Off the bat, Nicole Gartside will warn you that she is a “talker.” Her bubbly and infectious personality, however, will simply show you she is just as much a “laugher” and a “smiler.”

From Evergreen, Colorado, a small town of only 9,000 residents, Gartside graduated high school with a class of 200 students. New York, as she still describes it, is undoubtedly overwhelming.

Despite it all, a nervous laugh or two aside, Gartside has managed the near impossible: A junior double-majoring in English and Journalism, the 20-year-old plans to graduate at the end of this academic year, a full year early. As president of New York University’s Zeta Tau Alpha sorority, she recently welcomed 38 new members to her chapter of 117 total sisters.

Greek life: It’s basically a full time job. I got into Greek life to make friends and I ended up being really involved my first two years. I really love the sisterhood of it. Will I be president again? Laughs. No. I think one year is plenty. It’s hard to be the boss of your friends. Being in charge? Having to deal with the emails, paper, meetings? Having to tell your best friends what they can or can’t do? It can be an emotionally tolling job. One year is plenty.

Graduating Early: It’s actually a little bit of an accident. I ended up getting a semester’s worth of credits through AP tests. Then, I went abroad last summer to Madrid because I liked the idea of a 6-week program. Since I’ll be in New York for winter break, I’ll take classes then. Then I’ll be done early!

Wherever the wind takes me: I would love to work as a journalist for a publication, but I’m not married to the idea either. Throughout school, I’ve done voice-over narrations, PR for several companies, and other secretarial positions, so I wouldn’t mind going into one of those fields either. I just like writing and working with people, which these all allow me to do. I don’t really have an ideal job. Really, wherever the wind takes me—wherever I can support myself is fine. My plan right now is to apply for jobs in a couple different cities like New York, Denver, and Austin—where my parents live now—and just go where the best job is. It might be cheaper not to live in New York anyway. So far, I have nothing lined up. I’m panicking. Laughs. I have to start looking for full-time jobs end of this semester and next semester.

I like to run: I was never really good at organized sports. I was really serious about soccer for a while, but as soon as it got competitive, I realized it was not my thing. In high school I did cross-country—I was the team mom. I do a lot of running though! I like to run. I love to get up and go for long runs in the mornings because I live right by the East River and there’s a running trail that goes along there.

Being a Gartside: I guess I’ve been running since before I remember because my family is a family of runners. My parents were running partners before they started dating and their wedding cake was in the shape of a running shoe! My dad works for a running shoe company. My parents both do ultra marathons which are races over 26 miles. My dad runs 100-mile races and my mom runs 50-mile races. Running is part of being a Gartside.

Last year I ran a half marathon in Central Park—13.1 miles. I called my dad afterwards to tell him that I broke my personal record and he was like, “Great, yea, I just ran the Boston Marathon course twice this morning before they opened the course.” I was like cool, dad. He did it at 2 in the morning as training for his 100-mile runs. Sometimes I feel like I’m never going to quite live up to it.

The Boston Marathon scare: My Dad was there. It was horrible because he was there. Even though he’s somewhat retired, my dad still manages the elite running team of the running shoe company. His runners were racing. He was there when his runners finished. He had been standing next to the bomb an hour earlier to when it went off. I found out in the middle of class. I left class and tried to call him but I guess because there were so many calls going in and out that cell service wasn’t working. I called and called. Finally I called my mom. I got a hold of my mom because she was back home in Colorado. She answered and said “Dad’s okay.” It was traumatizing. Thankfully he was okay. Thankfully his runners were okay.

A puppy, pretty please? I don’t know why the sudden obsession with French bulldogs but I have a dog at home that’s part Shar Pei—she’s got that little squishy face. When I came to New York I started seeing French bulldogs everywhere. My mom was saying it’ll probably make sense for me to get one before I graduate from college because I should be with it as often as I can when it’s still a puppy—especially because I’ll be done with the Zeta at the end of this academic semester.

Before moving in with my roommate this year, I had talked to her about getting a dog. She had been like “Oh! Okay! I love dogs!” My mom finally messaged me saying that if my roommate agrees, she and my dad will get me a puppy for Christmas. I was so excited I almost peed myself I talked my roommate just to make sure everything was okay. Then she tells me she’s allergic. I was like what? Don’t you have dogs? She was like “Yea…but they’re hypoallergenic dogs.” French bulldogs have a lot of skin problems and they produce a lot of dandruff, which irritates allergies. I was so depressed. Now I have to wait to get my little French bulldog.



Written by Paula Ho