A Day in the Life at New York University

The tutors behind Varsity Tutors are not just here to teach – they’re sharing their college experiences as well. Robert is a Dallas Fort Worth Tutor and 2008 graduate of New York University where he studied Music. Some of the subjects he specializes in are SAT Math tutoring, History tutoring, and Writing tutoring. See what he had to say about his time at NYU:

VT:  Describe the campus setting and transportation options. How urban or safe is the campus? Are there buses or do you need a car/bike? 

Robert: The campus is not at all like a traditional college campus. The majority of the university buildings are located around Washington Square Park, with some additional buildings located around Soho and Aster Place. The campus is very urban, but I always felt incredibly safe. NYU has their own bus system that runs all day and late night as well. The buses are free to all students and stop at every dorm. A car is definitely not needed and would honestly be a huge liability. A bike can be useful if you are into that sort of thing. During my time there, my main methods of transportation were walking, subways, and the NYU buses. 

VT:  How available are the professors, academic advisers, and teaching assistants?

Robert: I found my professors to be very available, especially my department heads. Many have regular office hours where you can freely walk to for a quick chat. They were also all very quick and reliable at responding to emails.   

VT: How would you describe the dorm life – rooms, dining options, location, socialization opportunities with other students? 

Robert: Dorm life was a lot of fun. I think every dorm was CoEd, though there may have been a couple that were not. There are a couple dorms that are freshman only, and those are typically a little more active in organizing meetings, student activities, and also a little more strict on rules and regulations; all for the benefit of the students of course. Freshman year is the most crucial year for most students. Some are prone to losing control from being away from home for the first time, and NYC is not a good place to lose control. Many dorms have dining halls inside them, and most freshman sign up for meal plans since their dorms are not apartment style, and therefore do not have kitchens. Most upperclassman dorms are apartment-style though. All freshman dorms are relatively close to Washington Square, making it easy to get to class on time. Upperclassman dorms are typically further away, making it necessary to either take the NYU bus or subway. Most upperclassmen don't mind the extra commute since the dorms tend to get fancier the farther away from campus they are.  

VT: Which majors/programs are best represented and supported? What did you study and why? Did the university do a good job supporting your particular area of study? 

Robert: There are a lot of well-supported majors and programs at NYU since it has the benefit of being in New York City, where many of the top people in their fields chose to reside. I hear the Stern School of Business is one of the best in the nation, and the Tisch School of the Arts is very well regarded as well. As far as the Music program to which I was involved, I benefited from studying with some of the top musicians in the world, who were able to bring me into the New York Music scene. I was allowed to see the Broadway show, Wicked, for free from the orchestra pit while following the score. I was able to receive free, or cheep tickets to concerts at Lincoln Center, and perform around the city. The school did a great job of nurturing my musical talent and providing me with great opportunities. I chose to leave the city after the housing crisis to perform on cruise ships, but I always love returning the city. 

VT: How easy or difficult was it for you to meet people and make friends as a freshman? Does Greek life play a significant role in the campus social life?

Robert: I did not have too much difficulty making friends as a freshman. My first semester was the most awkward since I spent most of my time just trying to adapt to college life, but once I got settled in, I ended up making friends with some great students in my department. As far as I know, there is no Greek life scene at NYU. I don't think a frat house could afford to maintain New York real estate, and NYU isn't a huge sports school either. They have no football team and their basketball team is division 3. Those elements are hardly missed at all when you have the entire city at your fingertips though. 

VT: How helpful is the Career Center and other student support services? Do many reputable companies recruit on campus?  

Robert: The Career Center was able to help set me up with on-campus work. I worked as a part of the stage crew at the main theater and eventually became stage crew manager by my senior year. Performances at the theater are frequent and the orchestra rehearsed there twice a week, so I was able to accumulate a good number of hours there with the option of doing more or less depending on my circumstances. As far as whether companies recruit though the Career Center or on campus, I have little knowledge. As a Music major, I did not seek any internships with fortune 500 companies.   

VT: How are the various study areas such as libraries, student union, and dorm lounges?  Are they over-crowded, easily available, spacious?

Robert: The study areas are always occupied, but hardly ever saturated. Since most students use the internet now for most of their independent research, there is very little competition in the NYU library for space or for books. I'm not saying the place is dead, quite the contrary, but they have more than enough computers, books, and other resources to serve the student body. They are always available during the day, some close for late night, but there is always a spacious, quite place to study somewhere if you need it. 

VT: Describe the surrounding town. What kinds of outside establishments / things to do are there that make it fun, boring, or somewhere in between? To what extent do students go to the downtown area of the city versus staying near campus?  

Robert: Where do I even begin? I could write a book about my experiences outside of school and on the town. I'll just say this. YOU LIVE IN NEW YORK CITY! Enjoy it. 

VT: How big or small is the student body? Were you generally pleased or displeased with the typical class sizes?

Robert: There is a very big student body and I really like that sort of thing. Lots of people means more opportunities to socialize, meet new people, and go more places. I have honestly been to classes that ranged from 200 people or more in one class, to classes where I was the only person there. I have never really been concerned with class size. You learn what you choose to learn, and if you are a slacker who's going to sit in the back of a 200 person class and fall asleep, you might have well have just stayed in bed. Most of my classes were about 20 students strong though which I felt was a good amount.  

VT: Describe one memorable experience with a professor and/or class. Perhaps one you loved the most or one you regret the most.

Robert: My best memory from college involving a class would actually have to be a performance I was part of with the NYU Symphony Orchestra. It is considered a class and I was registered for it so it counts. My favorite performance came in my sophomore year when we decided to play a concert in the brand new theater across the park for our end of semester fall concert. The program would include Beethoven's 9th symphony, and we would bring in all the singers from the vocal program to accompany us, and best of all, we would perform an Alan Menkan medley, arranged and orchestrated by some of our professors. Alan Menkan is a world-renowned composer and NYU graduate. You would know him best for his compositions for several Walt Disney movies from the 90’s. He wrote the music for such greats as The Little Mermaid, Aladdin, Pocahontas, Hercules, and Beauty and the Beast – pretty much my favorite childhood movies. Not only did I have a great time performing his music, but I can now say that I have performed a concert with him, have met him in person, and he was nice enough to sign some CD’s for me as well as my trumpet part, all of which I have framed and displayed.  

Check out Robert’s tutoring profile.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Varsity Tutors.