Meet the SEAS Peer Advisers!

Benjie Frieling

School and Year: SEAS 2014
Major: Civil Engineering
Hometown: Lawrence, NY

Clubs/Activities: Hiking Club, Anime Club, Hillel

Favorite NYC spots: Central Park (awesome place to bike, run, relax), Coney Island, dozens of small, hidden musuems throughout NYC - Cooper-Hewitt, City of New York, Fraunces Tavern, and more...

Top 3 CU traditions: 

  1. Glass House Rocks (huge compilation of musical performances and student groups, rocking out all over the ramps & side rooms of Lerner Hall);
  2. Orgo Night (the best way to laugh it up right before finals & realize it's almost over);
  3. Engineering Week (meet other fellow members of SEAS & fun events, with everyone competing to get that T-shirt!)

What I wish I knew as a first-year student:

  1. I wish I would have known that your grades will drop from high school averages & that's normal, so don't worry about it. B+/A- is a great grade to have (as an engineer at least; pre-med -- you're on your own).
  2. Attend the Club Fair, sign up for a bunch right away, and attend the first few meetings/events. If you like it, stay on. If not, keep looking until you find a club or two that you're in love with. Being a member of a student group will help you find friends & the meetings/events act as a great time of the week that you'll look forward to.

Aniekeme Umoh

School and Year: SEAS 2015
Major: Chemical Engineering
Hometown: Abuja, Nigeria

Clubs/Activities: Global Recruitment Committee, Engineers Without Borders, Columbia Faith and Action, Columbia Undergraduate Scholars Program (CUSP), National Society of Black Engineers

Favorite NYC spots: SoHo is such a great place to go shopping and is definitely one of my favorite places in the city. Some of the best concerts I have been to in the city were at Irving Plaza (here). It has a nice ambiance to it. I love taking random walks through 125th street; it might be my favorite street in the city (so random).

Top 3 CU traditions:

  1. Tree Lighting Ceremony! This is one of the highlights of my fall semester. College walk looks spectacular with the lights turned on.
  2. The first day of spring… This is the first day when the weather is nice enough that everyone just goes out to low steps and lounges there or on the lawns.
  3. Midnight breakfast.

What I wish I knew as a first-year student:

  1. I wish I knew that I didn’t have to join clubs just because my friends were in it. I would have tried out other clubs earlier and would have found the ones I am currently in, and passionate about.
  2. I wish I knew how large New York City was so I would have begun to explore it earlier. I also wish someone told me it was okay to be ‘touristy’; then I might have been more inclined to go out and see more of the city.

Sophie Qian

School and Year: SEAS 2015
Major: Operations Research
Hometown: Millburn, NJ

Clubs/Activities: Secretary of the Asian American Alliance, Tour Guide for the Undergraduate Recruitment Committee

Favorite NYC spots: Highline, St. Mark's Place, Bryant Park

Top 3 CU traditions: 

  1. Hanging out, soaking up the sun, and "studying" on Low Steps in the spring
  2. Participating in PrezBo's 5k Fun Run
  3. Varsity Show

What I wish I knew as a first-year student:

  1. I wish I knew how knowledgeable and helpful most of the students are at Columbia. Whether it's about a class or long-term career aspirations or personal advice, everybody here at Columbia has so much wisdom to share. Don't be shy!
  2. Join a club, meet awesome people, and make an effort to hang out with them! Extracurriculars are an awesome way to make new friends beyond your floormates.
  3. Choose your professors wisely and don't be afraid to put in the time to shop around the classes, however daunting and time-consuming it may be. 


Center for Student Advising


403 Alfred Lerner Hall
2920 Broadway
New York, NY 10027

Call: (212) 854-6378

Fax: (212) 854-2562

Office Hours
9:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.

Walk-in Hours
3:00 p.m.4:30 p.m.