Today marked the first day of our journey at Columbia. Getting out of the subway station was hectic. It was crowded everywhere and taxi drivers were so rude. It was like they knew they would have lots of customers, so they didn't care about our business. The traffic was wild, but luckily, we all got to Columbia in one piece. Although check-in was supposed to start at 12:00, we were able to check-in a little earlier and get settled quickly too. My building at Columbia has suites instead of individual rooms, so when I unlocked the first door, three more doors were revealed. One of them was the bathroom and the other two were dorm rooms. None of my suite mates arrived yet. I put all my stuff into the closet and made the bed before going up to buy some toiletries with the rest of the cohort.
|A taxi with a Les Miz ad!|
|The check-in area at Columbia|
In New York, the drugstore is called Duane Reade instead of Walgreens. One of the residential assistants old us that it was a three-minute walk, but we found ourselves walking for about twenty or so minutes. We finally found the store , but most of the stuff we needed wasn't there. Our little trip took us to the dollar store and then into a cute cafe. The food at the cafe was pretty good and the prices were decent. We were all happy and content with our food until we saw that the bill included a 18% gratuity on it! Eighteen-percent! Just the gratuity cost us an extra twelve dollars and the service was nothing(especially in comparison to La Crouix). I think that's when it hit us that New York was not going to be cheap.
|The suite decorations our RA made|
|The nutella crepes I had at Max Cafe|
By the time that we came back to the campus, my roommate was also settled in. Her name is Mariana Oserio and she's a rising senior from Mexico. Having a roommate was refreshing because I had a single last year. She's really sweet and she came with one of her friends from Mexico. I was surprised because most people came alone last year, but most people came in groups of two to five this year. Mariana is studying physics. I'm trying to only speak Spanish with her so I can improve my speaking skills, but I'm sure it'll be a little difficult to hold up a conversation with a native speaker. My other suite mates are Lexie and Cassie who are from Chicago and Bolivia. Some of the other people I've met are from California, Michigan, Brazil, Italy and China. There's even rising freshman and sophomore in certain classes! I haven't been able to find any students in my Presidential Powers class yet.
|Mariana and I|
I visited Monica and Lisa in their rooms before going back to regroup with my hall mates. We went to dinner which was supposed to be a barbecue. I pictured it to be grills and coolers somewhere out on a lawn, but it was actually a bunch of catering in one of the school's auditoriums. During that time, I got to talk to my hall mates a little more and learn about my RA. She's actually a Vassar student from Nepal. It's so cool how people from all over the world are all gathered in one place. We were rushed out so that other groups could eat too. My group of hall mates exited after eating to go over the program rules. Our meeting lasted over an hour because there were so many rules. Columbia is extra strict about curfews. We learned about each other, the off-campus trips, and on-site events too. There are a lot more activities offered at Columbia in comparison to Cornell. I'm really excited to visit different places, but I know that I have to keep a balance between the fun and studying.
I ended the day by stopping by the off-campus activity fair and exploring campus with Lisa. We wanted to know where our classes were so that we wouldn't get lost tomorrow. The campus is actually fairly small and compact. I found my building and we both went to look for the laundry room. The laundry room is actually on the same floor as a mini gym and cool lounge. I'm enjoying my stay so far and I look forward to class tomorrow!