Senior Wisdom: Mustafa Hameed

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Name, school: Mustafa Hameed, CC

Claim to fame: Ne’er-do-well, CIRCA President, probably in that order.

Where are you going? Wherever destiny takes me. At the moment, it seems destiny takes me to a few more years in this fine city.

Three things you learned at Columbia

1. When you have to sleep, you have to sleep. But come on, you’re not sleepy yet, are you?

2. If you need something done, do it yourself. Stay calm, but don’t trust inertia—be engaged with what’s important, and follow it through to the end.

3. Life is incredibly contingent, and college life is doubly so—on the littlest events, the tiniest details, and the most random meetings, your whole future can change. Planning goes hand in hand with serendipity. So be brave, step outside, and exciting things will happen to you.

“Back in my day…”

– Ahmadinejad was stunting on the Jumbotron;

– Floridita was still around and excellent;

– We were calling Book Culture “Labyrinth” even though it had been renamed way before we got here;

– La Negrita. What is it even called now?

– Major Cultures requirement.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Prof. Philip Kitcher used me as a visual aide to give his Joyce class an idea of what Leopold Bloom looked like. Baffling, maybe, but that’s the best I got.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? The new front for the War on Fun is the parks—in the last year and a half, I have been kicked off of various fields and lawns in Riverside and Morningside Parks for playing soccer, football, and cricket. Almost every one of these exiles has been at the hands of adult softball rec leagues with park permits. But you can’t fight it forever, Morningside Heights, cricket is here to stay.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? When it comes to dairy, I prefer yogurt to cheese, anyway. I’ll be honest, this cheese business is pretty low-stakes for me. It’s not like I’m risking anything really critical to my lifestyle… like ice cream.

Advice for the class of 2015:

Yes. To wit:

1. The most important: Be patient and be nice. Everything is fine. And if it’s not right now, it will be, if you are patient and you are nice.

2. I cannot emphasize this enough: talk to your professors, go to their office hours, get to know them, and let them get to know you. They are all smart, most are kind, and most care not only that you do well in their classes but that you truly understand what they’re teaching. They are valuable as resources and invaluable as friends.

3. Say hi to everyone you know. No staring straight ahead, no perfectly-timed glancing at your phone. Greet your damn classmates. You only kind of know them? Say hi anyway. You’ll be a step closer to actually knowing them, and you’ll wish you knew all of them better by the time it’s time to leave.

4. Even at Columbia, there are cliques: avoid them. There are people who judge and divide: don’t be one of them. Everyone here has qualities that make them worthwhile (even the douchebags), and the humility that comes with the knowledge that you’re one of thousands of classmates with unique and impressive talents, abilities, ideas, and dreams will be a source of perspective, energy, and self-belief for you the entire time you’re here.

5. In the words of Prof. Souleymane Bachir Diagne, “Be Hot or be Cold, but don’t be warm-ish.” Throw yourself into whatever you do with sincerity, and you will never waste a moment.

Any regrets? To again paraphrase Prof. Diagne: trying to live a perfect life is like being thrown into an ocean and warned to not get wet.

Know someone wise? Submit your nominees’ UNIs and a few good tales to [email protected].

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  1. cc'11  

    liked the part about being calm, Mustafa is a cool dude :)

  2. so true about saying hi to classmates  

    it's seriously the least people can do to warm this campus and in a lot of cases I find myself falling into good friendships years down the road with people I met once and then subsequently just said hi to like 15 times in passing.
    I love when these senior wisdoms are wise!

  3. Anonymous  

    Prof. Diagne is the best. great decision to quote him

  4. Damn  

    So sincere and optimistic yet wise. Best yet I think. Don't know this kid, but wish I did.

  5. CIRCAstani  

    The chillest dude.

  6. SEAS 11  

    this is by far the best senior wisdom yet, and the only one which made me wish that i got to know its author before i left.

    "When you have to sleep, you have to sleep. But come on, you’re not sleepy yet, are you?" -- so wise. he knows.

    listen up, underclassmen.

  7. Applause!  

    New goal in college: Submit epic wisdom to the young padawans. Thank you, wise seniors!

  8. aw yeeeaa  

    mustayyy and BJs all dayyy errydayy

  9. bravo

    nice use of the oxford comma

  10. Anonymous

    Wow! That just made me smile and feel glad to be here. True wisdom.

    (If you're a future fresh person, print this and stick it on your wall. I'm not, but I still might.)

  11. Awww  

    This is wondrous. Wish I had met you!

  12. Anonymous


  13. cool  

    his wisdom reads like a model un delegatation summary. very, very nice.

  14. phil  

    yo lemme get a photo credit

  15. fan  

    Mustafa = amazing. don't leave. I want to date you.

  16. Please feature another important senior  

    To wit:


  17. awwww  

    he always says hi to me!

  18. phil  

    chill bro, lives upstairs from me, don't think he owns headphones

  19. frank

    I swear to god this mafucka killed my cat

  20. lol  

    claim to fame= most discussed person on acb. him and apparently his penis.

  21. liz  

    well said mustafa...

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