a good connection with the rest of the school as a whole. A greater issue came after the year was over, and I had to begin the difficult process of transitioning to the Washington Square campus. Getting accustomed to the fast-paced environment of the city and adapting to a new set of challenges made the transition a stressful experience.
At the time, I felt anxious while trying to keep up with the pace of the city, and it felt taxing to essentially start college for the second time. This meant having to adjust to the environment while the rest of my classmates seemed to already be settled. I felt like I was one step behind my peers in anything I did.
For me, it was important to realize that this stress was normal. I found quickly that feeling anxious or nervous was a regular feeling that came with moving to New York, and ignoring my feelings wouldn’t help ease the transition.
In adjusting to the move, I found that there were helpful ways to deal with stress. The most important one was relying on the bonds that I made during my first year. Holding on to these friendships helped give me a supportive base. They also provided a sense of stability that countered the fast pace of the city. With these close bonds, I was able to retain consistency in a period of irregularity.
Another important part of smoothing out my switch to the main campus was maintaining a steady rhythm in my schedule. I did this through small acts, like studying at the same coffee shop a few times a week, or taking a break in the park once a day. These small things added up to make a difference in clearing my head and calming myself. They helped me form a basic structure in my schedule as well, which motivated me both in and outside of school.
Of course, these ideas can be applied to first-years as well. The same methods can be used to help navigate both New York and NYU. Particularly, though, the idea of leaning on newly-made friendships as a support structure can be useful when first starting college. Essentially, having organization can make the NYU experience a much more enjoyable one from the start.
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A version of this article appeared in the Sunday, Aug. 25, 2019 Welcome Week special issue print edition. Email Jun Sung at [email protected]