50 Days Until Graduation: Graduating Senior Spotlight on Grace Houghton-Larsen
April 10, 2019
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The following interview was conducted by Tisch Center student worker, Haley Park.

How have you grown as an individual since freshman year?

Since my freshman year, I have definitely grown into myself. In joining different extracurriculars, meeting new people, and taking challenging classes, I’ve been able to develop and challenge myself. Academically, I have learned a lot through my classes and internships, and from the people in my class. I’ve also become a more confident and ambitious person. I don’t shy away from a challenge but rather see it as an opportunity to learn. All in all, there are endless ways I have grown since I have come to NYU, but the biggest one has been growing as an individual – I feel more ‘me’ than ever.

Is there one internship or class you had during your undergrad experience that stands out to you?

I took a class called Customer Relationship Management with Professor Maldari during my junior year. He and his class had a big impact on me for a couple of reasons. One, Professor Maldari was a fantastic professor and had no trouble bringing in his professional and personal experiences to enhance classroom learning. Two, the class itself was intriguing to me and I felt that I was doing work that I was really interested in.

In terms of internships, I did an internship for two summers at Hyatt Lodge in Oakbrook, Illinois. This internship made a great impression on me because the roles and responsibilities I was given by managers were unparalleled from other internships I had. I felt like I was really being counted on and I was also able to take more risks. The staff quickly became my family and I learned why so many people love the hospitality industry for its combination of charismatic, hard working people and for the genuine desire to provide service to guests.

What are your plans after graduation and what are you most excited about for post-undergrad life?

I just signed an offer at a staffing firm, Beacon Hill. Graduating with a hospitality degree, this job certainly isn’t the most obvious one, however I think a lot of the skills that I’ve honed over the last four years will be beneficial. It’s a people-person job and similar to hospitality, loyalty and satisfaction are very important, both on the candidate and client side. But before that, I am traveling for a couple weeks in Europe. In terms of what I am most excited for for post-grad life, I’m looking forward to learning to cook all my meals and starting meal prepping!

What will you take away from your 4 years at NYU?

The people. Within SPS, Pi Phi and my classes, I’ve really felt like I’m at home. So much of who I am today is because of the diverse people around me who I have learned a great deal from. In addition, I will take away a strong sense of pride from studying at NYU. A When I first came to NYU, I didn’t think I would graduate with this sense of pride that I feel now, mainly because our school spirit isn’t directly tied to a sports team, but now, I am really proud to say that I have graduated from NYU.

What piece of advice would you give to undergrad students?

Don’t be afraid to lean on people around you. What connects us all as humans is vulnerability and discomfort. I think a lot of times when you come to a big, bustling city, everyone expects you have all your stuff together and put up this hard exterior – I definitely participated in that. But I have found when you’re honest with people, whether that’s expressing to someone you need them or exposing vulnerability, you connect with people. A lot of the times what you’ll find is that they actually have the same struggle, or emotion. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and put yourself out there and say that you want to talk about something. Having a good network of people in New York is what makes the city exciting, and what ultimately allows you to thrive.