May

12

Senior Wisdom: Andrea Garcia Vargas

Written by

Andrea Garcia-Vargas
Andrea Garcia-Vargas

Andrea Garcia-Vargas

Today’s first Senior Wisdom: Andrea Garcia Vargas of C.U. in Bed fame, who reminds you to take care of yourself and reveals a certain secret room in Butler. 

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.

Any regrets?

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.

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37 Comments

  1. Hmmm  

    "Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese?"

    I think they meant receiving...

  2. this

    is awesome. thanks for writing everything half of this school is afraid to say, and pointing out that there is no good reason in doing so.

  3. awwww  

    this made me realize how much I love and miss my mom

    Happy Mothers' Day everyone!

  4. CC 15  

    my roommate and I both read your column religiously and you are hilarious and amazing and really cool and you have nice hair and

  5. Figging  

    Ew, why would anyone do that?

  6. Kai  

    Really going to miss seeing you around, Andrea! xoxo

  7. Anonymous

    Good Senior Wisdom, but how many likes did it get?

  8. Anonymous  

    Your secret sex spot is right across from my secret pooping spot. (5th floor, Lerner Side, Women's Bathroom, at nights or on weekends is the. best. place. on. campus. for a lady to drop a deuce. )

  9. re: Figging  

    AAAAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!

  10. Figger  

    Hi Andrea, I'm the troll who asked you the figging-related question. Glad to hear you enjoyed it! Have fun at graduation!

  11. Neckbeard Troll  

    H..ha.ha y..yeah Andrea's columns s..suck my posts on reddit are much more enlightened ;____________;

  12. anon  

    This was good. I like the honesty.

  13. Also  

    RIP Sahara Davenport. Much love & stay strong, Manila Luzon!

  14. Andrea, you inspired me  

    even before your sex column.

  15. Anonymous  

    Thank you for your candor and for being such a kind person. (As for giving away my Butler Secret Spot...) I'm also so sorry that Alex Smyk was such a dick to you, if the B&W gossip is correct.

  16. Jesse  

    Andrea,

    I love you for ever.
    I love you for always.
    As long as you're living,
    That weird girl that I irrationally hated on JJ12 freshman year and then things changed really for the better and I'm glad they did but you're definitely still weird, okay?
    You'll be.

  17. Anonymous  

    so proud of you, andrea!

  18. Anonymous  

    You may be a little crazy, but in a great way!

  19. Anonymous  

    You're amazing, Andrea!! It was nice that you said hi and chatted with me that time on the subway even though it was so crowded and during rush hour!

  20. Abril Dozal  

    Andrea, thank you for sharing your wisdom beyond this post. You were an inspiration throughout the year. Columbia will not be the same without you!

  21. Alibaba  

    Andrea, ready for BJ?

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