Brian Wagner

Brian Wagner

Little-known fact: contrary to popular belief, Bwog does not stand for the Blue and White Blog, but for Brian Wagner, Original Gangster. Our second former Bwogger to share his wisdom: Brian Wagner, previous managing editor, gchat hero, and 95% of the reason Bwog did not crash on a daily basis for a year. Thanks, Brian.

Name, Hometown, School: Brian Wagner; Park Ridge, Illinois; SEAS (which surprises a lot of people for some reason)

Claim to fame: I used to write and edit things that (hopefully most of you) read. Once I did a really good job of describing the average Columbia student.

Where are you going? For now, Los Angeles to put computers in spaceships. Or robots or something. Later, who knows? I don’t like the idea of staying in one place for long.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  • 1. When you disagree with people, it’s easy to mistake your argument with their idea for an argument with their character. Once you stop doing that, it’ll make your conversations actually productive. And I’ve yet to meet someone with whom I’ve disagreed that I haven’t enjoyed grabbing a beer with.
  • 2. Don’t fear failure. In order to achieve anything worthwhile, you’re going to have to step out of your comfort zone and take risks. It’s okay if things don’t end well (and believe me, sometimes they don’t), because that’s how you learn. I failed a class while I was here and it taught me more about myself and the world than practically everything else. Try not to fail any classes though, cause that sucks.
  • 3. The reason you’re here is likely because back in high school, you were the best. Now you’re not (probably). But that’s okay, because now you’re surrounded by literally hundreds of people who are just as smart, talented, caring, and incredible as you are. And once you learn to accept that you don’t have to be the greatest anymore, you can ditch that competitive attitude and start forming real relationships with your peers. Do it—they, morso than anything else—are the best resource Columbia has to offer, and don’t be afraid to ask your friends for help when you need it.
  • 3.1. Don’t put two spaces after a period. Just don’t.

Back in my day…NSOP meant frat parties, study breaks meant J.J.’s place; NoCo wasn’t finished yet; Bwog looked bluer; EC lounges reminded me of parties and not studying; and everyone else looked older than me.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I’m a computer engineer who’s good enough at words to be named EIC of a literary magazine. I genuinely enjoy making people laugh.

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: @ConorSkelding and @AlexandraSvokos, you’re both amazing at what you do, and you don’t receive nearly enough recognition for it, especially from me. I’m saddened that I didn’t offer as much help along the way as I should’ve, but inspired by the fact that you didn’t need it. @AlexAvvocato, you do me proud. Keep it up. And @SylvieKrekow, you gave me a shoulder to lean/laugh/cry/whine on during the most difficult year of my life. I love you for it.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? No one ever got judged for eating cheese in public. Actually, I take that back. But it’s gonna be real awkward explaining to my grandmother why I don’t eat cheeseburgers anymore.

One thing to do before graduating: Get your heart broken. It doesn’t have to be by a person—it could be an idea, organization, or friend. Once you get over the grieving, you’ll have quite possibly the clearest perspective on life that you’ve ever had, and you’ll learn what really matters to you. Find that one thing, and never stop doing it.

Any regrets? I’d like to say I don’t have any, but that’d be lying. There are classes I wish I’d taken, classes I wish I hadn’t taken, friends I wish I’d made, friends I should have spent more time with, groups I should have joined, and text and emails I drafted but never sent.

Mostly, I just wish I’d met more of you people. You’re all geniuses. I’ll miss you so much.