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美国大学一瞥:“我的大学一年级”

By  春小丫     翻译  春阳

(上次写了女儿的大学一年级 (1)后来感到女儿自己写出来的更能体现美国大学校园生活。 这篇文章从几个侧面讲述了她自己感受到的大学新生活。怕译文不够准确,特地附上英文原文,以供未来大学生参考。

   去 年,要去学校报到的几天前,妈妈发现我在房间里哭, 因为我是真的很害怕:我怕我根本掌握不了哥伦比亚大学的课程。不用说,大学的课程难度确实正如我想象 的那样,很具有挑战性。但是我得承认,也不像我想象的那么可怕。任何事情都是可以做到的,不过要想完成这些事情,睡觉是第一个要牺牲的。以下是我的大学年 级生活小片段。

课程:

   在 大学里,我发现我根本不会学习。高中的时候,我只要在课程之间跳跃就够了,不需要在一门课上花很多时间。我无法想象用好几个小时来解决一组问题,或者花一 整天去准备考试。然而在哥伦比亚,不用大量的时间去做作业,才是件奇怪的事。不过,我一点儿也不后悔。这一年里,我被领进了那么多全新的领域。

   哥 伦比亚的核心课程覆盖整个大学四年。每门课都要引伸到人文学科的很多方面。比如文学,是贯串第一学年的课程,从古希腊的史诗到现代小说,这门课几乎是人类 史的考察。我们的课堂讨论包含了从哲学到心理学等等的综合考评, 而不是只局限在这些著作里的故事上。音乐人文学也是有类似的主题。我们讨论音乐如何对现 实和历史进展的影响,而不是讨论某一段纯音乐。还有其它的科学课程,像化学,微积分,和经济学。这些课程让我认识到,单纯的记忆课堂上讲的那些是不够的。 考试主要是要求我们真正理解和能够把这些知识应用到不熟悉的问题上。

教授们:

  以 前,我总是觉得大学教授们一定很可怕,因为他们都是最聪明的人。然而,我的教授们确实很聪明,但是绝对不可怕。我发现我的教授们都是非常的平易近人。也许 有时候,要经过几次课以后,你才会理解他们的思路,但是最终他们都是很容易接近的。研讨会这类的课,像写作和音乐人文课,是由研究生们讲的。一些大型的授 课则是由教授来教,有的是国内最好的专家教授。当我选课的时候,我一定注意这门课是一个好的教授来教的。因为我觉得这是让我把一门课学得更好的重要因素之 一。

   秋季的JAVA的初级课和春季的信息科学是同一 位教授讲授的。我听别人说他讲课讲得很棒,我上了他的课发现,果然名不虚传。他对自己的这一领域太熟悉了。当他发现有学生不太理解的时候,他可以用很多, 很多种方法来讲解。他还常常在讲课中穿插一些小笑话,来提高我们的注意力。他是我最喜欢的教授,当然别的教授也都像他一样棒。

时间安排:

   第 一年的两个学期,我都修了五门课。我的感觉是,秋季的那个学期比春季更难。整个秋季和春季的前一部分,我每天的游泳和体能训练都是3到4个小时。再加上周 一到周四,每天都上2到3门课,我必须好好安排我的时间。幸运的是,我在高中的时候就已经学会了合理安排时间,因为那时候的训练强度比大学还要高。

   哥 伦比亚大学的一点好处是,星期五基本没课或者只有一门课。那就是说,星期四上完这周最后一节课,然后你就想干吗就干吗。尽管我一再告诉自己:一定要在星期 四,星期五把所有的功课做完,那样周末我就可以放松一下了。可惜,从来没有发生过。一周下来,我总是太累了,根本就不想做任何事。所以总是要到星期天还要 做大量的作业。当我有时间放松一下的时候,我总是和朋友一起到市中心去试试新的餐馆,或者和朋友一起看电视,看电影。有一件事我很喜欢的,就是当天气暖和 的时候,我和朋友一起去Pinkberry吃冰冻酸奶。

自由时间:

   你自由啦!在大学你被赋予自由去尝试新鲜事物。我们学校有上百个学生俱乐部。每个新学年开始的时候,在下广场的外面,会有一个活动集市。很多俱乐部都会在那里摆上一个桌子,告诉你他们俱乐部的性质。要是想报名的话,你可以加入他们的电邮名单。然后他们会告诉你活动时间。

你 还有自由选择自己安排时间,因为大多数时候,一天只有三门课,其余的时间你得自己安排。你可以用来做作业和准备考试。在纽约上大学是一件伟大的事,你可以 用这些时间去纽约市里探索一下。有一次,刚好在上课和训练之间有一点时间,我急忙跑到大都会博物馆去。面对那些古希腊和古罗马雕塑,我构思着我的文学课的 论文。

多彩的校园:

   在 哥伦比亚,我最喜欢的事就是我的同学和老师的多元性。我的同学来自世界各地,他们的故事把我领进了一个个不同的世界。在音乐哼唱的课堂里,我的一位同学来 上学以前,竟然是一位专业舞蹈家。游泳队男队的一个队员,以前代表奥地利参加过奥林匹克。他总是能想出办法来激励我们,让我们训练更加努力。文学人文课有 一个男孩,是多米尼加和黑人的混血儿,他在日本学习了一年,懂得很多关于日本的文化,他还引导我尝试真正的日本食物。

   我 们的新生宿舍是无酒精楼。就是说,不许把酒带进楼里。过了第一年,就看宿舍管理员了。只要不骚扰别人,一般没有人管。新生入学的时候,都要通过酒精教育的 考试。这个网上的课程主要是教育学生注意饮酒安全。是教育学生安全使用酒精,而不是生硬地告诉你,酒精会致死。我觉得大概有30-40%的学生会喝酒。

  高年级的同学和老师们反复说的一句话,就是:“在哥伦比亚,这里有数不清的机会。”我自己也发现这话太对了。年初的时候,我们有抽奖活动,奖品包括百老汇的歌剧,餐馆,还有音乐会等等。我抽到了一张歌剧“Wicked”的票,而这种奇妙的经历让我对这个学校更加兴奋。

   四 月的时候,联合国秘书长潘基文到学校做了关于学生的重要性和他们对未来的影响。四月底,我和二十个同学一起听了James Schamus的一个演讲。 James Schamus 是一个大的电影公司Focus Features的执行长官。(James Schamus 是电影《藏龙卧虎》,《断背 山》的影片编剧,也是哥伦比亚大学的教授)。他的讲话涉及了从恐怖主义到电影等一系列的话题,是我所听到的最发人深省的一个演讲。

   春天还有一个大的事件叫Bacchanal,这是一个整整一天的音乐会,就在下广场(Low Plaza)。 好几个大乐队和一些当地的小乐队前来助兴,全校的学生都来到这里一起享受音乐。这也是从繁忙的学习中抽出时间,和朋友们一起放松一下很好的机会。 

   我们学校还有好多传统节目,我还没有机会一一体验。不过还好,我还有三年时间好利用呢。

原文:


 

My first year of college

 

Shortly before I arrived at school, my mom found me crying in my room because I was truly terrified that I wouldn’t be able to handle the curriculum at Columbia. Needless to say, I expected it to be challenging, and the academic rigor did indeed meet my expectations. However, it was not as horrific as I thought.  Everything was doable, but in order to accomplish it all, sleep was the first thing to go.  I learned that I really didn’t know how to study.  In high school, I could cruise through most of my classes with little effort. I never imagined spending hours on problem sets or full days studying for tests, but at Columbia, not spending hours on an assignment was strange.  However, I do not regret any of it; I’ve been exposed to so many new topics.

Academic:

The Core Curriculum is what ties the undergraduates together. Each core class brings together many different aspects of humanity. Literature Humanities, the full year class for first years, is an examination of the human existence, beginning with Greek epic poems and continuing all the way to modern novels. Instead of focusing solely on the stories that are told in these works, our class discussions also included examinations of philosophy and psychology. 

Music Humanities had a similar theme; instead of focusing purely on music, we also discussed how the music was influenced by the current events and movements in the world at the time. 

My more scientific classes, like chemistry, calculus and economics, made me realize that the pure memorization of facts that were taught in the lectures was not enough.   Instead, the exams tested our understanding of the material we learned and how we could apply our knowledge to unfamiliar problems.

Professors

I always thought of college professors as very intimidating because they are the most intelligent of people. 

However, while the high level of intelligence is very true, the intimidation part is certainly not.  I found that my professors were always very down to earth people.  It may take a few classes to understand how they think, but they always end up being very approachable.  Seminar style classes like University Writing and Music Humanities are taught by graduate students.  Bigger lecture-style classes are taught by some of the best professors in the country.  When I choose my classes, I try to make sure that I have a good professor because I believe that is one of the most important factors in making the experience of the class better.  I had one professor for Introduction to Java in the fall and Information Science in the spring.  I had heard great things about him, and he definitely lived up to his reputation.  He clearly knew the material very well because he was able to explain it in many different ways when the students did not understand.  Scattered throughout his lectures were always little jokes to keep us engaged.  He is one of my favorite professors, but the others that I have had were just as great.

Time Balance

I took 5 classes each semester this year, and the fall semester was much more challenging than my spring semester.  Through the fall and beginning of the spring semesters, I was swimming or lifting 3-4 hours a day.  With 2 or 3 classes each day from Monday to Thursday, I definitely had to take advantage of my time.  Luckily, I learned to balance my schedule in high school, when my practice schedule was even more vigorous. 

The nice thing about Columbia is that you are most likely to have only one or no classes on Fridays.  That means that after your last class on Thursday, you are free to do whatever you want.  As much as I tell myself that I should finish my work on Thursday and Friday in order to relax on the weekend, that usually doesn't happen.  I end up being too exhausted from the week to do any more work, so a lot of my homework is done on Sunday. 

When I do have a day to relax, I like to go downtown and try a new restaurant.  Other times I will just casually spend time with my friends.  One think I like to do on a warm Thursday or Friday night is to go to Pinkberry to get frozen yogurt with my friend.  Other times I will watch TV or a movie with friends.

Free Time

Freedom!  You are given the freedom to try new things.  There are hundreds of clubs that are all student run.  In the beginning of the year, there is an activities fair outside on Low Plaza, where many of the clubs set up tables to teach you about what they do.  You can sign up to be added to their email list, and then they email you about meeting times.  You also have the freedom to choose what you want to do with your time.  Because you most likely only have about 3 classes a day, the rest of the time is up to you to occupy.  You can choose to use it to finish homework or study for an exam. The great thing about going to school in New York is that you can also use that time to make a trip downtown and explore.  There was one time in between classes and practice that I quickly went to The Met. I looked at Greek and Roman sculptures to help me write a Literature Humanities paper.

 

Colorful Campus Life

 

My favorite thing about Columbia is the diversity of the student and staff body.  This is a feature that Columbia prides itself in, and it is truly impressive.  I have classmates from around the world, and the things that I love the most are all the stories that they have to tell.  In my Music Hum class, I met a girl who was a professional dancer for several years before coming to Columbia. One of the members of the men’s swim team swam at the Olympics for Austria.  He always thinks of ways to keep us motivated and reminds us to keep working hard.  One boy in my Literature Humanities class is part Dominican and part black, and he also spent a year studying in Japan.  He knows a lot about Japanese culture and introduced me to some authentic Japanese food

 

All of the first year dorms are dry, which means that no one is allowed to bring alcohol in.  Afterward, it is up to the RA to regulate the drinking.  Usually, if it is not disruptive to the other people living nearby, then it is not an issue.  In the beginning of the year, all incoming students are required to take and pass AlcoholEdu, which is an online course whose main focus is to teach students about safe drinking.  Instead of trying to tell us that alcohol will kill you, they teach you how to be safe about it. I think there are probably about 30-40% Students use alcohol regularly. 

One thing that upperclassmen and staff members always tell me is, "At Columbia, there are endless opportunities."  This is something that I discovered to be undeniably true.  In the beginning of the year, there is a lottery for free tickets to various shows, restaurants, and musicals.  I won free tickets to see the Broadway show Wicked; it was an amazing experience that made me even more excited about the school.  In April, listened to Ban Ki-Moon, the Secretary-General of the United Nations, give a speech about the importance of students and their impact on the future.  At the end of of April, I joined about 20 other students to listen to James Schamus talk about a range of things from terrorism to film.  He is the CEO of Focus Features, a major motion picture production company.  It was one of the most thought-provoking speeches that I had ever heard.  Another huge event in the spring is called Bacchanal.  It is a day long concert that takes place on Low Plaza.  Several big bands and small local perform, as students from all the schools come together to enjoy the music.  It is a very fun day to take a break from studying to spend time with friends.

There are so many traditions that I didn’t get a chance to go attend everything. Good thing I have three more years to take advantage of!

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评论

雨曦的头像
 #

收存了,email给女儿好好学习。谢谢春阳分享!好一个出色又可爱的女孩儿!

 
春阳的头像
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谢谢雨曦。只希望能让别的孩子了解一点大学生活。

 
海云的头像
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春阳,自从参观了哥大,儿子因为那个Core, 已基本上排除了申请哥大的可能,我怎么说都没用,他说喜欢自由,我得把他拉过来读一下你女儿的这篇文章,太及时了。谢谢。

 
春阳的头像
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海云,很多孩子开始都那样说,后来都喜欢“Core”。因为开拓了知识面,而且纽约的确机会很多。不过你儿子要读医学院,可能选择更多了。

 
雨林的头像
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大学一年级对很多孩子都是挑战。春阳的女儿好棒!

 
天地一弘的头像
 #

祝福女儿,上了大学,有了一个全新的认识。

 
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