Gossip Girl at Columbia: Do the Expectations Match Reality?

Hey there, Upper West Siders...

Let’s be honest, if you didn’t choose to attend Columbia entirely because of our favorite Gossip Girl characters Blair, Nate, and Serena, then it was at least a factor. Gossip Girl is more than just a delightfully scandalous television show. During its run, it was equally influential both on New York City and ambitious Midwestern teen culture. But how realistic are the expectations set by GG about Columbia? Let’s take a closer look at our faves B, N and S’s time here.

GG Expectation: Living off campus freshman year(!)

Unlike the rest of us, our favorite drama queens and king don’t slum it in the communal bathrooms of John Jay, the depths of the unrenovated Carman floors, or the... well, everything in Hartley. Instead, Blair, Nate, and Serena are the .00002% of Columbia freshmen who commute to school—from their luxurious Upper East Side apartments, of course. (A driver always helps.)

CU Reality: No. Not at all.

I’m sorry to say that GG’s characters are Manhattan’s elite for a reason. Unless you can manage to pay Manhattan’s skyscraper-high rents with your work study money, I’m afraid that a renovated Carman floor is your best option. It’s not all bad news though—with dorm living comes proximity to classes, meeting new friends, and plenty of cockroach-killing, bottle-hiding experiences.

GG Expectation: Designer flexing at all times

Gossip Girl has always been known for its iconic, if somewhat out-there, clothing choices. To no one’s surprise, at Columbia, Blair and Serena don’t let deadlines and gusty winds kill their senses of style. College-student Blair looks put together, feminine, and always designer. Serena, with her windswept hair and wrinkled clothes, looks like she spent the night in an alley—but a cool one in Bushwick that leads to a secret speakeasy. Both girls win the hearts, minds, and eyes of Columbia with their equally expensive, although very different, tastes.

CU Reality: This one really depends on who you are

While I certainly don’t match S and B’s style game, that’s definitely not the case for everyone. Athletes and Midwesterners aside, Barnumbians are known for being a pretty fashionable bunch—our guilt-laden taste for the bourgeois is exemplified by the equally lusted-after and disdained Canada Goose jackets. International students are particularly known for taking New York City college style to another level. Can some of you absurdly well-dressed people teach me your secrets?

GG Expectation: Sexy, forbidden fling with an adjunct professor

Pretty much the minute Serena hits campus, she falls for a professor (And vice versa! Hold him accountable!)—a sexy, not-so-older guest professor named Colin Forrester. When their relationship goes public, Serena is threatened with expulsion. Colin leaves the school so that they can keep seeing one another. Romantic, right?

CU Reality: Nah. At least, I hope not

Don’t get me wrong,cuffing season is a real phenomenon, and who doesn’t love an older man who treats you well and keeps you warm? The only problem with Serena and Colin’s fling is that he’s a professor, which creates an inherent imbalance between the two. So even though your 70-year-old chemistry professor might want to make you rip your clothes off, most Barnumbians don’t—and shouldn’t!—match GG’s expectations for this one.

GG Expectation: Nate chooses Columbia over Dartmouth

Ah, Nate Archibald. In early season three, our favorite sandy-haired, empty-headed Upper East Sider chooses to attend Columbia to play lacrosse against the wishes of his grandfather, William Van Der Bilt, who wanted him to go to Dartmouth.

CU Reality: This happens all the time

Who wouldn’t choose Columbia University and the Big Apple over Dartmouth, which besides being covered in as many beer stains as ivy, is in New Hampshire? As another great show that features Columbia,The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, puts it, here at Columbia we make donations to Dartmouth to “teach Dartmouth kids how to read.”

All in all, Gossip Girl is glamorous but perhaps beyond my aspirations for my time at Columbia. What do you think? Does Gossip Girl embody your Columbia experience? Do you wish it did?