Pros and Cons of studying in New York?Answered
I've always loved psychology, but recently I've shifted more to business. Sociology seems like the perfect fit, so I'm looking into that. Columbia University seems actually ideal for me- given all factors except location.
I live in Michigan
I am super close to my family
I don't know anyone in New York.
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I didn't study in New York but I'll give you some thoughts on what I consider the pros and cons. Before I provide my list let's address what you have so far. Michigan is pretty far from New York. It's a long drive, flights aren't too bad but can be expensive depending on certain factors so you might only be able to go home for holidays. However, that doesn't mean you can't still be close to your family. Personally I think you can remain close by calling/video chat/texting often if that's something you want to do. Who knows, you might be having too much fun to think about it much!
As far as not knowing anyone in NY I don't think that's a huge deal either. Most students are likely in the same situation as you are and will be looking to make friends. A great thing about NY is the number of things to do there so there will be ample opportunities for you to meet people. Besides, if you go to school somewhere else are you likely to know anyone there? And if you do, are they someone you would likely actively hang out with or just an acquaintance? It's entirely possible even if a good friend goes to the same school as you that you won't see each other as much as you thought you would due to class schedules, living situation, new friends, etc. Just some thoughts. Anyways, list time.
- Lots to do. There is so much to do in NY you will never be bored. Between Broadway, some of the best museums in the world, sports games, some of the best restaurants in the world, bars, clubs, you name it and NY probably has it. In fact, Columbia can help you out with this. You can gain access to tons of museums for free, cheap movie tickets, access to free events, etc. Check it out: https://artsinitiative.columbia.edu/.
- It's diverse. NY is crazy diverse and it's almost like you can travel to another place with how much they have to offer. You're going to be able to experience tons of different cultures and lifestyles which can help broaden your world view and this can be a big help in the professional world. Not to mention all the great cuisine from different cultures you can try and places to visit like Chinatown, Germantown, Little Italy, etc.
- Networking and related opportunities. This is a big one and I"m kinda combining a few things in one. I don't think there are many cities that have networking opportunities like NY. And going to a school like Columbia is only going to help you make those connections. Add in the fact that you are going to have fantastic internship and job opportunities while you're there and you can set yourself up for success early in your college career.
- Food. I touched on this in the other parts. People love food. I love trying new food and am lucky enough to live somewhere where I can get all different kinds by walking out my door. Totally possible you don't care about this!
- Transport. This might be less of a pro with how popular Uber/Lyft are nowadays but I think the public transportation is a strong positive. You definitely won't need (or want) a car if you go to school in NY but you'll still be able to get around easily. The subway is cheap (relatively) and there are plenty of trains you can take if you're looking to get away for a weekend or a day trip.
- NY is BIG. This may be a pro for some, cons for others. NY and NYC are big. There are A LOT of people, there is a lot going on, and the city is fast-paced. There's a reason people say the city never sleeps. If you're someone who enjoys a more laid back lifestyle this hustle and bustle might be a bit overwhelming for you. If you're OK with a big city consider how that might impact your grades. Will you be able to show restraint and focus on your studies or will the allure of the city make it difficult for you to stay focused on what you need to do.
- Far away. I touched on this a bit in the beginning but NY is far from Michigan. If you can't stomach the fact that you might need to stay in NY for some holidays or you might miss important family functions then it might not be right for you. There can be a lot of pros when you go to school near your parents like home cooked meals, doing laundry for free, moving into/out of college is easier, etc.
- Expensive. While there is tons to do that doesn't matter much if you don't have money to do it. Eating out, drinking (once you're old enough), activities, transportation, all of this stuff adds up. NY is expensive so you may find it difficult to enjoy as many things as you want. And if you don't have housing for 4 years? Better find a job because affording an apartment can be difficult.
- Weather. You're from Michigan so maybe this isn't too different from what you're used to? But something to keep in mind is the weather. It can get cold. Winters last forever. Can you see yourself walking up early to walk to class when it's 15 degrees and icy? It can also get super hot too. There might be less "optimal" weather conditions than you are used to.
- Campus feel. This might not be an issue for you since you said Columbia is close to an ideal school for you but many times city schools don't have that campus vibe that a lot of students enjoy. Consider how this might impact your sense of community and belonging as well. With so much to do in the surrounding areas you might find it more difficult to feel close to the school and the people who go there.
- Safety. I'm putting this in the cons but it's more something to consider and not a pro/con necessarily. Think about if you'll be comfortable at the school. Will you feel comfortable walking at night with friends? Alone? This is obviously something you should consider for every school but with NY being so big maybe it's worth considering a bit more.
- Tuition. If you're planning to go to school outside Michigan no matter what then this doesn't really apply. But if you're going to decide between school in Michigan or somewhere else like NY you need to consider the difference in cost. Going to school in Michigan will most likely be cheaper than NY because you'll get in-state tuition (although Columbia has great financial aid).
This ended up being longer than I thought. And I honestly don't think I provided any groundbreaking insights or information that you couldn't find through a google search, oops. But, I hope it helped. Happy to discuss this more, answer follow-up questions, etc.
I feel like career-wise you're all set, and Columbia has amazing majors regardless of what you end up choosing. Columbia is actually my dream school too, so I know quite a lot about the school.
Unfortunately, I have lived in big cities throughout my whole life, so I don't know what It is like to live somewhere like Michigan, but I can assure you living in an urban area like New York is amazing. First, there are the amazing opportunities of internships and experiences that a small town just cannot offer, and Columbia specifically does its best to give its students pre-professional training. Also, Columbia is located in Morningside Heights, a fraction of New York that has a homey and small college town feel while being subway stations away from the bustling New York.
Now, this doesn't mean you will literally be in a college town, there will be noise and activity 24/7, wich you might not be fond of, but the Columbia Campus has the Columbia bubble that I suspect you would like.
I hope this helped, and I hope you can make the best decision for you!
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