Senior Wisdom: Jennie Olson

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Jennie Olson Smiling and looking down at a cup of milk(?) which she is about to drink.
Jennie Olson Smiling and looking down at a cup of milk(?) which she is about to drink.

Can you make that drink if you’re in CBA?

One of our most request Senior Wisdom recipients, Jennie Olson managed the Columbia Bartending Agency and has rocked the Earth Science world. Read on for her words of wisdom.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Jennie Olson. CC. Earth Science Major, Sustainable Development Concentration. Berkeley, CA.

Claim to fame: Manager of the Columbia Bartending Agency for two years. Overenthusiastic COÖP leader. Fell backwards off a bench while giving a campus tour. Also known for always being asleep.

Where are you going? Moving to DC to do environmental policy work with Environment America. Before that, road-tripping and hiking all summer.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2021?

1) Don’t be too hard on yourselves. Keep in mind that school is just one small part of the college experience, and not by any measure the most important. Carefully reflect on the things you think you want to take away from Columbia when you walk out in that cap and gown— Sure, you probably want to walk away with a decent GPA, a solid resume, future prospects, etc. I did, too (and still do). But please don’t, in that pursuit, forget to walk away with as many memories, friends, and experiences as possible.

2) Break out of your comfort zone. College— and Columbia in particular— is the kind of place where there are so many unique opportunities to learn, laugh, and meet brilliant people, so please take advantage of as much of it as you can. There are incredible people to talk to, memories to make, and communities to find here—so try a bunch of stuff and see what works for you. It definitely took me some time to find my stride, but now I couldn’t imagine college (let alone my life) without the amazing people I’ve met. I’ve grown and changed in ways my 18-year-old self could have never anticipated, and I’m so grateful to Columbia for that.

3) And some random advice: Warm up your dining hall cookies in the toaster for a ~fresh-from-the-oven~ taste, spend $5 more on your evening supplies to drink way tastier stuff than Svedka & OJ, never go to sleep in clothes covered in glitter, and take the CBA mixology class!

“Back in my day…”: The Heights let you in with a Columbia ID, John Jay didn’t have that clutch bread station, VING key cards were a thing, Lion’s Head did $1 beer night, and PawPrint didn’t exist.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I pronounce Koronet, “Kor-o-nay.”

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Earth’s Environmental Systems: Solid Earth with Steve Goldstein and Sidney Hemming. This class will change how you see the world, and Sid and Steve are brilliant, passionate, and approachable— They make sure to put the material in context, and they really make an effort to get to know their students in and out of the classroom! My DEES classes have been awesome across the board, but this class especially ~rocks~!

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? When I was 8 years old, I gave up Brie for Lent and it was the hardest thing I’d ever done. No way I’m going through that again.

One thing to do before graduating: I want to get Dean Valentini to try the cocktail we designed in his honor at the Bartending Agency, the “Deantini.” (Guess what shade of blue it is!!!)

Any regrets? I wish I could have gotten myself to maintain a more regular sleep schedule.

Photo via Jennie Olson 

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  1. James J. Valentini  


    Of course I will try the cocktail. Write to me at and we will set it up.


  2. Disgruntled Floormate  

    Jennie Olson told me to go fuck myself last night when I tapped on our shared wall to signal that she and her friends were being a bit loud. Senior Wisdom: cool/cute/funny people can be tools sometimes!

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