Senior Wisdom: Astrika Wilhelm

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Name, Hometown, School, Major: Astrika Wilhelm; any town (seriously, I’ve lived in a dozen or so states); Barnard College, Environmental Science

Claim to Fame: Winning the Diet Coke contest and having my face on the billboard at Time’s Square (and getting some cool swag). But really, being involved in so many organizations (see: SGA, Green Umbrella, Model UN, CCM, NSOP, etc, etc.) and meeting most of the student population (love it).

Where are you going? The dreaded question. Even as a senior, I’ve learned not to ask that. You WILL get death glares. But, in all seriousness, law school! I’m heading down to Washington and Lee Law in August, where I’ll hopefully get to work in their Black Lung Clinic, representing miners or their widows for health care benefits. But this summer, I’ll be working at an investment trading company for their in-house legal team…and jetting off to the Pacific to live on a boat with Professor Tolstoy for a couple weeks, researching Bottom Ocean Seismology. So much to do!

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  1. You CANNOT do everything despite what your kindergarten teacher told you. (See: joining every club, taking a zillion classes, having an internship, and being sociable.) But, trying to do everything IS worth it.
  2. You can be friends with priests. What! The Catholic Ministry here had some wonderful Polish Dominicans here for the past few years. Having lunch with them for hours, (drinking) with them, seeing movies with them….what a bizarre thing I would have thought before I came here. Now I’m texting and fb chatting my favorite Dominican Priests. Seriously, sitting next to a priest on a roller coaster has its advantages in case the roller coaster derails.
  3. You can also be friends with your professors! Shocker. Getting an email from your professor, wishing you personally a Happy Easter is pretty awesome. I’ve learned more from them about life in general than I thought was possible.

“Back in my day…” We didn’t have the Diana, the SGA office was in a dorm room, the Barnard campus was a maze of construction zones, and Hillary Clinton was in a committed relationship with Barnard.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less: I have amazing friends. Done.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? I really don’t think it actually existed. This university provided me with the opportunities and memories of my most fun times during these past four years. Thank you Columbia/Barnard for: sending me to the Sierra-Nevada so I could snowshoe up a mountain, sending me to the Pacific Ocean to watch the dolphins and whales, sending me everywhere on your dime. It’s been real. There’s so much that we could be nitpicky about, but all I can say is: I <3 Barnard.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? As the former Prez of the Catholic Ministry, I’m going to plead the 5th.

Advice for the class of 2016? 

  • Integrate New York City into your college life. Do an independent study that requires you to go to the MET or AMNH. Get an internship during the school year that takes you to Tribeca or Wall Street. Get off campus; you’ll have so much more fun than if you decided to stay a homebody that never left Morningside Heights.
  • Become friends with the dining staff at Hewitt! They’ll love you so much, that they’ll have your sandwich waiting for you right when you walk in (thank you!).
  • Apply for Columbia Urban Experience. Awesome pre-orientation program. You’ll see the city and become friends with students from every undergrad school (point: I’m going to my first wedding and it’s a girl I met in CUE. Congrats Arielle!)
  • Sign up for Urban New York every single time. I’ve entered the lottery four times and won tickets each time. Haters gonna hate…

Regrets? Nothing. What’s the point in having regrets? Every decision I made (about classes, what groups to join, where to explore…EVERYTHING) was made for a reason, and I trust my past self to have made the best decision at the time. Every decision I made has led me to where I am right now, and I’m loving it.

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  1. Anonymous  

    These are getting really positive. That's a good thing.

  2. Anonymous  

    i thought you weren't allowed to apply to urban NY again after winning a ticket...

  3. Anonymous  

    why do i feel so inadequate and unfulfilled when i read these. even when the people don't seem that great themselves

  4. Anonymous  

    Aw, I miss the Polish Dominicans....

  5. Anonymous

    more ta profiles!!!

  6. Anonymous  

    CUE! So much fun!

  7. Anonymous  

    How about a profile of a GS senior? Students have been submitting!

  8. Anonymous  

    "I trust my past self to have made the best decision at the time."

    Really? Cause past me has made a lot of really, really, really stupid decisions and I don't trust him at all.

  9. Guest  

    Such a genuinely nice, caring person. It's been great getting to know you, Astrika!

  10. Anonymous  

    she dtf?

  11. Jade!  

    1. I <3 the Polish Dominicans.
    2. I <3 Astrika Wilhelm. Way to keep it classy. It was my pleasure to have met you!

  12. Anonymous

    Astrika is one of the greatest people I have met on this campus. I'm going to miss her so so much.

    Meeting her was one of the best things that happened to me at Barnard. Washington and Lee is lucky to get you.

    I'll miss you!

  13. You are  

    wonderful, Astrika!

  14. Anonymous  

    Astrika is one of the greatest people I've met here! Always friendly and always enthusiastic.

  15. Anonymous

    Me too. Big time. They defined Columbia / Morningside Heights for me. Definitely could never be the same without them. Lukasz, Marek, Andrew, Romuald, Jacek, et al--COME BACK!!!

  16. Anonymous

    Astrika is the best!

  17. Anonymous

    Astrika, this is great! You are great!

  18. I will never forget

    that moment when Astrika referred to herself (repeatedly) as "head TA" if that is a position of power.

  19. Claim to fame


  20. Anonymous  

    Best TA ever! Thanks for all your help!

  21. Anonymous  

    Remember when you went around campus dressed as a blood drop freshman year trying to get people to donate blood! Beyond epic.

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