Last week a friend remarked to me that all people seem to write about at Columbia is isolation. At first, I laughed, because I saw the truth in what she said. But then I realized the complex implications a statement like that raises. It is, of course, an extension of the classic paradox of living in New York: if the city is so big, then why do we all feel so lonely? The answer, it seems, lies within the question itself. In such an immense place, our individual voices are lost. And in order to help organize this massive concentration of individuals, we are assigned to categories: gender, sexuality, ethnicity, culture, country.
In this week’s lead story, Wilfred Chan discusses Columbia’s Chinese international students, a population that makes up nearly a ninth of the entire university and a third of the international student body. Columbia’s international population is growing rapidly, with China at the forefront, yet, as Wilfred says, the university’s 2,254 Chinese students remain “utterly invisible” as a voice within the community. Whether we like to admit it, this outsider status is derived from a subconscious prejudice that pervades the rest of our campus, lumping together and then excluding entire groups of people.
The point Wilfred raises does not stand alone. Here at The Eye, we have showcased many stories like this one—the untold accounts of anyone and everyone, from international students to gay hip-hop producers, from undocumented immigrants to female filmmakers. Our magazine is relatable, but also intensely personal. We want individual experiences and thoughts to be woven throughout our content, which is why in this issue, you’ll find our second piece of fiction and our first creative photo essay amongst our regular features. As you read on, if you can see yourself in these pages, email us at email@example.com—your voice always has a place here.