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PeopleHop: Kaylin Mahoney

From her blog

From her blog

A few months ago, Kaylin Mahoney, CC ’15, decided to drop everything, move to Rome, and blog about it. A few days ago, she sat down with Bwog (virtually—she’s in Italy, after all) for an interview.

Bwog: How long were you at Columbia? Will you ever come back?

Kaylin: I completed one and a half years at Columbia. I do plan on coming back, but I’m not sure whether it will be in one or two years, I want to leave it open-ended. Just to frustrate my financial advisor.

B: Why did you decide to go to Rome?

K: I needed a change, and I tend to be dramatic. I’m at a point in my life where I can afford to do something like this, stop everything and move to Europe, because I hold virtually zero responsibilities. Plus, pizza.

B: What did your family say when you told them about your plans to go to Rome?

K: I mean, they weren’t thrilled. Why would they be? Their daughter is taking time off from her fancy man Ivy League school to do nothing in particular in a foreign country by herself. I get it. But I must say that my mother was and is incredibly supportive. I’m not so sure that she took me seriously at first, but to be fair, I come up with irrational schemes that never go anywhere all the time. But once I started taking real steps to make this happen, like getting a job, contacting potential host families, and mapping out timetables, she stood by me. Or really sat by me, on our new couch with reclining seats and cup holders.

My father, on the other hand, did not take it as well. He is absolutely certain that I’ll meet some screwball, get married, drop out of college entirely and never return to the States. He’s convinced himself that I’ve ruined my life forever. The fact of the matter is, he just wants the best for me, and he loves me so much that he worries himself sick. I’m very lucky.

B: How long have you been in Rome? Are you planning to go elsewhere in Italy/Europe/the world?

K: I’ve only been here for two weeks, but I’ve done enough nail biting and temple-rubbing to signify three months of stress. The days are long when you’re constantly straining to understand what people are asking of you, which is usually directions. I don’t know what it is about my face that tells people that I know what I’m doing, but let me make this perfectly clear: I have no idea what I’m doing.

And as far as international travel goes, I’m actually going to Switzerland tomorrow [March 30th] to visit a friend over the long weekend. I’d like to go as many places as I can afford, so let’s cross our fingers that I don’t blow all my money on gelato.

B: Do you have a job? We think you’re a nanny?

K: Nailed it, Bwog! I’m an au pair for an adorable family of three (mom, dad, and two year old Edoardo), so I do the same type of work as a nanny, but with half the hours and one fifth the pay. I’m also required to teach the kid English. So far, he can say “bye” and “chicken”.

B: What is Rome like? Are people nice? Do they understand you? Have you met any cute Italian guys?

K: Rome is dirty. There’s litter everywhere and people pee in the streets. I peed in the street. The people are nice, but I wouldn’t say that they’re any nicer than the people in New York. What’s important is that they’re always willing to help, which I’ve been incredibly grateful for.

[Ed note: She didn’t say whether she had met any cute Italian guys.]

B: What’s the craziest thing that’s happened to you since you got to Rome?

K: I would have to say that my biggest challenge here so far was purchasing a cell phone plan. The phone companies are all obviously different here, the three major carriers are: Wind, Tim, and Vodaphone. I walked into the mobile store closest to my house, a Wind shop with only two employees, Mariella and Luciano, neither of which spoke a word of English. It took me about two hours to pick and purchase a plan, and it ended up not even being the one I wanted.

All I could do was point, shout “NO”, and then smile so that Mariella wouldn’t think I was mad at her…I looked like a moron. I went back to fix it a few days later with an English-Italian phrasebook in my pocket. I like to think that it went a hell of a lot smoother, but I still don’t have a working phone.

B: Is your life more like The Lizzie McGuire Movie or When in Rome?

K: I would hope that my life is more like The Lizzie McGuire Movie because she has an awesome cartoon companion and gets to be a super hot pop star for a week. Also, Kristen Bell seems like a bit of a tight-ass.

B: Do you want to plug your blog?

K: Sure! I created a thing so that my friends would be able to see how I was doing and my dad wouldn’t get so many headaches. It’s called Dear Mom and Pops. I use it to post mediocre pictures and tell stories about all of the shitty and wonderful things that happen to me, I also intend on adding videos into the mix once I have more of my shit together.

Feel free to give it a scroll while procrastinating for your essay. But seriously you have to get that thing done.

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  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous You don’t have to hide it. Looks like someone’s trying to get into GS.

    1. anon says:

      @anon she needs to check her privilege

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Oh how nice she can drop everything and move to Rome!! #richpeople

    1. get over it says:

      @get over it #peoplewhoaren’tsatisfiedwiththeirfinancialsituationsotheyhavetohateonpeoplewhoarebetteroffthantherestofus

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous well, yeah

    2. Kaylin's Pal says:

      @Kaylin's Pal Hey Kaylin probably wouldn’t tell you this because she’s modest, but her parents aren’t paying for this and it’s not like she’s digging into some trust fund or something — she came home and worked her ass off for a couple months just to afford a plane ticket, and is working full time in Rome just to make sure she can a) surivive and b) get back.

      Privilege manifests itself in many ways — I suggest you check yours as an anonymous bwog commenter instead of mocking an amazing girl who created a bold opportunity for herself.

      1. Kaylin's Pal says:

        @Kaylin's Pal Sorry Kaylin I couldn’t help myself. Love you.

      2. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous “an amazing girl who created a bold opportunity for herself.”
        OK, great, but you know, it’s just going au pair.

      3. "privilege as an anonymous bwog commenter" says:

        @"privilege as an anonymous bwog commenter" hmm

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous ughh she doesn’t even go here.

  • anonymous says:

    @anonymous ugh she doesn’t even go here.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I always dreamt of doing that. Unfortunately I don’t speak Italian and my life savings consist of about $13 and a bus pass so I adjusted my expectations and now I’m planning on abandoning this mundane Ivy League life and going to Rome, NY. The idea of dropping it all and moving to Leatherstocking Country is just so romantic.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Good job Columbia admissions! Way to go!

    There are thousands of young people who would do anything for the opportunity to go to Columbia. Yet, you admit someone who doesn’t have any ambition or desire for a Columbia education.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous @Anonymous: kaylin is absolutely brilliant; the desire for a change of pace and need for space has no reflection upon that.

    2. foot says:

      @foot fuck you you don’t have a crown

    3. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous As far as not filling this school with people who sycophantically love it, I think Columbia’s doing quite well. The point is diversity, not wanting to go here really badly.

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Kailyn, I think this is awesome and your humor is ridiculously and refreshingly hilarious.

    To the above comment – sorry that not everyone thinks that an ivy league education is all that matters in life. When you get your head out of your arse (or maybe Butler), you’ll realize that real experiences are what make people unique and incredible. In reality, they are what make people so interesting – perhaps exactly what the incredible ivy league breed you seem to think exists, is really made of.

    1. senior13 says:

      @senior13 totally agree– the only reason why i will require my children to go to a great school is because of the fact that so many other really smart and interesting people end up concentrated here. academics are cool too, but i feel that if my local college teachers taught at columbia, with every one of my current classmates, i would have gotten everything i have out of this place fo sho

  • @The Phantom Shadow May be they do not have spec in Italy

  • I've been living in Rome says:

    @I've been living in Rome for five years, and I can assure you that people don’t pee in the street.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous i mean peeing in the street (ie roadside) is more common there than in the states

  • foot says:

    @foot Wow I want to go to Rome

  • Kyle Mooney says:

    @Kyle Mooney Hey K,

    I’ll be waiting for you.


  • Dear Kaylin says:

    @Dear Kaylin You are amazing, wonderful, beautiful, we love you.

  • Anon says:

    @Anon “I’m at a point in my life where I can afford to do something like this, stop everything and move to Europe, because I hold virtually zero responsibilities.”

    Lol wait, she misspelled “MY PARENTS can afford to do something like this…”

    1. Dude. says:

      @Dude. Read the comments before you post. Kaylin’s parents are not paying for this.

  • tessa says:

    luv u im proud of u skype suuun

  • kaylin mahoney says:

    @kaylin mahoney Dear Internet,

    I really hate to acknowledge the negative comments with a response but they’re all criticizing the same couple of things, so I must not have explained my situation well. Here it goes:

    I didn’t write about the specifics of my financial situation and my reasons for leaving Columbia because a) it’s not funny and b) I didn’t think anybody cared. If you must know, I don’t have millions of dollars. I wish it were true. I wish my parents could afford to send me off to Europe, but my mother is a 7th grade science teacher and my father works for Budweiser. I worked two jobs for two months in order to save up enough money for two plane tickets: one to Rome, and one back. I currently work a full time job here, as stated within the article, so that I can eat.

    Second, I wanted to say that I am more than grateful that I am able to attend Columbia. I left school for medical reasons, which I’m currently being treated for, because I couldn’t give my education the attention and care that it deserved. Just like all of you, I want to make the most of my education at Columbia. So if that means taking off some time to get healthy and regain perspective, so be it. But more important than all of that, an ivy league education is not the most important thing in the world. We are all privileged to attend Columbia, no doubt, but let’s not place ourselves so far and above everybody else, it’s silly.



    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous great photos on your blog! commenting negtavely should read and think before making assumptions. shows how this place is full of bitter people who doesn’t realize they are privileged themselves.

    2. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous If you left for medical reasons, wouldn’t the best place be by your supportive mom and not taking care of kids and being stressed? I understand its a great opportunity and I will say I am jealous but if this is a health leave I think you should be in a more stable environment.

      1. Anonymous says:

        @Anonymous When the fuck did you become qualified/make it your job to judge what would be the best place for her?

        Fuck you.

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous Whoa I wasn’t judging her at all so I don’t think that was necessary. I would personally feel more stressed if I was her but more power to her. I guess my curiosity got the better of me and I made a comment that sounded like I was judging her which wasn’t my intention. As I said I am jealous as well and all I know are my own experiences. As someone else said caring for others can be great but there have times I’ve gotten so low that I wanted to commit suicide because I was caring for people but I did not have time to care for myself and no one was there to care for me (because I was silent about my issues I realized later on). That was all.

      2. alum says:

        @alum we don’t know (nor do we need to know) the nature of her health issue. But I just want to say that sometimes, caring for others can be the most rejuvenating experience around. Working most of the day and being paid for your contribution (rather than paying to be on a campus) can also be surprisingly rejuvenating.

        I don’t know Kaylin, but I wish her the best and my only advice would be, consider coming back because that ivy degree does have significant benefits, even though it does not define us. Also, you just might find your education more meaningful having been away and worked for a living.

    3. Matt white says:

      @Matt white ily

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous I am so sick of this. These “check your privilege” comments are exactly the reason Columbia has no community – because stupidly self-righteous people mistake cyber bullying for social justice.

    Kaylin’s parents clearly aren’t paying for this, but even if they were – so what? Why wouldn’t we be happy for her? Would any of us turn down a trip to Rome from our parents and say “Sorry, Mom and Dad, but no thanks.” Having privilege is great – only when you become blind to the fact that it IS a privilege does it become a problem. And Kaylin clearly doesn’t do that – nowhere in this post does she say “I have a harder life than anyone else FYI” or “No one in the world knows my pain.”

    Let’s try to be happy for and supportive of each other instead of critical. That’s the kind of community I want to be a part of.

    1. Anonymous says:

      @Anonymous word

    2. just saying says:

      @just saying The “check your privilege” remarks are clearly trolling. She is obviously not marginalizing anyone else with her decision to go to Rome, and the people who are whining about her supposedly rich parents are just, well, bitter.

  • Ricardo Alatorre says:

    @Ricardo Alatorre This actually sounds like an incredibly interesting experience. The fact that you worked for all this and are, rather simply, doing what you want on your own steam is something that should be celebrated.

  • Fuck you all says:

    @Fuck you all How can you Bwog commenters live with yourself? You make me sick to my stomach. Do you feel refreshed after leaving a bitching, hateful ANONYMOUS (you pussies <—- WHOA that's problematic) comment? What's the point? How bout go live your life? Enjoy the city around you and maybe even the "Columbia education" you all seem to be crying about and defending so much?

    1. No, Fuck you says:

      @No, Fuck you Wow, someone’s really speaking their mind here! Fuck you. It sounds like you don’t even take the time to consider what people are talking about and thus remain ignorant to the problems associated with privilege. I’m SOOOO SCAREDDDD of this person on Bwog storming into the comments and using the word “fuck!” W O W .

      Also, you’re anonymous yourself. So, fuck you.

      1. Last 2 are the same person says:

        @Last 2 are the same person Sorry u bwoggers last two comments were the same person no one actually cares about this shit

        1. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous good one. asshole.

        2. Anonymous says:

          @Anonymous we can safely say this is art, right?

  • Anonymous says:

    @Anonymous Thanks, Kaylin’s pal, for answering a question on every good Marxist’s mind– Bwog really should have asked it.

  • Joe says:

    @Joe Kaylin, I have an enormous amount of respect for the way you live life. You’re an inspiration to us all in the courage and balls that you’ve got to get where you want to be. I selfishly wish you were back at Columbia right now so I could get to know you better!

    Keep on keeping on, and continually reminding us that the journeys we’re on, whether that’s our trajectory at Columbia or anywhere else, are always worth thinking about, criticizing, and changing if need be.

  • Sean Walsh says:

    @Sean Walsh I am so disgusted by these comments. The “value” and “privilege” or an Ivy League education is to be in a community of intellectuals, not a dearth of jaded, abrasive, resentful anonymous commenters.

    I happen to be a good friend of Kaylin, and she is one of the most humble, down-to-earth people Columbia has to offer. Unlike most of the people commenting here, she was always open to understanding and listening to how the stressful, sinister attitude of the Columbia academic culture got the better of people.

    Even if working two jobs to be able to afford an $841 round trip ticket to Rome makes you “#richpeople” (read: it doesn’t), it is no place for anyone, anonymous or not, to be passing judgment on one of the warmest presences this campus had/will have to offer because she took a well-deserved break from the bullshit purveyed before your very eyes, right here in this comment feed.

    You go, Kaylin. You’re a great person and a wonderful friend. Pay no attention to this relentless stream of shit and keep keeping on.


  • just a thought says:

    @just a thought I always think you shouldn’t be nasty to be people in the internet because you being nasty to them might be the thing that sends the over the edge. They might quite literally kill themselves because of your flippant comment. It’s like smiling at old people when you walk past them on the street; that might be the only smile they get that day. Or that month. So it’s always worth it, even if you don’t feel like smiling.My grandma used to say “a smile costs nothing, but is worth so much”. And I like to live by that idea, both IRL and on the internet.Some of the people on here are truly fragile; remember that. The comment you give them on here might be the only interaction they have all day. So make it a positive one.

  • Anon says:

    @Anon Don’t get me wrong, I think her story is interesting, and I hope she gets better health wise…No one should be forced to stay in a place that isn’t fostering their well-being, so good for her. but what does her story have to do with COLUMBIA? She doesn’t go here anymore… whether it be temporary or permanent. So at least that’s why I’m weirded out by this story, not the whole privileged or what not stuff. SHE DOESN’T GO TO COLUMBIA! Peoplehop with people who go to Columbia! Highlighting her story after she comes back to Columbia (which isn’t even a given!) makes more sense doesn’t it?!

    Or are you saying that there is no one of interest at Columbia (which… I guess I could believe…)?

  • Anne says:

    @Anne WOW! Lots of judgmental people out here that seem to know everything! You go Kaylin. Have fun. Live life. Do things your way. So many people are jealous that I think it must mean you are doing something right! And, just in case yo DO somehow get rich and help both of your parents retire “early” save a bit to help ol’ me out too.

  • Anne says:

    @Anne p.s.

    I’ve been reading your blog and thinking what great pictures you’ve posted. I wouldn’t call them mediocre at all

  • Matt white says:

    @Matt white Hey Kaylin I like pizza let’s date let’s get married

  • Danika says:

    @Danika Please bring Latin back from the dead while your in Rome! I love that language! Yay Kaylin!

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