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Putting it Bluntly: Going on a Prospie Tour

…on 4/20. Anna Bahr details her journey below. Read this and more in the May issue of The Blue & White, right on the tail of the April issue, on campus this week.

As admitted freshman pare down their college choices in late April, arbitrary details become critical factors in the decision making process. Remember that Princeton visit? It was raining, and the telling scab at the corner of your tour guide’s mouth said more about social dynamics than Fiske.

But if you visited Columbia on April 20th, a veritable utopia awaited you: The College Dream. This one day, taken entirely out of context, is the college experience you wish you’d had. College Walk has never looked so good. As one elderly woman noted, you could, “smell that cannabis” wafting through the sweet spring air. This is Columbia, packaged for the prospie fortunate enough to witness this great university through the haze of 420.

Soaking up the gusto of four CC undergrads (“we’re in Columbia College—THE college”) in powder blue “Tour Guides!” t-shirts, I followed the loudest of the bunch after his confident declaration that “My tour will be the best.” This was my man.

Illustration by Adela Yawitz, CC '12

The group first paused in front of St. Paul’s: “Have you kids heard of Vampire Weekend?” Solemn nods. “Right? They’re a pretty cool band!” […….] “And they got their start right here.” One enthused woman jotted and underlined on her legal pad, “Music. Starts. Here.”

I should mention that our guide was not your average prepschool overachieving prick. This kid could not live without the university; his grandmother’s water literally broke in the foyer of John Jay. She honored her newborn with the middle name “Jay.”

But don’t get the wrong idea. Our pious Virgil wasn’t accepted as a legacy. He is smart. And he totally gets Columbia elitism—that shit isn’t inherited, it’s earned. Which he proved by mentioning his full-ride scholarship to USC (“Which I obviously turned down. I value my academics.”) twice.

We ambled past an endearingly stoned fraternity brother who shook his PBR-concealing paper bag in our direction and wished us, “Happy Holidays.” As if on cue, two star rugby players shouted a rousing, masculine greeting at our guide. “Those guys,” he waxed, “we call ‘em the Tweedledee and Tweedledum of the squad.” Everyone laughed. Because we were in on the joke.

I ventured to ask how such a cosmopolitan,fun-loving college man passes his time. “It’s great being in The City. We end up using the MoMA all the time. So fun to chill there.” How right he is. Every few days or so I do find myself in midtown with a crew for a classic afternoon of a Picasso and dignified chitchat.
But if you’re nervous about the Big City, don’t worry. There are tons of fun activities you can do without ever, ever venturing below 110th or above 122nd! Like, remember that fun game of CU Assassins? He sure does! Because his one friend drove all the way to Louisiana to shoot his other friend! And his roommate was so into it, he “literally didn’t leave his room for a month.” College!

As our odyssey draws towards its circular end, our collegiate cicerone cuts to the tough stuff. New York is a tricky place to live. But the administration is here to support you 100 percent. In fact, the student body “is so close to President Bollinger, they call him Prezbo.”

I ask if he’s happy.

“I can honestly say I have never been unhappy here.”

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  • Oh, Bwog... says:

    @Oh, Bwog... You so snarky.

  • The Shadowy Dagger says:

    @The Shadowy Dagger Bwog How dare u say drugs are bad u actively promote drug use on your blog, as part of SPECs bigger agenda of harm to the columbia student population. I m surprised you dont just tell everyone to


    Because that would be bad. spé

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Why does this article fail to address all of the pertinent and possibly interesting things that could be gleaned from embedding a journalist on a Columbia tour? Oh, wait, this is Bwog, the sellout blog. Back to your roots motherfuckers, you used to entertain, at the very least.

  • Applying next year says:

    @Applying next year I am applying to Barnard next year, and I am so put-off by the seemingly present “Barnard hatred”

    Hypothetically, if I got into Barnard or UChicago which one should I choose?

    I wont be able to get into Columbia, but more likely a lower-teir ivy (Cornell and UPenn) and UChicago. But I don’t want the label that I seem to hear on Bwog all the time (yes I lurk) of someone who is stupider than everyone else if I choose Barnard.

    This is a legit question; I have no other way to ask someone about this.

    1. BC '13 says:

      @BC '13 You sound like a douche. Firstly, you’re assuming a lot of things about your abilities, get over yourself. Secondly, if the reason you want to go to Barnard is just because you don’t think you can get into Columbia then you clearly have no grasp of what this school is.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous What “Barnard hatred” are you talking about? From trolls and anonymous comments on the web?

        In the real world, the students of Barnard College and Columbia College get along with one another and attend many classes and events together.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Chicago and UPenn are nearly as competitive as Columbia, and Chicago is probably the most similar in terms of academics… Cornell is also a great school; all three are fantastic options, if you can get in. Barnard is a small liberal arts / women’s college; the others are larger, co-ed research universities (duh), and you should pick a school based on more than just rankings… but go elsewhere if you’re only interested in Barnard for its Columbia connection. You should be sincerely interested in whichever school you choose for its own sake–maybe that will be Barnard, maybe not.

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous you are ‘stupider’ than everyone else on this entire campus. and [who knew it was possible?] ‘lamer’ as i assume you would put it. i sincerely hope that if you come here i do not meet you.

    4. CC'14 says:

      @CC'14 If you get into all of those colleges, I’d suggest going to Penn or Cornell.

      If you are already stressed/concerned over Barnard’s supposed “inferiority” to Columbia, you will be absolutely miserable here. You will always feel inferior to students who attend the three colleges at Columbia. This is a detriment to yourself and to others.

      Don’t use Barnard as a “back-up.” Barnard is an excellent college, so go to Barnard for Barnard. Not for Columbia. (That being said, if you go to Barnard, you will be part of the Columbia community and you will benefit immensely from it.)

    5. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous WELL…

      I guess Bwog > collegeconfidential.

      Get a clue. And learn to spell “tier,” lest you shed many tears wherever you end up in academia.

    6. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous Dear “Applying next year”, the first thing you must learn is to not post on Bwog…it is full of people just waiting to put you down and hurt your feelings. Barnard and Columbia are great!
      Try to find a way to stay on campus for a few days and go to some classes and social events.
      Talk to actual students, not Bwog commentators.

  • ugh says:

    @ugh this is the worst. it reeks of pretentiousness and trying too hard.

    1. I was there says:

      @I was there and definitely reeked of something else …

  • I gave this tour says:

    @I gave this tour I feel like I’m being made fun of for being enthusiastic. I really do love this school. I’m doing my part to recruit the best possible people to this school. Is it so peculiar that I love it here and am proud to tell my tour groups?

    1. Thank you says:

      @Thank you It’s not wrong to love Columbia. As a senior, I’m realizing how dumb the “jaded” act is. Columbia is obviously not a perfect place, and there’s no need to pretend that it is, but there’s also no reason to pretend that it is not a phenomenal, interesting, and opportunity-opening school which we are inordinately fortunate to attend. The eye-rolling in this article and the common attitude on campus it represents is really pathetic–it doesn’t signal to anyone that you’re more advanced or cooler, it just make you seem pretentious and unable to recognize your own privilege.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous I’d venture to guess that you’re experience has not been the norm. But then again, any group with thousands of members can find one individual who is dedicated to the cause. It’s not as if the university would, or could for that matter, find someone who’d give the tour with a more “realistic” flavor.

      I don’t dislike Columbia because it’s not a “perfect place”. Of course no place is. However, I would have enjoyed my experience had the gap between what was portrayed on tours and what happened these 4 years been narrowed. Lawns open for the entire weekend? Students hanging out on the steps? Parties open to all students?

      I understand Columbia’s need to hawk an inferior product to naive students. If anything, it makes me feel as if I’m less of a sellout for working in the financial services. C’est la vie.

      1. SEAS '12 says:

        @SEAS '12 Edit – “your”
        Also, SEAS ’12. That means I’m pardoned from too grammatical mistakes.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous this illustration is laughably terrible…

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous yeah, where’s louise mccune? :(

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Putting it bluntly, I smoke blunts to stave off the constant suffering of finals that pricks my soul wiht a thousand needles made bya expert pinmaker. Remember that when you go on a tour, neophyte!

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