Senior Wisdom: Hannah Wilentz
Written by Bwog Staff
Claim to Fame: Dungeon Master of all knowledge related to Housing Services.
Where are you going? New York for a while, New Orleans eventually.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Avoid dogma in most things: in politics, in love, in choice of careers, in any major life decision.
- Wage war against the unpaid internship. There are exceptions but on the whole it is an unfair system that discriminates against kids who can’t afford to work for nothing. Making friends in college is a better way to spend your time than stacking your resume, and most likely you can find a paid job after graduation by simply researching and talking to people about what you’re interested in. When we do take them we can at least voice this in an exit interview, and we shouldn’t worry about offending: deep down I think most employers know it’s unfair, and organizations deserve to be called out on tacitly demanding parents to buy their children a leg up. And if any of us make it out there, remember this and don’t hire anyone full-time unless you can pay them a liveable wage.
- If someone says “don’t be a [profession]”, disregard that part and listen to everything else they say to figure out whether it’s even applicable to you. People always tell me not to be an architect—especially architects— and it’s really irritating. Like, you’re not miserable because you’re an architect, dude, you’re miserable because you’re a masochistic egomaniac with a cocaine addiction; stop trying to crush my dreams.
“Back in my day…” P&W, SIPA views, cathedral scaffolding, the Man Suite, the neighborhood piling into the streets in ecstasy after the 2008 election.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less:
I tried to remember recently why I came to Columbia and then I realized: the albino peacocks at St. John the Divine – whoah. Also I still believe in New York.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories?
One spring night, years ago in my impetuous youth, I woke up (became lucid) outside of EC as I was struggling out of the wheelchair to which I was strapped yelling “fuck it, call NYPD” to the St. Lukes/CAVA/NYFD?/staff/squadron of public safety officers that had come to escort me to an IV. I don’t remember anything else but with the expert coaching of friends (“TELL THEM YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER”—”dude they don’t need her social security number”—”WHATEVER WHAT’S YOUR SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER”), I made it home to become the only person that my discipline officer had ever met who had convinced CAVA to un-CAVA her. Small, unprofessional victories, you know.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?
In the words of the great Reni Calister: “I’m a lactose-intolerant lesbian.” Nuff said.
Advice for the class of 2016?
Keep a generous heart. Respect the deadline—I stopped doing so and became an academic degenerate real quick. Don’t pitch True Life: My Homework to anyone you run into on the street—they think they know but they have no idea but also no one cares. Know the signs of a sociopath and don’t date one. If you disagree with the way someone is speaking about women, say so. Good typeface makes any project better (stick with max two, sans-serif + serif, ask your friends in design). Invest in a good pair of long underwear tights and wear them all winter. Your parents get old and sick, sometimes suddenly: talk to them, make your peace with all the family bullshit, and then find out everything about their lives—you will cherish these stories when they are gone. Learn to cook and love thy neighborhood food (Absolute buttered egg bagel, HamDel Betsy/Stallone, Kitchenette Special). Question your sexual identity; don’t speculate endlessly about others’. Go to some version of therapy: it will make your life easier, happier, or at least help you get laid. Do COÖP, take FemSex, live in John Jay, and whatever you do, hold fast to that motherfucking spirit of youth.
Hindsight is 20/20, ain’t it. To everyone I’ve ever hurt: I know it’s all blood under the bridge at this point, but I am sorry. Smaller lessons in regret: if you get wasted, pass out, and pee in a stranger’s bed, take more than three seconds to reconsider your assumption that it’s water and that you should just throw their sheets in their laundry hamper — they will probably figure it out (sorry Eric). Don’t mistake someone else’s car for your dealer’s, and once you get into the correct car don’t leave your phone in it as you get flustered trying to make flirtatious banter about Operation Ivy League (sorry Charles). On that note, don’t lose your phone and think it’s fine to just use gchat to make plans for more than a week (sorry all my friends).
I loved this place wholly, and as a result, I had an absolute blast and learned so much but fucked up often. I remain ever grateful for the patience and affection of my friends. While, unlike JD Salinger, I have thus far managed to fend off the urge to retreat to the countryside and drink my own urine, I can relate to him in this: “There is a real-enough danger, I suppose, that sooner or later I’ll bog down, perhaps disappear entirely, in my own methods, locutions, and mannerisms. On the whole, though, I’m very hopeful.”