Name, Hometown, School, Major: Liz Watson. I’m originally from North Carolina, but moved around to DC, Frankfurt, and Paris (where my parents still live) while growing up. Barnard College, English with a Theater Concentration.
Claim to Fame? Lots of theater things–my favorite two are my extensive KCST involvement and Operation: Ease on Down the Road, the 2011 60-minute version of The Wiz I co-wrote with Colette McIntyre. Barnard College Speaking Fellow. I make crazy costumes (For plays! Halloween! Comic-Con!) and co-host parties at the Sunburnt Calf, including an upcoming free alternative to Senior Boat Cruise.
Where are you going? Traveling (Costa Rica, five weeks in South-East Asia, and a sailboat trip to Turkey) before heading to Charlotte, NC to work at the Democratic National Convention. Then back to New York to learn How To Make a Career in Theater for Fun and Profit! (Note: theater is a terrible way to have fun or make profits.)
Three things you learned at Columbia:
Burke (at UTS) is the real place to get work done. Butler is, at best, a great resource for comic books (10th floor of the stacks!)
This is not a high-heel friendly campus. The bricks!
If somebody near the 116 gates says “Hi, I love you hair! I just have a quick question about where you get it done?” RUN it is a SCAM and a TRAP because he doesn’t love your hair at all!
“Back in my day…” La Negrita, Jas Mart, SiP. RIP.
Justify your existence in 30 words or less: I can recite your choice of Labyrinth or Die Hard, from memory, word for word. It’s a great party trick if you want to alienate everyone around you!
Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? I got mono my Senior Spring, so I spent 40s on 40 in bed, playing Dragon Age until I fell asleep at 9:30. I don’t need an administration to wage a War on Fun for me, I’m doing an OK job by myself.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Cheese.
Advice for the class of 2016:
Live with somebody who doesn’t do all the same activities as you. My life with my wife/roommate Amy Purtill has been very happy because of this decision.
If you’re invited to a theme party, adhere to the theme! Don’t be that guy who couldn’t bother.
Girls, sometimes you might kiss a boy and then that boy might turn out to be gay! If you’re in theater, this is a statistical inevitability. Learn to laugh it off. Trust me on this one.
Being happy takes hard work. Don’t deny yourself the wellness you deserve and don’t trick yourself into thinking you’re supposed to be miserable here. That’s a very easy trap to fall into.
Don’t be afraid of self-indulgence! Make time to read, write, draw, exercise, meditate, dine out, go the movies, shop, whatever calms you down. Do something for yourself once a week in order to preserve your sanity. In other words, TREAT YO’ SELF.
Sometimes, people are going to say some real nasty shit about you or your peers online. They may even do it in the comments section of this very Internet Blog! It’s no fun to have nasty shit said about you, and you’re going to get angry and probably will want to express your indignation via anonymous comment. PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS. This is exactly what the trolls want. Nobody has ever been convinced of anything (except the stupidity of their opponent) in an internet comment section. So when you get angry, just read this comic by the great Kate Beaton. Smile. Then step outside with a friend into the sunshine, which is deadly to trolls anyway, as everyone knows from The Hobbit.
Recently, there’s been an influx of old white men writing for old white newspapers scolding our generation for a multitude of faults. They tell us we’re drowning in our unmerited sense of self-worth, that we’ve been suffocated by helicopter parents, that our ADHD brains are too full of the texting and the Facebook to understand real problems or social interaction. They tell us we’re too egotistical and entitled, and that once we’ve been rudely ripped from the coddling daycare we dare call a “liberal arts education” we’re all going to run screaming for our parent’s basements and call ourselves professional Etsy-ers. We aren’t prepared for the brutality of the economy, the job market, mortgages, marriage, children, whatever. My problem with this rhetoric (aside from the lack of any evidence beyond the anecdotal and the sweeping generalizations AND beyond the astounding lack of self-awareness it must take for one man to blindly and boldly accuse an entire generation of being too blind and too bold) is that it’s utter bullshit. Not because our generation does not have faults. We’ve got a sweeping mess of problems, some of which are definitely our fault. But some of them are not. We take turns screwing up and being screwed by the system, just like the Baby Boomers and Yuppies and Gen-Xers. And yes, we’ve got a lot of stuff to figure out, from the tangible and global (the whole economy thing) to the more abstract (we are going to be raising the first generation of kids surrounded by social networks from birth! We need to teach our kids how not to be idiots on the internet!) But as with every generation before us, we aren’t going to learn by being chided by some curmudgeon grumping about the kids on his lawn—we are going to learn from experience. We are going to make mistakes and learn and shape the world after all that’s done, just like everybody else. This DOES NOT mean you have carte blanche to act like a teenager with no responsibilities, because we’ve already started growing up and it’s only going to get more complicated from here. But don’t ever let these assholes (in whatever form they take) shame you for being young. Don’t ever let them embarrass you into giving up on your dreams. And do not let them bully you into thinking that what you’re learning at college–even if you’re getting a useless degree like mine–is worthless. It’s the complete opposite.
Want to prove those maroons wrong? Be honest, kind, and hard-working. Remember that cynicism doesn’t make anyone look smarter. And (big ups to Emily Nagel), strive to be understanding rather than to be understood.
Any regrets? Not taking Shapiro’s Shakespeare class or History of the City of New York. Not getting involved with Take Back the Night. Not auditioning for Control Top. Not doing the Dance Marathon. And (if I haven’t already) not getting the chance to meet you!