Lachlan's avatar@lachlanjc/notebook

Leave of Absence

I’ve been thinking this through for a few months, and I just can’t see a world where it makes sense to come back to NYU this fall. I’ll just be taking a leave, not withdrawing entirely, since I do hope I can return at some point in the future, but for now none of the scenarios add up for me.

In summary, seems like my options are:

  1. Attend fully remotely. Personally, I found the online courses this spring pretty wholly disappointing & I didn’t feel like I left them having learned much of anything or having derived real value. While of course it caught us off guard this spring, I didn’t see the university helping professors to make their online classes excel, & the results I found disengaging at best. It also…still cost full shot ($80k)…and will this fall.
  2. Attend via Go Local. Seems to entail everything bad about living in a city, everything bad about taking classes remotely, none of the IMA people/facilities to benefit from, plus living in an expensive city I don’t really want to live in. Makes sense if you don’t live close to NYC, but that’s not me.
  3. Take just a few credits/take the spread-out option. Reduces my motivation/ability to fully commit to my academics (already a primary concern of remote) by it not being full-time, if just a few credits then not getting financial aid if I’m not a full student, while also restricting me from having a full-time job outside of classes.
  4. Come to the city. NYU’s communications thus far have been pretty non-informative, but none have addressed my primary concerns (transit/taking the subway, dining halls, what restricted social life will look like/do to my mental health), and even in the best-case scenario, I’m not hanging out with friends & building projects on the IMA floor, which are some of the main things I came to college for, or really exploring & enjoying the city.

Unfortunately, if it still costs the same but provides maybe a quarter of the value while also featuring the choice between living at home or risking my health in NYC, it just doesn’t make sense for me. (The alternative, working, I can do safely wherever & comes with a paycheck, so…that’s what I’m doing. I’ve re-joined Hack Club & I’ve been having a blast designing & coding & building our community.)

My professors at NYU were fantastic, and made IMA a joy to be apart of. This is not a turn I anticipated in my college career, & I really hope I can return when it makes sense, as I will miss the environment at NYU/IMA greatly. But in the meantime, if I can work remotely, not get COVID, earn my tuition in salary, and have an exciting, productive year, the choice seems clear.