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

Opinion: Dear NYU, upperclassmen are students too

Just because we’re no longer first-years, doesn’t mean we don’t deserve support as the semester begins.
Natalia Kempthorne-Curiel
(Natalia Kempthorne-Curiel for WSN)

As a peer mentor for a pre-orientation program, I had the privilege of moving in two weeks prior to regular move-in for upperclassmen students. I was so excited to be back on campus again, but I couldn’t help noticing how different those first few days as a sophomore were from my first-year move-in experience.

As I reminisced about all the outings I went on and friendships I made a year ago, I began to realize that some of the resources and privileges I became used to are suddenly gone. From first-years getting to go on cruises offered by the university at a low cost, to having the chance to attend a plethora of events hosted by RAs, it’s clear to see that the university prioritizes certain students over others.

There is no denying that as a first-year, you need extra care and support. NYU Welcome is a necessary part of acclimating first-years to the unfamiliar, and often intimidating, elements of NYU life. This focus on first-year experiences should not, however, lessen the university’s ability to dedicate time and resources to upperclassmen. NYU Welcome is built on a foundation of making students feel comfortable at the school, yet when they return to campus as upperclassmen they are suddenly, and often unexpectedly, left to fend for themselves. 

Even acquiring university housing as an upperclassman is an unreliable affair, especially when you are scheduled for the latest housing selection slots. The university guarantees four years of on-campus housing to all who began NYU as first-years, so long as you remain in NYU housing each semester. Despite this, many students reported that they were forced to find off-campus housing accommodations because by the time it was their turn to choose a place to live, most rooms were taken. Granted, these students are still guaranteed housing of some kind, but they were only told where they would be living the summer before move-in.

Meanwhile, NYU has been actively improving access to housing for first-years. The Residential College at Paulson Center, the university’s most recent housing endeavor, is exclusive to first-year students.

This extends beyond the first week too, as students lose the immediate and consistent support of university staff as they get older. But, the older students get, the more that support offered readily to first-years is needed. Even with the thrill of the start of classes, many upperclassmen are already feeling unmotivated as they juggle pressure to apply for internships and their ever-closer graduation dates.

I remember that as a first-year, it was already difficult to contact my academic adviser, but they did eventually respond. Plus, I had regular meetings with my adviser, guaranteeing some level of contact. Somehow this year, I have been ghosted entirely. Making sure that all upperclassmen have access to the same one-on-one academic and career support that is available to first-years is the bare minimum NYU can do, especially considering that they often need it more than their newer counterparts.

According to a 2014 study published in the National Library of Medicine, upperclassmen, transfer and commuter students were the demographics “most stressed, anxious and depressed.” The study cites the greatest concerns among students being “academic performance, pressure to succeed, and post-graduation plans.” If NYU placed a greater focus on post-graduation preparedness for upperclassmen, it would help them steer clear of these issues and have the skills to navigate post-college life.

While NYU does provide a wide range of resources like academic guidance and the Wasserman Center for Career Development, this is paltry compared to what is offered to first-year students. Upperclassmen who are managing challenging research projects, deciding when and how to study away, and searching for jobs and internships deserve direct specialized support just as much as first-years do. 

NYU’s neglect of upperclassmen undermines the university’s commitment to ensuring all students have an equal opportunity for success and receiving support. Let’s welcome everyone back to campus this semester, not just the first-years.

WSN’s Opinion section strives to publish ideas worth discussing. The views presented in the Opinion section are solely the views of the writer.

Contact Molly Koch at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Molly Koch
Molly Koch, Opinion Editor
Molly Koch is a junior in Gallatin concentrating in journalism as an art form. They’re fascinated by classical literature and its influence on the power of the written word. When they are not writing, you can find them reading their way through their endless TBR, running along the Hudson or Facetiming their dog.

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  • W

    Wendy LawrenceSep 5, 2023 at 3:32 pm

    I have to confess, that as a Junior (and a commuter), I was feeling a little envious of all the first year activities flying across my IG feed. Thanks for giving us juniors and seniors a shout out.