Wednesday, December 18, 2013

How time flies, some of the things I don't want to miss at Columbia

By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi

How time flies! It's already six months since I moved to New York to begin post-graduate studies at Columbia University and the first semester is already done!

Before I arrived here, I was briefed and adequately told what to expect, but I suspect that some things were left for me to discover by myself and I did. I discovered too soon that having left the classroom for seven years after completing undergraduate studies, it wasn't going to be easy studying at graduate level and in subjects that I have no background in like Financial Accounting!

Besides, I took it for granted that I would settle quickly in New York City because of my frequent travel experience only to realize that I wasn’t prepared to suck in the City. It occurred to me too soon that this is New York, 'the Big Apple', I still don't feel at home here and that's in spite of the fact that I live in a very comfortable apartment right in the heart of Columbia University's gorgeous campus at the center of the City.

I am also learning too soon that, one year is not a long time, no, it is not. I have just done six months, and unfortunately, as I look ahead to the end of the programme, I am beginning to feel some amount of trepidation – there were some things I didn’t want to miss out on, but it looks like I might have to do more to avoid missing them. I wanted to fully enjoy the city by visiting all the important places and making new friends, I mean good friends that I can take along the rest of my life, but even though I have met some great people here, had some great lunches and dinners, it doesn’t quite seem to me that I have become friends with these incredible people, maybe I am wrong on this, and I will be happy to be wrong.

So far I have been to only a few places, and not too many of the great restaurants in the City yet. I ate once in Chef Yu’s Restaurant on the 8th Avenue and West 42nd Street and the food was great. I also loved the set up of the restaurant, spacious and comfortable.

Even though I am a student both at the Journalism and Business Schools, the programme is structured in a way that I have to take most of my courses at the Business School, and as a result I am missing out on the Journalism School, something I didn’t expect to happen.

Meanwhile, the Business School has a great active networking strategy, but I feel like I am losing out on that as well. The Cluster and Learning Team systems of the School is a great way to stay connected in Columbia but I don’t seem to have maximized that in as much as I would like to, I had hoped to learn some new things and polish my guitar playing skills while here, even though I had contacted a private teacher to give me private tuition, met a friend who wants us to play jams together on campus, I have not been able to – but I have six more months to go and I do hope to make amends.
And before I am done, I am missing some people already - I am missing my amazing Cluster mates. There are some awesome people in the Cluster who have been so good to me, some have been there for me in very difficult times. I am also missing some of the Peer Advisors (PAs) already even before I am done, wish I could mention names here, but for fear of leaving some names out I won’t even start.

Some of the Professors and Academic Staff do so much to make students go through their studies here smoothly. I have come to know some of them well enough to say they are great people.

At least I can mention the Knight-Bagehot Fellowship Program on which I am privileged to be here. The Director, Terri Thompson and her ever supportive Program Coordinator Gary Hill are never to be forgotten duo. They are doing everything possible to make me and my fellow Bagehots as we are called to sail through the program successfully. And these Fellows are a never to be missed ‘crowd’. Wonderful people to be around, I don’t want to miss the chances of spending much more time with them.

Columbia is a great place to be and I hope to make the best of the second and final semester of the program, so help me God.