And now for our final installment (phew!) of Senior Wisdom, we present to you our dearly near-departed Bwog and Blue & White seniors: Bwog and B&W editor emerita Juli Weiner and Bwog Editor emeritus James Downie, B&W managing editor and former daily editor Alexandra M., Hawkmadinejad editor Courtney D., and B&W senior editor Menachem Kaiser. Thank you for the less formal wisdom you’ve given us; we’ll miss you very much indeed.
Claims to fame:
Alexandra: Managing editor of the Blue and White, Ellen Page lookalike, Originator of the tradition of stopping by Deutsches Haus on the 20th of April and offering salutations
Courtney: Hawkmadinejad stalker, President of Vice of Conversio Virium. You know, the activities all parents foster in their daughters.
James: CU Dems freshman rep, SGB rep/secretary, Bwog Editor.
Juli: Bwog, Blue & White, and Wonkette editrix of yore.
Menachem: Blue & White senior editor with zero Bwog experience; NYU infiltrator extraordinaire; Reluctant C-spot editor (briefly); highly imaginative tour guide; only Jew in DDR club.
Where are you going?
Alexandra: Eurotripping to the town in Sicily where my grandmother was born (there’s a Club Med there now). From which I’ll somehow glean an idea of what to do with the next six months of my life.
Courtney: I’m applying to jobs across the country in my dream of becoming an aviculturist.
James: Reporting and researching for The New Republic in Washington, D.C. for a year. After that, who knows?
Juli: Online, Vanity Fair, and the East Village, in that order.
Menachem: Lithuania, courtesy of Fulbright grant
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- No one likes a sourpuss.
- If they’re not your groceries, don’t eat them.
- The locations of the cleanest bathrooms, the coolest water fountains, and the most reliable staplers on campus.
- Don’t eat things with red food-coloring if you plan on drinking heavily.
- It is less stressful to return my mother’s phone calls than to wait until she assumes I am dead and calls my friends and/or the police.
- I love Mass at St. Paul’s; I especially enjoy Father Jacek’s sermons because he preaches beautifully about God’s love.
- It is extremely difficult to hide in a crowd when you are tall and have red hair. I do not have a future in covert ops.
- If you can think of a talent, someone on campus probably has it.
- People can go to an Ivy League college in the greatest city in the world, and still complain about everything.
- The world really is that small
- How to use the word “reify” at opportune but tasteful moments
- The value of the small-group dinner party
- My world was a lot smaller than I thought it was
- Being the only male in a dance class is awkward, no matter what, especially if you’re tall
- How to write a jaw-dropping cover letter
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer:
Alexandra: My friends say, “Pretentious, but still get-along-able with.” “Good babysitter. Good stories.”
Courtney: I love kink, poetry, Jesus, and birds. I have thick skin. I write love sonnets. I own two busts of Chopin.
James: If I’ve made most people I know a little happier, that’s really all I can hope for.
Juli: I have actually never seen Hawkmadinejad! I’d like to stick around until that happens, at least.
Menachem: Page Six once mentioned that I went to a book party.
Any war stories from the War on Fun?
Alexandra: I spent a day in the Midtown Community Court after two cops caught me drinking underage in front of the Hard Rock Café. I was downing malt liquor out of a water bottle. A cup from McDonald’s would have been better.
Courtney: I was asked to cease my incredibly dirty dancing at Genderfuck 2008.
James: The strangest part of this year’s 40s on 40 was the fifteen or so administrators vigilantly watching over us on the steps. You know a bureaucracy has too many people when that many officials have two or three hours free to stand around. Oh, and coffee cups make the best containers.
Juli: My only run-in with college law-enforcement occurred at NYU. (I was warned by a Hayden RA that I would be forbidden from entering the NYU housing lottery if I was caught drinking in academic buildings again.)
Menachem: Not really. My neighbor did, however, get arrested after masturbating on the roof.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?
Alexandra: The latter, for a proportional increase in the former. I get cranky without cheese.
Courtney: My main kinks are unrequited love and impact play, so I would give up oral sex.
James: As far as I know, supermarkets don’t give out free samples of the former. They also give you weird looks when you ask.
Juli: I’m supposed to say “oral sex,” right?
Menachem: Does any lactose-tolerant non-vegan really choose oral sex?
Any advice for the Class of 2014?
Alexandra: If your dorm is within wafting distance of JJ’s, close the window. Speaking of windows, you can use your sill as a refrigerator—but only between November and March, and never for milk.
Courtney: Take advantage of the amazing birding in Central Park! We have some of the best avian diversity in New York City due to our location along a migration flyway. Take English electives. Do most of your Lit Hum reading. Remember that consent is sexy.
- When getting involved with a student group, try to talk to current board members/senior members to figure out the culture of the group. I’ve been involved and/or worked with a wide variety of student groups in the last four years, and while institutional memory fades quickly, most groups’ cultures remain the same. Some groups are happy and get work done efficiently, while others spend most of their time on infighting. Obviously, go with the former.
- Try to have at least two or three different groups of friends, and especially look to avoid having only friends/suitemates within the student activity that absorbs most of your time. You’ll value the change of scene.
- You’re about to spend four years with a 24-hour library, teachers who do genuinely care about teaching you, a real college quad, a Core Education (and its SEAS and BC equivalents) that costs a ton of money to keep in place, and one of the smartest and most accomplished student bodies in the country. And it’s all in New York City. In short, to quote leader-of-all-redheads Conan O’Brien, “please don’t be cynical.”
Juli: Being quiet in a situation—social or academic—is not nearly as conspicuous as it feels. It’s okay to just sit and listen for awhile before speaking—preferable, even, to speaking loudly and confidently from a place of total ignorance. Also, it’s tempting, but don’t equate shyness with snobbishness!
Menachem: A good title on a paper will help you far more than you might realize. Whatever it is you kinda dream about doing in life, do it here, while you can, often. Sweatpants do not help anyone get laid. Professors are, by far, the most under-utilized facility on campus, followed by the librarians; use ’em. Assiduous note-taking in science/math classes does not help one whit. There’s a lot to be said for classes where the readings are good.
Alexandra: Not doing any work, ever. And being the Amir to Courtney’s Jake.
Courtney: None that last; my regrets get worked out in the confessional or the dungeon.
James: Lessons? Many. Regrets? None. Well, except for the “Noodle Incident.”
Juli: Too many exclamation marks; too few events worthy of exclamation marks.
Menachem: I never asked out my Art Hum professor SG, though I’m certain we could have had something special, or at least fun.