Senior Wisdom: Julia Kalow

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It’s unofficially academic honors day on Bwog, so in a very special double-feature of Senior Wisdom, we check in with CC Salutatorian, Julia Kalow.

Name, School:

Julia Kalow, Columbia College 

Claim to fame:

I’m the one you have to listen to at CC Class Day who’s not Joel Klein. 

Post-grad plans:

PhD in organic chemistry at Princeton. 

Preferred swim test stroke?


What are three things you learned at Columbia?

1. The academic part of college (which is all I’m qualified to talk about) is fun if you allow yourself to be a dork enough to enjoy it.  Look for the things that interest you, that surprise you, that impassion you, and then have unabashedly loud and dorky arguments about them with your dorkiest friends in inappropriate places.

2. Appreciate your departmental administrative assistants.  If they like you, you can get around a lot of red tape.  Also, some of them will give you cookies.

3. If someone asks you a question that you can’t answer, the best response is: “That would be a good thought experiment.” I heard Horst Stormer use it once at a seminar, so it must work.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less.

I make sublime scrambled eggs.  Heartbreakingly tender.  And I know how to fit a 32-inch timpani into the Lerner elevators. 

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia?

The one in the chemistry department that no one talks about.  Shhh… 

What Columbia memory best exemplifies your college experience?

Once I was in Lerner late at night, trying to study, and a girl sat across from me and proceeded to eat spaghetti and meatballs—with her hands.  She ate strand by strand, tilting back her head like a baby bird, and when she was done she slid her finger around the container and licked off the extra sauce.  Then a mouse ran out from underneath my chair. Since then I’ve studied in my dorm room. 

Which prof do you think would be the best kisser?

Horst Stormer.  Now that would be a good thought experiment. 

What percentage of seniors do you think are virgins?

Twenty-two and dropping.  I assume there’s some sort of last-minute pre-graduation scramble. 

Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?

Let me put it this way: Westside Market offers free samples of only one of these things. 

Days on Campus memory?

I applied early decision, so my parents didn’t see the point in my going to Days on Campus.  “What’s the point?” they said.  “All that bother, sending you to New York for two days to see a school you already know you’re going to?” 


I should have gotten a Duane Reade club card back when I was a freshman.

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  1. hmm

    That's who that girl is! You is cool.

  2. Sorry Maxim

    Julia wins for making me actually laugh out loud at some of her answers.

    Also, out of "Three Things You Learned At Columbia," lemme tell ya, I wish I'd figured out #2 earlier.

  3. oral sex  

    Hey, what about me?

    Every time I turn around some new senior is offering some witty proclamation of cheese's superiority.

  4. Senioritis  

    Julia is wise. And awesome. And hilarious. And writing majors would be very smart to memorize point #2 on Three Things You Learned At Columbia. Dorla is an amazing woman, tells very entertaining stories, and can make your academic life a lot easier(and cookie-filled) if you show her the respect she deserves. (Cross her and...well, just don't.) Actually, the same can usually be said of anyone in an admin/assistant/secretarial/receptionist role, so it's a good rule of thumb to suck up to them as much as you do their higher ups.

  5. cuwe

    And I know how to fit a 32-inch timpani into the Lerner elevators.
    hear hear!

  6. Mmmm

    God that ice cream looks so good right now

  7. cupcake  

    that ice cream looks amaaaaazing.

  8. good answers  

    Julia...and congrats again!

  9. cc08  

    I liked that Julia's answers were multidimensional (ie didn't answer every question by talking about the same subject). I don't know her that well, but she seems like a smart yet also down to earth and fun and sane person.

  10. Add Number  

    You are obviously going to the wrong Westside Market.

  11. random  

    This girl needs a boyfriend.

  12. random  

    Oh, RITE AID for life!

  13. witness  

    I agree that you definitely know how to make the best scrambled eggs in the world. Yet you still schmutz to the extreme when you eat them.... 0:-) I like your responses! Yay for 32-inch tympani.

  14. oh man  

    she is so right about the duane reade club card. every time i go to that place, i spend like i am at larry flynt's, but i always forget and so the next time i go, i am surprised/robbed again.

  15. congrats julia  

    and i'm definitely going to use that "thought experiment" line from now on.

  16. bummed out  

    man, reading her "things I learned" number one makes me kind of bummed out. i've found the thing that has impassioned me and i crave having the loud, dorky arguments...but i cant find people to have those dorky arguments with. i would love to meet those people, but it's so damn hard to make friends after freshman year... that's my rant. im not sure why i said it.

    anyway, yay for this profile!

  17. a john jayer  

    i like her, more than the valedictorian actually, don't get me wrong, he's cool too, but she seems more down to earth, plus she has ice cream :)

  18. does anyone  

    know what she means by the Chem Dept Controversy?

  19. Cool Chick  

    She represents My People well: geeks. Love her.

  20. i think  

    she was joking about a chem dept scandal guys.

    westside market answer = perfection

  21. hahaha  

    her memory + regrest are AWESOME. plus i totally agree about horst stormer!! she sounds cute.

  22. yeah  

    no scandal in the department, so you can stop looking
    the chem department

  23. potential suitor  

    I'm so going to date this girl.

  24. Chas Carey  

    Julia's awesome, and a fantastic writer, too, as this wisdom proves.

  25. curious

    Out of curiosity, I wonder if Joel Klein will give the same speech at Columbia that he intends to give at high school graduations in June. (I'm assuming he will be attending a few...)

  26. Anonymous  

    Bwog, I bet you to disable drunken posting.

    Not sure how the technology would work, but I'm sure it's available.

    Makte it so #1.

  27. i hope none  

    of these seniors would actually choose cheese over head. this would never happen at a state school.

  28. silly nonchemists  

    I'm pretty sure bwog didn't cover the chem scandal, but it is in the new york times.

    PS Mice in Lerner make me both laugh and cry.

  29. Please  

    Pleeeeeeeeese marry me Julia!

  30. wow  

    really funny. See, not all Senior Wisdom respondents are douches!

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