Happy October y’all!
It is October 2nd and that means that I have officially gotten through my first month of college!
*cue fanfare and applause and Judd Nelson fist pump*
This first month of freshman year has been terrifying, awesome, insane, fast paced, exhilarating, and overall, surreal. Going to NYU and living in New York City will still randomly come as sort of a shock to me, like when I’m walking through Washington Square Park…
I get a weird heightened sense of awareness. I look around and have that internal “Oh shit” moment, where I have to wrap my mind around the fact that I really live here. I always said I was going to move back to New York (I’m originally from Brooklyn), but I never knew I would do it at 17, and for college.
But I’m so glad I did.
Here is my run-through of my first month at NYU and in NYC:
August 29th: Move-in day was not as stressful as it was moving my sister in to The College of New Jersey, which is ironic because the simple idea of a college move-in day in the city is daunting. But I had the earliest move-in time slot, so that probably eased most of the possible stress.
My dorm room has a swanky Fifth Avenue address, and is the coolest building ever. It used to be an old hotel, and is just charming and friendly and absolutely massive. The rooms are huge! And… no cinderblock walls, no tiled floor. Hardwood, baby. 🙂 I live in a suite, so a hallway connects my room and another, which is occupied by my two awesome suitemates Gabby and Selam, from California and Colorado respectively.
My roommate’s name is Evie, and she’s from London and adorably British (see below) and has a great taste in music. I was blessed by the roommate gods.
My dorm is the best. This is my dorm room as of today!
Leaving my family was one of the worst things I’ve ever had to experience, and I am not ashamed to say that after my mom, who was the last one to leave the room, closed my door, I sat on my floor and bawled for five minutes straight. Even now, after visiting home (twice) and saying goodbye as I’m about to board the NJ Transit, I get a little lump in my throat.
August 31st: Nearly 6,000 NYU freshmen took the subway to Madison Square Garden, where our Presidential Welcome took place. We had to wear matching shirts that said “NYU Class of 2019,” and it was the craziest thing to see a wave of white and purple t-shirts move as one off of the subway and into MSG. There are a lot of us. We were squad deep. The Presidential Welcome was so cool, and NYU’s faculty and President(s), John Sexton who’s leaving at the end of 2015, and Andrew Hamilton who will succeed him in 2016, are so spunky and funny and just great gray-haired guys. Well, Hamilton is bald. But still.
September 1st: I went to an event at the NYU Skirball Center (which is the largest performing arts facility south of 42nd Street, get yo life!) that was titled “NYU Portraits: Show Up.” It was a TED type conference/panel/seminar where speakers came to discuss diversity and social justice. NYU has it every year with different speakers and different topics all along the lines of diversity, service, and social justice. The speakers for this year were Rosa Clemente, MC Lyte, and Sabryna Fulton, Trayvon Martin’s mother. Amy Leon also performed spoken word, and inspired me on the spot to become a better poet and spoken word performer. She was outstanding. Here is her YouTube Channel.
These four women of color gave their accounts on politics, racism, police brutality, and other social issues and it was a truly moving night. Ms. Fulton made me cry when she began to talk about her son, and I don’t believe there was a dry eye in the house. And at the end, MC Lyte performed for us, which was so cool because, hello, MC frickin’ Lyte!
Welcome Week: Over the course of NYU’s Welcome Week, I went to nearly every event they held because I wanted to meet people and NYU has the coolest Welcome Week line up EVER. Honestly. Articles have been written about it. I attended a Live Game Show (my team and I almost won $500), a Silent Rave sponsored by TIDAL…
Drag Bingo hosted by RuPaul’s Season 7 Runner-Up Pearl…
…an Acapella Show with NYU’s Acapella Groups, the Boom Room: NYU Rap Concert, and NYU Music Festi-Ball, which was the last event of Welcome Week and a huge dance that is tradition at NYU. The theme changes every year, and this year’s was “Music Festi-ball” and was totally Coachella inspired. It had two floors and two DJs, a swag room, and a live music room where acoustic and folk singers performed. DJ Cuppy blew me away, and I remember not being able to feel my feet when I got into bed that night because I danced for four hours straight.
September 3rd: First day of classes! Yay! You will be very pleased to find that I indeed did rise up to the college freshman cliché and got lost on the way to class. It was confusing. Don’t judge. My classes are all really, really, cool though, and I am so happy to just be in college. So no matter how much I will complain about school in the future, know that there is no meaning in my proclaimed hatred for it. Sort of. Maybe.
September 6th: I went on the FYRE – First Year Residential Experience – Moonlight Cruise, which was on the Spirit of New York and New Jersey, circling around the Hudson from 11:30 PM – 3 AM. For me, it solidified that I lived in New York, and made me realize that this is where I should be. I went by myself and made friends with a bunch of girls on-line in front of me, and ended up staying with them for the whole cruise. There were three levels, the lower level for food and dancing, the second level just for dancing, and the third level was on the deck of the boat, where everybody hung out to be outside and see the views better. The cruise itself was beautiful and such a blast.
September 8th: NYU offered its students the opportunity to attend an advanced screening of the new horror movie, The Visit. Afterwards, there would be a Q & A with M. Night Shyamalan himself and fantastic producer Jason Blum. You could RSVP and get a pass to the screening, but seating was first come first serve and the line to the theater actually ended up winding around the block. My friend LZ and I decided to go, and got there amazingly early, sitting in the second row of the theater. We found out later that this advanced screening was actually the NYC premiere of the movie, and it had never been shown before in a United States theater. They gave us free popcorn and soda, and we walked past the indoor red carpet where the movie’s entire cast were posing and taking pictures for press. It was INSANE.
The movie was bone chilling and a complete mindfuck. I love thrillers, and I thought it was great. We were so close to M. Night Shyamalan when he and Jason Blum came out to talk about the movie, and he was my first celebrity I had seen in NYC, so I was pretty excited. When the event was over and we were exiting the theater, a man stopped LZ and I before getting on the escalator.
“Are you Tisch students?”
LZ and I were both in Gallatin, so we told him no, but that we went to NYU.
“Here you go. I can’t go. Have fun!”
He handed us two tickets to the after party. LZ and I were SHOCKED. We thanked the man and then started to freak out on the escalator ride down. Everyone that was going to the after party was evidently dressed in high heels, gowns, and suits, while I had on my Nike Free Runs and a denim shirt and LZ had on cargo shorts and a graphic t-shirt. The after party was at the Bowery Hotel, and there were charter buses waiting outside the theater to transport anyone with passes straight to the party. LZ and I boarded the bus and tried to make our outfits less casual while flipping out.
The cast and M. Night Shyamalan were definitely going to be there.
Who in the world did this happen to?!
Some other college students who were also given passes at the screening were carded and not allowed entry as we entered the Bowery Hotel, and LZ and I walked with a purpose so no one would question us about anything. We BS’d an entire conversation with a guy who was going to break into the film industry and a guy that was a Tisch film alum, by telling them we were both Gallatin juniors/seniors and were studying “media & film” (me) and “social justice through the lens of film” (LZ).
Guy: “What did you think about the film?”
LZ: “I thought the plot narrative was so strong, and the twist was really jarring… he took a fresh perspective on the camera angles and visual storytelling…”
It was almost comical.
The Tisch alum actually gave us tips for other after parties, though, and told us how to start a genuine and worthy conversation with [insert celebrity’s name here].
We lingered and hovered around M. Night’s area for a crazy long time, and tried to get him alone, but it proved to be extremely difficult because, well… the man is M. Night Shyamalan. Eventually, we just decided to stand so close to him he would have to look at us and acknowledge our presence.
He did, and we told him we were NYU students and thanked him for the opportunity to see the movie in advance, for the Q & A he held with Jason Blum (who was also two feet away – eep!) and for his insight on how to be successful in film and storytelling. (He did have some great advice. He told us that our narratives are our own for a reason. We are all unique and must tell our stories any way we can because that is what we were born to do – and if you don’t tell your story, who will?)
He was very smiley and down-to-Earth and after meeting him I love him even more. Deanna Dunagan, the actress who played the Grandma in the movie (!!!) casually came over and asked us if we were NYU students and literally said, “YES!” and gave us two thumbs up. LZ asked if he could take a picture of them (smoothest of smooth) and M. Night was all, “Oh, no! Get in the picture! Come on, let’s get all of us!”
And so Deanna Dunagan’s agent took a picture of LZ, M. Night, Deanna and myself and LZ and I were on a very lofty cloud nine.
We left the party after that, and we both agreed that the experience we had just shared was God’s way of giving us practice for many more similar interactions with the powerful and famous to come. That night was the best.
September 12: I went to the San Gennero Feast in Little Italy with Jasmine, who came to visit that weekend, after going all the way to Brooklyn to attend Refinery 29’s Fashion Week warehouse event, #29Rooms, and being turned away because the line’s waiting time for entrance was 3 hours. We ate zeppoles, mozzarepas, french fries, and chicken parmesan subs while sipping virgin daiquiris in the pouring rain. Literally. Our food babies were too real.
September 13: I attended the Essence Magazine Street Style Block Party in DUMBO, which is held in accordance to Fashion Week, and it was so cute! They had pop-up shops and food trucks, and even a Shea Moisture truck where they were styling hair and giving away free swag bags with Shea Moisture goodies. I bought a vintage shirt at one of the pop-up shops and had some of the best honey barbecue wings I’ve ever had, and listened to Andra Day give me the realest Amy Winehouse vibes I’ve had since, well, Amy. Also, the amount of melanin magic I saw was DELIGHTFUL. Power to the people.
September 29th: I attended the paperback release and signing of #GIRLBOSS, a book written by Nasty Gal Founder Sophia Amoruso. She talked and answered questions about the book and her life with Amy Astley, my career goals in a person, AKA the Editor-in-Chief of Teen Vogue. Sophia was the sweetest, and hilarious and refreshing with her blunt, honest attitude. Contradictory, I know, but that’s what makes her so captivating and her achievements so honorable. Also, her idea of the three must haves for fall are: pizza, pizza, pizza. This is why she gets me. (She later corrected: a scarf, anything in the color of Marsala, and the new iPhone. But I liked her first answer better.)
Apart from those big events, my classes have been really amazing and insightful and are pushing me to my intellectual limits – yes, even just three weeks into school. The workload is tough, but it’s college, and it’s NY-freaking-U, so it’s to be expected. Nothing I can’t handle. 🙂
I have met people from all around the world and have made friends with a lot of them, and am sort of kind of getting into a real groove here in New York.
The Strand Bookstore is going to soon become my second home,
I have more than one piece published underneath NYU’s newspaper, Washington Square News, and have taken the subway by myself on multiple occasions.
I have established a favorite cookie at Insomnia Cookies, I have stayed up past 2 AM studying more than a couple of nights in a row, and I have seen Cole Sprouse casually walking past me on Broadway.
I have written three essays, have received a “welcome-to-the-real-world” 6 out of 10 on one of said essays, and have written better essays since.
I have almost attended Fashion Week (my fashion editors mixed up my show dates 😦 … but that’s why God made NYFW FW16 in February! Second chances, duh!), I have decided which internships I want to pursue in the spring, and I am hoping to perform spoken word at many future open mic nights around the city.
I have done so much in such little time while here in New York, and it makes me childishly giddy and excited on a day-to-day basis. I can’t wait to share more with you all.
Until next time. 🙂
P.S. Read my articles on my publications page, here.