senior wisdom Archive

May

12

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Natalie Telson

Natalie Telson

We know firsthand that this senior has a whole lotta wisdom. We sat down with our own Bwog Director of Communications, Natalie Telson, to hear her tackle the oral sex or cheese question. 

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Natalie Telson; GS/JTS; Political Science at Columbia and Hebrew Bible at JTS; North Tustin, CA

Claim to fame: You may have seen me wandering campus with a massive red backpack over the last four years, but more notably I was that girl dancing with the Israeli flag on stage with Lupe Fiasco at Bacchanal 2014, and I’m a proud and active member of both Delta Gamma and the JTS Joint Program. Oh, and I’m Director of Communications for the top news site around – Bwog!

Where are you going? I am working in the PR & Communications department at The Huffington Post primarily handling the HuffPost Live account. VERY happy to be working in NYC and staying close with my Columbia/Barnard/JTS FriendFam.

Find out what Natalie learned during her time here.

May

11

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Emma Sulkowicz

Emma Sulkowicz

Re-enter the real world after your finals today with another senior wisdom from an outgoing senior! We bring you Emma Sulkowicz and her words of wisdom this Monday night.  

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Emma Sulkowicz, CC, Visual Arts, New York, NY

Claim to fame: None.

Where are you going? I’m going to stay in New York for a bit and chill out after the craziest year I’ve ever had.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Feminism is cool, and super important. Try a class with Rosalyn Deutsche if you want to see why feminism is so cool! She was the first person to explain it in a way that made sense to me.

2. It’s impossible to make change and stay sane without the right support. I would be nothing without my friends and the professors who guided me. They’ve taught me more than I could have ever learned just in class.

3. We all freak out because we feel friendless at some point. I know just as well as anyone: that feeling of being too weak and depressed to get out of bed in the morning, or the feeling of waking up on a wet pillow soaked with tears. But you all are loved. You all might be mired in shit right now, but I promise you that you are loved. Your real friends get that you’re not perfect, and that’s why they love you.

“Back in my day…” ADP was cool.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I’ll never justify my existence through words. I hope my actions speak louder than my words ever will.

More than one favorite class and more after the jump!

May

11

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Julia Qian

Julia Qian

Take some afternoon senior wisdom from outgoing SGA President, Julia Qian! 

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Julia Qian, Barnard College, History, Athena Scholar, Hangzhou, China (that’s where Alibaba was founded, just saying)

Claim to fame: SGA prez for 2014-2015, a proud member of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, Senior Interviewer, Global Symposium Fellow…

Where are you going? On my way to get a Claudia’s pick-me-up before monday morning 9am meeting for SGA.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Pause and be kind. Leave your room 10 minutes early for classes so you can actually engage in a small conversation when you pass by a friend instead of “hi, bye, I gotta go.” Make it a daily routine to do something for another person, whether big or small.

2. Learn to appreciate, and pay forward. It is truly a blessing to be surrounded by such passionate, committed and courageous individuals. Cherish this community and whenever you can, pay forward.

3. Fail harder. A very close friend of mine shared this piece of wisdom with me. It is OK to fail. Try new things, embrace new ideas, challenge different perspectives, take risks and fail harder.

Back in her day everyone loved Lehman

May

10

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Aviva

Aviva Nassimi

Your Sunday night wouldn’t be complete with at least one more senior wisdom. Next, we bring you some wisdom from Aviva Nassimi.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Aviva Nassimi, Barnard College, Psychology/Political Science Minor, Long Island, NY

Claim to fame: Maybe I was your RA, your TA, your speaking fellow, or the girl you saw searching “Puppies vs. babies” and “Tie-dye Your Hair With Kool-Aid” on YouTube in Butler.

Someone once called me the greatest lover of Barnard but I like to think she said “Greatest Lover at Barnard.”

Where are you going? Well the only job I have set in stone is an entry level position as a gastronomical voyeur.

(but real talk I’m in the city all summer so let’s hang if you’re around!)

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. I have unlearned more than I have learned at Columbia. I have unlearned 18 years of misguided, and often harmful, ideas of what it means to be successful/ to be ‘doing college right’/ to be a good daughter/ a good friend/ a woman/ an ally/ to be beautiful/ to be smart. Do not let your time at Columbia be just an affirmation of who you are when you begin as a first-year, and resist settling for any definition of who or what you should be when you leave.

2. Our fears are often more similar than you think. Every year as an RA for first-year students, I made my residents do an anonymous icebreaker that required everyone to write down their biggest fear. Year after year, the answers were almost identical and a majority of the fears concerned loneliness and a lack of belonging. They were often so similar that residents had trouble remembering which were ones they wrote. During your time at Columbia, we all, at some point, learn how deeply unhappy we can be as students here. What if we were all more honest and upfront with each other about the fear and shame and pain that can sometimes keep us up until 4am on a Wednesday? All I know is that “shared pain is lessened, shared joy is increased.”

3. There is work in sometimes just sitting on the lawn with your friends. One of my wisest friends who already graduated once taught me that “work” doesn’t just mean schoolwork or homework or work-work, like internships and clubs and all of that — there is work in waking up every morning and there is work in being where you are, and work in resting, and work in taking chances, and work in dreaming and work in those tiny moments that we forget are so valuable as we build our lives bit by bit everyday. Maybe you are not yet an award-winning New York Times journalist, or you haven’t cured cancer or you don’t work for NASA (congratulations to the three of you on this campus who have/are/will.) But never ever forget that you have done (and will continue to do) so. much. work. here.

4. (Also, I cannot tell you the full story behind this, but trust me, clear your browser history and most visited sites before any class presentation in which your computer screen will be projected.)

Yaaas queen

May

10

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Zoe

Zoe Ridolfi-Starr

With the last weekend of the semester wrapping up, we bring you yet another senior wisdom to inspire you to push through the rest of finals. Today we begin with some wisdom from Zoe Ridolfi-Starr.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Zoe Ridolfi-Starr, Columbia College, Political Science, San Jose CA

Claim to fame: Your friendly neighborhood angry feminist! Organized to fight gender-based violence on campus, founder of No Red Tape. Helped create the Prison Resistance and Education Project and the Books Not Bars programs for incarcerated youth. Worked for reproductive justice on campus, got free emergency contraception provided at Health Services, and secured the creation of the Columbia Emergency Health Fund to subsidize, among other things, abortions. (You should check out this fund–it’s a little-known but important resource! https://health.columbia.edu/about-columbia-health/special-health-fund)

Where are you going? I will be staying in New York and charting a path through the anti-violence organizing world, hopefully towards a job at the intersections of gender-based violence, civil rights, and prison resistance. I’ll be raising my own salary for the next few months, so hit me up if you’re feeling generous :)

Much more wisdom from Zoe next.

May

9

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Molly Heller

Molly Heller

In case one wasn’t enough for you today, here’s another Senior Wisdom! Check out what advice GS/JTS/VShow superstar Molly Heller has to offer.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Molly Heller, GS/JTS, Theatre and Drama Arts (Acting Concentration) at Columbia and Modern Jewish Studies at JTS, Palos Verdes, CA

Claim to fame: Director of the 121st Annual Varsity Show, I crossed 110th Street in the 119th Annual Varsity Show, I was a Super Mail Woman in XMAS, I served for two years as President of List College Student Council (JTS), I don’t sleep, and one time I fell down the steps between Kent and Low.

Where are you going? First, I’ll be putting up my new musical, Mad Girl’s Love Song, at the New York International Fringe Festival. From there, I’ll instantly make millions of dollars, become a household name, and finally get to buy myself that catamaran. And get a kitten.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Don’t sleep. Contrary to popular belief, I love sleep and do lots of it, but if getting a bit less sleep means you get to take advantage of “doing it all,” you should shave off that extra hour. I promise you’ll never leave college empty-handed in either the social, extra-curricular, or academic realms saying, “At least I was well-rested!” You will sleep when you graduate. For now, soak up everything this place has to offer.

2. Seamless can be your best friend or your worst nemesis. Be careful. If you are ordering food with friends, go for it. If it’s by yourself, just go to a dining hall. Food should always be a social experience.

3. Be offended. Dean Awn says (far more eloquently than I will paraphrase) if you exit college without feeling offended on multiple occasions, you’ve made a huge mistake. One of the brilliant parts of being at this school is your direct access to a diverse population of people who don’t all think exactly the same way you do. Listen and engage with other people’s opinions, challenge your thoughts, find new ways to support your ideas, and grow.

“Back in my day…” I put Starbucks drinks in my backpack to smuggle into Butler, Cole Hickman had no hair, Pinkberry had delivery, and Street-Corner-Kevin was always looking out for us JTS-ers in Mathilde Schechter Residence Hall.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: In eighth grade I broke both of my wrists attempting to snowboard for the first time. I was on the bunny slope.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Favorite class at Columbia was Acting Comedy with Charise Greene (pretty much any acting class with Charise Greene) and my favorite class at JTS (you didn’t ask, but hey, I’m the one imparting wisdom, so back off!) was 12th Century Biblical Exegesis.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I don’t like cheese except for on pizza. So definitely oral sex. Mama loves that Diana pizza!

One thing to do before graduating: Go to office hours at least once with every professor you have and talk about everything but the assignments for the class. Professors are people too. Yes, sometimes they are gods, and that’s cool because one time in office hours I got to chat with my professor while resting on a chaise lounge while T.A.’s fanned us with palm leaves and fed us grapes. So go to office hours and you shall be rewarded… And see the Varsity Show.

Any regrets? Having to ask for an extension on my Senior Wisdom. Other than that, I wish I had gotten even less sleep and soaked up even more experiences from this place.

May

9

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Carly Ginsberg

Carly Ginsberg

Senior wisdoms continue today with Carly Ginsberg, aka that girl you maybe know from Jewish summer camp.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Carly Ginsberg, Barnard, English (Creative Writing & Theater Concentrations), Los Angeles

Claim to fame: I’m that girl who sort of looks like your friend from Jewish summer camp/I probably spilled coffee or tripped in front of you but kept smiling. I also give tours of Barnard and am the president of the most disorganized, but most marvelous, theater group on campus: NOMADS.

Where are you going? To Brooklyn!

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. If you’re part of something that makes you feel shitty or think less of yourself (friend group, club, class), you’re allowed to back out. Eliminating bad vibes from your life doesn’t make you a quitter; it makes you smart, and ultimately happier and more successful.

2. Go to Furman or CPS. Free therapy sessions are a very hard thing to come by, especially in New York, and you get eight (or more) per semester here. Going to therapy doesn’t mean you’re crazy, it means you’re a person.

3. You are enough! You are enough! You are enough!

“Back in my day…” the 1 worked on the weekends and more people ate gluten.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I am a human cuddle.

What was your favorite class at Columbia? Well, my favorite classes have been at Barnard, and they involve anything with Pam Cobrin. She teaches crazy beautiful seminars about sex and theater, and she cares so much about her students it truly blows my mind. She’s just a true gem of a person, and people don’t talk about her enough.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’ve never needed to fake it for cheese.

One thing to do before graduating: Write hand-written thank you notes to people that have helped you throughout your time here—from dining hall staff to advisors to librarians. Also, the Barnard librarians are amazing people and I highly recommend getting to know them before you graduate.

Any regrets? So many, but how could you not when you go to a school like this? There are just too many cool things to do. If anything, I wish I knew from the beginning that I simply wouldn’t be able to do everything, and that’s ok. That’s what DSpar taught me ;)

May

8

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Layla

Layla Tavangar

Who better to get some Senior Wisdom from than the gal that won the position of Barnard senior class president? Up next, we introduce the wisdom of Layla Tavangar.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Layla Tavangar, Barnard, Economics & Psychology, Berwyn, PA

Claim to fame: Barnard Senior Class President, Ex-Treasurer and glorified non-musician in the CUMB, Delta Grandma, the girl whose name you don’t remember that said hi to you that one time because you had a class together years ago.

Where are you going? Off to Los Angeles to work in Sales at Red Bull, but I can’t imagine that I wouldn’t come back to NYC after a (relatively) short while!

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Figure out how to make the most of your time, sooner rather than later. For me, that meant doing almost all of my schoolwork in quiet places where people could judge me for not focusing (Butler 209, 303, and the Brooks Study Lounge, mainly). It also meant going out at least twice per week and diving head-first into extracurriculars. I have yet to meet someone who can decide to stay in on a weekend night to do non-immediately-due homework who didn’t end up wasting most of their night procrastinating.

2. Join at least one club with a strong social component ASAP. Talking to fellow seniors, the most common complaint they have about their first year is usually that they didn’t feel a part of a community for a while. I don’t hear this, however, from most people who joined cultural groups, the CUMB, greek life, CIRCA, etc. as soon as they stepped on campus and/or became eligible to join. Don’t feel like everything you’re a part of needs to play some professional purpose. Your passion for the people you’ll meet in these groups and the communities they foster actually can make you stand out among an applicant pool of higher GPAs and dime-a-dozen internships, if that’s what you’re worried about. Above all else, these groups will give you support in everything you do on and off campus, before and after graduation.

3. Don’t keep your thoughts and emotions to yourself. I promise, your friends/floormates/RA/therapist all have feelings too, and can help you with whatever you’re going through. Keeping it all in makes life feel pretty lonely, and it distances you from people who probably want to get closer.In conjunction with this, don’t keep doing things that make you feel bad. It sounds obvious, but it’s really not. Whether it’s a major, certain friendships, activities, etc., just don’t continue with things that are making you less happy just because you don’t want to be a “quitter” or you feel obligated to continue.

Barnard girls were able to swipe into JJ’s?

May

8

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Sejal Singh

Sejal Singh

To help ease your woes on the first day of finals, we bring you yet another Senior Wisdom from former CU Dems prez Sejal Singh.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Sejal Singh, Columbia College, Political Science. “Hometown” is always a tough one for me, because I moved around a bit – I was born in Allentown, Pennsylvania, and mostly grew up in Florida and Singapore.

Claim to fame: I’ve done some work I’m really proud of on campus sexual assault, mental health, food insecurity, disability accommodations, and financial aid, and consider myself #blessed to have been President of the CU Democrats. But I’m probably better known for never being seen without a pair of heels and sneaking into fancy donor cocktail hours (Columbia tip: if you act like you belong there, everyone will assume you do).

Where are you going? I’ve been to a lot of cities, but New York’s where my heart is. I’m here to stay, at least for a while.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Columbia is an amazing place to get an education, an incredible hub for research and innovation, and the home of many brilliant young minds (including yours). A lot of people say that, since Columbia’s so great, student activists shouldn’t complain or bring us bad press. Well, Columbia is a great place, and this school could be a source of opportunity and education for everyone lucky enough to be here. But a lot of people aren’t thriving here, because they’re depressed, or because they’re low-income students juggling classes with two jobs and student loans, or because the vision they had of college life was torn apart by a sexual assault, or for a hundred other reasons. Loving Columbia means holding it to our ideal of what it should be. So when you hear that students of color or queer students feel unsupported, no one’s getting their paycheck on time, or workers are being treated unfairly, don’t get defensive – ask how we can make Columbia do better. Hold Columbia to a higher standard. Sign a petition, join a protest, or start your own. You might be surprised how far a polite email to an administrator can get you. Every admin’s email is on the columbia.edu directory, so go wild. But don’t forget that, while there are plenty of nice people at Columbia who will listen to and act on student concerns (special s/o to Health Services, CPS, CSA, and the OMA), most of the big, institutional changes at Columbia are the result of sustained, brave, loud student activists and the embarrassing media coverage that followed them. Think full-need financial aid, the creation of the Rape Crisis Center, CSER, and divestment from South Africa. None of those would exist without students fighting to make them possible. Some admins will be great; others will string you along, push you in circles around Columbia’s byzantine bureaucracy, give you an inch and stop when you really need a mile, or just refuse point blank and not tell you why. Figure out who’s interested in student input, and work with them in good faith – and figure out who’s not, and think about what it’s historically taken to bring them to the table. No matter what, don’t forget that fellow students are your team. A united student body can change the way things happen around here. It’s happened before.

2. Women: there are sexist assholes at Columbia (and everywhere else) and they may try to tear you down. Don’t ever let that intimidate you or stop you from speaking up, because you prove them wrong every time you’re right.

3. Learn not to be a dick. Don’t worry, all incoming students are dicks – being pretentious, overly self-aware, and hyper-competitive is probably what got us all into the Ivy League in the first place. But the most important thing you can leave Columbia with is more empathy. For most of you, Class of 2019, Columbia will be the most diverse and difficult place you’ve ever been – it definitely was for me. Over the last four years, I’ve seen myself and my peers learn to love, respect, and go to bat for people who are vastly different than themselves, and do so more kindly and thoughtfully than we ever could have as first-years. When you’re older and less of a dick, try to forgive people who aren’t there yet. It’s always a learning process.

Even more wise words from Sejal next.

May

7

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Orli Matlow

Orli Matlow

Not enough CUMB for you with just one CUMBers senior wisdom? Next, we bring you former CUMB Minister of Propaganda Orli Matlow.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Orli Matlow, GS/JTS, American Studies, Toronto, Canada

Claim to fame: Former CUMB Minister of Propaganda, Spec videos, the Getting Graphic series on Spectrum, Jester standup shows. Lorne Michaels is my mom’s friend’s husband’s first cousin!! I’ll watch your stuff while you go to the bathroom.

Where are you going? Hopefully to be one of the Jews who control the media (Google it!). Oy. Please @HireMeImFunny.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Don’t be so committed to a particular vision of yourself that it prevents you from exploring other opportunities. I arrived here in August 2011 a precocious weenie who called Broadway showtunes “sacred music” and all other songs “secular music.” Freshman year, I thought that theatre was going to be my jam like it was in high school. Not being cast in shows that spring turned out to be a great thing, because I started writing and entered a standup competition on campus (once you start performing your own jokes, Shakespeare and Sondheim can suck it!). I joined both the Marching Band and Spec to write jokes, and those turned out to be my *things*. Had I been fixated on what 17 year-old-me wanted her college experience to be, I never would have figured out what I wanted to do with my life!

2. Go to therapy. It is the best, and there is absolutely no shame in it. Shout out to my bro Dr. M for always being there for me (well, in exchange for money), and to my friends who had to put up with my shit for free.

Whether it is venting to your mom or masturbating (just not at the same time), have an activity that lets you destress, and has nothing to do with your resume or GPA. Prioritize your health and well-being; Sleep deprivation doesn’t make you cool, it makes you vulnerable to heart disease.

3. Laugh (This one will likely get shit in the comments). Oscar Wilde said, “Life is too important to be taken seriously.” (Please pardon the cliche use of this quote, I picked up this cheesy writing technique in UWriting.) This place can be awful and weird – #FuckingColumbia – you might as well be in on the joke. It is empowering and cathartic to laugh at things, for other than certain pharmaceuticals, laughter really is the best medicine. This is going to get soapboxy, but when it comes to analyzing jokes, think lawyerly and ask about malicious intent: comedians often have the same end in mind as activists but just go about communicating their message in a different way. College is about being open not only to ideas but also methods of communicache*

*Made that an abbrev in an attempt to sound less pretensh.

Struggling with semicolons next.

May

7

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Ziyad Abdelfattah

Ziyad Abdelfattah

In honor of Orgo Night, we thought it would be fitting to feature some CUMBers in today’s senior wisdoms. First, we bring you former Orgo Night writer and Spectator columnist, Ziyad Abdelfattah.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Ziyad Abdelfattah, Columbia College, Political Science + Music, Berkeley, CA.

Claim to fame: I did Orgo Night a couple of times, tried to get people to click on my Spec column this semester, performed at a few Jester events, left this highly successful Bwog comment four years ago that I still think about sometimes, and wrote/produced a lot of stuff for CUMB including a bunch of sketches, a song that got us in trouble a long time ago, and our pornographic art film.

Where are you going? I’m giving comedy a shot wherever people let me do it.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Pure sarcasm is the laziest form of comedy and if you abuse it, nobody recognizes when you’re being sincere. I’m trying to replace sarcasm with cleverness in myself; the Class of 2019 can get a head start on that maybe.

2. Any time you’re doing something that doesn’t require much thinking, like folding laundry or riding the subway or eating handfuls of jelly beans sprawled out on your bed, put on a podcast or an audiobook that will teach you something or make you a better writer or improve you in any way.

3. Take the stairs two at a time. Not figuratively. It’s just a faster way to climb stairs.

Thoughts on the vagina and cheese to come.

May

6

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Ally Engelberg

Ally Engelberg

Here is our second senior wisdom of the day, brought to you by Barnard senior Ally Engelberg.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Ally Engelberg, Barnard, American Studies/Film Studies double major, Lexington, Massachusetts (yes, home of the Shot Heard ‘Round the World, the Battle of Lexington and Concord, “the Redcoats are coming,” Paul Revere— you know the drill).

Claim to fame: Producer of The 119th and 120th Annual Varsity Shows, Vice President of the CU Performing Arts League, the girl who changed the name of SDT’s talent show benefitting Prevent Child Abuse America from “Greek Beats” to “Quest for the BeSDT,” and permanent resident of the Lerner 5 and Lerner 7 administrative offices (s/o to Vicky Zabriskie and Rodney Mirabal for being my ride or die clique for four years).

Where are you going? Nowhere, ever.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

  1. Use Google Drive, because it means that you’re collaborating and making stuff with your peers. Sophomore year, two friends and I (whom I had JUST met) decided to write a full length parody of a musical in three days and it’s one of the best Google Docs in my Drive because to me it signifies the start of our wacky friendship. Someone also once told me that my meticulously organized Google Drive was hot, so I guess that’s a perk too. As a total aside, you know who you are, I’m ready to marry you please.
  2. Stay friends. I have found myself lucky beyond belief to have people in my life who’d travel for me, drink with me, and create with me at a moment’s notice, maybe less. They’re going abroad? They graduated? They’re interning in Tennessee this summer? Keep in touch because it matters. Your peers at Columbia will be people you’ll still want to know when you’re 75. So pick up the phone and make plans. Now, do it now.
  3. Notes of appreciation go a long way. To friends, professors, administrators, advisors— anyone who’s working hard for you, and there are usually tons of those people at any given time. Actually take a pen and paper and physically write down a sincere thank you. People keep those notes forever; I do. And yes, I am already your Jewish mother.

More wise advice after the jump…

May

6

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Katherina

Katherina Barguil

As finals approach, we’re rolling out even more senior wisdoms. Today, we bring you wisdom from SEAS student Katherina Barguil.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Katherina Barguil; SEAS; Civil Engineering (Water Resources); Cartagena, Colombia

Claim to fame: Once smuggled 40 bananas out of John Jay at a single dinner; I am also the person who caused the burn mark on the table in Hartley 8C (it was the first birthday for a friend I celebrated here); the big one though is probably being known as the RA of Wallach 9, the floor with the piano (among other pieces of random furniture/art/stuff throughout my time here.)

Where are you going? I’m off to Panama as a Peace Corps volunteer in the environmental and water resources engineering sector for the next couple of years, and perhaps I’ll be traveling further south after that. All I know is I’m leaving New York for a while, but I hope to be back before the end of the decade. :)

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Read, write, and cultivate your creative side. There were moments that I told myself I was too busy to read or write (I speak only as an engineering major), and that I didn’t have time for things outside of my classes…I was wrong. Read books along with your friends, write what you feel and/or what you’ve done, even if just a few lines a day, and build up your canon of thought. I’ve slowly put together my own library of classics: books and articles and poems that have shaped my experience here. I have also included books of my own cultural patrimony, reading and studying them myself the same way I would a book from the core. Explore that part of yourself, away from the problem sets, and if writing is not your thing, do whatever is, but do not let your creative spark be stifled, and cultivate it along with every part of yourself while you’re here. I also encourage you to learn to build something, to use your hands and bring a physical project to completion. Enrich your academic life by exploring what you’re not so good at, or have never had the opportunity to try. The larger point I’m trying to make is really to just not get (too) caught up in the mundane, and to remember that while we are all students in pursuit of that next goal, pay attention to the periphery and be not afraid of veering a bit off the path.

2. Columbia was for me, a difficult place to be at times, and it will be for some of you as well. Accept that disillusionment, anger, and anxiety may sometimes come, and do not be afraid to step away. I realized too late at times that I was allowed to be overwhelmed, and that I could take a step back and learn to breathe again, regardless if it pissed people off. Do not be afraid of your vulnerability, or of your fragility, because acknowledging that part of yourself makes you strong. What I’ve done/do to find myself again during hard times took time to learn as well, and so I encourage you to find that place – on campus, in the city, or in your head – where you feel comfortable enough to look into yourself and mend your broken pieces.

3. Appreciate the staff and people that are part of your daily existence here on campus. While you might get looks throughout the city for approaching and/or greeting a stranger, take the time to learn about the public safety officers at the entrance to your residence hall, to the person swiping your card at the dining hall, to the person cleaning your living space. On some days it is they who remind me about the power of a smile, of a “how are you doing” that isn’t asked as a passing formality. Billy, and Murray, and Larry have known me since Day 1, and they are bearers of wisdom, kind words, and happiness. Remember them in turn, and be of service when you can. Don’t ignore the person cleaning your bathroom, taking out your trash. They are integral, necessary members of Columbia, and they are the people who make your comfort here possible.

More wisdom from Katherina next.

May

5

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Doug

Doug Kronaizl

Got wisdom? Luckily, senior Doug Kronaizl does. We enlisted him to give us our daily dose of all that is wise in today’s senior wisdom. 

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Doug Kronaizl, Vermillion, SD, Columbia College, History

Claim to fame: Grand Poobah, Music Director, and resident Mariah Carey of the Columbia Kingsmen. I’m also a member of the elite 0.1% of Columbia students hailing from the Great State of South Dakota. If we’ve met, odds are I’ve told you a thing or two about the Rushmore State and you damn well better have enjoyed it.

Where are you going? Heading back to SoDak to head up political committee aiming to put an initiated constitutional amendment on the ballot in 2016. Did you know that last November, South Dakotans went out to the polls and, with a 55% majority, approved a law raising the minimum wage to $8.50? Democracy at work! When asked if he thought the Legislature would amend that law and re-lower the wage, our governor admitted that “would be a little bit of an affront to the voters who just adopted it” and then proceeded to redefine “affront” in order to affront the voters right in their collective face. I know you are all as incensed about this as I am so if you want to sign a petition to protect initiated measures in SD become a resident and hmu.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. Don’t hate on Lerner; embrace Lerner. Just know that the sooner you internalize that message, the sooner you will be truly at peace with yourself. Elevators are abysmally slow, the ramps are the ramps, and then there’s that damn turnstile at the Broadway entrance. Those features aside, here are some tips to ensure the best possible Lerner experience. Find the interior stairwells – they are your friends. Unless you have a scooter, they will get you where you need to go faster than any ramp ever could. Enjoy the amenities! Lerner piano rooms on the 5th floor that, if you’re lucky, you can claim all to yourself? Computer labs x 2? A dining hall? Not to mention the bubble tea. That’s all within a single building. MEGA PRO TIP. Envision this scene: it’s crunchtime and you need a quiet space to do some reading. Lerner Cinema is the place to be. The room is full of comfy seats and it’s always empty. Slight downside, laptoppers, the entire space is outlet-less.

2. Take part in a small, tight-knit student group. En route from South Dakota in 2011, there were only two other people from my entire state in the Class of 2015. Entering NYC without knowing a single person can be terrifying and it was. Living so far from home definitely wore on me. But fortunately I joined the Kingsmen during my first week. Evening rehearsals, cool performances, roadtrips, all of these things and more ensured that I had some group I was a part of. Additionally, it introduced me to a group of students I could relate to. Making the transition campus can be tough, but having a small, focused group dynamic helps. Still, this is a plug as much as it is an answer to the question.

3. Save a buck and utilize the Digital Humanities Center on the 3rd Floor of Butler. Professor expecting you to buy an entire book even though they only assign a single chapter for a single class? Save your hard-earned cash for things the really matter like Chipotle and Chipotle. Go to Butler, look that book up, enter the Stacks, find the book, take it to the DHC, scan the chapter as your own PDF. And if you have any questions, the DHC staff is one of the most helpful on this campus. Top-notch stuff.

John Jay didn’t always have Wifi?

May

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Caleb

Caleb LoSchiavo

Now that classes are over and you can no longer glean enlightenment from your professors, Bwog has got you covered with your much-needed daily dose of wisdom. Here’s BC senior Caleb LoSchiavo’s senior wisdom to get you going. 

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Caleb LoSchiavo, “The College” (Barnard), Psychology major and Italian minor, hailing from Wyckoff, NJ

Claim to fame: You may know me as one of the prominent leaders of The Gay Agenda on campus. A hater once said to me in an email, “You might mean well and have good intentions but you are doing the opposite of you hope to achieve.” I’ve worked on overall education and awareness on campus as well as initiatives like gender neutral bathrooms on both sides of the street, trans inclusivity in mental health services, a preferred name option in SIS, and a trans-inclusive admissions policy at Barnard. So I think I’m doing exactly what I hope to achieve here.

Where are you going? Nowhere. No honestly, I’ll be here working on a show that was accepted to the Glicker-Milstein Summer Program. After that, I have no idea where I’ll be.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2019?

1. If you want something to change at this school, I promise you’re not the only one who feels that way. Speak up. Find other students who share your drive and desires. A lot can happen if you join forces and get the right people to listen to you.

2. You cannot do everything. You should not try to do everything. Just because there’s an open board position in your favourite student group doesn’t mean you need to fill it. Just because a class can fit into your schedule doesn’t mean it should. Your plate doesn’t always need to be so fill that it’s overflowing. Doing too much will inevitably backfire, and people won’t resent you for knowing your limits and respecting them (if they do, they’re probably not worth your time).

3.The people who you can call family and who can make this place feel like home are out here. You might not find them right away—they might not be in your orientation group or on your first-year hall. I didn’t start to meet my people until October of my sophomore year. I’m still meeting more and more people. Your people might be in unexpected places, like a class you almost dropped or an event you almost didn’t go to. Don’t underestimate the power of chosen family.

Oral sex or cheese thoooo?

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