Congratulations Class of 2015, you're one of 6.9 percent of 34,929 applicants to get in! I can’t wait to meet you already. You have no idea what’s in store for you here. Take everything you thought you knew about Columbia, college, and yourself—then throw it out the window. Done? Good. You are now ready to pay the deposit that will seal your destiny… forever!
I want to offer you some advice. First of all, come! I know some of you reading this are probably stuck between our school and a bunch of some other prestigious pretentious schools. Now Columbia is not a perfect school (those smiling people playing Frisbee on the lawns in the Blue Album are probably actors), but overall, Columbians are all a truly passionate, genuine, inspiring, amazing, tough, and fun group of people. Our school will push you, challenge you, excite you, and take you places you would never have predicted. You won’t regret meeting us, and we can’t wait to meet you.
I realized I haven’t introduced myself. My name’s Wilfred. I’m a sophomore at Columbia. On my SATs, I scored a - oh wait, we're in college now; nobody cares about the SATs again, EVER. The sooner you get over how "cool" or "successful" you were in high school, the better. The key to enjoying Columbia and making friends is to be humble and to show genuine appreciation for all the other truly amazing people here. Bring with you an open, positive attitude, and you will have the time of your life.
More advice: Come to Columbia ready to try as many new things as you can. Our school offers an imaginably mind-boggling array of opportunities and choices, and it's awesome. There are some of you who might be thinking, “I’m definitely studying southeast African pre-colonial anthropological economics” or “I signed up for Columbia because I am getting a career in investment banking/organic chemistry/drug dealing/insert passion here.” Nonono. Don’t let your whole life direction be determined by the whims of a 17 or 18 year old who has only been to high school. I mean, don’t get me wrong—whatever you’re super interested in, keep doing it, but don’t limit yourself. There’s so much here to explore.
Some practical tips now: Use Culpa to browse professor ratings. Use Columbia's Course Directory to pick out some classes you’re interested in (but have lots of backup plans; first-years get the lowest priority). WikiCU will tell you all you need to know about... everything. Finally, read Spectrum right here, every day—if you haven’t already been. We'll tell you about campus life, food, events, and most importantly for you right now—housing (Carman is the best). Definitely sign up for a pre-orientation program (COOP or CUE) if you can, as it’s a great way to make friends. Come to Days on Campus.
Finally, take a deep breath, and relax. You did it. It won't be long before you're relaxing on a warm fall night on the Low Library steps, next to new friends. The city will be at your fingertips, every night, and you will simply grow so much as a person in ways that no other university in the world can offer. For now, enjoy your blissful senior summer and do all those things you’ve always wanted to do. We’ll see you in the fall.
Oh right. One last thing. Break up with that high school girlfriend or boyfriend. Seriously. It ain’t worth it. Skype sex is just awkward.
Wilfred Chan is a Daily Editor for Spectrum. Feel free to contact him with any questions about Columbia life at firstname.lastname@example.org