Senior Wisdom: Zak Dychtwald
Written by Bwog Staff
Bwog heard some prospies on the steps today debating the comparative merits of oral sex versus cheese. This means one thing—time for the annual handing down of wisdom. Senior wisdoms are back. We’re starting off with Bwog Weather‘s own, Zak Dychtwald. Nominate wise elders by emailing [email protected] with their name and a short note of recommendation.
Name, Hometown, School: Zak Dychtwald, Orinda, California, CC. English Lit major, Business concentration
Claim to Fame: Co-founded Columbia CHEATSHEET, co-everythinged BwogWeather with the fabulous Patrick Blute, and have been known to hustle 1st years on the pool tables in Hartley between classes. I’ve never been to Baker field and could only ballpark (!) where it is. I also first appeared on Bweather drunk, nude, and with a mustache. That has sort of haunted me.
Where are you going: I’m moving to China. Suzhou, Jiangsu, China. It’s a small town (10 million) about 45 minutes west of Shanghai. I’ll be teaching ESL to 8 year olds and writing for a publication on the side for the first little run, then after I’m not too sure. It’s a one-way ticket sort of deal so I’ve got plenty of incentive to work it out.
But I’ll be in Berkeley this summer so get at me if you’re around!
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Advisors do, in fact, give a shit. Also, professors aren’t toxic and need not be approached with caution. Some of them even pick up the tab.
- Identifying with a 1st century philosopher king type is beyond possible. Actually living up to that identification is, too, probably beyond possible, though in a much different sense. Here’s lookin’ at you, Marcus Aurelius.
- There is never a good enough reason not to go abroad. Unless there is, in which case consider a major change. I really can’t say enough about this.
“Back in my day…” 1st years were freshmen and I didn’t know enough about gender studies to take issue.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I can’t, really. I love my family and I get by with the help of my friends. Once I won a rap battle against a drug dealer at Sarah Lawrence.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? The War on Fun never existed. It’s a sort of blame fantasy we created. I try to think of it as the War on Work, and I’m proud to say that after three and a half years I have finally taken the high ground.
My war is more often about small reclamations, victories of tiny, tiny increments. I make an effort to slide down the railings from Butler 3 to 2 as often as possible. It’s a symbolic gesture.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? “I will say that one instance of eating cheese has never made me as happy as one instance of oral sex,” opined my friend Henry.
I agree, Henry, but you’ve got to consider the sum total of happiness incurred by all of the instances of either oral sex or cheese. I wrote out an equation before but that seemed overkill. My conclusion based on this methodology: I’d give up oral sex.
“But both make good Chanukah presents,” my friend Jake pointed out. Good point, Jake.
Advice for the class of 2016?
- Do things. The happiest I’ve been at Columbia has been when I’m doing things unrelated to school. Oddly, they’ve also been the times when I’m getting the most from my classes. That verges on being a life lesson.
- Join a discussion group unrelated to your classes that talks about real and personal things. I’m not sure I’ve ever been or will ever be in a more concentrated space of interesting people, so it seems only natural to try to engage with them in meaningful ways. These groups rest in the grey area between our uptight school lives and our informal social lives, and, for me, have provided some of the biggest “ah hah!” moments I’ve had since being here.
- Get a bike.
- Find your own way to be happy here. That’s hard. I’ve seen a lot of people lose it over the years, myself included to a certain extent. One doesn’t really happen upon happiness at Columbia. You generally have to actively seek it out. It’s around, though, don’t sweat it.
- Too real? My b. Go to 1020, then, and play darts with a Hungarian dude named Yuri and say you’re friends with Zak. Done.
Any regrets? I regret having to grow up and be here at the same time. It’s tough trying to be angsty, drink, make friends, work, and commit heinous social missteps while taking advantage of all of the class offerings and opportunities at Columbia. And there are a lot. It took me until senior year to be smart enough and mature enough (not mature, mature enough) to appreciate all of the crazy stuff going on at this school.
Also, not playing more basketball.