Stefan Mitikj

Reflecting on the past four years feels like flipping through a book filled with unexpected twists and turns. As I try to capture the essence of life at NYU Abu Dhabi, I find myself grappling with where to even begin.

Before stepping foot on this campus as a sophomore, my world was confined to Skopje, Macedonia. Albeit, not by my fault. After borders closed and the pandemic worsened for so many of us, I was unsure how our community as the Class of 2024 would look once we’d all be on campus. My first year at that point felt like a distant Zoom blur, and the prospect of embracing a new home here seemed daunting, shrouded in uncertainty and hesitation. Like many of us, I harbored doubts about finding my place after feeling out of the loop for such a long time. As time went on, I discovered that overcoming these doubts wasn't merely about determination; it was about embracing them, allowing myself to feel vulnerable, and finding strength in the support of friends and mentors.

From my first roommate showing me how to purchase food at D2, working on my first in-person group project, to organizing that inaugural Dubai trip with people from Senegal, Pakistan, China, US, Ethiopia, and Vietnam, I realized that every moment at NYUAD has been a lesson in collaboration, cultural exchange, and personal growth. 

In the crucible of the pandemic, our sense of community grew stronger. Whether that was applying for another study away semester, maximizing our Falcon Dirhams value through the bookstore, or dealing with the everlasting course registration mishaps, we persevered through it all. Amidst the chaos and uncertainty, we found solace in each other's presence. We navigated our challenges together, hand in hand, shoulder to shoulder.

Throughout my journey at NYUAD, I've come to realize that home isn't confined to a particular place; it's woven into the collection of relationships, the shared experiences, and the unwavering support of those who journey alongside us. Here, amidst the sand dunes and city lights, I've found a home in the hearts of my peers, mentors, and friends. Taking me to Washington, DC, Accra, and Dhaka, NYUAD has shown me how to establish a connection with anyone. 

As we prepare to turn the page to the next chapter of our lives, I carry with me the cherished memories of our time together. Regardless of the directions we take in life, the profound impact of NYUAD will always remain deeply ingrained within us.

We may always be a little jetlagged, our internal clocks ticking to the rhythm of different time zones, but it's a testament to the global perspective that has shaped us. As I look back on these memories, it's clear to me that NYUAD is more than just a university. 

So, as we bid farewell to these four years and embrace the adventures that lie ahead, let us carry forward the lessons learned, the memories shared, and the bonds forged. We are the authors of our own stories, so let’s bookmark this chapter and come back to it time and time again.