Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Emperors of the City

A loyal reader recently pointed out to me that I've done a good job promoting the Ivies as a superior choice for college-bound athletes, but I haven't explained in a long time why Columbia is a superior choice among the Ivies. He was right.

First off, I have to say that I don't actually think Columbia is the best choice for every player. That should be obvious, but I wanted to get that out there in case someone doesn't understand.

Second, the following points are my list of what I would call Columbia's unique advantages. They are not the only great things about CU, but they're things a lot of people may not recognize or articulate well enough to be convincing.

1) "New York City" is a powerful thing to put on your resume

The obvious advantages of New York City as a great cosmopolitan center have been enumerated many times and in better ways than I ever could.

And many people have made the very important point that any career a student is interested in will provide much more numerous and convenient internship opportunities here in the city.

But the city life isn't for everyone... at least not forever. And that's where we need to make it clear that no matter where you go after Columbia, the fact that you lived in New York City will always be an impressive part of your professional and personal resume.

I can say that as someone who spent most of his childhood outside of NYC, then moved here for my late adolescence through college, moved away again before returning 18 years ago.

No matter where else I lived, even the people who claimed they hated or were scared of New York were impressed that I had lived there and could navigate the city confidently at any time.

Sure, you can be a Texas boy and talk a lot about how you long to return home for four years. But if you do it right, you'll be a bit of a local legend back home for the rest of your life because of your New York experiences and all the fun you had and challenges you conquered along the way.

And if you do decide to stay, being a Columbia grad will give you a very strong head start on all the other new graduates who flood into this city every summer.

At some point in your life, on and off the field, you're going to have the chance to prove yourself on the biggest stage. It will then be up to you to accept the challenge or stay in the minor leagues. New York is the biggest stage and is the place for people who want to excel at their chosen field at the top level.

2) New York City is an excellent "college town"

Actually, NYC isn't a "college town," it's just a great place to go to college. How many New Yorkers would jump at the chance to experience this city with the time even the most hard-working Columbia student has on his or her hands? Most of us work 50+ hour work weeks and we can't realistically hope to enjoy all the things this city has to offer with any regularity. I figure even a student-athlete during the season has more free time than your average working professional.

Beyond that, New York is uniquely set up for younger people when it comes to getting around. The subway is an amazingly cheap way to get places much faster than driving. Walking and actually enjoying a city at less then 55 MPH is optimal here. Many Columbia grads who leave the city, (myself included), find themselves gaining some real weight because of all the walking they're no longer doing now that they're out of New York.

3) New York in centrally located for the Ivies

Columbia is basically right in the middle of the geographic chunk of the country populated by the Ivy schools. But with our train stations and airports, we're more conveniently located too. If you're coming to Columbia from anywhere along the East Coast, it will be an easy trip for you and your family.

This may not sound like much now, but talk to the parents of kids who go to the other Ivy schools and ask them what it's like to fly or drive to their sons' home football games.

4) The food is unbelievable

When I was a student at Columbia from 1988-92, the food choices immediately around campus weren't great. But that's changed in a big way. Of course, the food choices in the greater city are not even worth arguing about. Of course, NYC has the best restaurants. That's a big reason why almost every football player at Columbia talks about how their happiest moments off the field are when they have a post game meal with their families.

5) Cities are the future

Baby boomers and Gen X'ers grew up with the notion that America's large cities were crumbling and dying. Now it looks like more of our suburbs are in danger than cities. If economic success and quality of life are important to you, urban areas are a better bet. Now's your chance to get used to it.


oldlion said...

Core curriculum, fantastic education.

Chick said...

I'm trying to decide between Detroit and Baltimore as a retirement home.

Big Dawg said...

At the risk of sounding xenophobic, I can't agree more with this.

Unless a kid purely wants a bucolic experience, has an unbroken vision of the pro's, or is swept away by the vision of HYP magic, (and frankly I would only put H in the serious category), we have an amazing story to tell. The mission is to ensure it is being told consistently and well. The fine points are detailed by Jake.
These kids and their parents are desperately looking for the golden key, AND THAT IS EXACTLY HOW WE MUSST PRESENT OURSELVES.

Coach said...

I would love to hear an interview with Al Bagnoli regarding the AI and banding. He has been dealing with these issues for over 20 years, and knows more about it than any coach in the league. He could really provide some insight regarding Columbia's situation.

oldlion said...

I have a shrink friend who loves Harvard for producing at least half his patients, some of who were driven to various stages of depression from the experience of attending Harvard, and some of whom never got over the trauma of not getting in. Having dealt with graduates of every great college in the country in the course of a long career, I can honestly say that the principal "benefit" of a Harvard education is the inculcation of an attitude that the world owes you a living.

Anonymous said...

Times must be very different for college age kids. I was a late bloomer intellectually and with work ethic so Ivy was never a consideration. Though, I do not recall anyone in my generation suffering that badly from application rejection, regardless. Choices were plenty. Recruiters were always available and helpful. I had my choice of out of town schools (mostly in the northeast) due to my athletic ability but in the end, everyone went to a school that suited them and all was copacetic. I am told these days it is incredibly difficult to even get into any college of good standing (let's say UCLA). It is just extremely difficult even with great grades. The pressures for kids to find a college of choice must be unreal.