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NSOP is just around the corner, which means you’re probably already perusing the schedule of events.

While a bunch of events are listed as required, there are some that are optional (some of which are super interesting and worth the trip off-campus, while others definitely aren’t).

There’s no way that you’ll be able to attend everything, nor will you want to. To help you narrow down which of the optional events you should attend, we’ve compiled a list of which events we think you should prioritize. After all, you don’t want to waste an hour of your life when you could be bonding with your floormates or, like, binge-watching Netflix.

Any information session: Worth it

Whether it be about the math curriculum, being pre-med, or finding a job, these information sessions are extremely useful and will answer every question you may have.

Pro tip: If you’re trying to place into the advanced tracks of STEM courses, info sessions will be especially beneficial to you.

RA Night Out and Late Night Activities: Worth it

RA Night Out is the best way to get to know the people on your floor and any other people who may tag along with your group. If you don’t end up talking to the people on your floor, you’ll still end up doing something exciting in the city. For instance, you might go to East Village and get that Instagram-famous black ice cream. It’s up to your RA, but it’ll be a fun time for sure.

The Late Night events aren’t standardized—it’s really just an opportunity to hang out with the people you’ve just met. It’s a good way to get to know your new classmates, find your crew, and (again) explore the city.

Student mixers: Worth it

If you want to meet people with similar social identities, this is the best way to do it. You won’t do anything super exciting like you might do at a Late Night event or neighbourhood tour, but you’ll have just as much opportunity to find lasting friendships. Plus, there’ll be free food and drinks, which is always good.

Community Unscripted: Not worth it

It’s important to get involved on campus, but it’s best to forgo Community Unscripted and just get all of your questions answered during the club fair during the first week of school. The info you get there will be better anyway, as the answers you’re seeking will be tailor-made for that group and not a general audience.

Green Sale: Worth it

If you want cheap supplies, room décor, or a second-hand mini fridge, then go to the EcoReps Green Sale! Get there early, though—the lines get super long, and if you wait until the end of the event, there will be very little to chose from.

Yankee Stadium trip: Worth it

Even if you don’t like sports, going to see a baseball game at Yankee Stadium is pretty fun. (Especially this year—the Yankees will be playing their longtime rival, the Red Sox.) You’ll get to hang out with the people in your OL group, eat a hotdog, have a chill day watching the game, and be able to take a really cool panorama of the stadium from the upper decks. If you get bored, you can just hop on the train and head back at any time.

Registration help session: Not worth it

You should already know what you’re signing up for by NSOP. The registration process may seem complicated at first, but it’s actually really simple. Read this article to help you navigate shopping period, find each course’s call number here, use that number to register on SSOL or Student Planning on myBarnard, and direct any further questions to your academic adviser. Hopefully this mini guide will help you save a trip.

Butler welcome event: Not worth it

You’ll have a mandatory event for UWriting anyway. This event is really not worth it.

Neighborhood tours: Worth it

THESE ARE LIT! If you wanna see some tourist traps before school starts, eat desserts, visit all the museums, and explore the city you’ll be living in for the next four years, then go on these tours. This is the best way to see everything this city has to offer, and you’ll get to meet people who love food just as much as you do.

While NSOP is a time to learn more about Columbia and meet new people, don’t feel bad if you can’t or don’t want to go to an event, or don’t find your new best friend right away. It can be an awkward week, but you will meet new people, have some memorable experiences, and get a head start to the school year.


Have questions about NSOP events? Tell us about them here, or on our Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat @CUSpectrum.

Huber Gonzalez is Spectrum’s deputy editor and a Columbia College junior. He didn’t really go to any optional event, and he turned out fine. Reach him at

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