2Girls1Snack – Cinnamon Rolls
Yummy Yummy

From top right, clockwise: Artopolis, Westside, Café 212, Starbucks

The latest installment in the 2Girls1Snack series continues the Bwog tradition of ignoring the patriarchal limitations of the original concept. Read on for two boys’ take on cinnamon rolls, especially if the last 2G1S left you feeling disappointingly healthy.

In a continuing effort to make dorm food look like real food, Columbia made a number of changes to Ferris this semester. If you’ve stopped by the pizza section during breakfast hours, then you’ve surely seen the most caloric greatest addition to the menu – cinnamon rolls! They got us thinking about the pastry options around Morningside, so we bravely subjected ourselves to five of the sweetest treats in the neighborhood. Here’s where to go for (vaguely) cinnamon flavored goodness in the area.

 

Ferris Booth Commons (1 meal swipe)
The feature and focus of our study, the Ferris cinnamon roll is just what you’d expect of a Lerner Hall dessert – good, but only if you don’t think too hard about it. While the cinnamon is visible, the flavor is easily covered up, and we didn’t think it was great to begin with. The bread itself isn’t of very much note beyond being sweet, although it’s a bit dry on the inside. The main attraction is the cream cheese frosting, which meets a good balance between the tastes of dairy and sugar. However, the glaze is spread inconsistently across the buns, so try to grab one with a ton of frosting. It’s sufficiently huge to provide a bit of satisfaction if you can only pick up one item on your way to your 8:40, and it probably tastes better on the run – just take a napkin.
2Girls Rating: 3 sticky pastries out of 5

Artopolis – Cinnamon Swirl ($3.80)
You are bourgeois. In the office at your folksy multi-national, you spend your workdays on the phone yelling at people from the same income level to push their underlings harder so you can make your wallet bigger. You do this to afford your $4,000-a-month apartment, your private daycare for your children, your air-conditioned yoga classes, and your half-finished healthy and organic meals bought at Whole Foods. And, of course, your twice-weekly brunches, where you go to kitschy cafes and drop $25 bucks on a meal containing half the food of a Happy Meal – and one that’s half as tasty. Your cinnamon bun is artisanal, sprinkled with powdered sugar that’s tasteless, filled with cinnamon that barely comes through. It’s flaky where it should be crisp, moist where it should be gooey. It’d probably taste better dipped into an espresso. So would dog shit.
2Girls Rating: 2 good-looking disappointments out of 5
(more…)

Hack The Week Away At DevFest 2015
You have the power

You have the power

The Application Development Initiative (ADI) wants YOU to come build an app with them at DevFest 2015!

From Saturday, January 31st (today!) to Saturday, February 7th join ADI for:

  • a hackathon
  • workshops
  • demos
  • free food
  • free swag
  • $2000+ in prizes

People of all experience levels (including no experience) are welcome to join in on the fun. DevFest will have 2 curriculums, the “Learn to Program” track and the “Build an App” track. Choose whichever takes your fancy.

The fun starts today at noon! You can find the rest of the schedule on the fancy DevFest website. Don’t forget to register, and make sure to also check out the Facebook event for all the latest news.

Bwog will be there with you the entire week. Or most of the week. Bwog has class, too.

 

Your hacking prowess will be known via Shutterstock

Bwoglines: Preventing Protest Edition
Armed and dangerous

Armed and dangerous

The NYPD has announced plans to form a new group to handle both counterterrorism and protest control. The group will consist of 350 officers and will be equipped with “long rifles and…machine guns,” according to Police Commissioner Bill Bratton. No word on what sort of protests would necessitate the aforementioned long rifles and machine guns, but better safe than sorry. (NY Post)

Venezuela’s Ministry of Defense has announced that the nation’s military has the right to use lethal force against unarmed protestors, so long as soldiers perceive a threat to public order. It’s like stand your ground, but for a democratic government. (PanAm Post)

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is stumping for a new proposal to expand the state’s counterterrorism powers. Among the proposed changes are reductions in the threshold for arrest and an internet censorship policy aimed at disrupting recruitment efforts. Critics fear that the government may use the net powers to restrict legitimate opinions. (CBC)

Seattle protestor and history teacher Jesse Hagopian is suing the city and its police department for pepper-spraying him as he was walking home from a rally. Thankfully, someone nearby caught the whole thing on video. (Guardian)

A group of protestors was able to disrupt a Senate hearing for several minutes by waving signs and demanding that former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger be arrested for war crimes. John McCain called the protestors “lowlife scum” as they were removed by police. (Guardian)

Our benevolent overlords via Shutterstock

Hbd, Bwog
Bwog staff at our birthday party tonight

Bwog staff at our birthday party tonight

Nine years ago, a beautiful god from above gave birth to an awkward and lazy child and sent it on its way to Columbia. This little tike was unlike the rest; with a knack for causing trouble and making a mistake here and there, the baby grew into a beautiful flower that hasn’t quite learned from its past. This angel is known by most of us as Bwog, and we are celebrating our 9th birthday today.

It has been a long time coming for Bwog as we have matured into our pre-teen years. We’re currently in 4th grade, which we all know is the shittiest time for a pre-pubescent kid to go through in school. However, next year we get to go to the big middle school and eat pizza for lunch every Friday! Bwog has also been taking piano lessons in order for Momma Bwog to prove to the rest of the moms that her special snowflake is more important than the others. We even started playing soccer for the local rec league, but decided it was easier to just sit on the side of the field and pick the grass. While we may be blossoming into a beautiful, young being, we still have some moments where we get into some trouble. But bear with us; we are only 9 years old after all.

Jokes aside, Bwog thanks you for your continued readership and insightful comments throughout the years. Whether you have been reading for all 9 years (in which case—move on) or just the past semester, we hope that you’ve enjoyed the half-assed content we put out there on a daily basis. We still have some growing up to do, but we can always count on you to put us in a time-out even if we don’t need it. Thanks for watching us awkwardly grow up and we hope to have you continue to make fun of our pimpled face at our awkward middle school dances in the coming years.

Xoxo,
Bwog

Our closest friends via Shutterstock

The Dreamer From The Northern Lights
10931675_10205697733144724_1560648285418020422_o

Botanical Ballet photographed by Hans-Jurgen Burkart

The Harriman Institute of Columbia hosted the exhibition opening of The Dreamer from the Northern Lights by Andrey Bartenev on Thursday evening. The exhibition featured photographs depicting Bartenev’s performance artwork and was curated by Natasha Sharymova and Alexander Khromov. Correspondent and art aficionado Caroline Montgomery was there, taking it all in, and bringing the best back to you.   

Andrey Bartenev (named the Freak of the Year in 2007, by Russian GQ) is a performance artist and a sculptor, not a fashion designer although he is often mistaken as one. In 1969, he was born in Norilsk, Russia and is now working and living in Moscow. In an interview with Huf Magazine, Andrey Bartenev describes his work as an exploration of people and space and the beauty and power of nature to create positive emotion. His work has been featured at many world renowned venues, such as Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Art Basel-Miami Beach International Art Fair, the Vita Design Museum in Boisbuchet, France, the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, among a great deal of others.

In stark contrast with the media that is being reported from Russia at the moment, Bartenev’s work is incredibly warm and colorful. Upon entering the studio space at the Harriman Institute, a woman in one of  Bartenev’s bright orange “Bubbles of Hope” suits greats you. “Bubbles of Hope,” which was a performance art piece featuring people in colorful bubbles suits romping through urban settings, premiered at the Dumbo Art Festival in 2013. Bartenev stands next to the photographs of his art work (in a morphsuit with cats on it and a hat that appears to the the head of a Chinese dragon) grinning. Within the first few moments of being in the room, it is exceedingly clear Bartenev fully believes in what his art stands for, something he describes as, “a collective meditative act, which can strengthen our own abilities to dream, to hope and to fulfill our own personal goals” (Unicycleproductions). Circulating the tightly packed room, the breath of Bartenev’s shines. As futurism collage is his favorite genre of art to employ, he, like many other artists, has surely broken the boundaries that Umberto Boccioni set in 1909 as one of the initial key player of the movement. The appropriately oversaturated photographs show Bartenev’s interpretation of synesthesia and kinesthesia: the experience of simultaneity, temporality, and bodily movement. Some of the works included in the exhibition are, “Black Caviar Road” and “Eight-legged Dog for High-Speed Transportation.”

The Dreamer from the Northern Lights will be on exhibition until March 13th.  If you find yourself needing a cultural pick-me-up, head over to the 12th floor at 420 118th street to experience Russian futurism at its finest.

The Harriman Institute of Columbia University will also be hosting a talk with Andrey Bartenev on Monday February 2, at 6:30 pm in the Marshall D. Shulman Seminar Room . The talk is titled, “Performance Art–The Testing Ground for Emotional Revitalization.”

Botanical Garden and opening night images via Facebook 

Bubbles of Hope via Unicycle production 

The Story Of Molly Mittler
540370_1666964396863342_8003784896811023497_n

Molly before her injuries.

Recently we learned about one Barnard student whose medical complications have taken her out of school and uprooted her life. Editor Taylor Grasdalen spoke with her to learn more.

Molly Mittler entered Barnard College as a first-year in August of 2014. Just one day before orientation, Molly had a concussion and chose to follow up by scheduling to meet with a doctor in Barnard’s Primary Care Health Service. The appointment was routine; of course they discussed her recent injury, but also took her blood pressure, went over her health history. Molly disclosed to her doctor that she was taking bupropion, a medication unrelated to her concussion and which she’d started using before coming to school.

Bupropion is notable for its brief removal from the market as one particular side effect—risk of epileptic seizure—was discovered. The doctor with Primary Care failed to inform Molly that bupropion, when combined with her traumatic brain injury, dramatically raises that risk. “So,” Molly tells me, “I had a seizure, right in the middle of Broadway. I got a skull fracture, a second concussion, contusions, and a subdural hematoma.” She tells me that the mortality rate from suffering a subdural hematoma (a collection of blood on the surface of the brain) is approximately 80%, and she’s been one of the minority to survive it. This happened in September.

Molly had to leave school and return home to Massachusetts. Her family struggles with the rapidly accumulating medical bills, and in December she created a Go Fund Me page. Soon, she decided she might contact alumni from the community of which she was now supposed to be a part: “I did the modern day version of going door to door to fundraise—I contacted a few famous Barnard-Columbia alumni.” She felt that at worst, she would be ignored; at best, she’d receive positive support.

“I got responses from quite a few alumni, all of which were positive,” but they were “from CC and SEAS alumni—none from Barnard.” She did not reach one single Barnard alum. Instead, she received a phone call from Dean of the College Avis Hinkson, “chastising me for advocating for myself. She told me that she received complaints from alumni about my email, and asked me to explain. I told her ‘I don’t care.’” Dean Hinkson explained to Molly that all alumni donations should go to the school and not to individual students. But when a student is on medical leave and not presently attending Barnard, where does that put her? Would Barnard really spend its endowment on the medical bills of one student? Molly suggests that “maybe instead of using the alumni donations to raise administration’s six figure incomes, they could use them to actually help students.”

“I am disgusted that Barnard has produced women who, rather than just ignoring the email, would go as far as to complain to Dean Hinkson.” Most of the donations that Molly has received through her fundraising page have come from other students or high school acquaintances. “I am not connected in any way to people who can just hand out money left and right. I have taken my promotion to management at work for the raise, and more hours so I can make more money. I have also gone as far as to sell any belongings that I don’t consider to be ‘necessities’ on Amazon.” She has undergone physical therapy to relearn to walk, occupational therapy for her double vision, and speech therapy for her memory.

She doesn’t know where to go from here. Her story is complicated. But she does plan to continue her recovery, and to pursue legal action. “A legal malpractice research team is reviewing my information. It is necessary to have a very strong case in malpractice lawsuits, as [they] are difficult to win—especially when your opponent has incredibly more access to resources than you do.”

Photo via Molly Mittler’s Facebook.

Basketball Faces Must-Win Game Against Yale Tonight
yes you would

You wouldn’t ignore this lion’s emails, would you?

When it comes to reaching the pinnacle of college basketball, the NCAA Tournament, only 14 games matter for each Ivy school. Home and away games against each Ancient Eight opponent determine the postseason fate of the Lions, who would have to win the conference to punch their ticket. To give an idea of how much each game counts, the last time a team won the Ivies with four losses was 1987. It’s considered a very competitive year when a three-loss team wins the crown. Preseason polls pinned this season as having many strong teams, with Harvard, Yale, and Columbia all leading the way. However, the Lions and Crimson have both fallen to 1-1, while the Bulldogs hold a league-best 2-0 in conference play.

We at Bwog spent a lot of time yesterday partying analyzing every near-future scenario in Ivy basketball, and here’s the impending truth for Columbia. If they don’t sweep this home weekend, the Lions will be a two (or three) loss team trailing a 3-1 Harvard, a 4-0 or 3-1 Yale, and possibly even a 3-1 Cornell team. Two losses this early in the year would make Columbia dependent on the missteps of other teams; three losses would demand perfection from here on out. The Lions cannot afford to let Yale rocket to an insurmountable lead in the Ivy standings, and they must at least stay tied with the Bulldogs and Crimson before the trickiest part of the road schedule comes around. This and many other reasons have led us to dust off our bright neon “MUST-WIN” sign and hang it above Levien Gymnasium at 8 pm tonight.

Yale’s historically terrific season so far has been noticed nationally. Their 11 non-conference wins set a program record, and their buzzer-beating victory over the reigning national champion UConn Huskies made the rounds of every top 10 sports list in the country. The Bulldogs are led by guard Javier Duren and forward Justin Sears, who combine for 27.6 points per game. Duren and Armani Cotton both shoot from beyond the arc with Maodo Lo-ian accuracy, while Jack Montague nails a terrifying 45% from three-land.

Columbia, for their part, will need a resurgent performance from Lo and strong complementary performances from the rest of the team in order to knock off Yale. Kyle Castlin will have to drive as well as he does when Lo is off the court. Steve Frankoski will have to nail his open threes in rhythm. Cory Osetkowski will have to contain Justin Sears and maintain an offensive post presence. And some one of the sophomore forwards will have to step up. But as I’ve said before, Columbia can play that well. That’s how they looked against Kentucky, UConn, Hofstra, and all of their other great games this season. A return to 2014 form will carry the Lions to victory. I predict the Lions defeating the Bulldogs, 66-60.

The most popular lion on campus via Pinterest

Bwoglines: The (Occasionally Uncomfortably) Personal Is Political
General political righteousness.

General political righteousness.

Enjoying a night at the Metropolitan Opera, audiences were no doubt thrilled when when a man climbed on stage during the curtain call to protest Russian President Vladimir Putin. Why? Because as every Columbian knows, politics is everywhere. Even where maybe it shouldn’t be.  (New York Times)

As part of a sweeping effort to reform campus culture,  Dartmouth College President Phillip Hanlon has announced a ban on hard liquor, including on those over the campus drinking age. Meanwhile, Columbia University President Lee Bollinger considered a ban on Butler library on Friday nights, probably. (New York Times)

Be on alert: later today Governor Romney will announce officially whether he will be running for President, and by extension, whether he will once again become a permanent fixture in your television, your conversations, and your dreams. (CNN)

Voting on a number of amendments intended to weaken support for Keystone XL Pipeline legislation, the Senate has officially acknowledged the existence of climate change, though it continues to deny its dependence on man made forces (even as it eventually did approve Keystone construction). As of now, Nature has no comment, but that one Facebook friend certainly does. (Newsweek)

No doubt upset that another entity would dare infringe on its role, a national government is requiring greater transparency in private data collection. Thanks to efforts taken by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) in the U.K., all knowing Google will share more information on the tactics used to collect data in the region. (PC World)

Firmly expressed political conviction via Shutterstock

Barnard Holds Title IX Focus Group
800px-Barnard_College_Greek_Games_statue_IMG_0972

Leading lady

Earlier this month, Barnard was listed along with 93 other colleges and universities on a list of institutions undergoing federal investigation for their handling of sexual violence reports.  As part of a continuing response, SGA held an open forum today and Bwogger Henry Litwhiler attended.

In response to the investigation, Barnard SGA organized a community discussion on Title IX compliance. Billed as a chance for Barnard students to provide feedback and ask questions about the college’s response, the focus group featured Barnard Assistant Dean for Equity Amy Zavadil and SGA’s Vice President for Student Government Sarah Shuster and Representative for Campus Policy Sienna Walker.

The hour-long session attracted a total of six attendees from Barnard’s student body. It was suggested that winter storm Juno had hampered efforts to get the word out, but since there was room for only a few more students in the conference room, expectations must not have been high. There was consensus towards the end of the meeting that another focus group would be in order, as turnout at previous events had been much better.

Zavadil fielded questions from students at the table, offering at times some of her own. Her emphasis, she explained, was on policy changes that could be brought about at Barnard to supplement efforts already underway at Columbia’s Sexual Violence Response.

The first point raised by a student was that, contrary to a provision of Title IX prohibiting colleges from charging students for services related to an assault on campus, Barnard caps sessions at the Furman Counseling Center at eight per semester, forcing survivors to seek expensive off-campus services instead. Zavadil countered that Furman is intended to serve students’ short-term needs and that assistance is provided to help students transition into long-term therapy. She admitted, however, that there should be more flexibility and that further discussion is warranted on the issue.

The discussion progresses after the jump.

Sharing Bwog’s Standards And Practices Policy

In the interest of full disclosure, Bwog has reformulated our Standards and Practices. As a publication we aim to honestly report events without bias or judgment and these new practices reflect that aim. These standards are formed with consideration given heavily to and adapted from the Society of Professional Journalists’ Code of Ethics, a group dedicated to free media and its own critical self-regulation. As always, the comments section is meant to act as a forum for discussion on these policies and our decision to release them to our readership.

Taylor Grasdalen, Editor in Chief

1. Seek truth and report it.

  • Test and research all sources’ information.
  • Never misrepresent or distort through story, quotation, or image.
  • Never plagiarize.
  • Tell the story of the diversity and magnitude of the human experience boldly, even when it is unpopular to do so.
  • Examine your own cultural values and avoid imposing those values on others.
  • Avoid stereotyping by race, gender, age, religion, ethnicity, geography, sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, or social status.
  • Support the open exchange of views, even views you find repugnant.
  • Give voice to the voiceless; official and unofficial sources of information can be equally valid.
  • Distinguish between advocacy and news reporting. Analysis and commentary should be labeled and not misrepresent context.

2. Minimize harm.

  • Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with inexperienced sources or subjects.
  • Be sensitive when seeking or using interviews or photographs of those affected by grief, or involved in sensitive or tragic issues.
  • Recognize that gathering and reporting information may cause harm or discomfort.
  • Pursuit of the news is not a license for arrogance.
  • Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do administrators and those seeking power, influence, or attention.
  • Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
  • Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
  • Defer to Editorial Board (Editor in Chief, Managing Editor, Internal Editor) when in question.

3. Act independently.

  • Research proactively and prolifically, though all work published on Bwog must first be drafted and edited by a second individual. Exception given to breaking news, which may be immediately published at the allowance of the Editorial Board.
  • Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
  • Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
  • Disclose unavoidable conflicts.
  • Be vigilant and courageous about holding those with power accountable.

4. Be accountable.

  • The majority of work to be published on Bwog must be accredited to an author. Exception given to Bwoglines and articles otherwise simple notifications, as well as anything your parents or future employers shouldn’t find.
  • Admit mistakes and correct them promptly.
  • Abide by the same high standards to which we hold others.
PSA: Tomorrow Is The Last Day To Add/Change Classes To Receive Advisor Approval
Probably shouldn't choose an 8:40 class....

Probably shouldn’t choose an 8:40 class….

If you have spent the last two weeks shopping classes, today is the day to settle, and choose your official spring 2015 course load. Tomorrow, January 30th, is the last day to receive advisor approval on your program, for both Columbia and Barnard students. So, weigh the pros and cons of all your classes, and decide which ones are the keepers.

 

 

 

Image via Shutterstock 

#TBT: This Day In History, Off The Columbia Campus
Man's best friend

Man’s best friend

Given that it is Thursday, it is only appropriate that we throw out a #tbt. While your Instagram feed will be full of baby pictures and vacation pictures with captions like, “cutest baby #fatrolls” and ” take me back #summer2014,” Bwog would like to fill your feed with some historic moments in history that took place on January 29th.

  • 1845-Edger Allen Poe’s “Raven” is published for the first time
  • 1861-Kansas becomes a free state under the Wyandotte Constitution
  • 1886-Karl Benz patented the first successful gasoline-run car
  • 1929-The seeing eye dog organization is formed in the United States
  • First baseball players elected to the Hall of Fame: Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Christy Mathewson, Ty Cobb, and Walter Johnson
  • 1959-Walt Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” was released
  • 1988-United Airlines flight flies around the world in 36 hours, 54 minutes, and 15 seconds
  • 1996-The play “Cats” is officially performed 6,138, and becomes the longest running Broadway musical
  • 1995-The 49ers win the Superbowl for the fifth time
  • 2011-Taco Bell begins a campaign defending their questionable beef after being sued for selling beef that was actually only 35% beef
  • 2014- Scientists figured out how to produce stem cells from normal cells in mice
  • 2015- We will see

 

Canine eyes via Shutterstock

Sources: Historyorb.com, Thepeoplehistory.com 

Bwoglines: Girl (Squirrel) Power Edition
shutterstock_154557827 (1)

A cute squirrel

Who you gonna call? The new Ghostbusters movie, set to be released in the summer of 2016, has announced the female dominated cast. Funny gals Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Leslie Jones, and Kate MicKinnon are negotiating their contracts as we speak. (Time)

Stepping up the traditional Girl Scout cookie selling game, Alyssa Carter, an eight year-old girl from South Africa,  is selling homemade chocolate to save the rhinos. So far she has raised $23,000, which she has given to Kruger National Park, to purchase sniffing dogs that supposedly have the capability sniff out poachers. When CNN asked Alyssa why rhinos she said, “They’re nice and, with their big-horns, they look beautiful, and I like looking for them in the wild.” (CNN)

There are rumors circulating that Sarah Palin is thinking of trying to make a 2016 run. Are we potentially ready for Hillary, Warren, AND Palin? (The Washington Post)

Everyone knows that Beyoncé is queen, but Cooper Union is offering to give you an intellectually stimulating conversation that will solidify this given notion. Politicizing Beyoncé. Mark your calendars for February 4th and join the Facebook event.

Running the world via Shutterstock

So You Want To Be A Spy
Are they spies or members of ADP????

Are they spies or members of ADP????

Earlier this week, we were tipped a document stating that an alleged Russian spy was recruiting at a “major” NYC university…perhaps Columbia? Inspired by this McSweeney’s column, our top conspiracy theorist Joseph Powers describes the double life of a Columbia student turned secret agent.

You begin preparing for your life in the shadows in the second week of your freshmen year, with a trip to the college career center. They advise you include more action words in your resume. After several more sessions, and your constant reassurance that, no, really, you’re not interested in investment banking, sighing, the assigned counselor finds you a shiny pamphlet: YOUR MISSION IF YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT.

You begin a grueling course load in anticipation of your triple major: Economics, Political Science, and East Asian Languages and Culture. You also plan to finish at least two years of each of the languages recommended by your guidebook: Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, Hebrew, Spanish, and Russian. (So alright, Russian wasn’t actually recommended, but the geopolitical landscape can shift at any moment and it doesn’t hurt to prepare for world of tomorrow. Besides. Bond beats Bourne any day). You could tell your RA was trying not to laugh when you told him, but he doesn’t know you. You were valedictorian of your class and took mostly APs. You know what you’re getting yourself into.

As for your physical preparation, you are trusting that to your practices with the squash team. Your time as a student athlete, you have already begun to realize, will also help prepare you to handle a grueling schedule, competing demands on your loyalty, and a workload invisible to those around you.

Two years later, all in one jump!

In Defense Of: Not Studying Abroad
Where the hell am I?! Prague?! London?!

Where the hell am I?! Prague?! London?!

Many students are off on their glorious study abroad trips for this Spring semester, and the feeling of being left in New York may bring some students down about. While studying abroad may feel like the latest trend, it is not necessarily the best decision for everyone. New York Lover Courtney Couillard defends deciding not to study abroad while at Columbia.

Your instagram is flooded with pictures of old buildings in Europe. People won’t stop tweeting about how their experience is the most “life changing experience they’ve ever had.” And here you are: sitting in your small dorm room and staring out the window at dreary New York weather. The beginning of Spring semester can be rough given the time of the year and post-holiday apathy towards school, but seeing pictures and hearing stories about your friends studying abroad doesn’t help. You shouldn’t feel down about not being abroad! Missing that info session about studying in London to instead drink boxed wine was one of the best decisions you’ve made. Just because all of your friends have decided to study abroad doesn’t mean that you are obligated to in your four years at Columbia; perhaps, deciding to not study abroad is the most “life changing experience” you will make.

My biggest critique is the fact that we live in New York City. For most, including my New Hampshire soul, attending college in this city is like studying abroad every semester. New York provides endless opportunities to have fun, learn outside the classroom, and escape your comfort zone. While it may be bold or scary living abroad for a semester, it is also those things deciding to create a life in New York. Your friends may be bragging about their great weekend trips to every country in Europe, but you can do just the same exploring the different boroughs and neighborhoods outside of Morningside Heights. Just like your abroad friends, it is up to you to take advantage of the new territory you are staying in and get as much as you can out of it during your time here.

Hear more about how living in New York can be like studying abroad here.