Senior Wisdom: Amanda Erickson

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Name, School:

Amanda Erickson, CC 

Claim to fame:

Former Spectator managing editor 

Post-grad plans:

Covering politics in DC for the Chicago Tribune this summer, then hopefully covering meetings about parking permits and roundabouts in a small town newspaper somewhere. Or else volunteering and backpacking from Argentina to Mexico.  

Preferred swim test stroke?

Floating on my stomach and trying not to run into the person in front of me. 

What are three things you learned at Columbia?

1. It’s worth giving the benefit of the doubt. Most people at Columbia really want to make things better, though they disagree pretty fundamentally about how to do that.

2. Checking your email several times an hour will not result in more frequent, interesting mail.

3. There really isn’t enough time to do everything you care about here, so you may as well choose one or two things you love a lot and accept that there will always be others you wish you had done. 

Justify your existence in 30 words or less.

I give more hugs than the average Columbia student. 

What was your favorite controversy in your time at Columbia?

I’m sort of partial to Ahmadinejad’s visit. There were so many issues to consider – the role of free speech on a campus, what academic freedom really means, and the horrible but subtle ways Americans’ prejudices against Islam play out at Columbia.  It was also depressing to watch the media descend and in more than a few cases, distort (I’m looking at you Fox News) what happened here that day. It made me think a little more carefully about what role a press can and should play on a college campus.  

What Columbia memory best exemplifies your college experience?

Promising my roommate (who kindly and valiantly tried for three years to establish some order in my life) I’d by home by 9, then spending most of the night at the Spectator office trying franticly to confirm that Ahmadinejad was coming to campus. Finally breaking the story, going to JJ’s afterwards, then getting home at 6 AM to read a book and write a presentation for an 11 o’clock seminar. 

Which prof do you think would be the best kisser?

I’ve always had a thing for President Bollinger. Great hair and a penchant for defending the freedoms of the press. What more could a girl ask for? 

Would you rather permanently give up oral sex or cheese?

I’m Italian. I’m pretty sure my grandmother would never cook for me again if I gave up cheese, and she makes very good meatballs and lasagna. 

Days on Campus memory?

Taking a tour with a student who told us the architect who planned Lerner designed it so that students would run into each other on the ramps, befriend one another, and form lifelong bonds. Believing him and feeling a little disappointed when people didn’t stop and talk to me the first time I went to check my mail. 


Not taking better advantage of student rush tickets. Never joining ROOTEd. Not spending enough time reading for history classes I loved. Spending too much time looking for my glasses or CUID. Not walking more places. And graduating too soon.

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  1. SEV

    more hugs than the average CU student, but never enough!

  2. Amanda  

    Rocks my socks so hard I think they might fall off.

    Seriously, Amanda is one of the greatest people ever. I

  3. I really  

    liked this one...great things she learned at Columbia, and the graduating too soon is dead-on.

  4. absentminded  

    but more loveable with each lost key!

  5. amanda  

    is even more delicious than chocolate pudding!

  6. terrific!  

    finally a really great journalist! amanda made spec really great. columbia should be sad to lose her!

  7. and  

    cute, smart, a great map maker, and have we mentioned amazing?

  8. this was better  

    than the last senior profile. i guess i could have read more of her spec articles.

  9. Amanda...  

    ... is that perfect mixture of kindness, dry humor, and chutzpah. Oh, and she's a killer journalist, as well. I feel so fortunate to have met her. Good luck this summer in Washington!

  10. Chutzpah...  

    ... in the endearing sense. Girl's got guts.

  11. You go girl!  

    I'm usually all for bashing the Spec, but Amanda seems pretty wonderful. I wish her the best of luck!

  12. don't know her  

    but she seems great.

    good senior wisdom choice, bwog!

  13. wow  

    I didn't know that's why the ramps were built that way... I sort of like that.

  14. Cool  

    Amanda's cool...Now for Janusz Kesek!

  15. Amanda  

    is a very sweet and thoughtful individual.

    • Dominique  

      Respecting Ourselves and Others Through Education. It's group on campus that facilitates discussions on issues of power and privilege on Columbia's campus and beyond. And yes, it is understandable that this is one of her greatest regrets. ROOTEd rocks the socks off any other campus group, hands down. Most fun, most meaningful, most free ice cream of any other activity :)

  16. yeah  

    chicago tribune! best sports section in the country.

  17. I wish  

    I knew Amanda better. This is wonderful. Honest, positive, and thoughtful.

  18. woah  

    when reading her DOC memory, I actually imagined people running up and down the ramps and physically running into each other. i want that to happen now

  19. Very nice  

    nonetheless, I expect some amount of crazy bwog-commenter vitrol for every ounce of sincerity that someone writes & i'm surprised this wisdom hasn't yet been hit.

    is it possible that you guys are falling down on the job of making me lose faith in columbians & humanity in general because you're ...*gasp*... nostalgic for this place... & maybe even sad to be going?

    ...cuz that would be rich if it were true

  20. not joining

    rooted is also one of my biggest regrets. rooted! Why Mondays? Why?

  21. we need  

    senior wisdom of Josh Schwartz!!

  22. Armin Rosen  

    Girl also mixes a devastating Long Island iced tea. Anyway, here's to not letting my soul-poisoning hometown poison your soul!

  23. sigh  

    "2. Checking your email several times an hour will not result in more frequent, interesting mail."

    I'm a senior too, and I still haven't learned this...

  24. Enough  

    amazing things cannot be said about Amanda. Seriously, try it. See that? There's still more to say.

    • here's more  

      Awwww! I just caught this now, and it made me briefly forget how totally screwed I am on my exam tomorrow. Amanda's such a sweetheart! She and John make the best journalistic couple ever! Mwah!

  25. and  

    shirley torho
    poonam pai

  26. interesting

    How could someone so seemingly intelligent think that the hatred that some people feel for a most odious individual can only be explained by religious bigotry?

  27. I don't think...  

    she ever said that. What she said was that the event brought a lot of anti-Muslim sentiment to campus. I was here too, and I agree. The way people started to talk about Islam was scary.

  28. oh oh oh

    amanda's too good. she's fiercely intelligent, and i can't believe the great humanity she has sometimes after everything she's seen and put up with through spec (though she'd never complain). her hugs are indeed wonderful, her humor is disarming, and i love it when she gets upset. it's endearing, as are most things she does. and how kind that she thinks about not running into the person in front of her during the swim test! also, she's right about islam on campus. she's always right.

  29. more nice things!

    What a nice, honest, and thoughtful senior wisdom from someone who is incredibly nice, honest, and thoughtful. amanda did great things for Spec, and she's also just a generally wonderful person. one day, when i reminisce about all the cool people i met at columbia, she'll definitely be on my list.

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