Do You Want to be a Part of It? Graduate School in NYC
by Stephanie Small
Published January 31, 2011
If you’re from NYC, you know there’s no other place to be.
If you’re from Boston, you think your city’s “just as good”.
And if you’re from the rest of the world, you either enjoy the adrenalin rush from the skyscrapers, neon lights, and traffic…or you put a pillow over your head at the mere thought of spending more than a week in the City That Never Sleeps.
If you’re one of those that feeds off the hectic vibe, graduate school in NYC could be a highly enriching experience. Check out the input below from a few souls courageous enough to dive into the constant flow of stimulation and information in order to absorb and learn. NOTE: if you need nature and silence, don’t even think about higher education in Manhattan. You might be able to swing Brooklyn or Queens.
The Urban Laboratory
The City itself is such a distinctive place – home to the best of the best in so many ways - that it tends to be a hugely significant piece of the graduate school decision making puzzle. “New York seemed like a great urban laboratory. I thought that by virtue of its setting, Columbia's program would emphasize the social aspects of architecture,” shares Jack Bransfield, who attended Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture for one year.
Jason Gluskin, who received his Masters in Integrated Marketing from NYU, was already working full time in a job he loved - marketing and biz dev at Live Nation in NYC - and looking to attend school part time. “My classes were from 6-9 in the midtown campus right by Bryant Park. I’d pop in after work. Obviously, NYC is the home of so much media, marketing and entertainment,” he says. Dani Snyder-Young was also already living in NYC and wanted to stay. Plus, her PhD in Theater from NYU allowed her “to see top flight professional work and maintain an ongoing professional practice.”
Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems
Or, in this case, less money, mo’ problems. NYC is a strange contradiction: one of the financial capitals of the world, with 1000 people living in its subway system (www.myfoxny.com). Graduate students tend to have actual apartments but are still often living on shoestring budgets, which is difficult to do in the country’s costliest city. “It's stupid expensive. I ate a lot of potato soup, and spent 60-70% of my income on rent,” says Snyder-Young.
Bransfield agrees: “graduate students don't tend to have a lot of disposable income. This made it tough to enjoy all of the things New York has to offer.” But Gluskin feels “opportunity in NYC is tremendous…the degree has helped me secure two positions since.” So if you can tough it out on ramen and tuna fish and an outer borough address for 3+ years, the future streets may well be paved with gold.
The City’s Secrets
What should prospective New Yorkers know before they matriculate at their Big Apple U of choice? I’ll add my own 2 cents: aside from San Francisco, you won’t find better food in the country. Amazing flavors for all budgets. For the dim sum enthusiasts, Snyder-Young reports the following little-known fact: “there are three Chinatowns-- one on Canal street in Manhattan, one in Sunset Park Brooklyn, and one in Flushing Queens.”
Gluskin cautions that the move may involve a “major lifestyle adjustment, especially if you like to get out into nature sometimes like I do.” And in keeping with the concrete jungle theme, Bransfield states, “with the notable exception of Central Park, they do not have trees there,” although he does offer that “Fire Island is the perfect antidote to life in Manhattan.”
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