Fortunately, PrezBo’s hair weathered the extreme heat of today’s College graduation ceremonies. A little after 9:30 am today, the class of 2013 marched with their gowns sticking to their sweaty under thighs. The Salutatorian, Yoshiaki Ko, made the first speech of the morning, discussing the “nexus” that Low Steps become when it’s nice out and the intellectual and social connectedness of the student body and the university at large. Terrence McNally, class of ’60, proceeded to give the Keynote address (highlights are after the jump). After student awards, Deantini urged the class of 2013 to “remember the imperative, ‘Roar, Lion, Roar,” and PrezBo promised to keep it brief in light of his speech for tomorrow’s University Commencement. Class President, Ryan Mandelbaum, started his speech by taking a selfie at the podium and provided insights on his freshman self’s “shearling lined Crocs.” Hands were shook, pins were given and names were read, the last of which was “Beyoncé Knowles” (this actually happened) which is apparently the proper phonetic pronunciation of Meriam Raouf‘s name. You know it’s unbelievable when a parenthetical disclaimer is necessary. Congrats CC 2013! (more…)
Name, Hometown, School: Josh Johnson; Uniondale, NY; Columbia College
Claim to fame? Co-chairman of the Black Student’s Group Consortium (shoutouts to my brothers and sisters in the struggle, cuz it’s real), Uris Pool Lifeguard, and Intramural Champion (I go hard in the paint!). Also my partying skills are legendary, I’ve perfected ancient the art of the fist-pump and my turn up is just mean bruh!
Where are you going? I’m heading back to Strong Island for the summer to study for the MCAT, which means I’m going to med school…someway/somehow. After that, I’ll hopefully be recharging my batteries on the crystal clear beaches of my not-so-distant homeland, Jamaica.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Speak up. Let’s face it Columbia is far from perfect. When issues arise in academic or social settings we should be vocal about our emotions and demand better from classmates, faculty, admin, etc. There’s no shame in being “that kid” in class who always brings up racism, sexism, classism and whatever other –isms exist. Chances are you are not alone in your experiences here at Columbia and the more you speak up the more encourage others to do the same.
- Make your own path. Being a part of the rat race is just no fun. Take the time out to be an individual and to appreciate your differences. Yeah I’m pre-med but I’ve never set foot in a lab outside the few I was required to take for class and I’m also an Ethnicity & Race major. I managed to find multiple ways in which I could mix my love of medicine with my interests in all those –isms I spoke about before. Basically though, you just gotta do you.
- Appreciate the little things. This is probably something that has been/will be reiterated by most of my fellow seniors. Savor every moment you spend with friends outside of class or Butler. Don’t be afraid to spend that extra hour in the dining hall, take that last minute trip downtown, or skip a few classes to chill on the steps.
Back in my day… $500 dining dollars was a thing. Having an Ethernet cord for Internet access was absolutely necessary. We had at least one minority/female Dean of either CC or SEAS. Courseworks looked like a website straight up out the year 1996. Frat Row actually had fraternities on it. Deantini was teaching us how to use the periodic table.
Yesterday afternoon, SEAS students took their turn at being graduated. It was a great afternoon, if humid, with lots of energy and excitement. Class Prez Mary Byers stepped up to the mic to chants of “Ma-ry Ma-ry!” from her classmates. ”We’ve had our minds blown time and time again,” she said with a smile. Engineering jokes abounded (“I’m still in SEAS, I didn’t learn English!” “We’ve built up so much positive potential energy.”) and laughs were had as Byers declared the class “the engineers of today.”
The class day speaker was Robert Bakish, SEAS’85 and MBA’89, CEO of Viacom Int’l Media Networks (sup MTV). Bakish was clearly pumped to be speaking, opening his speech by making the crowd shout “Columbia! Engineer!” To their credit, the crowd was more than game. Bakish clearly has a long-standing passion for Columbia. He explained that his father is also a SEAS alum and encouraged him to go here; the audience applauded when we heard Bakish’s father was among us. Bakish told his personal business life story and told the grads that every life is shaped differently, but it it worked out for him, “it will for you, too.” Finally, he had some advice: “Live, learn, and press on. Don’t forget to have a little fun.”
Valedictorian Joseph DelPreto spoke about the importance and strength of the SEAS community. He talked about going to Florida with his robotics design team and spending free time in Disney World, where he was inspired to build to make the world a better place. You have to make the choices to help more people. Dean Goldfarb (Goldean, though he took a new nickname with “the cicada dean”) followed this idea, saying that grads need to use imagination to create new innovations.
PrezBo gave his perfunctory “speak briefly but directly to you guys while I can before Commencement” speech, speaking to the importance of engineering and technological knowledge. Finally, he implored the grads to “please help the rest of us develop a Core course on engineering and technology.”
Next up is John Lubeen Hamilton, who you’ve probably watched perform at some point or other. (And if you haven’t, you’ve missed out). Congratulations Lubeen!
Name, Hometown, School: John Lubeen Hamilton, Lubeen, Lube, or any derivation of the aforementioned product
Born and raised in Queens, Ny – Saint Albans to be exact. CC student – Shout out to the Psych department for allowing me to take some dope classes and graduate w/o having to write a thesis!
Claim to fame? Rising from the darkness of my tiny Wallach single like Plato, I’ve become one of the more visible members of CUSH – the Columbia University Society of Hip-Hop. I’ve gotten the chance to perform my music & freestyle (quiet literally) almost everywhere on campus, including on the Bacchanal stage w/ my homies opening for Snoop Dogg two years ago. I’m also a pretty nice guy who’s always down to talk to anyone for a bit as long as I’m not writing music or playing Age of Empires.
Where are you going? Literally? I’m moving back home to Queens. I’ll be setting up a semi-permanent recording studio in my basement, so if you ever want to make some music and don’t mind public transportation, come through! But in the more existential, “where is your life going?” sense, I really have no clue right now. But that’s cool.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Columbia’s culture of commiseration is like quicksand. One minute, you’re a freshman who’s so eager to get out of the house, explore the big city, meet cool people and enjoy everything college has to offer. The next, you’re a second semester senior who spends more time arguing with friends about who has less fucks to give and complaining about how uncomfortable the seats are on the struggle bus than you spend really enjoying your life.
- In relation to #1, I’ve learned that perspective is everything. The only way to escape the utterly depressing – and I mean that very literally – side effects that this place can cause is to always remind yourself that things aren’t as bad or insurmountable as they seem. It will suck, and you will not sleep, but that paper will get finished. You may not that get that A+ both you and your parents aim for/expect, but you must remember that every passing grade at an institution like this is something to be proud of. And even when you do happen to miss the mark completely, remember that a failure is just an opportunity to learn from your mistakes and begin preparing to succeed next time. I know that this all seems like hyper-optimistic bs, but being able to take a third-person view of your situation can really do wonders for your peace of mind.
- Good Friends, Good Music and Good drinks almost always makes for a better time than a large scale shindig. The low-key turn up is unequivocally real.
The wisdom just never ends: this time, on the morning of CC Class Day your CC valedictorian coaches you on all things Upper West Side.
Name, Hometown, School: Lia Friedman, Upper West Side, Columbia College
Claim to fame: If you knew my name before this April, you’ve probably gotten emails from me about worm bin composting. Before one of my closest friends and I met, our mutual friend would tell her stories about our CC class in which she referred to me as “the feminist.” That epithet flatters me.
Where are you going? I have no concrete plans! I’m headed to San Francisco in the fall to couch surf with extended family and see what opportunities present.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- 1. Interests aren’t the same thing as personality. The age of facebook profiles and extracurricular activity fairs encourages us to assess our compatibility on paper/screen, but academic interests, favorite bands, and shared causes don’t necessarily provide the common ground we might expect.
- 2. You can trust your friends with a lot of things, but when it comes to classes or extracurriculars, go with what you enjoy. Recommendations from others can only get you so far. One of the most important things I’ve learned anywhere, not just at Columbia, is to completely trust my own reactions and preferences.
- 3. Russian.
Back in my day…Well, I’ve lived in this neighborhood for almost 23 years, and I grew up playing hide-and-seek on the Columbia campus and swimming in the fountains on Low. Back in my day, you got your groceries at UFM or Mama Joy’s. West Side Market was a quarter of its current size, did not have the fabulous disco soundtrack or “Fresh Meat!” sign, and it shared the block with Columbia Bagels. Metrocards cost $1.50, the 9 train still existed and the 3 trains were red, not silver.
Here we have Brian Driscoll with a shockingly actual honest Senior Wisdom. Congratulations on your graduation today!
Name, Hometown, School: Brian! Driscoll, Sandusky, OH, GS
Claim to fame? GS Alumni Key award winner. I’m also a Visual Art major; we’re rarer than unicorns. Also, for some reason people always remember my hair.
Where are you going? I’m staying in New York to paint. Buy my stuff. I’m poor.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- You can win a free laptop if you go to enough sporting events. Seriously, what do you think I am typing this on? There is free stuff all over this campus; you just have to look for it.
- Strategically pick your classes based on the professor and then work to build a relationship. Nobody is going to just hand you a good letter of recommendation.
- Picasso is like a child washing their hands after being caught masturbating. Ok, so maybe I still don’t know what that means, but I heard it in a lecture once.
Back in my day… Hurricane Irene destroyed orientation.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I’m here to paint.
Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: To the old lady model at Artist Society, I want to wrap up in your extra skin like it is a blanket.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Who could give up cheese? Vegans are stupid.
One thing to do before graduating: Take Music Hum over the summer. No one wants to go to the Opera.
Any regrets? Hell no! I regret nothing! One of my friends told me her biggest regret was not getting a new prosthetic eye while she still had Columbia’s insurance though.
Bright and early this morning, GS-ers took their turn at graduating on campus. Led by a band playing hits like “Down By The Riverside,” the group of about 450 graduates walked to their seats. Throughout the ceremony, an early morning fog gave way to a beautiful sunlit day, no doubt a sign of prosperity and good fortune to the Class of 2013. Dean Awn gave his welcoming remark, noting the uniqueness of GS and importance of the institution as it “enhances the intellectual discourse in a very special way.” The audience cheered for GS having the highest number of veterans in the Ivy League. “We are privileged to count you has members of the Columbia intellectual and undergraduate communities,” Awn said before introducing PrezBo.
In his short speech, Bollinger noted that GS is special in that it highlights untraditional students as a centerpiece of education, rather than lumping them in with the rest of the student body. GS grants the university a “sense of institutional humility,” he went on, discussing the graduates’ myriad of real world experience outside of academia. He then introduced Class Day speaker Nicholas Dirks, who is “taking on the very simple task of saving the University of California (Berkeley).”
Dirks centered his address around the fact that GS is “a school made up of unique life stories.” After talking about the history of GS, he got into the meat of his speech: higher education is in trouble and under attack, and it’s up to grads to fix that. Public institutions are competing with higher tuitions and other forms of revenue, student debt continues to be on the rise, and politicians are decrying elite institutions. “We need you…to champion education and remind skeptics of the magic of the classroom,” he explained, saying that it is up to graduates to sway public opinion of the worth and importance of higher education. “Each GS story has unique appeal,” Dirks said. “Keep on telling your stories.”
Yesterday afternoon and what turned into evening the Barnard Class of 2013 made it across the stage at Radio City Music Hall, and pranced out into the pouring rain with pride.
This year’s ceremony was no last year, if for no other reason than that graduates assembled after 5:30 in the morning. Resilient in the face of flash flooding and a start later than expected, graduates and their families filled Radio City to celebrate the strong, bold and beautiful.
Commencement speaker Leymah Gbowee advised graduates to “step out of the shadows,” if for no other reason than to inspire those girls who come after them to do the same. It’s safe to say that the girls who came across the stage after her were pretty inspired themselves by Girls creator Lena Dunham, who sat by to receive a Medal of Distinction and partake in selfies, hugs, and also receive some numbers along the way.
Bwog wishes a well-deserved congratulations to the Barnard Class of 2013, and Leymah, since we know you’re reading this, the B-W-O-G L-O-V-E-S your little bit of crazy.
Not the Rockettes via. Ayelet Pearl
In lieu of a Senior Wisdom for Nashoba Santhanam, CC’13, check this out. Staff writer Naomi Cohen hops passenger seat with Nashoba, who’s driving a cab until he starts in sales and trading in the fall. Pick the May issue of The Blue and White up on campus, or, if you must, read it online.
Before stepping into the 38-story Bank of America Tower in Hong Kong to begin a career in sales and trading, Nashoba Santhanam, CC ’12, took a detour. His destination: wherever you’re headed.
Santhanam drives a yellow medallion taxi, a decision that seems to raise the eyebrows of everyone but his parents, who’ve stopped being surprised by Nashoba’s taste in “day jobs”. When other students ask about his motivation, Santhanam answers with a routine, “might as well.” He might as well explore the city before leaving; he might as well get paid for it. When asked by other cabbies, he explains that money is money. To customers, he calls it just a part-time job—if you call 12-hour night shifts part-time.
Anyone expecting a portrait of a disillusioned Ivy Leaguer, piecing together his soul in the metaphor-friendly alleys of New York, will be disappointed. Santhanam neither romanticizes the working-class mentality nor has any interest in trying out pop sociology.
“I like doing a lot of different jobs,” he says, “and it’s sort of interesting to do something different. And that’s what this is.” (more…)
If you thought you were well-rounded, just check out Timothy Reichmann’s claim to fame. Congratulations on your graduation tonight!
Name, Hometown, School: Timothy S. Reichmann from Chatfield, Minnesota, SEAS
Claim to fame? I’m that future Air Force pilot kid who teaches the bartending class, takes dance classes at Barnard, and majors in Applied Physics–who may have been your RA. I also go to church on Sundays.
Where are you going? I’ll be here for the summer, then a year at flight school in Oklahoma, then anywhere in the world where there’s a US Air Force base–hopefully Japan.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- It never hurts to be more honest about yourself to others in your college years. Sure, you may seem less “cool” temporarily but only when you let down the facade of who you pretend to be will people actually get to know you and be comfortable enough to share their real self with you. You’ll never really know who you are until you are honest with yourself and others. Sometimes the best insight on who you are comes from your harshest critics.
- Art is always worth it and tends to be very inexpensive to experience. See the MoMA, both Mets, student and professional dance shows, The Frick, The Cloisters, all of Central Park, as many Broadway shows as you can go to for free, and at least half the theatre/concerts/shows your friends invite you to on Facebook. Spend time figuring out some sort of music or art that you can produce that makes you feel fulfilled. Share it with other people and encourage their talents.
- Spending time with people is the most rewarding thing you’ll do during your time here. Frequently, it’s even worth sacrificing your grades a little to make time for the people you care about. Don’t be afraid to sacrifice comfort for money. Not only will you have more money, you’ll also be a tougher, better, person for it and less prone to feeling entitled to comfort.
Back in my day… Carman residents had to buy their own TV’s on Craigslist and then put them on stands that were chained to the wall. Wallach was just as bad as Hartley. The spiral stairs weren’t an issue because Ferris was something else. People were less aware of how stressful this place is.
You’ve all been waiting — and quite frequently complaining in the comments section — for this one. Ladies and gentlemen on the eve of his graduation: The Dark Hand, Bwog’s eternal shadow haunting the comment space, crusading for some sort of truth and justice, and until recently one of campus’ biggest mysteries. He’s still pretty mysterious, though.
Name, Hometown, School: Nick Biekert from Avon, Connecticut, SEAS
Claim to fame? I am the Dark Hand.
Where are you going? To destroy this post’s comment section…WITH NO SURVIVORS!
3 things you learned at Columbia:
- The fire rises
- It doesn’t matter who we are, what matters is our plan. No one cared who I was ‘til I put on the mask.
- …Oh wait no those last two were just more Bane quotes. Sorry, sometimes I get confused. Since I have no actual wisdom of my own I’ll just quote Ralph Waldo Emerson and say that “a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.” Like all philosophers, and by extension all humans, he was full of shit. It’s ok though, I still think the quote rings true—and besides if people try to call you on your shit, just claim it’s a postmodernist critique of satire…or something.
Back in my day…Gateway was totally different, although still mildly enjoyable if your group and project were alright, no one talked about CPS or wellness, Theon Greyjoy still had his penis, and Courseworks was actually functional. Sorry Varsity Show, I stole that last one from you guys, and because I tend to avoid platitudes I’ll say you guys did a good job. I don’t know why Bwog has to hate.
Oh yea, and I presume the Spec still sucked, although it’s not like I ever actually read the spec before I took up the crusade for truth and justice.
No, that’s not a typo. On the eve of her graduation we have GSSC Student Body President Jennifer Wisdom, who gave us one of the best headlines ever.
Name, Hometown, School: Jennifer Wisdom, Dallas, Texas. GS
Claim to fame? Outside Columbia: CEO of my event planning company that creates custom full-cast murder mystery dinners and brings them to your door. My favorite event thrown in the city so far was a star trek whodunnit for an 70 year old trekkie woman, who spoke few words that evening but could still throw a mean vulcan salute. Inside Columbia: Student Body President for the General Studies Student Council, officer of the Political Science Students Association, Orientation Leader, Junior Marshall. I’m also the one who organizes all those themed scavenger hunts during GS orientations and is the one most likely to be seen busting out some sweet robot dance moves during Gala. Oh yes, and my candidacy gave Bwog the headline, Wisdom Outlasts Bacon.
Where are you going? I am getting married to my best friend of seven years in June, then we are spending some time in Europe. Then it’s back to NYC, where I will develop the Manhattan branch of my company and hopefully apply to SIPA for my MIA next year.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Allow yourself to change. The words of former GSSC President Jacqueline Thong have stuck with me since my first day of orientation. “Columbia is like a giant monster that sucks you up and spits you out a different person – likely, a better person.” What I took from her words is that yes, we are all badasses of the highest caliber, or we wouldn’t be here. But if we allow ourselves to be broken down, challenged, and even offended by our professors and our peers, we will emerge a better person. The “real world” needs better people, so don’t let your pride get in the way of your personal development.
- Break out of the GS bubble. To those reading this that are in GS – make some friends that aren’t GS. Until you do this, stop complaining that we are treated differently. You perpetuate the stereotype by being so incestuous. To those in CC, SEAS and Barnard – make a constant effort to collect more than just your one token GS friend. You have more in common with one another than you think, and we can all teach each other a thing or two about breaking down stereotypes and uniting as one university. The greatest weapon we posses as students is our collective voice – this trend of solidarity has seen some great strides in undergraduate collaboration this year.
- If at first you don’t succeed…go to someone else. Columbia is a bureaucracy and most likely you will be speaking to a lower rung on the chain of command when you have an issue – be it housing, financial aid, a low grade on a paper, or even lobbying for more nutella in the campus eateries. Be respectful, but also do your research to find out who else you can talk to if you don’t like the answer you are given. It has been my experience at Columbia that as long as you are resilient and respectful, you can make just about anything happen.
Back in my day… Orientation was not the pageantry it is today. GS didn’t have nearly as much of the core. Different deans roamed the halls of Lewisohn. Councils kept to themselves for the most part. Oh, and I had to walk uphill – both ways – with my Columbia housing…no joke.
If you’re ever feeling lucky, take the 1 train all the way north. Get off at Van Cortlandt Park. Make sure your wallet is rife with crisp bills, peel off a few, and catch a ride to Empire City, a massive casino complex just north of the city line in Yonkers.
Tonight, on the train ride up, my friend and I meet a man with a hat that reads “DANGER: THIS VET IS PROTECTED FROM YOUR MEDICATION”; unperturbed by the train’s impending reversal south, he stays in his seat. Below the station is not a park, but the dirty intersection of 242nd Street and Broadway. Cars idle aimlessly and Manhattan College students loaf around, ducking into bodegas for beer, cigarettes, or whatever else Manhattan College students buy at 7 p.m. on a Friday night.
We look to hire a car. A cabbie standing under the subway tracks offers to take us for $15. We decline, and walk up the block, searching for cigars. As we emerge empty-handed from the corner store, a car in the middle of an intersection honks—it’s our recently-rejected cabbie. We pile in the back seat, unsure if our initial rejection brought our fare down. Our driver, built like a boar, burps frequently, and asks us if we are going to the “cassss-ino,” stretching the “s” for no apparent reason. We tell him we’re starting with the horses. A slickster in the passenger seat with a billowing cream shirt and dark sunglasses says nothing for the entire ride. His relation to the cabbie is unclear.
We arrive at Yonkers Raceway, adjacent to the casino, as the sun sets. The breeze whips around the half-mile oval, and crowds of old men huddle under the heat lamps near the betting windows. Before we even place a bet, we are asked to prove our age. We do, and though 18 is New York’s betting age, we seem to be the only gamblers under 50. (more…)
Another member of the Bwog/Blue & White (note the ampersand) family: Sylvie Krekow, rower and sweatpants-clad managing editor of the Blue & White. Congrats on graduating today!
Name, Hometown, School: Sylvie Krekow, Sun Valley, Idaho, BC
Claim to fame: Former managing editor of The Blue & White (pro-ampersand contingent), rower, fratstar. If we’ve had class together, you probably know me as “that sweatpants girl.”
Where are you going? You know, I never liked that Dave Matthews song, and now it’s stuck in my head.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- It’s okay to tell your professors if you’re having a hard time in life and it’s adversely affecting your schoolwork. If you’re honest and upfront with them, most of them will be incredibly kind, understanding, and helpful. And, if they’re not, you can talk to your class dean — or at least write a heinous review of them when it’s time for class evals.
- You can pre-order Chipotle online, and when it’s time to pick it up, you can hop in front of all those poor saps waiting for their carnitas and guac and grab your perfectly-wrapped ‘rrito. I learned this trick junior year, and I value it more than anything I ever learned in “Confessions” (yes, Barnard girls read Augustine too).
- In class, listen. Just listen. I wish I had learned this earlier, because I was probably the most annoying, loud-mouth, hand-raised-constantly freshman ever, but at least I got it eventually (apologies to everyone who put up with me while I definitely did not get it). Your professors are incredibly knowledgeable, and you’ll have lots of time to express your own thoughts in papers or office hours or with your friends over a growler at Mel’s, but you only have so much time in the classroom. Use it wisely.
- Okay, sorry, I know this is four, and at this point, with the Chipotle thing, I’m treading dangerously thin “dumb athlete” ice (ugh) but: there is a “simple English” language on Wikipedia. If you haven’t cracked open a science book since high school and you desperately need to understand something like spacetime to pass your science requirement, you’re welcome.
Elizabeth Power, powerhouse of this year’s KCST run and the woman who puts all those “JJ 4 life!!!” people to shame.
Name, Hometown, School: Elizabeth Power, New York City, CC
Claim to fame? I’m the current grande dame of John Jay, having lived there for three out of my four years here—this year, I’m actually the RA on the floor I lived on as a freshman. Nifty, right? Full circle! Closure! Back in my salad days, I was in various shows on campus (including V117), but then I realized that I like power and control even more than attention, so I switched to directing! Now my major claim to theatrical fame is that I was the first person in a while (maybe ever?) to direct a fall show and a spring show for KCST in the same academic year. I’m also a champion long-distance blue-binner.
Where are you going? I only very recently realized that I have zero desire to work in theater in any professional capacity, so I’m a little mentally adrift right now. Starting after Memorial Day, I’ll be working for a commercial real estate lawyer in midtown and tutoring while I wrestle with my demons and maybe eventually apply to grad school.
3 things you learned at Columbia:
- The John Jay laundry room will eat your quarters and leave your clothes a weird grayish-blue color. It’s also full of roaches. Until it’s renovated, just go to Hartley. (Pro tip: the Wallach vending machine on the far right will give you quarters if you put in a 1 or 5-dollar bill and push the change button.)
- If you need to be in a library to do work, that is completely fine. I think there’s some real value in separating your life-space from your work-and-stress place. On the other hand, if you’re trimming your bangs in Butler, it is Time To Leave. (THAT IS A REAL THING THAT I SAW ONCE ON THE FOURTH FLOOR.)
- Quit apologizing for your own power/intelligence/authority. Reason 1: It’s self-sabotaging. Reason 2: It’s annoying. This is a particularly important lesson for anyone in a leadership position—”leadership” has become a dumb, empty word, but you know what I mean. If you’re running shit, run your shit and don’t apologize for it. Don’t be afraid to challenge people, to demand and expect good work from them. Make no bones about the fact that you’re going to be demanding, and you’ll get more respect and better results than if you were constantly hemming and hawing and trying to be all buddy-buddy with everyone. The same lesson applies to talking in class: I cringe to think of how many times I prefaced comments with “This might be stupid, but…” NO. If you’re making a statement, own it. Apologizing for your words doesn’t change the fact that they’re taking up your classmates’ time and attention, so just suck it up and take some ownership. I gained so much confidence and self-respect when I finally learned how to do that.