Home to unexpected turn of events, random friendships, celebrities in hoodies and jeans, solo chess players, movie sets, artists, designers, piano recitals, protests, concerts, social-media-based talk shows, dance parties, writers, comedians, skaters, daily fashion shows, unofficial vintage styling contests, a unique blend of NYU students, and lots of tourists – all at once.
Since my freshman year in college, when my dorm stood five steps away from its entrance, I found myself at our unofficial campus whenever I had free time. I know some say NYU doesn’t have a campus, but we do. It’s just unconventional, like the students themselves. No one comes here for an ordinary experience, everyone is here because they challenge norms in their own ways. So what if don’t have gates? Where else can you run into your favorite celebrity while running to class? Or get to play chess with a stranger sitting at the table waiting for someone to join them? Or dance to the rhythm of the drums every time you head over the library? Not running into friends is almost never an option, and neither is not joining a conversation with a stranger. Unexpected views are guaranteed.
If all of this sounds like a joke, it is not. It’s just a typical day at our campus without walls. And it is precisely because our campus doesn’t have walls that we are studying in what they call ‘the real world.’ They say you enter that stage only after graduation when you start working, but we are already there. For us, adulting is more than a hashtag, it’s real, and definitely not an option. Not in a boring way, in a good way. I have classmates who have already had multiple internships at top global firms, Timothée Chalamet was studying here a few years ago, and I just learned that the girl who I was supposed to be roommates with a year ago almost won American Idol. I have just entered my tenth month working as a social media coordinator myself and am constantly chasing opportunities – just like everyone else at the campus without walls. We are living in the real world on our own terms, and we wear that proudly.
Who needs gates when they can have unlimited access to inspiration, opportunities, and possibilities? Not me. But, I’m probably very biased and this is probably turning into my admissions essay. But that’s probably a good thing since I am able to write this because of that essay. And if you are getting confused, great! I just wanted to walk you through your first impression of Washington Square Park.
But as you take it in and observe the man cycling with a bucket on his head without judgement, that confusion turns into a giggle. The pianist calms you down and the drummer a few steps away gives you just the right amount of energy. Boom! Your confusion just turned into contentment. Then, someone approaches you with a weird question and a camera. Surprise! You will be on their YouTube channel for sharing which trends you think must go away immediately. Now that excitement joined the chat, you are ready for the final step: Being inspired. And luckily, the last step is the easiest because everything that has just happened was inspiring. Every person you passed by, had eye contact with, or perhaps danced next to, has inspired you in some way. And that’s the beauty of not having a ‘campus’: experiencing New York.
Until next time,