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Spectrum’s taken on some fresh-faced and sparkly new first-years. We want to embarrass them before they become wrinkly Spec has-beens, so here’s a collection of heartfelt letters noting their Columbia observations thus far. As of today, we’ve captured their wide-eyed innocence in a time capsule from the first weeks of their first year of college. It’s only a matter of four years before we can all look back on these and be like, “omg that guy worked at Spectrum his first year,” or “omg remember when our biggest problem with this campus was the fancy water?”

Meet the peeps. They’re a cool bunch…


Dear Mom and Dad,

Your tuition money could not be put to a better use here! I’ve learned a lot about being pretentious, and nothing is more pretentious and bougie than sipping the infused waters at the esteemed John Jay Dining Hall. I might still have small-town blood in my veins, but I definitely now have pompous water for daily hydration.

Tevis Robinson is a Columbia College first-year from Hurricane, West Virginia (what a name, I know). He is an avid fan of the watermelon-and-mint-infused water in John Jay and is seeking Columbia Dining’s sponsorship to sample fruity and/or vegetable-esque beverages.


Dear Mom and Dad,

I'm writing to tell you that I've had french fries, pasta, and rice for every meal for the last three weeks. Expect more of me when I see you for Thanksgiving. Love, Isabella

Isabella Monaco is a Barnard first-year from Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey. She cares about her well-being, but she cares about rice more.


Dear Mom and Dad,

I never thought I'd miss the D.C. metro system, but at least I know that no matter how delayed the trains are there, I can actually get off at my stop. At home I don't have to decide between local and express—I know that whatever train I get on will be the slowest one.

Victoria Yang is a SEAS first-year from Northern Virginia. She tells people she's from D.C. so they don't think she's from Southern Virginia.


Dear Mom and Dad,

Today I got some advice from a wise old sophomore in the dining hall. “College is expensive, and you have to get your money’s worth,” she said, sliding a salt shaker and napkins into her bag. After a moment’s thought, she took the ketchup bottle too. I never saw her again.

Ishya Verma is a Barnard first-year from Philadelphia. She is a penny pincher, but still has a strong enough moral compass to have never stolen communal ketchup from a dining establishment.


Sup fam. The other day I walked past a trail of socks on College Walk... probably from all the Barnard peeps who drag their dirties across the street to do their laundry for free. But hey, they get free laundry and I get free socks!

Shulie Weinberg is a Barnard first-year from Chicago. She does not actually pick up abandoned socks off the ground; however, she does need some new pairs. She is currently accepting donations.


Dear Mom and Dad,

College is great. There are cockroaches in my dorm and a giant rat greets me at the gate every day, but don't worry because the dining hall has five types of fruit-infused water.

Mariella Evangelista is a Barnard first-year from Hong Kong. She has made enemies due to her stance against cucumber-flavored water. Tevis is not one of said enemies, however.


Are you a Barnumbian first-year who’s had some funky campus observations? Send them our way! Comment down below, Snapchat us @CUspectrum, or tweet us.

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John Jay letter mom and dad first-years
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