Tonight’s Senior Wisdom: Diana Clarke, apple aficionado and personal Yelp-er, who wants you to remember the name of the school you go to.
Name, Hometown, School: Diana Clarke, Worcester MA (home of the diner and birth control pill, mascot: Turtle Boy), CC; Creative Writing and Yiddish Studies
Claim to fame? Pathological punner and Yiddishist; down to hit the dance floor at literally any moment, and I can identify an apple by species at twenty paces. Variously involved with Quarto, COÖP, Bwog, Writers House, Jumpstart, Tablet (RIP), CU Players, and modeling for the Artists’ Society. Compulsive intern, currently writing about film for the Village Voice. Decent barista. Liable to argue about feminism, urbanism, and sexuality. Uh, I have a Twitter?
Where are you going? For now, to visit some friends (down) in Paris and (out in) London, and then to Brooklyn to edit Armchair/Shotgun (yes, I know). Then hopefully to write for a certain magazine, or to teach English in Spain, but I’m still figuring it out. Eventually, getting an MFA is the plan, but at the moment I’m in it for adventures.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
- 1. To check my privilege (Yes, I mean that sincerely), and that sincerity’s a lot scarier than irony, but it’s worth it. To ask for help when I need it. To help others without being asked, because they might not know how to tell me what they need.
- 2. The “should”s don’t work. Don’t follow a path because you’re already on it, or because that’s how it’s supposed to be. Listen to your gut. Take the classes and make the friends and attend the events and apply to the opportunities that make your stomach hum with nerves and excitement and a little fear. That’s how you know you’re challenging yourself, choosing right. Things work out because they have to.
- 3. How to make kale chips.
Back in my day…I was not the only one of my friends without a smartphone, the Bedford L stop was not as crowded with tourists, and New York had fewer fro-yo places and $1 pizza joints. (I miss the V and W lines!) The politics on campus were not as radicalized as they are today, and conversations about wellness didn’t happen in public.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Text me your coordinates anywhere in NYC, and I will reply with a restaurant suggestion that you will enjoy.
Write a CU admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Many of you have shared bedrooms or suites or apartments with me over the last four years. You have put up with how terrible I am at washing dishes, with the fact that my bed is often a pile of clothing and last week’s newspaper, with the fact that I become manic with punning and Beyonce at 3:00am. You have taken care of me when I was sick. You have challenged me with your wisdoms and passions. You have taught me how to be vulnerable in front of other people. You have become my family, and I will miss you so fucking much.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I have never gotten a stomach ache from oral sex.
One thing to do before graduating: It’s called Columbia University in the City of New York for a reason. Get off campus and get to know the city; follow your interests, whether that means food, sports, literature, performance art, whatever. And do something physical–it’ll get you out of your own head. Thinking is fun (that’s why you’re at Columbia), but sometimes it’s nice to remember that you’re also a body and not just a mind. (Related: study abroad.) At Columbia (Barnard): take Afro-Cuban Dance! Speaking of connecting with your body.
Any regrets? How long it took me to stop shaming myself for how I feel instead of changing how I act. But I’m glad now to be someone who’s learned enough to know that. Also, I should have done FemSex.