A Class of 2021 Reflection: Mauricio Yanez

We ask Mauricio Yanez from NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2021 to reflect on his college journey, and he shares with us the friendships formed, how he’s grown, and his favorite NYUAD memories.

Name: Mauricio Yanez
Major: Economics
Country: Peru

Mauricio Yanez, NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2021.

For your friendships formed during university, what has surprised you most about them? 

One thing that has surprised me is how deep and profound a friendship can get through real vulnerability and honesty. Part of coming to NYUAD involves coming to a diverse community where you can discuss issues with people from all around the world with different backgrounds. 

When you approach conversation from a place of good intent, honesty, real vulnerability, and willingness to learn, the relationship can grow so much deeper and supportive of one another. The level of maturity and emotional awareness of my friend group is something I am grateful for every day because it allows us to have difficult conversations in the hopes of strengthening and learning from our friendship.

How has NYUAD helped shape who you are today?

NYUAD has helped me become a person who is comfortable in discomfort. I have gotten used to changing countries, food, cultures, friends, styles of teaching and learning, experiences that challenge me physically, mentally, and emotionally.

NYUAD has taught me how to challenge myself in all aspects of my life while loving and caring for myself.

Mauricio Yanez, NYUAD Class of 2021

I never thought people would care about what I have to say, and yet at NYUAD I produced and hosted two podcasts that have received incredibly positive feedback from the community. All these amazing experiences would have never happened if I had not pushed myself constantly outside my comfort.

What are some of your favorite memories of being an NYUAD student?

A favorite memory at NYUAD is waking up every morning for football training. In high school, I stepped away from team sports and moved into more individual ones because I always felt like I was not good enough. I decided to try something different and ended up falling in love with the sport. Every second on the pitch and every drop of sweat are treasured memories of NYUAD for me.

How has senior year been? 

Studying remotely as a senior has been a very emotionally challenging experience. It feels like everything that constitutes the senior year experience has been unjustly taken away from us, and the inability to do something about it makes us feel powerless and sometimes unheard or unseen. However, at the same time, it has been an opportunity to redefine what it means to have a senior year experience and really bring out the value of this year to the beautiful small moments that really matter. 

From the very first day of my first year, I have woken up at 6am and trained football from 7am to 8:30am every day of the week. When the pandemic struck, football was taken away from me just when I had finally made it to the starting team, and was ready to take on a leadership position within the team. However, I decided to shift the focus to exploring a university without football. I mourned the loss of football, but also shifted my perspective to take the loss of football as a new opportunity to explore something new and step outside my comfort zone to grow as a person and have a unique experience I had not had before.