Today’s second Senior Wisdom: Gavin McGown, telling you that haters are gonna hate, but to wake up anyways.
Name, Hometown, School: Gavin McGown; Toronto, Ontario; Columbia College, despite my Barnadmiration + swag. I more or less majored in Anne Carson.
Claim to fame? I’m on your campus, despoiling your precious notions of gender and civility.
Where are you going? Sticking around here until September (get at me), letting my crush on Proust blossom into a summer romance. Then taking my bookish fidelities back to the ancient world, by way of Cambridge, where they belong.
3 things you learned at Columbia:
i. Haters gonna hate.
ii. Coy smiles go a long way.
iii. People think you’re really smart if you refer to a non-literary object (composition, building, nail polish) as a “text.”
Back in my day…Lit Hum students learned about putting the devil back in hell, and the CC and SEAS deans as well as the Provost were all people of colour, one of them a woman.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I have a calligram tattoo of Sappho, poem 1. I laugh really, really loud. I have too many feelings and get through the hard parts with a lot of love.
Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia:
you can cuntpunt me any time you like.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? With only one can you eat out for free.
One thing do to before graduating.
This one is for the kids in 2017: you’re going to go to this thing during NSOP called Under1Roof, which is going to ask you to think really hard about your identities and those of everyone else in this community. You might think it’s super basic. You might think that you already know what diversity is and that you don’t need this discussion because you’re not -ist or -phobic. But challenge yourself to approach the conversation with sincerity and earnestness. If you hear something in that session—and you probably will—that causes a bit of dissonance for you in terms of how you view yourself, the world, and the kinds of power that people do or don’t have, take that as the grain of salt in the oyster that produces a pearl. Then keep on thinking really hard about your identities and experiences and learn about those identities and experiences that are invisible to you or to which you haven’t had much access. Think about the experiences of marginalization, oppression, and violence you may have lived through, and learn about the ones you haven’t.
In short, take your time here to realize what kind of world you’re living in. In whatever way you can, learn to fight back.
Any regrets? Never having applied to live in the IRC; never having made the time on a Friday afternoon to go to a Radical CUNTS discussion; missing the Under1Roof facilitators deadline last spring; waiting until my final term to join ROOTEd. In general, taking too long to wake up to certain political realities and realize my complicity in them. But I guess we’re all still waking up.