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  • Writer's pictureThe Blue and White Magazine

Digitalia Columbiana, Orientation 2014

Updated: Jul 12, 2021

These excerpts were culled from documents left on Columbia’s lab computers. We encourage our readers to submit their own digitalia finds to us, via email, at

From SEAS Class of 2013 Class President Daniel O’Leary’s Commencement Speech:

Thanks Dean Martinez. For those of you who don’t know, this is as much her graduation as it is ours; she will be leaving us next year and will definitely be missed by the students!

[pause; take it all in] 

It’s crazy to see all these tents and bleachers up. Over the last couple of months, whenever they added a new structure, it reminded us that graduation was coming up—faster, maybe, than we were ready for.


Since we first walked through the gates, through the tunnel of NSOP leaders some number of years ago, we’ve done around 280 psets—90% of those at the last minute—taken 100 midterms and finals, and spent 1700 hours in classes. In this time, we learned a lot about chemistry, physics, and math, and if you think about it, just getting through that intense course load was a great accomplishment. But we’ve also been able to balance that. This year the School of Engineering had the highest proportional participation in Lerner Pub and arguably at senior night as well. Whoever said engineers couldn’t have fun hasn’t met this graduating class.


The truth is that over the past four years or so, we have had some incredible times. All my life I lived in urban surroundings. I wish to reflect here on my experience of the city and of urban life in Israel through the different role that buses have played in four periods of my life.


Albert Heap first discovered his psychic abilities in the kitchen. It was a gloomy March evening, and the overcast sky seemed to have seeped into the room around him. As he pushed the potatoes on his plate around, watching them slip through the plastic prongs of his fork, the thought occurred to him that they could use a little salt. As soon as the salt had waltzed into his mind and settled there, he looked up and locked eyes with his mother. She grinned at him


The artichoke pizza had arrived steaming and it smelled like it had several cheese toppings or a fondue. The pizza wedge consisted of three slices that was cut in half, making six slices. We each took a segment and dug in. We had to eat it with cutlery because it was too hot for our hands and there was no way of eating the runny cheese without making a huge mess.

The cheese was thick, creamy and rich and was practically chunky soup atop the nine-inch long slice. I experienced different flavours with each bite. First, it was savoury, smooth and thick, the second bite, I tasted hints of onion and spinach, and the artichoke heart was smoky. By the third, I felt like I was eating a melting cheese pot with bread. I had to eat slowly because the cheese overpowered my stomach that made me sick. My friend’s calzone arrived a few minutes later on a pizza pan with two miniature skillets of tomato sauce on the side. It was huge. “That’s a huge empanada,” was the only comment I gave while my friend laughed nervously at its size.


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