Name, Hometown, School, Major: Rohan Jotwani. Queens, New York aka ‘The Dirty 718’ aka ‘Nobody really calls it that…yet.’ Columbia College, Biology.
Claim to Fame: Evidently, I remind people of this “Kevin G, Badass MC” character. DJ Brohan has no comment.
Where are you going? Right now, floor hockey. Turns out I could literally not graduate if I show up to class late today…oh, Columbia; trolling us all since 1754. In the grander scheme of things, I’m taking a gap year while applying to med school. I’m going to be working at The Doctor’s Channel, a medical digital media company.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
It’s absolutely true that you should “do what you love.” Though, it may also be worth asking, how can you be sure you actually love something? In my sophomore year, I came up with this theory I later dubbed ‘The 10 Hour Test.’ I suspect that the best litmus test for a major/career path/life mission is to see whether you can actively study or do something for 10 hours straight and still enjoy it the next day. Don’t worry, finals week will give you the ample opportunity to test this out. If something passes the 10 hour test, then accept it: you love this subject. You’re probably going to love it for the next few years and maybe forever. If nothing has yet passed the test, keep searching. You’re doing a disservice to yourself by settling.
I don’t remember much of the Core, but one particular text that always stuck with me was “Deliverance from Error” by Al-Ghazali. The reductionist take-away from it is that you only find certainty in something through experience, and that there are some things for which rational thought is just insufficient in convincing you to believe. Guess what? For however brief a period in your life, you live in New York City. Any experience you could ever want is a subway ride away. Now go find certainty.
If I learned nothing else at this school, it was how important it is to be convincing. Whatever you may want to do, the first roadblock is usually convincing yourself to go for it, or someone else to let you do it/give you money to make it a reality.
“Back in my day…” Columbia Debate was unranked and we had like five people on the team. Now we’re 2nd in the nation, have a thirty person roster, and recently made the New York Times. You get as much out of your extracurriculars as you are willing to fight for.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less: Pat Blute and I met and it was true bro-love at first sight. We won a trip to Vegas after entering a video contest. The rest can’t be justified.
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories?
When we were sophomores, University senator Kenny Durrell and I planned a summer-themed party in freezing February weather as part of the 2012 Class Council. Kenny and I just wanted an excuse to come up with some crazy juice concoctions. And as we so eloquently put in the Facebook message invite, “we’ll bring the drink, you bring the drank.” Upon discovery, I heard the administration was not too thrilled and came down rather hard on our class president at the time, Mr. Aki Terasaki. Come to think of it, I never actually apologized to Aki. Aki, #sorryimnotsorry.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?
If I learned nothing else as a consent facilitator, it was that consent is super sexy and only one of these things requires it. Therefore…
Advice for the class of 2016:
The worst kind of vice is advice. But if you’ll indulge me, there are three things I wish I had known coming in.
The first is that the Career Center for Education, perhaps the most misunderstood service at Columbia, has a LinkedIn group called Columbia Career Connections. Join this group, find ten alumni who do something really cool that you could see yourself doing, and then ask if you could meet-up for coffee. You will be shocked at just how many alumni are out there doing amazing things and are willing to help you out in any way they can. All you have to do is ask.
The second is that you have to accept that you will not get everything you deserve. Grades, housing, internships, etc. But anytime you are feeling down, just remember, by the grace of God/fate/arbitrary luck, at least you don’t live in New Jersey.
The last is a little less concrete. Many of us seniors will tell you that our time here flew by, and it seems like yesterday that we were first moving in. I agree, but only when looking back in retrospect. In reality, I feel as though I have lived a lifetime as these last four years were actually happening. What I mean is that you have the time and opportunity to do whatever you want, to be whoever you want to be, and to endlessly change your mind about these things. Some nights you will spend watching the Jersey Shore (not ironically) and then arguing about it for the next hour with your best friend. Other nights you will spend hours waiting for the Greyhound bus in Providence, Rhode Island in the middle of pouring rain while some creepy guy is standing behind you chain smoking and asking if you wanna buy some of his magic elixir. And then other nights you’ll be cramming for your Lit Hum final with the rest of your class, spending half the time freaking out over what in the world happened in The Iliad, and the other half of it talking about how awesome your Lit Hum professor is and how you and the rest of your class would give anything to spend a day in their shoes. Okay, so maybe you won’t do those exact things, but the point is, find balance among your experiences and enjoy all of them.