Senior Wisdom: Andrea Garcia Vargas
Written by Bwog Staff
Name, Hometown, School: Andrea García-Vargas; Bogotá, Colombia; Columbia College.
Claim to fame? I was the 2012 Spec editorial page editor and then went on to write an opinion blog, an opinion column, and, of course, the sex advice column C.U. in Bed. I answered questions on everything from orgasms to threesomes to figging (Wikipedia that while you’re not at work).
In general, I talk a ton about sex—over brunch, on the subway, and even to an NYTimes Co. rep at Media Networking Night. I have zero shame. But, it’s just sex. What’s there to be ashamed about?
Where are you going? Nowhere, I’m staying in the city. But I guess the real question you want to ask if, what am I doing? I don’t know. And if there’s anything my Columbia education taught me, it’s to never have shame in saying those 3 words.
3 things you learned at Columbia:
- 1. Taking care of yourself is not a luxury—it is a basic human need. Sadly enough, there are many structural impediments to ensuring wellness at this school, namely that CPS is terribly understaffed. I’ve had to wait 3 weeks between appointments. On a more positive note, I learned the value of Nightline, which you can reach at 212-854-7777. It might be kind of weird to talk to an anonymous voice on the other end of a line but sometimes that was all I needed—I talked to them as long as I needed to. Generally by the end of my Nightline talks, I had fully climbed out of my pit of insecurity and would go to sleep a little more soundly. I also learned some TAs and professors count appointments to CPS like any other medical appointment, and if there were ever any circumstances in which I was unwell enough to even drag myself out of bed, far more instructors than I expected would simply say, “I understand” if I told them the whole truth.
- 2. As a writer, you will have to put up with deeply insecure and malicious anonymous comments that will attack your identity. But guess what? Those people really aren’t attacking you, they’re just attacking the idea of you. Get what I mean? As long as they don’t really know who you are, it’s incredibly easy for them to demonize you. They probably have a shred of goodness to them, it’s just buried deep in their online anonymous personas. If you were to stop writing because of what they said, they’d be winning. Cry if you want to. Complain all you want to your friends about how terrible Spec or Bwog comments are. But whatever you do, don’t stop writing.
- 3. There is a kitchen area leading to 2 offices on the west side of Butler on the 5th floor. On Monday-Thursday afternoons, the door is propped open. When you close the door behind you, it locks automatically—no one on the other side can get in. The walls are a little thin but otherwise, it is a wonderful space—a sink, a countertop, and a tiled floor that is not too cold. Use this information well. Hint: It is far better than the stacks.
Back in my day….
- Butler stacks had no wireless.
- Operation Ivy League happened. A few days later, Operation David Epstein also happened.
- The famous drag queen Sahara Davenport once strutted the length of Lerner Party Space.
- Ferris Booth was not meal-swipe only.
- Rising sophomore pairs could string along with rising-senior trios and get EC exclusion suites.
- We didn’t have window stops.The comparative ethnic studies major existed.
- Student Wellness Project didn’t exist. There wasn’t a cohesive movement to promote wellness across campus. Count your blessings that things have changed.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Can anyone really justify their existence? I’ve tried to do this not in jest but for real and I’ve gotten very hung up over that train of thought, so I’ve stopped trying. I am here, I want to write, I want a challenging but enjoyable life, and that’s all that matters.
Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: I wrote something out for this question but I realized I would so much rather just find the ovaries to say it to his face than through Bwog. Wish me luck!
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? When I was 7, I was eating a cheese sandwich at my grandmother’s house and the cheese had gone bad. My mother didn’t realize this and tried to get me to finish the sandwich despite my tearful pleas. That traumatizing experience left a nasty taste in my mouth.
Oral sex has never left a nasty taste in my mouth. I’ll leave you to munch on that.
One thing to do before graduating: Go to our Hindu chaplain, Gadadhara Pandit Dasa’s Bhakti Club meditation sessions on Wednesdays at 7pm, 308 W. 109th St. He’ll give you beads, Hare Krishna mantras, great company, and a free (and very delicious!) vegetarian dinner. These sessions alone have made me reconsider my 20 or so years of non-spiritual atheism.
I wish I hadn’t jumped the fence to get into South Lawn during the 2011 Snoop Dogg concert and had my ID confiscated as well as a hearing scheduled with OJA. Getting 10 feet closer to the Dogg was so not worth the consequences and the following anxiety.
I wish I had been more careful around chairs and boys in chairs. I would much rather have not been CAVA’ed at 4 a.m. one night my sophomore spring because of an injured toe. It was incredibly awkward fibbing to the entire CAVA crew about how I had been hurt by a chair.
I wish I hadn’t been such a slacktivist freshman year.
I wish I had asked more people out on dates and made less excuses about “not having enough time or money.”
But even then? All mistakes are for a reason. You live them, you learn from them. The only true regret I have is that I didn’t call my mom enough. She was always the biggest critic of my writing but also the most supportive one. Maybe there were times when she yelled at me for having overshared in a C.U. in Bed installment or used the f-word in an opinion column but when I told her I was going to be a sex columnist, she was on board 100% of the way. She was the only person in my life who, without me asking for it, actively reminded me to ignore the haters. I know very few moms that would have been as open and understanding as she was. Mom, if you’re reading this, I love you, and I’m sorry.