senior wisdom Archive



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Marc Heinrich (1)

USenator, Loyal Friend, and feckless comment-reader Marc Heinrich wants to endow you procrastinators with some wisdom. He talks work-life balance, leadership, and asbestos, among other topics. Check out our other wisdoms for more ruminations.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Marc Heinrich, Columbia College, Political Science & History, New York, NY

Claim to fame: University Senator, AEPi Brother, semester-long EIC of the Undergraduate Law Review, Proud Bacardi Enthusiast, Sofia Vergara fan (I once woke up at 5:30 am to see her)

Where are you going? Moving to Washington D.C. and going into consulting (I know, shocking coming from Columbia).

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

1. Be a Good and Loyal Friend. I really can’t stress this one enough, and I always try to remember this as I interact with people. If someone you’re close to needs help, you should drop everything to do so. Your paper can wait and you can come back early from whatever bar you’re at (hopefully not 1020), but being there for the people you care about is really the most important personality trait someone can have. It’s also what separates a regular friendship from one who will truly mean a lot to you past Columbia. The only times I’ve ever stayed up past 5am at Columbia have been to help friends with issues they were having and I’ve never once regretted it.

More wiz after the jump



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Eva Kalikoff (1)

Still scribbling out her thesis, Barnard senior and “self-hating Jew” Eva Kalikoff took a few minutes to share some thoughts about activism, sushi, and Senior Scramble. Let her wisdom blow you away, and peruse our library of knowledge at your leisure. 

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Eva Kalikoff, Barnard College, Comparative Literature, Hastings-on-Hudson, NY

Claim to fame: I spent a lot of time shouting about separating zionism from Judaism, both on College Walk and Facebook. I created a Jewish community for people with dissenting opinions on Israel, while simultaneously being called a Nazi and a self-hating Jew by parents who should not be allowed on the internet and my beloved fellow classmates at this glorious elitist institution (@Kraft Center what’s good???). I tweeted angrily throughout the 600 fire of 2015, which quickly squashed the possibility for realizing any culinary ambitions that involved an oven, and also saw the end of Ollie’s (RIP MSG in everything). I started as an idealistic Spec City News reporter with ambitions of Managing Board glory. Instead, I watched that corporatized ship sink in front of me. I learned a lot about local politics and Community Board 7 along the way, though.

Where are you going? Get back to me after I’ve turned in my thesis.

Tips and insight after the jump



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Hannah Cohen

In our next Senior Wisdom, Hannah Cohen discusses being named after a Hebrew alcoholic and why becoming dependent on substances is not a great thing. Plus some stuff about finding yourself, true self knowledge, and just plain out connecting with other members of the Columbia community.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Hannah Jane Cohen, CC, Earth Science and Film Studies, Central Perk.

Claim to fame:

  • Most tattooed member of CC.
  • The person who abruptly disappeared junior year and never came back.
  • A ton of people (including professors) think I dropped out—I didn’t? Surprise
  • (Former) COÖP leader—sorry for dropping out, guys.
  • Incredibly antisocial new member of the class of 2016. Most of you probably have no idea who I am. In that case, hi. Check me out at

Click here for more of this cool cat



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Suze Myers (1)

The face of a woman who knows what she’s doing

The wisdom continues with Suze Myers – Zine clubber, librarian enthusiast, and social media expert. (Does she run the Barnlib Twitter? Does she run something even better? You’ll have to read on to find out.)

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Suze Myers, Barnard, Art History, Huntsville, AL

Claim to fame: Head cheerleader of the Barnard Zine Club, and the #1 student library worker in the tri-state area. Maybe not #1 but probably top ten. Also a graphic designer, and also a total babe.

Where are you going? I’m moving to London to study design.

What was that about running Twitters?



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Lucas Zeppetello

Hello, God? It’s me, Lucas.

The series you’ve been waiting for is finally here: senior wisdom, when real seniors give real advice for your real future. (It’s also almost finals, but who cares about that, right?) Starting the series off is Lucas Zeppetello, with great hair and greater wisdom.

Name: Lucas Vargas Zeppetello // School: SEAS // Major: Applied Physics (Minor in Religion) // Hometown: San Francisco, CA

Claim to fame: No claim no fame no pain no gain no flame no shame no feign no sane

Where are you going? I’m going to spend the summer working on an old school bus to try and turn it into a mobile home. If all goes well, I’ll take this project up to Seattle with me when I move there in the fall to start a PhD. program in atmospheric physics at the University of Washington.

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

  1. There is no war on fun. One of my mom’s best lines is “if you’re bored, it’s your own fault” and that is more true here at Columbia than it is anywhere else. This is one of the most fun places to be, but the school is not going to hand it to you in a way that people apparently expect it to be. There is an incredible universe of amazing things to explore but you have to put yourself out there and get into it.
  2. Your classmates are fucking amazing. Talk to them. Learn from them. People will inspire you on a daily basis if you let them.
  3. Check in with yourself more than you think you need to. This place is a pressure cooker and it was really important for me to take steps back at times to make sure I was doing alright. I think people have some expectation that everybody here is supposed to be happy and successful all the time, but once I acknowledged that I was going to have bad days and good days and that’s all part of the experience of being here, I felt more relaxed on campus.

But how does he feel about cheese?



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vaguely distasteful

We wanna know what the seniors have to say!

Are you a graduating senior? Are you wise? If you answered “yes” to the second question, you’re probably lying to yourself, but we want to hear from you anyway. To help us continue our tradition of asking almost-graduates questions about oral sex, cheese, and everything in between, we need you to nominate yourself/your friends/your enemies for Spring 2016’s Senior Wisdoms! If you have someone in mind, send their info to along with a short description of why you think they deserve a Senior Wisdom! Submissions are due by midnight on Friday, April 29.

Feelin like a Senior at Bacchanal via Shutterstock



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Things get philosophical in today’s Senior Wisdom. This time we sat down with Shai Dollin to discuss rationalization of existence, regrets, and the real world.

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Shai Dollin, joint program between Columbia School of GS and JTS, Neuroscience and Behavior major at Columbia and pre-med, and Talmud and Rabbinics major at JTS. I’m from Denver, CO aka the 303, yah there is a band named 303, they’re from CO.

Claim to fame: Yikes, good q, uhhhh I was on CAVA for 5 semesters and people still come to me for free EMT advice. I also love Judaism, science, and Israel.

Where are you going? I will be taking a year off to work in a bio research lab and apply to medical school.

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

  1. My favorite quote by Abraham Joshua Heschel, “When I was young I admired clever people, now that I am old I admire kind people.” Sometimes I feel like an old soul, but the people that had the biggest impact on my life were the ones who showed me and others kindness. Don’t underestimate its power and the positive impact it can make on yourself, your peers, your school, and your world.
  2. Most of the time when people tell you things about their lives, they are just trying to make a connection and not trying to impress you or regurgitate their resume. Just listen and give them the benefit of the doubt. Most people are good, I have that on good authority from Professor Tory Higgins, a prominent Social Psychologist. You can quote me on that.
  3. Take care of yourself, meaning eat healthy food, sleep 8 hours (I mean that, especially during finals), and exercise. These three things improve your health, mood, memory, and work efficiency so not doing these things is ultimately harmful to yourself and your GPA. Mind blown.
  4. Sorry, one more, don’t take yourself so darn seriously, you’re only 18, you have your whole life to be serious.

Back in my day… Ha! Back in my day we had Maoz, a falafel place right near Columbia, and I ate there on the reg. Salad with all the topping up in here.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: That’s the beauty of human existence, our existence does not need to be justified. We are all inherently and infinitely valuable, and those who disagree can come talk to me, I’m having office hours M, T, W, and R all day (said no one ever). I also may have misunderstood the question. Such is life, moving on.

What was your favorite class at Columbia: Social psychology with Tory Higgins, or Clinical Neuropsych with McCaskill, or History of Philosophy II.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Bold q, I love cheese. Nough said.

One thing to do before graduating: Besides passing my finals, making a positive impact on a fellow student’s life.

Any regrets? I think the idea of regret is fundamentally bogus because mistakes are so important to the person you become. I have made many mistakes, and I am a smarter and better person because of them.

Photo provided by the Graduating Sage himself



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We bet Yaniv (the doge) has some wisdom to share

We bet Yaniv (the doge) has some wisdom to share

The Senior Wisdoms continue with Bwog’s former Publisher, Jake Hershman (or, “Hershey,” if you’re that one tipster who won’t stop emailing Bwog from the addresses of,,, hershmeister@strikes.again,,, and

Name, School, Major, Hometown: Jake Hershman, GS/JTS, Information Science (Human-Computer Interaction) and Early Modern & Medieval Jewish Studies, Philadelphia

Claim to fame: I was the Publisher of Bwog every semester that I was a student at Columbia, founded a publishing company for it and other independent publications, and made a lot of people really angry. One time, Spec posted a picture where I look really angry too. Another time, I introduced myself to PrezBo and he said, “I know who you are. How’s Bwog?”

Making a Name at Columbia 101



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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.



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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!



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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



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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



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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!

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.



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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.



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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 ;)

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