Name, Hometown, School: Eliza Shapiro, New York City, Columbia College
Claim to fame: Bwog Editor 2010 (Operation Ivy League, Boringside Heights, BwogWeather, posting the video for “Welcome Back” by Ma$e too much, the “Eliza” that asked you what exactly you were so upset about in the comments at 3 AM), “Morningside Shtetl Royalty”, fact brat extraordinaire, enthusiasm (!)
Where are you going? UWS → Newsweek/Daily Beast to report about criminal justice → Brooklyn.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
The upper middle class is amorphous
You might need to go all the way to Cape Town for a professor to call bullshit on your use of the term “agentive”
Not to leave New York City, probably ever
“Back in my day…” You don’t even know from the movie theater on 107th, Columbia Bagels, the actual West End, 40s in Riverside Park.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less: Didn’t check my grades for four semesters; got broken up with (over the phone, don’t worry!) in the Butler 6 stairwell freshman year; had my bat mitzvah in Lerner 555.
Is the War on Fun over? To the delightful boys of EC H606: can you please turn the fucking subwoofer down?
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’ve read too many mediocre answers to this question over the last four years to answer it. I think it’s over, Bwog!
Advice for the class of 2016:
In To the Lighthouse, the spectrum of human thought is described as a series of piano keys — Mr. Ramsay, a vaguely successful philosopher, realizes that he’s plunked down all the piano keys of thought from A to Q — an impressive feat! — but that he’ll never get past Q to R. That idea has stuck with me for a long time — be able to recognize and appreciate your limitations so you don’t go completely insane. Embrace the beauty of getting to Q — your brain just simply stopping somewhere is not a failure as much as it’s an opportunity. This happened to me with academia sophomore year and that’s when I actually started to figure things out.
If you’re seriously competitive and ambitious (and I’ll just bet you are!) don’t make it a weird simmering WASPy secret like Harvard kids do. Be honest and elbows-out; it’s not gauche or embarrassing to tell your friends that you want to take over the world and/or make it a better place. Took me until like last week to realize that.
You’re supposed to figure out a lot about who you are, what your values are, and what you like about other humans in college, and the best way to do these things and to handle the relentless emotional onslaught of growing up is to fall in love.
Pre-emptive nostalgia is a waste of time.
For your money’s worth: Delbanco, Katznelson, Anderer, Foner.
Your friends are more important than anything; be nice to each other on the Internet and in real life.
Borrowing a line from my high school graduation: remember that education is the quest for wonder.
Regrets? I should have been an American Studies major, but then again everyone probably should. I never got to use the outdoor shower on the roof of PrezBo’s mansion. And I shouldn’t have been such a reactionary against idealism for my first seven semesters of college. Otherwise, I did okay.
Columbia: in spite of so much, I’ll love you always.