The Columbia Experience


This summer, I experienced the lifestyle of an Ivy League student in one of the most prestigious universities in the country: Columbia University. I was fortunate to be accepted into the Columbia Scholastic Press Association Summer Journalism Workshop. For 6 days, high school students attend an intensive course that they selected from choices that included “Editorial Leadership,” “Design Concepts,” and the one I chose: the most advanced level of “Newspaper Reporting & Writing.”

My favorite aspects of the six-day experience were the dorms, the local food, and the classrooms. With Columbia’s 6.6% Freshman class acceptance rate, it was not only a pleasure, but also an opportunity to perfect my passion in the field of journalism. Columbia University is definitely on the top of my college list.

Columbia University is located in New York, N.Y., on 116th St & Broadway. The campus is surrounded with a multitude of gift shops and restaurants. My favorite part of the program was staying in the dorms. A one-person bedroom with a desk and AC, nice and peaceful. The dimensions of the room were about 10 feet by 6 feet. It wasn’t too big or too small, but it was a little difficult to maneuver around. My dorm became my personal relaxing spot. After a long, stressful day in class, I would go to my room, lie down, be surrounded by peace and quiet, and fall asleep. Afterwards, I would wake up and complete my homework on my wooden desk with a reclining swivel chair. After completing my work, I would  then go out with my new friend, Arman. This routine I had gave me the true college experience and prepared me for what I will soon be facing. 

My second favorite part of “ The Columbia Experience” was experiencing the local food. My number one spot was Shake Shack. The burgers and milkshakes are extraordinary and leaves your mouth dripping even after you’ve finished your meal. Other restaurants included an authentic Italian ristorante. I had the most American thing a person could get from an Italian ristorante, one slice of cheese pizza. I felt awkward ordering the dish. The ristorante sold calzones and pasta with Alfredo sauce, along with many other choices, but no, I chose pizza. I just didn’t have the money at the time for anything else.

My final favorite part of Columbia University would be what I learned in the classrooms. My class took place in Greene Hall Law, a building where the classrooms are modeled after a United Nations Meeting Room. The seats were on three levels and curved around the class like a horseshoe. The chairs were screwed to the ground but the top would still swivel. There were microphones for every seat and two buttons that said “Speak” and “Mute.” The class would use them at times during class even though my class was mostly a lecture on the teacher’s business and not really reporting. My teacher focused on the stories and photos he produced and the backstory on how they came about. It was interesting, but my favorite part was when we were assigned to walk along Broadway and interview people about the World Cup.  We also interviewed some of his journalism friends across the country, employing our desk microphones to speak via Google Chat. Taking classes at one of the top university in the United States was a great experience.

With other things such as ice breakers and even a little music party before the last day, it was a fantastic experience. I would definitely be interested in going again next year. At Columbia University, you learn countless new things every day. You learn more about yourself and your attitude towards the class. If anyone is ever truly interested in journalism, I highly recommend it, you won’t be disappointed, it is greater than you can imagine. Columbia University is a Disneyland for reporters, photographers and any others interested in the profession of journalism.