What were you like when you arrived at Columbia?
Very different from what I was like when I graduated! I arrived at the College from not very far away — just up the Hudson and east in Southern Connecticut. I had a growing crush on New York City, was determined to make Manhattan home (a double room in Carman counted in my book) and was hungry for the intellectual and social change and challenge that Columbia would afford me. I experienced the change I craved in spades: The Core Curriculum stretched — and stressed — me; I met friends who were curious, diverse and progressive; and the allure of the city lived up to my infatuation. Coming from a public school background, I was most taken by Columbia’s resources — everything from the gym to the magical libraries felt like a resort to me, and the idea of “swiping a card” to enjoy meals, books, an indoor track and beyond was almost unbelievable. In sum, I arrived amazed at the wonder of Columbia and left feeling the same.
What do you remember about your first-year living situation?
I had one of the few non-suite doubles in Carman on the eighth floor and I remember a lovely roommate who was a talented violinist, which made for beautiful background and studying music; ordering Ollie’s for delivery and having it arrive before I could hang up the phone; the Sunday morning migration from Carman to John Jay for brunch; and being quite thrilled that guaranteed on-campus housing meant I had a place to call home in New York City at the age of 18!
What class do you most remember and why?
Art Humanities, for giving me a new lens through which I explored New York City (and museums in general). The class required us to get off campus and put our student IDs to their best possible use at the Met and MoMA, and encouraged me to develop a visual curiosity that has stayed with me.
Did you have a favorite spot on campus, and what did you like about it?
Does Koronet Pizza count? Second to those mediocre, giant slices, my favorite spot on campus was the sixth floor of Butler Library. The quiet, vast reading room, smell of aging books and sweeping view of campus across to Low made studying for even the most stressful exams a pleasant, inspiring experience.
And third, the fairy lights on the trees lining College Walk during winter made entering campus rom-com movie-levels of picture-perfect no matter how busy or cold life got!
What, if anything, about your College experience would you do over?
I would have loved to find a way to spend an extra year there being less focused on grades and papers and instead focus on exploring Morningside Heights, develop relationships with faculty I was too intimidated to speak with and discover hidden spots on campus.