Name, Hometown, School, Major: Peter Wallerson, Brooklyn NY, SEAS Biomedical Engineering
Claim to Fame: Hotel Rwanda, Crash, Ocean’s Eleven, Brooklyn’s Finest, most recently House of Lies…
But really though, the other day I went to see Seminar on Broadway (got Alan Rickman’s autograph and it was awesome, but I digress). I was waiting outside with the CEAA NY group to see him, and this woman is standing next to me and she says: “…Mister Cheadle?” Now, after years of people saying every possible iteration of “hey, you look like Don Cheadle,” this couldn’t really be happening right? Maybe I’m just hearing things. Then she tapped me on the shoulder and asked again.
Where are you going? Dreaded question number one. Well, still looking for a job I suppose. I have some interviews lined up but we’ll see. And if I don’t get a job, oh darn I have to stay in New York City.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Don’t let school get in the way of your learning. There’s so much opportunity here, and there’s always time to do something new. There are so many ways to develop yourself that school simply doesn’t provide, and kind of gets in the way of. Pick up a language, learn a new instrument, join a few clubs! Do you really want to leave here with nothing to show for it but a degree?
- When confronted with the opportunity to do something awesome, ask yourself “why not?” Too many people pigeon-hole themselves into one way of thinking, and are afraid to deviate from that, and are afraid to take a leap out of their comfort zone every once in a while. It’s very boring, if you ask me. To quote the wisest teacher of them all: “Take chances, make mistakes, get messy!” – Ms. Frizzle.
- Always be open to meeting new people. No matter where you are in life. No matter what you think the other person may be like. You never know where or when you’ll meet someone that’s going to be your lifelong friend.
“Back in my day…” There were 151 Pokemon, and that was enough (now they’re at 649, can you believe it?) Campo was Campo, Pinnacle was Pinnacle. NoCo wasn’t even a thing. And of course, back in my day Gateway was an absolutely useless course.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less: Tough question. My life is all about improving the happiness and lives of others; it’s why I’m doing biomedical engineering. So far so good if I do say so myself.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? Yeah I think I missed the War on Fun. I mean, rooftops and tunnels are still very accessible. There are so many events on campus that are always fun. And people do their own thing all the time and there’s no harm done unless people get absolutely trashed and CAVA gets called, in which case how can Columbia not respond? I don’t think the War on Fun is real; I’ve had a fantastic time here.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Well I mean, there are other types of sex. But cheese is cheese, I could never.
Advice for the class of 2016:
- You have four years to be an undergraduate in the greatest city in the world.
- See the city if you haven’t. Explore it if you think you have.
- Free food and free t-shirts are two of the most valuable things you’ll encounter here. Take advantage of them whenever you can.
- You don’t have to make all of your friends during NSOP. I remember before I got here, people were like “make friends during orientation or it’ll be impossible.” While it’s true that I made some truly awesome friends during NSOP that I’m lucky enough to still see pretty much all day every day, I also made some friends by way of Hartley 2A a full year later that make me wonder how I ever existed at Columbia without them. So if orientation’s over and you haven’t quite found your bestie yet, it’ll happen.
- It’ll get done. Really, it’ll get done. You’re going to have a lot of work to do. But there’s also a lot of fun to be had. So you hang out with your friends and have to stay up late doing homework the next night. Do it. I wouldn’t take back the time I’ve spent with my friends for anything, especially for more time to do schoolwork.
Any regrets? Yeah, no. I don’t do regrets. There are things we’ve done that we probably shouldn’t have. There are things we haven’t done that we probably should have. I don’t regret either of them; they’re both essential to who I am. Lessons learned, right?