Bwog Staffers search for heart-warming advice and reflections about this semester so far and find lovely students who answer the call.

On an unusually warm and dry October day, Katie and I canvassed college walk for a quick conversation with upperclassmen at Columbia. We spoke with a diverse group of students, ranging from a GS student (Emma) to a sophomore (James) to a senior (Isaiah) to two masters students (Jenny and Dito), each with a unique perspective on the fall semester. Amid the hullabaloo of college walk, they reflected on the school year and their education as a whole. Transcribed below are their responses to our questions. May you find them as honest and insightful as we did! 

How has your semester been so far?

Emma: My semester has been really good. Like actually really good. I’m part of a dual, so I just got here as a junior, which I think makes it much easier relative to other juniors at CC because everything is new and exciting, but we also have the experience of having been to a university and having to manage work-life balance.

Isaiah: It’s been good. I have been trying to take a really laid-back approach to my senior year, and really just soak it in. One of my friends who graduated last year and who is living in the city, it shows me that this is a really special place for the four years of your education and it’s only a bubble that lasts for so long.

Dito: My feelings on this semester have been complicated because it’s my last semester, so I don’t have many classes. I only have 2 classes remaining, meanwhile, I have to find jobs, so that’s the challenging part.

Jenny: It’s been good. I like being back at school, I think especially after…I was in the workforce for two years already, so being back to school already feels nicer and safer, feeling like I’m appreciating it more than when I was, when I was an actual undergrad.

James: It has been…a lot. But it’s been exciting and frustrating. But it’s good. I’m learning a lot, new professors, my classmates and professors are interesting, got what I asked for you, know? 

Has the semester gone by fast or slow for you?

Isaiah: It’s going by really quickly, I can’t believe we’re almost in November. I’ve been really surprised by that.

Dito: It’s going very fast. I feel that I’ve just started my program a couple months ago, not ten months ago. It’s one and a half years total.

James: Fast, very fast.

What’s one piece of advice you would give to freshmen, or one piece of advice you were told as a freshman?

Emma: The biggest thing I’ve seen is listening to your body. I think a lot of people get burnt out because they didn’t listen to the cues that were coming. Appreciating the longsome benefits of taking care of yourself and being healthy. 

Isaiah: Take all the opportunities and go for everything. If you’re ever unsure of yourself in applying for an opportunity like a job or going abroad, just go for it and see what happens. 

Dito: I highly recommend taking a master program. It’s up to you if you want to do it directly under your undergrad or if you want to have working experience first. There’s an advantage and disadvantage for both cases, right? But I highly recommend taking a graduate program in general.

Jenny: I think that like a lot of people were giving me advice before I went to undergrad, and I let their advice dictate what I was doing. So I sort of just didn’t ever think for myself, even though that sounds kind of bad. I let my parents heavily push me into the major I wanted to do. I let people around me influence me too much. So I didn’t really think that what I did was truly for myself. So going into my master’s program, I’m really trying hard to make sure every decision I’m making is my own decision and truly my own decision, not what my peers think. It’s my choice, not everyone else’s. 

James: If you’re homesick or stressed out, stay in touch with people at home. It’s hard sometimes to call your parents and friends from home or whatever because you think you’re so busy, but finding 30 minutes or an hour a week and just talking to people back home feels good. In general, be open-minded. Don’t close off to any course or area of study. We don’t know what we wanna do yet; we think we know what we want to do, but we don’t really. So keep an open mind, enjoy college, enjoy your friends instead of just studying.

What’s the craziest thing that has happened on campus so far?

Isaiah: There’s always crazy things that happen every semester. There’s a lot of conflict happening in the world right now, and I think it’s really important to pay attention to what’s going on. I don’t know if that’s crazy, but it’s definitely important to be engaged in that discussion.

James: I mean, I would say coming back from practice and seeing the protests and the police. That’s kind of a sore topic, but it’s one of the craziest things I’ve seen on campus.

What are you looking forward to for the rest of the semester?

Emma: I’m excited to meet more people. One of the big reasons I came here was to experience New York, so continuing to make that a priority. I think that also plays a lot in terms of how people are feeling here, like definitely leaving this bubble and experiencing all the cool, and often also free, stuff. 

James: To buy a Christmas tree and put it in my dorm room.

College Walk via Bwog Archives