May

8

Senior Wisdom: Rega Jha

Written by

Rega Jha

Rega Jha

Tonight’s Senior Wisdom: Rega Jha, writer, editor, and all-around enthusiast of being well-adjusted.

Name, Hometown, School: Rega Jha. Chennai (India) and Muscat (Oman). Columbia College (and BC wannabe).

Claim to fame? Writer, editor, all-round cheerleader of Columbia’s undergraduate writing/publishing community. Notorious for shamelessly over-sharing feelings on the Internet. The R.A. who gave you the benefit of the doubt even when you were playing beer pong in the floor lounge. Also, I’ve probably Instagrammed Low/Butler/Alma more times than the rest of the student body combined (#claimtoshame #cantstopwontstop).

Where are you going? Nowhere. Literally. Unless someone offers me a high-paying entry-level writing job (psych, no such thing!), I will be a member of Columbia Journalism School’s class of 2014.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  • It’s easy and comfortable to befriend people whose views are aligned with yours, but the most exciting opportunity we’re given at Columbia is the opportunity to seek out and engage with those whose aren’t. If you approach them with curiosity and humility, these relationships will be your strongest forces of growth and joy.
  • We’ve been told since we got here that “it isn’t what you know, it’s who you know.” But, really, it isn’t even just who you know, it is how sincerely, respectfully and lovingly you treat who you know. Be kind. There is no surer path to happiness.
  • I met a Columbia alum once who told me something along the lines of: “Columbia students grew up being told they’re hot shit, but they are not hot shit. You all just got very lucky.” It hurt to hear but it’s true. For every one of us that made it to Columbia, there are hundreds who deserved to but didn’t. It has served me well to remember that often. Additionally, I’ve met so many profoundly good and terrifyingly intelligent people here that, more than anything, I am graduating with the unshakeable knowledge that I am really, truly, indubitably not hot shit.

Back in my day…Bwog’s Senior Wisdoms were dispensed by wise, mature seniors who had seen the world, gotten their shit together, and equipped themselves to dole out life advice. Now you’re stuck with a girl who plays Temple Run in class, buys Ramen with quarters, and needs help shopping for toothpaste.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I have the best family and friends in the world and I am always happy to share.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Class of 2012, thank you for leaving us such large and beautiful shoes to fill; it’s been an honor growing into them. Class of 2013, it has been surprising and challenging and incredibly fun learning how to walk with you; you’ve been life-changing and we will be friends forever. Class of 2014, your intelligence, thoughtfulness, and ambition blows me away everyday. This next year of your lives will be a big one and, whatever hurdles come your way, I have no doubt that you will gracefully knock ’em down.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I’ve dreaded this moment terribly because, hard as it is, I need to answer in a way that doesn’t make my parents and future employers hate me. So, mom, dad, powerful magazine editors, since I’d like for you all to know that I am a well-adjusted and reasonable human being: bye, cheese.

One thing to do before graduating: Every time someone makes you even a little bit curious–whether you walk by them on College Walk and like their laugh, or you’re in a lecture with them and you think they asked an interesting question, or they wrote a Spec op-ed that offended you–hit them up immediately. Seriously, email/Facebook/text/Tweet/find them in person and ask them to get coffee with you. This school’s greatest and most exciting resource is its students and you would be foolish to graduate without getting to know as many of them as possible. Being unselfconscious and brazen about making friends here has been the best decision I’ve ever made.

Any regrets? I took some classes I shouldn’t have taken, pulled some all-nighters I shouldn’t have pulled, had crushes on boys I shouldn’t have crushed on, signed up for some listservs that I shouldn’t have signed up for, gave heed to some Spec/Bwog comments that I shouldn’t have given heed to, did some internships I shouldn’t have done, spent some money that I shouldn’t have spent, and generally made more mistakes than I can count. But that is all to say: no regrets. Here’s to several more years of fucking up and growing from it.

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23 Comments

  1. omg  

    so much wisdom you can't even fit it all on a post like this

  2. Patricia Howard  

    Rega, I am one of your biggest fans and I was eagerly awaiting your Wisdom! It's been an honor getting to know you over the years and I speak for so many people when I say that this campus sure is lucky not to lose you yet! Can't wait to see the many bylines in your future <3

  3. anon  

    "signed up for some listservs that I shouldn’t have signed up for"

    Hit me right in the feels

  4. Anonymous  

    I wish these included the major. Now I end up trying to guess from what they wrote which just distracts me. It also persists the annoyingly false but commonly held belief that "CC"=humanities and "SEAS"=science.

  5. Hot Shit  

    Love you Rega. You are an amazing human being <3

  6. You

    are one of those people who i WISH thought they were hot shit--mostly because you are--but also because having one flaw would make me certain you are a human. since you are nothing but humble and wonderful, though, you certainly must be a superhero of some sort, sent to columbia to help us all keep it real. glad you're not going far! good luck, looking forward to seeing great things from you.

  7. instagram  

    "Instagrammed Low/Butler/Alma more times than the rest of the student body combined???"

    Who are you, @mdisc????

  8. SEAS '15  

    I think it is super sweet that she listed herself as a "BC wannabe" aw

  9. Knock em' down,  

    eh?

  10. njr

    Rega, whatever happens, we'll always have the internet.

  11. Queen Rega  

    Actually love you. YOu are amazing

  12. bwithb  

    financial district here we come! you're my hero.

  13. Anonymous  

    I'm so tired of apologetic Columbia students buying and regurgitating the whole "ur not special bcuz ur a Columbia student, others deserve to be here" invalidating argument. As if!!!!! F u for sh%#ting on my praiseworthy accomplishment of becoming an Ivy League student. To put me down in that regard is a kind of logic that perpetuates competition. Who didn't get accepted to Columnia is irrelevant. And it's not as if should get on my knees and thank the admissions officers for accepting me because my relationship with Columbia is beneficial. Columbia has a great reputation only for the students and faculty who congregate here. I, just like Columbia, am a resource who as an intellectual that will go on to achieve greater things, add to the prestige of Columbia by affiliating myself here. So cut the whole entitlement crap. It's the kind of argument that was created by bitter rejects. And besides, if they "deserved" to be here, they surely were accepted into other good colleges.

    • Waaaaaaaah  

      Someone challenged my privilege by pointing out that no one is self-made and peoples' accomplishments are at least partially dependent on their position in society. I'm so insecure that I have to believe I'm the best and my skin color, class, gender, and sexual identity have nothing to do with my success. Anyone who thinks I'm not the best is just jealous or a meanie.

  14. Anonymous  

    Mutually beneficial

  15. Anonymous  

    Everything you write makes me cry. Beautiful.

  16. Honesty  

    Just So People Know:
    http://www.columbiaspectator.com/2013/04/10/classroom
    '
    #classroom

    In a lecture earlier this week, our professor asked all 70-something of us a simple question. “Do you intend to use new or social media during this class?” Only two brave hands went up. Admittedly, although I fully intended to tweet the hours away, mine did not.

    After a few minutes of conversation, he clarified that our honesty would not be punished. I raised my hand and so did several others. In doing so, we declared, with tinges of both guilt and pride, that yes, we might tweet or Facebook or send emails during this class, and no, we had no intention of trying to stay off the social web for 75 consecutive minutes....
    Our professor accused us of wanting to “check out” during the class and of not wishing to engage fully. Slowly, my peers also began to pass similar judgments. “They’re clearly incapable of paying attention for an hour and 20 minutes,” one girl said. “It seems as though they care less about the subject matter than the rest of us do,” another voice chimed in. “They’ve made the conscious decision to basically not be in this room.”

    OK.

    Of course, as a self-proclaimed social media “addict,” I take issue with these allegations—first and foremost on a personal, emotional level. So I’ll put my bias on the table and I’ll say it: I was offended.

    But, more importantly, I take issue with the statements that were made because I think they are based on dangerously outdated assumptions. Most urgently, I disagree with the assumption that being active on new media necessarily implies “checking out” from one’s physical environment. Sure, that is one potential outcome, but the other option—one that I believe professors should capitalize on—is the potential for social media and new media to enhance and complement our engagement with classroom goings-on.

    Just as taking notes by hand commit them to my memory forever, so should tweeting a fact I learn in class. Just as study groups once acted as venues for inter-student discussion and support, so should Facebook groups. Just as the classroom has gradually evolved, over years of debate and resistance, to incorporate newly introduced technologies which now seem commonplace (projectors, laptops, iPads), so it should evolve to accommodate social media, an inarguable component of the average college student’s everyday life.

    When I reached out to Sree Sreenivasan (Columbia’s Chief Digital Officer, a professor of social and new media at the J-School, and himself an avid user of most major social networks) for comment, he laid down the general rule that “social media is only as useful a tool as professors encourage it to be.”

    “I would encourage professors who want to try it out to experiment with it,” he said, “but at the same time, if they’re uncomfortable—if they feel students are disengaged—then they have the right to stop students from doing it.”

    Professor Sreenivasan is right. There are certain classes in which even the most creative professor wouldn’t find a use for an Instagram filter or a hashtag (here’s lookin’ at you, Calc III), but, whenever possible, I hope professors will embrace his recommendation to recognize the social web as an educational tool whose potential simply hasn’t been tapped into yet. A classroom at Temple University serves as a perfect example of such an experiment.

    “At this school,” Prof. Sreenivasan continued, “the discussion of technology in the classroom has been going on for years—more than a decade—and we’ve had to talk about things like laptops in the classroom. ... We, as a society, change and adjust our use of technology and where we see it and where we’re used to it.”

    In the spirit of coupling evolution with discussion, I encourage all four of Columbia’s undergraduate schools to follow the Graduate School of Journalism’s lead and establish a set of guidelines for the use of social media in classrooms. The J-School’s social media guidelines account for several gray areas created by the meeting of academia with social media (e.g., classroom confidentiality). At the same time, they give professors free reign to determine the extent to which they would like social media utilized in their specific classrooms.

    As Associate Professor of Music Jordan Shapiro said in Forbes recently, “Colleges shouldn’t be jittery about students who are Twittery.” Rather than establishing knee-jerk bans and reactionary judgments, they should deeply consider the educational potential of the social web and, with open minds and careful consideration, establish classroom cultures tailored to optimize learning in the 21st century, for 21st century students.

    Rega Jha is a Columbia College senior majoring in creative writing. Rega-rding Columbia runs alternate Thursdays

  17. Michael, CC '13

    People are right, you can't fairly generalize about the football team based on the comments of these guys specifically.

    We also can't fairly expect Columbia to expel these guys for tweeting what they want on their own Twitter feeds, however awful.

    Here's what the football team could do though: kick them off the team. Kick every single one of these players off the team. If the football team is serious about showing the community that it doesn't condone this kind of hate, that all athletes aren't like these guys, kick them off the team. Send a clear message that the rest of the athletes here aren't like this, and don't want to be associated with anyone who is. Football team, if you send a clear message that you care more about the character of the guys you share a locker room with than the w/l record (which, let's be real, isn't exactly stellar as it is), then you might win back some of my respect. Otherwise, I'm probably never coming to another homecoming.

    • Michael, CC '13

      Oh fuck, meant that for the football article... that's embarrassing. Bwog, can you help me out if you see this?

      P.S. Rega You seem really sweet, I'm sorry I never got to meet you, and sorry I just smeared that on your SW page. Been up in Butler for going on 18 hours.

  18. zoom

    Have my freaking babies PLEASE!

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