Time to learn some valuable lessons before your second wave of finals hits. Our next Senior Wisdom comes from Ben Harris, who used to have three goldfish named Chicken, Noodle, and Soup.


Ben Harris

Name, Hometown, School, Major: Ben Harris, San Francisco (okay, okay, north of San Francisco…okay, the suburbs), Columbia College, Political Science

Claim to fame: Producing the 118th Annual Varsity Show: The Corporate Core, creating Columbia’s It Gets Better video, and playing the optimistic, gay, Jewish counselor in Egg and Peacock’s world-renowned production of “Camp Baruch Atah.”

Where are you going? First stop is Grandma’s 91st birthday party in Boston. But then onto Yosemite to be an actual gay Jewish camp counselor (Tawonga!). Finally, back to San Francisco to work for a tech company and, hopefully, pursue meaning in life. There is meaning in tech, right? Don’t worry, I read it in CC.

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

1. It’s hard to be happy when obsessing over whether you’re having the blue book experience at Columbia. I fell into that trap freshman year and had a rough time. It wasn’t until sophomore year that I actually started to hit my stride, form a friend group, and commit to the student groups that excited me. It’s easy to spend time worrying about whether your life here is living up to your expectations of what college is all about. Don’t let constant appraisal of your experience at Columbia get in the way of actually enjoying the time you have.

2. School spirit exists. It may be harder to find and less common than at big state schools, but a packed gym for a Columbia basketball game is always exciting. The same is true for Bacchanal, Orgo Night, and other campus traditions. If you want to pretend like Columbia has zero spirit, you could go four years here and never be a part of the campus community. But you’d be missing out!

3. There is so much free food. Event for a newly formed group? Free food. Live at Lerner? Free food. At Liz’s Place at midnight when they close? Free food (specifically large muffins that normally cost a semester’s worth of tuition). So take advantage! And this applies to pretty much everything here. There are a lot of resources that are sitting around and waiting for someone to go after them. Columbia won’t hold your hand and sometimes won’t even show you the way, but being proactive pays off.

“Back in my day…” The Carman Hall residence lounge was neither a residence nor a lounge…it was a beast of a different nature, getting into to EC took approximately an hour, and the graduation stands definitely did not go up a full month before Commencement (it was more like three weeks, but every day counts when the sun is out).

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: As a kid I successfully kept three goldfish alive for over ten years, and named them Chicken, Noodle, and Soup. I also have a ten second cameo appearance in the 120th Annual Varsity Show (my mother is very proud).

Write your most memorable note from the field: Earlier this semester I was at a potluck in Brooklyn with some grads from last year. I’ve been to Brooklyn about two times in the last four years, so I was admittedly feeling pretty adventurous and *cool*. Coming through the tunnel at 14th Street a group of friends appeared and then dragged me onto the train back to Brooklyn, we where ended up at an underground fashion show in someone’s garage with a bonfire outside, before finishing the evening with a pit stop at White Castle. So, you know, memories. It’s good to know people who will make you do things you otherwise would never consider.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? Deantini says actuarial estimates give us 62 more living years…that seems like a long time without eating brie.

One thing to do before graduating: Cry spontaneously about leaving. I may have already crossed this off my list while watching a Google commercial in the Diana cafe, but I’m betting there will be more opportunities.

Any regrets? Not doing more things I might later regret.