"Define success on your own terms"

The 2018 Columbia University Valedictorian is Justice Betty, a graduate of the Dual BA degree from Sciences Po and Columbia. Watch the speech she gave at commencement (beginning at 1:58:50) and read the interview of an inspiring young citizen.

You have just graduated Valedictorian with a Dual Degree from Sciences Po and Columbia. Can you tell us what has been the most impactful learning experience of your journey so far?

Joining the Dual BA Programme was one of the best decisions I have ever made. At Sciences Po, I learned that life is problématique, and Columbia taught me that there is no royal road. In the past four years, I experienced a great deal of personal and intellectual growth, found lifelong friends and enjoyed all that college should be and more. I chose the Programme for several reasons, but mostly because it would force me to go drastically outside of my comfort zone and explore the unknown. I had never been to France before or lived on my own, and knew very little about Reims. But, in taking this risk to move across the ocean, I, like many of my peers, cultivated a spirit of resilience, curiosity and confidence. Looking ahead, I will use these past four years as a reminder of the value of embracing the uncertain and the necessity of expanding one’s comfort zone whenever possible. 

What did you enjoy most about living and studying at Sciences Po in Reims and then at Columbia University in New York?

I loved our campus in Reims and the unique community we made ourselves. Friends quickly became family, and we studied together, travelled together and grew immeasurably close in two short years. Sciences Po is special in that the university brings together a collection of highly motivated students interested in the social sciences and committed to solving some of the world’s toughest challenges, but at the same time, the student body retains a diverse array of backgrounds, experiences, perspectives and approaches. This reality fostered an ideal learning environment and a campus that felt like a home for me. 

When I moved to New York, Columbia’s twenty-four-hour libraries made me miss our beloved bibliothèque that closed at 20h00, and the hustle and bustle of the city that never sleeps was a drastic change from my former town that rests every Sunday. But, studying at Columbia was a perfect mix of collegiate experience with exposure to a world-class city. I was thrilled to get involved with a few of Columbia’s 500+ clubs and organisations, including Youth for Debate, a program that teaches public speaking skills to students in New York City high schools, and the Columbia Organization of Rising Entrepreneurs. Our classes would frequently venture outside of the uptown oasis with field trips to institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Opera. Living in New York also gave me the opportunity to go to the United Nations on two occasions as a representative of both Sciences Po and Columbia, intern for Arianna Huffington at her New York-based startup, and enjoy all that the great city has to offer with my friends from both of my universities. 

What advice would you give to someone who aspires to pursue this path or follow in your footsteps? 

Regardless of which path you choose, I think it is crucial to define success on your own terms and optimise for it, rather than try to maximise it. Although things can get hectic, take the time to reflect and figure out what makes you happy and fulfilled, and what you need to be more of your true self. Cultivating a sense of purpose will provide you with the fuel to persevere and overcome any roadblocks you may face, now and in the future. 

More information

Improving crime prevention

Improving crime prevention

How can criminality be prevented? Does imprisonment help reduce recidivism in the long term? Sciences Po researcher Roberto Galbiati studies the economics of crime. He has begun to open up the black box of incarceration and anti-recidivism policies in France, Italy and the United States. Dr. Galbiati will present his research findings on 4 July at a symposium organised by Sciences Po’s Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Evaluation of Public Policies (LIEPP) in partnership with France Stratégie.

More

"Students are dreamers and they should be dreamers"

Former Minister of the Interior of Germany, Thomas de Maizière, and former Prime Minister of France, Bernard Cazeneuve were invited by the Sciences Po School of Public Affairs to discuss the fight against terrorism at the German, French, and European levels.

More
A new master's in luxury marketing

A new master's in luxury marketing

Starting in September 2019, the School of Management and Innovation is launching a new Master’s degree in marketing entitled “New Luxury & Art de Vivre.” Taught entirely in English, the aim of this new programme is to train high-level marketing managers to specifically master luxury and French art de vivre, with a refined understanding of the sector thanks to a strong background in the social sciences and a clear strategic vision of the new trends in that sector - digitalization and a drive towards social responsibility and sustainability issues.

More
CORE: A different way to study economics

CORE: A different way to study economics

In recent years, students and teachers alike have come to realize that there is an insufficient culture and knowledge of economics in our society. The study of economics and the reality of how our world operates differ enormously. This realization led to the creation of CORE, a new course and manual developed by professors of economics from around the world, including Yann Algan at Sciences Po. The goal of this course: to show that economic tools, often considered too abstract and theoretical, can help solve real-world problems and crises.

More
Why choose Sciences Po?

Why choose Sciences Po?

Felix is an exchange student from Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda. Nearing the end of his year abroad, he answered a few questions regarding why he chose Sciences Po. Felix hopes to return to Sciences Po to pursue a Master's in journalism. Find out what he calls the "richesse" or wealth of Sciences Po in this video. 

More
Artillerie: discover our future campus!

Artillerie: discover our future campus!

A new chapter in Sciences Po’s history is beginning. The redevelopment project chosen for the Artillerie site acquired in late 2016 has been unveiled: it is the work of the team led by Sogelym Dixence with architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte. Beyond the architectural challenge of transforming a seventeenth-century novitiate into a sustainable, innovative university campus, this plan represents a complete renewal of Sciences Po after 150 years of existence.

More
How far can Europe push back its borders?

How far can Europe push back its borders?

Migration control is now “high politics” in Europe and a priority for the EU. For example, on May 2, 2018, the European Commission proposed that the budget for the management of external borders, migration and asylum – set at 13 billion euros for the period 2014-2020 – be raised to 34.9 billion euros.

More