Senior Wisdom: Mustafa Hameed
Written by Bwog Staff
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].