Lion Guides


Having trouble getting out of bed? Often times, waking up feeling groggy and with a lack of energy is the result of the human body processing unbalanced amounts of unnatural substances.

Luckily, you can improve your sleep quality and overall health and appearance by following the simple tips below:

1. If you want carbs, pick “good” carbs, not “bad” carbs

“Good” carbs come from natural non-GMO foods such as fruits, vegetables, seeds, nuts, legumes, etc. that are loaded with vitamins and minerals in their natural and absorbable form.

For grains, try “good” carb grains like quinoa, and exotic wheat such as spelt and bulgur. Tubers such as potatoes and yams are also great “good” carbs. As for rice, make sure it’s wild. If not, then prepare it with other vegetables, seeds, nuts, or legumes that will decrease the percentage of empty “bad” carbs.

You are what you eat, so if you eat junk, you will feel like junk. Therefore, keep all processed foods overloaded with preservatives, high fructose corn syrup, and other synthetic sugars to a meager minimum.

Eating “good” carbs in high amounts on a regular basis will help the body repair the damages caused by years of “bad” carbs. Thus, you will wake-up feeling more refreshed and full of energy.

2. Decrease your dependence on stimulants

Whether it be coffee, alcohol, or drugs, stimulants can be addictive and habit-forming. Stimulants can negatively influence the brain by heightening emotions and also can influence the cognitive and memory centers of the brain so you lose control of your body.

Over time, this can impair your memory, as you start to lose brain cells. Therefore, if you stay up late and depend on stimulants to continue to perform any academic or social activity, this could affect your quality of sleep.

In order to decrease your dependence on stimulants, it is best to replace them with a natural alternative. For example, replace a cup of coffee with an energy-boosting combo of oranges and pomegranates. Replace alcohol with something like grape juice.

Drugs can be replaced with natural herbs called adaptogens (such as ginseng, rhodiola, etc.) that lower stress and anxiety, while also boosting the immune system. By lowering your dependence on stimulants and drugs, your body will be able to process fewer harmful chemicals, which will give you more energy to start your day.

If you combine these tips with a moderate amount of exercise and sunlight, then you will be able to wake up feeling more refreshed and full of energy.

To submit a piece for publishing on The Lion, email submissions@columbialion.com

Morningside Heights is pretty good for a college town, but the best part about our neighborhood is that there’s a conveniently-located subway leading to other vastly more interesting parts of New York.

In honor of our beloved 1 train, and in an effort to help new students get away from campus while they can, The Lion staff presents the best things to do in NYC that aren’t within five minutes of Carman.

Walk over the Brooklyn Bridge

Take the subway out to Brooklyn at night and walk back over the Brooklyn Bridge, lights on and everything. Grab a slice at Grimaldi’s while you’re at it — it’s some of the best pizza in the city. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, grab a Citi Bike on either side of the bridge and do some late-night riding.

Take the Staten Island ferry WITHOUT a tour group

Oh my god do not go with a tour group. Don’t be those people. When you get there, don’t leave immediately—take the bus (Yes, there is public transport in SI) and try some of the excellent Italian food that is cheaper than what you’ll get in Manhattan or Brooklyn. And while it’s still warm outside, check out Ralph’s Italian Ices. Yes we know that there are multiple locations in the area, but this is the original one! And if you’re already having pizza nearby, well…

Best part? The ferry is free. No joke.

See a movie at the IFC

Preferably a midnight one or when there’s a guest speaker. Get one of the ridiculous food or drink items they sell (overpriced ice pops, coffee, apparently some of the highest-rated popcorn in New York, etc.), and/or get Artichoke pizza on MacDougal street. Grab some tickets here.

Get a piercing on St. Marks

Yelp it for ratings first. Seriously. Yelp it. Some of those places are scary. Apologies if you’re 17.

Go to Shake Shack

Yeah, it’s not just in New York anymore, but it started here and you owe it to yourself to grab a burger and milkshake at its original location in Madison Square Park. Be a pro and go for the Shack-cago Dog instead of a Shack burger. The Shack was originally a hot dog cart, after all. (But the shakes are definitely gold.)

Hit up Columbus Circle

Bring a camera out to Columbus Circle and wander the park. You’re sure to find unforgettable street performances just around the corner, and Bouchon Bakery has to-die-for macarons when you need a snack.

Go to museums

There are like a bazillion great museums in New York, and you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t visit at least one of them by the end of NSOP (plus they’re a great place to chill with your new pals). The Metropolitan Museum of ArtThe American Museum of Natural History, and MoMA are all “free” (suggested donations) for Columbia students, and other (slightly) less famous choices — like the Museum of the Moving Image and the Frick Collection — are cheap for those with a college ID.

Go to Smorgasburg

Every Saturday and Sunday through the last week of November, Smorgasburg offers New Yorkers a chance to try some of the coolest and strangest food ever conceived. How does a Ramen Burger sound? (Spoiler: it’s good). How about a tuna taco, or Filipino-style spring rolls? There’s also just normal good food available from small time vendors that you wouldn’t get to try anywhere else. For locations and times, check out the Smorgasburg website.

Visit the Reservoir after dark

Bring a friend and don’t go too late, we don’t want you getting mugged (although the park is actually extremely safe), but the nighttime view of the city from the Central Park Reservoir is amazing. Go to the 96th street entrance and walk straight until you’re on the running path. Get right up against the small fence that prevents you from falling in the water for the best vantage point.

Walk the High Line

The High Line is located on West 34th Street, between 10th & 11th Avenues, and is one of the nicest public spaces in the entire city. Open daily from 7 am to 11 pm, the High Line is a one-mile elevated train track that has been converted into a beautiful park. There’s great (but expensive) coffee and bars located along the way, as well as Chelsea Market nearby, so feel free to just chill on the many benches and enjoy a view of the Hudson River.

The Greenway

If you like bike riding or long walks on the water, the Greenway is one of NYC’s most under-utilized attractions. The giant path is eventually meant to circumnavigate the fringes of the Island, but for now, start at 59th street, walk west until you hit the river, and then walk south. You’ll run across some of the best views in the city, Hudson River Park, and eventually the Freedom Tower if you keep on going. Almost the entire Greenway is next to the longest bike path in the city, so snag a Citi Bike and make a day of it. Speaking of which…

Go ride Citi Bikes all day

It’s still warm out, and a 24 hour Citi Bike pass is about ten bucks. Get your friends together, go to Columbus Circle, and rent some bikes. Then spend the whole day riding around downtown New York, stopping to explore cool shops and otherwise having a good time. Once it gets cold this gets roughly 1 billion percent less fun.

The following actually happened:

: “…I’m vegetarian.”

The room: *gasp* “A…a what? Did he say vegetarian?” “But what does he eat at JJ’s?” “Oh, that poor thing!”

Yeah, it’s true. Being a vegetarian kind of sucks in a country where meat is a staple food. I don’t eat chicken, beef, pork, fish, or any other kind of meat. Unfortunately for me, this means that I usually have less to choose from when I’m getting food to eat.

Back home, I had to be discerning about where I went out to eat with my friends. I had to check the menu for every local restaurant to try and find vegetarian options before I visited, and there were a lot of times where I couldn’t find anything. I never went on late-night excursions to Buffalo Wild Wings or KFC – there was no point.

But now that I’ve made it to New York City, I have a very different problem – there’s too much to choose from. Good problem? Absolutely.

For one, the dining halls have no scarcity of vegetarian and vegan food. John Jay and Ferris both mark numerous options every day as vegetarian and vegan. And what’s better, both are very clearly labeled – no longer do I have to partake in the ritual of saying, “Do you guys have anything vegetarian?”

 While JJ’s Place is geared towards burgers and chicken tenders and all that stuff (which looks delicious even to a vegetarian), even it has vegetarian options. You can get veggie burgers; you can get wraps without meat, omelets without meat, and obviously, those wonderful chocolate chip pancakes without meat. On campus, there is no scarcity of choice when it comes to finding vegetarian food.

When I go off campus into Morningside Heights and beyond, there are always vegetarian options within a block of where I’m standing. There’s so much food in New York City that statistically, there’s always a vegetarian option close by. And as with most food in the city, it’s usually good.

In most places, vegetarian food gets boring – the same old sandwiches, salads, and meals. But it’s not boring here. For once, I have choice; I have the luxury of variety.

Being a vegetarian at Columbia is way better than being a vegetarian almost anywhere else in the country. It’s nice, for once, to be in an environment where my dietary needs are fully catered to, and where I don’t have to constantly search and ask for options that suit my needs.  While the quality of food may be lackluster at times, I will always be thankful for John Jay and Ferris because I don’t want to go back to driving around in search of a Subway.

Columbia dining gets a lot of flak from the student body about what they serve, but this is one thing they got 100% right.

Looking to explore New York’s theater scene? While tickets can be expensive or hard to come by at times, we’ve compiled some of the best ways to secure yourself a seat in the theaters where it happens.

Want to enter ticket lotteries and buy tickets, but don’t feel like making the effort to leave campus? TodayTix is the perfect app for you. At the click of a button, you can buy tickets and even enter lotteries. The application is a great way to easily plan Broadway and Off-Broadway show events with your friends. You can also get $10 off your first order using the code VMANV.*
*Affiliate code
If you’re walking around Times Square and want to buy Broadway tickets at up to 50% off, visit the TKTS booth in the middle of Times Square. Everyday they sell tickets to shows with extra seats left so this is a great way to get a seat in any of the area’s popular shows.
At the start of the semester, The TIC, located in Lerner Hall begins selling discounted tickets for specific dates to certain Broadway and Off-Broadway productions. In the past, tickets have been sold at significant discounts to Hamilton, School of Rock, and Wicked. Due to the limited supply, students have been known to camp outside the TIC booth starting as early as 8AM to secure tickets to some of the more popular shows. A list of performances for the fall semester is posted on their website a few weeks before the booth opens for the semester.
General Rush:
Several productions offer discounted tickets starting at 10AM the morning of the show at their theater’s box office. If you want to secure a ticket, be sure to arrive 1-2 hours early depending on the show’s popularity.
Trying to score tickets to one of Broadway’s most in-demand productions? We can’t guarantee you tickets, but here are the best tips we have, courtesy of Allison Talker, CC ’19, and a Broadway lottery expert:
You just have to enter the online lottery every day for evening and matinee because they don’t have a live lottery any more (winners pay $10 for front row tickets). Most other shows have rush tickets that you can get at the box office at 10 am.
Right now, Hamilton has 1 live lotto on Wednesdays for the matinee. The winner is drawn at 12:30 for the 2 pm show.  Pro tip:  Fold your ticket into weird shapes.
Think we missed a good tip on how to get into Broadway shows? Send us an email at team@columbialion.com.

Being a student is tough. Fortunately, many companies and organizations realize this and offer their products to students at steeply discounted rates. Check out these free and discounted offers on technology, transportation, and more so you can spend more time worrying about classes than cash.

You Need A Budget 4

Avoid the stereotype of the broke college student by making a budget every month. According to their website, You Need A Budget offers budgeting software to college students for free if they follow these steps:

  1. Write to us at support@youneedabudget.com and include proof of registration at your college.
  2. We’ll send you a special license key, good until the end of the academic year (August 31st).
  3. At the end of the year, just shoot them another email if you’re still cranking away on your schoolwork, and they’ll send you a new license key that’s good for the next year.

Microsoft Office and OneDrive

With you .edu email, you can get the entire Microsoft Office suite and 1 terabyte of OneDrive storage for free. To sign up, visit this link.

Amazon Prime

As a college student, you are eligible to six months of Amazon Prime for free. After six months, the service is only $50 a year for college students. For those new to Amazon Prime, the service offers you free two-day shipping and access to a whole host of services including Prime Now, which promises two hour deliveries within most major cities.

Sign up here to get started with your trial and a $5 gift card (requires your .edu email).

Uber

If you’re trying to get around the city and looking to avoid the subway, make sure to sign up for Uber. Uber is a ride-hailing app that can get you around the city for a decent price (except when there’s surge pricing).

Sign up here to get your first ride free (up to $20).

*Affiliate offer code

Lyft

If you’re trying to get around the city, looking to avoid the subway, and don’t like Uber, make sure to sign up for Lyft. Lyft is a ride-hailing app that can get you around the city for a decent price (except when there’s surge pricing).

Sign up here to get your first ride free.

*Affiliate offer code

Gett

If you’re trying to get around the city and looking to avoid surge pricing, make sure to sign up for Gett. Gett is a ride-hailing app that can get you around the city for $10 flat if your destination is within Manhattan.

Sign up here to get your $10 off your first ride.

*Affiliate offer code

Lynda.com

Looking for some extra help learning new materials? Using your UNI, you have access to Lynda.com, a website that offers a treasure trove of interactive videos to teach you about nearly any subject you’re fascinated about. Log in through this link.

Adobe Creative Suite

With your Columbia email, you can get Adobe’s entire Creative Suite at a discounted rate of $20 a month. To sign up, just visit this link.

Wall Street Journal (WSJ)

Using Columbia’s CLIO system, you can get access to the Wall Street Journal. While it won’t be laid out like a newspaper, you can get access to today’s news. If you want a traditional hardcopy paper, WSJ also offers 15 Weeks for $15.

Apple

Apple has special education pricing on Macs and iPads for college students old and new. As a bonus, Apple will give you a free set of Beats Wireless Headphones with the purchase of an eligible Mac, iPhone or iPad product. To get the deal, simply visit any Apple store with proof of your acceptance to Columbia or shop through Apple’s online education website.

Local Museums

Of all the amazing reasons to go to college in New York City, the wealth of museums might be one of the best deals. And using your Columbia ID, you have access to over 3 dozen of them for free. From spending a day admiring Egyptian art at The Met to learning about the history of New York’s transit system at the Transit Museum, there’s a whole slew of opportunities that await. To find which museums we get access to for free, visit the Columbia Arts Initiative’s website here.

 

Think we missed something? Send other recommendation deals to submissions@columbialion.com

Want to find out who your Core Professor will be before their name becomes publicly visible on SSOL/Courseworks?

Starting a few weeks before classes, you can easily find your Core Professors using Columbia University Libraries’s Course Reserves system. Here’s how to do it:

1) Visit http://library.columbia.edu/find/reserves.html
2) Under “For Students” click “Reserves List”
3) Log In (using your UNI and Password)
4) View Your Professor’s Name

This trick has been successful for the last few semesters and likely will not change anytime soon. Good luck with the start of the semester!

Meet Brandon Victor Dixon. Dixon, a Columbia College Class of 2007 graduate, is a two-time Tony Award Nominee. During his career, he has performed in various Broadway shows (including Columbia’s very own Varsity Show). Starting in August 2016, Dixon will assume the role of Aaron Burr in Lin Manuel Miranda’s hit Broadway show, Hamilton: An American Musical. As he prepares for his role, I sat down with him to talk about his career in the performing arts and his insights on pursuing your dreams and excelling in your career.

What did you study while at Columbia, and do you have any favorite memories from your time there? 

I was an Economics major initially. I left after my first semester senior year, but when I came back and I finished, I was a theater major. My favorite memories from school were of working on the Varsity Show V107 and V108.

What first sparked your interest in theater, and how did you explore that field as a student? Was it mostly through the Varsity Show?

I came to Columbia because I knew what I wanted to do, and I just wanted to go to school in New York so that I could audition and build my career. That’s why I came to Columbia, and I appreciated that Columbia had a campus, and a vibrant curriculum that I could delve into and expand my information base in general. But no, I didn’t go to Columbia to train, or help my career, though a lot of the work I did and the classes I took were of great help and education to me in the theater department at large. I came to Columbia so that I could be in New York.

What were some of the shows you’ve performed in prior to Shuffle Along, and now, Hamilton starting next month?

The Lion King, The Color Purple, Rent, Far from Heaven, The Scottsboro Boys.

With your recent casting as Aaron Burr in Hamilton, how are you preparing for the role? Are you nervous about anything about it?

Nope. It will be a good time. I’m working on a lot of the movement. The movement style is a little different for me so I’m focusing on the movement, but I’m approaching it like anything else. I’m doing my research. I’m learning the material. It’ll be interesting replacing someone in such a big and involved show. I’m going to be learning it even as I’m performing it.

What’s the most surprising or interesting that’s happened to you while performing and go like backstage?

While performing I fell in the orchestra pit one time. That’s one of the more interesting things. I can’t really think of anything that stands out about anything that’s happened backstage but definitely falling in the orchestra pit, that was an interesting one.

 What has been your favorite role to perform so far and why?

Eubie Blake in Shuffle Along. I’ve learned more about myself as a human being in this show and about all of us as human beings in the show. Also, it’s a culmination of everything that has come before it, so you know, it embodies all of the things that you see.

What general advice would you give to students interested in pursuing their career in theater and the performing arts?

The thing I’d say to anybody interested in pursuing anything: there are no rules, your power and ability are limitless, and keep going.

With Hamilton, did you know that you wanted to play Burr, or did they offer that role to you?

I didn’t want to be Burr … I wasn’t interested in doing the show because it’d been done. I don’t tend to replace. My goal is almost always to create something new but this is a unique show, and a unique opportunity and it came on at kind of the right time. The more they talked to me about it, and the more I thought about it, the more excited I did get about the process of joining the show. I am happy; it’s going to be a new experience.

What keeps you excited about being in theater? Is it that the audience has you perform? Is it just the idea of taking on the role of a new character? What motivates you or drives you?

Creating. Creation is what drives me. The reason we are here on this planet is to connect more deeply with ourselves and with each other, and art, and performance, and theater I think is a tool that I’ve come here with to make use of. Creating stories in this way, particularly … In art in general, particularly in live theater, it is a highly communicative, community experience. We get to share something special in that moment of time and that room with one another … And we leave transformed, and that is the important to evolve, to transform, to emote, and to connect with one another.

Since a lot of the people who will be reading this are incoming students, like this is their first time in New York, some have never seen a Broadway show. Do you have any advice for them like for shows they should, or general ideas and tips about what the magic behind Broadway is, in a sense?

The magic behind Broadway is that the people on stage create something from nothing. It’s creating magic, and it helps inspire you to create something from what you have. New York is a cultural bastion unlike any other. So see everything you can, do everything you can. Big, small, do it all.

 As you prepare for Hamilton, what’s your favorite song so far, whether it’s one you’ll be singing, or one some other character will be singing?

My favorite track in Hamilton is Guns and Ships but my favorite song to sing in that obviously is Wait for It.

Can I ask why Wait for It is going to be your favorite one to sing?

I think because I’m exploring the detail of the song but the thing that it sticks out for me is the chorus. Not a love, nor death, nor life, you know. It says,

Life doesn’t discriminate

between the sinners and the saints

it takes and it takes and it takes

and we keep loving anyway

we laugh and we cry and we break and we make our mistakes

And if there’s a reason I’m still alive

While everyone who loves me has died

and I’m willing to wait for it.

So minus the coda at the end, it’s that element of that’s true. Life is that, as is love, as is death, and they are all phases of the same thing, and they do not discriminate according to who you are.

Whether you are good or bad, it’s going to take something but you have to keep giving to it. It’s kind of a mini-encapsulated message about the circle of life, and what living is about. It’s a song with no resolution. He doesn’t figure anything out by the e`d of it. He starts affirming something, and then he starts questioning it, but then he finds himself left with a question in the end of it. It’s interesting piece but it’s one that’s resonated with me.

Brandon will begin performances as Aaron Burr in Hamilton: An American Musical starting in August 2016. For tickets to the show’s New York production, visit the show’s Broadway site.

Interested in interviewing students and alumni about how their time at Columbia has shaped their experiences and outlook? Join The Lion Profiles team by sending an email to team@columbialion.com.

Photo Courtesy of James Xue (SEAS ’17)

“I’m bored.”

This is the cry of every student who finds themselves swimming in the ocean of free time that is summer vacation. As much fun as it is to sleep the mornings away, it gets old after the third week. So what exactly should you do with your newfound free time? Why not spend it becoming acquainted with a subject you’ve never tackled before? Never fear if you didn’t apply for summer classes. There are plenty of quality learning resources available if you have a computer and internet access. The following resources are primarily video-based, though some include outside exercises and quizzes that you can use as supplementary materials. 

CourseWorld (Free)

What do you do when you want to learn about a topic but Wikipedia isn’t good enough? CourseWorld is a not-for-profit online resource committed to giving a quality liberal arts education to anyone who wants it. The instructional videos, mostly curated from YouTube, cover everything from religion to freelance writing. If you’re looking to learn about a specific topic, say Korean literature, this is the place for you. The site allows you to make an account and queue up your videos for later viewing if you’d like. It’s easy to search for the videos you’re looking for based on a keyword, and the site includes courses, or a related series of videos, for most subjects. The site draws primarily from documentaries, lectures, and discussion panels. 

Coursera (Free, starting at $49 for course certificate)

Miss the hallowed halls of Columbia and wish you were still in class? Coursera can help. The website offers massive open online courses, or MOOCs from universities like Stanford, Yale, Princeton, and our fair Columbia. They’re completely free, and you can take as much (or as little) from the courses as you’d like, as instructors don’t give students grades. Coursera’s courses are true blue college courses, which means it carries the workload of a college course. Keep that in mind before you sign up to take ten of them at the same time. It might be hard to motivate yourself to stay inside and watch videos when the pleasant weather of summer beckons from outside.

Compared to CourseWorld, it might be a little more challenging to wade through Coursera courses if you’re looking for specific information. On the other hand, by the end of the course, you’ll be a verified mini-expert. Also, when you sign up for a course, you can sign up for a special track that will award you a certificate at the end of the course. This special certificate track costs money, but there are scholarships available. The site offers everything from computer programming courses to foreign language. You must make an account to view videos, and Coursera takes its honor code pretty seriously. 

Lynda ($25 a month, free for Columbia/Barnard students)

Want to up your internship game? Lynda is a site that offers a multitude of courses in business and technical skills, all taught by industry experts. You can choose to watch videos independently, or if you’d like, you can choose to be on a “learning path” that will give you the skills of a certain occupation once you’ve finished all the videos. Examples include how to become an project manager and how to become an iOS app developer, though there are many others. The material here isn’t usually as engaging as the material on the other two sites, though Lynda is the only website to offer courses on “soft” skills like leadership. When you finish a course, you can post an acknowledgement of this fact directly on your LinkedIn profile. You have to make an account to view videos. You can access Columbia’s Lynda portal here.  

Fight the summer brain drain with these three online resources. Each site draws its strength from the particular method it uses to teach you and you can pick the best site depending on your individual needs. Just remember: you can can always learn, even in the summer. 

As you get ready to arrive to Columbia, The Lion team has compiled various packing lists from current students for the most important things to bring to campus.  It’s up to you to determine what to bring and what to buy later. During NSOP, Columbia operates a shuttle to Bed Bath & Beyond, so you can save on packing weight and just buy your supplies there.

And remember – you can always ask peers in your Class Facebook pages or by emailing team@columbialion.com

And to make it even easier, a student from the Class of 2020 compiled our packing list into a Google Doc that you can categorize based on when and where you will buy your supplies.

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Lion Guides: Literature Humanities Review

We here at the Lion understand that this is a hectic week for you leading up to Fall Break. Two or three midterms? A couple of papers? We truly feel your struggle. Thus, to take a little load off your shoulders and maybe grant you an extra hour or so of sleep, we took the liberty of compiling various study guides filled with A1 content. Hopefully, this will make your cramming a breeze (like the one Iphigenia was sacrificed for). Good luck: may the odds be ever in your favor.

The Lion team would like to credit Ryan Mandelbaum, Michelle Vallejo, and Constance Boozer for putting together this comprehensive review guide.

NOTE: Some texts such as, Toni Morrison’s Song of Solomon are not included.

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