Senior Wisdom: Vighnesh Subramanyan
Written by Bwog Staff
Yea, though we walk through the valley of the shadow of finals, we will fear no evil: for Seniors are with us; their Wisdom and their Advice, they comfort us. We are in entering the depths of finals season, and tonight/tomorrow are going to be rough as we prepare for Monday. To relieve stress and distract focus, we’ve decided to post Senior Wisdoms rapid-fire style. Keep checking over the next two or so hours as we post Wisdom with vengeful fury. To start everything off, the man whose dedicated fans consider him “the voice of reason in times of uncertainty.”
Name, Hometown, School, Major: Vighnesh Subramanyan. Sydney, Australia (born in Mumbai, India). Columbia College. Economics and Applied Mathematics.
Claim to Fame: That guy with the funny accent (and, no, it’s not British). Also: Editor-in-Chief of Consilience: The Journal of Sustainable Development; tenor and occasional soloist in the Barnard-Columbia Chorus; VP of SIAM (Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematicians); that person who sends you persistent emails from the Committee on Global Thought.
Where are you going? I’m staying right here in New York City, working in economic consulting – it’s like selling out, except arguably not. I revel in ambiguity.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- This place is overflowing with passionate, talented and intelligent people. Put your ego aside and engage them – not only will you realize that they are probably more intelligent than you are, great conversation will be had, which may just end up changing your perspective on the world. Also, you will learn how to speak intelligently, which is a definite plus.
- Butler Library is a horrible place. Go somewhere else and study. Seriously. Avery, Kent, Uris, NoCo, Lehmann, a sky lounge, even your room. You can mix it up to make it more exciting. But don’t go to Butler if you want to get work done. Also, whenever you need a seat it invariably takes forever to find one.
- Writing emails is an art form that you should cultivate. I have managed people to convince people to do all kinds of ridiculous things, just by writing a good email.
“Back in my day…” The admissions rate at Columbia was much higher. There’s a high probability I wouldn’t have got in if I applied today.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less: Being an Indian-Australian, not only do I cook well, I have excellent taste in alcohol. Plus, Americans think your accent makes everything you say sound more intelligent.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? Is the ‘War on Fun’ even a real thing? If it is, we have won. As long as you’re safe, responsible and respectful, no one will get in your way. Also, befriend the RAs – they’re people too!
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? This is hardly a choice. I’m vegetarian – cheese is essential to my oh-so-nutritious diet of cheese pizza and cheesecake. Also, I was brought up in a strict household where it was made clear to me, from a young age, that Indians didn’t have sex. Ever.
Advice for the class of 2016: Hold on to that freshman spirit – the feeling that the world is a wide, wondrous place, waiting to be discovered. Because you will face disappointments in your time here. You probably will not be able to get your dream job and have a 4.3 GPA and party 5 nights a week and save the whales (or maybe it is possible, but I haven’t seen living proof of it). But that’s fine, since it’s how you handle your successes and failures that makes you who you are, and a good attitude will take you far.
Also: Join clubs. Attend a panel discussion or lecture outside of class. Make good friends, the kind who look out for each other. Find a cause. Be informed. Be genuine. Never feel bashful. Do something artistic. Read for fun. Cherish the Core. Don’t stress about your GPA. Engage with your classes. Don’t procrastinate. Don’t search for excuses. Stay classy.
Any regrets? Sure, there are plenty. But, would I dwell on them? Definitely not. Should I have tried harder to get that finance internship, at the expense of other interests? Maybe. But I wouldn’t have been the same person for it, and really (to shamelessly paraphrase Robert Frost) that made all the difference.