I sat down with CUNY Hunter College student Daniel Mazzilli to talk about his experience at the school. In his third year at Hunter, Daniel is originally from Italy and transferred to CUNY from a university in Rome so he could pursue more diverse courses. He has a minor in Art History and is about to declare his major in Geography. Here is what Daniel wishes he had known before arriving at Hunter.
1. Friends are Seasonal
As a city school, Hunter can’t have as cohesive of a campus culture as many private schools do. Students live all around New York City, so everyone has a unique experience commuting to and from school. Those who live in student housing are surrounded by their classmates more often, but the residence halls are too far from the actual campus to feel very connected to the school. This all makes random encounters classmates outside of class unlikely. Without considerable effort to stay in touch with people you meet in your classes, it can be hard for some to form friendships that extend beyond the end of a semester. This is especially important to keep in mind if you are moving to New York City to attend Hunter and do not already have a support system set up there.
2. Athletic Facilities
New York City is densely packed and its denizens quickly learn the merits of taking up as little space as possible. While New York can seem larger than life in terms of the height of its buildings, constructing large horizontal spaces in the city is challenging. As such, Hunter does not have sports fields of its own. Play is organized at pre-existing fields, but Hunter’s own facilities are more tucked away. Some spaces, including the basketball courts, are in underground gyms with no windows. While these gyms are air-conditioned and in fine shape, they can take some getting used to. Athletes are advised to do some research of their own on the facilities and make sure they will have everything they need at Hunter.
3. Free Printing
Hunter undergraduates receive 300 pages of free printing per semester at the Student Resource Center. More than just a perk, this saves students a good deal of money as well as offering convenience and reliability; because the Resource Center is open and staffed nearly all day Monday through Saturday, its printers are less likely to malfunction than a consumer printer you keep at home. The Resource Center itself is also a good thing for incoming students to be aware of. In addition to printers, the Resource Center is comprised of two sizeable computer labs as well as a lounge for studying relaxing (or both!). The lounge even contains a microwave and a television.
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4. Getting Around is Easy
While being in the middle of a bustling part of Manhattan means Hunter does not have its own campus culture, it does come with advantages. The school is very accessible via Manhattan’s top-notch public transit. The 6 train line of the subway brings you right to Hunter’s door – the stop is even named for the school. And once you are inside one of the school buildings, getting from place to place is even easier. Most of the buildings are connected by underground hallways or sky bridges, which offer a bird’s eye view of the environs. Streamlined passage to, from, and within the school is one of its unsung high points that saves students tons of time.
5. There is no “Average Hunter Student”
Perhaps the most important part of Hunter’s immersion in New York City rather than its own is the diversity it brings. People come to Hunter from all over and of all ages. There is no dominant demographic, and everyone is bound to take classes with people from very different backgrounds, and who may be in school for different reasons. So while it is true that the social portions of college do not come automatically at Hunter, one’s time there is not spent away from the world one enters upon graduation, and is as such both academic and life training.
Alessio Franko graduated from the University of Chicago in 2014 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Cinema and Media Studies with a Minor in German Language and Literature. He is currently based in New York City, where he works in television and video.