Advice for incoming first-years from NYU’s newest graduates

NYU grads from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 shared memories and wisdom while attending their commencement ceremonies at Yankee Stadium on May 18.


Manasa Gudavalli

NYU graduates take photos at the 2022 NYU Grad Alley. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Abby Wilson and Rachel Fadem

Tens of thousands of NYU graduates came together to celebrate their achievements and reflect on their time at the university during two commencement ceremonies held at Yankee Stadium on May 18. WSN asked graduates from the classes of 2020, 2021 and 2022 to share advice to incoming first-years and their most memorable moments at NYU.

Advice to incoming first-years

“Trust yourself and trust your instincts. No one is going to know what’s right for you better than yourself.”

— Seden Yilmazturk, CAS ’22


“If you want to change your major, just do it. Don’t stay in the same major that you originally chose just because you feel like you have to.”

— Lucy Yen, CAS ’20


“It’s important to make a good, core friend group because it’s hard to meet people. If you can meet people in your dorm or in smaller groups, it’s helpful.”

— Emma Geckle, CAS ’20


“Don’t compare yourself to each other. It’s really important to follow your own journey and achieve your own goals.”

— Francesca Reinoso, CAS ’22


“It’s so important to study and be a good student, but try and make memories, too.”

— Eliza Ohlund, Silver ’22


“You’ll figure it out eventually. It’s all a process. You don’t have to know exactly what you’re doing in your first year or who you are. You discover things as you go along, and who you are at the end is who you’re meant to be.”

— Caitlin Stikeleather, Steinhardt ’22


“Don’t take an 8 a.m. Follow the things that interest you. There are so many opportunities at NYU and so many niche places you can find yourself. Opening yourself up to all the experiences is beneficial.”

— Sophie Foster-Palmer, CAS ’21


“Branch out. Find different things you enjoy. Getting out in the city more —  the other boroughs have a lot more to offer than what’s going on in [Manhattan].”

— Langston Graham, CAS ’21


“Take classes that are outside of your specific major or what you think you’re going to major in, because sometimes you’ll go in a completely different direction. Take advantage of all the different types of classes that NYU offers.”

— Daniela de Vernisy Romero, CAS ’21


A group of graduates stand on the street with purple bags with the white text reading “NYU Alumni Bags.” Behind them are crowds of people and carnival tents.
NYU graduates carry NYU Alumni bags at the 2022 NYU Grad Alley. (Staff Photo by Manasa Gudavalli)

Memorable moments at NYU

“Being able to come back to campus was just so great. Sitting in an in-person class again, feeling that again and remembering why I’m here in the first place. The pandemic for all of us was really distant, and a lot of us were questioning what we were doing, but then to come back and realize this is what I love. I’m so grateful and blessed to be here and just get to enjoy every single day.”

— Maanav Goyal, Tisch ’22


“Being a part of the admissions ambassador program. I really loved my time there giving tours to people.”

— Tyler Grabowiecki, Steinhardt ’22


“It was a really long journey of growth because we went through so many things. I was able to study abroad, but also do remote classes and be back in person. It was going through everything at once and learning from the ups and downs of life.”

— Maggie Liu, Stern ’22


“I got to spend my first year in Italy, which was really fun. It was at NYU Florence. One of the best years of my life.”

— Jamie Valdez, Steinhardt ’20


“We’ve been cooped up inside for such a long time, so finally getting to be around people. It’s been an awesome senior year.”

— Veronica Taylor, Tisch ’22


“I had a couple of professors who took us out into the city, took us on field trips of sorts. They were great and they were really educational. A nice runner up to that would be the multiple times our dorm building was evacuated, which was very fun.”

— Evan Roe, Gallatin ’22


“It’s not the big standout things, the things that you hear about, things that they tell you to look forward to. It’s tiny little moments that I’ve had.”

— Eliza Ohlund, Silver ’22


“The first Zoom class that I had, my professor was telling us that he was equally confused and not sure what we were going to do, but we were going to figure it out all together. I really appreciated that. Everybody was scared. Everybody was confused. And we just said, ‘We’re gonna work it out.’”

— Casey Pereida, CAS ’22


“My roommate. We met freshman year and we’ve been friends ever since. It’s those lasting friendships that have really shaped my college career, and that, aside from the degree, is what is probably going to have one of the most lasting impacts in my life.”

— Caitlin Stikeleather, Steinhardt ’22


“Messaging people on Zoom during classes. That was my favorite part of college.”

— Christy Cheng, Silver ’22


Contact Abby Wilson at [email protected] and Rachel Fadem at [email protected].