All for One or One for All? My fears before ETP

Maxwell Tom visiting day picture CUSON

Maxwell Tom visiting day picture CUSON

1. How competitive would my cohort be?

Coming from a small undergraduate school and taking some time off between college and ETP, I wasn’t sure what to except from my fellow cohort. Would everyone in the program be a brainiac?

After all, Columbia is known for its academic prestige. But would my cohort collaborate and help one another, since we’re all going through the “ETP-gauntlet” together? Or would it be mano a mano?

Thankfully, I chose a career that emphasizes compassion, empathy, and altruistic qualities. From sharing helpful tutorial videos, to voting for one another in scholarship competitions, my cohort has been extremely supportive of one another.

2. Being from California, How would I handle the concrete jungle?

I’m originally from San Francisco, where the weather doesn’t get above 75, and no colder than 50. Also, I have never purchased “winter boots”. However, weather wasn’t the only issue, what about the NYC stigmas? Would I be forced to walk faster, smile less, and how would I adjust to all the bright lights?!

I knew I was in for a bit of a shock, when I was taking the subway to visiting day. I decided to let another person enter the train before me, and then suddenly, the doors abruptly closed before I could get on. “Welcome to New York!” It was quite the introduction.

Living in New York for almost 8 months has definitely added additional layers to my epidermis. I purchased my first pair of winter boots and I walk considerably faster. However, I still smile at my cashier and tell them to have a great day, even though they routinely smirk at me. The key for me was to find my happy medium between that California sunshine kid and the gunner attitude of NYC.

3. Am I the only one afraid of the rigors of an accelerated nursing program?

The ETP office does a great job during orientation week scheduling social mixers to get to know your cohort. I’m glad they did, since the people I met felt the same way. Throughout my ETP year the professors, TAs, and alumni have always offered support and guidance. Additionally, Columbia Nursing and CUMC also offer great outlets to de-stress like yoga, dog (petting) therapy, and weekly spin classes in the gym at Bard Hall. Overall, I would compare ETP to New York City in the sense that there are a lot of people who share your same emotions, but you may not know it until you ask.

—Maxwell Tom