Matthew Schantz

Part of the BWorld, Matt Schantz.

Name, Hometown, School: Matthew Schantz, Bryn Mawr, PA, CC; Russian Literature & English

Claim to fame? Bad punsgross tofudick jokes.

Where are you going? After writing a thesis on the foundational works of Socialist Realist literature, I’m doing the only thing that makes sense—writing agitprop for a Left-wing publishing house in Brooklyn. After that, who knows!

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  1. Make time to hang out/ make out/ chill out/ space out/ bro out. It’s important!
  2. In the final scene of Anna Karenina one of the main characters is strolling along when he has a revelation: He resolves to change everything about his life, to live with the utmost moral scrutiny, to treat everyone with absolute respect. Moments later, he’s in his carriage and finds himself cursing the cab driver. After beating himself up for not living up to his plan to treat everyone fairly, he realizes that’s ok. He has failed but will try again. Lesson: Dream up wild manifestos of self-betterment and plans to change the world, but don’t get too upset when you and others inevitably fail to live up to your new standards. Keep trying. And try to treat everyone with the same forgiving spirit with which you would like to be treated—they’re trying too.
  3. Try to keep a sense of humor in everything you do. If you’re taking yourself so seriously that you can’t laugh at yourself, you’re probably not being critical of what you’re doing. There’s also a good chance that you’re no fun.

Back in my day… There were fewer ways to share pictures of your lunch via social media and Puppy Cops were still together.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I don’t think my existence is any more justified/ needs any more justification than anyone else’s. 

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: To the Slavic Department of Columbia: You are all so incredibly warm, unpretentious, brilliant, and weird in the best way. You’ve challenged me, supported me, and made me feel at home even when I speak broken Russian after four years of study. Also, thank you for being housed on the seventh floor of Hamilton. I now have very well defined calves.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Cheese: Cows can’t give consent; I can.

One thing to do before graduating: Try to spend some significant time with friends from school outside of the city. As many excellent opportunities as it provides, New York generates an anxiety that there’s constantly bigger, better, more interesting things happening than what you’re doing right now. And that sucks when you’re trying to focus on the people in front of you. Additionally, the nagging feeling that you should really be working on something right now seems to evaporate as soon as you escape the city limits.

Any regrets? Picking such a narrow field of study so early on instead of doing more exploring.  Wishing I could take back every moment that I spent procrastinating on the internet and put them towards hanging out with real people. Not taking FemSex. Ever feeling that it was too late to start something new—whether that be a new club, a new hobby, or a new friendship.