As the Class of 2019 reaches the half-way point of this year’s NSOP, throngs of upperclassmen and women have been rushing to fill these eager young students with pessimistic ideas of NSOP. With the number of articles being written about how “you won’t make any real friends from NSOP” to “we’re proud to tell you that you can just skip every ‘mandatory’ event,” it seems as if these people refuse to think about the purpose of the entire program.
Yes, there are parts of NSOP week that may seem boring or useless, but there is a reasoning behind every single event. As Kevin Chiu (SEAS ’17) describes the program, “New students come into this University experience expecting something big, grand, and altogether validating of the new chapter of their lives that they’re entering – and that’s what NSOP is meant to channel – it’s a welcome, but also intended as a catalyst for community and identity building and a social network jump starter.” Over the course of the program, new students are given an opportunity to adapt to this new environment, introduce themselves with hundreds of new students, and understand the people who compose their new community.
Now, for a program that has to cater to over 1,800 new students, there will be times when it feels as if you do not know what you are supposed to be doing or what event you have to be at. And that’s perfectly ok. NSOP is meant to be an event that allows new students to interact, get to know each other, and begin exploring what it means to be a Columbian. As Charles Sanky (CC ’16) notes, “The purpose of NSOP is to fully welcome new students to a place that we call home, which we hope they can learn to call home too. NSOP seeks to ensure that new students have all the resources and tools they need to be successful over the course of their time here.” A committee of students and staff have been hard at work planning this week to offer a glimpse into the vast resources available to all students on this campus.
So take advantage of all of this. NSOP offers you an entire week of being at Columbia while not having to deal with any classes or homework. Take advantage of the morning walks and runs in Riverside, trips to Harlem or SoHo, and late night walks across the Brooklyn Bridge. This is an amazing time to see new places and be able to interact with hundreds of new students all gaining their bearings in New York City who are all excited to be here.
So, yes, you might not meet your new best friend during NSOP week. And your OL group might not become your new clique, but will you ever know if you could be the exception if you do not at least try? You only have one NSOP and you shouldn’t let any person try and ruin it for you.