What it’s Like to go to University in New York City According to an NYU Senior

Ever wondered what it would be like to attend university while living in New York City? If you’re a fan of Gossip Girl, you may have caught a glimpse— lunch on the steps at the Met, parties in Brooklyn lofts, hailing taxis for class— all amidst a backdrop of sparkling city lights and towering skyscrapers. While this glamorous account of urban student life paints a dramatic picture, we’ve reached out to a current student at New York University to discover the real life experience of attending school in America’s largest city.

Caroline Reagan is a senior at NYU’s Gallatin School of Individualized Study. She studies literature, aesthetics, and psychoanalysis. She currently lives in Brooklyn.


What’s a typical day at NYU like?

“I wake up, grab a coffee and pastry from the cafe across the street, and hop on the subway to class. If I have time I like to stop in the park to read a bit or just people watch— the craziest people are in Washington Square Park!

I regularly see the Pigeon Man, but there’s always talented street performers dancing or playing instruments which gives the park a lively feel, especially in the warmer months.

After class, I usually head to the library on campus where I study and do my homework. The 8th floor reading room is my favorite study spot because you get a fantastic view of the NYC skyline, and it’s always really quiet. 

When I finish my work for the day, sometimes I’ll meet a friend at Caffe Reggio, which is this real old school, classic Greenwich village spot that has a lot of ornate paintings and decorations inside that make it really cozy during the winter. Drinks aren’t cheap in NYC, but I like to reward myself with an Irish coffee after a long day of work. 

Tip: Order an “original cappuccino” from Caffe Reggio, the first cafe in America to serve this specialty espresso drink!

If I don’t have to go home to do more studying, then I’ll maybe catch a movie at one of the downtown repertoire theaters, or if it’s a weekend I might go to a jazz bar in the West Village.”

Tip: Check out Fat Cat in the West Village for live music, pool, and occasional art exhibits. 

What’s the best part of attending NYU?

“This is perhaps an obvious reason, but definitely being in New York City. The city allows for independence and gives you space from school. There’s also a ton of incredible resources to bring what you’re studying to life. For instance, I studied a lot of art in college and got to visit a bunch of great museums featuring the works I’ve been studying.”

Tip: NYU students have free access to almost all museums in New York City, including The Met, MoMA, Whitney, and more. 

If you could change one thing about NYU, what would it be?

“Drop their tuition 30k. Just kidding… sort of. I wish there were a way for NYU to create more of a community. Sure there are clubs and social events, but given the size of the student body and the fact that everyone is so independent, which is what makes the school great, it can also be a pretty big drawback when it’s isolating.”

Tip: Of the 300+ clubs at NYU, join the Cheese Club to bond with fellow cheese enthusiasts.

Do you have a favorite memory at NYU?

“I studied abroad my sophomore year of college at NYU Berlin and created a lot of amazing memories. I also met some of my best friends there because the program was much smaller than in New York City, so we spent a lot of quality time together in classes and exploring Germany. I will definitely miss school when I graduate, and overall had a great experience studying at NYU!”

If you are interested in learning more about New York University, check out these links for information on admissions, visitor information, and study abroad opportunities.     

View from an NYU dorm
View from an NYU dorm

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