New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

New York University's independent student newspaper, established in 1973.

Washington Square News

Staff Rants and Raves: Back to School

The first week of courses always fills people with mixed emotions. Here are our staff’s takes on the subject.


On Masks

Alexandra Chan, Deputy Photo Editor

Growing up in post-SARS Hong Kong, wearing masks is very normal to me. It blows my mind that there is an American (or maybe just largely Western) stigma against masks –– as if the only reason why you’d wear a mask is if you were a surgeon or on the brink of death. If you have to drag your fever-ridden self to class because of an inhumane attendance policy, for everyone’s sake, wear a goddamn mask. Also, stop judging people for wearing masks. It could be a preventative measure. For protection against the wind. For fashion. Who cares? Making people feel weird for wearing masks is a great way to get everyone sick faster. No one needs another reason for viruses to spread even quicker at school.

On Dipping Standards

Jake Capriotti, Photo Editor

Studying at NYU was one of my lifelong dreams. So naturally, when I was accepted last year to study at Tisch, I was ecstatic to say the least. Not only would I be studying at one of the best film schools in the world but I would be in the epicenter of culture in the United States. I was so excited to make new friends and begin making lifelong bonds with my college peers from day one. Boy, was that wishful thinking! Fall semester was a real slap in the face when it came to my social life and barely surviving my gen-ed courses. I’m a film major and I thought adding a politics minor was a good idea — yikes! Coming back for spring semester, I’m hopeful but also more aware of my circumstances, so my standards have dipped a bit. Happy spring, Bobcats (or Violets, or Rats, what even are we?)

On Unnecessary Printing

Helen Wajda, Deputy Opinion Editor

Every semester I hope that my English professors won’t make me bring a hard copy of every reading assignment to class, and so far, I have been let down every time. I don’t understand — why not just let students reference the readings in class on our laptops? What do you gain by making us print 50+ pages for each class? To the environment (and everyone standing in the print line behind me at Bobst), I’m truly sorry.

On Long Walks Between Classes

Sasha Cohen, Books and Theater Editor

The first week back at NYU was great until I looked at my schedule. I underestimated how much schlepping this spring semester would require, and I am bitter about it. My classes are literally so far apart that I could probably travel upstate and back before I made it from 7 East 12th St. to 194 Mercer in 10 minutes. Look, I am not saying this is impossible, but seriously? I am going to need some sort of miracle or supernatural sneakers that promote agility to make it to my classes on time. From all this speed walking, I will probably qualify for the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. However, there is no need to fear –– you can cheer me on by standing on the sidelines along University Place and sending positive vibes or condolences. Any or all of these are appreciated.

On Permanent Unassigned Seating

Ethan Zack, Arts Editor

Few things in life can induce the same panic-induced adrenaline rush as walking into a classroom on the first day of classes and having to make the dreaded decision of where to sit. There’s that weird, unofficial rule that even if a class doesn’t have assigned seating, you kind of have to pick a seat and stick to it, so there’s a lot riding on that one choice. If you don’t already know anyone else in the same class, the consequences are even greater. There are entire potential friendships that have their existence completely predicated on whether you randomly sat next to a certain person or not on Day One. Do you bite the bullet, put yourself out there and sit right next to someone that seems cool? Do you sit in a yet-unfilled area, desperately hoping that someone you’ll get along with will sit next to you? Do you go near the front row in case the class turns out to actually be interesting? Do you reserve a space in the very back in case the class sucks and you want to get away with not paying attention? All this analyzing and intensive thinking, yet I have literally never felt like I’ve chosen the right seat. It’s a near-unwinnable game that I have no choice but to keep playing.

On Freshman Struggles

Asha Ramachandran, Deputy Opinion Editor

Does anybody prepare first-years for the struggle of going back to college after their first semester? There’s so much hype for the first semester to help us through the transition from high school to college, but coming back afterward is just as hard. I just got through the first semester and felt relieved that it was finally over. It seemed like I had completed this big challenge, and now that challenge was over and I could take it easy. Getting through the initial stage of moving away from home, leaving behind high school friends and living with a roommate only to return home for a month and a half gave me a false sense of security –– like I wouldn’t be thrown back right into it come next semester. And then the semester starts and a professor assigns a 250-page book with about a week’s notice. I think I’m ready for spring break. 

On Bobst Problems

Gabby Lozano, Deputy Opinion Editor

One of the more prominent aspects of a student’s college experience is the library; particularly their spot within the library. At Bobst, it only took me a few weeks to find the perfect location — one with a chair that’s not too bendy, at a table with charging stations that work and with a nice view of the Kaufman management center. Most importantly, I chose this floor because it’s known for being quiet, with rare interruptions by food wrappers and coughing. However, certain individuals ignore this rule. It’s only the fourth day of the semester and I have already experienced people having a loud conversation with the person next to them (think “outside voice”), someone not realizing their music is playing out of their computer and someone aggressively “shushing” someone else (for a few minutes straight) for taking a phone call. I wish I was lying, but sadly I am not. These distracting noises are the cheerful bells that welcome me back and remind me of the “respectful” students at NYU. 

On the Frustration of Slow Walkers

Abby Hofstetter, Managing Editor

I apologize in advance for this wholly unoriginal rant, but I despise slow walkers. Winter break was incredible: the streets were relatively empty, and I could actually walk down West 4th if I felt like it. But now, just the thought of walking between buildings on campus gives me a headache. I have such long legs. It is so painful for me to walk behind you. Please either walk faster or grow.


On the Do-Nothing Week

Kimberly Rice, Deputy Copy Chief 

I’m just going to say it: back to school is for sure, 100%, the best time of the whole school year. A week of going over syllabi (which means doing pretty much nothing), buying new pens and notebooks, meeting new professors and hoping they’re better than the previous ones and add/drop, meaning new people every class and not having to see the same people from last semester. I mean the month-long winter is great and all but inevitably — as in, by Jan. 2nd — I’ve had enough of sitting at home and doing absolutely nothing. I miss my brain cells and I know they left me so I’m ready for the new school year. I also don’t have one of those long trips back to campus and I never really have to leave my family because I live in the city already, so that’s always useful and adds to my not caring about the beginning of the school year. Don’t get it twisted, though: I’m ready for the first week of classes ONLY; the rest of the year is going to be hell and NYU is quite literally hell on earth.

Opinions expressed on the editorial pages are not necessarily those of WSN, and our publication of opinions is not an endorsement of them.

Email WSN Staff at [email protected].

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About the Contributors
Kim Rice
Kim Rice, Copy Chief
Kim is a junior (ahhhhhh) double majoring in Journalism and Politics. A born and bred New Yorker, she does say things like "cawfee" and "dawg" but please don't ask her to repeat the words for you, it's kind of annoying. You shouldn't be bumping into her really, but from a safe distance you can find her drinking an iced coffee, walking around, just taking everything in. Follow her on Instagram or Twitter @k_r_630 to see and hear random thoughts and pictures of things you can easily see and think yourself.
Alexandra Chan
Alexandra Chan, Editor-at-Large
Alexandra Chan is a junior studying history, politics and East Asian studies. She has done her time in the basement dungeon state of mind and can't really seem to let go. Follow her @noelle.png on Instagram for inconsistent posting but aesthetically pleasing rows. She doesn't know what Twitter is.
Jake Capriotti
Jake Capriotti, Photo Editor
Jake is a senior at Tisch studying film and television and has been with WSN since Spring 2020. He is an Arizona native and that is his one personality trait. Outside of WSN, Jake specializes in portraiture, performance and unit stills photography as well as being the official photographer for the NYC OffBrnd Dance Team. You can find him on Instagram @capriotti.jake and maybe he'll DM you some memes.
Helen Wajda
Helen Wajda, Opinion Editor
Helen is a junior double majoring in Childhood/Special Education and English. She's from Upstate New York (actually Upstate, not Westchester) and enjoys making extremely specific playlists when she's not writing. You can find her on Twitter and Instagram @helenwajda.
Sasha Cohen
Sasha Cohen, Arts Editor
Sasha Cohen is a junior studying Producing and Promotion for the Arts with a minor in Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology. She is from Chicago, but please do not ask her to choose between New York- and Chicago-style pizza. When Sasha is not working, she is often belting Broadway tunes, searching for the best pastries or checking out NYC parks. For more about Sasha, follow @_sasha.cohen_ on Instagram.
Ethan Zack
Ethan Zack, Deputy Managing Editor
Ethan is a junior in CAS majoring in Journalism and History. When he's not stumbling through an endless stream of Zoom classes, he's doing fun and cool things like reading the Wikipedia plot summaries of horror movies because he's too scared to actually watch them or making yet another three-song playlist that he will literally never touch again, ever. He's most active on Twitter (@ethanzack), so feel free to reach out with any spicy takes.
Asha Ramachandran
Asha Ramachandran, Deputy Managing Editor
Asha Ramachandran is a junior studying journalism and Social and Cultural Analysis. They were born and raised in New England (but please don't ask about sports teams!). When Asha isn't obsessing over their two cats, they're probably either reading about obscure politics, tweeting about obscure politics, or cooking mediocre renditions of TikTok recipes. Email them at [email protected] or find them on Instagram @asha.rm.
Gabby Lozano
Gabby Lozano, Dining Editor
Gabby Lozano is a senior studying Global Liberal Studies and minoring in food studies. After NYU, she aspires to work as a digital reporter or producer, but her dream is to become the next Anthony Bourdain. When she's not in school or at WSN, you can find her in the kitchen burning garlic or going for a run along the East River. Follow her latest eats on Instagram @gabriellalasagna.
Abby Hofstetter
Abby Hofstetter, Managing Editor
Abby is a CAS junior studying History, Creative Writing and probably something else. She's from Long Island, but please don't bring that up. If you need her, you can find her discussing the third season of Glee or why olives should be banned from consumption. Contact her for a terrible time.

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