…on 4/20. Anna Bahr details her journey below. Read this and more in the May issue of The Blue & White, right on the tail of the April issue, on campus this week.
As admitted freshman pare down their college choices in late April, arbitrary details become critical factors in the decision making process. Remember that Princeton visit? It was raining, and the telling scab at the corner of your tour guide’s mouth said more about social dynamics than Fiske.
But if you visited Columbia on April 20th, a veritable utopia awaited you: The College Dream. This one day, taken entirely out of context, is the college experience you wish you’d had. College Walk has never looked so good. As one elderly woman noted, you could, “smell that cannabis” wafting through the sweet spring air. This is Columbia, packaged for the prospie fortunate enough to witness this great university through the haze of 420.
Soaking up the gusto of four CC undergrads (“we’re in Columbia College—THE college”) in powder blue “Tour Guides!” t-shirts, I followed the loudest of the bunch after his confident declaration that “My tour will be the best.” This was my man.
The group first paused in front of St. Paul’s: “Have you kids heard of Vampire Weekend?” Solemn nods. “Right? They’re a pretty cool band!” [.......] “And they got their start right here.” One enthused woman jotted and underlined on her legal pad, “Music. Starts. Here.”
I should mention that our guide was not your average prepschool overachieving prick. This kid could not live without the university; his grandmother’s water literally broke in the foyer of John Jay. She honored her newborn with the middle name “Jay.”
But don’t get the wrong idea. Our pious Virgil wasn’t accepted as a legacy. He is smart. And he totally gets Columbia elitism—that shit isn’t inherited, it’s earned. Which he proved by mentioning his full-ride scholarship to USC (“Which I obviously turned down. I value my academics.”) twice.
We ambled past an endearingly stoned fraternity brother who shook his PBR-concealing paper bag in our direction and wished us, “Happy Holidays.” As if on cue, two star rugby players shouted a rousing, masculine greeting at our guide. “Those guys,” he waxed, “we call ‘em the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the squad.” Everyone laughed. Because we were in on the joke.
I ventured to ask how such a cosmopolitan,fun-loving college man passes his time. “It’s great being in The City. We end up using the MoMA all the time. So fun to chill there.” How right he is. Every few days or so I do find myself in midtown with a crew for a classic afternoon of a Picasso and dignified chitchat.
But if you’re nervous about the Big City, don’t worry. There are tons of fun activities you can do without ever, ever venturing below 110th or above 122nd! Like, remember that fun game of CU Assassins? He sure does! Because his one friend drove all the way to Louisiana to shoot his other friend! And his roommate was so into it, he “literally didn’t leave his room for a month.” College!
As our odyssey draws towards its circular end, our collegiate cicerone cuts to the tough stuff. New York is a tricky place to live. But the administration is here to support you 100 percent. In fact, the student body “is so close to President Bollinger, they call him Prezbo.”
I ask if he’s happy.
“I can honestly say I have never been unhappy here.”