Yeah, Newark is surprisingly far from... well, everywhere in new york. You'll take an Airtrain out to the rail link station (20 mins), wait for a train into town (10-20 mins), take the train into penn station (20-25 mins), navigate penn station to the 1 train and wait for a train (10-15 mins), and then ride the 1 uptown to Columbia (20 mins). Trust me it's no fun.
Stick to LGA. It's convenient except at rush hour, and even then it's not total armageddon.