Senior Wisdom: John Sarlitto
Written by Bwog Staff
Claim to Fame? Bwog Sunday editor, dead languages evangelist (and discontent), former history journal chair, the only person to be both “that guy” and a narcoleptic in seminar.
Where are you going? On a long hike. Figuratively that is, unless I get over my coöp trauma. Then back here for the summer to live a block from campus, work, tutor, wonder why I didn’t apply to grad school, and probably end up applying to grad school.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- People here tend to constantly surprise, sometimes in ways more unfortunate than the you’re-so-talented-and-I-never-knew-it! admissions brochure sort of way. So, for better and worse, don’t underestimate anyone. That’s a life lesson, but I learned it at Columbia.
- Someone could (and should) write a Greek tragedy about the practice schedule of the Columbia archery club. I’ve inexplicably been on their listserve for four years without unsubscribing, and in that time, I have borne voyeuristic witness to all of their bizarre mishaps. Carry on, friends!
- There’s usually a good reason that no one ever goes to those Morningside Heights places no one ever goes to. The man in that chocolate store was really nasty to me (sorry to whoever said they like it), the guy at Village Copier was even worse (I don’t know if that place counts, but still), and while everyone at Camille’s was perfectly pleasant, there was still something fishy about it.
“Back in my day…” John Jay had that same weirdly unforgettable smell, but I lived there (juh-jayt!). Austin Quigley’s accent made this feel like a real Ivy League school.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less: At sixteen, it took me three tries to pass the New York State road test. Last week, I passed the swim test on my first go. Constant improvement.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive.” –C.S. Lewis. If there is a war, Wallach->Wien->River means that I spent substantial time behind enemy lines. Even in those dark places, sedition goes mostly unpunished, so I’m optimistic.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Ancient historians have to think in terms of the longue durée, and while oral sex may be the hot startup, cheese is the blue (bleu) chip I want in my retirement portfolio.
Advice for the class of 2016: “Studying” is overrated; actually going to class and doing the reading is underrated. Streaming videos in your room is way overrated; impractically long dinners with friends are way underrated. If you enjoy writing, try taking a break from papers to write casually (preferably for Bwog, if only so that people in the comments can tell you to fuck yourself and go back to U Writing). And the piece of advice that first salvaged my time here and later made it so much fun: if you’re not satisfied, never feel too old, previously committed, or busy to do or join something new. Or meet someone new, but that much should be obvious. Trite but true.
Any regrets? So many: like the socially awkward penguin meme, I replay conversations from five years ago in my head, so don’t go by me. But I’ve never been happier or more satisfied than I was this year and this semester, which probably means it’s time to move on.
Something more in character and less sappy? I regret giving a good review to that TA who just backstabbed me with an unnecessarily bitchy grade. I take it all back, and, should we run into each other at 1020, will NOT buy you a drink.