What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect but I knew I was in a special place. I chose to attend Columbia to play on its Division I lacrosse team, get the best education in the world and live in the greatest city in the world.
I was painfully shy, — and when my mom left on Orientation Day I just sobbed — the kind of sobbing that I didn’t think would ever end.
However, Columbia had something special in store for me. I lived on Carman 8 and I know I’m biased but let’s just say it turned out to be the best floor Columbia ever produced and soon Columbia felt like home and it all worked out!
What do you remember about your first-year living situation?
I remember EVERYTHING about Carman 8, “The Ocho.” It was chock-full of characters from one end of the hall to the other. We ate together we played football on the lawn and pretty much did everything together. Our rooms were virtually interchangeable. I would come back from class and my friend Ben would have helped himself to a nap in my bed, simply because my room was closer than his to the elevator. I met my best friends on Carman 8, and we’re all still friends. I literally don’t know what I would have done without the floor then or now.
What class do you most remember and why?
“New York City History” is definitely the class I remember most and the class I looked forward to taking the most. From the moment I walked on campus, I heard about the all-night bike ride, and it sounded pretty epic! We learned everything there was to know about NYC past, present and where it was going in the future. AND, we got to live it! A requirement of the class was to go on a number of field trips throughout the city — museums, parks, bridges — you name it. For extra credit you could go to all of the landmarks (or most of them). My roommate Anna and I accepted the challenge and went on about 10 field trips in one day right before the end of the semester. It’s still one of the best memories I have from Columbia. I was already in love with New York by the time I took this class, but it confirmed I really could NEVER leave New York. It was officially in my blood.
The all-night bike ride was also amazing: We saw the Fulton Fish market in action and I was nearly hit in the head by a fish at 2 a.m.; then we rode through a nearly empty Times Square in the middle of the night. By the end I was falling asleep on my bike. It ended just in time for me to cruise up to Dodge Fitness Center for a morning lacrosse lift.
Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?
I was and still am obsessed with Butler Library. To me, there’s nothing like the feeling of being in Butler — there’s such an intensity and sense of purpose in the building that it immediately centered and focused me. I felt like I was surrounded by the best of the best. That’s not to say I didn’t have my share of social sessions there; still, if I needed to be found, everyone knew I was in Butler. Specifically, what I like to call the Penthouse. Up the stairs, all the way to the right, through the Reading Room on the third floor and up the winding staircase to the balcony seats. There I felt tucked away in my own little nook of the world, sitting among the books. I just thought it was the coolest place ever.
What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?
Find a way to make it longer?! Aside from that, I would change absolutely nothing. My experience at Columbia laid the foundation for who I am today, and I can’t imagine my life without it.
Academically, I felt I learned everything I ever needed to know to be up to speed on just about every subject. OK, that might be an exaggeration, but the Core made me feel extremely well-rounded and, of course, well-read. I remember finishing The Iliad and thinking, “Wow, that was just the beginning. I’m going to read more and learn more than I could have ever imagined,” and I did.
I couldn’t have asked for a better athletics experience, except to win some more games. But, laying a foundation for the youngest Ivy lacrosse team and getting to play the sport I loved at the highest level was a dream come true.
And, an added bonus that I wasn’t expecting at all? The friends I made. We’ve grown up together and my life wouldn’t be the same without them — thank you, Columbia housing.