While You Were Here 2021


Letter from the Editors

After two months of stress, hard work and sending so many emails that everyone probably hates me for, it’s finally here. This Special Issue is particularly special to me for several reasons. Not only is it the first long-term project that Vaishnavi and I produced as co-managing editors of Under the Arch, but it was produced by an entirely new staff of amazing editors! I cannot express enough how proud I am of Ivy, Sydney, Abbey, Mariam, Ryan and Brooke for all the amazing work they’ve done to make this possible, especially coming into it having never worked for UTA before. Thank you all so, so much for everything you’ve done this past semester. 

I also want to give a huge shout out to the design team, Debbie and Susan, for bearing with us through the chaos. You’ve played just as big a role as any of us in helping this come to fruition, and I am constantly amazed by your talents.

More shoutouts — Alex, our Editor-in-Chief, who so patiently answered all 50 billion of my questions. Finley and Mandie, who believed in us enough to pass on the torch. Guru, our grandfather managing editor, who had no obligation to help but did so anyway because he’s just cool like that. 

Finally, I wanna give a special thank you to Vaishnavi, who brilliantly stepped up to share this role with me and has been my net to fall back on throughout this entire process. 

To the class of 2021, thank you all for sharing your thoughts, feelings, vulnerabilities and stories with us. I know you’re all probably sick of hearing congratulations and platitudes, so I’ll save us both the trouble. Enjoy the special issue! 


To put it simply, this was a hell of a year. At first, it was difficult for Caitlin and I to figure out what exactly to put in this special issue of “While You Were Here because we wanted to focus on the positives and celebrate the beginning of a new chapter of the seniors’ lives. But here we are, two months later, with a special issue we are proud to share with you. 

I want to thank my amazing co-managing editor Caitlin Hsu, who so wonderfully took on the role without any hesitation and powered through it. Her commitment to Under the Arch is the reason this Special Issue exists. I also want to thank the rest of the team, who are all completely new to Under the Arch but worked together seamlessly from day one. Thank you Ivy, Sydney, Abbey, Mariam, Ryan and Brooke for your work. 

I also want to thank our predecessors Finley and Mandie (and our ancestor Guru!) for their support during our first production, and our brilliant EIC Alex. 

Congratulations to the class of 2021! We wish you the best of luck on your journey and hope you enjoy this tribute!


Six-Word Memoirs

Seniors sum up their experience at NYU in six words.

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

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

How Do You Zoom?

This is how four students set-up their layout for Zoom classes this semester.

Finishing college from home: students reflect on a remote final semester

Three seniors reflect on the disappointments and silver linings of spending their last semester of college at home, studying remotely.


An NYU senior reflects on her own personal growth, as well as the growth of everyone around her during a time of loss and uncertainty.

Proud To Be First: First Generation Students Talk About Their Experiences

NYU seniors Yasmine Elasmar, Brianna Ivette Vera and Michael Guerrero-Calderon reflect on being first-generation graduates the first in their immediate family to graduate from college.