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The text below is adapted from the first chapter of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Columnist and Discourse & Debate applications are due September 3 at 5 p.m. ET.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that every opinionated Columbia student must be in want of a column.

However little known the feelings or views of such a student may be on their first entering campus after a long summer of relaxation, this truth is so well fixed in the minds of the surrounding community, that such a student is considered the rightful applicant of some one or other of the campus’s publications.

“My dear Mr. Bennet,” said his lady to him one day, “have you heard that Spectator applications for columns and Discourse & Debate are open at last?”

Mr. Bennet replied that he had not.

“But they are,” returned she, “for Mrs. Long has just seen, and she told me all about it.”

Mr. Bennet made no answer.

“Do not you want to know what it takes to apply?” cried his wife impatiently.

You want to tell me, and I have no objection to hearing it.”

This was invitation enough.

“Why, my dear, you must know that Spectator takes 10 to 14 columnists of good standing every semester for the duration of the semester to write bi-weekly on a topic of their choosing. These columns range from 650 to 850 words, and can bring such good fortune as to delight the campus population, stir the discourse, or even promote a national conversation. Past columnists have been so delightful as to have appeared on MSNBC, or gone on to become opinion journalists.”

Mrs. Bennet continued, “Of course, such writers of a particular mettle, a particular disposition for cordial debate, may also choose to apply for Discourse & Debate where they, along with about four other writers, will debate topics presented to them by the editors of Spectator’s Opinion team. Unlike the columnists, these contributors will write shorter pieces of 300 to 500 words, all on the same topic, presented together to invigorate and galvanize a larger discussion within our community.”

“When are applications due?”

“September 3 at 5:00 p.m. EST.”

“Where are the applications?”

The columnist application and Discourse & Debate applications are separate, though applicants are encouraged to apply to both.”

“What of questions or concerns? Are we to assume all applicants will simply follow suit easily?”

“Nonsense, how can you talk so! But it is very likely that they may be struck by the muse and write a brilliant piece without instruction. However, if they have questions or concerns they should direct them to opinion@columbiaspectator.com.”

Mr. Bennet nodded.

“But, my dear, you must indeed go apply before the application is due. The only way I will live to see good discourse on campus is if passionate, opinionated writers contribute to Spectator’s opinion section.”

“Depend upon it, my dear, that when there are applications open I will submit to them all.”

Hannah Barbosa Cesnik is the interim editorial page editor and a Columbia College senior.

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