Thursday, June 17, 2010

Columbia Class of 2015, Perhaps?

Today, we left our comfy hotel in Providence to head to the sprawling metropolis of New York City. Although it was early and the skies overcast, I still was very excited to be visiting Columbia University of New York City, as I had been considering applying there for college and higher education for a while after talking to one of their admissions officers during the college fair at PVHS. As we arrived at the Providence Railway Station, I was looking forward to the train ride to get some well needed rest. I welcomed the three hours of rest and relaxation. After an hour of sleep, the train ride became almost unbearably monotonous due to the never-ending undulation of the car and the constant cool air blowing from the air vents, to the point where I was longing for the humid heat of the outdoors once again. The train ride finally ended as I was about to doze off once again.

Fresh off the train, I was excited to adventure in New York, at least until I learned that we had to board yet another subway to reach the Staten Island Ferry. The ferry was quite fun, with a magnificent view of New York and of the Statue of Liberty. William, Andrew, and I visited the aptly-named "Hurricane Deck" of the ferry, where we found out how the hurricane deck got its name.

At Columbia University, I was awed by its beauty and calmness in the middle of hectic New York. Its serene tranquility impressed me, and I really liked the atmosphere of the university. 

When listening to the admissions officer talk, I was drawn to the university's engineering program. It sounded very difficult, but just listening to him describe the challenges of the engineering school made me all the more eager to prove myself worthy of attending such a prestigious school. I really like how Columbia has one-third core classes, one-third classes for major or concentration, and one-third for electives or double major or concentration. I think that gives the student enough of a chance to explore possibilities while still giving structure for a strong unifying connection between all students.

I am worried about applying to Columbia under engineering, because they require SAT II of Math plus Physics or Chemistry. I have taken the math, but I haven't taken a class for chemistry in two years, and I have never had a Physics class before. My school doesn't offer AP Chemistry or Physics, so I'm not sure how I'll be able to fufill that requirement.

After listening to the admissions officer, we went on the campus tour. Listening to a former college student lovingly describe the campus with elaborate details and recollections made me realize not only how much I liked that campus, but also things that I need to consider before I head off to college, such as whether I want to room with others or to live by myself, and if I want to live in a quiet dorm or a social dorm. Regardless, this experience has taught me that I have a lot more preparing to do before I head to college or even apply.

To finish things off, we headed to Times Square, where I saw firsthand the cutthroat business of selling "I NY" t-shirts. There I learned about the ugly dirty business of tourism, by slashing prices below the competition and preying on tourists overladen with cash. I was surprised by the bargaining skills of Zijun and Stephanie, and very impressed. As we finally dragged ourselves to the Amtrak station, we got on to business class on the way home, with free Wi-Fi. There, I wrote this blog entry for one and a half hours on the train on my phone. Thank you for all of your support!


  1. Austin,

    Great blog! Thanks for sharing and I love the photos.

    From what you and the others have written, it doesn't sound like riding the trains is all that much fun.

    I'm amazed, Austin, that you were able to write this blog on your phone, though. I have a tough enough time with a full keyboard but using a phone for anything more than a phone call is beyond my skills.

  2. Maybe you could take a class at a community college through concurrent enrollment to prepare for those subject tests. If the subject test is all you need the class for, you could always self-teach from a book...

    You have a point there with the "strong unifying connection between all students." I was amazed that Brown doesn't have a core curriculum, but a core curriculum can be beneficial sometimes.

    Haha, congrats to Zijun and Stephanie for successfully bargaining.

    Have fun. Thanks for your post.