We came. We saw. We hated.

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I'm sitting in a hotel room on the upper West side of Manhattan. Mike and I came up here yesterday, and today we visited Columbia Law School. Mike was leaning toward Columbia and was waiting to hear from the financial aid office before making his decision. Last night was fun--we found a good sushi restaurant a block from the hotel and after eating we walked around the neighborhood for a while. Everything was looking good for Columbia. Then we took a taxi up to the law school and walked in the 116th street entrance, and the case for Columbia was lost. What an awful, awful building. The ground floor is all but devoid of decoration; nondescript flooring and white walls, no comfortable furniture, no attractive woodwork or molding, just a bare entry with a couple of temporary tables set up to hold brochures, leading to a hallway leading to mail boxes and a wall of lockers. No attempt has been made to make the place the least bit cheerful or inviting. My heart sank. I had to admit that if I were the one trying to make the decision, I'd be depressed at the thought of spending the next three years of my life there. As I told Mike, the place is aggressively ugly--inexcusable for a well-endowed school like Columbia. Yeah, yeah, a life-altering decision shouldn't be based on the ugliness of a building. But if the place is so bad as to be downright depressing, and it is, I wouldn't want to go there, and neither does Mike.

We walked across the avenue to the main campus and walked around there for a while. It's much, much nicer than the law school, but still. Mike commented repeatedly on the tiny patches of carefully tended grass, protected by chains from the students. Mike has spent the past four years at the University of Virginia, where students take their books outside and study on the lawn on sunny days. He commented too on the sign posted beside a very small playing field, which was currently not available for play and could never be subjected to cleats. He said there are multiple softball and soccer fields next to the law school at UVA.

So Mike is sending his deposit to UVA without waiting to hear from the financial aid office at Columbia. He text-messaged his roommate, who had already decided to send his deposit to UVA without waiting to hear from Harvard. So much for the ivy league.


Pretty accurate characterization of the weekend. I was really disappointed with the whole ambiance of the Law School, and I can't see myself living in NY City for 3 years.

You never realize how much more of a country boy you are until you try to flag down a cab in NY!

Indeed. I've been in Greyhound bus depots with better ambiance. If the 2nd floor were the entry level and the 1st floor were in the basement it'd be a lot better. The 1st floor belongs in the basement anyway, it's just utilitarian-- a bare entry with a couple of folding tables and folding chairs, vending machines, bathrooms, the mail room, and lockers.

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