Senior Wisdom: Steele Sternberg

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Steele Sternberg

First up today: Steele Sternberg, future teacher extraordinaire: 

Name, Hometown, School: Steele Sternberg, Denver, Colorado (i.e., the greatest place in the universe), CC

Claim to fame? I went through all of Columbia without pulling an all-nighter for academic-related reasons. I worked with a number of really great groups on campus including Academic Success Programs, COÖP, Latenite Theatre, the Spectator Editorial Board, and the URC. You have also probably heard me yelling far too loudly about something at some point.

Where are you going? I’m going to teach or, more accurately, learn how to teach! I’m doing this very cool new program where you teach at a boarding school for two years and get a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania (my loyalties shall always lie with Alma). I’ll be moving from NYC to rural Connecticut for the job. It’s going to be a change, but no loss of restaurant options can make up for the number of new stars I’ll be able to see at night.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  1. Every day when you wake up and walk out the door you have to power to make someone else’s day really awesome or really shitty. As much as we all like to imagine ourselves as incredibly independent and self-sufficient people, I have found that, in my own experience at least, I am incredibly dependent on the kindness and support of my friends to make or break my experience here. It’s somewhat frightening to think that you may have that much importance in the happiness and success of others, but it can also be incredibly empowering to realize that, every day, you have the opportunity to make someone else feel incredibly valued and appreciated.
  2. Our collective ability to experience nostalgia for things from the 90’s like Space Jam and denim is unparalleled and provides infinite entertainment.
  3. It is actually okay to talk to other people about your feelings! When I came to Columbia I thought that my emotions were merely superficial ailments that ought to be cast aside in my pursuit of some kind of purely rational perfection. That was both naïve and detrimental to my mental health. Learning how to talk about your psychology can open up much deeper and more substantive relationships with other people and help your own health in the process.

Back in my day… John Jay didn’t have WiFi, we had to go to Kent to pick up our transcripts, and student wellness was worse if only because no one talked about it.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I’ve been wrong more times than I’ve been right.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Tessa Slovis: Thank you for teaching me so much about this world and how great it can be. If you haven’t had a chance to meet this girl, run, don’t walk, to 620 and introduce yourself before she goes off to be a famous actress. She has more wisdom that I can possibly impart here.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? So…I’m about 99% sure that future students of mine are going to Google me in a fit of procrastination. Therefore, I decline to answer this and, to those future students, go do your homework and/or go to bed at a reasonable time.

One thing to do before graduating: Form a relationship with an administrator that challenges the stereotype that the CU bureaucracy is entirely composed of disinterested and obstructive jerks that don’t give a shit about student well-being (see V119’s “The Administrative Run-Around” for a good example of this stereotype in action). As much as we like to deny it, Columbia does, at times, make tremendously smart hires that bring truly incredible people into student affairs (Deans Martinez and Rinere are great examples). Educate yourself so that, when the administration does do something problematic, you can speak out informatively rather than just rattle off the same set of tired and unproductive curses against Low and Lerner.

Any regrets? See that first thing I learned while at Columbia? Unfortunately I learned that mostly through making people’s days shitty rather than making them amazing. So yeah, regrets are a thing.

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  1. CC '13  

    4 years on the same campus and i've literally seen only half of these seniors. i swear, i'm gonna be seriously doubtful when i meet some of you at a bar 5-10 years from now and you tell me you're cc/seas '13.

  2. Anonymous  

    Mr. Steele, first name: "Man of."

  3. MPM  

    Steele is a person that may not believe in magic like us anthropologists, but he certainly creates it.

    You're an amazing person and friend, thanks for everything.

  4. Noah  

    Yet another of the mentally ill. Anyone else note the coolest senior wisdoms are coming from those who DON'T feel the need to broadcast their instabilities?

  5. CC '13  

    Steele is one of my top ten favorite people on this campus and one of my biggest regrets at Columbia is that we did not become closer. Rock on, buddy.

  6. TANG.

    best co-worker and even better friend. gonna miss you lots.

  7. Anonymous  

    who the fuck are these people

  8. TK  

    "When I came to Columbia I thought that my emotions were merely superficial ailments that ought to be cast aside in my pursuit of some kind of purely rational perfection."

    This is ridiculous I love this man.

  9. Anonymous  

    Do you know what school you'll be teaching at?

  10. FBV  

    My time at Columbia is markedly better because I became friends with Steele. So glad we wound up in Blackmar's class together (everyone, take Making of the Modern American Landscape), which led to not one but two of the greatest Days on Campus bus tours ever. Gonna miss you while you're off teachin' those kids, buddy! (But seriously, come back for DOC '14. Dat bus tour will be out. of. control.)

  11. AR  

    Steele is one of the best guys I know. Thank you, men of h205, for making this year worth it!

  12. Tessa Slovis

    I am so lucky to know this absolutely wonderful human being . Thank you for making my college experience.

  13. Anon

    Steele always looked happy to see me whenever we ran into each other. Can't say anything better about a person.

  14. Anonymous

    Thanks for everything Steele, you'll make a fantastic teacher!

  15. Steve C.  

    Only knew you a year, but I seemed to see you everywhere during that year. It was awesome seeing your dedication to all that you do and ability to stand up for what you believed in regardless of its impacts.

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