<< The harsh reality of film school

By Genevieve Wong, NYU Film School
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After the September 11 attacks, you should think twice about going to college in New York.

Although I knew nobody who was killed, the attacks still had a big impact on me as a student at New York University. After the attacks, cell phones and NYU dorm phones went dead. My mom didn’t know whether I was dead or alive because she simply could not reach me for three days. We had no mail for a week, and to this day it takes 20 days for a piece of mail to get to me from Los Angeles.

With subways and bridges shut down, nobody could really get into or out of Manhattan. Many people had to crash at friends’ places for a couple of days before they could go home. Two dorms were evacuated because of the ash and poor air quality. Those students had to stay in the school gym.

The next couple of days were kind of surreal. NYU started being nice! They gave us all free food at the dining halls and one movie theater let us see movies for free. New Yorkers started saying "sorry," "excuse me" and "pardon." They even smiled if they were in a rush.

A candlelight vigil was set up across the street from my dorm in Union Square. Every night I would look at the candles and mourners from my balcony, and every day I’d hear sirens, protestors, and walk past the posters of missing people taped to the trees.

I attempted to do a radio documentary of some interviews I collected about the mourners and visitors at the park. I never really had the will to finish it. I think I just tried to move on. I was pretty grateful that I knew nobody in the World Trade Center, although the child I tutored knew three neighbors who died.

Some students are leaving

Many of my business school friends are planning to leave New York after graduation. Many of their job opportunities went down with the World Trade Center, so to speak. Surprisingly, many of my film school classmates insist on staying, saying that the industry is making a comeback.

Since it’s hard to find a paying film job in New York, I think I will be returning to Los Angeles to get a job after graduation. To its credit, New York has grown stronger since the attacks and taken serious preventative measures. But I still think the attacks have made it harder to be a college student in New York.