Take Five with Alejandra Jimenez ’13

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Alejandra Jimenez ’13 is the senior manager and head of global investigations at Sterling Diligence, a private investigation firm in New York City. Prior to 2020, she frequently traveled globally to meet with clients and fellow investigators, serving as a subject-matter expert in her field. A lifelong singer, songwriter and musician, Jimenez recently began releasing music under the moniker Agent Envy and has several songs out now, leading up to the 2021 release of her EP, Hybrid. Her music and music videos have been featured in publications such as Outburn, V13, Infrared Magazine, Vents Magazine and more. She lives in Brooklyn.

What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?

Moving from San Diego to NYC was a fairly drastic transition, but I was so excited to be living in “the big city” and to have a fresh start. I was eager to take advantage of every club and activity that I could get my hands on. I also remember trying to sign up for way too many classes, and learned my lesson that first semester. I was, and still am, an edgily dressed but bright-spirited person with tons of ambition.

What do you remember about your first-year living situation?

I lived on the SEAS floor in Hartley and was lucky to have a single room. I remember showing up and promptly decorating my room with goth bedding, a bunch of DC comics and movie posters, and my guitar. It was a real conversation starter. Not much has changed since then! Even though later I decided that I didn’t want to pursue engineering, I remain close with a lot of the people I met on that floor to this day.

What Core class or experience do you most remember, and why?

Music Humanities. Even though I grew up singing and playing music, I never had the opportunity to study its history and development in a formal setting. I found it really fascinating and I still apply some of that knowledge today. Outside of Core classes, I took a few other music-related electives, such as “Ear Training” and “Electronic Music,” which I loved. I also managed to take Arabic and Japanese at the same time for three of my four years. I absolutely loved both languages and miss the opportunity to practice now!

Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?

I love the campus as a whole; walking through the quad and the tree-lined pathways through such beautiful architecture is just so lovely. And it definitely fueled my obsession with brick buildings and wood paneling. My favorite spot would probably be the Sundial or Low Steps. My rugby team would meet at the Sundial before practice, and my band at the time, The Foggy Details, played a show there one year; and I was always running into friends on Low Steps. I also have many great memories from practicing with my band in the Carman basement.

What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?

I’d take greater advantage of the music resources and classes. I spent the majority of my time at the College treating music like a hobby instead of really diving into everything the school had to offer. I could easily have gotten additional instruction in guitar, piano, music production, etc., which would have been so valuable to me when I had nothing but time on my hands (and student loans weren’t due yet!).

Since I decided not to pursue engineering at the end of my freshman year, and it was too late to transfer to the College for the following year, I completed my sophomore year as a SEAS student. I think Columbia is one of the few universities that makes students reapply to transfer between schools, and some students don’t get accepted. Thankfully I did, so I joined CC in my junior year, but I had missed out on the opportunity to really focus on my passions earlier on. At least now I can say that I got accepted to Columbia — twice!