Before and After: seniors give advice on their time at NYU

Seniors reflect on their four years and give advice to future students.

Sporting her newly minted NYU ID and lanyard, Polanco poses on the top bunk in her new dorm. (Image courtesy of Evani Polanco Carpio)

Evani Polanco

School/major: CAS, English

Advice to other students:
“Cherish your time here and make the most of every moment.”

Advice to First Year self:
“Take care of yourself. Yes academics are important but don’t let it jeopardize you. Practice self care.” 

Senior Evani Polanco-Carpio shows off an impressive eyeshadow look in a much more glamorous attitude than her freshman self. (Image courtesy of Evani Polanco Carpio)
Natalie Rau in her freshman year at NYU. (Image courtesy of Natalie Rau)

Natalie Rau 

School/major: CAS, History

Advice to other students:
“Try your best not to compare yourself to others. It’s difficult at a school like NYU but whatever you are doing is the right path for you.”

Advice to First Year self:
“It’s ok to not know exactly what is next. It’s ok to not have everything planned out.”

Senior Natalie Rau poses with a friend in front of the arch. (Image courtesy of Natalie Rau)
Fareeha Mahmoud visits Central Park in her first year at NYU almost four years ago. (Image courtesy of Fareeha Mahmoud)

Fareeha Mahmood

School/major: CAS, Economics/Wagner, Public Policy

Advice to other students:
“Prioritizing having fun!! Spend time with friends, explore all the boroughs in the City, and make the most of your short four years here. It’ll all feel like a blip when you’re finally graduating :)”

Advice to First Year self:
“Get involved in the community, whether that be at NYU or NYC — it’ll definitely help make college more worthwhile!”

Fareeha Mahmood smiles as she poses in front of some greenery. (Image courtesy of Fareeha Mahmood)
Quintela Cheyenne taking a selfie during her freshman year. (Image courtesy of Cheyenne Quintela)

Cheyenne Quintela

School/major: CAS, Linguistics

Advice to other students:
“Don’t be afraid to go out of the NYU bubble and do all of the “touristy” stuff while you have time. It will help you become more comfortable in the city and make you the best tour guide when people come visit. It will help you fall in love with the city even more!”

Advice to First Year self:
“Imposter Syndrome is so real but you got into this school for a reason. If you didn’t deserve to be here you wouldn’t be, but here you are. Just keep going and make sure to not overbook yourself!”

Nearing the end of her time at NYU, Cheyenne Quintela takes a selfie in her CAS cap. (Image courtesy of Cheyenne Quintela)
Olivia Zhong commemorates her first move-in day with a photo in front of Weinstein. (Photo courtesy of Olivia Zhong)

Olivia Zhong

School/major: CAS, Economics; 

Minors: Psychology and Business of Entertainment, Media and Technology

Advice to other students:
“If you can, try to plan ahead (not just the next semester but the next couple years) with the courses you hope to take and the ones you know you need to take, and try to balance it out in the way that will work best for you! Also, if you know you want to study abroad, check if the sites you’re interested in offer classes you’ll need, that way you can make the most of it and take them in the order that makes the most sense for you (and some Core classes related to culture can be better experienced abroad)!”

Advice to First Year self:
Take more risks and put yourself out there more! I remember I barely tried out or applied for things my first couple years at NYU because I was so scared of putting myself out there, and I ended up missing out on a lot, and I made it harder for myself to make new, lasting friends. It wasn’t until I started taking those risks and pushing myself out of my comfort zone that I finally found my place and my communities, and felt fully and truly at home at NYU. And enjoy it while you’re there! Take advantage of the experience because it really does fly by.”

Senior Olivia Zhong shows off her Class of 2021 gear. (Image courtesy of Olivia Zhong)
Jenni Freda laughs at the camera while enjoying a sweet snack. (Image courtesy of Jenni Freda)

Jenni Freda

School/major: CAS, Psychology

Advice to other students:
“Make the most of your NYU experience. Our lack of campus creates a huge divide and a lot of separate groups, but don’t let it stop you from finding your people and making memories and joining clubs.”

Advice to First Year self:
“Please actually study harder. You cannot get by like you did in HS and you will regret it once your GPA starts falling :)”

Jenni Freda poses for a picture in front of a coastline. (Image courtesy of Jenni Freda)
Alice Guberman as a freshman. (Image courtesy of Alice Guberman)

Alice Guberman

School/major: CAS, Psychology

Minor: Child and Adolescent Mental Health Studies

Advice to other students:
“If you have no idea what you want to do with your life then you are on the right track!”

Advice to First Year self:
“Buy a planner and actually use it.”

Senior Alice Guberman poses for a picture. (Image courtesy of Alice Guberman)
Tori Bianco takes in her new "campus" as a freshman. (Image courtesy of Tori Bianco)

Tori Bianco

School/major: CAS, International Relations & Spanish

Advice to other students:
“Every person you meet doesn’t have to be your ‘forever friend’, and even if you did find them, never limit yourself from meeting new people. You will have friends that will grind with you in Bobst all day and friends that will stay out on the town with you all night. You need both of these influences in your life. Do your schoolwork, but don’t forget to take a break and appreciate where you are and who you are with.

News flash: NYU isn’t cheap. Take advantage of every free event or service that you can. Also, go to class. You will thank yourself later. If your major doesn’t light your fire, then find something else. Don’t waste these years at a school like NYU learning about something you aren’t passionate about. Take classes that make you excited to go to class.”


Advice to First Year self:
“Dear Freshman year Tori,

Swallow your pride and preconceived notions about mental health and go to the wellness center. Just because you are a high achieving and positive person does not mean that your struggles are invalid. ADHD manifests differently in women, so go get the help you need in order to fully thrive at NYU.

Lastly, document your memories. You will want to remember these years. NYU will push you outside your comfort zone, but only if you let it.”

Senior Tori Bianco in front of Washington Square Arch. (Image courtesy of Tori Bianco)

Contact Sydney Barragan at [email protected]