Senior Wisdom: Steele Sternberg
Written by Bwog Staff
First up today: Steele Sternberg, future teacher extraordinaire:
Claim to fame? I went through all of Columbia without pulling an all-nighter for academic-related reasons. I worked with a number of really great groups on campus including Academic Success Programs, COÖP, Latenite Theatre, the Spectator Editorial Board, and the URC. You have also probably heard me yelling far too loudly about something at some point.
Where are you going? I’m going to teach or, more accurately, learn how to teach! I’m doing this very cool new program where you teach at a boarding school for two years and get a master’s in education from the University of Pennsylvania (my loyalties shall always lie with Alma). I’ll be moving from NYC to rural Connecticut for the job. It’s going to be a change, but no loss of restaurant options can make up for the number of new stars I’ll be able to see at night.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- Every day when you wake up and walk out the door you have to power to make someone else’s day really awesome or really shitty. As much as we all like to imagine ourselves as incredibly independent and self-sufficient people, I have found that, in my own experience at least, I am incredibly dependent on the kindness and support of my friends to make or break my experience here. It’s somewhat frightening to think that you may have that much importance in the happiness and success of others, but it can also be incredibly empowering to realize that, every day, you have the opportunity to make someone else feel incredibly valued and appreciated.
- Our collective ability to experience nostalgia for things from the 90’s like Space Jam and denim is unparalleled and provides infinite entertainment.
- It is actually okay to talk to other people about your feelings! When I came to Columbia I thought that my emotions were merely superficial ailments that ought to be cast aside in my pursuit of some kind of purely rational perfection. That was both naïve and detrimental to my mental health. Learning how to talk about your psychology can open up much deeper and more substantive relationships with other people and help your own health in the process.
Back in my day… John Jay didn’t have WiFi, we had to go to Kent to pick up our transcripts, and student wellness was worse if only because no one talked about it.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I’ve been wrong more times than I’ve been right.
Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Tessa Slovis: Thank you for teaching me so much about this world and how great it can be. If you haven’t had a chance to meet this girl, run, don’t walk, to 620 and introduce yourself before she goes off to be a famous actress. She has more wisdom that I can possibly impart here.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? So…I’m about 99% sure that future students of mine are going to Google me in a fit of procrastination. Therefore, I decline to answer this and, to those future students, go do your homework and/or go to bed at a reasonable time.
One thing to do before graduating: Form a relationship with an administrator that challenges the stereotype that the CU bureaucracy is entirely composed of disinterested and obstructive jerks that don’t give a shit about student well-being (see V119’s “The Administrative Run-Around” for a good example of this stereotype in action). As much as we like to deny it, Columbia does, at times, make tremendously smart hires that bring truly incredible people into student affairs (Deans Martinez and Rinere are great examples). Educate yourself so that, when the administration does do something problematic, you can speak out informatively rather than just rattle off the same set of tired and unproductive curses against Low and Lerner.
Any regrets? See that first thing I learned while at Columbia? Unfortunately I learned that mostly through making people’s days shitty rather than making them amazing. So yeah, regrets are a thing.