Name, Hometown, School: Alex; Lenexa, KS; CC
Where are you going? Slightly south. I’ll be living on the UWS as I work in the city. Some kind souls saw fit to provide me with gainful employment. Maybe I’ll knock off some of those red zeros that follow the negative sign on Mint.com.
Three things I learned at Columbia:
- To love the Core. It’s not exhaustive, and it’s not perfect, but it has no such pretensions (or at least shouldn’t). What people most often mistake when criticizing the Core is that the curriculum is not intended to cover certain, critical subjects so much as it is designed to introduce and develop modes of thought (philosophical, literary, musical, etc.). I may be wrong, but the western bias isn’t so much essential as it is convenient. We should embrace the exercise on its own merit, and then seek to apply whatever we take away in all other areas.
- To embrace ambiguity. I loved my philosophy professors and history classes, but I’m pretty sure that the two years of German language classes I took were the most impactful from a non-intellectual standpoint. Against all intellectual inclination, we must sometimes discard well-devised plans and allow ourselves to be subject to the whimsy of chance.
- That life isn’t graded. There is significant value to what we learn in terms of subject matter and intellectual skill in the classroom, but at graduation all you get is a fancy piece of paper (but not actually) and a fraction to list somewhere on your resume. While at Columbia, what is vastly more important is how you engage with the community and define your place inside it. During NSOP, we were inducted into a great community of students, staff, faculty, and administrators. Learning how to best service that community is a challenge on par with any you can find in a classroom.