Senior Wisdom: Claire Friedman

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Claire Friedman (1)Another former editor emeritus of Bwog comes home to roost. Besides a solid response to the famous Oral Sex Question, she gives solid advice on just being an adult and getting out of the Columbia bubble.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Claire Friedman, CC, English and History, Salt Lake City, UT

Claim to fame: I used to be managing editor of this mess.

Where are you going? Home for a bit to hang out with my dog and stare into space, then back to NYC to work at a literary agency.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2020?

1)  Speak up, but not necessarily out. Make your voice heard, but be careful not to speak over the voices of others. This might seem odd advice coming from a former Bwog editor, but TRUST ME – most issues can be solved through clear and honest communication. Open your mouth, but open your ears, too.

There are so many smart, talented, and vocal students at Columbia that it’s easy to feel like your opinion doesn’t matter. Well, young babies of 2020, I’m here to tell you that it does. Just be prepared to defend it, tweak it, and maybe even change it altogether.

Be someone who stands up for what they believe in. Don’t be a loud asshole.

2) Get off campus. I know, I know, I know – every campus tour guide and their mother wants you to “get off campus” and “enjoy all NYC has to offer.” But honestly, I’m not even talking about “enjoying New York” or any of that admissions-packet-propaganda – I’m talking about putting physical mileage between you and Columbia.

The Columbia bubble is REAL. And it can be amazing (especially in the winter, when going downtown feels like getting slapped in the face by Mother Nature), but it can also be incredibly stifling. It’s important to remember that there is life outside of Columbia, and that life goes on regardless of the grade you get on your next paper.

Take it from me: Columbia problems tend to seem much smaller when you’re out of the range of Butler’s all-seeing eye.

3) Don’t do anything you don’t want to do. This was actually my New Year’s Resolution, so hey – looks like I might need to take my own advice.

I can’t speak for everyone, but in the past 4-ish years, I’ve done a lot of shit that I didn’t want to do. And here’s my recent epiphany: for the most part, I DIDN’T HAVE TO. Crazy, right? We get so wrapped up in what other people want from us (this applies to school, clubs, friends, enemies, etc.), that we forget what we actually want for ourselves.

If you don’t want to be friends with someone anymore, DON’T BE. If you don’t want to go to 1020, DON’T GO. If you want your suitemate to stop leaving loose Jell-O in the fridge, FIND THEIR JELL-O AND DESTROY IT.

It’s okay to be a little selfish sometimes.

“Back in my day…” Bwog was meaner and bluer, the Dam still existed (as did Tequila Thursday – RIP), Bacchanal was more fun, and seniors seemed much older.

I asked my suitemate what had changed since we were Freshmen and she responded, “your heart and your soul.” So that, too.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer. Sophomore year, I asked Prezbo if he would do Usain Bolt arms with me at his Fun Run. He said no.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? American Literature and Corporate Culture with Aaron Ritzenberg. I signed up on a whim (as a Very Serious Scholar, I pick 90% of my classes based on name alone) and ended up completely obsessed. You read Don DeLillo and Richard Powers and talk about capitalism and machines and individuality and WHAT’S NOT TO LOVE!?

Class of 2020 listen up: Professor Ritzenberg is the unsung hero of the Columbia English department. Take any class you can with him – it honestly doesn’t really matter what. Also, sometimes he brings in gigantic cookies.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I defer to the wisdom of our ancestors.

One thing to do before graduating: Everyone should go befriend my little freshman (now sophomore) baby brother, Aaron. I’m worried he doesn’t have friends.

Any regrets? A few. I regret not attending a single Homecoming game. I regret not studying abroad. I regret every time I have to go into Mudd. I regret befriending too many international students because now they’re all getting deported. I regret not starting to write this Senior Wisdom earlier.

Mostly, though, it all comes out in the wash. No regrets.

She will destroy all loose Jell-O via Claire Friedman

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  1. Anonymous

    YASSSSS Claire! You go girl

  2. so much wisdom!!!  

    YASSSSSS. you go claire!

  3. Claire Fan #1  

    What a fine lady indeed! 10/10 would recommend.

  4. sensing a pattern

    YASSSSSS, you go Claire!!

  5. Anonymous  

    U beautiful red headed minx

  6. Peeved

    Bwog have the common decency to introduce some racial diversity into your senior profiles. Come on.

    • CC '16  

      If what you mean by "racial diversity" is "students of color who do activist things" maybe you should have nominated some who won't reject their nominations out of spite for Bwog. Plenty of PoC have gotten senior wisdoms, and once you take out the campus media ones, the diversity ratio skyrockets.

    • Thomas

      You're a fucking dumbass

  7. um what?

    i added her brother on facebook but he hasn't responded yet???

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