Registration is just around the corner! Time to think about what you’re actually here for–making that dusty cranial cavity a little less hollow (summer camp ends soon, 2010). A few kids who’ve survived reflect on the Columbia academic experience.
A C ’05 lady who wished to remain anonymous suggests that your broad cultural education will make you a better date: “Whatever you major in, by the time you’ve graduated you’ll wish you’d majored in something else. Or added another major. Or read a third of what you were supposed to read. Or worked, ever. It’s OK. Sit in any hallway long enough and you’re bound to pick up enough about Aristotle’s Ethics to make you sound smart over coffee or scotch-and-sodas ever after.”
But Kristen Loveland, C ’06, warns, “A word to the wise: the Core is only enlightening within the first two years of naiveté. For example, don’t save art humanities until your second semester senior year when you’ve already visited enough domestic and foreign museums to become pseudo-pretentious about art all on your own initiative.” (Note: this only applies if you have initiative.)
What happens in the Core, stays in the Core
Seton Hawkins, C ’05, reflects:
“Despite having referenced it in multiple jazz studies papers, I’m not entirely certain I could actually explain how phenomenology ties into intersectional analysis of performing one’s gender, race, sexuality in a non-hierarchical post-bop jazz – or ‘jazz’ – idiom. In fact, I’m not entirely certain I could explain the previous sentence – why the hell did I have to say the same word twice? However, I am entirely certain that there were enough large words in that sentence such that uttering it in a classroom would have elicited thoughtful nods from other students…”
This is also true of other subjects. Including science. Kind of. But, after a few semesters, you will find yourself feeling oddly smarter—or at least smarter than first-years.
How to minimize the pain
Gautam Hans, C ’06, says:
“While some people say to take lots of survey courses or to finish the Core in four semesters, by far the most important thing is to not leave your entire PE requirement until senior year. While getting my fingers sprained playing goalie in intramural soccer was fun at first, by February I was getting really sick of having to get up twice a week at 9:30 to run around the gym chasing after an oversized tennis ball.”
Kristen Loveland offers more!
“Think dialectic, discourse, agency, dichotomy, Marxian, Foucaultian, co-opting culture, power dynamics, deconstructing power dynamics, the other, social construct, gender as a social construct, and race as a social construct. These are all relatively important concepts. They will all also help you pass CC.”