The Social Isolation Core is a set of activities central to the undergraduate experience of students in Columbia College in Columbia University in the City of Zoom.

Virtual Columbia is a new experience that we’re all going through together. That reminds me of something else all CC students go through together: the Core Curriculum. The following activities are the focal point of any well rounded CC isolation experience.

Watching Netflix: Lit Hum. Basically everyone is watching some show or another and basically everyone takes Lit Hum (sorry Barnard/GS/SEAS– but not really). The Iliad? Tiger King? Inferno? Big Mouth? All essential and though you haven’t necessarily read or seen them all, you probably will pretend you will.

Playing With Your Pet: The Language Requirement. You’ve been trying to communicate with your cat, dog, ferret, fish, or snake and we both know it. And, well, it’s probably going as successfully as being an actual Spanish beginner in an intro class full of semi-fluent kids who’ve been taking Spanish since middle school.

Obsessively Following Coronavirus News to the Point You’re Convinced You’re an Epidemiologist: The Science Requirement. Some people take it too far and suddenly think they’re Nobel laureates in biology. But nope, you just watched too many videos or read too many non-scientific articles. Sorry, CC polisci sadboi, but you are still not an expert in this. 

Making Spotify Playlists: Music Hum. Because, well, duh.

Baking Bread: Art Hum. Ah, yes– you’re a proper artist. After staring at some famous paintings aka Bon Appetit videos, you feel prepared to create your own masterpieces: mediocre yet kind of aesthetic bread.

Getting Out of Bed in the Morning: The Gym Requirement. No one wants to do it, but it’ll happen eventually so you can graduate. When you’re not going outside, this can feel like some really strenuous physical activity. 

Reading Books That Aren’t For Class: Contemporary Civilization. It’s actually an intellectual activity, but you probably will just read the one type of books you like (which, hopefully have more than one token diverse author). Plus, you get fancy-people cocktail party cred for name-dropping the names of authors and books you may or may not have actually finished (…or started). 

Taking a Walk: Global Core. One of your few chances to actually leave the house and explore the world without really going anywhere. The ways in which your mind will expand when you see your neighbor mowing their lawn and some kid skateboarding down the block are indescribable. 

Texting Your Ex: Frontiers of Science. Why are you doing this? Is it really necessary? Use some back of the envelope calculations to figure out the appropriate amount of time to wait before double and then triple and then quadruple texting them. And, if your conversation succeeds, it’ll probably be as smooth as the transitions between the psychology unit and the physics unit. 

Those Instagram Story Trends: UWriting. Everyone follows the same format with their own minimal variation and it gets annoying really fast. If I see one more carrot I’ll give you some new interpretive problems to worry about. #untiltomorrow

Zoom Classes: The Swim Requirement. The rules for how they work changed when Columbia yeeted us. But those of us who aren’t graduating this year (and yes, Class of 2020, we know you have bigger complaints) still have to eventually suck it up and put in the work.

Image via Bwog Archives