Our last day at New York City was a memorable day. We woke up 6:60 AM, and we went to get breakfast from Aroma Espresso bar. I decided to get an omelet sandwich. Afterwards we took the subway to Columbia University. Taking the subway was a completely new experience. As soon as you enter the subway, a strong current of heat hits you. It was also unsurprisingly more crowded than when we take BART back on the West Coast. We reached Columbia University early so we wandered around and took pictures.
Once we checked in, a group of college students took us to a room where the information session was held. The tour guides introduced themselves. They were extremely excited to be a part of Columbia University. Later on an admissions officer talked to us about Columbia’s long history and the academic structure. Columbia has a very interesting history. It was originally named King University and it moved its location a couple of times. Columbia also has a unique academic structure. Instead of requiring students to take certain classes, Columbia has a core curriculum. It allows students to take a wide variety of classes so that they can discover what they are interested in. A very surprising fact that I learned about Columbia was that every student has to pass a swim test in order to graduate. (I thought that was a little strange.)
|This is a statue of a lion at Columbia.|
Afterwards our tour guide, named Gabby, took us around the campus. Gabby was very energetic in revealing the wonders of Columbia University. She showed us the different dorm rooms. During the tour, I learned that the students can form close relationships with their professors. The professors go out of their way to help the students. I think that the professor-student relationship is one of the highlights of Columbia. It’s very rare for the professors to form close relationships with students in the UC system. Another highlight of Columbia University was that it is diverse.
Once our tour was over, we went to have lunch at The Heights Bar and Grill. I decided to have a light lunch because I was not that hungry yet. We then headed to Times Square. I had a hard time getting on the Subway. When I tried to slide my Metro Card, it wouldn’t work. It repetitively said, “Insufficient fare”, so I had to purchase a new Metro Card from the ticket machine. It took me a while, but it was a good learning experience; I will not have trouble purchasing a metro card next time. After this small incident, we arrived at Times Square. We walked around and admired the large buildings. This was the first time I was in such a crowded place. Later we took the subway to the 9/11 Memorial. I became a little depressed reading all the names that were inscribed; however, at the same time, it felt quite peaceful. We then again boarded the subway to head back to the hotel where we dressed for our final stop.
|This is the 9/11 Memorial.|
Our final stop was a restaurant named The Cecil in Harlem. The restaurant had an unique menu. Harlem had a very different environment than that of Times Square. It was less crowded and the streets were wider. The Vanderbilt Cohort had dinner with Heather, Noelle, Ellie, and Beulah- who all attended Columbia University. Beulah herself was a part of the Ivy League Connection. Beulah is a rising senior along with Noelle while Ellie and Heather are rising sophomores. They were extremely nice. They all gave us useful advice about college that was very comforting. It was uplifting to know that it is okay to change your major. They also mentioned that we should be open-minded when looking at colleges; and that we should start our college applications early so that we can have more time to apply for scholarships.
Besides giving us advice, they talked about their experience at Columbia University. The location of Columbia in the center makes it a great place to be in. The location and beauty of Columbia served as an attraction for all of them. Beulah made an important point that we should consider the cultural diversity of the colleges. She mentioned how she only considered colleges in which at least seven percent of the population was African American. Heather, Ellie, Noelle, and Beulah also shared their high school experience, especially the SAT. We all had similar emotions before taking the test.
At the end of the event, Noelle started to tell us about Columbia’s interesting traditions. During the midterms, the students scream to let out their stress- it’s known as the “Primary Scream”. All the students also gather together to have a pillow fight. Our event was concluded by a group photo. I truly enjoyed my time at New York City, and I am excited to travel to Pennsylvania tomorrow!