Senior Wisdom: Brian Wagner

Written by

Brian Wagner

Brian Wagner

Little-known fact: contrary to popular belief, Bwog does not stand for the Blue and White Blog, but for Brian Wagner, Original Gangster. Our second former Bwogger to share his wisdom: Brian Wagner, previous managing editor, gchat hero, and 95% of the reason Bwog did not crash on a daily basis for a year. Thanks, Brian.

Name, Hometown, School: Brian Wagner; Park Ridge, Illinois; SEAS (which surprises a lot of people for some reason)

Claim to fame: I used to write and edit things that (hopefully most of you) read. Once I did a really good job of describing the average Columbia student.

Where are you going? For now, Los Angeles to put computers in spaceships. Or robots or something. Later, who knows? I don’t like the idea of staying in one place for long.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  • 1. When you disagree with people, it’s easy to mistake your argument with their idea for an argument with their character. Once you stop doing that, it’ll make your conversations actually productive. And I’ve yet to meet someone with whom I’ve disagreed that I haven’t enjoyed grabbing a beer with.
  • 2. Don’t fear failure. In order to achieve anything worthwhile, you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. It’s okay if things don’t end well (and believe me, sometimes they don’t), because that’s how you learn. I failed a class while I was here and it taught me more about myself and the world than practically everything else. Try not to fail any classes though, cause that sucks.
  • 3. The reason you’re here is likely because back in high school, you were the best. Now you’re not (probably). But that’s okay, because now you’re surrounded by literally hundreds of people who are just as smart, talented, caring, and incredible as you are. And once you learn to accept that you don’t have to be the greatest anymore, you can ditch that competitive attitude and start forming real relationships with your peers. Do it—they, morso than anything else—are the best resource Columbia has to offer, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help when you need it.
  • 3.1. Don’t put two spaces after a period. Just don’t.

Back in my day…NSOP meant frat parties, study breaks meant J.J.’s place; NoCo wasn’t finished yet; Bwog looked bluer; EC lounges reminded me of parties and not studying; and everyone else looked older than me.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I’m a computer engineer who’s good enough at words to be named EIC of a literary magazine. I genuinely enjoy making people laugh.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: @ConorSkelding and @AlexandraSvokos, you’re both amazing at what you do, and you don’t receive nearly enough recognition for it, especially from me. I’m saddened that I didn’t offer as much help along the way as I should’ve, but inspired by the fact that you didn’t need it. @AlexAvvocato, you do me proud. Keep it up. And @SylvieKrekow, you gave me a shoulder to lean/laugh/cry/whine on during the most difficult year of my life. I love you for it.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? No one ever got judged for eating cheese in public. Actually, I take that back. But it’s gonna be real awkward explaining to my grandmother why I don’t eat cheeseburgers anymore.

One thing to do before graduating: Get your heart broken. It doesn’t have to be by a person—it could be an idea, organization, or friend. Once you get over the grieving, you’ll have quite possibly the clearest perspective on life that you’ve ever had, and you’ll learn what really matters to you. Find that one thing, and never stop doing it.

Any regrets? I’d like to say I don’t have any, but that’d be lying. There are classes I wish I’d taken, classes I wish I hadn’t taken, friends I wish I’d made, friends I should have spent more time with, groups I should have joined, and text and emails I drafted but never sent.

Mostly, I just wish I’d met more of you people. You’re all geniuses. I’ll miss you so much.

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  1. CC '14  

    For some reason, reading this made me tear up. Maybe because it's the last stretch of finals. I don't know... Good stuff, anyhow.

  2. Anonymous  

    "Once you get over the grieving, you’ll have quite possibly the clearest perspective on life that you’ve ever had, and you’ll learn what really matters to you. "


    • CC '13  

      ... can we just stop with the acronyms already? i mean, really, how often am i gonna need to use the phrase "quoted for truth?" plus, if you just spelled out each word, you'd save everyone the hassle of having to go to urban dictionary.

      i propose that we only use acronyms that are either necessary (e.g. DNA) or universally accepted (e.g. wtf).

  3. CC '14  

    "Don’t put two spaces after a period. Just don’t."


  4. Sylvie  

    Brian, you are one of the sweetest muffins I've ever met, and one of the most generous. Your total willingness to help anyone with anything just out of the goodness of your heart (without expecting anything in return) has amazed me for 4 years, and I'm really jealous of everyone who gets to become your friend in ~*~cali~*~. This shoulder is here for you any time.

    ...also, thanks for helping me pass my science requirement, and I apologize for that one time I came over when you were trying to finish a really important project and I distracted you with YouTube videos of cute animals and ate all of your Chinese food.

  5. Zach  

    Brian, it's been incredible getting to work with you this year. I wish that I could have had longer to learn from you. I don't want this to get to be too long, but as I read this I was reminded of every wonderful late night conversation we've had. Despite us not knowing each other that well, you've consistently been a part of my best college memories. I hope that you don't ever underestimate the impact you've had on people here. I'm very happy for you and your new life in California (bigger and better things).

    You will be missed.

  6. Svokos  

    I don't know how many times I have to tell you that we couldn't have been nearly as functional without you seeing us through. I don't know what I would've done if you weren't here (on gchat and in person) to let me rant and help with ~computers~ and just hang out and have fun. I'm constantly impressed by all that you do (B&W, Bwog, and SEAS at the same time and you still had time to talk????) and can't wait to see where you end up.

    Visit when you can, stay in touch, don't forget us when you're running the world, and I honestly, sincerely can't thank you enough for everything. Also as a final note there are two spaces after every period here #notsorry

  7. Anonymous

    starting to get pissed there is no senior wisdom from the dark hand. fuck you bwog.

  8. Anonymous

    Honestly, what's so bad about putting two spaces? That's how I was taught to type, and no one's every called me out on it.

    ALSO dude what the hell is up with these captchas?

  9. CC gal

    This is great, Brian - clever, insightful, and most of all heartfelt. Thanks for sharing your talents with Columbia. I'm glad I got to meet you while you were here. Enjoy LA, and best of luck!

  10. Eynon

    Thank you so much for this-- I would have expected nothing less from the guy who would fix bwog, correct my grammar, and make me laugh all in the span of a couple of minutes. Happy graduation and I can't wait to hear about all of your new adventures!

  11. Steve C.  

    Glad to know you since I stalked out Carman 5 freshman year. You've been quite humble and chill despite all you give to the community.

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