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Counting Down to Campus Return

Thursday, August 19, 2021

The countdown to Columbia is on! With both first-years and sophomores coming to campus for the first time, we decided to ask a few upperclassmen what wisdom they’d share. Read on for their advice, what has them excited about being back and how the pandemic has changed their thinking about the year ahead.

We want to know: what are YOU looking forward to doing once you're back on campus? Share your answer!

Sophia Adeghe CC’23
Major: economics

What advice do you have for students living on campus for the first time?

Coming to campus and partaking in campus culture can feel very overwhelming, especially in this mad dash to start doing normal things, but this shouldn’t be a stressful time. Don’t worry about making friends or seeing what the city campus has to offer. As long as you put yourself out there, you will stumble into interesting experiences and the most amazing people.

What are you looking forward to doing once you’re back on campus?

I’m definitely looking forward to the programming that really makes up campus culture, like Homecoming weekend, dance troupe Sabor’s showcase and Fall Fest. That, and getting to sit in JJ’s again.

How has the pandemic changed your thinking about the year ahead?

The pandemic has changed the way I look at almost all of my interactions. I think I realized that our time at Columbia is much shorter than it seems. This year I want to engage with my peers and the city in meaningful ways by embracing all the joyful opportunities that come my way.


Stephen De Jesus CC’22
Major: Political science

What advice do you have for students living on campus for the first time?

Be willing to put yourself out there. Get involved in clubs to explore your interests, and meet with your peers outside of class to exchange ideas and learn from each other. I believe that college is most enjoyable when you are willing to get out of your comfort zone to meet new people and have new experiences. Columbia provides hundreds of opportunities for doing so through clubs alone, so take advantage of that!

What are you looking forward to doing once you’re back on campus?

I’m looking forward to reexperiencing the unique vibrancy of an in-person residence hall environment. As an RA and someone who met their closest friends in John Jay Hall as a first-year, I know just how important resident halls are for educational and personal growth. The study spaces, in-person programming and student leadership opportunities offered to residents are distinct from those offered elsewhere on campus. While I expect the residential experience to be different than in a typical year given the state of the pandemic, I’m still excited at the prospect of a safe return to full-campus residential living.

How has the pandemic changed your thinking about the year ahead?

The pandemic has reminded me of just how stark the inequities among people in the United States and the world truly are. Even at Columbia there are drastic differences in how the communities we come from are impacted by Covid-19. This reality has helped me to solidify my interest in social policy as a student of political science. I plan to further my studies on the power and significance of policy as an instrument for change. (I also definitely plan to safely spend time with friends, given the drought of interaction that the pandemic has caused.)


Emily Kohn CC’23
Majors: political science and linguistics

What advice do you have for students living on campus for the first time?

They should be unafraid of surprising themselves. All of my favorite experiences and best friendships at Columbia have come from when I’ve broken out of the mold of how I thought my college experience was going to be. I’ve met friends in random places, loved classes in subjects I knew nothing about, joined clubs I had originally written off and had adventures I couldn’t have imagined because I opened myself up to becoming a different version of the self I knew. Moving onto campus is an opportunity to explore new sides of yourself and make your Columbia journey your own.

What are you looking forward to doing once you’re back on campus?

I’ve already been living on campus this summer, working on NSOP, but I’m excited for the fall because I’m looking forward to in-person classes and club meetings. Zoom meetings can’t compete with in-person connections with students, faculty and staff. I’m looking forward to campus being full of students again and full of energy! I can’t wait to eat in the dining halls with friends, cheer at games, make new friends in classes and celebrate a return to campus life.

How has the pandemic changed your thinking about the year ahead?

The pandemic has motivated me to say “yes” to more opportunities while also being sure I take more time to relax. Going into my junior year without having lived here for more than a full year has convinced me to take advantage of the time I have left at Columbia and enjoy all that campus and New York has to offer. For me, that means prioritizing adventures — exploring the city, participating in more campus traditions and making as many memories with my friends as possible. At the same time, that also means recognizing when school and work is getting to be too much and taking a step back, as fully enjoying my time includes making time for myself to breathe and enjoy college.


Bailey Kraus CC’22
Major: economics, with a concentration in psychology

What advice do you have for students living on campus for the first time?

Explore and take advantage of opportunities, both on and off campus. Get involved in ways that interest you, whether it be through clubs, classes, research or even your residence hall, but don’t forget to also take advantage of New York City. I think that it can be easy to get stuck in the “Columbia bubble,” so allow yourself time to go somewhere and try something new!

What are you looking forward to doing once you’re back on campus?

I am looking forward to participating in some Columbia traditions again. There are a few from Columbia Dining that I’m excited to attend, including the Battle of the Dining Halls and Surf, Turf, and Earth. I have missed these opportunities to spend time with friends and the Columbia community.

How has the pandemic changed your thinking about the year ahead?

By helping me to realize just how quickly circumstances can change. It has caused me to take advantage of even more opportunities when they are presented to me. And I am planning to get involved in new ways and try new initiatives that Columbia has to offer during the school year.


david_wang_crop.jpg

Photo by Julia Parsley CC’21

David Wang CC’22
Major: biology, with a concentration in computer science

What advice do you have for students living on campus for the first time?

Practice open-mindedness and challenge yourself to break out of and through cliques! The Core builds seminar-styled courses into your schedule. Take advantage of small class sizes to make connections with other students, who are sitting next to you ... in person!

What are you looking forward to doing once you’re back on campus?

I have too many answers to this question! I’ve missed impromptu social interactions — waving hello to a friend on College Walk or striking up a conversation with a classmate in the Ferris pasta line. Speaking of Ferris, I know I’m not alone in missing its coffee machine; I’ll make myself a vanilla cappuccino daily.

How has the pandemic changed your thinking about the year ahead?

The pandemic deepened my gratitude toward my support systems: a diverse group of superstar friends, kind professors and TAs, the Res Life community, my family and more. I hope to extend as much warmth and support to those around me as I can, whether that be buddies I meet during NSOP or new residents living on my floor, Schapiro 14!

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