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Adapting to NYU as an Older Freshman

Alice Tsoir is a 20-year-old LS freshman who feels mentally separated from her usually 18-year-old peers.

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Alice Tsoir is a 20-year-old LS freshman who feels mentally separated from her usually 18-year-old peers.

By Alice Li, Staff Writer

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The streets of the Village aren’t necessarily the first thought for every high school senior who ends up donning NYU purple.

For some high school seniors, things like the military or travel seem more appealing than college. While most undergraduate students commence their NYU careers at 18 years old, options besides school sometimes defer immediate academic continuity.

Stern junior Joshua Tay started studying at NYU when he was 21 and is now 23 years old. He hails from Singapore and said that it was difficult for him to connect with his younger peers during his freshman year.

“There will be people you don’t think you can connect with on the same wavelength in that sense, because the topics you talk about are different from what you’re interested in if you’re older,” Tay said. “I didn’t know if I couldn’t connect because of my age gap, or because I’m an international student coming from so far away.”

Tay said that at the time, he tended to have better connections with upperclassmen and professors instead of his classmates.

“[My professor] was asking me about where I’m from and my life, and I was telling her about that, and she mentioned she appreciates [older students],” Tay said.

However, he views his connection with his peers — or lack thereof — as a general social interaction problem for himself.

Alice Tsoir, a 20-year-old LS freshman, said that she does not feel intellectually different from other freshman — she feels mentally separated. Tsoir said that she feels more inclined to make responsible decisions, avoid impulses freshmen might have and conduct herself with a greater level of maturity.

“I do feel like there’s certain things I’m more responsible in, but it doesn’t mean I’m responsible in everything as well,” Tsoir said. “I’ve already had my share of 18-year-old partying, let’s say, and I’m just not interested in that.”

She said that the social sphere of younger students relies heavily on the party scene, which she does not find particularly appealing. Gallatin freshman Johnny Eshet, 21 years old, also feels similarly about the mental state differing from his own.

“18 and 19-year-olds — especially males — are more down for getting like, fucked up, or call it what you will,” Eshet said. “I’m just not into that.”

He said that the immaturity and impulse to go wild in a new city are more prevalent outside Gallatin, because his classroom setting is relatively egalitarian. But even with these disparities, Eshet does not mind the difference due to his experiences before arriving at NYU.

“I traveled for a bit, which didn’t make me more mature, but the army did,” Eshet said, who traveled after voluntarily serving two years in the military. “I got a better understanding of my personality, interests and goals.”

Email Alice Li at [email protected]

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