Julie Crawford

Finals officially started today! That’s pretty scary. To get you through, Bwog is seeking the advice of some people who won college—namely, your professors. In today’s Actual Wisdom, we talked to English professor Julie Crawford of Fall 2011 Literary Texts and Critical Methods fame.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: All my professional verbs—read, teach, write, argue, advise, organize—are collaborative, so you’re all implicated.

Claim to fame: I make a fine Pimm’s cup.

What’s your most valuable or unexpected college experience? Working on a crisis line. I was on call the night of the 1989 Montreal Massacre, in which a man shot and killed 14 women at the École Polytechnique. Everything changed that day – in the city, in public consciousness and discourse, in my own life. Among the many things I learned in the immediate aftermath were how to think about the relationship between what I had been studying and the real time events of the world, and, more importantly, how to talk about that relationship.

What’s the craziest student excuse/extension story you’ve heard? I fell in love and my eyes couldn’t read.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese or tenure? To quote Bill Clinton, I did not have sex with that Beemster. Now let’s see if they fire me for lying.

Back in my day… The air was clean, books were free, and the president was a woman of color.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

1. You can get from Philosophy Hall to 116th St. by going through the basement of Kent.

2. Ego knows no bounds.

3. Reading in dialogue with others is one of life’s greatest pleasures.

What’s your advice to students/academics/the human race in general? Bring your own bags. Read it first. Think about the impact on other people of everything you buy, both literally and figuratively. And never, ever, wear Uggs.

Portrait via columbia.edu