Name, Hometown, School: Sarah Dion; Cleveland Heights, OH; CC

Claim to Fame? COÖP Coord, CAVA member, that girl who is always late to class (this has become a bad, rude habit).

Where are you going? The whole post-graduation thing is a work in progress. I’m staying in New York for the summer to work and save up money for whatever ends up being next.

Three things you learned at Columbia?

  1. How to really trust people. Thank you, Hurricane Irene, for helping me recognize this point of personal growth with your utter terribleness.
  2. It is always worth asking (for money to do something, for a blue bin extension, to change your paper topic, whatever) because people are far more receptive to things that you expect them to be, especially if you can honestly and politely convey where you’re coming from.
  3. Piggyback rides while drunk end poorly at a statistically significant rate.

“Back in my day…” Hamilton and Furnald lawns were hedge-free, La Negrita still existed, and shopping at Trader Joe’s was a trek. Also, no one was seriously talking about the issues of mental health and student wellness at Columbia outside of administrative offices.

Justify your existence in 30 words or less: A few summers ago, I taught my little cousin how to ride a bike. Neither of us made any memorably profound statements like this, but it was pretty awesome.

Is the War on Fun over? Who won? Any war stories? There are certainly administrators here who would prefer that college students not behave like college students, but I think there are a lot of people driving policy who are interested in creating an environment that is safe and nurturing for everyone. With that in mind, if you think something is unfair, get involved! Columbia’s bureaucracy is messy, but there are people who want to hear what we have to say. Also, a lot of the rules that make it more difficult to ‘have fun’ came about because of stupid/dangerous things that people did at some point. So, keep that in mind…

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I think that I’ve achieved the equivalent of Executive Platinum in the Frequent Westside Cheese Samplers’ Club. My allegiance to cheese knows no bounds.

Advice for the class of 2016? 

  • Do COÖP!!!
  • Embrace the Stop-and-Chat! Even if it makes you late for your next class/meeting/whatever, it’s totally worth taking the time to say hello to/get to know the crazy awesome people on this campus. A more thorough explanation of this can be found here.
  • Share whatever you have to give. There are the little things, like snacks, study guides and funny things online, and the bigger ones, like your talents and energy and time and love. I think this is one of the most effective ways to build a sense of community at Columbia, which, despite all the commentary to the contrary, does exist.
  • Learn how to cook at least one dish/item before you leave home.
  • Respect deadlines. Once you get off that train, it’s incredibly difficult to get back on.
  • The whole “You only get one free CAVA” thing is a MYTH.
  • Watch out for the aspects of Columbia culture that can easily tip from amusingly cynical or impressively dedicated to downright unhealthy- don’t be afraid to call yourself and your friends out when that line is crossed.
  • Get a bike.

Any regrets? Not being more dedicated towards my academic commitments. Not changing my major/taking classes that I was more excited about. Being late at the expense of others (Sorry!). The Penske. Not asking for help when I needed it. Not acquiring a time turner. I can’t imagine giving up any part of the way this has all played out though. In an effort to not add to my regrets: I LOVE YOU GUYS. Thanks for everything.