Senior Wisdom: David Spencer Seconi

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Name, Hometown, School, Major: David Spencer Seconi; Rochester (the Roc), NY; Columbia College, History.

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:

  1. 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. JZ, you are the shit.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

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  1. Anonymous  

    DSec knows what's REAL.

  2. Anonymous

    He seems cool. Really like his #2 "things I learned."

  3. Thank you

    so much for being honest with "advice to 2016." Seriously, thank you.

  4. Another transfer  

    "advice to 2016" was perfect and terribly true!

  5. this  

    contextualizes/explains a lot about spencer. much respect

  6. Anonymous  

    Mucho éxito en Colombia!

  7. I Like How  

    one of the things you learned was not to say ignorant shit, then immediately followed that up with 3 racist comments.

  8. LOVE  

    Spencer is awesome.

  9. break down

    I had the same thing happen to me spring semester sophomore year. I was making a tuna sandwich in my lonely single and a sudden wave of depression flooded me. Although eating tuna alone is probably a pretty depressing choice for lunch in the first place, I assure you, I felt the same. Glad to know other people feel the same.

  10. love ya spence!!  

    you were one of the best fellow transfers i met here. you're gonna be great!

  11. Anonymous  

    This one of the few examples of a person who looks better in real life than in the picture they post.

  12. Anonymous  

    Bwog, why do you still have the link for nominations up if it doesn't work anymore?

  13. All the cool people have breakdowns  

    Pretty much having one year-long drawn out version of that kitchen scene. I'm glad you got the support you needed, and I hope you continue to go nowhere but up.

  14. Anonymous  

    this senior wisdom ... might have changed my future.

  15. CC'14  

    Definitely the best advice section of any senior wisdom so far.

    From a sophomore who had a shitty two years because of too much time spent in Butler, thanks. I needed this.

  16. Anonymous  

    Simply an amazing person and a great friend. Spencer, you're the shit.

  17. Anonymous  

    was in response to something that's since been pulled.

  18. Anonymous  

    This was a really, really excellent senior wisdom.

    The whole "breakdown" thing is really hard to talk about in public, much less with your name and photo attached, but I think it's pretty damn common. I've never met you, Spencer, but, you know, thanks for saying all that.

  19. Anonymous

    Had CC with Spencer and have always found him to be a great guy. Much respect for this senior wisdom, especially the advice to 2016. Wise words. Thanks for saying what a lot of people don't.

  20. WAE

    Was anyone else distracted by David's writing? I really wanted to agree with its content, but the phrasing made me want to punch my squirrelly roommate.

  21. cc 2012  

    i wanna have your babies!

  22. Jew

    Wait, did anyone else notice he said that people say shit is Jewish?

  23. Clarification  

    It would be great if someone can clarify the Muslims comment. I actually feel inclined to be offended, but after reading the Advice to 2016 section I will give him the benefit of the doubt.

    • Anonymous  

      I don't know him, but it seems pretty clear that what he's saying is that where he was from, he had no contact with Muslims or the Arab world, and consequently 9/11 was his first encounter with them, but considering the fact that he brought an Imam to speak at Columbia, it seems he has since learned a lot about it. People who weren't paying attention to what he was saying dismissed these things as racist remarks, but I think he is commenting on the ignorance and racism of other people.

    • I think  

      he's just making an observation. He seems to imply it's unfortunate that this was so---I mean, he invited an Imam to come to campus, right? And his senior wisdom otherwise shows he's a very open-minded, accepting individual and willing to speak up about intolerance.

  24. Anonymous  

    I think spencer is sexy a sexy mofo. I'd deff tap that ass.

  25. Wow

    I actually can't express how amazing I think you are. I wish I had met you in person. Thank you for sharing your experiences.

  26. Anonymous

    well I'm a little flabbergasted by the positive response to this senior wisdom. Clearly this will be down voted, then, but frankly I thought this was...problematic.

    The general advice to be chill, not work too hard, party, etc., is good advice, in moderation. But there wasn't really any allusion to moderation here. Rather, the point struck me as saying that those of us who don't get shitfaced that much and would rather talk about philosophy with our friends just don't have friends. That's just bullshit. I'm sure the point was MEANT to be more moderate, but that's just not what's in the text. Furthermore, as regards advice #2, how the fuck did we get from "don't hate on bankers for their career choice" to "be loyal to your friends?" The second bit is great. The first is pretty meh. I think this kid should have been reading Marx a little more and spending less time assisting his vomiting friends.

    • Anonymous

      I'm guessing you haven't been on ski team.

      But in any case, it seems like the response could be more about him trying to use academic/extracurricular achievement to fill a hole, finding that it didn't work, and being honest about it in a public forum.

      That and it's nice to know that other people have been desperately unhappy but have seen their lives get better.

    • Anonymous  

      The thing is: he's addressing Columbia students. Columbia students don't need to be told to have fun "in moderation." Most of us take ourselves too seriously, and need the advice to loosen up far more.

    • Sociologist  

      I'm terribly sorry, vomiting friend, but you see I'm afraid I've got a bit of Das Kapital to catch up on, and you're going to have to see yourself out. My sincerest apologies for the trouble. Take care not to get any of that on the rug, by the way.

  27. AAHHHH

    freshmAn. both times please!

    but Spencer, you are incredibly intelligent (lit hum with Sacks!) and ambitious. best of luck in Colombia

  28. Anonymous

    As an alum and parent who is sending their child off to Columbia next Fall, I really like this senior wisdom. My advice to my child is to get involved with sports and make great friends. Study hard, but not too hard. The friends and my wife that I met during my years at Columbia, in the end , are the best things I got out of Columbia.

  29. Anonymous  

    As someone who both had something of a breakdown last night and new Spencer from Art Hum, I have to say I loved this. You always seemed like a genuinely nice guy and I had no complaints about staring at your sexy face all semester.

  30. TT

    TT and JZ are amazing. Best idea/ what a solid group of people.

    and i will definitely be hitting you up in colombia. thanks for being so honest in such a public arena. mad love.

  31. Anonymous  

    happens all the time in suburbia. some 16-year old yelling "you got jew'd!" and the like. its really weird.

  32. Matteo Seconi


    Its great to see how much you've grown, that you are comfortable with who you are and are strong enough to share yourself with people you have never met. Excited to see you graduate and continue on to the next chapter in your life.

    Glad to see all the positive responses from everyone, I know it means a lot to Spence!

    Brother II

  33. Maxwell Bertolero

    That took courage Spencer. I am sad I never got to meet you. Keep being awesome, and good luck out there man.

  34. Ryan

    Spencer, From one McQ/CU alum to another: I'm really glad you eventually found balance between your studies and social life. Enjoy your travels. Hopefully I'll be seeing you at an alum event soon.

  35. That High School Friend

    Ever since we met that fateful day on the pitch when we were 11 I have considered you one of my best friends (and fellow huge d bag). You've ALWAYS had my back with any assistance you could offer and for that I couldn't be more grateful. I know I broke my promise to come see you in the city (still haven't ever been) but I promise you, man, when I do eventually make it there, you'll be the first person I call/e-mail to rave about the blast I had.

    I remember sitting in Dibella's a week or two after you had that melt down junior year and just wishing I could have been there with you so I could have shouted in Butler, "PUT YOUR FUCKING BOOKS DOWN AND LETS GO GET FUCKING HAMMERED." I can't tell you how proud I am that you finally let yourself think about something other than books and learning from them and decided to learn from experiences and close relationships. We're nothing without our friends, my dude, and I am truly honored to call you one of my oldest and truest.

    I know you're going to grow tremendously and be extremely successful in Colombia and all your future endeavors because that's just who you are. It's who you've always been. It's who you'll always be.

    HOWEVER, I need you to do something for me as soon as you read this....mark the date on your calendar now, May 3rd-5th, 2013. REGARDLESS of where in the world you find yourself at the time I need you back in the States because you need to come rage (Fred style). You showed me an EPIC time when I visited you at Colgate and since then I've been dying to return the favor.

    I Love You, Brother and I'll see you in a week!


    PS the word i have to type in to submit this is vernetti (HAHHAHAHAHHAAHHAHA)

  36. Justin Seconi

    It took a lot of guts, and its been a wild ride. To say I am proud would be an understatement. This thread represents more than a testament to your time at Columbia or a personal transformation. Its a roadmap that 1.5 years ago I would have never expected you to follow. While not appropriate for all, I hope (and it seems that it has) that it helps others find their own path.

    To my brothers friends, thanks for being there. These are the relationships that will continue to shape your lives. You are worth more than your weight in gold to each other, never forget that.

    With much love and pride,

    Brother I

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