May

23

Senior Wisdom: Carolyn Ruvkun

Written by

Carolyn Ruvkun
Carolyn Ruvkun

Carolyn Ruvkun

Bwog-wisdom’s back: Carolyn Ruvkun, former creative editor and provider of good feelings, both on Bwog and in general.

Name, Hometown, School: Carolyn Ruvkun, NYC, Columbia College

Claim to Fame? Nightline, Puppy Coalition, green flags, Bwog tags.

Where are you going? Home to cuddle with my dog, play the piano, and procrastinate from becoming a real person reflect. I need some chill time that’s not just confined to scattered guilty hours between various commitments crowding my planner. That’s all been very exciting and productive, but now it’s time to process.

And maybe I’ll eventually start a Jewish food truck called Knish & Tell.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  • 1. I’ve come to respect my parents so much more professionally, but I’ve also seen their emotional vulnerabilities in ways I didn’t recognize when I lived with them. Some of my most important conversations over the past four years have been with people in my family who have divulged their own struggles. Caring for and comforting your elders can seem like a jarring inversion of some natural order. But these difficult moments have made my family relationships feel more reciprocal and real. In short, call your bubbe.
  • 2. Sit in the front row, so you won’t be distracted by the ridiculousness that appears on other people’s computer screens. I once witnessed a girl ordering a Vajazzling kit during lecture. She pulled out her credit card and everything.
  • 3. If you turn on Netflix subtitles, you can understand the words while eating pretzels.

Back in my day…I thought I knew a lot more than I really did. But the more I learned, the more I realized how little I know. I’m leaving Columbia with few answers but better questions. Get comfortable feeling uncomfortable. After all, college shouldn’t validate your existing knowledge but put it in perspective.

Also, I went to H&H every Sunday morning for the best bagels in New York, crossing signs had words instead of pictures, hashtags and gifs didn’t exist, and seniors seemed very old.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I can’t, really. When I was 5, I asked my Mom if I was just a Barbie in someone else’s Dream House, so this redeeming an authentic existence thing has been plaguing me for a while.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Nightline, thank you for teaching me how to listen and for making me feel heard. My most rewarding and devastating moments have happened on calls: the satisfaction of having a stranger on the other side of the line tell you they feel better, and the fear of not being able to help as much as I wish I could’ve. Callers, thank you for your courage. It’s heartbreaking to hear how isolated people feel in their struggles when usually I’ve talked to someone else who has gone through the exact same thing. Please know you deserve to feel awesome.

Honorable mensch-en to my Bayit family.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Depends on the consistency.

One thing to do before graduating: Stress can offer the necessary urgency to get shit done—you get gutsy when you’ve got your feet to the fire. Still, in excess it can be crippling. Some much wiser Nightline peeps taught me a trick to prepare yourself for those moments: dog-ear book passages you find uplifting, bookmark videos that make you laugh, or create a playlist of songs that make you wanna bust a move, so when self-doubt strikes you’ve already created a safety net. It’s valuable to reach out to others, but it’s crucial to find ways to support yourself. Give yourself routines, whether that means going to a weekly religious service, strumming your ukulele or folding your laundry like an adult. The clothes get wrinkled otherwise.

Any regrets? I regret that time I slid down the Butler banister and then smashed into a grad student carrying a stack of unstapled papers.

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Carolyn = one of the best people on campus. I always wish I had the chance to get to know you better. Good luck with everything!

  2. Anonymous

    this is the best answer to the oral sex/cheese question that has ever or will ever be given. Its time to retire this question.

  3. 2013  

    i miss everyone so much already... so lonely

  4. Anonymous

    "2. Sit in the front row, so you won’t be distracted by the ridiculousness that appears on other people’s computer screens. I once witnessed a girl ordering a Vajazzling kit during lecture. She pulled out her credit card and everything."

    honestly seems like a more compelling reason NOT to sit in the front row

  5. Anonymous

    Most original and refreshing senior wisdom. Also one of the most original and wonderful friends I had the privilege of making in college. Thank you for your non-stop thoughts on anything and everything :)

  6. Anonymous  

    You're amazing, Carolyn.

  7. Anonymous

    Carolyn's great! Definitely had some of the best Bwog posts.

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