Courtesy of Nicole Lopez del Carril.
Freshman year, if any time, is the time to explore. Ever been afraid of public speaking? Enroll in a Theatre class. Mildly interested in theoretical physics? Take Quantum Theory and Relativity. Craving to learn another foreign language? Enroll in Arabic, even if the concept of learning an entirely new alphabet and having class four times a week may seem daunting.
Freshman year can prove to be one of the most academically transformative years of your life. Intended Chemistry majors become Film majors, Economics majors explore Arab Crossroads — there are endless possibilities, choices and classes. Don’t limit yourself. Whether it is film, economics, visual arts, take what interests you, what you think interests you, what you have always been interested in but afraid to try.
Selecting classes over the summer with the aid of the 100-word course description is difficult — inadequate to say the least.
“I wish I didn’t base [my] course decisions on the course descriptions,” said sophomore student Noor Al Mahrooqi.
The two-week Add/Drop period exists for a reason. Talk to current students about the professor, the workload, the course material — anything and everything.
“Choose your classes and professors wisely and treat the syllabus like a contract,” said senior student Brett Bolton.
Being cooped up in a building with overachievers and workaholics eventually takes its toll. For many of you, days that were once punctuated with the occasional visit to Al Ababeel, a Skype call with a friend from home and 45 minutes of reading for leisure become devoured by assignments, math problems and study sessions. Leave time for your friends, activities that make you happy, a trip to the nearby grocery Al Safa to buy food for a screening of your favorite movie; leave time for you, your family and your friends.
“You have an incredible opportunity to learn from some of the most interesting and brilliant professors and students in the world, and you are here to learn,” Bolton said. “Do not take this for granted.”
“People come and go really fast here, that’s why it’s important to try to make the most of the time with your friends,” said sophomore student Alice Toth.
With the abundance of study abroad options and combinations, it is possible to be separated from a friend for up to two years. Prior to coming to NYUAD study abroad had seemed like the most rewarding, promising aspect of the university. Time with everyone in the university is indefinite, and this time is cut even shorter by the study abroad prospects.
“You should put yourself out there,” said junior student Krushika Patankar.
“Push yourself to meet others,” added sophomore student Eszter Mészáros.
Study abroad shouldn’t deter you from meeting others and forming close friendships with those who are bound to leave the following semester.
Toth advises others to try to develop a different attitude to goodbyes. Thinking of these goodbyes as see you laters is a start.
“Before I came to NYUAD I was really scared about courses, registrations, requirements, core classes, sports,” said sophomore student Abhijai Garg. “But looking back one thing I learnt was that everything works out and the credit for that goes to the super helpful community we have here at NYUAD”.
The University feels like a community — and being a part of this incredibly multicultural community is truly special, truly invaluable.
Despite the support and Garg’s reassuring words, freshman year is not perfect; mistakes will be made, regrets will persist.
“I wish I had known that there would be a lot of time,” said junior student Valentina Vela. “Time to make mistakes, time to change my mind. I wish I had known that everything would change, that my heart would go through many things, and that I would grow like I never imagined.”