TA Interviews: Carlos Montes-Galdón
Written by Bwog Staff
In this installment of TA interviews, Alexandra Svokos sat down with Carlos Montes-Galdón, a Macroeconomics TA for Xavier Sala-i-Martin who opens emails to students with a “Happy hangover kids!” on Sundays, ended last semester’s last email with a happy image, and dedicates ridiculous amounts of time to making great notes.
Bwog: How do you like TA life?
Carlos: I really enjoy it. I used to have to teach—when I was very, very young—kids, I was a music professor, and this has been my first experience teaching at a top university. Many people say undergrads at Columbia are different than undergrads at other universities and I think it’s true. People here are usually very nice and they work a lot.
Bwog: How do you like working with Xavier?
Carlos: Xavier is a great professor, he’s a great person, and I really enjoy working with him. Really really really. I have learned a lot from him, he was my professor in my first year of PhD. In fact when I have to teach, I always try to take his past things.
Bwog: Are you gonna start wearing colorful jackets?
Carlos: Eughh… No! I have to develop my own style! So, no. No, probably not.
Bwog: Would you suggest that undergraduates study economics?
Carlos: Wow, well, this is an amazing time to study economics. The problem with Americans, I think, is that everybody talks about economics, but they don’t know economics. So, yeah, why not? And studying economics at Columbia can be an amazing experience. There are very good professors, you’re in New York, the center of the financial world. So, yes.
Bwog: Do you have any fun undergraduate memories from your college days?
Carlos: Oh, yes. In fact I have a lot. I have very good memories from college; you find very good people who guide you through college and everything. I don’t know, besides the fact that I used to have a very nice social life, better than I have right now…
Bwog: Were you partying a lot?
Carlos: Too much.
Bwog: Where did you do your undergrad?
Carlos: In Spain—Valencia. Nice weather during the whole year, nice people, nice food.
Bwog: Do you have any advice for aspiring TAs or students who are in your class?
Carlos: For TAs: before you are going to go into a class, try to think: if you were the student, which is the professor you would like to have in front of you? Try to take care of your students because sometimes they think that we are completely inaccessible—which is not true! We are normal people, we are also students! I love to have a close relationship with my students, so I would recommend that.
For students: besides the fact that you should study more Macro and less, hm, partying and those things… Enjoy your college life. Once you finish here, you are going to the real world, and that’s gonna be a bit more difficult.
Bwog: Final question: any secret talents?
Carlos: Secret talents? … Nothing that we can post in a blog that people under 21 years old can read.
Tags: "I hope that you are enjoying Butler library and the Problem Set during this sunny and amazing day." - actual email, school emails you look forward to reading, TAlking to TAs, TAs who are funnier and have more fun than you, TAs you want to run into at 1020