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Columbia Spectator Staff

A few days ago, I stood in a line with about 75 other swimsuit-clad seniors waiting to take the required swim test. All you have to do is jump in, swim back and forth three times, and call it quits, but we had all waited until the last week of the semester. It was a classic case of pool procrastination.

The swim test is one of those funny, frenzied senior moments that forces you to reflect on the past. Swimming down lane #6 doing a strange combination of the butterfly stroke and doggy paddle in a pool hundreds of feet under campus—and watching your swim trunk- and goggle-wearing classmates do the same—really puts the last four years into perspective.

I am now studying water resource management—hence the water-focused introduction—even though I had no idea that's where I'd be four years ago. Back in September 2009, all I could think about was Spectator.

I joined the arts and entertainment section right away and became the dance and theater associate editor. Covering off-Broadway shows and ballet performances was a great way to get to know the city. There was such a terrific sense of community and energy in the section, and I couldn't be more grateful for that. Christine, thank you for your enthusiasm, warmth, and sense of humor. Your former associates carry all of those leadership qualities with them! Maddy, your dry wit, lovely artwork, and inhuman productivity levels are sans pareil. Thanks for being my Riverside Park walking buddy. Jason, I enjoyed learning about your perspective on gentrification, handwriting, and noodles.

Later, my academic interests shifted from the arts to the sciences, and I transitioned from A&E to news, becoming Spec's international news associate editor. This was an untraditional path, but I would encourage future Speccies to work for a variety of sections. It broadens your understanding of journalism and gives you the chance to meet writers with diverse interests.

Working on the internationalism beat was meaningful, as it allowed me to develop a specialized coverage area and build relationships with contacts. The opportunities to conduct an interview in French at a Harlem café and to interview sources at the Jordan Global Center when I was studying in Amman were particularly meaningful. I wonder if one day soon, Spec will have foreign correspondents and will set up international reporting offices from global center hubs! (Read: hubs, not satellite campuses!).

I would also encourage future Speccies to understand the importance of international coverage. Columbia is globalizing well beyond the Morningside gates, and an increasing amount of coverage will need to reflect this reality.

The news section was a force extraordinaire, particularly due to the hard work of the following people. Sarah, I've admired you and your elegance from day one. Jeremy, Finn, and Sammy, it was lovely working closely with you on the global centers special edition. Finn, your roles in news meeting skits were Oscar-worthy, and your urbanization knowledge is awesome. Yuma, your designs are majestic.

Sammy, you inspire me with your tireless commitment to Spectator, improving coverage for readers. I'm so glad we worked together on the Reid Hall story over two years ago and have had the chance to write many stories together since.

To my fellow seniors, it was an honor to swim alongside you on Sunday, and during the last four years. I know that we're doing a lot of reflecting on the past right now, but looking forward, if you want to have a real pool party to celebrate our time together, just say the word.

The author is a Columbia College senior studying French and Francophone studies and sustainable development. She was a dance and theater editor for the 134th associate board, an associate news editor for the 136th associate board, and currently serves as special adviser to the editor in chief. 

Read the rest of this year's senior columns here.

Senior Columns swim test News internationalism