Phd student at Columbia University, studying Art History, from Canada
"The most powerful thing about Art History that’s always stayed with me and the reason that I’m making it my career is that to be able to communicate or engage with people through images rather than just texts. I think images have a way of accessing different parts of the world in the way in which we communicate with one another. And as a teacher now, being able to communicate that to students and get them to a place where they can start to appreciate that is a really special thing."
Freshman at Columbia College, studying Chemical Physics, from Berkeley, California
"I’m big on hip-hop. I do a lot of producing and beat making. Back home, I used to rap a lot with my rap group and then I left for here and most of them stayed back home. I’ve been going out to the Intercultural Resource Center to do their CUSH (Columbia University Society of Hip-Hop), so we get to do a lot of freestyle rapping, and that's a lotta fun."
-What is your dream job?
"I want to be an astronaut. I think it’s the biggest thing you can do in life, the ultimate adventure, and space is a world of wonder, the opportunities there are limitless."
Junior at Columbia College, studying Visual Arts, from Trinidad, Caribbean
“My work is about people, and is influenced by my experiences but I prefer for it to speak for itself. Race, gender and sexuality play a big role."
Junior at General Studies, studying Human Rights, from Norway
“I’m from Norway and although I’m studying Human Rights, writing is becoming more and more important to me; its a way to make sense and keep track of the world. As a writer, I don’t think digitalization harmed the publishing sector. There’s a reinvigoration going on in physical format as a result of digitalization. Typography, graphics or anything that has to do with the physical format of the book has become less and less important because you can simply download the pdf version. What’s left for the book is to make these objects of artistic beauty. There’s more interesting print publishing happening now in terms of the pure format. For example, there’s a graphic novelist here who built up his stories in a huge, 5 kilo book; you pop it open, there are maps and all kinds of different formats inside.”
Columbia Women's Track and Field Team
"We are in the Columbia cross country track team and now getting ready for a pretty easy run in Central Park."
Junior at SEAS, engineer, from Singapore
"I used to be an athlete and wanted to join Badminton when I came here, but ended up going to a free ballroom class and dancing has become a passion ever since. It's a great way to meet new people, have fun and express yourself. It's like when you’re happy or sad, or when you go out, you listen to a certain kind of music that makes you feel different. Instead of writing it out, saying it out loud or blogging about it, dancing is another way of getting those feelings out there. I'm a dancer in Sabor, and right now we’re promoting our show for next Friday. Being an engineer is what pays the bills; but if money wasn’t a constraint, I’d definitely be a dance instructor!"
Sophomore in Graduate School of Arts & Sciences (GSAS), studying ethno-archeology, originally from Iowa, from a farm in the middle of nowhere.
I concentrate on the Quechuans, the descendents of the Inca Empire. I work with these carved stone monuments just outside the ancient capital, Cuzco. On the hills, there are beautiful bedrock stones, carved to look like they are growing and evolving out of the ground. People have lifted them as temples, looked at them as art objects, and what I’m actually doing is trying to put them in this nexus of social relations where they are actually actors within the society. They become components themselves in the way that people view and interact with the environment and the world around them. I want to treat them as living subjects that are participating in culture."
-What do you want to do after graduation?
"I want to write, actually. November has this thing called National Novel Writing Month. The goal is to write 50.000 words in 30 days. You sit down everyday, write 2000 words on a subject of your choice and hopefully by the end of the month you have an entire book. Every day, I spend my mornings working on my dissertation, take a break, have dinner, go the gym and then spend the whole night on my novel. I’m about 33.000 words in, so I’m going to make it. The piece I’m writing is parallel to the story of mine and my friends’. It’s about a Midwestern boy coming out to New York, escaping what he felt was an ordinary life back at home, while pursuing a more exciting life full of opportunities - and the struggles he finds along the way, especially while adjusting to the city.
Freshman at Columbia College, undecided, from Philadelphia
"I do a lot of fashion photography. That’s what I love, but I don’t know if that’s actually what I’m going to do. It’s less the fashion aspect and more the artistry of fashion photography that I'm interested in, and how you can literally be whatever you want with it, it’s very easy to mold. I like making photography into less of a recording object and more of a story telling. I really like the idea of using photography to make the world look like a more stylized, magical place, instead of to take snapshots of reality. What I do is an attempt to record the real world onto something that looks nothing like it, just like drawing on a blank canvas."
Faculty member of Peripheral Nerve Surgery in the Columbia Medical School.
"I actually came to the campus to swim in Dodge (Columbia's Gym) I’ve been in the faculty for about 30 years now, and I’m very fond of this community. I don’t really want to see any changes. This is a beautiful spot in the city; the plaza is really an unparalleled success as public space. You realize what a remarkable architectural job has been done in designing this to make it as welcoming as it is, which is not easy to do."
Senior at Columbia College, majoring in East Asian studies, also a pre-med, from Nigeria.
"I want to either be a plastic surgeon or a dermatologist. But if money wasn't a concern, I would redo my four years at Columbia, and would probably become a Sociology major with a minor in Economics and ironically go into any kind of organization affiliated with pop culture, which is my other passion."
Freshman at Columbia University Graduate School of Architecture & Preservation (GSAP), doing the NY-Paris Architecture program, from Turkey/Italy/US
-Do you want to be an architect?
"I want to make the world a more beautiful place."
Sophomore at Columbia College, studying Art History and Math, from Chicago
"My dream would be to become a chocolatier. Then I could make my own chocolate exactly how I wanted it, and maybe I’d also make art chocolate, like sculptures. Yes, I can open my own museum of chocolate sculptures!”
First year MBA student at Columbia University, from New York
"My favorite film ever? That’s tough. My dad didn’t let us watch movies, he didn’t think it was that important. But I remember one day, my brother and I wanted to watch some stupid movie and we were like 12. We went to the movie store, and he was like let's watch "A Clockwork Orange". It was definitely a really weird movie but I was also blown away with what film could be."
"I sing and recently started writing songs. Its really hard because I'm kind of obsessed with making them perfect and sound a particular way. The last thing I wrote was about someone that I was really attracted to and how I felt while just looking at him."
Students at Columbia University, from Atlantic City and Senegal
"I'm going to be on Broadway! We're traveling to Australia, Malaysia and around the US, making the dream real!"
Graduate student at Teachers College, Columbia University, studying International Education Development, from Los Angeles
"I want to go to areas of conflict and be part of a team that builds communities where children can access education. But the one thing I'm slowly starting to realize is that it's getting more and more difficult to bring about as much change as I would like to. I guess I can't be as idealistic as I wanted to be anymore."
Senior at Columbia College
“Music has been a big part of my life ever since childhood. I play the piano and guitar, sing, am involved in the jazz ensembles around campus, and beat on sticks every now and then.. I also write Caribbean jazz and R&B fusion. I find music to be incredible because you can say things to people who don’t necessarily speak your language. For me, music is not just about uplifting but its being truthful to all of your experiences. What amazes me the most is that something you write for yourself, something that’s happening to you personally can actually work for other people and be influential for them, too.”
studying Biochemistry at Columbia University, from Colorado
“The transition to Columbia is still going, its actually kinda shocking that in the beginning I sort of had an adrenalin about it, but now that its my second year here, and it has worn off, but it's still there. I guess a part of the journey is that transition always keeps going and i kinda like it.”
studying Business management and Psychology at Columbia University, from Peru
"Before coming here, I went to an art school and studied painting. So, I did get a chance to explore a passion of mine; which some people kind of never do. It's not that I think painting wasn't enough of a profession for me, quite the contrary. I have great respect for it. Still, the fact that I enjoy and was good at making art was not reason enough to be an artist. That involves much more."
exchange student at Columbia University, studying Economics, from Germany
“I’ve mixed experiences here. On one hand I met some really great people but on the other I was a little disappointed with the academic experience at Columbia, some issues regarding the university’s philosophy that I expected to be different. Coming from Germany I expected Columbia to be this great world of wisdom, that people would try to solve the problems in the world and what I’ve experienced so far here is basically the main purpose of the university seems to be to get students into good jobs.”