Category: submission

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Shreyas–a senior who is graduating from Columbia College with a degree in Astrophysics and a concentration in Computer Science–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

I’m really passionate about space. I came to Columbia sort of interested in astrophysics and took a lot of incredible classes, learned about a lot of really cool research, and now I’m going to grad school and doing it for the rest of my life probably, so good job Columbia I guess!

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why? 

The observational astronomy class at Columbia took a (free!!!) trip to Kitt Peak in Arizona when I took the class, and I would definitely love to re-experience that magical experience. If I were to do it again I would have done my homework before going out there. But just being able to sit out and look at the endless expanse of stars with a bunch of friends, and then being able to go inside and play Catan, that was awesome.

Either that, or my first Halloween on campus, or maybe my first Bacchanal. Those were dope too.

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

People are mean sometimes, when instead they could be nice

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

Probably the Astro library on Pupin 14. No one goes up there and they’ve got comfy couches. Or maybe NoCo; I’m a sucker for natural light. To be honest I’m not really much of a library person though, I much prefer studying at home with a few friends.

What advice do you have for the incoming class?

When you’re coming to college there’s kind of this crazy obsession with stepping outside of your comfort zone that I kind of dislike. Don’t get me wrong – exploring things outside of what you know can be really productive. But comfort is great! Take time for yourself, do things that make you happy, don’t try to do every club under the sun and every class that remotely interests you (“doing everything” is a lot harder in college than it is in high school). It’s good to be comfortable sometimes, especially during those times a little more than halfway through the semester when you feel this school weighing down on you. And if you ever feel like it’s weighing down on you too much, reach out to your professors, your friends, CPS, etc. and let them know how you’re feeling.

Also, make friends that you care about, and care about them deeply.

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Emily–a senior who is graduating from Columbia College with degrees in Music and History–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

I’m really passionate about my majors: music and history. Columbia has really let me thrive as both a musician and a historian for a number of reasons. My fellow musicians and classmates, especially in the history department, are so supportive and open-minded. They have really helped create a positive atmosphere where I, and others, feel comfortable asking questions. I’ve also had great mentors in the history and music departments. A few really great TAs and professors come to mind; they were just so generous with their time, and they wanted to help me succeed. They listened to me even when I only had a rudimentary idea of what research I wanted to do. They helped me solidify these ideas I had that I didn’t know exactly how to flesh out, and pointed me in the right direction. Now that I have a better grasp on these ideas, I want to go to graduate school to learn more. 

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

I would relive freshman year. I was so shy about everything and missed out on some good opportunities. I should have just thrown myself all in; my year would have been so much richer if I did that.

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

How arrogant and egotistical some people can be. It’s not all about you. 

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

Butler! I didn’t realize it until I checked out books for my senior thesis this year- there are so many books that have been checked out only once or twice…or haven’t been checked out at all. Image how many books are there just waiting to be opened! You could be the first one at this school who’s read them. (I know this sounds nerdy, but when you’re doing research and open a brand-new book, it feels pretty awesome.)

What advice do you have for the incoming class?

Be ambitious. Over the past four years it got easier and easier to become more and more complacent, but don’t fall into a lull. Keep on challenging yourself, because 1) you are capable of more than you think, and 2) that’s the only way you’re ever going to grow. 

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Bianca–a senior who is graduating from Columbia College with a degree in Political Science–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

Career-wise I’m passionate about working with/for low-income immigrant communities in order to secure access to stable, affordable, good quality housing. In a more personal sense, I’m passionate about building community, creating inclusive spaces, black and brown art, and writing.

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

This was a pretty sad moment but I would go back the end of sophomore year, right around when students of color met with several deans to talk about their experiences on campus. It was at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement and Columbia Mentoring Initiative hosted a finals study break. I broke down crying in front of my mentors from the Latinx Family Tree because, at the time, crying was the only way I could process my emotions about the non-indictments and city-wide protests. My mentors brought together a few mentors from the Black Family Tree and together, they talked me through what I was feeling for over an hour. Although not a feel-good moment, it was the first time I realized that I had a supportive family on campus that was invested in my well-being. They made it clear that I wasn’t alone in how I was feeling which meant the world to me then and now.

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

I really don’t like non-constructive pessimism and I don’t like complacency.

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

I mean, ideally, I would want to be NoCo because it looks super cool and has collaborative spaces but in reality I’m probably Avery. Avery is dope when you first walk in and if you only stay on the first floor but if you go downstairs and really engage with the space, it’s actually pretty standard space. People are just trying to get their work done and get on out of there.

What advice do you have for the incoming class?

Don’t be so sure of what you want to study or what you believe in. When you’re uncomfortable, sit it in and work through it — don’t run away from it. Find upperclassmen that you admire and make them your formal or informal mentors. Call your family, whoever that might be, and share your highs and your lows with them — this college experience is just as much theirs as it is yours. Smile at people you recognize on campus and engage in small talk. Even if it feels mundane and cumbersome, it could brighten up your day or theirs.

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Kevin–a senior who is graduating from Columbia College with degrees in Mathematics and Music–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

I am passionate about music, especially guitar. Columbia has no doubt provided me with so many opportunities, both to learn the craft of music-making and to showcase it in venues like Carnegie Hall. To be honest, I didn’t expect much from Columbia’s music scene initially, but now I’m really grateful for everything I came across: Arthur Kampela’s guitar/life lessons, Susser’s Ear Training, Milarsky’s Conducting, free concerts at the Italian Academy, and fabulous student performance groups like CCP. Also, being in NYC, I could easily go watch concerts and shows downtown, e.g. at Lincoln Center, Broadway, Carnegie Hall, 92nd Y, or Smalls.

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

Bacchanal, freshman year. I didn’t do much back then.

 What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

Tendency to resort to close-mindedness for an easy way out.

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

I would be the Music Library. It’s a hidden gem that not many people even know exists. It’s really a hidden gem. Actually.

 What advice do you have for the incoming class?

Broaden your horizon! Hanging out with people in fruitful ways will help you, not necessarily spending more hours at Butler.

With graduation on the horizon, the Lion reached out to seniors to hear their thoughts. Here is what Rozanne–a senior who is graduating from the School of General Studies with a degree in Anthropology–had to say.

What are you passionate about, and how has Columbia helped you find these passions?

My mother was a genealogist and avid collector of family photos and memorabilia, and so perhaps I get my obsession with family history from her. Before Columbia University I had always chalked up that interest to nostalgia. But my study of anthropology helped me see that my interest in family lineage and archival material, such as old photographs, letters, family Bibles, newspaper clippings, etc., actually serves my deeper passion for storytelling and narrative. During my time at Columbia I learned how to locate the internal logic of archival material and discover how documents can tell a narrative about the past while simultaneously opening up meaning concerning the cultural patterns enacted in present day relationships.

If you could re-experience one thing you did during your time at Columbia, what would it be and why?

The Anthropology Senior Thesis class was by far one of the most rigorous and time-intensive classes of any I have taken at Columbia. But I would do it all again in a heartbeat. Certainly I came away with valuable research skills and increased confidence in my ability to write under pressure. But above all, I learned what it is like to work as colleagues with my professors, preceptors and classmates. Offering and receiving feedback and gaining an appreciation of the personal investment that each of us had in our work built a tremendous level of trust that I have since found difficult to replicate.

What is your least favorite thing about humanity?

So many of us think that we have a key to solving someone else’s personal problems. We may not say it out loud, but you can hear the judgment in statements like, “If that person would only…” or “If it were me, I would…” Chances are that there are hidden histories and relationships attached to any one person’s personal struggles.

If you were a Columbia library, which one would you be and why?

Butler Library. Because it’s haunted and naturally, as an anthropologist I’ve always had a thing for ghosts.

What advice do you have for the incoming class?

The best advice that I received was to find excuses to regularly visit my deans or to go to my professors’ office hours and let them know what was going on in my life. I did not expect to become best friends; in fact, I always made a point of addressing them as Dean or Professor to indicate that I respected the boundaries of our relationship. Still I think it’s important for our deans and professors to be reminded that students are human. I was often surprised at their compassion as well as their knowledge of specific resources that helped me manage my situation. Also, take a class with Professor Thomas Roma, especially if you are not majoring in visual arts. He will alter your entire perspective on learning and life.