Returned from parents weekend --questions?

<p>Our son is a first year and we just returned from visiting him. I'd be happy to share impressions or answer questions on his experience at Columbia so far if anyone is interested.</p>

<p>I am! What did he like/dislike so far?</p>

<p>what does he think of the workload so far? does he have much free time?</p>

<p>Curiouskatie: He really likes his classes -- describes the teachers as "good," "great," and "awesome" -- except for the section of Frontiers of Science, which is a new addition to the core curriculum and something of a work in progress. One thing that is already very obvious is that a significant part of the Columbia experience really is the core course. His LitHum worked out very well -- the teacher has met several times with each student individually and just took them all to a Greek play. She runs it as a discussion class, which is what it's meant to be. But you have no choice of section and he says he's heard some "LitHum horror stories" already. He went in really wanting the core course and has loved much of the reading so far (especially Herodotus), so I'm glad he lucked out.</p>

<p>He likes the campus, which is very compact. He dislikes the practice field being a long subway ride away, which squelched an interest in one club sport for him. But he's enjoying the gymn. He's a musician and auditioned for the music performance program. What he likes about that is that everbody who is at least an intermediate player is put into an ensemble (unlike a school where you have to try out for just one band or orchestra). On the other hand, there are people in the advanced ensembles who already have recording contracts. But he has four years to aspire to an advanced ensemble. There are lots of musicians on campus and he's already found a way to have fun with his music. He says a lot of the food on campus is great (except the main dining hall, which is only all right) and he's got pretty high standards. He changed his contract so that he has more flexibility. He really likes being in the city, though he's just starting to really get off campus and explore. He's discovered it's very easy to spend a lot of money . But there are also a lot of discounts available and he's only just discovering some of those. Basically, he says it's "much better than high school could ever be" and (unlike me) he really liked high school.</p>


<p>He seems to be working hard, but finding it manageable so far. He worked really hard on his first paper, I know, because he said he wrote a draft, then deleted everything but two paragraphs and wrote it again. But he was careful in choosing his courses to allow himself some time to play the first semester, though that can also involve some luck. His luck includes having problem sets that are pretty staggered in when they're due. Thursday and Saturday nights seem to be party time from what we can gather. Fridays and Sundays we wake him up if we call before 3. I'd guess the workload will increase, and he's mentioned maybe adding another course next semester.</p>

<p>There's no doubt it's a serious place academically. How are you finding it?</p>

<p>I agree. It's by all means an intense school but if one works efficiently and is focused, he/she should not be overwhelmed. I thought the initial few weeks were quite tough - the radical shift from a summer of absolutely nothing to works that pile up like a mountain. After that phase I seem to have settled into a routine, and now I know how long it takes to do certain things and am able to plan my time accordingly. My weekends are somewhat abnormal, since I am one who like to use the weekdays solely to attend classes and review class material. Hence I tend to leave the bulk of my work for the weekends. </p>

<p>One noticeable difference so far is that SEAS students seem to have less work on an everyday basis. I guess that is expected, since CC kids have to deal with much readings and papers while SEAS is mostly about problem sets and projects. Most of my SEAS friends have been saying that the work hasn't been as much as they expected.</p>

<p>Best of lucks to your son!</p>

<p>Sac and Soulofheaven,</p>

<p>I am so glad that things are going well. It is mid-term time and my daughter is grinding away but still loving it. She is really enjoying round 2 of the core....Contemporary Civ. We did not go to parent's weekend but plan on driving up this weekend to take her out to dinner.</p>

<p>Soulofheaven, Glad to hear you've got your routine figured out. Time management is everything in college and it sounds as if you're good at it. My son is also in CC, but because he's taking some math and science classes, he has a nice balance of classes with weekly problem sets and those with longer term projects. I'm really surprised to hear the engineers don't have that much work but maybe they're thinking in high school terms of nightly busywork assignments and those projects will hit them hard at the end of the semester!</p>

<p>Hi Elleneast! Contemporary Civ sounds great. Any more wisdom your daughter is willing to pass on to the first years? Her comments passed on through you last year (I'm making you sound like a medium at a seance here) were really useful in our son's decision making. How's her housing situation this year? I've heard that sophomores get the worst of it.</p>

<p>I spoke to a sophomore at SEAS last summer:</p>

<p>The first year is insanely easy, he told me. The best year to push the GPA as high as you can... because after that year, it's all downhill with all the technical stuff.</p>

<p>This is mostly because 1st year begins with mostly intro science classes and the Core requirements. Those engineers had better enjoy the light load, because it won't last long ;p</p>