First adjectives that pop into your head when you think about starting college or graduate school? Scary. Strange. Difficult. But when you stop letting the anxiety take you over, other words emerge: New. Fun. Challenging. Exciting. It’s easy to be on the anxious side, but calming once you realize that you have an entire set of brand new people, places, and events to explore. I doubt that there’s anyplace where this is more true than Columbia, where we have 5 boroughs, 468 subway stations, and endless cultural venues and events as our campus.
For our latest video, fellow Arts Squad-er Mary and I talked to lots of first-year students about their past experiences and their anticipations for this fall. We checked out several of the orientation events, for graduate and undergraduate students, and met tons of new Columbians that are just realizing all of the amazing opportunities available to them as CU students and as (mostly) brand new city-dwellers.
This was especially interesting for me, because I’m one of them! I just finished my first week as a grad student at TC, and though I’m still a little overwhelmed by the academic side, I’ve never felt more excited to be in New York. I’m not brand new to the city, but I’m still figuring things out from when I arrived last June. Now that I work and learn at Columbia, and live in Brooklyn, I feel like I’m immersed in city life in a brand new way. The TIC and our weekly e-newsletter especially make me feel like the artistic life of the city is more available to me than ever felt before. In fact, when people ask me where I’m from now, I just say I’m a New Yorker. That’s what the city does: it entices you, accepts you, envelops you. The city makes you want to be a part of it, and carve your own niche in its chasms of activity and culture. When applying to grad schools came up, I had only been in Brooklyn for a few months, but I knew I couldn’t dream of leaving.
All of these first years, myself included, are excited about exploring the unknown for the next few years. Academically, we’ll make the most out of our experiences at Columbia. But it’s obvious that we’re enthusiastic about making the most of our experiences in New York City as well. I’m sure that if you run into anyone from this video on campus, by Thanksgiving, they’ll be referring to themselves as a New Yorker and trying to convince you that only they know the best pizza place in town.
Kimberley Roode Mackenzie, TC ’11