Sunday, June 28, 2015

New Enviornment, New Encounters

Gay Pride parade!
Today was the day that we finally experienced Columbia. At around 9 AM we all woke up to head to the historic gay pride parade. We left our hotel, picked up a quick bagel sandwich, and rode the subway to Times Square. 

When we arrived, we had an extra hour before the commencement of the parade. Given this extra time, we walked a few blocks east to visit Madison Square Park, and I observed that there were many squirrels and birds scampering within the vicinity. We returned to Times Square and in less that thirty minutes the parade had begun. 

The parade was rather exhilarating, as the multitude of people who were running through it were full of enthusiasm, galvanizing the crowd to become more hyped. I saw many different groups and colors represented at the parade, such as the Boy Scouts of America, Stone Wall, and Cuomo. I felt honored to be present at such a historical celebration, and I will cherish these memories and pictures forever, and share my stories for generations to come. 

Unfortunately however, we had to leave the parade early to finally head to Columbia University. We picked up our belongings from the hotel and commuted using the subway. I realized that you never truly understand how many stairs there are around New York until you have to lug 50 lbs worth of luggage up and down them. It was a true struggle, but after a few beads of sweat and some heavy grunts, we had finally made it to Columbia. 

When I caught my breath, I was astounded by the beauty of the campus. It was simple and organized, with one main path connecting all of the buildings. The building that seemed to astonish me the most was the former Columbia library. It was humongous and full of grandeur, and reminded me immensely of the Lincoln Memorial. I found it amazing that a huge building such as that only contained books. 

With the help of Ms. Thrift, we were able to locate the check-in desks and receive our school ID's. We all gathered together for one last time (well, until we see each other again on Tuesday), took a quick selfie, and said our forlorn "see you later"'s. 
The Former Columbia Library
Now, I might seem to be over-exaggerating about this sadness, but it's actually true. The last 5 days I've been pretty much with my cohort 24/7, and we did everything together: talked about everything together, laughed together, even did our brows and nail polish together (yes, even with Mark). I was truly disconsolate about this separation, especially considering the fact that we were also all in different dorm buildings across campus. This just goes to show how close-knit we've become as a cohort, and how much we truly value each other's presence.
My New ID!

I followed the signs that pointed to the direction of my dorm building Carmen. Since there was construction going on, I had to enter from the garage in the back of the building rather than the main lobby entrance. To be completely honest with you, it seemed a tad sketchy to me since the entrance was made of complete concrete, but I took my chances and stepped inside. 

The lobby itself is rather nice. There was a multitude of couches and tables for hanging out and socializing, and the laundry room and elevators are just a few steps away. I headed up to my designated room and floor, full of excitement and anxiety. I really had no idea what to expect when it came to dorm rooms, or what type of character my roommate would be. When I arrived at my floor, I was greeted by the sweet smile of my RA, who kindly introduced herself as Sam. She escorted me to my room and informed me that I would need my ID to scan for pretty much every place in Columbia. I opened the door and found the dorm to be better than expected. 
View from my dorm

My dorm room
My dorm is a suite, with two double rooms sharing one communal bathroom. The rooms themselves are rather spacious and offer much space for movement. There is a twin XL bed directly facing the door, with the other bed along the opposite wall. There are also two desks in the room, and an immense amount of closet space for two persons. There is built-in AC,  and it cools the room to a comfortable temperature within two minutes. For each person, there are two outlet sockets on the wall, and a separate Ethernet port in a rather inconvenient spot in the corner, right in front of the door. There is one giant window that can be opened with has a great view, but this is expected considering that I am on the 12th floor. A towel, two bed spreads, pillow, pillow-cover, and a blanket were provided on the bed (for future reference however, I suggest bringing an extra blanket since the ones provided were rather thin).

The bathrooms are about standard size, with two sinks, two mirrors, four towel racks, a toilet, as well as a small shower with decent temperature-control and water pressure. This is not bad since it is being shared with four people. The floors don't seem to be the cleanest in the world, so I would definitely suggest wearing some sort of slipper while using the bathroom (especially while showering!). 

My roommate had not arrived for another two hours, so I was rather lonely, and started to miss my cohort immensely. I was able to meet my next-door-neighbors Kat and Lee however; and they took me around to see local food places near Columbia. 

The Spacious Closet
When I had returned, my roommate had also arrived. Her name is Alexandra, originally from Poland, but attends boarding school in England. She is truly one of the sweetest people ever, and it's so exciting since I've never actually known anyone from Poland before. She told me about how different it is in the UK compared to here, and how she just returned from a week-long summer program from Georgetown.

At 7, there was a scheduled welcome BBQ for all the summer program students, and I tried to take this opportunity to meet as many people as I could. I was able to befriend Hee-Sin and Macy, two Korean girls who are exploring college options in the US. The food wasn't bad, they had some pasta, hot dogs, and burgers as meal options. Following dinner, my RA gave our group a short campus tour, and we returned to our rooms. 

At this point in time, I was incredibly "cohort-sick", so my cohort and I had arranged to meet in front of the old library just to talk about how everything was going. We took a short trip to a local grocery store to pick up some snacks, and had some delightful conversation over almonds, egg rolls, emergency chocolate, and a huge jug of water. It was just great to reconnect to each other and see what their first experience at Columbia was like. 

At around 10:15, we all parted ways once again and headed to our separate dorm rooms. I took a quick shower, and prepared all of my belongings for the long day coming up for tomorrow. I am extremely ecstatic to get to experience my first Constitutional Law class! 

1 comment:

  1. I want you to take a glance every now and again at the ID photos of some of the other Columbians and then tell me whether they have headshots that are as nice as yours.

    And what did I tell you about the need for flip-flops? And about the blankets (remember that I offered very soft and warm blankets).

    Sounds like already you’re having a ball.