Did you know that some of Columbia University’s famous alumni include Alexander Hamilton and John Jay, the co-writers of the Federalist Papers? Columbia is located upon 36 acres in New York City. Students can travel just six miles to see the world-renowned production of Hamilton, or a myriad of other Broadway shows.
Jackson Davis (’18) currently attends Columbia University where he is majoring in Philosophy. After completing his undergraduate degree, he plans to attend law school. I asked Jackson about his experiences at Casady and his journey in finding the college best fit for him.
What year did you graduate Casady, and what was the most important lesson you learned as an Upper Division student?
Jackson: I graduated from Casady in 2018. In my seven years there, I accrued countless skills, experiences, and relationships, and I would be remiss to attempt to encapsulate my time at Casady into one lesson. With such variegated courses and activities, Casady offers each student a unique experience, and as such, a unique set of lessons to take away from it.
What is your favorite Casady memory?
Jackson: Within the crucible of a college preparatory school such as Casady, it is imperative to develop a strong support system. As a result, I developed a host of lifelong friendships that have yielded just as many fond memories. Our Science Olympiad team’s four trips to the National Tournament, our orchestra’s 2015 tour of Italy, and our 2017 production of Damn Yankees rank particularly high on my list of Casady memories.
What classes at Casady were the most beneficial to you and what, if anything, do you wish you would have done differently while at Casady?
Jackson: I don’t believe any one class stood above the rest in that respect, but the sheer density of classes I took while at Casady served to both broaden my fields of interest and to teach me how to handle an overloaded schedule. I wish I had joined Casady’s Theatre department earlier, as musical theatre has become a mainstay of my collegiate experience.
What advice do you have for Upper Division students preparing for college?
Jackson: The college admissions process is a truly complex time, laden with arduous work, emotional rollercoasters, and the terrifying tedium of awaiting decisions. My advice for combatting this [is to] spend time with the people you love doing the things you love. Your well-being as a person is conducive to your success as an applicant, and the more you cultivate your interests, the more cogent your application will be.
Describe your school’s personality and what attracted you to your college.
Jackson: Columbia’s student environment is commensurate to its reputation: it is a highly liberal institution, its academic system is exceedingly competitive, and its students are slowly, but surely, going insane. However, despite the daunting exterior, Columbia is also home to remarkably compassionate communities and, most importantly, exceptional individuals. The coalescence of prestige, academic rigor, artistic prowess, and location made Columbia my top choice, and my decision has thus far been vindicated in every way.
What do you enjoy most about your school?
Jackson: Columbia’s maniacal workload pushes individuals to create meaningful and powerful work, which creates an ineffable aura of accomplishment, exhaustion, and pride. Columbia students are constantly working hard and playing hard, constituting a vivacious student body that would inspire anyone.
What does your average school week and weekend look like?
Jackson: During an average school week, I spend roughly 16 hours in class and discussion sections and 20 hours in rehearsals. During times when I am not in class or rehearsal, I spend time doing homework, playing basketball in the gym, or going out to eat with friends.
What extracurricular activities, clubs, and/or sports are you involved in? Which one of these has had the biggest impact on you?
Jackson: I spend most of my free time involved in Columbia’s theatre department, namely as an actor with Columbia’s Musical Theatre Society. This organization has not only fostered my development as a performer, but has inspired me to audition for professional productions, facilitated opportunities around New York, and has created a built-in group of friends to depend on.
Is there anything else you would like to share with the Casady community?
Jackson: Casady is a remarkable place. There are ample opportunities at your disposal, and even more avenues by which you can use them. There may be nights that you spend finishing an entire box of Captain Crunch while crying into your chemistry textbook at 3 AM. Trust me when I say that your efforts will be rewarded in time. Enjoy the ride!
Jackson’s determination and diligent efforts while at Casady have ensured his current success at Columbia. He believes in the importance of surrounding yourself with caring and supportive people during the college application process. Additionally, it is beneficial for students to find a caring community of friends while at college.
Columbia University was founded in 1754, making it the oldest university in New York. It was originally called King’s College in honor of King George II. Columbia’s first graduating class consisted of only eight students, but it has since grown to include a total of 6,202 undergraduate students.
Fun fact about part of Columbia’s chemistry department, Havemeyer Hall: it has been used countless times for movies such as Ghostbusters and the Spiderman trilogy. Columbia’s mascot is the lion, and it recently acquired the name of Roar-ee through a naming contest. Roar, Lion, Roar!