Campus Life

20 Mistakes Every NYU Freshman Makes

Welcome to the Empire State! You’ve been accepted to one of the most prestigious universities in the world. NYU has produced famous and successful journalists, actors, playwrights, scientists, artists, and entrepreneurs. As an incoming freshman, you want to get off to a great start. Here are 20 mistakes that every NYU freshman makes (except for you).

1. Ignoring the fact that you are living in an amazing city.

It’s true that you don’t want to look like a tourist on a daily basis. On the other hand, you’re living New York City! Most people dream of visiting at least once. Don’t let this opportunity go. Visit the museums, take the boat tour around the harbor, go to a Broadway show, and please eat at least one picnic lunch in Central Park while you’re an NYU freshman.

2. Allowing roommate issues to fester.

Whether it’s encroaching on your bathroom space, getting sexiled too many times, missing food, or excessive partying, roommate issues are a pain. Don’t blow them off. They won’t get better. Instead, be polite, assertive, and reasonable. Then, get things worked out. Otherwise they will only get worse.

3. Being ill-prepared to walk places.

NYU is a walking campus. You’ll notice that upperclassmen are prepared for this. Invest in decent shoes, and backpack that won’t jack your spine up. Finally, if you can’t easily walk a few miles in a day, it’s time to start building up your endurance.

4. Doing everything in a group.

New York is a complex city to maneuver. You’re going to have to learn how to get around on your own. Don’t make the mistake of going out in groups all of the time. Hit the streets on your own, and you will figure things out much faster than if you are with other people doing the navigating.

5. Couple-spreading

You might just fall in love with someone special during your freshman year. That’s wonderful. Just don’t be that annoying couple who holds hands everywhere they go blocking the sidewalk. You’re blocking the way!


6. Forgetting to load your NYU card with campus cash.

Your NYU card is absolutely essential. You will need it to obtain most services on campus, so plan on keeping it with you at all times. Then, remember to keep it loaded with campus cash. You can use this to get food, purchase books, and buy other services on campus.

7. Obnoxiously stalking celebrities.

Remember the kids who starred in the Nickelodeon and Disney shows when you were a child? Well, since you are old enough to attend college, they are too. You will see celebrities on campus and in the city. Be cool. Don’t stare. Don’t fawn.

8. Bringing the wrong accessories to the dorm.

Forget about all of those cutesy accessories that you see in the back to college sections at the department stores. You don’t need a fuzzy lamp or Lisa Frank bulletin board. You will need a mattress pad, and a keurig though.

9. Staying home just because you don’t drink.

In spite of the fact that most dorms are supposed to be dry, they aren’t. People drink at parties at NYU. Don’t let that discourage you from going to parties if you don’t drink. You’ll still be welcome, and people will generally be cool about not pressuring you.

10. Failing to learn train etiquette.

Almost everybody relies on public transportation to get around at least some of the time. There are specific ways to navigate New York’s trains, busses, and subways. Don’t be the person who makes things a hassle for everyone else. Learn the rules and pay attention.

11. Wearing your NYU ID around your neck.

You’ve seen it in the movies. The clueless tourist with the cargo shorts, camera around their neck, and fanny pack haplessly trying to find their way around the big city. That’s what you look like with your NYU ID hanging from a lanyard around your neck.

12. Counting on campus safety to rescue you if you get stranded.

There is technically a program that will provide you with transportation home if you get stranded somewhere. Unfortunately, it takes forever, and security is super strict about where they will go. Keep cash for cab on hand instead.

13. Don’t underestimate the time you will need for studying.

The exact amount of time you will need for studying depends on the variety of interesting and challenging classes that you take as an NYU freshman. Be sure to block at enough hours. After all, you’d rather find out you have more free time, than find out you have to sacrifice free time for studying.

14. Going off campus for health care.

If you are sick, need to speak with a counselor, or just behind on your immunizations, you don’t have to take a trek off campus. NYU has an on campus healthcare center that is designed to meet all of your healthcare needs.

See Also

15. Not signing up for the dining plan.

If you were going to school almost anywhere else, you could probably ditch the dining plan. That’s not the case with NYU. Here, you will want to eat on campus as much as possible. Get the dining plan and save money on cuisine ranging from Kosher to sushi. It does make it harder for the NYU freshman when it comes to the freshman 15.


16. Spending too much time talking to folks back home.

You’re going to be homesick as an NYU freshman. There is just no way around it. Calling friends and family all of the time is no way to cure this. In fact, it will only make you feel worse. Instead, focus on ways that you can meet new people and become more comfortable in your new surroundings.

17. Using the elevator when you don’t need it.

Space on elevators is at a premium. If you need one, expect to wait in line. This is especially true at Bobst (pronounced with a long ‘O’) by the way. Save the elevator for people carrying stuff, or who are unable to do stairs. This is especially true if you are going down.

18. Being inconsiderate with dorm smells.

One unwritten rule of dorm life is that if it cannot be detected from the hallway, it didn’t happen. Try to avoid offending the people on your floor by cooking funky smelling foods, or otherwise letting gross odors travel from your room.

19. Missing a chance to travel abroad.

NYU has campuses in fourteen different locations. These include Abu Dhabi, The Prague, Paris, and Shanghai. If you are able to, consider spending a semester abroad. You will never forget your experiences.

20. Not participating in orientation activities.

Yes, some of them are lame. Go anyway. It is your first chance to meet new people. You’ll also get on your RA’s good side. That is always a plus.


If you avoid making these mistakes, you will feel right at home at NYU. Even better, you won’t annoy your more seasoned classmates by being the stereotypically clueless freshman.

Can you think of other mistakes every NYU freshman makes? Comment below and share the article!
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Rick Riddle

Rick Riddle is a life coach, up-and-coming blogger, and a head content manager at SmartPaperHelp whose articles aim to help people with e-learning, self-development, entrepreneurship, career, and digital marketing. Follow Rick on twitter and LinkedIn to keep up with his latest publications.

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