Natalie Yale: from Plant to NYU 


Luka Vaicekauskas

Posing then and now, a former Plant High School student, Natalie Yale, shares about her experience at NYU. Now, after spending 4 years at Plant High School, Natalie just finished her first semester as a NYU liberal studies student, in preparation on majoring in drama and minoring in production and creative writing next year.

From Tampa to New York in a matter of months, a former Plant High School student, Natalie Yale, shares about her experience in one of the most competitive schools in the state-NYU. She is a current liberal studies student, in preparation on majoring in drama and minoring in production and creative writing next year.  

But the innovative New York Dream began in Tampa, where Natalie studied at Plant for four academic and creative years. 

“At Plant I was in varsity chorale for three years, pink panthers a cappella group for two years, Plant theater company, the tennis team, and mayors youth corps,” Yale said.  

But when her high school experience was coming to an end and Natalie was applying to future schools, NYU did not seem to be near her reach. 

“I had to apply on the common application, so I had to complete a personal essay and resume, as well as one “Why NYU” supplemental. I couldn’t say what stood out in my application. I originally wanted to go to a liberal arts college in Massachusetts and I didn’t think I’d get into NYU, so I sort of completed the application rather quickly. I think sometimes the best things happen despite our fear. In this case, because I wasn’t so stressed about the application, and I wasn’t overthinking things, I just wrote truthfully,” Yale said. 

Even though the application was completed quickly and by heart, Natalie got an acceptance letter opening the doors to studies in New York City.  

“As soon as I got the acceptance letter I was overjoyed. I just immediately knew it was the right place for me. It was a visceral feeling. I’d always dreamed of living in the city and the acceptance reaffirmed that dream in me,” Yale said.  

However, the 94 majors that NYU offers can be overwhelming, and many students face the difficult challenge of being indecisive about the career path they should choose. Such was too the case for Natalie, but after a semester in NYU, her future vision formed.  

“I decided to apply to liberal studies because when I was applying to college my senior year I still wasn’t sure what I wanted to do. The liberal studies program gives you a foundation to transfer into any of the other schools at NYU after you complete the program, so it’s good for students who are undecided. However, after I applied, I realized what I wanted to be studying, so I’m working on transferring out of liberal studies for next year,” Yale said. 

In the next couple of years, Natalie sees herself writing, acting, and directing her own films and collaborating with other artists. However, she has her hands on her dreams and is now managing some of her creative work, including the “Falling Forward” movie. 

“Falling Forward” is a feature length coming of age drama with moments of comedy and serious introspection. The story is about a young dancer who moves to the city for college. There, she searches for a sense of comfort and confronts the real world, all while trying to survive the typical struggles of a high school student. 

“When I moved to NYU I met Jack Diaz, a really talented writer and director in NYU’s film school. We met randomly in the dining hall because we were both sitting alone and we’re like, “Hey let’s sit together.” We started talking about our love for movies and passion for creating art. I told him how I was looking for things to act in and if he ever needs an actress, I’m free. A week later I filmed his short film “Breathe” and we worked extremely well together, which was weird because we had just met. So after that I said, “If you ever want to work on something bigger, I’d love to be a part of it and I’d commit to it.” And two weeks later we wrote a feature length film together called “Falling Foward.” We just finished auditions and now have a full cast, so we’ll be shooting all of next semester,” Yale said. 

And despite some struggles, Natalie speaks positively about her college experience in New York.  

“My experience at NYU has been wonderful. Being in the city for college is certainly not a traditional college experience but I’ve been forced to grow up much more because of it. The students that NYU brings together are really a special community. There’s such brilliant, talented kids and it’s extremely motivating. Also, another favorite part is the subway. You don’t feel restricted or isolated in your campus, you can go anywhere and that’s a nice feeling,” Yale said.  

But just last year Yale was in Tampa, anxious to receive the email with a congratulations letter from her dream college, and to a for a future applicant she would advice the following. 

“What you study isn’t that important and do not take yourself so seriously because nothing is that big a deal in the grand scheme of things besides your happiness and well-being” Yale said.