Columbia College | Columbia Engineering

Student Advising

Peer Adviser Posts

January 27, 2014

Peer Adviser Post: Declaring a Major
By Zhaoqi Li, CC '15

By the end of NSOP my freshman year, I had already crafted an 8-semester plan, accompanied by when and where to do what internship during which summer. Needless to say, I was a little (or a lot) crazy. By the end of my first semester, I had already “changed my major” no less than 3 times, and each time, I had a new 8-semester plan. A year later, when I actually had to declare my major, I miraculously arrive at a solid decision: I will major in Biochemistry. I didn’t even think twice about it. So, how did I go from a triple major PoliSci-Bio-EALAC to Biochemistry?

My first 3 semesters here was a giant intellectual melting pot. I took classes that interested me. I hated some of them. I love some of them. I joined clubs. I quit clubs. I let my curiosity guide me, and I can’t say it led me to a wrong place. I love all the classes that I am in, and I look forward to graduating and doing something with my degree. I would say the biggest factor into choosing my major came from my working at a cell biology lab at the CU Medical Center. I joined the lab as a work-study student doing menial tasks, but over the course of my time there, I eventually graduated to doing my own research. I learned to be scientifically skeptical, but more importantly, I learned to think. I felt like I was living the life of a scientist, and I loved it. By then, I had a pretty good idea that I want to pursue science as a career. I declared Biochemistry, because that was a discipline that offered me the most flexibility in terms of post-graduation plans, and the rest is history.

I suppose the moral of the story is to approach major declaration with an open mind; try to not let the departmental coursework guide your major decision. I never would have chosen a major had I been planning hypothetical schedules based solely on my research of the CC bulletin. Test your palate in the intellectual buffet offered by all the clubs and organizations at Columbia until you find your favorite, and go after it!

December 16, 2013

Peer Adviser Post: How to Make the Most Out of Your Winter Break
By Carlos Garcia '14

Ah winter break: the seemingly endless possibilities and yet the short amount of time until spring semester begins. As my final college winter break approaches, I would like to share some helpful tips as to how to maximize the glory of winter break.

1.     Recover: It is crucial to let your body and mind recover after the craziness of finals. Catching up on sleep is a no-brainer, but there are some other ways in which you can work to improve your health. First, diet. Now is the time to recover from all those midnight Hamdel runs, mounds of snacks, liters of energy drinks and coffee etc. Focus on getting the recommended fruit and vegetable intake, as well as getting full meals throughout the day. Second, winter break also offers you the time to invest in exercise: take the opportunity right from the beginning before settling into a sedentary routine. Even if you don’t have access to a fully equipped gym, there are many ways to keep active, from jogging to setting up a regime of home exercises available online. Finally, it is also a great opportunity to reconnect spiritually. Whether that is through meditation, prayer, services, it is a good opportunity to recharge spiritually to begin next semester refreshed and ready to tackle new challenges.

2.     Relax: Needless to say, winter break offers invaluable opportunities to relax and focus on fun. While bingeing on Netflix is great, there is something to be said about relaxing smartly. It is important to set a healthy routine from the beginning of the break, before mindlessly settling into one – once the routine is set it is hard to break it, especially in view of the rapidly approaching spring semester. It is therefore important to set goals at the start of the break, and set a daily routine around those objectives.

3.     Plan: Take the opportunity to think about next semester to make the beginning the academic year much easier. Review your classes next semester and be sure to sign into your SSOL registration time right at the beginning of your appointed time to make necessary changes. E-mail teachers and set up an appointment with your CSA and/or Major advisor. Importantly, take the time to get the required textbooks for next semester; there is nothing less stressful than not having to worry about the mile long lines at the Lerner Mail Center and falling behind on homework. Additionally, this will likely save you some money since buying books online are often significantly cheaper than in bookstores (I personally recommend Amazon Marketplace). Finally, it is the most important time to start looking for summer internships. Take full advantage of LionShare and begin applying for internships. This will take a significant workload off after the semester begins.

And of course, make sure to treat yourself: you have survived fall semester at Columbia!  This is quite an honorable feat. Winter break offers many opportunities – be wise about it and you may have just gotten yourself the best break yet.  

December 9, 2013

Peer Adviser Post: Finals Tips OR How to Love Finals
By Sophie Qian SEAS '15

The winter chill is in the air, which means that finals are right around the corner! As I finish my last classes of the semester and I think of reading week and finals coming up, I feel a small sense of dread. However, that also means the holidays and break are also coming right up, which makes me feel better. I also know that finals don't HAVE to be a miserable experience, because there a few small ways that YOU can make it a more enjoyable, or at least less unpleasant.

It may sound unrealistic but there IS a way to enjoy this time of the year, despite how stressful final exams can be. After all, a large part of our grades depend on these finals, and all Columbia students want to excel in their classes. But there IS a way to make taking the exams more enjoyable. The stress that we collectively experience is helpful up to a certain degree, as the urgency and importance of the exams motivates us. But if students are pushing their bodies too hard, they can become sick and actually do worse on the exam than if they were easier on themselves. With that being said, here are a few tips to help not just survive, but at least not hate, finals:

  • Get comfortable: do whatever YOU need to be comfortable while you're studying. If you study best while wearing your pajamas and munching on snacks, own it! If you work best in complete silence, find a great study spot and snag it early. If you need certain materials, like lots of white paper, or a giant bottle of tea next to you while you study, prepare them ahead of time! Everybody has individual preferences while studying, so to make the entire studying experience as efficient and enjoyable as possible, get in your comfort zone. For most people, this can mean wearing comfortable clothing, finding a nice location, and listening to their favorite music. This will enable you to just focus on studying, not on whether the room is too warm or you're thirsty.
  • Sleep: I cannot stress this enough, because not getting enough sleep during Reading Week can take away from all the studying you're doing during the day. The point of Reading Week is so students can make most of not having classes and have extended periods devoted to studying. That being said, there really is no reason that you should not be sleeping 8 hours a day during Reading Week. Even if you're feeling panicked about your final exams, that shouldn't mean you should be studying for 20 hours straight, sleeping for a few hours, then returning to studying. Sleep is important for retaining all that knowledge, so though it may be an overlooked part of the finals season, it is one of the most important.
  • Make a plan: By now, you should know your finals schedule, and along with that, I recommend making a study schedule and setting deadlines for certain tasks. If you're not big planner like me, at the very least, you should have an idea of your goals over the next few days. Are there any subjects that you can finish studying by the time of your first exam? Will you study one subject in its entirety and move onto the next subject, or study for all your classes in small spurts over Reading Week? Which subjects are your hardest and therefore will need to spend more time studying for? Does the order of your final exams mean you can save some studying for after Reading Week? These kind of questions are important to maximizing the time you have until the exam and increasing your studying efficiency. This kind of prioritization and organization is also extremely important to not being overwhelmed by the amount of work. Whenever I make a list of the most important things I need to do, I feel better and can immediately start tackling the list.

These kind of habits are healthy to develop before and while you're taking your final exams. Above all, just breathe and don't be overwhelmed. Just remember, the breaks Best of luck to everybody on their finals! Please stay healthy and warm!

December 2, 2013

Peer Adviser Post: Wellness Check - Dealing with Stress
By Rachel Wangler CC '15

As the semester is winding down, stress levels tend to be on the rise. It’s all too easy to become overwhelmed when thinking about all the things you have to do before the semester ends. Some stress can help you stay motivated, but too much can keep you from being healthy and productive. Here are some tips to finish the semester strong!

Sometimes it seems easier to avoid what is stressing you out, but procrastination is the biggest cause of end-of-semester stress.  Although, healthy procrastination exists, such as taking a ten-minute walk, taking a short break to dance to your favorite song, or taking a few minutes to enjoy a hot cup of tea or coffee. But watching that episode of Parks and Rec isn’t going to help you finish that fifteen-page paper or your last two problem sets.

1. Sleep is Key: It might be tempting to sleep less and study more, but your brain needs sleep to aid memory and you’ll work and study more efficiently with enough sleep, and you’ll perform better on that test!

2. Sweat it Out: You can cut tension and stress and boost energy with a good 25-minute work out!

3. Eat Healthy: Start your day out right with a protein-filled breakfast and keep your energy up with healthy foods that fuel your brain. A healthy body and mind can better cope with stress.

4. Focus: Start your day with a to-do list and a cup of coffee or tea. This begins your day in a relaxed way and focuses you on what needs to be done that day. Make sure to rank them so you’re getting the most important stuff out of the way first!

5. Ask for Help: This is not the time to forget about the many resources available to you. Ask TA’s for help, go to office hours, talk to your RA or your friendly Peer Advisors. Or call a close friend. Help comes in many forms and now is the time to ask for it!

6. Divide and Conquer: Break your big task into smaller, more achievable chunks. Plus, you’ll feel more accomplished finishing a bunch of small tasks rather than one big task!

7. Single Task: You’ll get a lot more accomplished with you single task because you’ll be focusing your energy in one place, rather than dispersing your energy into a lot of tasks and making yourself less productive (though it might feel like you’re being more productive).

8. Keep a Tidy Workspace: Clutter around you will increase the feelings of chaos, having a clean workspace will help you focus and help you feel less overwhelmed. Plus, cleaning is therapeutic and relaxing!

9.  Turn it Off: Turn off your phone and disconnect your Internet. You’ll be more productive with fewer distractions.

10. Resist the Urge to be Constantly Productive: Accept that you can’t be equally productive at all hours of the day and schedule breaks.

November 25, 2013

Peer Adviser Post: Making The Most of Your Thanksgiving Break
By Aniekeme Umoh SEAS '15

What are you thankful for? That the semester is almost over? We only have four weeks left! Thanksgiving break is here and that means time to enjoy delicious food and wonderful company with family and friends, amongst other things.

If you will be visiting family, engage in conversations and be fully present, smile, laugh and enjoy your break. Don’t worry about work when you’re not working. Have fun- you deserve it. Besides, the good feelings will be motivators when you’re back to finishing papers and writing finals. Also, if you’re home for the break, it may be nice to catch up with old friends.

If you’re on campus, you could get together a group of friends and try your hands at making thanksgiving dinner. You may choose to attend the thanksgiving dinner provided by the University (RSVP required, contact Dining Services). There willbe other events organized by the office of Residential Programs and the ISSO that you could find out about from your RA. You might want to use this break as an opportunity to actually go out and explore New York City!

There are volunteer opportunities available all around the city where you can help feed someone for thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving break also means Black Friday! Deals everywhere! Take advantage of these if you like, but be deliberate and cautious with your spending. 

While you want to take this time to rest from the stress of the semester so far, you should also be thinking about how to finish the year strong. This break might be a good time to finish up homework assignments, projects and papers.

Remember that this is Thanksgiving; give thanks! You mightwant to write down a list of things you are thankful for. You could perhaps write notes or emails to friends, family, etc., telling them what you are thankful for about them.

Have an awesome Thanksgiving break !

November 18, 2013

Peer Adviser Post: Spring Registration Advice
By Amanda Suárez, CC '14

It feels incredible to believe that Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away—and with the holidays looming ahead, Columbia students now have to face not only typing up paper outlines and buying presents for family members, but also the perennial question: what classes am I going to take next semester?

I know that I myself am not 100% sure what classes I will be taking, so don’t panic if you haven’t had time to sit down and scroll through the course bulletin yet, you still have some time to figure things out! Here are a few tips to consider before you log into SSOL this week to register for spring classes:

  1. Take some time in between classes to sit with a notebook in Riverside Park or at a favorite café and reflect on this semester. What worked for you and what didn’t? What classes are you really excited about that are being offered next semester?  Are there any fields you would like to explore that you haven’t had the chance to experience—like sociology or sustainable development? How many classes feel like a manageable load for your health and wellness?
  2. Compile a tentative wish list of what classes you would love to take and a separate list of classes required for your major or the Core that you feel you’d like to complete this year, ranking them numerically. Also, check online on SSOL under “Degree Audit” to check on the status of your progress on the Core. Prioritize which classes you still need to fulfill the Core requirements and write out separately those that you have already completed so that you can get a better idea of where you stand.
  3. Log onto your major/concentration’s department web site and print out a major/concentration planning form, just to make sure you haven’t missed a required class and are on track. Go ahead and fill it out and see if any classes you haven’t taken yet are being offered this semester.
  4. Write out a tentative schedule of how you would like to balance your time this spring—perhaps all early morning classes and no class on Fridays or instead, maybe late afternoon/evening classes every day? Think about this semester’s class schedule and its impact on your time management, hours of sleep, and overall happiness, and how you would like to learn from that in organizing your time next semester.
  5. Finally, create a word document with all the course numbers/section numbers of each class so that you can easily copy and paste them from there when your registration time starts to get a speedy head start.

Best of luck this week and feel free to reach out to your CSA Peer Advisers with any additional registration questions!

November 11, 2013

Peer Adviser Post: When to Pass/D/Fail a Class
By Zhaoqi Li, CC '15

We're over half-way done with this semester! For most classes, the first and/or second paper/test/midterm have been handed back.  In the classes in which you are allowed to drop an exam, it may be an unnerving time for those who did not do as spectacular as they would have like early on in the semester.  November 14th is fast approaching.  It is the last day for students in the College to opt for Pass/D/Failing a class and it is also the last day for students in SEAS to drop a class. 

The Pass/D/Fail is a peculiar system.  You are only allowed to P/D/F one class per semester and unless specified by your major department, you cannot P/D/F a class that will work into your major.  Why would anyone P/D/F a class at all?  For one thing, it can potentially prevent a grade as low as a C- from showing up on your transcript.  Say, you are struggling in an elective class for your major.  It might be a wise choice, time permitting, to P/D/F that class and take another elective class later.  That being said you can always uncover your final grade if you end up doing extremely well after you converted that class to a P/D/F grading.  However, beware that if your final grade is a D or an F, it WILL show up on your transcript as those grades. 
That being said, the P/D/F option is one with many caveats.  Be sure to check within your major department if you are thinking about Pass/D/Failing a class within the department, be it electives, prerequisites, or major core classes.  

Good luck with the rest of the semester!  Thanksgiving is right around the corner!

November 4, 2013

Peer Adviser Post:
Motivation, or Why Should I Still Complete My Readings and Problems Sets, Attend Events, etc.

By Benjamin Frieling SEAS ‘14

Yes, it has been a rather lengthy run of the fall semester from nearly two months ago until fall break. Yes, you have been and probably are still taking on several mid-terms/papers/projects over the past two and upcoming two weeks. Yes, you are likely feeling more than a bit tired and fed up.

First of all, know that you are not alone (although you likely know this already since our 2nd most popular school sport behind football is complaining and stressing out). We’re all going through this and we all can get through it.

Next, take a breather – especially if you are completely crunched for time. Odds are that if you are constantly in the mindset that you have no time to spare, then you are trying to work as much as possible and thereby inadvertently procrastinating more than you are gaining by not taking breaks. A solution I found is an egg timer. It can be used to time either or both study and break sessions, depending on productivity levels.

On a global level, even as the winter season rolls in, here are a bunch of tips/suggestions to renew that long-lost motivation from those first days of NSOP, both now over fall break and during the weeks to come:


  • Have at least one meal in the dining hall or at an apartment with a friend, for a time-efficient way to eat and be social !
  • Take a walk outside for ten minutes – it’s quite refreshing physically and emotionally !
  • No matter what, set aside ten minutes to read a humorous webcomic, blog, book, etc. Laughter truly is a wonderful medicine.


  • Drop in one random event, screening, or speaker (i.e. BWOG’s bucket list, fliers all over campus, that weekly event that your suitemate keeps bugging you about). Even if you bring some notes or a laptop to work out during it, it’ll be something fun and/or educational, and most of all – a random factor to change things up !
  • Commit to being totally prepared for one class, doing all the readings and paying full attention throughout lecture – it will require time and effort, but it’ll pay off !


  • Do/see something cool in the city, whether it’s a park, a play, or a party !
  • Take a few minutes to contemplate how far you’ve gotten so far (all the way from elementary school to here), where you are going, and reassure yourself that you can do it !

Overall, remember that you “only” have four years here – so live it up !

Disclaimer: Having just completed my 8-hour engineering licensing exam this past Sunday and another 2 midterms in the past two days plus graduating in December, I am fully pursuing these tips to keep myself motivated. This is just one person’s tactics – feel free to adapt and borrow from your friends as well !

Peer Adviser Post: Making the Most of Your Spring Break
By Aniekeme Umoh SEAS '15

We’re about halfway into the semester and spring break is around the corner! Yay! The much-anticipated week off school will be a time to get rested and catch up on a number of things. Whether you plan to spend the break on campus, back home, or on vacation with friends or family, there are things to do to make sure you get the most out of this week of bliss.

This is the time to catch up on sleep! We know midterms have drained us all and this is the best time to rack up those hours of slumber no matter where you may be spending your break. Remember health is of the most importance!

Try to be in touch with your family if you’re not spending the break with them, especially if you have been out of touch all semester. Also talking with old friends and catching up on your favorite shows would be great for the break.

You can use this time to get ahead in schoolwork or catch up on classes. You could also take this time to finish up that internship application you started and didn’t have time to complete.

If you’re staying on campus, you are not alone and there are activities you can participate in with other members of the Columbia community. Meet with your RA to find out about fun events the office of Residential Programs puts up for the break. You could use the free time to volunteer in the city. Sandy Relief efforts are still underway through NY Cares, the Food Bank of New York City and other organizations.

And if you’re going somewhere warm and sunny don’t forget to load up on sunscreen!

Have a stress-free spring break!

If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at:

Peer Adviser Post: When to Pass/D/Fail

By Jen Bai CC ‘13

Thursday, March 28 is the last day for CC students to pass/fail a class. Inevitably, on this day there will be a long line of students waiting in Kent to turn in the P/D/F form. A good question to ask ourselves before joining the queue is how are we supposed to use the pass/fail option?

(Keep in mind that we are only allowed to pass/fail one course per semester, not including ones that are automatically pass/fail, such as physical education classes.)

The main reason for having the option to pass/fail is that it gives us the freedom to venture outside of our academic comfort zones. As a student body that is in general highly concerned with GPA, we are often reluctant to take courses that might jeopardize this number. Pass/fail offers the opportunity to take a course that is challenging or different without fear of your GPA being penalized. At the end of the semester, you can choose to either keep the course grade as pass/fail or uncover the grade, without leaving any evidence that it was once pass/failed.

My advice is to try to use pass/fail only for courses that you take just for kicks. I recommend against pass/failing classes that are within your major or minor because those are the classes into which you should be putting the most effort. However, sometimes a class within your field is much more challenging than anticipated, and pass/failing is understandable.

Good luck with midterms, everyone! Spring break is right around the corner (followed soon by the pass/fail deadline)!


If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at:

Peer Adviser Post: A Short Guide to Studying Abroad

By Benjamin Frieling SEAS ‘14




Why ? A semester of research for your thesis, specialized academic opportunities in a world-class institution, a summer internship in an exotic locale, exploring a place you’ve always been curious about, delving into a region’s local culture and history via the local university, returning to your home country, or even testing a potential location to move to after graduation. Any and all of these reasons are valid ones, but what’s most important is that you want to be abroad and that you’re committed to researching, filling out, and submitting the necessary paperwork by the deadlines.

When? CC – The popular time is either the entire junior year or the spring of junior year.

This is because you will be fulfilling your initial Core requirements through the end of sophomore year (UW, Fro Sci, Lit Hum, CC, language). These CANNOT be taken abroad, so they must be either fulfilled before or after the study abroad. Additionally, there is a requirement of a “regional course” that is about the area you will be going to study in. (NOTE – There is a possibility of fulfilling your Global Core requirement abroad).

In the words of OGP: “In order to study abroad, both semesters of Literature Humanities, Contemporary Civilization, as well as University Writing and Frontiers of Science must be completed. Students must also complete the language requirement before studying abroad (even if you plan to study in an English-language setting). Beyond these courses, it is highly recommended that you complete at least one Global Core course and one additional science course. You are reminded that you should complete Art Humanities and Music Humanities by the end of the junior year. Ideally, only one or two Core courses should remain for the senior year. ”

SEAS – The recommended time is in the spring of sophomore year, since you will have (hopefully) finished most of your Core + you haven’t gotten too deep into your major yet. While there is no language requirement, you must show language proficiency. Many students take a semester of liberal arts courses in a topic of interest.

NOTE – It is certainly possible to study in your junior year & to take a course (or five) for your engineering technical electives or even for your major. However, be prepared to prove the credentials of the desired institution’s courses & expect an uphill battle to convince your major advisor, department dean, and the professor of each class you hope to substitute/fulfill abroad to sign off. But, it has been done before, so go for it!

Lastly, keep in mind that the summer semester is a shorter time abroad that doesn’t interrupt with the regular academic and social flow of Columbia life. So it’s a very viable option, especially for engineers who want to take courses offered in English in a non-English country (like I did two summers ago). Also, beyond study – a summer internship is another way to experience a different locale and often allows for more exploring (while the internship program is not in session) than an academic semester would. Furthermore, volunteering abroad is yet another option to delve into the culture of a different place while working for the public good.

How ? Set up an appointment with the Office of Global Programs (OGP) right away!

The deadline of the fall semester & year-long study abroad is March 15th, while the deadline for the summer semester is May 1st, but DON’T WAIT UNTIL THE LAST MINUTE  because the program you choose could have an internal deadline that is several weeks or even months earlier.

Where ?See above – it’s wherever you feel inspired to explore. Oh, one more thing – I’m not sure if this is currently allowed, but let’s remember that exploring ANYWHERE outside of the Columbia bubble is truly “abroad” for us – so let’s explore the USA as well for study abroad ! Ask OGP if you can study “abroad” in exotic locales like Delaware, Michigan, Texas, Idaho, etc. (I mean NO offense to anyone from any of the listed states – I’ve just never been there myself).

If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at:

CC Major Discovery Series

As major declaration approaches, are you trying to determine the best major for you?  Got questions about programs, opportunities, and what it all means?

Attend the CC Major Discovery Series to learn more about different majors from your fellow students!  These intimate discussions, arranged by discipline and led by a panel of juniors and seniors, will give you valuable insight as you consider the next chapter of your academic life.

  • Humanities – Monday, February 18, 6:00-7:00pm, 401 Lerner
  • Math and Science – Tuesday, February 19, 6:00-7:00pm, 401 Lerner
  • Fine Arts – Wednesday, February 20, 5:00-6:00pm, 401 Lerner
  • Social Sciences – Friday, February 22, 3:00-4:00pm, 401 Lerner

To RSVP, go to and click on “Events.”  Open to sophomores and first-year CC students.

Brought to you by the Center for Student Advising and the Columbia College Student Council Class of 2015.

Peer Adviser Post: Long Distance Relationships

Long Distance Relationships
By F. Elias Boujaoude CC '13

Okay, so you’ve found the perfect person…funny, charming, endearing, intelligent, attractive, you name it.  Everything is going just right, you’re smooth, you’re cool, you’re ready to take the next step.  There is just one problem…you are on the brink of, dare I say it…a LONG DISTANCE RELATIONSHIP

Long distance relationships are certainly not easy and many people seem to be turned off completely with the idea of having a partner xyz distance away.  Whether it’s an hour drive or 3 million light-years via hyper speed space travel, here are some tips and tricks for making a long distance relationship work.

  1. Acknowledge the challenge.
    Most people just approach a long distance as if it’s no big deal---well, I got news for you, the only person you are fooling is yourself!  Being away from someone you love is never an easy thing and acknowledging it and telling your partner you miss them actually strengthens your relationship.  It lets the other person know you have been thinking about them and miss their company.  There is a limit however, crying on the phone every time you talk isn’t going to get you anywhere, it’s about balance.
  1. Yes, the little things still count, if not more so.
    Everyone likes little surprises like a rose after a long day of work, a short text that says “miss u, cnt wait to c u,” etc.  Just because you are not physically close to your partner, that doesn’t mean you are exempt from giving them the attention they deserve.  Arranging flowers to be sent to work or their friends decorating their room for a special occasion on your behalf may take some extra effort on your part, but it’s an excellent way to show them how much you care and to maintain that sense of connection.
  1. Make time for each other.
    If you can’t physically be with someone, the next best thing is talking, or texting, or skyping, whatever it may be.  Different things work for different people but if you are committed to a long distance relationship, that person still needs to find time into your schedule. If you prefer texting, maybe try talking to your partner via phone instead, that way you have something unique in your relationship that sets it apart from the other everyday forms of communication. But, of course, do what works for you.  The most important thing is to TALK and talk frequently.  Whether or not you need to block off specific times to talk to your partner is entirely dependent on who the two of you are, but long distance cannot survive without basic communication.

Well, that’s all for now…do not fear the dreaded long distance relationship… embrace it, work it, commit to it and things will work out for the best! 

Happy Valentine’s Day from your Peer Advisers!!!  :)
If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at:


Peer Advisers' Study Tips for Finals

Peer Adviser Post: Top Four Campus Resources to Help You Get Control of Your Schedule

 By F. Elias Boujaoude CC '13

Is the semester catching up with you?  Feel like you’re falling behind and just can’t get back on track?  Really need some help in some of your classes?  Check out the top four resources right here on campus to help you get control of your schedule:

1. Academic Success Program (ASP): the CC/SEAS Tutoring Service available to ALL SEAS and CC students

Although students can request tutoring for any course, the following courses are most likely to be filled:

Physics (PHYS 1201, 1202, 1401, 1402)
General Chemistry (CHEM 1403, 1404)
Organic Chemistry (CHEM 3443, 3444)
Principles of Economics (ECON 1105)
Calculus I, II & III (MATH 1101, 1102, 1201)
Biology (BIOL 2005, 2006)
Intro to Statistics with Calculus (STAT 1211)

Request a tutor with your CSA Adviser.

2. Nightline: Nightline is an anonymous, nonjudgmental peer listening hotline that primarily serves the Columbia/Barnard community.  Feeling stressed and just need to talk to someone RIGHT NOW---give them a call at 212-854-7777.

3. CPS (Counseling and Psychological Services): CPS offers short term, professional counseling services to all Columbia students.  CPS Counselors are all trained professionals and specialize in a variety of different areas including anxiety, insomnia, suicide, abuse, etc.  Making an appointment with CPS is fast, easy, and anonymous.  Call for an initial consultation at 212-854-2284.  CPS Counselors are also available after hours in a variety of satellite locations across campus, see below.

100 Carman Hall
Tuesday, 7:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

210 East Campus
Wednesday, 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Thursday, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.

115 Hartley Hall
Monday, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Wednesday, 5:00 - 9:00 p.m.

600 W. 113th St, Room 2BB
Monday, 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday, 5:30 - 10:00 p.m.
Thursday, 5:30 - 9:00 p.m.

102 Broadway Residence Hall
Tuesday, 5:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Thursday, 6:30 - 10:00 p.m.

4. Your Peer Advisers: Just want to chat? Feeling stressed? Come visit us during our hours with whatever you need!  We can be there just to listen, point you to other resources on campus, answer basic advising questions, or even sit down with you to work out your schedule to help you get back on top of things!

See below for our hours:

Monday-Wednesday: 5-8pm in 403 Lerner
Thursday: 1-4pm on Lerner ramps

Peer Adviser Post: Tips for Job & Internship Hunting

 By Jennifer Bai CC '13

Last spring, I found myself in a peculiar time of the year: recruiting season. Throughout January and February, I would often have to slip out of my sweater and jeans and jump into a stiff, brand new suit, run over to the Center for Career Education, leather-bound resume holder in hand, and anxiously await an interviewer to call my name. This process repeated itself for weeks until my new work heels were worn down from the Columbia cobblestones, and all that was left to do was to wait for a prospective employer to call. Having gone through the job hunt recently, the process is fresh in my mind, and that is why I would love to give some tips on things that can help pave your way to the workplace!

Note: My intent is that these tips will be one-size-fits-all and be useful for many different professional industries.

**Perfect your resume. Don’t settle for satisfactory – make sure it is phenomenal, easy to read aesthetically, and impressive content-wise. Bring it to the Center for Career Education, where you can make an appointment for a resume review, and make sure to send it to your family and friends for their critiques. Also, feel free to show a peer advisor! 

**Network – it’s an overused word, but don’t underestimate the importance of getting your face out there to the people who you would like to hire you. Go to relevant info sessions on campus if there are any (check the CCE calendar), and also make sure to hit up personal contacts to introduce you to people in your field of interest. They might know someone who knows someone…you catch the drift!

**Have fun with it! Sure, not everything about job hunting is fun (who enjoys writing cover letters?), but if you see it as an exploration where you learn about what is out there and what you are best suited for, you will most certainly come out of the experience with a new degree of confidence.

Hope this helps and, of course, good luck!!

If you have questions or comments please email your Peer Advisers at:

Peer Adviser Post: Handling Stress & Student Wellness

 By Will Hughes CC '13

Being a student at Columbia can be difficult at times, especially getting used what might be a more academically challenging environment. In between coursework, extracurricular activities, and everything New York City has to offer, taking time just to relax and decompress can fall by the wayside very easily. But since it’s important to remember to take that time to de-stress, here are some tips on how to be well while at Columbia:

Check in with yourself: It can be so easy to get caught up in the million things going on on and off campus, and the incredible people you’re meeting. But take a few minutes every day to see how you’re feeling. Are you spending your time on things you find rewarding?

Take a break: Carve out time to just relax, hang out with friends, and not worry about schoolwork. This will help you be more productive when you are working, and have a lot less stressful of a time here.

Don’t be too hard on yourself: it might seem like everyone around you is getting perfect grades and has everything in order, but in reality, every student here struggles at different times to manage their workload. Moving out of the mindset that says you have to do and be everything can really help you enjoy your time here.

Know about the resources out there, and feel comfortable asking for help: There are so many resources Columbia provides to its students, because it wants to see all of us succeed. On the academic side, your advisors are always there, and they can connect you to tutoring, study groups, and specific departments’ resources. For more general stress, there’s always your RA, Counseling and Psychological Services, the Chaplain’s Office, Nightline, and the list goes on and on.

Peer Advisers' Tips for First-Years

  1. Professors are friendly- office hours are a good thing.
  2. No one expects you to figure everything out as soon as you get here.
  3. It’s not a competition on who can sleep the least or stress out the most.
  4. You’re not going to be a New Yorker in a day- it’s okay if you get off on the wrong subway stop.
  5. Find your library- try different study spaces.
  6. Student rush tickets and the TIC are good deals.
  7. College is just as much about figure out who you are, what you care about, and what makes you happy as it is about grades or anything else.
  8. Self-advocacy is essential here; use your voice to speak up about what you need.
  9. Everyone is here because they are extraordinary in some way; don’t let little things prevent you from seeing how remarkable your peers are.

Requesting a Tutor

If you are struggling in a course this term, you should make an appointment to speak with your CSA advisor about the resources available. You can also check out our Academic Support page to learn more.

Columbia College Student Council Visits the CSA

Thanks for coming by, CCSC!


James H. and Christine Turk Berick Center for Student Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2458

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Walk-in Hours
3:00 p.m.–4:30 p.m.