Name, Hometown, School: Pat Blute, Cape Cod, MA, Columbia College Dual-concentration in Sustainable Development and Anthropology

Claim to Fame? Won a free trip around the world, played Dean Quigley in V115, created BwogWeather with the talented Zak Dychtwald and the inspirational Eliza Shapiro, put on SPEARS: The Gospel According to Britney thanks to an amazing cast and the musical gusto of Max Druz paired to the dancing prowess of Sara Miller.

Where are you going? I’m moving to Bangkok, Thailand the week after graduation to take high school students on ecotours. Side note: stay tuned for the 2013-2014 national theater season.

Three things you learned at Columbia? 

  1. You don’t have to go to class. Or do any of the readings. Or answer any emails from your TAs. But as long as you pass everything in on time at least 50% complete. It’s a guaranteed B-.
  2. It’s okay to take time off. This is an intense environment. If you have a lot going on at home, if you have high expectations for yourself, if you feel overwhelmed please don’t be afraid to leave campus. I took a semester off and moved to Australia and bartended with wild dolphins at the Tangalooma Island Resort. It was the most liberating thing and the time away helped unclench a lot of the tension this environment can pent up. I thank all the people who were there for me during my time off – it really makes coming back that much more exciting and positive. Thank you Pierre, Jin, Eduardo, Cori, Hannah, the Homegurlz, and Kel Spyrou (honorary Columbian).
  3. Friendship is the most wonderful gift you can create. Just because this is a ‘stressful’, ‘competitive’ environment doesn’t mean you can forget we’re still human. You’ll make uncanny friends just by opening yourself up at this school. I had a wonderful conversation with the fabulous Ope Omojola about being ‘near’ versus ‘close’. Don’t be afraid to get close to people. If you spend a lot of time just being near, you sacrifice the beautiful things that can make this place a truly life changing experience. It’s okay to get hurt. It’s okay if you grow apart from people. There is a lot of change here. But never forget or stop appreciating the great memories. Get close to your friends. Go to Thanksgiving dinner with them (love to Kasia Borowiec and family), go to their brother’s Eagle Scout ceremony (love you Kenny Durell), travel with them north of the Arctic Circle and kill a reindeer (kudos Ajit Pillai and Anna Malkan), and chill with the Ruskis in Queens (love to Rohan Jotwani), the list goes on and I really do value all these memories! Love your friends and remind them of that often.

“Back in my day…” 

You could fly anywhere in the US during sophomore finals week for $10. Thanks jetBlue, John, Jeff and Stephen for the wackiest 24 hours in New Orleans.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less.

Last Christmas I gave you my heart,

But the very next day you gave it away.

This year to save me from tears,

Check out anthro journal for my thesis.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories?

Hang out with your teachers outside the context of school. Ask them to grab a coffee. Become friends. Share life experiences, find out more than you can learn by just sitting in class. I took a leave of absence second semester junior year because I felt very isolated from this school. I wasn’t having a good time. I emailed Paige West, Anthropology, out of the blue and asked her for some life advice after taking her “Interpretations of Cultures” class. She had said a few things in lecture I really clicked with and just grabbing a coffee helped to form a friendship. It’s been an invaluable gift to make friends with professors.

Also: this.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? To quote Kenny on this one, “it happened.”

Advice for the class of 2016?

  • If you don’t like your housing assignment, buy a hammock and move to the lounge of where you’d prefer to live. Or the floor of your friend’s John Jay single. Thank you John Goodwin and John Jay 9 for a fantastic kick off to college.
  • Go to the Abbey on Wednesday nights. Ask Paul for a Van Gogh shot. Hang out with Emily, Jack and Michael and the crew. They’re really fun.
  • Take a page out of the book of Karla Casariego and Julianne Maeda and say hi to everyone even as you’re just walking down College Walk. It really brightens people’s day.
  • Switch to Sustainable Development. They will pay for you to go on lots of ‘field research’ vacations. And there are student/alumni happy hours. Lots of them. And you can even write papers like “Love: The Most Sustainable Development of All” and professor comments will include things like “LOL…this isn’t a research paper”.
  • If you really want to make something like a Britney Spears-Jesus musical, tell everyone about it for years. Then call the right people and actually do it. It’s worth it.
  • Be nice to people, and if you have nothing else to talk about you can always talk about the weather. Seriously, we’re screwed. Thanks climate change.

Any regrets? None.