Around the Quads

Blessing Utomi ’22

COURTESY BLESSING UTOMI ’22

This academic year, students are studying remotely from locations around the world. To keep our community connected, the College launched “Columbia College Chronicles”; the online series gives students the opportunity to share what they’re learning not only in their classes, but also about themselves during the pandemic. Utomi is a theater and education double major from Houston; the below is adapted from the original interview posted on the College website. To read more Chronicles, go to college.columbia.edu/news.


What do you like to do outside of class?

I’m an intern with the Office of Undergraduate Admissions, helping a lot with its virtual programming for prospective students. That’s been really fun — we just started virtual tours. I also help run our YouTube Q&A chats, which is two students talking about their College experiences — that’s really popular. So I still get to meet lots of prospective students and families and also stay in contact with my Columbia friends and my friends in the Admissions Office.

Outside of Columbia, I love to run; I started in high school. I think everyone has tapped into at-home workouts during this time! I also love ballet — I take classes through Barnard, and that’s been a nice way to stay active.

What is something you’ve learned about yourself during the pandemic?

I’ve learned that I like structure a lot. Even being virtual I like to have processing time and ordering my tasks in chunks. So during my day I set goals and to-do lists for myself, to have some sort of productivity during the day. Of course, some days are still for Netflix from bed!

What’s the first thing you’ll do when you’re back on the Morningside Heights campus?

I want to check on Brownie’s, the café underneath Avery Library; it’s my favorite place to go for breakfast. They’re just really nice people! They knew my order as soon as I got there and were really sweet. I also miss College Walk and sitting on Low Steps, just taking in the sun and everything.

What’s been your favorite class at the College, and why?

This term I’m taking quite a few interesting classes, but my favorite so far is “Shakespeare in America,” taught by Professor James Shapiro ’77. It’s really cool because it’s more about the performance history of Shakespeare’s plays, how they’ve been interpreted in America and how they’ve been applied to topics like the Civil War, gender, race, conspiracies and politics. The class is always interesting because you can see how Shakespeare has had a huge impact on American culture, and you can see the intricate connections between the texts we read.

What keeps you close to Columbia while remote?

I think my job has been the biggest thing, because a lot of our work is training tour guides and giving info sessions. That’s been really nice for meeting new Columbians and staying in contact with work friends. We text each other about funny things that happen and have meetings to still see each other’s faces. It’s nice to have those small moments together.