Name, Hometown, School, Major: Misha Solomon, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, Columbia College, Evolutionary Biology of the Human Species with a concentration in Linguistics
Claim to fame: President of Youth for Debate, winner of the “Wash Your Mouth Out with Soap” award at this year’s Bad Poetry Contest, co-writer (with Jenne O’Brien) of the occasionally controversial anti-advice column “Do the Don’ts”, and person who talks about monkey sex a lot. Also I was probably your Intro to Linguistics TA — or, if you took the class in Fall 2010, I was that annoying kid who asked too many questions and once inexplicably said “dogs’ sexual organs” while talking about sound change in English possessive plurals.
Where are you going? North. Back to my other island home (Montreal) in my foreign homeland to Figure My Shit Out.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2018?
1. Being yourself is overrated; be whoever you want to be. The idea of finding yourself in college, or anywhere, as if there’s one true self within you that you should be able to access and present to the world, is dumb. Don’t feel bad if you’re different selves with different people, just present yourself in whichever ways you feel comfortable. I’m not suggesting the adoption of multiple aliases or anything crazy, but just don’t worry about having one consistent ~self~.
2. Be a quitter. Not a compulsive quitter, not an unreliable quitter, but a person who knows when it’s better to give something up than make yourself miserable. Perseverance and sticktoitiveness and loyalty are cool and all, but they’re not worth it if a club, a friendship, a relationship, etc. is making you deeply unhappy. Be reliable and don’t let people down, but also be reliable to yourself and don’t let yourself down.
3. Strippers make more money in tips when they’re ovulating.
“Back in my day…” New York’s hottest club was Campo. That place had everything: underage underclassmen, predatory seniors, awkward grinding, inexplicable lines, and closetflowers. Closetflowers? You know, that thing, when like you’re a first-semester freshman, and you’re not out yet, and so you dance awkwardly for like a minute before retreating to the sticky comfort of the Campo booths. Just me?
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I’ve talked about my (purely academic) interest in bestiality and zoophillia on every date I’ve been on in 2014.
Write your most memorable note from the field: In late October of my Junior year, I attended what I thought was a Halloween party in EC. I showed up in my skin-tight Catwoman costume, only to find that I was one of maybe ten people in costume. Throughout the night, no fewer than five giggling underclassmen came up to me and exclaimed, “Oh my god! You’re my TA!”
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? ///answer about smegma redacted in case I want a job///
One thing to do before graduating: Develop a great rapport with at least one professor. I’ve been so lucky to have great relationships with a few professors here, and those relationships have been among the most successful and enjoyable parts of my ~Columbia experience~. Talk to your professors after class, or in office hours, or on the street, and just be friendly and polite and normal and fun. (Also, take Introduction to Linguistics and Human Species: Its Place in Nature and talk to those incredible professors.)
Any regrets? I wish I had taken more creative writing classes. Also, to the person who described me as “a huge dick” whose “ego couldn’t be contained by our huge Pupin lecture hall” on my TA evals from last semester, thank you, and I regret not getting to know you better!