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Photo courtesy: Cindy Liu CC’18

Pursuing Passions with Purpose

"Columbia has given me purpose, and the tools to pursue that purpose, simply by providing spaces for me to explore my passions."— Cindy Liu CC’18

Meet Cindy Liu CC’18, an English and sociology double major, born in New York City and raised in Washington, D.C.

Throughout her time at Columbia College, Liu pursued her passion for music as a senior advisor for Columbia Classical Performers, an organization that helps musicians at Columbia have accessible solo performance opportunities on campus, and as an administrative assistant for the Music Performance Program at Columbia University, which offers opportunities for music majors and students with a strong musical background to cultivate musical interests through performance.

After graduation, Liu will be starting full-time as an operations manager and associate manager to violinist Joshua Bell at Park Avenue Artists in Chelsea.

What will you take away most from your time at Columbia College?

I applied to and arrived at Columbia with no idea of what I wanted to study, to do with my life or how to interact with people. The last two are still a work in progress, but Columbia has given me purpose, and the tools to pursue that purpose, simply by providing spaces for me to explore my passions. Columbia has taught me how to work, really work, for what I believe in; even fatigue seems less daunting when you’re working towards what you love.

One of my favorite memories was traveling to Paris as part of the Columbia Sounds series to perform for the family of Russian composer Sergei Prokofiev.

What surprised you most about your Columbia College experience?

The way this institution and community have somehow enabled me to become exactly who I have wanted to be, and have shown me who I can become, even when I am unsure of my path. I came into myself at Columbia. I didn’t realize I was lost in who I was until I arrived at a place that allowed me to be…me. The best way I can put it is a feeling of unsolicited contentment.

How has your experience prepared you for your postgraduate plans?

Columbia has given me the work ethic, practical skills and network that are immensely valuable for my career pursuits in classical music management. The individuals I have met are just as important as the values I have learned here: gratitude, diligence, perseverance under pressure, kindness and the ability to listen (not just hear). I can’t over-emphasize how important New York City is. The doubled advantage we have of being at Columbia while in New York has allowed me to see how music and culture give meaning to every part of my life. The city has built my character, made me cry, stumble, laugh, overindulge, and has shown me, in Albus Dumbledore’s words, that “happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

What will you miss most about Columbia College?

The deep, late-night conversations, seminar discussions, the late nights on the cold stone of Low Steps, the early mornings crossing College Walk, my professors, the snow days (and snowball fights with Deantini!), the sheer breadth of opportunities you find just by being a member of this community, studying in Joe Coffee, the way dusk transitions to night with a flicker of the campus lamps, the way campus seems to bloom anew overnight in April, the way you can sit in a lecture hall and have one of the world’s smartest people just talk at you for an hour. Columbia has been such a singular experience for me that even the not-so-glowy moments have shaped me into the woman I am now.

What I will miss most is the incredible luxury of being able to see and greet so many people I know and love just by walking out the door. When else in your life will that be so indulgingly convenient?

Published Monday May 14, 2018

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