To close out the night, we bring you the man who brought you the honor code, P/D/F policy, automated add/drop and online waitlists, and many more…
Name, Hometown, School: Steven Castellano; Middletown, NJ; Columbia College (Biophysics)
Claim to fame? For most of my time, I was a chill, friendly guy who encouraged everyone to relax,
I’m going to greatly miss this place for both experiences.
Where are you going? I think Columbia makes you progressively know less about where you are going. Isn’t the journey the destination? Having said that, I particularly have no idea where I’m going in just a few weeks once graduation comes around. I want to do something socially and intellectually stimulating that taps into a variety of my interests as effectively as this school and community do. I’m not sure what that means either, but let me know if you find anything.
Three things you learned at Columbia:
Back in my day… stress was something we competed to possess while wellness wasn’t a topic of conversation or policy, JJ’s was open obscenely late and had a grocery store but lacked a Jamba Juice machine, Ferris had sushi, CCSC gave out way more free food and had a week of events called College Days, all our deans were completely different, Lerner staff didn’t consider closing the building on time to be a matter of national security, and our end-of-semester scandals involved drug dealing and incest rather than racist tweets, closed libraries, and my academic policies.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: I was made fun of by the trifecta of the Varsity Show, the Columbia University Marching Band, and Bwog commenters, so I pretty much got what I wanted out of life. Still, despite that stellar achievement, my existence is definitely no more justified than anyone else’s: I like to think I’m strongly supportive of my friends and community, but they all made me who I am, so the justification for our happiness is cyclical.
Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: Columbia Urban Experience (CUE), you are beautiful. You taught me what it means to do service for others and not for myself. You taught me how to open up about my insecurities and truly listen to peers. You gave me best friends and an amazing girlfriend even when I was afraid of attachment and more afraid of commitment. And after allowing me to grow, you’ve given me the opportunity all over again as I became your coordinator and shared these experiences with others. Over the years, you’ve grown with me as you added more students, sites, listservs, and brunches. And while I’m sorry that you have recently been attacked and weakened for giving what one can only call an outpouring of love, I know you will grow again from it. Sometimes it is easiest for the powerful to scar rather than admire the beautiful.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I come from a family that prides itself on its prodigious Italian cooking, a family that includes Snooki’s husband-to-be. My answer should therefore be more or less clear.
One thing to do before graduating: Go on top of the Low dome. The journey up is half the fun, and the view from above is unmatched by that of any skyscraper in the city. Definitely do that, but also explore as many other physical and mental spaces as you can.
Any regrets? The fact that I am who I am today makes me pretty happy, so not really. However, if I had to pick one learning experience to share, it would be to not be afraid of attachment and to strengthen superficial connections. When I entered Columbia, I had the goal of getting to know everybody because that was all I knew after attending a small high school. That was dumb. Popularity is overrated, especially if most people do not truly know who you are. Though it took at least a year for me to realize this, we should root ourselves in communities we trust and branch out from there rather than cast a wide net and see what stays inside. There are tons of incredible people, classes, and opportunities to explore here, but before venturing too deeply into it all, it’s nice to have extensions of ourselves to cling to for the times when said awesomeness starts to drown us.
Speaking of drowning, I also might regret not taking my swim test yet. According to a recent Bwog post and many emails in my inbox, I should be concerned.