“You are about to experience a lot of firsts”
In her remarks, President Shafik encouraged the incoming students to embrace the growth that comes with new experiences.
“You are about to experience a lot of firsts. For me, as a girl who grew up in southern climates, college was the first time I saw snow. And it took me a long time to accept the necessity of a down jacket and proper boots. I had one roommate who introduced me to Joni Mitchell, and another who didn’t believe in owning a lot of clothes and strung a line for doing her daily laundry across our room.
It’s mind opening, meeting people who are different from you, who think differently from the way you do, who have different backgrounds and views. You should expect to be challenged to engage with new perspectives, to debate ideas with which you disagree, and to be willing to revise your beliefs in the face of new evidence.”
She counseled that these experiences are often difficult, but that is as it should be.
“At times, this may feel awkward or uncomfortable. It might feel difficult. That is as it should be. That is what it feels like to be part of a culture that values intellectual inquiry and the free exchange of ideas. That is what it feels like to be at the frontier. It is how humanity has made progress over millennia.”
“The Core, a singular undergraduate experience”
President Shafik spoke about the powerful legacy of the Core Curriculum, “a singular undergraduate experience that connects students across Columbia College, Columbia Engineering, and Columbia General Studies.”