Losing yourself in your own backyard

By The Columbia Chronicle

The Chronicle


Maybe we take some things for granted, or perhaps we’re all just plain jaded, but it’s remarkably easy sometimes to forget that Columbia College sits smack in the middle of downtown Chicago. Why is that remarkable, you ask? Our point exactly.

When you’ve lived here your entire life, it’s easy to forget just how majestic some people think Chicago is. We tend to remember the traffic, the pigeons that messed on our shoes and the approximately two years’ worth of snowfall every March, of all months. We tend to forget that Chicago is one of the most popular cities in the entire world, let alone the country. Too often, we overlook the fact that, by today’s standards anyway, Chicago strikes one of the most extravagant fusions of nature and industry ever assembled. From the Sears Tower, you can see Lake Michigan. You can play fetch with Sparky on the Field Museum Campus before you take a stroll over to the Art Institute. You can lay out on the beach in the summertime, then take a trip over to the Taste of Chicago until the sun sets.

It’s true that Columbia College does not have any wild sorority girls or a Division one (or two, or three) football powerhouse. We don’t even have a god-awful marching band. But what we lack can’t hold a phi beta candle to the resources, entertainment and history that surrounds us everyday. Northwestern University may have Evanston and a whole lot of purple schlock, but we have everything from the Field Museum to the Rock ‘n’ Roll McDonald’s only a quick walk (or for all you slackers out there, a short trip on the bus) away.

Like any city, Chicago is not paved with gold and covered with sprinkles. But, with all it has to offer, it would be foolish to take it for granted. In addition to the obvious landmarks and institutions, Chicago is constantly in motion when it comes to athletic competition, the arts and the politics that affect our lives. Never one to be a footnote for a given period of American lore, Chicago is a place where history never takes five.

U-Pass notwithstanding, Columbia has always possessed the tools and the drive that allow its students to take full advantage of Chicago’s best.

With a diverse curriculum and student body, Columbia has been very successful in bringing Chicago into the classroom and vice versa. And while extracurricular activities and internships are the norm, they provide us with the experience needed to become successful individuals.

There was a time when college was a privilege rather than a necessity. Higher education actually meant something, and smalltime over-achievers flocked to the universities for a chance to start a life in the big city. The concept of college doesn’t shimmer like it once did, but through it all, the big city is still big — more so than ever before. And the best part ? We’re already there. And in this case, it makes life at a college like Columbia a little better.