FRESHMAN FOCUS: Dakota Cosgrove, ’16, checks out the MOMA and the Met in between dance rehearsals at NYU’s Tisch School

(Photo used by permission of Cosgrove)
Dakota Cosgrove, ’16, (right) and her best friend Iliana, a dance major, pose in Central Park for a friend’s photography project.

Dakota Cosgrove, ‘16, attends New York University (NYU) in New York City. She is in the Tisch School of Arts and is currently majoring in dance.

Q: What classes are you taking?

A: I am currently taking dance (dance technique class), Dance Composition, music, Anatomy for Dance, Writing the Essay (a Tisch requirement) and The Science of Happiness.

Q: How big are your classes?

A: My dance classes are relatively small. There are usually around 15 people, and the same goes for my writing class. My Science of Happiness class is a huge lecture with around 150 students.

Q: Do you like the sizes of your classes?

A: Having small classes is great, especially in terms of dance, because you get to have more one-on-one attention from the teachers. You really get to know your teachers well and feel comfortable with both them and your classmates.

Q: What’s your favorite class?

A: I really enjoy all of my dance classes. I absolutely love dancing – I’ve been dancing ever since I can remember. It’s so incredible to be able to go to school for my passion.

I also really enjoy my Science of Happiness class. It’s a class on positive psychology, which is a relatively new but very interesting field that deals with figuring out how people thrive and what leads to a healthy and positive life.  

Q: Least favorite?

A: The only class of mine (that) I don’t like very much is Writing the Essay. We have to write around three, 10-page papers a semester on art and how it relates to social issues.

This semester, my first essay was to choose an artist of any medium and write about their body of work and how their creative process relates to the cultures surrounding (them), and what the artist’s work reveals about the cultural context. (The) essay that I am currently working on is one in which we choose a public issue, and use two art pieces to stage a version of the conversation that surrounds the issue.

All of the prompts are very vague, so it’s a class I kind of struggle with. Especially with my insane dance schedule, it’s difficult for me to find the time to do all of the work.

(Photo used by permission of Cosgrove)
Dakota Cosgrove, ’16, crouches for a friend’s photography project.

Q: Have you participated in any clubs?

A: I honestly don’t have a lot of free time outside of dance to focus on clubs or extracurriculars because in addition to my dance courses, I have a lot of rehearsals and whatnot. On average I dance around 25 hours a week, so it’s hard for me to do a lot of things outside of the dance realm.

Q: Did you transition well?

A: I think I transitioned extremely well, which was surprising because I thought it might be a little difficult to move to a place like New York City.  It was quite a smooth transition, which I think is due to the fact that I absolutely love it here.

Q: What is the overall attitude of the student body?

A: I think the student body is kind of a mixed bag. There are definitely a lot of very motivated academic students, and there are also a lot of students that party a lot. (But) even those students tend to be academic, have their priorities in check and don’t let partying take over their lives.  

Q: How do you get around?

A: All of my classes are within walking distance, so I walk everywhere. Even on the weekends I walk everywhere; except if I’m going somewhere outside of the East Village, I’ll take the subway.

Q: What is New York City like?

A: I live in the heart of Manhattan, so the surrounding environment is amazing. There’s an endless list of things to do. You can just step outside and find something to do instantaneously. It’s pretty difficult to get bored in a place like this.

I’ve been to a lot of art museums, such as the Met, the MOMA and the Whitney (Museum of American Art). I go to parks a lot, such as the Washington Square Park and Central Park.

There’s really an endless amount of things to do in the city, and I wish I had more time to do all of them.

Q: What is your dorm like?

A: I live in a dorm right on Union Square (that) has around 20 floors.  I have an apartment-style dorm with a living room area, a kitchen and a bathroom, along with two bedrooms. Each bedroom has two beds, so I live with three other girls. My dorm is really nice because I got to have a kitchen, which is lucky since the majority of the NYU freshman dorms aren’t apartment-style.

Q: How are your roommates?

A: My roommate is nice. We get along, but we aren’t best friends or anything. My other two suitemates are really messy. Our kitchen is always an absolute disaster, so I don’t even really use it because it’s so disgusting. We also always have trash piling up in our dorm. I’m the one that has to take it out because I get so disgusted by the smell that eventually it just gets too bad, and I give in and take it out. They never ever clean up after themselves, which is really annoying.

(Photo used by permission of Cosgrove)
Dakota Cosgrove, ’16, and her friend Ilianapose in a dance photo shoot for a friend’s photography project.

Q: What is the weather like?

A: The weather is beautiful in the spring and summer; however, this past winter was pretty brutal. It was one of the worst NYC winters in a while. There were multiple really bad snowstorms. School was even closed for a day, which hardly ever happens.  The winter was also much longer than usual, and coming from California, it was kind of hard to adjust to the cold.  

Q: Has NYU lived up to your expectations so far?

A: NYU has far exceeded my expectations. In my opinion, it is the best school ever, and I’ve never been happier in my entire life.

Q: What is your favorite thing about your school?

A: That it is located in the heart of New York City. We don’t have a “campus”; the city is our campus, which is awesome. It doesn’t feel like a typical college; it’s kind of like you’re living on your own in New York City. There are endless opportunities and people to meet here; you have so many resources at your fingertips.

Q: What makes NYU unique?

A: The Tisch School of the Arts has an exceptional arts program. Every single department of the program is really well established and developed, which is pretty rare for an academic university. NYU has such a diverse student body and a huge international population as well.  

Q: Have you made any freshman mistakes?

A: It’s been difficult for me to budget my money because everything in NYC is 10 times more expensive than anywhere else, so I’m still working on that.

Q: What is your advice for the class of 2017?

A: Follow your heart in choosing your major. Don’t let anyone else influence you too much; go with your intuition.  Being able to study your passion in college and being able to do what you love every day (are) the best (things) in the world.

By David Situ

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