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Monthly Archive: November 2018

Nov

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He survived beatings, shootings, stabbings and poisonings, but not the transition to theater.

Thanks to rush tickets, you’re only an early morning and $39 away from seeing any show on Broadway. But how do you know it’s worth it? Bwog offers a handy guide to which musical you’re sure to like, according to your favorite meal spot on campus.

John Jay – Anastasia

You’ve been wandering in the frozen wastes of St. Petersburg for what seems like years, your memory a sea of blankness – wait, no, you’re just standing in front of the air conditioners. If you’re a fan of the dining hall with the most early-20th century architecture and the longest tables, you’re probably full of nostalgia and a healthy appreciation for communism. Go see Anastasia. It may have cut out Russia’s greatest love machine, but you’ll be humming “Ra Ra Rasputin” the whole time anyway.

JJ’s – Pretty Woman
Let’s be real: you’re not here for substance. You want something hot, fast and satisfying. You’re probably drunk and horny, which is the ideal mindset for seeing Pretty Woman. Is the plot good? No. Is Samantha Barks unbelievably gorgeous and talented? Yes. Are you over your Les Misérables phase? Probably not. Should you get another order of curly fries? If God can’t stop you, neither can I.

Diana – The Lifespan of a Fact
You are paralyzed by indecision. You have a paper due in 3 hours and you can’t figure out whether or not a soda, two orders of fries and a large salad packed into a small box counts as a single meal swipe. If your Twitter is anything to go by, you LOVE Harry Potter but HATE J.K. Rowling, so Cursed Child is out of the question. Instead, watch Daniel Radcliffe be paralyzed by indecision for 2 hours in a very competent American accent. Grab some cookies on your way to the theater. No, wait! The cookies are an entrée! THE COOKIES ARE AN ENTRÉE!!!

Ferris – The Prom
You appreciate bright colors, bodily flexibility, and dazzling displays of treats. You’ll stick to the basics (pasta bowl) with a sprinkle of the new on top (olive-pesto-pineapple? Why not!) You are either straight or just a little gay, making The Prom’s watered-down but overwhelmingly positive message of acceptance just right for you.  Next time you’re waiting in that long pasta line, snap up some tickets for a heartwarming show about a high schooler who wants to take her girlfriend to prom, and the Broadway stars who swoop in to make everything worse.

Hewitt – Waitress
Maybe you’re disillusioned. Maybe you’re stuck. Maybe you’re a simple woman/Jew/confused prospie looking for the residence hall, and all you want is some conversation and a home-baked dessert made with love. Waitress is the underrated, surprisingly dirty musical that’s perfect for lovers of an underrated, surprisingly dirty (or is it?) dining hall.

Bonus: Milstein Coffee Bar – The Band’s Visit
Your class schedule said MIL. You ended up in Milstein instead of Milbank. The only thing worse would be mixing up Petah Tikvah with Beit Hatikvah and winding up in a small town in the middle of the desert, where you and your bandmates form unlikely friendships with disillusioned Israelis through the power of music. All will end in love, understanding and/or old avocado toast.

A cat that really was gone via Wikimedia Commons

Nov

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This is what a credit card looks like! :)

So you might’ve thought Bwog Finance was dead….well, surprise! Like an old 80’s band, we’re back with the reunion tour you never really wanted but kinda just happened anyways. Welcome to a new edition of the Bwog Finance column, this time on the subject of credit cards.

What is a credit card?

When you buy something using a credit card, you’re basically borrowing money from the bank to buy something, and you pay it back later. It’s not a like a debit card, which takes the money out of your bank account immediately to pay for whatever purchase you’re making. You also can’t borrow an unlimited amount – the credit card comes with a credit limit (for example, $1000), which represents the maximum amount of money you can borrow on the card.

Why is having a credit card important – can I not just use my debit card forever?

Using a credit card is the primary way to build up your credit score, a term which you may be familiar with if you’ve seen those sketchy spam ads or random Forbes headlines. Your credit score is important because it’s basically like a weighted GPA that reflects how trustworthy of a borrower you are (I’ll explain later how/why it’s “weighted”).

So when you’re older, lenders will look at your credit score when you try to make a large purchase that involves debt – like a mortgage on a house, a loan for a car, etc. – because they want to make sure you’re able to pay off whatever large loan you’re asking for. If your credit score is high, you will be able to take out these large loans and may receive a lower interest rate.

The credit score is weighted by a number of different factors – this can include something like 35% if you pay back your credit in time, 30% how much of your credit limit you’re using up, 10% how long you’ve held your credit card, etc. etc.

If you’re someone who’s never used a credit card before (I’m assuming this because you’re currently reading this article), your credit score right now is probably 0. But don’t worry, because you can change this!

More advice after the jump

Nov

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Bwogger Abi expresses her love for the Carman service elevator. 

Just average elevators. Not worthy of my love and affection.

Dear Carman Service Elevator (or Ellie as I affectionately refer to you in my head),

I think you know why I’m writing you this letter. Over the past few weeks I’ve noticed we have been getting closer and closer and I just need to voice my appreciation for you.

Ellie, you’re always there for me when I need you. When the glares I get for taking the regular

elevator are too much to deal with, I turn to you. When I can’t face the endless flights of stairs, you’re there. When I want to be encased in suspicious looking steel walls, I know I can count on you. Because those of us that live on the third floor have feelings too, we too have a desire not to wilt on the Carman staircase, destined to a life of endless stairs. In my sleep I see stairs, my legs moving even when sitting. The memory of the stairs never leaves me.

Ellie, you understand me, you never judge me. When we’re alone together, encased in your suspicious looking steel walls, I can be myself. Only then do I dare to proudly press the button for floor three, my hands no longer trembling in shame.

Ellie, you’re always there when I need you. Positioned right next to my door, I thank my lucky stars that I met you. I’ll always remember the day I discovered you, worn down after another episode of floor discrimination, there you were, in the corner of my eye. Tentatively, I pressed the button, could it be, I thought, an elevator all of my own? Yes, it was true. A haven of quiet at the end of a tiring Monday, a questionable Friday or a sleepy Sunday. Any time, any day, you’ll be there.

All my love,

Abi

Nov

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Tree lighting ceremony!! Exciting!

ESC specialist Finn Klauber went back to ESC for another one of their meetings. Here is his recap: 

Engineering Student Council met for a mercifully short session last night in the hopes of conserving midterm study time. An ad hoc discussion topic bookended a short roundup of updates.

Losing Track of Bias
An email sent out by the SEAS administration this weekend marked the beginning of SEAS implicit bias workshops—trainings which are supposed to raise awareness for implicit bias and promote inclusivity in the SEAS community. These trainings would only be attended by “people who oversee students” such as professors and TAs. As the email asked that SEAS students input their ideas for these trainings at a college wide discussion, ESC decided to briefly discuss anything which could be integrated into the event.

VP Communications Asher Goldfinger opened the discussion by saying that he “thinks CC has become pretty good for [sensitivity]” but that income bias is still relevant in SEAS. Specifically, he brought up an instance where a professor assumed his students would be able to purchase expensive equipment, positing that this is an example of implicit bias in the engineering classroom.

Most of the discussants contributed to the topic in a similar manner—by relating an anecdote about bias in the classroom. However, what began as anecdotes of sexism or class bias quickly lost relevance to the general discussion about implicit biases. Stories of professors explicitly targeting students, either positively or negatively, entered the discussion, along with more general gripes about accents and professors’ academic expectations. While these are no doubt of importance, it seemed that ESC slowly deviated from solely discussing implicit biases.

General Updates

  • President Ria Garg met with the Committee on Instruction to discuss course registration. Perhaps ESC’s long saga for registration justice will come to an end by next semester, as both the Committee and Paul Blaer recognized how the current system harms CS majors and minors. President Garg will also discuss this with Dean Morrison this week.
  • Tree Lighting 2018 is going to take place on Thursday, November 29th from 5:00 to 7:30. CCSC has ordered the long sleeve shirts while the remaining councils are splitting up the costs for food, drinks, and other giveaways.
  • University Senator Zoha Qamar will be meting with CU Health this week to review vending machine data. Let’s hope she brings back some fun facts about the vending machines here.
  • The Campus Affairs representative briefly mentioned how group fitness classes at Columbia are not free, which is something she would like to change. She also briefly brought up how Barnard can use Dodge but Columbia can not use the Barnard gym, although she admits this is a more complicated discussion given Barnard’s character.

Photo via Bwog archives

Nov

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Only a couple of weeks after Columbia was named the #1 college for food by The Daily Meal, sophomore Beth Whittier allegedly found a thumbtack in a potato dish from Ferris. Posted on Columbia Buy Sell memes this Sunday, Beth’s photos depict a clear thumbtack underneath potato remnants, next to a side of scrambled eggs and ketchup.

According to a conversation with Bwog, Beth told us that she had eaten at Ferris on a Friday when she found that John Jay, the dining hall she usually frequents, was closed. Beth had accidentally already started eating the potatoes before she had realized the presence of the thumbtack.

We have so…many….questions. First and foremost, how did the thumbtack get there? Is this an alt-right conspiracy against Columbia students? Do we all need to be checking our Ferris dishes before we eat them? Why do the potatoes look so perturbingly gray in that photo? While Bwog might not have all the answers to these questions, we’ll make sure to keep you updated as this story progresses.

Photo via Beth Whittier

Nov

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They had Magnolia Bakery cupcakes 2 years ago?? For DAD??

Well, Barnard’s SGA met again, this time to present the results of the Desserts After Dark Survey. Barnard Bureau Chief Dassi Karp was there to see if anything interesting would happen (spoiler alert, nope). Read on for some *fun* statistics and unsolicited opinions about how Rep Council should run their meetings.

Don’t get me wrong. I may be one of the biggest fans of the Desserts After Dark (DAD) survey out there. Collecting information, pie charts, and baked goods–what’s possibly not to like? The problem is the semesterly hour (or almost hour) spent reading the results. This is not the fault of the VP for Campus Affairs Hannah Stanhill, who runs the survey: she is required to give this presentation, and she did so dutifully and capably. This presentation, though, is just another in the long list of examples of how SGA wastes its external meeting time. The body has little grounds to be upset for not being taken seriously if most of their public-facing agenda involves drawn-out repetitive conversations and the reading of information that could have been shared in a short email or a nice set of infographics.

Rant aside, the survey did yield some interesting (if not at all surprising) results:

  • Many respondents marked that they use Instagram more frequently than other social media platforms. This was especially true among first-years. That surprised me, so I must not understand the ways of the youth.
  • 98.9% of respondents reported having used the Milstein Center at some point. Who are you, other 1.1%, and what do you do with your time?
  • Most respondents reported having trouble finding study seats in Milstein. Apparently we have yet to solve the space problem on campus. Let’s knock down Altschul next, see if that helps.
  • Students want the Milstein Center to be open for longer hours, especially from 12 to 1am on weekdays, and basically all mornings and evenings on weekends.
  • One-third of respondents were dissatisfied with the meal plan options.
  • 55% of respondents would make use of an organics collection bin if it was on the floor of their residence hall. 28% of respondents did not know what that is.
  • 80% of respondents have heard of Barnard’s Greek Games. 74% had not attended. (lesson: we should stop the Greek Games and have useful and interesting programming instead. Stop wasting my Student Activities fee.)

Photo via SGA Facebook

Nov

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A few first-years getting ready to register!

Procrastinating course planning until 10 mins before your registration appointment? Same. Bwog has you covered so you don’t have to make a new post in the first year Facebook group on Thursday morning.

Note: the following reviews were compiled from the Class of 2022 Facebook group and Bwog Staff members. Please actually read the course descriptions when you register for classes, as reviews are often subjective.

First Year Writing:

  • The Americas –professor is really nice, but expect to be confused by the end of class.
  • Legacy of the Mediterranean – actual review from a student about Professor Pedatella: “he will come pretty darn close to convincing you that Dante is the best thing since sliced bread.” Professor Breyer is quite academic and really, really likes John Milton.
  • Women and Culture – Hard work but super worth it if you like that kind of stuff. Class may be triggering for a lot of people though. Professor Condillac gives a lot of work and is a hard grader, but pushes you to do better. Elizabeth Auran takes you to queer off-broadway shows and invites you to her apartment for supper. Meredith Benjamin adds cool readings to the syllabus and teaches techniques for writing college-level papers.

First year seminar

  • Hot Stuff – watch Bill Nye the Science Guy and grades by completion. Need I say more?
  • Witches with Wendy Schor Haim – I love her and it’s about the concept of witches and how men tried to ruin them since the olden days.
  • Reacting to the Past – good if you like debating and making speeches; might not be the class for you if you don’t like to speak. Cardboard swords and dragons might be present in Professor Carnes’ class.
  • Language and Power – very student-led and applicable in real life. Closely linked to current events. Professor Lewis is super chill and a fair grader.
  • Taboo and Transgression – will change your life, but not for those with sensitive stomachs, though I reckon if you can Netflix the Haunting of Hill House in one seating you’ll be fine.
  • Texts of Protest – Professor Morris might not be the one for you if you aren’t self-motivated, but the topics, discussions, and community are all wonderful.
  • Tipping Points with Margaret Vanderburg – super woke and makes you feel like a nice lil intellectual.
  • Interpreting Dreams and Nightmares with Ellen Morris – lots of reading but reportedly the best teacher at this school.

Image via totally legitimate Barnard source

 

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Imagine this is on YOUR desk.

Confused as to what law schools you should apply to? Ask Gabbie for more information.

Law Schools are quite similar in terms of curriculum, especially in the first year. Where you go, however, has quite direct impacts on what you have the chance to do after graduating.

The first thing to do is to look at your statistics (GPA, LSAT), and then look at where they fall in line with various schools’ entering class 25%-Median-75% spread. This will give you an idea of what is a possibility for you. Keep in mind that people are admitted below the 25% mark each year! So you can definitely apply widely. A good way to check your chances at a school is to look at https://mylsn.info/, My Law School Numbers or the handy UGPA/LSAT calculator on the LSAC website.

Schools generally fall into what are called national reach schools and regional schools. Because law is jurisdictional, generally, people are employed near where they completed law school and passed the bar. Some law schools are incredibly renowned, which means they have heightened reach, and degrees from these institutions open doors pretty much every where, not just in the region around where they’re located- these are called national reach schools. The national reach schools are generally higher up on the rankings, and the regional schools are below that.

More after the jump

Nov

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Birthday party done in style

Happening in the World: Stan Lee, the legendary writer, editor, and publisher of Marvel Comics has died at age 95. Among his work: Black Panther, Spiderman, the X-Men, the Mighty Thor, Iron Man, the Fantastic Four, the Incredible Hulk, and more. Thank you Stan Lee for all that you have done for us…may he rest in peace.

Happening in the USA: Deadly wildfires are ripping through California, with Camp Fire becoming the deadliest in state history. The three major wildfires are Camp, Woolsey, and Hill fires. The Camp Fire is the largest of the trio, with the death toll at 42.

Happening in NYC: California-based photographer Amber Asaly celebrates her 26th birthday by having a lobster feast on the NYC subway. She brings wine, spaghetti, and even a piñata to the subway to celebrate with her friends. The group rode from Brooklyn to Manhattan on the J train and stayed on the train as it headed back.

Happening on Campus: Barnard McAc is hosting a panel on voluntourism tonight in Altschul 202. The event will include a discussion on the ethics and controversies of voluntourism, a short documentary screening, and a panel. There will also be food from Shake Shack provided.

Photo via Amber Asaly’s Instagram

Nov

12

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literally all of us right now

Bwog recounts their weekend after a short two-day post-fall break week. As you can predict, chaos ensued…

Bwog is Sick and Tired :'(

  • Slept all day Saturday. Like, all day.
  • Had over 13 hours of sleep and watched all of Orel Moral, highly recommend
  • Stayed in on Friday night to “catch up on sleep” but ended up on Netflix till 4am
  • Attended a med school biochemistry lecture and didn’t fall asleep, and also I think I learned something!
  • Didn’t really leave my room that much this entire weekend
  • Caught a cold :(
  • Cried for most of UPMUNC
  • Chugged Emergen-C during meeting and had an orange afterwards to prevent myself from being more sick :(
  • Got sick >:(
  • Got up at 3 PM
  • Depression napped all day Sunday despite my exam and lab on Monday and literally only got out of bed to go to meeting. :’)

Bwog gets drunk, Bwog falls in and out of love, you know the drill

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On Sunday afternoon, uncultured freshmen Jordan and Abi, who know nothing about ballet but were excited nonetheless, journeyed all the way to 60th Street to watch the Columbia University Ballet Ensemble perform Swan Lake. Hear what they have to say.

Wow! Dancing! Leaping! Ballet!

After aimlessly wandering around in arctic temperatures, trying to find the Manhattan Movement and Arts Centre, we claimed the elusive front row seats of Columbia University Ballet Ensemble’s Swan Lake. If you’re like us and haven’t heard of Swan Lake since the 2003 Barbie edition, it is essentially the story of a Prince who falls in love with a girl who is a swan by day and Princess by night. With the promise of true love, swan girl can become fully human, but there’s a pesky sorcerer to contend with.

More intriguing than the plot of the ballet, though, was the performance and poise of the dancers. We tried to count the number of pirouettes but got so dizzy we had to take a breather. The ensemble was large, yet everyone had their own moment to shine on stage. We particularly want to shout out the two swans who moved so gracefully we’re not even sure they’re human. Every time they were lifted into the air, it seemed as if they were literally taking flight.

hear more about swans!

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Can’t relate

For most Americans, including probably the majority of students at Columbia, Thanksgiving is a holiday to go home, eat as much turkey as can possibly fit in your body, and spend time with your family. Or at least that’s my understanding; I wouldn’t know because I’ve never gone home for Thanksgiving in the past 6 years. My home is a 14-hour flight away, and Thanksgiving break just isn’t long enough for the trip to be worth the time or money. I also think that turkey is objectively the worst poultry and I don’t understand why anyone ever eats it, and that “Thanksgiving food” is such a limited range of dishes (see image above) that I don’t understand how Americans seemingly never get sick of it, but I digress.

Thanksgiving is especially a lonely time for international students like me (and domestic students who also live too far to go home) because you know everyone else is spending time with their family, while you probably won’t see yours until Christmas, if not for longer. Yes, John Jay has a Thanksgiving meal so you can commiserate with other people staying on campus for the break, but it’s just not the same. (I also don’t have a meal plan.)

What also sucks for me personally is that I miss out on all the Korean holidays: the harvest festival (chuseok—it’s like Thanksgiving but better) and lunar new year, especially, and I’m sure many other international students feel my pain. Especially when Columbia Dining calls it Chinese New Year. (Columbia Dining, if you’re reading this, please don’t do that this year. It’s lunar new year. China isn’t the only country that celebrates the lunar new year.) Not to be too depressing, but this sort of thing makes me feel even sadder to see the Thanksgiving festivities, knowing that I miss all my holidays back home.

So domestic students, especially people who live nearby, please invite your international friends over for Thanksgiving if you can! Adopt us! Help us feel less lonely! I assure you we’ll really appreciate it. And to other people staying on campus over Thanksgiving who feel lonely, Bwog sends our solidarity. Turkey isn’t even that great anyway.

Thanksgiving meal via Bwog Archives

Nov

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Sports Editor Abby Rubel takes a break from frantically refreshing SSOL to check in with Columbia Athletics.

Men’s Tennis: Sophomore Jack Lin and senior William Matheson were seeded first going into the ITA Fall Championships, but they were knocked out of the consolation bracket after losing to Constant De La Bassetiere and Gabriel Nemeth of Penn State. After defeating South Carolina’s Yancy Dennis and Paul Jubb, Lin and Matheson won in a walkover against a team from Baylor. Junior Jackie Tang, the other Columbia player at the tournament, lost his both of his matches.

Men’s Soccer: Columbia (10-5-1, 5-2 Ivy) lost to Cornell (11-6, 4-3 Ivy) 2-1 on Saturday, finishing in second place in the Ivy League. Princeton lost to Yale, but the Columbia loss allowed them to claim the Ivy title regardless. Senior goalie Dylan Castanheira ended his career one game short of the Ivy record for career shutouts, but now holds the record for lowest goals against average at .513, beating the previous record of .75. The Lions took the lead against the Big Red in the 59th minute with a goal from junior John Denis. With under 20 minutes left in the game, Cornell tied the game. After two saves from Castanheira, the match went to overtime. The Big Red scored the winning goal in less than four minutes.

Cross Country: The women’s team placed first this weekend at the NCAA Regionals out of a field of 34 teams. Seniors Libby Kokes and Erin Gregoire finished fourth and seventh, respectively, followed by junior Katie Wasserman in eighth and sophomore Maria Kogan in ninth. The men’s team placed eighth, with one runner, sophomore Dominic Dyer, placing in the top thirty. Both teams will head to the NCAA Championships next weekend in Madison, Wisconsin.

Photo via gocolumbialions.com

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It’s a miserable Monday, but CCSC is refreshed from Fall Break and ready to make your day brighter and replete with spreadsheets. Nadra Rahman reports.

CCSC is out here getting that bread

Last night, CCSC worked on tying up loose ends, revisiting issues that had been raised in previous meetings. The main course was a discussion on the co-sponsorship process, and how and whether student groups should approach CCSC. Also on the menu: fundraising, Programming Board proposals, and constitutional amendments.

Again, CCSC Has A Budget

This time, we got to see the actual budget! Or at least, a terse, 8 line spreadsheet explaining how much money is left in CCSC’s surplus. If you’ve been following the news, you know that student council has been approached by an unprecedented number of student groups this year for co-sponsorships, and while they accommodated many of the early requests, they’ve come to be more stingy. After all, according to the spreadsheet, the council has about $5,000 left in its surplus (once you take out contributions to Bacchanal, overdrafts from last year, increased funding for class councils, and so on)—do we want all of that to go to student groups, which already have diverse avenues for accessing funds? The surplus has also been used for a metrocard fund and a subsidized farmshare this semester, showcasing its potential.

Mo’ money, mo’ problems?

Nov

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Abandon all hope, who enter here

Course registration time is finally upon us, and that means sifting through the many courses available. Bwogger Sarah Braner journeyed into the directory and survived to tell the tale (somehow). 

When I had journeyed half our year’s way, I found myself again within a shadowed forest of shitty graphic design. With no Vergil or Beatrice to guide me through this particular pit of misery, I made my sojourn alone, enduring raging user-unfriendliness and bare-bones aesthetics. And oh, the horrors I saw.

Like the gates of the damned themselves, the directory makes its purpose of inflicting pain and woe quite clear. This hits a journeying pilgrim immediately when they realize that they are not looking at the Columbia University Directory of Classes, but something else entirely: Directory University Columbia of Classes.

Ah yes, the prestigious Directory University

Sure, it makes the slightest effort to be legible with the color coding, but come on, did whoever designed this not realize that the typical human reads things from left to right? Why is this necessary? How hard would it be to…not have this issue? Who is responsible?!

After struggling to figure out what exactly they’re looking at, this poor pilgrim has to contend with how ugly the thing they’re looking at is. The “can’t be bothered to make a decent website” aesthetic extends to every corner of this hellscape.

DO YOU SEE IT?!

The way that “search” button extends beyond the drop shadow haunts my fucking dreams. No thought at all was put into the design. Seriously, Columbia’s multibillion-dollar endowment can’t get us a directory that looks like the graphic designer gave a fraction of a shit about what they were doing?

If a pilgrim dares to venture deeper, they may find the reason for their suffering; this website hasn’t been updated since 2001. SINCE 2001! Just let that sink in. (For some perspective, this monstrosity was last updated before most high schoolers were even born.) How could the powers above allow for such misery?!

To whoever’s up there, be it Prezbo or a better graphic designer, let us ascend from this chasm of design sins into the world above. I pray thee, deliver us from this pit, so that we may see – once more – the stars.

The gates of suffering, Directory University, and shitty search buttons via the Columbia Course Directory

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