Dec

13

Senior Wisdom: Pazia Miller

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The file name was "PAZIA_HAY" and for that we love her.

The file name was “PAZIA_HAY” and for that we love her.

Welcome back to another round of our short December Senior Wisdoms, shouting out to those midyear graduates. Here we have Pazia Miller—we can’t believe her life, either.

Name, Hometown, School: Pazia Shayne Miller (Pronounced Asia with a P at the front), raised in Baltimore and transplanted to White Plains, New York (REPRESENT). Barnard College always.

Claim to fame? Outspoken feminist-type and listener, gender studies major/former slam poet. I am the interim campus astrology expert. I helped organize a rally for Ramarley Graham’s family during a finals week. I have shamelessly gone on two international BCRW trips. I live in Brooklyn.

Where are you going? For the next four months, I’ll be on a backpacking trip from Costa Rica to Argentina. I can’t believe my life.

Three things you learned at Columbia:

  1. Don’t be afraid to not know what you’re doing here or think you don’t belong here. Honestly, this school is chock full of people with a lot of privilege and elitism—if you don’t feel like you fit that model, it’s ok. You don’t even have to like it, but I guarantee you, there are other people who feel that way too. Find them.
  2. “Self care” cannot happen without your community behind you supporting you. No matter how much we talk about the need to retreat into your room and watch Netflix (and trust me, I do it), you need to have people outside of that ready to welcome you back in.
  3. Going to Columbia doesn’t make you better or smarter than anyone else. It doesn’t make you more qualified for a job, it doesn’t make you more worthy, and it definitely doesn’t make you happier than everyone else. Even though we are told time and time again that we will be Powerful People Who Will Make Change In The World, check yourself. You are among a selective few who got to go here. You have a powerful degree. And it is just that: a powerful degree. Be careful, respect other people and other ideas that aren’t from here.
  4. Annnnd 4, because whatever, this is my senior wisdom and I’m going to say what I want: Academia often exists to reproduce itself. Yes, your theory is important, but hierarchical relationships between the “best” theory with the least evidence in the ivory tower are really just the hierarchical relationships between professors selling books and gaining cultural capital. What you make is important too. Yes, this is my theory.

Back in my day… Professors were cancelling class so that you would be out on the street demanding that universities make school affordable during Occupy Wall Street.

Uni Café was called Pinnacle before it was shut down by the health department at least 3 different times.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: Are you implying that some people have to justify their existence?

Write a CU Admirers post to anyone or anything at Columbia: To the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies department at Barnard: you all have changed me and have opened up my experiences. Thank you for making college worthwhile. Special shout-out to WGSS senior seminar 2013: I want to write with your support always.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Audre Lorde once said, “Our erotic knowledge empowers us, becomes a lens through which we scrutinize all aspects of our existence, forcing us to evaluate those aspects honestly in terms of their relative meaning within our lives. And this is a grave responsibility, projected from within each of us, not to settle for the convenient, the shoddy, the conventionally expected, nor the merely safe.”

One thing to do before graduating: Live in New York. Not Morningside, Columbia, but New York. Let yourself experience the city outside of the Columbia bubble. You might be surprised how much you can feel at home here…and how much you might actually go to class.

Any regrets? I didn’t make it to a single senior night as a senior. I’ll never know what I missed.

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10 Comments

  1. jordana  

    pazia, my first barnard friend, i will miss you while you're off ~seeing the world~. make sure to live tweet about svu every now and then so i know you're doing okay! thanks for being awesome.

  2. Anon

    Never met you, Pazia, but you seem wonderful from this wisdom. Thank you for saying it like it is! And that Audre Lorde quote ... I bow down to you.

  3. I love everything about this. Thank you. Except you're so wrong about cheese but whatever

    Guys seriously LIVE OFF CAMPUS (unless Columbia/Barnard pays for your housing in which case DO YOU AND ROCK IT). But seriously living off campus doesn't have to be more expensive. I live in SoHo and pay less than Barnard housing. You will still go to class and have friends and an amazing social life, I promise. But there's so much more love in the city outside of the Morningside bubble.

  4. Tehreem

    so glad I got to know you through some of our women's & gender studies classes. have fun on your trip. you deserve it! :)

  5. WGSS!  

    SO MUCH LOVE for WGSS. It cannot be contained.

  6. Privilege Haiku  

    backpack in third world
    but i'm radical i swear!
    jobs are oppressive

  7. Anonymous  

    Haven't really talked to her since freshman year but it's so neat to see who she's blossomed into. Enjoy South America. I'm really jealous!

  8. Arsene Wenger /privilege/ edition  

    > Outside Butler chilling with my PIKE bros > Talking about privileged cis-male stuff, like roofies and Wall Street > Suddenly see cute Barnard feminist struggling with shopping bags > I go over and offer to carry one > She looks at me in terror > Starts trembing > Whisper o..ok > Meekly follows me as I take her bags back to John Jay > Bros everywhere start guffawing and clapping > Radical CUNTS look on with tears welling > We get to outside JJ > I politely hand over the shopping > Defeated, she mouths T..thank you > I smile > It was my privilege

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