So if I’m not actually working, per say, what is it that I’ve been doing that has been keeping me as equally busy (apart from teasing out some kind of idea for my thesis, that is) for the past two months? The answer is simple and perhaps an unexpected one, especially coming from me – I’ve been doing my best at giving back to the NYU community.
I can’t exactly say that I’m “giving back” in exact and precise terms what I’ve been able to take away from the university’s offerings, programs, and experiences; especially since what I’ve been able to gain has been so abstract, so to say. And perhaps it wasn’t even the university itself that lent to certain things; perhaps, in truth, it was simply the environment that allowed me to thrive. But that said, I do have this desire to make some kind of a difference or a contribution in my last year here; one that perhaps could run the gamut from impacting someone’s scholarship funds next year, to influencing someone’s decision to come to NYU, or even simply educating others on resources (all of which I have been doing).
I know very well that the university isn’t perfect. I definitely would not be the first person to concede to that fact, nor would I be the last, but I do believe that we can push for and make changes that can go a long way, even if it is the most minute in contributions. There is something to be said about an aggregate effort that permits us to propel our community forward. I may not see or reap these forthcoming benefits, but that isn’t the point. What the point is, though, is to take what I’ve learned, and direct that in such a manner that future students don’t have, for instance, the same mishaps as I did, or do have the same access to opportunities and resources, if not more.
And perhaps also for personal reasons, I do this because I want to feel some kind of a tie to the school. I’ve spent two years at the NYU France campus, and while that has been a great experience, I never really had the opportunity to connect with the “official” campus – the Washington Square campus.
I didn’t feel as though clubs would provide me the same sense of connection as working on these university and departmental initiatives have and do. And in truth, I was set to only work on two this year, but another came up, and “by chance,” there have been small requests on the side. All of which makes me content at the end of the day.
That said, you may be wondering in what ways am I giving back. It’s as follows:
- Live Well NYU. After everything that has transgressed, in the past two years especially, I find well being to be incredibly important to student life. Often, when we think of health, we think of mental health and physical ailments. There is so much more in that sphere of healthy living, and on a day-to-day level, that affects everyone – staff, students, and faculty. We just had our first all-committee meeting of the academic year, and it (the initiative) is certainly a right approach in preventative methods, and creating awareness of what it means to actually be “healthy.”
- Peers in Career. Coming into university, I already had a fare knowledge on employment, internships, and everything of the like. And when it came to social media, I was one of the first ones to jump on the bandwagon to see what it was all about, in terms of personal and corporate branding. But that isn’t the case for everyone. There are so many kids are clueless, and I don’t mean it as a criticism, just as an observation. What I want, I suppose, is a means to convey what I know and share what I believe to be essential for students living in this city, with dozens of great internships at our disposal, and in this modern age.
Learn more at http://www.nyu.edu/careerdevelopment/sites/peers/about.php
- 1831 Fund. This program certainly wasn’t on my radar until the first week of school, when I was asked if I would be interested based on the recommendation of Steinhardt’s Dean Patricia Carey. I did take interest in the initiative because of its nature; the 1831 Fund is a senior class project that aims to raise funds, which are to be distributed to incoming freshmen and transfer students as scholarships. Even though I don’t qualify for financial aid (on the basis that I am an international student), I’m well aware of how expensive the tuition is. And although the scholarships aren’t huge, they are an aid nonetheless.
And in spite of the fact that many students upon graduation have debt and have resentment towards it, we have to realize that we were/are a part of this community. I’m not corralling people based on my desire to give back, but rather asking them to rethink that happy hour excursion and perhaps give a little for something that can go a long way. With that said, I currently lead and work on the social platforms (Twitter and Facebook, as of now) for the Fund.
Learn more at https://www.nyu.edu/1831-fund