Why the US? – Brenda Ho (New York University ‘22)


Not many people know this, but my school, NYU, does not have an “actual” campus. Our school buildings are littered throughout the city and navigating through the streets of NYC is part of my daily routine. 

There is no clear distinction between academic life and personal life, and the blend of both makes it easier to feel connected to the city, as opposed to living in an enclosed campus where you might have minimal interactions with the outside world. Your perception is less filtered when you are not protected on school grounds. While sometimes it enables you to see the beauty of the city more clearly, it also pulls you into the jarring reality of New York. 

When people think of NYC, they think about the glitz and glam of Times Square, the Broadway shows, the City of Dreams. But the truth is, New York is a harsh place. The people are less than friendly, the weather is unpredictably aggressive, and car drivers are even more so. No one talks about the immigrants forced to work ungodly hours for meager pay that is hardly enough to sustain themselves. Everyone is struggling, and this fast-paced city will bypass you in a flash even if you are standing still. Eventually, I learned that it was up to me to be independent and keep my feet moving. 

Attending a school without a campus, I do miss out on many things. I’ve never been to a football game, never seen the intense rush of school spirit, never visited a fraternity house. But if the alternative is to see New York City in its truest form, to live and experience life as a local New Yorker, all the lessons it has taught me have made it worthwhile.