Orientation for Juilliard’s 220 new students began with move-in day (August 25) and whirled through a blur of exams, meetings, forms, tours, fittings, panels, and outings.
The day after move-in, students and parents were greeted by President Joseph W. Polisi and Provost and Dean Ara Guzelimian at the annual President’s Welcome. “Come with us, trust us, let us take you on an extraordinary journey,” the president said. “This is a time for exploration and growth for you.” Polisi wound up by saying Juilliard sees its students as “leaders who will be involved” and communicators who can help to heal “a bruised and troubled humanity.”
Guzelimian gave the students three pieces of advice, starting with embracing the notion of the artist as citizen. “That phrase more than any other informs what goes on at the School. Think about that notion—what does it mean to do what we do in context of the larger society?” he asked. “Use your art to make contact with the world around you.”
His second suggestion was that students get out and explore. “There’s not a dull day in this city,” he said. “Don’t live a hermetically sealed Juilliard life. If you do nothing else, take the No. 1 subway to the end of the line; get on the Staten Island Ferry at sunset. It’s free, and you’ll get one of the great romantic views of New York City.”
Finally, noting that “busyness accumulates here,” the dean suggested that when students feel overwhelmed, they should “take a step back, get some perspective. Breathe!”
It was advice some would need soon enough. On campus, in addition to all the administrative tasks associated with starting school, students could take part in casino night, games night, karaoke, a visit from a hypnotist, and numerous raffles. Around town, they could go kayaking at Brooklyn Bridge Park; tour the Met, the Guggenheim, the Frick, the Modern, or Lincoln Center; explore Chinatown, the High Line, the Central Park Zoo, or the Empire State Building; shop at Ikea; and take in a Yankees game, a Circle Line cruise, or Pippin on Broadway.