New York City police have arrested a 26-year-old woman who has been posing as a Columbia University freshman throughout orientation and the first days of school … even though she’s not even enrolled as a Columbia student.
Briva Patel pretended to be 20-year-old “Rhea Sen,” attending Columbia’s orientation events like trips to the Bronx Zoo and a music festival in Brooklyn. Even though “Rhea Sen” didn’t have a Columbia student ID, orientation leaders and fellow students saw her around the dining halls and even attending classes, The Columbia Spectator reports.
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There is no way to discuss this in a manner that’s particularly comfortable or even couth, so I’ll start with the facts: Martha Corey-Ochoa, an 18-year-old Columbia University incoming freshman, was found dead on Monday at around 11 p.m. following a fall from her 14th-floor dormitory on Manhattan’s West 114th Street, where her parents had dropped her off and helped her move in earlier in the day. Valedictorian of her graduating class at Dobbs Ferry High School in New York, the violinist and writer had planned to double major in English and mathematics. Her death was pronounced a suicide. Keep reading »
The bottom line of college orientation is that it’s a paradox: feeling simultaneously deeply comforted and entirely thrown off your axis, spinning rapidly towards the unknown. Or at least, that’s what orientation was like for me.
This paradox manifested itself at the very beginning of the journey from Ohio to New York. After posting my obligatory, “Leaving for college. Thanks for the memories everybody!” Facebook status, I packed all of my earthly belongings into the family car. That’s when I realized that all of my earthly belongings fit into the family car. While the reality of this totally satisfied the fatalist in me (look how easy it would be for me to escape with so little materialistic baggage to weigh me down once the zombie apocalypse hits — yippee!) it also left me reeling. It only underscored the fact that the home I was leaving, the home I had grown up in and considered my own, really wasn’t mine any more. Everything that grounded me to my house was stuffed into the car, ready to be shipped off to what is essentially a linoleum-floored, whitewashed box. Statements I had made with confidence ever since I clicked submit on my electronic application quickly turned to questions: This is what I want? I’m excited? I’m ready to be on my own? Keep reading »
I wouldn’t say that I was a nerd in high school. Although I have adopted the art of procrastination as ardently and with as much love as if it were a tiny puppy alone on the side of the road in a rainstorm, I did in fact manage to get some studying in. But despite grades and test scores that were high enough to award me admittance to one of the best schools in the country, I’d never call myself geeky. “Loner” probably isn’t the right word, either. I wasn’t exactly in the running for prom queen (real talk: I didn’t even go to prom my junior year, gasp) but I had a particularly close group of best friends who were like my sisters. I never felt alone, but rather constantly surrounded by people who loved me. No, the only thing I can definitively say to describe who I was in high school is that I was there. Keep reading »