Ellen (ennienyc) wrote,

Back to the campus

jedusor is here for college visits and yesterday I joined her and otherwise_nyc at Columbia. The weather was hot and muggy, but I managed to walk up, meeting them at the main gate. We went to the visitors' center in Low Library for the info session. I realized the only time I'd been there was at the very end of school, when there was a senior party in the rotunda.

The session was supposed to start at 2, but two students were already answering questions for a sizable group seated in the Faculty Room. I'm not sure if that was for early birds or people left over from the morning session, but we finally sat down near the front. I recognized one of the students as ryanreineck (I sometimes read current students' LJs as if they're soap operas).

The students soon introduced Alice, a dynamic admissions officer. Although I have no personal stake in the subject, it was quite interesting to hear her insiders' take on the process. When she's reading thousands of applications, she's looking for the essence of people, information that really shows who they are. When your friends and family read your essay, she advised, they should immediately say, "That's you!" She also went over what makes Columbia unique (the Core! the city!), advised against sending supplemental material like original musical compositions if they were, like, bad, and stressed that financial aid is based solely on need. Who doesn't need some aid at today's prices? Yeesh!

The students came back, and we were split up into still largeish groups for tours. Later research showed our tour leader was behilikus. A bright, articulate math major with much enthusiasm for Columbia, he led us all around the campus, stopping to say which building had what and injected some personal anecdotes. Other than a brief look at the Butler Library lobby, we didn't go inside any buildings; I'm not sure if that was because it's summer, or if they never venture inside. Also, due to the size of the group there was little time for individual discussion.

In all the presentations and touring, Barnard was never mentioned. It was like it didn't exist! I understand these were info sessions for the College and Engineering, but still. Strange. I used to work in Barnard Admissions (best job ever, even at minimum wage of $2/hour). In those days, they didn't have mass info sessions, so other than a few special receptions, all the tours I gave were one-on-one to people who had just been interviewed (and sometimes, their family members). This allowed me to tailor things to the individual, and also meant I had to keep my dorm room neat as that was a stop on the tour. Fun times.

After the tour, we took a quick walk across the Barnard campus, which was DEAD. The Columbia side was very quiet, but this was even worse. Nobody on the lawn, many gates locked, nobody anywhere, a real ghost town. That should change in about 2 weeks. We noticed the cornerstone on the science building said 1969, reminding me it was brand new when I arrived.

Rose and Julia went to visit Rose's friend, and I walked back home. After about 2 blocks, walking seemed harder and harder in the heat and it was a real struggle to make it all the way home in shoes not meant for so much walking. I stopped in the D'Ag for an air conditioning break and made use of the water I'd packed (in the "American Cannibal" water bottle). I also stopped at the post office and got a Priority Mail stamp so I could send back some work.

Finally home, I felt like I could never walk or move again. Maybe I shouldn't go to games night? But I rested a bit and headed back out, taking an easy B train ride straight to Brooklyn. Chainsaw's new apartment is very spacious, and the babies are adorable. We had a fun night of Foreign Market charades and Telephone Pictionary (I drew a stick figure with an arrow pointing to the bottom of the foot to indicate "soul"). I had 2 slices of green pepper pizza with sesame seed crust, not wanting the cheeseless vegan version (so apologies if someone wanted a second slice and they were all gone). Headed back with Jon on the 2, where I loaded up on frozen yogurt when I got off; I wonder if that store knows they're in a movie.


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