Senior Wisdom: Derek Turner
Written by Bwog Staff
Next up, Christian/conservative/Core-champion Derek Turner. Nominate wise seniors by sending their name and “resume” to [email protected].
Name, Hometown, School: Derek Turner, Phoenix, AZ, CC
Claim to Fame: Incessant supporter of the Core, vocal fan of Arizona, thesiser on Indian water rights, perennial opinion-spouter for Spec, Barnard wannabe, conservative-about-town, campus character, and 2-term president of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship.
Where are you going? The D. By which I mean Detroit, where I’ll be in the first class of Venture for America Fellows, working at a startup there for two years in an attempt to create jobs and sharpen my entrepreneurial skillz. My heart belongs in Arizona, though, so I will return eventually.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- The education we receive here is world class. I came here thinking that a Columbia education is only marginally better than others. That’s not the case – the Core Curriculum and the intellectual rigor required in our classes is unlike the vast majority of schools in the world. After I realized that, I became much more interested in defending the College and the Core, because if we don’t have it nobody will.
- It’s possible to be respectful and opinionated. As a conservative and a Christian, I have found it possible to become friends with even the most liberal and atheistic individuals on the campus. With a generous helping of respect on both sides, you can foster amazing friendships with people who you don’t agree with on any issue or doctrine. I haven’t changed my positions on many (if any) issues, but because of these relationships I better understand how people think. It’s far easier to discount the campus as being “against you” than it is to reach out and see the goodness of most students here.
- Planning never works, especially in this stage of life. I came to Columbia thinking I knew how my life would work. Since then, almost every aspect of that vision has been turned on its head multiple times. I’ve come to realize that it is impossible and horribly unproductive to plan beyond your immediate decision points. If you follow your passions in the short term, the long term will work itself out. If anything, trying to plan out your accomplishments limits you terribly.
“Back in my day…” The Diana didn’t exist. It sucked.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less: I’m the only guy in the Diana, the only goy in Hillel, the only Republican at Dems events, and the only capitalist in the Anthro department.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? It occurs to me that the War on Fun is better described as an Arms Race with Fun. As facilities/public safety install more roof-access locks, students become more acrobatic in their (successful) attempts to reach the top of buildings. Our goal should be to gain the ability to achieve Mutually Assured Destruction, leaving both sides free to leave each other at peace through deterrence. In this Cold War analogy, the Administration is most certainly the USSR.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I probably won’t live in Asia for the sole reason that a summer in Singapore left me crippled without access to cheese. My allegiance lies with dairy.
Advice for the class of 2016: Forgo the internship, take the harder class, greet that classmate on College Walk, subvert all “us v them” mentalities, ask questions, do your readings, don’t stress, explore your beliefs, and above all, prioritize people above your resume.
Any regrets? Only two. First, I regret not becoming an advocate for the Core/College earlier in my time here. Second, I should have majored in American Studies, but didn’t because of an illogical bias against majors with “studies” in the name. Besides that, my years at Columbia have been the most incredible of my life thus far. It will be a bittersweet goodbye.