• Major: Physics
  • University: Columbia University
  • Extra-curricular activities: I haven’t been doing any clubs here. Instead, I’ve been exploring my creative side by spending my free time on making art and enjoying music.
  • Class of 2018

Ider Bayar

How did Orchlon school help you get into Columbia?
Teachers. Inspiring, kind teachers. I wouldn’t have learned to actually care and focus my attention to a particular subject without the encouragement and wisdom of my dear teachers Yansuren, Zolboo, Levi, Steven, Ariunaa, and Battsetseg, just to name a few. The guidance I received from my counselors Anar and Sundari was crucial in my college application. The A-Level curriculum was also a representative appetizer to what studying in college is like.

What would you say to Orchlon students?
Competition to get into colleges is skyrocketing. But the value of a college degree is shrinking at the same time. Don’t think that getting into a “good” college is automatically going to make your life better. I made the mistake of romanticizing college too much and learned a painful yet necessary lesson that one’s value as a person isn’t determined by what school they go to. So many of my wonderful, intelligent, creative friends weren’t accepted to where they wanted to go. Does that make them less of a person? Not at all. That’s why I think building and caring for your self-validation and self-esteem is the most important thing we should all do. Most of everything is all pure luck, to be honest. So don’t worry about it too much and have fun! Go out! Do things unrelated to school! The best thing you can do for yourself is to focus on enjoying your day-to-day life and making beautiful memories.

What stage in your life are you at?
I’m at the “no-one-knows-what-they-are-doing” stage. And I think most people stay in this stage their whole lives. People may act like they know what they want to do or where they want to study/work but it’s never ever simple like that. I’ve learned to just admit that I simply don’t know much about myself nor anything else really. And that’s fine. There is no objective obligation that requires us to know what’s going on. College, especially at such a distant place from home, has extremely overwhelmed me. I guess this is how we transition to adulthood (whatever that is).

3 things you’ve learned at college?
Most of what I’ve learned at college has been outside of the classroom. I thought college was a lot of assignments, exams, and professors. Although that is technically true, I’ve realized that non-academic learning is a much bigger part of college than academic learning. I learn about life beyond college, life in New York, and human relationships by talking to security guards and dining hall workers. I learn about art, music, and culture by partying and hanging out with friends. I learn about myself and how my mysterious brain actually works by spending time alone reflecting and thinking. One notable thing I learned was just how important—and I cannot stress this enough—mental health is. Simple tasks just cannot be done if one is anxious or sad. How to care for yourself with affection and patience—that’s one thing I’m still trying to learn.

The best thing about Columbia?
The freedom. I was lucky enough to get a single-room all for myself rather than sharing a space with a roommate. This solitude and privacy has been a huge blessing. I choose whether I want my classes to start at 8 am or 12 pm. I choose exactly what I want to eat and drink at the buffet-style dining halls. I choose when to go to sleep and when to wake up. I choose how I want to furnish my living space and how I want to dress my body. These apply to most colleges and aren’t exclusive to Columbia though.