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Columbia Culture Shock

Moving to the biggest city in the US is a wild ride from start to finish. 

I’m from a small-ish town in rural Pennsylvania, so going from a town of 15,000 in the middle of nowhere was a massive culture shock. You all have beer in your grocery store! The Smell! Hearing people speak languages other than English everywhere you go!! It’s shocking, it’s beautiful and I knew I wasn’t the only person to experience this phenomenon. No matter where you’re from (unless you’re from New York City, we guess) it’s a transition of the highest magnitude so Bwog staffers submitted their biggest moments of culture shock when coming to Columbia. Feel free to share yours in the comments!

  • People walk up and down escalators.
  • Everything is open constantly—now when I go home I’m shocked that the Starbucks isn’t open until 11 pm.
  • The SOUNDS.
  • What kind of city has multiple floors for movie theaters?
  • Bowling allies are their own independent place of business?
  • The only Krispy Kreme donuts are in Penn Station and the closest Office Depot is in New Jersey
  • Too many buildings in Manhattan not enough mountains in the distance
  • I come from a hot and dry climate. Fuck this “humidity” bullshit.
  • We do not so much have a campus as we do a dome with buildings squished around it. Every day I wonder what it would be like to bike the paths of my state school without fear of an errant taxi.
  • Rooms small
  • No Raising Canes (west coast best coast)
  • The way water tastes here
  • Not driving a car
  • There are grocery stores here that aren’t from huge chains?? Like I can’t think of a single locally-owned grocery store near my house. I love the bodegas and delis on Amsterdam.
  • The acceptance of queerness on campus <3
  • Jaywalking
  • HILLS: THERE ARE NO HILLS IN FLORIDA AND I HAVE TO WALK UP ONE EVERY DAY FROM PLIMPTON TO COLLEGE WALK
  • People straight up ignore people and that’s not how we do it in the south.
  • You can literally be doing the weirdest shit in public and no one cares. I’ve cried on the subway and walked a very large and out of control package cart from Broadway to Amsterdam and no one around me cared.
  • Strong agree on the hills
  • No alleys???
  • Being able to get almost any place without ever needing a car
  • Less McDonald’s than expected [Ed. Note: rip McDonald’s]
  • People use umbrellas when it’s DRIZZLING outside. Back home you get wet like a real man.
  • No one I know back home eats kosher.
  • Rats just out and about
  • Humidity isn’t a thing in Oregon so that was real fun to deal with
  • Important things actually happen here????
  • MTA fares drain your wallet SO FAST—back home I pay $2.50 for 2.5 hours which is usually enough to get me out and back but not here
  • NO ONE COMPOSTS IN THEIR HOME HERE. It’s so unbelievably strange not to have a compost bin in our suite kitchen. I’ve seen them around campus but it’s not a universal thing.
  • Everyone walks at 10% the speed that they should walk
  • Tons of people never learned how to drive
  • Distance is so different in NYC…. in Ohio, driving 20 miles is nothing, but here 2 miles is a fuckin TREK! Your bubble is physically so much smaller here.
  • Imposter syndrome is very real.

wow such alcohol via Wikimedia Commons

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2 Comments

  • fuck your culture shock says:

    @fuck your culture shock Flyovers GTFO my school

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Humidity will kill you both in winter and summer. It makes NYC weather extremes so much worse.

    2
    1
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