It’s an event that everyone remembers: moving into your dorm room to begin your first year of college. You can still recall the awkwardness of meeting your roommate for the first time, the dismay of finding out you haven’t packed enough hangers, the fear—and the thrill—of saying good-bye to your parents to begin a new life.
At the Columbia College and SEAS convocation on August 28, President Bollinger said he understood the “mixed emotions” of first years and their parents. He likened the grueling college application process to competing on a whole season of American Idol, and said he could imagine the new students wondering whether they would soon be subject to judges like Simon, Randy and Paula.
He went on to reassure them that self-doubt at these transitional times is normal. It is also, he said, “part of the academic temperament, something you should nurture and learn to live comfortably with, because it’s very much needed to explore the complexity of life and the condition of our world and our existence.”
Having been invited to occupy the space “between what we think we know and the vast mystery that envelops us,” the Class of 2010 returned to the task of sorting out their physical space, including, in some cases, stocking up on plenty of snacks for late-night studying.