A "Why Columbia" Essay
Columbia students show unmatched dedication to voicing their opinions and confronting injustices. I appreciate the decades-long history of holding misbehaviors and powerful people accountable, such as the 1968 protests against the administration’s support of the Vietnam War and ongoing negotiations between graduate unions and the administration. It is easy to complain about polarizing issues privately, and difficult to voice your opinion and face the consequences; Columbia students choose the latter.
The Columbia student body grapples with internal disagreements about vital current issues. Rather than shying away from difficult conversations, students question how they came to lead different lives and how to progress as a society while embracing the unique power of each opinion and experience. In a recent Columbia Spectator article, “Decades of discord: What makes the Israel-Palestine debate uniquely persistent, and personal,” students traced how personal identities and upbringings shape their stances on the Israel-Palestine conflict. They sought to make sense of where they diverge and how they find common ground. I want to join peers in tackling complex issues by respecting varied yet valid perspectives.
With their spirit of activism, Columbia students take charge of shaping their own intellectual experiences. I am inspired by the Multicultural Affairs Advisory Board, which petitioned for the addition of Toni Morrison’s works to the Core. By teaching Morrison, the first black and postmodern author in the Core, students advocated for a curriculum reflecting the student body and American society, thus enriching their academic foundation. I want to learn at a school where students do not fear academic or social consequences for proposing a change to the academic curriculum. I want to learn in an environment where student voices are valued.
United by a desire to instigate tangible change, I hope to join forces with classmates to champion issues I care deeply about.