Liking the 2020s? With this year as the opening act? No thank you! Senior Staff Writer Victoria Borlando will happily stay in the 2000s where it’s safe, thank you very much.

Alright, I’ll say it: I’m beyond pissed! Everything about Columbia in 2020 has been nothing but a disappointment—from the time the elevator in my dorm building broke down for a month back in February to losing my entire second year (and, arguably, any possible millisecond of peace of mind since March) to a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.

In order to cope with being robbed of an entire year on campus, I’ve been digging through WikiCU in order to seek some consolation with past chaotic moments in recent history—also known as the early 2000s—that could have disrupted student life immensely. I just wanted to know that past Columbia grades have had a complete academic rupture like everyone now is going through.

Yeah, I didn’t find anything except my own envy. I found moments upon moments of Columbia History in the early 2000s that were so fucking rad, that all I ended up doing was pine for the good ol’ days of when I was too young to enjoy any of this cool shit.

So, instead of dealing with the cards I’ve been dealt, I decided: why not fantasize about being a student in the early 2000s? Why can we not romanticize the years 2000-2010, especially since there are plenty of good reasons to do exactly that?

So, here are seven moments of early 2000s Columbia culture that I WISH I could have experienced had I been born sooner:

  1. Standing front-row at Kanye West’s Bacchanal concert (<2008): Literally, we won here. One of the best rappers in the entire world, and we had him perform for us. Do you know what we didn’t have in 2020? A Bacchanal. We almost had one—we were one month away from getting brain rot from 100 gecs and absolutely enjoying it—but it was going to be at Terminal 5, which is a hike and a half away from Low Steps. Kanye West, on the other hand, was on campus (more than once, apparently), which is incomparable to anything post-2015, when regulations got rid of the insanity and fun that was ‘Bacchanal’ at the time. And what would Kanye West’s discography have looked like in the early 2000s? Uhm, does The College Dropout and Graduation ring a bell? Yeah, every speaker on campus would have been blasting him, and to be honest, I want that memory more than I want this semester to be over (which is a pretty big deal, all things considered).
  2. Walking across campus during the Counter-Counter Protest at the 2003 Iraq War Protest: Reading this moment of history was like watching an episode of The Crown, only with no British people, no generosity given to Prince Charles’ appearance, and the CU Republicans instead of Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. Imagine being on campus when this happened! This event had everything on a Great-Schism-of-1440s level: a megaphone, peaceful protest, three different protest groups at once—each with their own purpose—and a lot of booing! I personally think we need to bring this level of valid chaos (and booing like we’re peasants watching a bad play at the Globe Theatre) back. Today, we get heated about important issues, but the most we do is submit an extended paragraph to Columbia Confessions, which will probably be read exclusively by people who already graduated. In short, the name is funny, and the event could eventually become important for future historians. I yearn for the zest of these feats of the student activism that the early 2000s had.
  3. Waking up and hearing about Operation Ivy League (2010): Imagine you wake up in your dorm room the day after a huge frat rager, and you find out the frat bro who made you pay $5.00 to poison yourself with suspicious alcoholic juice got arrested for being a member of an independent drug ring. Like, someone was in his Lit Hum class! Those people who took a seminar with any of the eleven frat brothers arrested for an elaborate drug ring scandal probably felt so cool, knowing exactly what these guys thought about glory in The Iliad. If I had gone to Columbia at some point overlapping with December 2010, I would have been absolutely overjoyed to have a scandal as riveting as this one.
  4. Wearing Heelys and blissfully zooming around campus, as everyone else was doing (c. 2000-2008): I know we’re all adults and can probably buy a pair of Heelys to wear around campus, but that’s not the point. The point is that everyone probably had a pair and looked super cool while wearing them. You wouldn’t have been the “That person wears Heelys in a time where no one else does” person. Instead, you’d be one of the many Columbia students rolling about while listening to “Feel Good Inc.” by Gorillaz on your iPod, looking like the coolest young adults that have ever existed. No one had an excuse to be late to a class because everyone was super-fast! No skateboards to potentially trip over; only Heelys. That’s the life I want!
  5. Living every weekend like it was a Cobra Starship song (most notably around 2009): Imagine rolling up to EC and hearing “Good Girls Go Bad” blaring through someone’s speakers. If not that song, then possibly Cobra Starship’s “Hot Mess”, which is the most underrated party anthem from the early 2000s. People are sweaty, obscenely intoxicated, and wearing low-cut jeans and camisoles and passing this atrocity as a fit. Eyeliner is smudged, men have Pete Wentz haircuts, and spray tans are dripping off the skin and coalescing in puddles on the floor of some poor senior’s suite. The room smells terrible. We can’t hear anything except the Black Eyed Peas’ “I Gotta Feeling”, followed by Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance”, Britney Spears’ “If U Seek Amy”, and ending with La Roux’s “Bulletproof.” Honestly? Life was fucking excellent when everyone’s preoccupation was having a good time, no matter how gross (but not deadly, thankfully) the scene actually was. 2009 party culture and music were the only successful outcomes of a hedonistic lifestyle, and like…it was unfair that I was a literal child and unable to enjoy this year to the fullest. Like, what party songs exist in 2020 that are comparable to those from 2009?
  6. Hi-fiving Tobey Maguire while he acts his heart out in the Spiderman movie (filming took place in 2001): What? You wouldn’t completely nerd out to see motherfucking SPIDERMAN walk around campus in 2001? The last cool project on our campus was The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel back in 2016, but they only filmed season 1 there, I still wasn’t a student, and it was only notable because it starred Tony Shalhoub. Yes, Tony Shalhoub is a very cool, wonderful man, but he’s not Tobey Maguire! I simply wanted to be a non-consenting extra in the first movie of the best Spiderman trilogy (and it’s because of Topher Grace as Venom in Spiderman 3), and I want to hi-five Tobey Maguire for being a cultural icon. Also, you remember your college tour; absolutely everyone mentioned the building where the people from Spiderman filmed the lab scene. In other words, this movie is so important to our cultural history, and I’m beyond upset that I couldn’t have been there to see it happen in real-time! However, the only thing I wouldn’t want to be is the person who made James Franco like Columbia so much, he decided to enroll. I’m definitely not romanticizing Franco’s time on campus.
  7. Just being in close contact with Vampire Weekend (most notably in 2006, but also in 2009): Note, I wrote this article; this bullet point is getting published no matter what people say. To be a Columbia student from 2002-2006 would’ve been my chance to hear “Oxford Comma” and “Walcott” before anyone else; I could’ve seen them walking across the campus and have an out-of-body experience because that’s what the song said! I could’ve watched the SEAS Battle of the Band concert that launched their careers into one of the most influential indie bands of the 2010s, culminating in their well-deserved Grammy for Father of the Bride (2019). Furthermore, they came back in 2009 with a Bacchanal concert that was apparently incredible, and I want to be screaming to “A-Punk” in the front row for that so badly. Why did I have to be a literal child?! Why must it now be so difficult for me to see that goddamn chandelier in person? In short, I just want to be in the presence of my one, true love, Ezra Koenig the chandelier. :)

So yes, in reality, I am a grouchy, vampirically pale thing with a chronic headache and who isn’t, to put it nicely, vibing at all with Columbia 2020. But, in my soul, I’m a refined mall-goth living my best life, holding a flip phone in one hand, wearing a Cobra Starship t-shirt, blasting Kanye West from my iPod nano, Heely-ing to my CC class with one of the frat bros from Operation Ivy League, all while seeing Ezra Koenig looking ethereal and Tobey Maguire in his Spiderman suit at the counter-counter Iraq War protest.

I guess there’s one positive thing about being a college student now: at least I’m not a millennial.

Ancient Artifacts, Brain Rot Sold Separately via Wallpaper Flare