Arvind Srinivasan

The other half of the Bwog Tech dream team: Arvind Srinivasan, a man who shatters our previous “cheese-related puns” record.

Name, Hometown, School, Major: Arvind Srinivasan, 510, Bay Area, CA, SEAS, Computer Science

Claim to fame: As a 4 year member of the shadow Bwog government, I ran tech with Sam (Ruby Prince/ Big Deal/ Flat Stanley) Aarons, which meant that I was a voting member on the committee that made Bwog white. For those not around for it, the general reaction was this. I made the decision to give comment trolls the reward of Comic Sans. I was also the president of the Rock Climbing Club. One of the people at Chipotle knows my name, and I have over 250 seamless confirmations in my email (pad thai is the only part of a balanced diet, right?).

Where are you going? Zurich, Switzerland to work at Google on giving Gary Busey something else to talk to. Recognizing that there are Google offices in NYC and Mountain View, this is not a slight on the two places I have lived, which are the greatest and greatest places in the world, respectively. I’m just sick of waking up at 7AM to watch soccer games.

What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2018?

1) If you’ve ever felt that Columbia isn’t giving you your money’s worth extra-curricularly, or have a passing interest in anything remotely athletic, join one of the club sports. Joining the Climbing Club was the best decision I made in the last 4 years (aside from maybe buying a hammock), not only because going on outdoor trips on weekends probably (relatively) preserved my sanity, but because I found a community early-on that turned out to be the greatest group of mentors and friends anyone could hope for (to be fair, I’m sure this is true for other clubs as well). Also, club sports get an incredible amount of financial support from Columbia, and are designed to be as cheap as possible for people to go on otherwise expensive trips.

2) There’s a lot of amazing research done in crazy specific niches by professors here, and you will have a better research experience if you find something that really excites you. On a related note, do research. It’s more fun than classes. I had the privilege of working with the late Prof. Ichniowski on statistical analysis of soccer game data, which really (to me) didn’t feel like work when I was doing it.

3) Go to random classes to sit in on lectures if they interest you, even if you don’t get credit for them. I attended two entrepreneurship classes at CBS taught by David Pogue and Rachel Haot, respectively, as well as a law school class with Eben Moglen, and had incredible, irreplaceable, experiences, from getting advice from guest lecturers like Jack Dorsey to being schooled on NSA’s PRISM project 3 years before anyone else knew about it. Columbia has a lot of incredible professors and classes that you may not have direct exposure to as an undergrad unless you seek it out yourself.

“Back in my day…” We had real scandals. Like drug busts and incestuous Professors. What do you guys have now, a late-to-the-game student escort? Bwog had more squirrels eating pizza and dictator-themed animal sightings.Bwog tech’s job was basically to resize images. Every once in a while 3 days, someone would accidentally upload a DSLR photo un-resized, and the entire site would crash trying to serve it. We fixed that. Both Data Structures and Intro to Linguistics with McWhorter were 1 section, ~40 people. I hear they are now…bigger…

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: On your keyboard, type the following characters (using arrow keys): up-up-down-down-left-right-b-a (sidenote: if nothing happens, this was just a classic misdirection)

Write your most memorable note from the field: Freshman year, Sam Aarons and I were supposed to go to the airport to fly back to California together after our last finals. He finished a day earlier than me, so I figured he would be packed. Turns out he had spent an entire day photographing a flat stanley all around the city and was frantically packing 2 hours before departure. We missed our flights. Then again, I slept in and missed my rescheduled flight for the next day, and spent a day in JFK hungover, so my claim to moral high ground is questionable at best.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Bwog, I’m not moving to cheese less Asia; I’m going to Switzerland instead, so it really gets my goat that you expect me to craft a single, pithy response to this. Still, tons of seniors avoid a direct answer every year, and there’s no whey I’m going to prove alone if I pick either (I’ll be creamed in the comments either way), so I’ll try to do some pros/cons, even if you call em mental or poke em full of holes. On one hand, a true jack of all trades (holla, me) could go “da distance,” if you know what I mean, any time they want, but for those that find it more difficult to munster up the courage, and shiver at the thought of gray air and the blues, cheese can save you from falling off the ledge, yo. The last thing I need is to live a life that derives excitement from golfing par, mahjong, and a girlfriend that sheds her clothes only on alternate Tuesdays. Then again, it’s not as if I’m going to live in a castle (though moats are hella legit, and Europe is full of castle debris), and I hopefully get to pick her, yknow, so regardless of this decision, life can’t be too bad. Okay, so I’m indecisive, but I won’t be cowed into picking one or the other, even if you grill me on it. I lack those qualities of self-restraint and decisiveness, but I never melt under pressure.

(This has been a fromage to the cheesier members of CU2014, and for those keeping track, let the record show that there were 31 puns, I’m sure at least a few got past your eyes)

One thing to do before graduating: Learn how to be concise. This got…out of hand.

Any regrets: Spending a decent chunk of the afternoon thinking of cheese puns, and only finding out about Brownies Cafe 2 semesters ago.