The wisdom just never ends: this time, on the morning of CC Class Day your CC valedictorian coaches you on all things Upper West Side.
Name, Hometown, School: Lia Friedman, Upper West Side, Columbia College
Claim to fame: If you knew my name before this April, you’ve probably gotten emails from me about worm bin composting. Before one of my closest friends and I met, our mutual friend would tell her stories about our CC class in which she referred to me as “the feminist.” That epithet flatters me.
Where are you going? I have no concrete plans! I’m headed to San Francisco in the fall to couch surf with extended family and see what opportunities present.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
Back in my day…Well, I’ve lived in this neighborhood for almost 23 years, and I grew up playing hide-and-seek on the Columbia campus and swimming in the fountains on Low. Back in my day, you got your groceries at UFM or Mama Joy’s. West Side Market was a quarter of its current size, did not have the fabulous disco soundtrack or “Fresh Meat!” sign, and it shared the block with Columbia Bagels. Metrocards cost $1.50, the 9 train still existed and the 3 trains were red, not silver.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I was born on a toilet across the street from Columbia. My dad skipped his daily espresso to catch me. I’m still trying to make it up to him.
Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Columbia Facilities in charge of landscaping: you put in so much work to make campus beautiful year-round. Every time I walk around campus, I notice the minute changes in the hedges and appreciate the hard work that goes into upkeep of all this land. When I worked alongside Facilities on the community garden a few years ago, I was so impressed with their knowledgeability and friendliness (especially Mr. Rivera’s).
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? “How can you govern a country which has two hundred and forty-six varieties of cheese?” — Charles de Gaulle, 1962
One thing to do before graduating: Do something unrequired. Go to a class you’re not enrolled in, or a lecture series that sounds interesting. Don’t pigeonhole yourself academically—I majored in Russian, but I spent a summer working in a geochemistry lab for a professor I had my first year. It’s just as important to figure out what you don’t want to do long-term, and it’s a lot of fun along the way (although sometimes it involves crushing rocks alone in a basement lab). Also, you can always get a table and good beer at Amsterdam Tavern. You’re welcome.
Any regrets? Tons. None major.