Meet one half of the reason that Bwog doesn’t break on a daily basis. This next Senior Wisdom comes from Sam Aarons, who looks pretty fly in a panda hat.
Name, Hometown, School, Major: Sam Aarons, Salinas, CA (no I haven’t read Of Mice and Men, yes I have read Cannery Row), SEAS, Computer Science
Where are you going? San Francisco, to fulfill my lifelong dream of starting my own company and being unable to have a vacation for the next 2 years. I’m thinking 1) a social network for Dairy Queen employees or 2) a website that pretends to send your documents to printers on campus.
What are 3 things you learned at Columbia and would like to share with the Class of 2018?
1) Don’t be in such a rush to graduate early. I’ve had a few opportunities to drop out and live the Zuckerberg Dream™, but each time I decided that I just wasn’t ready yet. Being at Columbia is an immensely personal experience and has allowed me to grow as an individual. You might be able to pull that off in 3/2/1 year(s), but it’s really the constant interaction with others who are going through the same experience that really makes it worth sticking out for.
2) Don’t be afraid to play around with ideas. Have a website you’ve always wanted to build? Make it. How about a recipe that basically involves playing with food? Do it. How about that book you’ve been thinking about where all the characters are just modern-day adaptations of those from Tolstoy’s 1886 novella The Death of Ivan Ilyich? Write it. It may be that your idea is terrible and it may be that it’s actually brilliant but in either case it’s missing the point. Turning ideas into things is a helpful exercise no matter what because it forces you to learn how to create. If you do this enough then no matter what happens to you later in life (hopefully nothing bad but you never know) you’ll always have that ability to turn your dreams into reality.
3) Travel. I’ve been on some amazing trips with friends from Columbia as well as some amazing trips by myself. Don’t be afraid to just take a train during a random weekend up to Montreal (the casino is amazing) or take a bus down to Atlantic City (a bit of a shithole, but the casinos are amazing). If you take a trip twice every year during breaks (Winter and Spring) then in your four years here you can experience eight different places. Use it wisely; people want to go home for breaks but don’t be afraid to turn that into an adventure too. It doesn’t need to be a far-away place or even one that requires a plane to get to, but it does need to be outside the New York City limits. Invite your friends, kidnap them, or just go alone — the idea is to get out and experience a place you’ve never experienced before.
“Back in my day…” Joes didn’t exist (really the whole NoCo area was blocked off). JJ’s was a dump. The Carman lounge was where you could get away from people since nobody in their sober mind wanted to work down there.
Justify your existence in 30 words or fewer: For the 2012 Olympics I leased a dedicated server in London for one month so I could stream the BBC.
Write your most memorable note from the field: I took Art Hum last year and we were doing presentations about various painters. One girl goes up and begins her presentation by saying “The funny thing about Monet and Manet was that Monet was a guy and Manet was a girl.” The teacher was beyond mortified and kept saying “no, no, no” while just shaking her head.
Would you rather give up oral sex or cheese? I have a sneaking suspicion that I’m lactose intolerant but I haven’t looked into that too much. I also found out recently that I’m basically blind without glasses, so what do I know, don’t listen to me.
One thing to do before graduating: See a broadway show. This may be a cliche, but New York is home to the best theater performances on the planet, if you go your entire four years without seeing a few you’ve wasted a huge opportunity. You don’t want your Senior Wisdom regrets to be things you could have easily done and just never did.
Any regrets? Plenty. I’ll list 2 of them.
1) I regret leaving my amazing panda-hat (pictured above) on a plane coming back from a trip to Spain. I subsequently regret never sending my slogan into their department of tourism: “What happens in Spain stays on Iberia flight 67.”
2) I really regret not studying abroad. Somebody once told me that only 2% of SEAS kids actually get to take advantage of study abroad and while that sounds like an excuse now, I should have just said fuck it and gone forward. In fact I might never have the experience of studying in another country and immersing myself in that culture.