Claim to Fame: The one I tell my parents: bringing Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf to campus my junior year was a wild ride. I raised over $7k and organized a multitude of student groups/faculty/campus security in order to bring him to Lerner Hall for a one hour event and book signing.
The one I tell my friends: earning a one hour open bar for 200 people at Pour House. One week before, as I was stumbling out of the establishment at a respectable 5 PM, our waitressweetheart put her arm around me and said that was the most respectable showcase ever put down by a group of men (my two brothers, three friends and I). Apparently respectful enough to warrant giving a mob of thirsty Colombians free reign to terrorize their bar for sixty minutes.
Where are you going? From one Columbia to ‘another.’ I am moving to the capital of Colombia (Bogota) at the beginning of June to work as an assistant at a Colombian think tank and as a reporter on the ground in the city. I am paying my way by working at the ChapiNorte guesthouse. If you are ever in the city and want a nice/clean/safe place to spend the night, hit me up.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Friends do not talk about Contemporary Civilizations together. Friends hold their friend’s hair back as they vomit, then laugh on their way to Deluxe the next morning (still drunk, obviously). Oh, and start a Tequila Tuesday club. Jane Zellar you are the shit.
- Don’t hate on bankers and consultants because of their career choice. Hate on them when they go to the meatpacking district and drop a grand at Le Bain to justify their miserable existence. And by all of this I am saying don’t judge a book by its cover. One of my close friends I knew a horrible story about him a year and a half before I met him. But I didn’t judge, and I still don’t, and when I learned his side of the story I forgave him (somewhat). And now if people talk garbage, I stand up for him. If you don’t stand up for your friends around others even when they fuck up, you are a shitty friend.
- Stop saying that shit is gay. Or Jewish. And if, like me, you grew up an a suburban area and most of your friends didn’t go to great colleges, then speak up when they say ignorant shit. You might not think it makes a difference, but I guarantee you it does.
“Back in my day…”
- White people went to Dave Matthew’s concerts to dance. Now they have house music.
- The first things I learned about Muslims and the Islamic faith occurred on September 11, 2001.
- We still hated the French.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less:
I gave up wanting to be a big fish.
But I will swim against the tide
until the day that I die,
for it is the struggle that counts, not the finish.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? Not being here my freshmen year, nor really caring about campus life until late in my junior year, and I can’t really say I know much about the War on Fun. I mean, kids don’t have fun here because they choose not to have fun. Plain and simple.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Before I answer this, let me throw a caveat at you. What if, every time I had cheese/something with cheese, I could get oral sex instead. Let me paint you a picture: let’s say I am at a restaurant and order lasagna. Instead of a lasagna oozing with delicious moist cheesy goodness, I would be served a cheeseless plate with a side of unbelievable oral sex at the table. Then maybe I would consider giving up cheese.
Advice for the class of 2016:
I would like to take a moment to say something seriously, despite what any of the previous comments might insinuate about my demeanor. When I was asked to write this senior wisdom, I was honestly shocked. Those who know me know my feelings about this school. They are not pretty. So here we go.
The majority of you reading this post will never meet me. You may see me walking around school, but I shall remain just a face. But I promise you that I am real person. When you pinch me, it hurts. And when I say that I struggled at this school, I mean it sincerely.
I transferred from Colgate after my freshmen year. My first months were exciting. But then they began to drag on. I saw the same people at the same parties. I failed to meet any close friends (like those I had had the year before). And faced with this increasingly more awkward social life, I closed myself off to my friends and the world. I spent 6, 7 days a week in Butler, justifying my time there because, well, how much fun was I going to have if I went out anyways?
This continued for a year and a half, and with each passing week I became more depressed. And at the end of my first semester junior year, everything collapsed. There is one night I shall never forget: My mother came to visit one weekend, and as she stood in the kitchen preparing dinner, I came to her and broke down and sobbed like a child. I hated myself, I hated my work, and I hated Columbia. Failing and picking yourself back up is easy. But I had everything I thought I ever wanted – good grades, a world class institution, etc. And yet it all seemed empty. I had no balance in my life, and I paid the ultimate price.
If there was ever a case study of the maxim “when you hit rock bottom, you have nowhere to go but up,” I am case study numero uno. I completely changed everything about my relationship with this school since that fateful day. I joined the ski team, hands down the most raucous bunch of hooligans at this school. I learned that the difference between a 3.7 and a 3.9 is bullshit and that spending all those extra hours in Butler is a cop out for actually living your life. And I stopped doing so many damn stupid extracurriculars for the sake of boosting my resume. I meet David Coplon and Brianna Morgan, to whom I owe so much that I shall never be able to express it all in words alone. And to Katie Kornman, Boocita and the truly inspirational Sarah Silverstein, I owe much too.
So yeah, when people say that Columbia doesn’t hold your hand, I couldn’t agree more. However, that moment with my mother in the kitchen defined me as a person. I had seen the depths, and it frightened me. I didn’t learn who I wanted to be that day. But I sure as hell found out who I didn’t. And for that, Columbia, I shall forever be grateful. For you 2016ers, many of you may never have these emotions. But if you begin to sense someone in your life that may, reach out. Because you never know what the little things can mean. And, most importantly, do what you love. Seriously. I didn’t when I first arrived, and it almost ruined my college experience forever.
Any regrets? I think the above pretty much sums it up. Oh, and to all of you who I was close with when I first got here and with whom I don’t speak to as much at the moment, know (from the above story) that it was never fully about you. Although I am sorry that we haven’t spoke in some time, there is still time left for a coffee before this crazy ride is over. Give me a call.