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First Year, First Hand: The NYC Experience

News Story

In this month's "First Year, First Hand" column, Tanner Johnson '19 talks about what it's like to have New York City as your campus... the good, the bad, and the expensive brunches!

The Pace has been set
by Tanner Johnson

There is no doubt that moving somewhere such as New York City has both its benefits and its drawbacks. One can only wonder the percentage of students who have considered, whether it be before the May 1 deposit or after, if they would rather go to a university that would offer them more of a traditional experience. With this “traditional” package, students would be able to experience what it would be like to go to fraternity houses, travel to different cities to attend football games, and most importantly, save money because of a lack of unique restaurants to try out. However, by choosing to attend a school such as Pace, with the Financial District of Lower Manhattan serving as its campus, an experience with an entirely different brand is what was offered to the freshmen who anxiously rolled their suitcases along trash-lined sidewalks all throughout the city this past September.

While I am sure the experience for students attending other Manhattan schools is similar, I can only speak as a Pace student. The New York freshman experience can be summed up in three actions: consistently checking your bank account to make sure you can afford to refill your MetroCard, waiting in lines to meet celebrities regardless of weather and responsibilities, and telling yourself that it is okay that you just spent $22 on a brunch in SoHo because it’s a “once in a lifetime experience” even though you habitually test out a new restaurant each weekend. There is nothing quite like the feeling of being able to walk down Fifth Avenue at Christmas time and remember every reason you wanted to move to the city in the first place. 

However, living in Manhattan is quite the contradiction. As you call home, you find it funny because while you miss your family and friends, you also look at your surroundings, and whether that be in your dorm room on the 17th floor with a view of skyscrapers you used to see on the Gossip Girl promos or in Central Park, you realize that there is no place else you would rather be. 

One of the most important parts of the unbelievable experience of being a freshman in New York is the idea that the “freshman 15” is a lot harder to gain than in other places. Yes, the restaurants are around every corner, and yes, there are a couple of Dunkin' Donuts that stay open 24 hours, but with the amount of walking one ends up doing, or running, for that matter, if you are trying to enter the Hamilton lottery and the entries are soon to close for example, it is pretty hard not to burn off a fraction of the calories you unknowingly consumed as you binge watched something on Netflix or stress ate as you studied for an exam. Yes, believe it! We actually do go to class! (Sometimes.)

Class is an interesting concept when going to school in New York City. Students’ decision-making skills are put to the test each and every day when the temptations of seeing Justin Bieber perform at Rockefeller Center, or even better than that, sleep, take over as priority over attending class. However, everyone’s been to class at least a couple of times and can tell you that, while the rumor is truecollege is hardfinding a quiet place to study in the midst of this city’s chaos is a lot easier than one may think. With an abundance of parks, over-priced coffee shops, and small nooks just about anywhere you look, if you convince yourself to crack open a book, work can get done just about anywhere. 

The thing that draws people to Pace is not only its location, but also its many opportunities to succeed while still in school. With an excellent internship placement program and an impressively high percentage of job placement right out of school, it’s easy to feel secure when the subway breaks down or you spent way too much on that Urban Outfitters sweater just knowing that regardless, you are in the city for a bigger reasonto get a quality education that will lead to opportunities of the highest extent. Upon arrival, all students were asked to draft their own “Pace Path,” and now that the first semester is coming to a close, amidst a fast-paced three months of cat-calling construction workers, sleeping on the ground to watch movies with Shia LaBeouf, trying to survive some of the scariest Uber drivers, and sometimes even attending your lectures and taking notes, each and every one of our “Paces” has been set, and from here on out, the race to succeeding is ours to finish.

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