Confessions of a Liberal Studies Program Freshman

The LSP’s community – or lack thereof

The CAS students have strong cohorts and some get to go to Florence together.

My neighbor in the Steinhardt Music Business program studies, performs and goes out with her fellow Music Business majors on the daily.

My roommate in Stern grabs lunch everyday with his fellow Sternies to discuss the latest CNBC headlines and predict the ebb and flow of the economy.

And the Tischies…well, I don’t think much needs to be said about their common interests.

Then you have the students of the Liberal Studies Core Program. This is the program reserved for the freshmen who, to quote many with whom I have spoken, “Still don’t know what they want to do in their lives.”

Let me make things clear: there is absolutely no problem with being undecided.

I myself am an LSP freshman, and although LSP was not my first choice school at NYU (I’m looking at you, CAS), I was suffering through an identity crisis during my college application process. Accepting my offer to attend NYU after receiving an acceptance to LSP undoubtedly stands as the right decision made.

And although LSP may be academically and fundamentally sound, I would say that, coming from experience, it’s farfetched to expect to form a stable community with your LS-Peers. Because of the variety of interests, particularly the lack of interests, of LSP students, I’ve noticed that many people just don’t know how to relate. Even in Gallatin, the “free for all” NYU school, students seem to relate to one another as they embrace each other’s bevy of interests. As a matter of fact, in many of my required LSP classes, everyone engages in small talk and complain about the petty work our professors give us because they have almost nothing in common.

Sternies attending the U.S. Open during Welcome Week.

For example, a person in one of my classes loves to discuss sports with me, particularly my beloved New York. But whenever I try to enhance the discussion by introducing an interesting or controversial topic related to the Yankees and baseball as a whole, the  conversation abruptly dies.

I guarantee you I am not the only freshman at LSP to have ever experienced something like this.

An outdoor LSP Class

I have been lucky enough to have found and retained many great friends in LSP through my widespread variety of interests, especially music and sports. In fact, I will definitely stay friends with most of them throughout college.

However, the connections I developed with the hundreds of other people with whom I associated probably will not last. Although that sounds pessimistic, I am content because I know that whichever program I go into after LSP, I’ll finally find that elusive community for which I’ve been looking.

But don’t just take my word for it, I asked some of my LSP peers what they thought of the LSP Community.

Arushi Gupta, Freshman

What do you think of the LSP Community?

“I feel like you do get to form a good community with the people from your classes because they are small classes so you get to know them well. But in terms of meeting people outside your classes in the program, the LS events and clubs and shit like that, that’s all very… lackluster, I guess? Like the stuff I have attended that’s just for LS was not super great and well attended, so I feel like there isn’t much of an interest in binding the Liberal Studies community together.”

Benjamin Zinevich, Freshman

“They keep to themselves… I don’t know.”

Charlie Lyttle, Freshman

“I feel like most people don’t read the event emails and go to the events, so a lot of people don’t take full advantage of it.”

Haven Williams, Freshman

“Liberal Studies people tend to have as much in common with each other as high schoolers do. Unfortunately, LSP is not a specialized program because it receives so many students that are not interested in liberal arts… it’s easy to see very dichotomous communities emerge from one classroom where some people are eager to hang out with other people and yet, with high school classes, you have many students who are wallflowers or [students] I believe who could have more effort.”

Vedika Kumar, Freshman

“I don’t think it’s very integrated, actually. All of these other schools have events where you can bond with people and professors and we just don’t have that.”