Maddy Popkin

Even though finals are over, you can always use a little more wisdom. Today’s Senior Wisdom is from Maddy Popkin, who refuses to capitalize anything.

Name, Hometown, School, Major: Maddy Popkin, (staunchly) Barnard, Women’s, Gender & Sexuality Studies Major, Race & Ethnic Studies Concentrator, Spanish minor

Claim to fame: wellwoman peer educator [resident diva cup + armpit hair enthusiast], former q president, outgoing SGA President, creator of cutest millie-the-bear-campaign photos, maintains a stubborn distaste for capital letters.

Where are you going? staying here!

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

1. “The university needs what she bears but cannot bear what she brings.”-Fred Moten and Stefano Harney in their book The Undercommons. as students, we have more potential for power than we think we do–or are supposed to feel we do. the white-cis-hetero-patriarchy is real. wellness in the face of that monster is hard, change is even harder. but trust yourself, trust your discontent, and keep acting on it–and do it all carefully because…

2. …its never just about good intentions. its about pausing and thinking through the affects of our actions. and doing so with humility. leading by example is especially important when you’re wrong or when you messed up. people are learning from you, particularly in those moments.

3. recognize how we all sustain each other. be accountable to yourself, your ideals, and your people. Intentional communities are the only way to make it.

“Back in my day…” there weren’t explicitly gender inclusive bathrooms on campus, SGA endowment fund didn’t get used for amazing projects like a more accessible Diana rooftop, I didn’t know how awesome the Barnard Librarians were.

Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: honestly i think that’s impossible; our existences are pretty arbitrary and unjustifiable. but we’re here, so.

Write your most memorable note from the field: walking across college walk at dusk gets me every time. but more substantially, the Rep Council meeting we had when C-SJP presented their concerns about the removal of their banner from Barnard hall was an incredibly respectful and productive example of the way we as student leaders and representatives can collect feedback, listen to that feedback, and advocate for students.

Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? i don’t have anything clever to say. cheese.

One thing to do before graduating: do something to destabilize and explore your idea of yourself. things that have worked for me: shaving my head, running for president, speaking at a homecoming pep rally. hah.

Any regrets? I regret not applying to live in the IRC. sometimes I regret de-prioritizing my personal politics in favor of working within an administratively sanctioned channel for change…but then i remember how excited and grateful and proud i am of this year’s rep council and the work we’ve done and my regrets are tempered.