Columbia Sent A Diploma To Someone Who Didn’t Graduate
Written by Sarah Kinney
Did you know that every seven seconds, someone drops out of Columbia? Did you also know that I just completely made up that statistic? But imagine dropping out of Columbia, then a few years later receiving a Columbia diploma in the mail like you never even left. This I didn’t make up. It’s a true story, one that happened to the one and only Leah Finnegan.
I met Leah last year at a Young Media Weekend event in a swanky SoHo loft put on by our dear friends at NYU Local. The event was a panel discussion featuring prominent young writers in NYC who work for nontraditional media sites—places like Bwog, but a thousand times more legit. Leah currently works for The Outline as Features Editor. During the discussion, Leah casually mentioned the fact that she attended the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism back in ’09, but that she dropped out after a few semesters to accept a job at Huffington Post. But, in the spring of 2011, an odd letter showed up at her parents’ house.
It was a fucking diploma from Columbia. The administration screwed up so badly that they literally sent a diploma to someone who didn’t graduate.
Leah said that when her parents first opened the letter, they were surprised but also super excited for their daughter. She remembers her grandfather remarking, “adorably,” that she must have done something to earn that degree. But when Leah emailed one of the deans from the J School and asked wtf was going on, the dean wasn’t so happy. They told Leah that the diploma had been sent in error and that she had to send it back right away.
But I mean… what would you do if you dropped out of Columbia but still received a diploma? There’s no way in hell Leah was sending it back. To this day, the diploma hangs in her childhood bedroom, a token of bureaucratic incompetence for everyone to see.
Today, you can check out the Leah Letter on the Outline, where Leah writes about how much the media sucks. You can also follow her on Twitter. She also has a fucking website because I guess that’s what adults do now.
Image via Columbia